Shifting attention from thought

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Re: Shifting attention from thought

Postby ashley72 » Sun Dec 04, 2016 1:30 am

Purposely shifting your attention away from bothersome thoughts is still an avoidance strategy. The very definition of avoid is to keep away from or stop oneself from doing (something). If you try to stop bothersome thoughts by shifting attention, you still believe they're causing you a problem. You're merely making the bothersome thoughts a stimulus for more bothersome thoughts. I've been there done that countless times!

The way out is by facing the bothersome thoughts head on, expose yourself to the bothersome thoughts... don't fight, freeze or flee them anymore.

Body awareness isn't some special sanctum, as nervous sensations in the body can also be stimulus for a fear response. Everything is potential stimulus for fear, so whenever it arises in whatever form your best option is exposure & wait for the fear respond to subside.

Interrupting is a broad term, it can be applied to either exposure or avoidance. But these lead to very different outcomes when applied to fear... which is why I keep banging on about understanding the feedback loop... particularly the positive kind. Lol

If your stimulus for fear is a body sensation, like say heart palpitations or sweaty palms will you will need to expose yourself to those bothersome sensations without trying to resist. But let's not confuse this thread, it was about dealing with bothersome thoughts not bothersome body sensations!

But the key bit you still seem to not really gleen in all your responses, is that bothersome thoughts, heart palpitations, sweaty palms (collectively nervous responses) can be both a response to fear as well as a stimulus for more fear if we bring avoidance into the equation. Which is why panic can arise as part of nervous illness.
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Re: Shifting attention from thought

Postby Enlightened2B » Sun Dec 04, 2016 6:28 am

Ash, I'm probably not describing what I am meaning to say to the best of my ability as well. But, we're going to have to agree to disagree.....to perhaps agree on somethings and disagree on others. :D

All I can say is that the process that I am describing has yielded some of the most profound experiences I have ever had and has finally shifted my body out of the sympathetic state and into the parasympathetic state of nervous system and healed my body of 10 years worth of chronic fatigue syndrome. I apologize if I am not explaining it to the best of my ability. But, I think you're interpreting the notion of 'shifting' to mean rejection and interpreting any other perspective as 'rejection' because you, yourself are perhaps very tied in to your own definitions and it doesn't sound like you are open to exploring or even understanding another person's experience. That's just what it sounds like from our conversation here. Exposure therapy is great. Trust me, I have used it for multiple chemical sensitivity and still use it when I need it.

Anyway, thanks for the conversation. I'm going to leave off here. Here's the blog piece I wrote for my friend's 'gut health' website, on this over the summer to describe my own experience back when I started brain re-training. Best to you

Who do you believe yourself to be?

We’ll come back to that.

Healing is such a powerful word. The word itself has a very soothing implication to it and yet it also has implications that there might be something “wrong with us”. A greater question we can ask ourselves is who or what is actually healing? Are we ourselves sick? Do we, ourselves need fixing? Who are we actually? Are we just a body of bones, blood and tissue? In order to answer these questions, we would first have to take into consideration who or what is asking this question. Let me tell you a bit about “my story”.

I have dealt with a slew of health issues for a number of years now. I developed chronic fatigue and many other seemingly bizarre symptoms around 2006-2007 including major GI symptoms, temporary hearing loss, vertigo, and most of all terrible allergies, multiple chemical sensitivities and horrific sinus issues in the cold weather. It took me many years of research trying new things to finally come to the realization that there was a much greater factor at play in my own health. As someone who was raised in a family that did not recognize anything health wise, outside of the mainstream, it was very difficult to be on my own researching. I became very badly depressed and developed even worse anxiety than I already had. My mind incessantly drifted to past memories when I was healthy and I started to develop a perspective of “lack”. I kept referencing those things I used to have and used to be able to do and almost felt like giving up at times.

I never considered the role my own thought patterns/beliefs and emotions were playing. While I conceptually understood the notion of the mind/body connection, I could never actually put it all together until recently. There was so much seemingly contradictory information on the internet about diet and nutrition. I tried a slew of diets including hardcore paleo for a period of time, GAPS, Gut Health Protocol, anti-candida diets and others. The longest stretch that I ever went on any diet was about nine months in 2014 on an anti-dysbiosis diet. During this time period, I worked extensively with supplementation to rotate anti-candida supplements for four days at a time including many other digestive supplements. I worked with a number of different nutritionists as well. I will say that I learned a lot and there is no question I discovered things to help my digestion. However, things got worse….

