As a Veteran dealing with the mental noise associated with a trauma experience, have you ever felt like "losing your mind"? I don't mean going off on someone or on some kind of rampage. I am talking about how our minds, as veterans with trauma, seems to be the biggest problem. It is constantly thinking of things we need to be afraid of and feel guilt, SHAME, or angry about. It gives us nightmares, hurts our relationships and employment opportunities, and scares our kids. It is constantly bugging us for attention. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to step out of our minds for a while and find some quiet stillness where we can relax in peace? If so then our Mind-Field Maneuvers Program is a great fit for you. Join with us to Lose Your Mind!
Our Mind-Field Maneuvers Program utilizes the ancient, proven practices of Meditation, Mindfulness, and a relatively new practice called "MindLess Awareness" or "Mindlessness"and applies them specifically to dealing with trauma/Post-traumatic Stress. 20 minutes of daily Meditation combined with a MindFull and MindLess Awareness practice will decrease and eventually heal the wounds of Combat Trauma/PTSD. The program was developed by the founder of HOPE4, a who needed to find a way to deal with the onslaught of compulsive thoughts and destructive emotions associated with his combat trauma experience.
Having spent time in both prison, mental institutions, and rehabs, wanted to create a practice that could have a practical application for every Veteran wounded by trauma. A program for organizations serving homeless Veterans as well as the Criminal Justice System that could be utilized by Veteran Courts around the country. The Meditation and Mindlessness Practice this program teaches, allows the Veteran to observe his or her thoughts and emotions, creating the opportunity for the individual to choose not to participate in them therefore lowering the impact of the stress and anxiety they create.
Our mission is to provide:
What is Meditation?
We could say that meditation doesn't have a reason or doesn't have a purpose. In this respect it's unlike almost all other things we do except perhaps making music and dancing. When we make music we don't do it in order to reach a certain point, such as the end of the composition. If that were the purpose of music then obviously the fastest players would be the best. Also, when we are dancing we are not aiming to arrive at a particular place on the floor as in a journey. When we dance, the journey itself is the point, as when we play music the playing itself is the point. And exactly the same thing is true in meditation. Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment.-- Alan Watts
The purpose of meditation is not to create a system of beliefs, but rather to give guidance on how to see clearly into the nature of the mind. In this way one gains first-hand understanding of the way things are, without reliance on opinions or theories - a direct experience, which has its own vitality. It also gives rise to the sense of deep calm that comes from knowing something for oneself beyond any doubt.
What is Recon Meditation?
The term Recon Meditation refers to practices for the mind that develop calm through sustained awareness and insight through reflection. A fundamental technique for sustaining attention is focusing awareness on the body; traditionally, this is practiced while sitting or walking. This guide begins with some advice on this technique.
Reflection occurs quite naturally afterwards, when one is 'comfortable' within the context of the meditation exercise. There will be a sense of ease and interest, and one begins to look around and become acquainted with the mind that is meditating. This 'looking around' is called reconniassance, a personal awareness that can only be suggested by any technique.
For more info about Recon Meditation or to start your practice
What is Mindless Awareness or Mindlessness?
THE "FOUR OBSERVATIONS":
"You watch your mind to see who you are not. I watch my mind to gain a sense of its content, which has always been my pain. As I watch it, I get a sense of its impermanence. Thoughts come and go as part of a process. I see how content dissolves into process and begin to see the patterns in the process. Realizing it isnt MY suffering, MY pain, it becomes THE pain. Ive gone from the tiny, the small, and the individual to the universal. I feel OUR pain. When we do, we go from fear to compassion. Fear is MY pain, compassion is THE pain." -- Stephen Levine
The truth is that we have all experienced pain on some level. Whether it is physical, emotional, or both we all know pain. If you are looking on this site the chances are that you have suffered from a significant amount of pain and wish to recover from it and stop creating more. For me it was not just all the pain I had experienced, it was all the suffering I was creating for others as well.
THERE ARE PATHS TO DECREASE SUFFERING
This is one of those paths:
One path to decrease suffering is experienced through the Eight Precepts (or Standard Operating Procedure) of this program:
1. Be Present
2. Practice Mindfulness
3. Experience Truth
4. Observe Intention
5. Contemplate Impermanence
6. Cultivate Compassion
7. Embody Gratefulness
8. Encourage Consciousness
The eight aspects of these precepts are not to be understood as a sequence of single steps, instead they are highly interdependent principles that have to be seen in relationship with each other.
It is the intention of this project to encourage the development of these areas through the practice of Meditation and Awareness. Mind-Field Maneuvers does not claim the label of any religious tradition and embraces all ideals which encourage consciousness, mindfulness, tolerance, and compassion.
"Mind-Field" Maneuvers Eight Precepts:
Be Present: This is the center and essence of all the tactics. True reality only exists in the present moment. The moment a thought occurs to us it is already in the past, filtered through our experience and perceptions. We engage in all of the following tactics with the intention of being fully present in each moment. For each moment we are fully present we are victorious over trauma.
