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Meditation for Everyday Life

Lesson 18 of 28

Body, Emotions, Mind, Stress, Anxiety Part 2

David Nichtern

Meditation for Everyday Life

David Nichtern

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Lesson Info

18. Body, Emotions, Mind, Stress, Anxiety Part 2

Lesson Info

Body, Emotions, Mind, Stress, Anxiety Part 2

So um I of course I'm doing the exercises too and it's a particular negotiation that I'm involved with and I don't know the outcome so one dimension of it for me was not knowing with the uncertainty of it was kind of annoying quality and it actually resembled the feeling ahead some squirrels invaded my house uh well no they let themselves in by scratching a hole in the outer roofing I'm sure some of you had this happen and they kind of dig a hole into your house and then they live it's during the winter and they live between your outer uh, wall and your inner drywall and then they start just trying to scrape their way through the inner drive all if they get into your house it's really not a good thing because, um I a friend of mine said, you know a squirrel is a is a rat with a press agent, you know? They're looked cute and stuff like that, but they're really rodents and they they'll tear your house up so there's this feeling of squirrels and hating the house and part of that is the un...

certainty of, you know, having a certain kind of annoying quality and also feeling of like, if it doesn't go the right way, I'm gonna lose something that's currently mine I won't go into the details of the specific situation don't need to but um you know something is going to be taken away and you're gonna lose something so it's this sort of uncertainty in the sense of maybe impending loss that was the texas that I experienced doing the exercise too yeah kelly did you have something to say I had a tight dress and couldn't breathe and just all manifest right here and um I had to do with going into a situation where I wasn't in control I'm pretty go with the flow sort of thing but you throw some elements and with that and especially when I'm in charge and I am was responsible for producing photos or whatever it was and I wanted it to go so well um you know I don't know what the intelligence of that wasn't a cz you asked was like oh if I I was in charge of all the elements then I wouldn't have this anxiety about that so control was dimension of it losing control yeah not having control of it I mean you know, my son's involved in you and other people and so I wanted to um write jumping off from that point I work with individual students and sometimes on skype which is kind of interesting entering that virtual universe of people who're in room remote locations um but it's a kind of one toe one process of mentoring somebody threw the meditation path and one of my students and it's often the case of you know if you're a teacher that the students are going to like, say something that's um uh completely concise and clarifying in terms ofthe something that you're trying to communicate. So, um, she said she was describing, um a kind of experience of stress and tension that she was experiencing in the life experience and based on her meditation practice, which was giving her ground to really look at these things in a fresh way. I think a lot of the students have communicated that the meditation practice grounds them enough so that during daily interaction that can be a little bring a little more awareness, the things that ordinarily would have been just on autopilot, but one thing she said that really I wrote it down, you know? And, um, she said my body can't make a distinction as to when I'm replaying and experience are actually having it, I thought, wow, this is like kind of very powerful statement here that when you're meditating and you experience like you're reliving a fight with the boss, your body is going, I'm having a fight with the boss right now you're releasing the chemicals associated with that, your breath is being attenuated by that your physical posture is being attenuated by that and your emotional drama s o r r body is in a way subjected to replace in our emotional body, yeah similar to what you just said david has come from a my honor is a very personal commenter they're saying I have no ability to revisit the actual feelings of negative and past experiences I feel the pain is so bad that I just can't connect with it I experienced it I wass there but I just can't get back to their jury meditations yeah well and to be clear about it during during meditation we're not trying to it's not a therapeutic process and we're not trying to dredge the pond and go back up but we are mixing what happens in our mind with awareness that's essentially our practice so if those things arise then we're able to look at them in a fresh way and that's that's that's sort of the point of this is that um we welcome it we're not looking toe you see this is a jewel in the meditation practice that we can actually experience our whole past in a vivid way because the experience is actually happening now and now we can mix it with awareness when it happened maybe we couldn't you know maybe was sort of unconscious kind of level but in meditation now we all of a sudden we're able to sort of monitor them situation so using this uh in a in a creative way is saying that we have there's another very interesting neural I mean obviously some of the meditation communities working very closely with scientists you know there's a whole think of the mind life conference, which is the dalai lama and tibetan community working with western scientists top echelon western scientists every year they get together and they're looking at they've even wired up some of the heavy meditators and just see what the how the brain's lighting up and things like that but you know the idea that, um the mind is some in a sense recreating memory is a form of a recreation they've discovered this so when you remember an event, you're not actually remembering the event itself. You're remembering the last time you remembered it. I don't know if any of you have done the reading on the on this so another do you think you're reliving your childhood, but actually you actually the memory the way memory works is you're reliving the last time that you remember it? If it was software you're writing over the last persian you're writing over like document seven, you're never going back to document one so that's kind of interesting when we look at those kind of things um, but from an experiential point of view, we're really talking about making friends with our our turbulent to mention our energetic dimension and not thinking what we'll put that aside and now will become okay that's the main the main point of today's conversation so were there any more online comments that people are joining just very brief comments? Jennifer said fatigue rosalie said he felt like crying and somebody just goes by the name of one they said me too they felt that the crying experience as well and you are making an intact rosalie says wow that wrinkled my brain thank you yeah um and again I think because of the context were in um we're really looking at I think it's fair to say increasing our creativity and productivity through these kind of practices kind of in the buddhist tradition you don't say stuff like that so much you don't promise results you know it's sort of more like the