This past December, my symptoms reached a peak after a week of alcohol drinking. A friend of mine had been trying to get me on board with the neuroplasticity bandwagon of brain retraining for quite some time previously. To me, it sounded like a waste of time and did not resonate with me. Yet, she swore by it as someone herself, who almost had fully recovered from life threatening chronic fatigue syndrome largely by using the program.
Things got increasingly worse with my fatigue and GI distress that I decided after doing more research on epi-genetics and neuroplasticty, to give the neural re-wiring a go, and she agreed to coach me through it as my health coach. I embarked on a neural re-wiring program. I really had no expectations and didn’t even feel I was overly prepared once I started on this program. I had so many questions. My mind throughout my life has always been left brain centered and overly analytical. I need to understand the highest workings of something before I can let go and commit to it. My first day of doing the program, I was under a lot of stress and my body was feeling very lousy from chronic fatigue. I hadn’t slept due to construction going on outside of my apartment window related to brick pointing on my building and basically an emotional mess of overwhelming anxiety. After a few rounds of the program throughout the course of that day, and this is not an exaggeration, my symptoms completely disappeared gradually throughout that day and for the next three days before returning again eventually by the end of the weekend when my thought patterns re-surfaced. I realized of course that I will have a lot of work to do to re-train my brain in the long run as this was just a glimpse. However, this seemingly incredible dissipation of my symptoms didn’t just happen from some magical technique. Let me explain.

There is something quite potent here that happened. The program involves mindfulness and a thorough understanding of the fight/flight mechanism (amygdale/limbic system) and how it constantly tries to warn us of impending danger. You see, the human survival mechanism is a vital piece of our lives. It is supposed to warn us of impending danger such as an oncoming animal, as our ancestors were hunter/gatherers. Yet, what happens to most of us is, that mechanism (amygdale or the limbic system and the ANS as a whole) goes into over drive stemming from emotional responses we have learned as children and in turn, limited beliefs we have created which form habitual thought patterns. A good portion of these thought patterns all have strong emotional responses and beliefs that are based in the notions of lack, anxiety, worry, feeling incomplete, desperate for love and most of all…..the feeling of “I am not good enough”. There’s a valid reason for this. FEAR. The human survival mechanism lives off of fear. That’s its job. It’s the security guard for the human body. It’s always on the lookout for “what it perceives to be” danger. These thought patterns are in direct contrast to the natural joy that we are at the core of our spirit. So, when this process goes into effect from a lifetime of limiting beliefs about ourselves, the survival mechanism starts to become conditioned (through our limiting beliefs) to not only warn us of true impending danger, but of mundane situations and triggers which it associates with past situations where beliefs were created, and this produces a slew of habitual thought patterns and “negative” emotional responses based on our perception of the world.

As children, we might have perceived that one of our parents favored a sibling over us due to a false perception we created at that time. Or perhaps, maybe our parents only loved us when we did things as they saw “proper”. And we then developed a perception that we needed to gain the love of other people and things in order to feel that we were good enough. Or perhaps, maybe we had something traumatic happen to us, or we could have picked up energetically aspects of our parents, largely our mother or a combination of all of these. As a result, we take that perception of “I am not good enough” and “neediness” into the world and into our adult lives and this belief grows over time and creates incredible stress in our lives. The amygdale will then start to become triggered in any situation believing that it’s doing well for the body, but actually wrecking havoc. This then over time, affects the immune system, detoxification pathways, gut function, the adrenal glands and essentially, every aspect of the human body gets thrown out of homeostasis into a state of dis-ease. There is a plethora of medical information on the aspects of stress and how it relates to the human body which I won’t delve further into it here.

