Trauma Release Exercises (TRE) and Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT)

Lizelle asks…

“What are your thoughts on trauma release exercises (TRE)? Have you done them? Apparently our bodies hold trauma even from years ago, which puts a person in a constant flight/fight/freeze state, always very alert and sensing ‘danger.’ With TRE the body releases the energy held up in it from trauma. Would love to hear your thoughts on it.”

I haven’t done any of those exercises myself, but I’ve heard a few health teachers talk highly of Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), tapping certain points on the body to release old emotional stuff.

From my own experience, meditation, mindfulness, the right diet, sleep etc. are all that is needed.

Traumatic events can certainly have powerful spin offs and we hold the sense of danger to prevent repeats, quite naturally. I do think there is great value in thinking about what you fear in a way that allows you to really let it go, to see it has no value to keep looking for it.

In other words, use intelligence to trump the lizard brain. These mechanisms are good for preventing say repeat lion attacks, back when our ancestors evolved in nature, but the same mechanisms can be dysfunctional in modern life.  Continue reading

Should I listen to music while meditating?

Dee asks…

“I am a music lover. I was curious if you think it is acceptable to have instrumental music playing in the background while meditating.

I find listening to world music such as Indian relaxation music and things of that sort tend to relax me. Should I meditate only in silence, or can I have instrumental as well?”

© Fernando Butcher
© Fernando Butcher

Listening to music is certainly an enjoyable, relaxing thing to do. People use it a lot to shut the mind up — it works. But it’s not so effective at generating awareness, which is what meditation is all about.

We want to be noticing thoughts pop, and have our attention in the space that thoughts happen. That is what calms the mind over time, and allows us to think on purpose again.  Continue reading

Scared of losing my partner

Dee asks…

“I see a long future with my boyfriend. I want to marry this man, but then I get these unwanted thoughts saying you don’t love him blah blah, then boom — instant anxiety and I feel sick and nauseous.

I don’t understand what’s happening. It’s breaking my heart because I don’t ever want to leave him or him leave me because it would be awful! I just want to be happy.

It comes out of nowhere like I’ll be having a great time and then bam, these little thoughts pop up and it’s killing me inside. I’m crying writing this and want these terrible thoughts to go away. I HATE THEM!

He’s the best man I’ve ever had and don’t want to lose him. I’m so scared of these thoughts. Now they’re constant. I have no idea why they started but the thought of losing him and not having him with me or by my side through life shatters me. I want them to go away so badly.”

Mind power

You cannot tell your mind not to think about something. If I tell you not to think of a pink elephant, it’s the first thing that pops into your mind. :-)

© Makena Zayle Gadient
© Makena Zayle Gadient

So something either has your attention or it doesn’t. If you don’t want a thought/idea to be part of your world, the only way to achieve that is by ignoring it / not caring about it.

This is what communicates to your mind that the thought is unimportant, irrelevant and meaningless.

HATE and FEAR are the opposite of not caring / ignoring.

By reacting to these thoughts with these emotions you are sending a very clear message to your mind that they are important, relevant and meaningful. That’s why they keep popping up more frequently, and with more intensity.

It’s your reaction to these ideas that’s key. It’s the equivalent of encountering a lion and then wondering why thoughts about the scary lion encounter keep popping into your head.  Continue reading

What’s the difference between the conscious and subconscious mind?

Randi asks…

“Is it the subconscious/unconscious mind that generates thoughts, which are then popped into our conscious mind for us to become aware of? Just want to fully understand how the mind works.”

Your conscious mind is like a fairly narrow spotlight. It’s bright and clear but can pretty much only focus on one thing at a time. As you use this “spotlight,” you’re feeding that information to your subconscious mind, all the time.

So you could be thinking “I need to buy more bananas,” “I need to pick up Johnny from soccer practice,” or “The world is a terrible place”… all this information is processed, sorted, matched and organized by your subconscious mind. Continue reading

How to forgive and let go

Sanjeev asks…

What is your view on forgiveness and letting go?
HOW do you do that?