journey is the point, but if we're really looking at it the there is a result from practicing mindfulness and as we said yesterday it's the notion of developing clarity, strength and stability in our state of mind and uh it's away away towards achieving those objectives if we fix say too much on the objective then we ignore the experience and the journey towards that that's the point uh just recalled the comment you just said uh shortly ago um you said this isn't therapy, but then you said we're just mixing the past experience with mindfulness and awareness yeah, which in from my psychology background that's what therapy it's sure, yeah so it's an interesting interface there between them the there are of course many now therapists were also trained in buddhism and meditation things like that so it gets harder and harder to distinguish and of course then a good meditation instructor is some some of the mentor therapist there's you people go to these remember chase and talk about their life and these these were like the kind of, uh, medicine man of the community people go talk about illness or talk about your troubles that they're having with there families and stuff like that so good meditation master is supposed to be able to be kind of a doctor to uh most productive form of therapy I've found is you go deconstruction how do you mean that I mean, for whoever seeking therapy it's really about them and their process with what they're experiencing and where they're mindfulness is of it how much they're owning their experience versus how much it's happening so what's the deconstruction aspect of that looking at the belief systems that generate thie emotions we externalize so you break people down, I let them break themselves so um most people won't voluntarily do that if you give them the time and create the space yeah, well that that that's interesting maybe you know, we're talking about taking time and space and having acknowledging is what we call it something's holding the space where somebody might use that expression so um um there was uh there is a teaching a minger in project who's one of the young younger tibetan teaches has a raised as a battalion I think I might have mentioned this, but in his book he talks about having had panic attacks as a child. So whatever we wish is true about ourselves is not so much what we want to work with on the meditation path it's actually an obstacle what is true and what's a parent is like very juicy and meaty but what we wish was true is sometimes an obstacle to to just dismantle who don't talk about dismantling that kind of idea of how would we like to be um and if we then want to get there from here without any process that's called magical thinking my my dad was the psychiatrist feasible that magical thinking so we don't really advocate that kind of magical thinking the magic is really in um mohr understanding that the wisdoms already there that, um that we have access to with them even these confusing situations. So, um let's too do you feel like doing another like positive content? Contemplative practice this interesting right when we dwell on the stress and anxiety sort of conjures up one kind of awareness and now look att let's look att patients right? So, um we now know how to go about doing these things so we're gonna for you at home we're going to do this is a meditative practice but what were drawing from is there a sort of six qualities that we consider a highly virtuous qualities in the called para meet us in the tradition or virtues that we can cultivate and lied to us? What kind of more, um positive experience you know of living and the first one we do is generosity which is kind of the initial one it's so essential to you know that notion of being willing to give and to yield and to offer um both to ourselves and others and uh the second one in this series called discipline you know which is the idea of the proper application of form you know? And the third one is patients which interestingly enough is considered to be the opposite of aggression that's how patients is defined it's the opposite of aggression when we're aggressive we don't have patients we're just pushing our point on our agenda so there's some kind of softening or non aggression and it but why don't we take our seat everybody here and at home do you see how much time we have in a day? Everybody does it feel like this is a sort of are we hurried here? Do we feel rushed our hurry anyway? Are we covering a lot of information and were meditating? That should be our slogan like that on this and a ll this goes to just do we have a golden not we can put in the middle of this yeah we're getting so much done and we're meditating okay so um so take your seat everybody at home also can you can close your eyes there's going to be guided meditation on patients and for this just you know, take a few breaths, huh? There's no hurry to contemplate patients take our time getting to it feel the space that we're in right now that's the essence of patients was feeling the space you're in right now maybe let go of any kind of anticipation and now again bringing to mind sort of recent interaction so we can study it a little bit where we experienced impatience where we weren't patient and just, you know, recall what kind of logic was at the time what what were you kind of going? Okay, come on, hurry up let's get this over with. You know, that kind of what was the logic of why you're in a hurry to get through with this particular experience? What was about that existence stretching out taking time? Were you resistant to? Was it kind of sense of efficiency or anxiety about it ever getting done at all? Was it that you felt I have so many other things to do? I want to knock this one off andi uh also a feeling off did it knock you off balance did you feel like you lost your balance bye bye kind of pushing and needing to get the thing done with or was it a correction and how skillful was your action as a result did your impatience increase the skillful nous with which you dealt with the situation the efficiency or did it actually make you less efficient um and less effective what was the outcome of your impatience and now flipping that around um contemplating equality of patients what does that feel like? What does it feel like to be patient? Does it seem limiting in some way or does it seem expansive if you imagine yourself as being profoundly patient what would that look like? What would bit liberate you from is there a freeing quality to the quality of patients? Is there some kind of opening expansiveness to it is it attribute her handicap the way you're framing think about somebody else expressing true patients in your life and what's your response to that I'm not talking about a sleepiness here kind of uh we'll get there some sweet day but they're genuinely have the quality of patients as you visualize it being you know, completely full blown positive quality what is it? Can you think of somebody who has who embodies that for you on what does that really feel like to you? Do you appreciate you admire? Are you intimidated by it? And now visualize yourself as a sort of importing that quality of patients what would you look like with more of that quality developed what would you feel like how would you feel different on dh then begin to just let that dissolve this little inquiry dissolve into space you come back into the room you just let go come back to a sort