Yet, in my experience described above, through a few simple rounds of brain retraining, I was able to finally step out of the story that was playing in my mind over and over again and see that it was just a story! I came to the conclusion that I was continually buying into fear based thought patterns incessantly based in worry and anxiety that created this perpetual lifelong drama about “me”. The “me” that I took myself to be was a figment of imagination. It was merely a collection of thoughts/feelings/emotions that I believed for so long to be who I truly was. When I felt stressed or worried, it was ME who was feeling this way. When I felt sick, it was ME who felt sick. When I felt rejected, it was ME who was rejected. Ironically, I never questioned the nature of those thought patterns because I was so unconsciously identified with them since childhood. So, after during a few rounds of this brain re-training program (The Gupta Programme), I stepped into an open space of Awareness; a space of Pure Being. My entire mood shifted that night from being stressed and emotional and feeling sick to incredibly in touch with my body. The reason being….I saw that I didn’t have to buy into those thoughts anymore and instead, I chose something different! I chose NOT to indulge in any of these conditioned thinking patterns. It was an intimate experience beyond words. My nervous system shifted from the sympathetic stress state into the parasympathetic state. Every sensation was beautiful. Touching a piece of furniture had a new freshness to it. I remember lying in bed that night with an incredible smile on my face. At the start of the day, my body was so achy and weak. Gradually throughout that day, with no thoughts to judge my symptoms, I simply lovingly started noticing my body…..for the first time in a very long time. The achiness and tiredness in my legs which always had the thought pattern connotation of “I am still not well” associated with it, now was just simply tiredness and fatigue. With no thought created story to back it up, my body started to feel better within each hour that night. I was so joyful to wake up the next morning to just go out and live. I cannot even express it. That meant was that there was incredible hope that I absolutely would heal if I committed myself to a full daily practice of meditation, mindfulness throughout the day, positive visualization and most of all self love.

We are interrupting thought patterns. Generally, these thought patterns go by unnoticed, and we simply take them to be our natural state. But, when we step out, and stop them in their tracks, we come to see that we always have a choice! A choice as to which story we want to further create in our lives. Folks, we are always creating a story. We are always creating our reality through our beliefs. But, I am telling you this with love that you do not have to buy into these old conditioned thinking patterns! The minute you say the words “I can”, you put that intention out there. The minute you say “I can’t”, you put THAT intention out there. One is based in abundance and love, and the other is based in fear and doubt. But, at the same time, we don’t push any thoughts away. After all, what you resist….persists, especially in a vibrational reality that’s built of off consciousness. One of the largest aspects of healing is self love. If we can lovingly understand where these conditioned thoughts are stemming from; lovingly understand that our survival mechanism is merely looking out for us, lovingly understand that the survival mechanism is like our inner child who is merely calling out to be heard and held and embraced, we don’t have to be scared of our thoughts, but nor do we have to indulge in them. How beautiful and empowering is that to know that you have the choice to align with a completely different reality than the one you’ve been conditioned to believe and you also have the power to literally change every aspect of health in your body, including your genes (which are not static) and every cellular structure through the power of your own inner emotional state (vibrational state). We are powerful creative beings if we could only realize this.

We can come to see that there is nothing in our experience to fear because who we truly are is this glorious love itself and this unconditional space of pure being.

So, I ask again, who do you believe yourself to be?
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Re: Shifting attention from thought

Postby ashley72 » Sun Dec 04, 2016 3:44 pm

Yes, lets agree to disagree. As we both have opposing views. But can I say no I'm not tied into my definitions, I'm just trying to have rational discussion.... shifting intentionally away from something that bothers you is avoidance. It's clearly not exposure is it?

If we cannot even agree on the most basic definitions...what hope have we got with things a bit more complicated like feedback loops!

You also keep introducing new terms, before it was "interrupting"...now your using "rejection" instead of the term avoidance. These terms are not interchanagble, they have much broaded meaning so only muddle the argument.

It's very well documented in the medical literature that "avoidance" only makes anxiety conditions more troublesome. You clearly don't think shifting intentionally from something bothering you is avoidance... but rather interrupting or non-resistance.

Lastly, if I wasn't open to other view points I wouldn't be on a discussion forum. You can still be open to other views but not necessarily agree with them all. Particular if we can't even agree on definitions.
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Re: Shifting attention from thought

Postby Enlightened2B » Sun Dec 04, 2016 8:33 pm

Sorry Ash, didn't mean to offend you with that comment. It just seemed like you might have been trying to pigeon hole certain aspects of the discussion around your own terminology or even experience of it such as your questioning in each message of why I am using certain terms over others. And I think it's a result of mis-communication.

