Free Flow Psychiatry 

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Stop Drop and Meditate




"When we sit in stillness we are profoundly active. 

Keeping silent, we can hear the roar of existence. 

Through our willingness to be the one we are, we become one with everything." 

--Gunilla Norris from Sharing Silence





Jon Kabat-Zinn Mindfulness Meditation

Taking a few moments to settle into feeling the body as a whole, sitting and breathing or lying down and breathing. Riding the waves of the breath, moment by moment, resting in awareness. An awareness that features the entirety of the body scape and the breath scape as they express themselves moment by moment, life unfolding here and now in the body, in awareness. And when you're ready, if you care to, letting go of the breath and the body as a whole.


Allowing them to recede into the background or rest in the wings, as we've been saying. Still very much present, but less featured. While we invite the whole domain of thoughts and feelings and mood states to be center stage in the field of awareness for a time. Attending to the stream of thought rather than being carried away by the content or emotional charge of individual thoughts. Instead, resting comfortably on the bank of the thought river or the thought stream itself.


Allowing individual thoughts, if and when they arise, to be seen, felt, recognized and known as thoughts. As events in the field of awareness. Recognizing them as mental events, occurrences. Secretions of the thinking mind, independent of their content and their emotional charge. Even as that content and emotional charge are also seen and known. Seeing any and all of these fleeting thoughts as bubbles, eddies and currents within the stream. Rather than as facts or as the truth of things, whatever the content, whatever the emotional charge, whatever their urgency or their tendency to reappear.


Whether they are pleasant or seductive, unpleasant or repulsive or neutral and therefore harder to detect at all. Expanding the metaphor, seeing any and all of these evanescent thought events, more like clouds in the sky or bubbles coming off the bottom of a pot of boiling water, or like writing on water arising in a moment, lingering for the briefest of instant, and dissolving back into the formlessness from whence they came. Relating to their content as if it were of equal importance and relevance to what you had for dinner three nights ago, even if a thought is particularly compelling and insightful, especially if it is particularly compelling and insightful, for now, just letting any and all thoughts come and go.


Just as sounds come and go or sensations come and go, not preferring some to others nor pursuing some over others, not pursuing anything, just resting in an awareness of thinking itself and the spaces between thoughts moment by moment. Breath by breath. As we sit here. Or as we lie here. It might be helpful to be especially sensitive to the steady stream of commentary and advice you may be giving yourself as you sit here and recognizing it as such, as scaffolding, as running commentary.


Taking a position in relationship to it that resembles turning down the sound on a television set so that you're just watching the game and aren't being sucked into the endless stream of commentary and interpretation and opinion that is so characteristic of televised sports events. 


Rather, you now detect the individual secretions of commentary on your moment to moment experience merely as more thinking, as thoughts, as judgments and rest in the recognizing of them in the economists attending to each event as it arises in the stream without being pulled into the past or into the future or into opinions or fears or desires. Simply seeing them and knowing them as thoughts and as emotions, as mental events, not as the truth and not as you.


Watching them proliferate endlessly as they do, watching the mind, secrete them and throw them off.


Watching how easily thoughts manufacture or fabricate views, opinions, ideas, beliefs, plans, memories, stories and how easily they proliferate if we feed them. The one thought morphing into the next, and into the next, until we suddenly realize that we've been carried downstream and are no longer aware of the stream itself, the process of thinking. And now in the noticing we are already back in the frame of attending to thinking, as thinking to thoughts, as thoughts, observing them, recognizing them, perhaps being carried away again, and if so, over and over again, coming back to this moment, to this frame in this moment, to the field of thought itself, beyond all the content of the endless thinking and proliferating and fabricating.


And the emotions that accompany them springing from whether they are pleasant, unpleasant or neutral and from what's going on in your life in this moment, allowing all of this to be held with bare attention in awareness. Moment by moment, breath by breath, as we sit here or lie here resting in the awareness itself. Taking up residence in awareness itself. In the knowing of thoughts, as thoughts and feelings, as feelings. In the accepting of thoughts, as thoughts and feelings, as feelings, whatever their content, whatever their emotional charge.


Just as an experiment in cultivating greater intimacy with your own interiority, with what's on your mind and in your heart,  and with new dimensions of the possible, if we learn to observe carefully and rather than identifying with the content of thoughts and feelings to see them more impersonally as weather patterns, as ripples and waves on the surface of the vast and deep ocean of the mind. As we inhabit the whole of the mind, that boundless essence of mind that already knows before thought, underneath thought, beyond thought.


That is bigger than thought, bigger than any feeling, however powerful, that is capable of making use of thought and emotion without being caught and imprisoned by unwise and unexamined habit patterns developed over a lifetime of ignoring these aspects of the mindscape, of the landscape of our own being, of our lives unfolding. 


So for the remainder of our time together, until you hear the sound of the bells resting in an awareness of the arising and passing away of thoughts and feelings in the mindscape, some overwhelmingly obvious, some quite subtle.


Some masquerading as commentary, others as scaffolding, others as neither. And simply returning over and over again to the frame. Whenever the mind is carried off. Not looking for thoughts or emotions or mood indicators, just resting in awareness and letting them all come to you, letting them rise on their own in the field of awareness to whatever degree they do. Moment by moment by moment and breath by breath as you sit here, or as you lie here.


Supportive Research on Mindfulness


1.) Genomic and Clinical Effects Associated with a Relaxation Response Mind-Body Intervention in Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Inflammatory Bowel Disease

-a really cool study at Harvard that demonstrated that brief mindfulness exercises have the potential to shift inflammatory markers at the genetic level 


2.) Functional Genomics in the Study of Mind-Body Therapies | The Ochsner Journal

-an earlier review article which also demonstrated lower inflammatory markers with mindfulness


3.) Specific Transcriptome Changes Associated with Blood Pressure Reduction in Hypertensive Patients After Relaxation Response Training | The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine

-study demonstrating links between mindfulness and the lowering of blood pressure with associated genetic expression markers

Mindfulness Resources

Vipassana Meditation


-link to website for 10 day meditation courses.  They instruct in breathing and body awareness exercises that are presented as the original teaching of the Buddha.




The Earthstewards Network


-interesting parable about what it means to live with discomfort as a part of our daily existence