© Chris Ford
© Chris Ford

If we have high vitality and feel happy and care-free, then we naturally “don’t care” — because we have no need or desire to control anything. We are automatically “letting go” all the time.

The ego mind — our mentally constructed sense of self, is always trying to control others and events, whereas the care-free mind is lacking nothing, and so there is no desire to control, and there is nothing to forgive.

This state is achieved through a lifestyle that’s conducive to health and peace of mind. In particular, meditation — listening / awareness, allows us to return to that natural state of “let go-ness”.  Continue reading

Random thoughts just disappear, and it all happens naturally

We love getting feedback, first and foremost it means the system is working, and people are translating the system into real results.

But also, because we can use feedback to show other people, so that they can trust the advice, and think “yeah, someone else is doing it and it works, so it’s worth me investing effort.”

So I was really happy to receive a blog comment the other day…

“Hi Michael, because I’m new to meditation, right now it’s like I have to make a conscious effort to listen and focus on listening. But I’ve noticed that when doing so, random thoughts (including my unwanted ones) just disappear after a while, and it all happens naturally. It feels wonderful, indeed. And then when I try to focus on a desired thought, I can enjoy it without being hindered by any unwanted thoughts.”

…from someone who’s only been practicing for a few days. That’s how quickly it’s possible to see amazing results, and return to a natural state of mind when you commit.

I’ve added the feedback to our meditation post, so if you’ve not started “listening” yet, please do check it out.

Best wishes,
Michael Kinnaird

The relationship between thoughts and emotions

© Alex Proimos. Joy and love are our most natural emotions

Emotions are reflections of thoughts. They can tell you if what you are thinking or believing is true for you or not. The true self is love, and so when we think thoughts that do not resonate with the true self, then we feel the discord as bad feelings.

If the mind is quiet, still, then you are in alignment with the true self, and once you return to a let-go state — relaxed, alert, natural — you will think, perceive and feel in the natural way. If the mind is very stormy then emotions that have some powerful momentum could be reflecting a different thought than the one you’re thinking, the body reacts to anxiety chemically, and that has momentum too… fight or flight.

The trick is to learn how to keep the mind quiet, be aware, that is critical, let everything settle, and look after the other lifestyle elements too. Keep coming back to no-mind, over and over and over, learn to perceive without mentally commenting. Continue reading

How to be detached

Imtiyaz asks…

“Michael, can you please tell me more about the topic of detachment?”

Detachment comes from staying in the natural meditative state of awareness. If you commit to the “Live in the Moment” chapter’s methods of meditation and flow, you’ll naturally become detached from many things that cause pain, because identification with thoughts causes pain, believing that happiness comes primarily from circumstances causes pain etc.

If you think of how happy children are, that happiness doesn’t come from things or ideas, but primarily from their state of being. So meditation CENTERS you, and frees you from ideas and beliefs that take you away from happiness, that is detachment.  Continue reading

How to kill your ego

The ego is the illusion of a million thoughts we incorrectly called “me.” This very destructive false sense of self has many buttons that can be pushed, and does nothing but damage in our lives.

Ultimately, we cannot end our pain without killing the ego.

See the ego as false by listening, watching, noticing… every thought, every reaction. Stay awake! Awareness alone transforms. Nothing else need be done.

Be aware, and you become authentic — and WHAT A RELIEF, to drop the burden of a false self, with its million shoulds and shouldn’ts, with its million rules and regulations, with its million buttons and reactions.

What a relief to live in the beautiful simplicity of NOW.

Best wishes,
Michael Kinnaird

The big picture of unwanted thoughts

Caught in a web
© Gino Andenmatten

By understanding all the factors affecting your thoughts, you can get really clear about how to get rid of your unwanted ones…

Attitude

Thoughts come back depending on the meaning you previously gave, depending on your attitude to the original event. What meaning did you give? How did you react?

To get rid, you must change the meaning and attitude to “don’t care.”

If your attitude and meaning is fear, you cause your mind to react in primitive ways that are meant to protect you from danger. Anxiety, the fight or flight state is a state to save your life in extreme danger, it’s not a state that’s good for logical thinking… Continue reading