The terms interrupting and rejection are two completely different terms that I am using.

However, the terms avoidance and rejection are being used by me in the exact same reference.

The term 'interrupting' is simply a reference to mindfulness where you are aware of the thought and fully accept the thought, before you become the thought.

Avoidance is when we try to do anything to literally fight AGAINST the thought. Here's an example: "No, no no!, I don't want to think that thought.....get it away from me. Let me look at those pretty flowers as that thought is too scary for me!". That's avoidance.

Interrupting is this: "Ahh, there it is, there it is, there it is!. It's ok sweetheart (talking to the inner child/survival brain), thank you for warning me about this thing, but it's all ok, now. I unconditionally love and accept you right here and now. I understand how you feel and everything is perfectly ok. But, we are powerful creators and we don't have to keep going down this particular reality. It's just an old story. We have the power now to create a different reality. We see that old pathway of the past and let's choose something that feels more joyful"

That's totally fine if you would like to continue to label that as avoidance. It matters not to me at this point, because I'm already a success story of the results of this process. It WORKS and it works and it works.

Anyway, thought I'd clarify that.
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Re: Shifting attention from thought

Postby maaref » Sun Dec 04, 2016 9:19 pm

The idea is to focus on the emptiness, whether its in your inner body and mind or outside world. The emptiness exists in all things/is everywhere. So, any technique that makes you shift your attention to the emptiness would be useful and work. Just choose one/several. However, I would also recommend that you try to see the emptiness in the outer world, whole you are working or driving or just looking. This would help your progress to a deeper awakening. The goal after all is to be able to act and live while you are awake as oppose to just focusing on your inner body. In any case, do what works for you and don't rush things. Consciousness would come naturally for you eventually. Its the law of consciousness.
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Re: Shifting attention from thought

Postby ashley72 » Sun Dec 04, 2016 10:36 pm

Here's an example: "No, no no!, I don't want to think that thought.....get it away from me. Let me look at those pretty flowers as that thought is too scary for me!". That's avoidance


Here's another example: These bloody thoughts are bothering & irritating me, I've been told by others that shifting my attention to body awareness should stop these irritating thoughts bothering me. That's also avoidance.... but hey let's just call it "shifting" on the "Eckhart-tolle-forum". Lol

For others following this thread. Here is an independent article on this topic from a person with PhD in the field.

http://brainblogger.com/2015/08/09/controlling-intrusive-thoughts-suppress-repress-or-accept/
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Re: Shifting attention from thought

Postby Enlightened2B » Sun Dec 04, 2016 11:11 pm

maaref wrote:The idea is to focus on the emptiness, whether its in your inner body and mind or outside world. The emptiness exists in all things/is everywhere. So, any technique that makes you shift your attention to the emptiness would be useful and work. Just choose one/several. However, I would also recommend that you try to see the emptiness in the outer world, whole you are working or driving or just looking. This would help your progress to a deeper awakening. The goal after all is to be able to act and live while you are awake as oppose to just focusing on your inner body. In any case, do what works for you and don't rush things. Consciousness would come naturally for you eventually. Its the law of consciousness.


Yes, I find this helpful too. Similar to what Andy posted above.
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Re: Shifting attention from thought

Postby Sighclone » Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:35 pm

Fine thread - really smart people working on a controversial topic. Thank you for all posts!

A thought is neutral or not, which is to say it either does or does not trigger an emotional response. And one thought or experience might be pleasant for one person and sad for another...looking out on a lovely mountain lake is generally pleasant, unless your son died there yesterday...

The original post here, though, dealt with thoughts that "ha[d] you in [their] grip." Such "sticky" or Velcro (Adya) thoughts are at best bothersome...at worst, suicide or homicide triggers. Enter Byron Katie. Her fine cognitive technique known as "the work" is a five-step process that tests the validity of the thought, and also reminds one of the impact of the thought, and then invokes a NLP technique to further vitiate it (the turnaround.). It has been tested at universities, and by many on this forum. [The Sedona Method is similar, by the way, and also effective.]