of simple sense of being present and uh we could maybe explore that a little bit together so in our online community if you feel like writing in what your experience has been with patients contemplation and uh maybe we start while people are doing that we start in the room of anybody have anything they want I'm I felt that impatience wass very like shallow and limiting once I was in a state of impatience it's like frantic and angry and over reactive whereas patients was kind of like good limitless well like where anything was possible and I was thinking in terms of a conversation with someone where they weren't understanding my point of view whereas if I took a step back and kind of really listened to what they were saying you know, maybe there was a place actually meet and the possibilities were many more so I opened up a sense of resource for resourcefulness and possibilities and impatient shut those down because reacting with aggression kind of ended the conversation great, good, amazing, fabulous, wonderful david um I thought about my rack my relation with my son who's three and um if I'm patient with him I give him an opportunity to make the right decision and if I'm impatient with him I don't give him an opportunity to make the right decision whether to take a bath or time to eat dinner and I get to cop in my own agenda that this has to happen right now as opposed to sort of like the big picture which is have tto give him the room to grow up you know, being a parent obviously is a huge opportunity to practice patients all the perimeters all the virtues and I also thought of patients is generosity uh it's related, huh yes because if I'm generous patients is generosity with my time and attention good one hard uh I feel like there should be another word because cut to a spit take I don't know how I felt toward it it was just like I thought about the person that I think is the most patient and then you said how would that make you feel and it made me angry someone who's patient makes you angry yes because I felt like come on waiting for you I don't know I feel like it would being patient would be really really good for everything except for time and money when it comes to time and money there is no room for patients in my head okay, you know, and I just feel like I have to figure out a way to bring time and money inside patients well, maybe next uh, next time it will contemplate money that's a really interesting one actually money as an energy because if you look at the relationship between money and how it actually happens, it's more mysterious than we normally give credit it's not just about pushing through you need perspective to make money and to manage it properly. So do you see the relation in between perspective and patients and having a sort of bigger picture of the whole situation and how valuable that could be? Yeah, it's just it was really weird because you know, patience like I was just a thing in the end you're saying like, and then imagine if you're patient and then I was like, peaceful with it, but in the beginning it felt like it was the same thing, but I was angry with it. Yeah, well, here's a thought, too, is that in all of these virtues were not talking about some cliche version of it necessarily, but idea of patients so that our cliche version of patients is kind of dull, slow and kind of out of it yeah, they're patient, but you know, they're kind of a little out of it too so we're not talking we're talking about very alert remember we're mixing all these with a very wakeful quality to it what's the wakeful quality being pig yeah I feel like I need to know where that line is and where yeah where does the patient starts and where does the laziness comes that's your assignment okay so how about if we go to the online world for a minute? He was always for sharing monta seventeen says I realize that my reaction to another person's patients changes depending on what person I'm thinking off on the situation on my relationship with that person on dh then jennifer valiant was saying I lose patients when I feel like my time is being taken by others without my permission this has been a longstanding struggle for me I feel guilty if I don't give the time but I'm resentful that there wasn't permission asked first powerful it is powerful and actually fleur brings up a good point I have had no human models for patients I could em ball it body the quality when I imagined myself a river stone really interesting well so she doesn't know a single person she would characterizes it actually says I couldn't think of anyone with a lot of patients okay someone is saying I had some resistance with the thought of patients her first I felt like patients would make me a doormat for someone gel so of course come the contemplation is not meant to have a particular answer, but to explore the topic. So a lot of interesting things came up in terms of what they said in terms with people here said, um but the ancient wisdom is that painting patients in this sense of it is it a virtue and virtue? What is virtue meaning me close to the truth brings you closer to the truth. So, um, virtuous action is is in chord with the truth of the situation higher truth if you want to call it that and unskilled ful action is going to lead us towards, you know, tension, friction, anxiety and stress. So we're not talking about these things that sort of sunday school, but just a really personal engagement with the ideas, the old ideas please give us some, uh, clue into what we will be covering next. Yeah. Okay, so, you know, is we organized this workshop, obviously is, um, as our moderators have said, this is kind of ah cutting edge workshop in terms of using this format in this way. Uh, so for me, it's tremendously exciting fun because, um media is a big part of my life, you know, and meditation is a big part of my life, so naturally you want to mix old elements together and a skilful way on dh I think you can see that the thing that is cutting right through all that is just the basic goodness of the people here and the people working in this company and all of you out there for chipping in is something that we can feel rippling through the whole event, you know, some kind of fundamental cheerfulness and curiosity about each other, and I don't ever see the harm in that kind of thing that seems like a positive. So this afternoon, I thought, well, you know, when I was framing the workshop, I thought, why don't we talk about the things people really care about and mix that with meditation, you know, so that there's no longer any big separation between this world over here, which is my sort of temporal, secular world, and then my spiritual world over here, but, like, really crossed them over, you know, and, um, s so what do people care about? Well, stress and anxiety or big topics thesis on the negative, but on the positive side success, what does it mean to be successful? And if we didn't separate the world into sort of spiritual world and a kind of materialistic world, and we just lived in one world, what does it mean to have a successful life? What would that feel like? What? What would that be? For each person here is going to be very personal, come thing. But we're going to look directly into the face of our notion of success and and talk about it with the kind of quality mixing it with, you know, the principles that we've been talking about already. So that's, what's coming up.

