Self-Compassion for Habit Change
A fish doesn’t know it’s in water because it’s always been immersed in it. It doesn’t know where it stops and the water starts. We’re not so different.
We are chronically lost in identification with the content of our thoughts, which are often negative and irrational. We are fraught with unconscious, habitual patterns of mismanaging our thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, emotions, styles of speech, behaviors and how we relate to others.
The core of recovery from anything is to change the way we manage these dimensions of our humanity.
Zen Lab, like taking the fish out of the water, is a powerful way of bringing compassionate awareness to the gamut of your unconscious patterns. The practical applications of mindfulness practice are many. With your newfound awareness you begin to make more conscious choices about how to live your life moment by moment, breath by breath.
True recovery is a challenging paradigm shift; a change in the entire pattern of our lifestyle. It involves long term, consistent skillful management of your thinking, feeling, behaving and relating to others.
As any sincere practitioner of healing and growth will tell you, this practice isn’t easy, but it is well worth the effort. It’s the mental/emotional equivalent to winning the lottery, except students of meditative discipline don’t go bankrupt after the first two years like 80% of lottery winners do.
So what if it’s difficult! We all know the good feeling of accomplishment when we rise to the challenge of difficulty. It builds character, confidence and health self-esteem.
We practice formal meditation regularly in the mindfulness-based recovery group. The remainder of the treatment modality centers around the increasing awareness we cultivate through this practice. This leads to making more conscious choices of how we manage our lives right in the heat of the so-called ordinary moments of our daily routine.
With practice we are better able to consciously choose to come out of our stress-inducing reactive mode of being in the world and learn a new stress-reducing responsive alternative way of being in the world.
In her evolutionary book “Minding the Body, Mending the Mind,” Neuroscientist Joan Borysenko M.D. says this:
“Ultimately minding the body and mending the mind has more to do with wholeness or healing than with curing. To be whole means to be a flexible adventurer, ready to meet life’s challenges with engagement and curiosity. It means feeling a sense of connection to the whole of life – to other people, to new ideas, to the world around us. It means thinking less about “I, me, and mine” and more about how we are all interconnected in the great web of life…It means recognizing that happiness arises within us independent of any external cause and removing the obstructions to that inner peace and happiness that are our birthright as human beings.”
Zen Lab is an integrative approach to personal growth.
This means all models of healing and growth are considered as each individual participant custom designs their own recovery process with the help and support of myself and the group.
There is no cure for our humanity. We rather engage in a process of healing which is about changing our relationship with our thoughts, emotions, behaviors and others. We enter the realm of quality recovery through the portal of our personal healing process and developing our unique wholeness as human beings.
By transforming our relationship to our issuees, ourselves and the world around us, nothing has changed, yet everything is different, because we’re different. We’ve changed the lens through which we view and experience ourselves and the world around us.
Habit change is certainly not a quick fix. In fact it’s not a “fix” at all. We don’t require “fixing” because we’re not broken. We’ve simply practiced maladaptive coping strategies for so long that we have become habituated to them.
In personal development we do the life-long practice of rediscovering who we really are as we heal from our past experiences and mistakes and make more conscious choices about how to be in the world in a new and contented way.