Both of those techniques allow the thought to be, not to avoid it at all, but shine various perspective lights on it. I have used both in the past and can verify that the stress and tension feelings triggered by the thought diminish.

...two cents...

Andy
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There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce
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Re: Shifting attention from thought

Postby Enlightened2B » Mon Dec 05, 2016 10:00 pm

What I have found personally to be effective is uncovering core beliefs. Because, what happens is that thoughts come up and are triggered by various situations in our lives. I look at these situations as manifestations.

Having the blessing of a chronic illness allowed me to really explore a lot of the introspective therapeutic aspects of 'parts therapy' within my own experience with a couple of very good therapists, along with other areas in order to understand the basis (root) of those core beliefs. And when those thoughts now are triggered, it doesn't really need any analysis. It's now just a thought. Getting stuck in trying to understand thoughts and why they are there and where they came from is difficult to do on a regular basis. But, I think serves somewhat of a purpose at least in bringing some light on the core belief aspect initially. But, that's just an initial approach I feel. Continually digging and trying to analyze only keeps that story alive more and more I have personally found. Where, instead, the most freeing aspect to me is when I just let that thought go. I see, I accept it and I see no further reason to believe in it, even if it seems like the thought is representing some sort of 'objective truth' about 'reality'.

What has been rather most enlightening to me is understanding that there is no reality other than the one we create through our beliefs. And I.....get to choose which reality feels better to me. An old pattern of thinking stemming from that survival mind is simply there because there is still old beliefs that are present and we don't need to heal this or fix this, but simply embrace it and love it and re-train it with something different. This whole concept seemed like a bunch of hogwash to me, until I explored it myself and I healed my body with it. There is no going back for me now. I've explored a lot of Bruce Lipton and Joe Dispenza's work over the past several months along with law of attraction (deliberate creation) teachings and a combination of this and an understanding of neuroplasticity and also non-duality has helped me to heal my body of a chronic disease which I mentioned above. Of course I can easily induce symptoms again when I push my sensitive ANS to the brink with stress which still does happen, but I now understand how it all works.
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Re: Shifting attention from thought

Postby Sighclone » Tue Dec 06, 2016 7:41 am

the most freeing aspect to me is when I just let that thought go. I see, I accept it and I see no further reason to believe in it, even if it seems like the thought is representing some sort of 'objective truth' about 'reality'.


This is the essence of the Sedona Method.

E2B - I have enjoyed your posts here for several years. There is something profoundly credible and resonant happening when articulate people write about their "unique" journeys. Especially those that involve curing deep stress-related disorders. Except, of course, they are not unique journeys. We all have these brain things and ego things, and they have a great many similarities, from one to the next. If we were all so very different, no one would read past page three of any of ETs books.

The mind has trouble differentiating between the thought of peril and real peril. I walk across a high bridge to a parking lot often. Of course, the bridge has a robust railing, and I'm not about to climb up on it. But I can feel fear rising up as I look down. Same with watching some of these extreme sports videos like riding a bike along a narrow rock outcropping with thousand-foot drop-offs on either side. In fact, at a "Personal Effectiveness Seminar" I discovered that I subconsciously used to "scare myself." And yes, digging around in my past for the etiology of that is possible, I suppose, but not necessary. I just dropped the habit, and periodically, if I feel stress about something, I ask "am I manufacturing some fear?" That said, all of this "me, my mine" thinking is vastly reduced from earlier times, anyway.

And, re your blogpost, have you read John Prendergast's "In Touch"? It's his new book on getting in touch with your body...and you would love it. He's a nondual psychotherapist and friend.

Related to all this, though, and to the fundamental premise of this forum is the foundational thought of our personal realities, mentioned in your blogpost: It is the "I thought." "I exist as a separate self." I'm about halfway through a big essay on this, because, contrary to what Nisargadatta and Ramana and many others insist, the "I thought" is real. It is real but not ultimately true. The problem is that the perspective from which it becomes untrue is pure awareness, and that is not something sold at the five-and-dime. Moreover, even after stumbling onto Unity Consciousness, there is still an important reality to the "I thought." It is real in the relative world, in maya, in the universe of molecules and ions and quarks and leptons, and mothers-in-law and the Higgs boson. And it is real in the world of people with feelings and relationships. More later...