Class Description

In today’s hectic world, our busy lives often crowd out any chance to sit still. Who has time to focus on mindfulness when there are 40 emails to write? Join Buddhist teacher David Nichtern for an introduction to meditation. David will show you how meditating for just 15-30 minutes a day will clarify your mind and decrease your stress levels.

David will teach you the basics of meditation, unpacking the centuries-old spiritual tradition into a practical playbook for living a balanced life. You will learn simple posture, breathing, and directed contemplation techniques that will help you unclutter your mind and increase your energy.

Stillness is a powerful way to be kind to yourself. At the end of this workshop, you will be more present, aware, and connected to the world around you.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Cultivating Mindfulness E-Book

Cultivating Compasion For Yourself and Others

Simple Meditation Instructions for Ordinary People

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


Sean Newton

I've tried to develop a meditation practice in the past and signed up for this course because of the title ..'everyday life' This course works!! I'd like to thank David and the Creative Live crew for providing a life enhancing course. At first I was a little impatient as I thought the sessions were long, drawn out and repetitive however, half way through it 'clicks' (it made sense) and what may seem as a long-winded preamble is in fact laying a firm foundation for understanding and progression. Hastily wanting to skip to some perceived 'good bit that helps hedge fund mangers etc ' is like sprinting to the end of the rainbow instead of appreciating the various colours. (Your own perceptual colours even ;-)) Anyway, a worthwhile course - so stay the course and feel better for fit

a Creativelive Student

David is an amazing teacher, he has a gift for relating the principles of mindfulness in an accessible, relatable way. Plus, he's really funny. I'm super psyched to participate in this workshop. Thanks CreativeLIVE!


Also found this through the DTFH podcast. What a wonderful, powerful, and approachable course in meditation. Highly recommended to anyone interested in starting on this path. It's chock full of practical information and ways to apply meditation to your life.