I am reading “Buddha’s Brain”, written by Rick Hanson, PhD and neuropsychologist.
Wow, I say WOW!
What an easy to read explanation of how the brain works…the scientific and neurological explanation of why we reinforce disempowering meme structures that take us farther and farther away from what we truly want, which is happiness, love, and peace of mind.
The chapter I read last night talked about one’s haven or refuge…and asked if the reader had one and what it was. The author talked about a place, person, concept or activity, as examples, that represented safety and a sense of calmness when we engaged with that place, person or thing.
This totally rocked my boat because my first response was that I did not have such a thing in my life. And that started me throwing what he calls ‘second darts’ at myself This is the very act of buying into an old thought pattern that is usually false, and definitely serves only to create pain or sadness, becoming a more entrained thought pattern each time one calls it up. This sets one up for the next opportunity to throw that same miserable ‘dart’…oh, poor me: I’ve moved around my whole life, I ended a long marriage and am alone, my daughter is healthy and independent…I have no safe place, no one to depend upon…yada, yada, yada.
I started to really look at my life. Really look at my life. I used a bit of Byron Katie, asking myself the four questions…
…is it true that I have no safe haven?
…is it absolutely true that I have no safe haven?
…how would I feel if I didn’t believe this?
…and, then, the turn-around, which is always the truth-seeking missile in the process!
Question 1: it is true that I live alone, have no extended family, and choose not to rely upon my only child.
Question 2: nothing can be absolutely true. I have spent the last twenty years creating a home and a yard that is soothing, comforting, lovely to look at, comfortable to be in, and feels safe from harm. This is as true for me now as it was when I was married and living in this same house.
Question 3: if I didn’t feel alone, without a safety net, how would I feel? Well, I would dance in the moonlight, feel light as a zephyr, revel in the deliciousness of life, have a happy, open heart!
Question 4: the turnaround? No one is responsible for my safety, my peace of mind, my joy, my lovingness, my life, but me. If I don’t feel safe, have a place of refuge where I can cleanse myself from the world, it is no one’s fault but my own. Period. The world doesn’t owe me anything. No person in this world owes me anything. I owe myself everything!
So what did I gain from this exercise? Clarity. Insight. Joy – a small little pattern broken, which starts to create a positive mental construct I can use on the next ‘dart’. Power. A feeling of calm and a sense of myself as the master of my circumstances.
The buck stops here!