Andy
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Re: Shifting attention from thought

Postby ashley72 » Tue Dec 06, 2016 8:44 am

Andy,

Thanks for getting back into this discussion with a fine response.

Byron Katie technique "the work" which I believe is still a form of CBT with a different name. Requires you to stop and consciously stay with your troublesome thought & basically challenge it by turning it around 180 degrees. Which is exposure followed by cognitive re-structuring . As example you may have this fearful thought... "my heart seems to be beating erratically. My god am I having a heart attack?" This kind of experience is fairly common for people suffering nervous illness. Primarily the doubters disease.

Byron Katie would ask you to consciously consider other 180 alternative outcomes...such as...Maybe I'm not having a heart attack right now, but merely scaring myself & that is causing my heart rate to increase". By exposing yourself & consciously coming up with a more rational 180 degree alternative, you don't allow the secondary thoughts to act as further stimulus for more fear. So you break the positive feedback loop cycle.

If on the other hand, someone was told to shift their attention to body awareness when this kind of bothersome thought arises, they might start noticing that they can't seem to get their heart-rate under control. Because avoidance treats "Am I about to have heart attack" as a fresh stimulus rather than a fear response. Which may cause the heart rate (another fear stimulus & response) to become even more erratic and unstable as more adrenaline is pumped into the muscles.

This is why I'm passionate about advising against any kind of shifting away technique from bothersome thinking. It just won't work in the long run. Because it doesn't do any of the necessary exposure followed by cognitive restructuring required to challenge the doubts nervous sufferers are so prone to.
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Re: Shifting attention from thought

Postby Sighclone » Tue Dec 06, 2016 6:58 pm

Thanks, Ashley.

Here is one sentence from the Wikipedia discussion of CBT:
CBT is based on the belief that thought distortions and maladaptive behaviors play a role in the development and maintenance of psychological disorders, and that symptoms and associated distress can be reduced by teaching new information-processing skills and coping mechanisms.
So, yes, "the work" is a form of this - it acknowledges the troublesome thought, and actually treats it as a belief, which it immediately challenges: Step 1 is "Is it true?" Step 2 is "Can I be absolutely sure it is true?" (Sometimes the answer to both of those is 'yes,' however.) In "the work," the correct phrasing of the disconcerting phrase, or belief is important...."My husband should love me more." is better than "My husband is a jerk."

Totally agree with the counterproductive results of avoidance activity...what you resist does persist.

Ultimately happiness comes down to choosing between the discomfort of becoming aware of your mental afflictions and the discomfort of being ruled by them. - Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche


That quote is the beginning of Chapter 3 of "Buddha's Brain" by Rick Hanson, PhD and Richard Mendius, MD. This is a book I highly recommend on this subject, partly because the science is sound, but also because there are a number of cognitive and behavioral techniques to help people escape from suffering, one of which is by guiding the autonomic nervous system. A further quote from the book, page 82:
...bringing attention inward activates parasympathetic networks...you may have already had some practice of mindfulness of the body (e.g. yoga, a stress-management class). Mindfulness just means being fully aware of something, in the moment, with it, and not judging it or resisting it. Be attentive to physical sensations...


Placing attention on the body is not necessarily avoidance. A stressful thought can arise and be owned and accepted...for a couple of minutes. Then, placing attention on the body could, perhaps should happen, if it works for you. Grinding away for hours on a single distressing thought or feeling is essentially being ruled by it...how can this possibly be anything but consciously choosing hours of misery?

Andy
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Re: Shifting attention from thought

Postby ashley72 » Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:59 pm

Placing attention on the body is not necessarily avoidance. A stressful thought can arise and be owned and accepted...for a couple of minutes. Then, placing attention on the body could, perhaps should happen, if it works for you. Grinding away for hours on a single distressing thought or feeling is essentially being ruled by it...how can this possibly be anything but consciously choosing hours of misery?


