Tag Archive: Mindfulness


Ram Dass, Arms Are For Hugging

I have seen this photo before but tonight it feels like the rightest and deepest thing ever.  Not trite and idealistic.  It coheres with all his teaching.  There is a lifetime of commitment and experience with this statement, total integrity and truth.  A really beautiful expression of the pacifist position, in my opinion.  I only say that because I am not sure at the moment if Ram Dass sees himself as a pacifist or if he thinks his position is a little more complicated than that.  Wow, I think Ram Dass’s life and teaching are totally encapsulated in this photo.  I haven’t listened to the podcast yet.

https://beherenownetwork.com/ram-dass-here-and-now-ep-137-the-importance-of-inner-social-action/

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This is Russell Razzaque, a psychiatrist in London, talking about breakdowns and spirituality and similarities and overlaps between the two that he has noticed through his own meditation experiences. It is well worth watching.

Everything Matters: Beyond Meds

breakingIn the video below Dr. Russell Razzaque shares what he learns about the psyche when he starts meditating. He is surprised when he comes to recognize many states he experiences in meditation to be similar to states that are pathologized in psychiatry. He sees them in his patients and recognizes them in his own experience when meditating.

I’ve certainly found meditation to be a way to learn how to recognize and integrate many parts of my psyche…including those which got me locked up and drugged many years ago as a young woman. It’s become clear to me too that which gets labeled pathological in psychiatry are simply extreme examples of what is simply human nature.

The biggest problem in the mental illness system is that most mental health professionals don’t understand these things about the psyche. They don’t know their own minds and therefore are afraid of people who display…

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Mish-Mash Musings 2

In my last post I wrote about how the Church, during the Inquisition, used to ‘relax’ people into the hands of the state so they could be burnt, and wrote about the parallel drawn by Thomas Szasz between this and the mental health movement.  He said that in a religious age ‘heretics’ were ‘relaxed’ into the hands of the state, but in the so-called enlightened age the parallel is that society turns to the mental health movement for the upholding of the dominant culture.  However, the Church is part of the society which does this, and does it itself.  So for the mental patient who is also a Christian, there is no ‘comfort’ for them in religion.  The mental health system is part of the new way of dealing with ‘heretics’ for the church.  The church believes in this, or says it does, and largely it accords the mental health system the same authority as the rest of society does, except for some people.  It might decide that some people are really not mentally ill and try to help them, but on the whole it validates the mental health system and its ideas.  So someone like me can become very isolated since the Church refers me back to the mental health services.  Admittedly I have not been to every existing church, but the ones that have been part of my life to date have all said the same thing, that they believe I am mentally ill, so accepting the categorisation in the first place.  Many other religious bodies do the same thing.  Scientology does not.  I have only recently discovered that Thomas Szasz had links with Scientology.  For some people this will put them off him, but there are others who hold the some of same views who do not have those links, the writers and editors of This Is Madness, for instance, and Foucault, and R D Laing.  R D Laing was ridiculed for turning to Buddhism, apparently.  I was told this by one of the nurses on Rowan 2, I think, and they said how ironic it was that the psychiatric system is itself now looking towards things like mindfulness as a way of raising people’s consciousness.  They wouldn’t call it raising people’s consciousness, but essentially that is what it is.

I’m not on Rowan 2 at the moment, I was transferred to Newark on Friday night. It is a place like Macmillan Close, complete with door slamming!  I’m not sure how I feel and I hope it is not a matter of my choice, because there are pros and cons with both.  I was told at 6.30 pm on Friday evening that the transfer was going to be made and that I had no right to refuse.  Steve, who was on duty, told me it was only temporary and that I am expected to go back some time this week, citing my housing situation and residence in Nottingham a a reason for me going back.  However, the staff in Newark are under the impression that I am here long term and that housing can be dealt with from here.  I’m confused and feel very disorientated.  I said I didn’t want to come because I don’t know Newark, and that seems to me a good reason at the moment.  I have been homeless 2 years now, Friday was the anniversary, and it can’t be good for me to keep being so uprooted.

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