An aversive stimulus for me use to be the thought of stepping out of the house. I was so frightened by this stimulus that I wouldn't leave my house to even to go to work. The reinforcement of this was the continued avoidance strategies I adopted in order to be able to stay home alone. Obviously, the only way out was the eventual exposure to leaving the house and facing all the aversive stimulus, anxious thinking, heart palpitations & dread that ultimately arose as I stepped out the door & immediately confronted all my conditioned aversive stimulus. The interesting thing was at the time I wasn't aware that I was merely being scared of the response to my fears... & for this reason they were becoming my aversive stimulus for new fear conditioning over & over again. To put it as frank as possible, I was unaware that I was caught up in some crippling positive feedback loop of panic!

Now for this particular case of agoraphobia, sitting at home alone & shifting attention to my body after contemplating my aversive stimulus for a few minutes would not have achieved much... because the only way to really overcome aversive stimulus is actually go and confront whatever it is your being aversive to including the secondary aversive stimulus which is also 1st order aversive response (confusing right?... that's what loops tend to do) , in my case it was stepping thru my front door & confronting the heart palpitations, sweaty hands, anxious thoughts that would follow me all the out the door & down the street. Terrifying at the time, but absolutely necessary if I was to break the conditioning of my nervous illness... and the loopiness of it all.

I guess if I sat down and thought about some different scenarios I may find some that shifting attention to body awareness might work quite well. But for the most part any kind of diversion is just what it is...a diversion from the real job at hand... which is exposing yourself to the aversive stimulus & waiting until the fear response subsides.
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Re: Shifting attention from thought

Postby Enlightened2B » Wed Dec 07, 2016 2:58 am

Thanks for the kind words Andy.

I have had noise sensitivity which was an aspect of the CFS spectrum (chronic fatigue syndrome) Ash, and I have used exposure therapy with that and it has worked really well. I've also used exposure therapy for severe allergies and multiple chemical sensitivities and also on thoughts.

Placing attention on the body is not necessarily avoidance. A stressful thought can arise and be owned and accepted...for a couple of minutes. Then, placing attention on the body could, perhaps should happen, if it works for you. Grinding away for hours on a single distressing thought or feeling is essentially being ruled by it...how can this possibly be anything but consciously choosing hours of misery?


This this this. Exactly. There is a vast difference between radical acceptance (See Tara Brach's work) of this thought as opposed to literally causing yourself to suffer and be miserable by staying in the story. Nor is there a problem if that's what someone wishes to do. But, there is no 'right' way with this. You only know how it feels to you. Like I've said before, if you really are resisting something, you will feel that emotion. You have to trust your own body and feelings. This is what I have learned to do more and more over the past year.

I have recently learned how to radically accept my thoughts and feelings while freeing up my nervous system to relax. The largest aspect of it for me, is seeing how I can always choose a different thought, by first radically accepting whatever is taking place in my body. This sounds really benign perhaps and Pollyanna, in a sense, but it's so valuable I cannot even express it. The understanding that I ALWAYS have the power to choose a different meaning to a thought or an experience, has allowed me to see that I truly am a creator and I really do create my own story and my own reality, and this is what has healed my body. This led me to the work of Bruce Lipton and the deliberate creation teachings.

I'm doing a course right now from GP Walsh called "Inner Reconciliation" and the course covers all of this. I highly recommend it. One of the reasons I really enjoy it is that GP has a thorough understanding of law of attraction as well. But, one of the main aspects of his course is called "Just Allow it" and it's all about this subject that we are talking about.
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Re: Shifting attention from thought

Postby Sighclone » Wed Dec 07, 2016 6:54 am

Dear Ashley,

I am so saddened to hear your unadorned candid comments about your agoraphobia. I have always admired your scholarship, and often but not always agreed with your viewpoints...so to hear about this profound anxiety makes me feel sad, because I like you. I'm also pleased to hear your recovery techniques. No..."inner body awareness" may well not work for you, and others. I hear why. I guess, although we are all having a fairly similar human experience in many ways, there are absolutely large differences in personality, psychic composition, etc.

E2B,

Ya gotta love Tara - she's splendid, and has made a big impact on my wife, too. (She wrote a cover blurb for "In Touch" by the way.)

Kind of odd that the original poster dijmart has not re-appeared here. Also sort of sad that more people are not reading these things - there is a wealth of personal experience and growth in this thread. Dijmart is pretty advanced, and so I hope others are watching...really important and revealing comments by all here...excellent stuff...

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce
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