"Being is not only beyond but also deep within every form as its innermost invisible and indestructible essence. This means that it is accessible to you now as your own deepest self, your true nature. But don't seek to grasp it with your mind. Don't try to understand it. You can know it only when the mind is still. When you are present, when your attention is fully and intensely in the Now, Being can be felt, but it can never be understood mentally. To regain awareness of Being and to abide in that state of "feeling-realization" is enlightenment."-- Eckhart Tolle
Practice Mindfulness: Mindfulness practice is simply being present in the moment and in that moment being mindful about your thoughts and emotions. Meditation allows us to awake to our true nature and the present moment while Mindfulness is the practice of this wakefulness in our daily activities.
"Be present as the watcher of your mind -- of your thoughts and emotions as well as your reactions in various situations. Be at least as interested in your reactions as in the situation or person that causes you to react. Notice also how often your attention is in the past or future. Don't judge or analyze what you observe. Watch the thought, feel the emotion, observe the reaction. Don't make a personal problem out of them. You will then feel something more powerful than any of those things that you observe: the still, observing presence itself behind the content of your mind, the silent watcher."--Eckhart Tolle
Experience Truth: When I use Truth here (Capital "T") I do not mean something that we can demonstrate to be true like a mathematical equation. The kind of Truth I am referring to is of a spiritual or consciousness nature. Truth such as this, like reality, can only be experienced. The minute we try to describe it we dilute its meaning. It has been filtered through our own experiences and perceptions and is no longer reality or truth. We can use language, metaphors, allegories to point to truth, but never can we explain or define it. Truth must be experienced. Through being present, meditation, and practicing mindfulness we give ourselves the best opportunity to experience Truth.
“What you perceive, your observations, feelings, interpretations, are all your truth. Your truth is important. Yet it is not The Truth.” --Linda Ellinor
Contemplate Impermanence: When we contemplate impermanence we are not only talking about things like the price of gas. We are talking about thought and emotion as well. Everything that we can touch, taste, smell, hear, feel or think is impermanent and in a constant state of change. Heraclitus is the famous guy who told us 2500 years ago that the only constant is change. He also said, "You never step into the same river twice." Contemplating impermanence allows us to understand that attachment to or expectation of anything only leads to suffering. When we accept that everything is constantly changing we begin to find peace.
“Nothing in the world is permanent, and were foolish when we ask anything to last, but surely were still more foolish not to take delight in it while we have it.” W. Somerset Maugham
Observe Intention: Observing Intention is also a result of our meditation and mindfulness practice. When we begin to see that we are not our thoughts and emotions we can begin to honestly ask ourselves what our intentions are in any given moment for any action. Knowing and understanding our intentions leads to less ego based emotions, thoughts, and actions. In my work with the homeless veteran, through being mindful of my intentions, I have observed that there are two things at work within me. My true nature finds peace in connecting with and helping other veterans. Then there is my ego which wonders how it will benefit from helping others. The ego wants to be praised and noticed for helping which, obviously, is selfish by nature. I treat my ego as I do my own adolescent children; with patience and compassionate while also holding them accountable because it is my responsibility. And remember, does have a role and our intention is not to eliminate ego but to be mindful of its presence and influence.
"Two people have been living in you all your life. One is the ego, garrulous, demanding, hysterical, calculating; the other is the hidden spiritual being, whose still voice of wisdom you have only rarely heard or attended to - you have uncovered in yourself your own wise guide."
-- Sogyal Rinpoche
Cultivate Compassion: When I speak of compassion here I am not just referring to being compassionate to others but most importantly being compassionate to both our ego self and our trauma experience and any shame or guilt associated with it. Compassion grows when we experience our universal connectedness to all things. It is NOT empathy for that is still based in feeling separate from each other. Compassion comes from connectedness. As our Meditation and Mindlessness practice matures compassion for others will grow naturally. It does, however, take awareness to cultivate compassion for ourselves. When we make mistakes and we always will, smile like you would if your child spilled their drink all over the tile floor, and say, "That's cool, we can clean it up together."
“Compassion is not religious business, it is human business, it is not luxury, it is essential for our own peace and mental stability, it is essential for human survival.”-- The Dalai Lama
Embody Gratefulness: Dictionary.com defines gratefulness as warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received; thankful. Gratitude comes pretty easily with compassion, mindlessness, and meditation. It is a key ingredient in happiness along with contentment. Contentment also naturally occurs with being present in the moment. To embody gratefulness one must not only be present but observe the beauty of that moment. For those of you, like me, who have lost comrades either over there or over here, I know this is a difficult one. It will grow slowly when you cultivate that compassion for yourself.
"Both abundance and lack exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend... when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that’s present -- love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature and personal pursuits that bring us pleasure -- the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience heaven on earth." -- Sarah Ban Breathnach
Encourage Consciousness: This is important to the combat trauma veterans who are still deeply suffering from their invisible wounds. The most important thing to remember about Encouraging Consciousness is to listen and to do so being very aware of the ego and its intentions. We must understand where someone is coming from, the experiences and beliefs that have brought them to this point in their lives. We simply encourage someone to awaken to the connectedness of everything through our practice. We are NOT preachers or evangelist. Our practice and the healing and wellness we find from it will create curiosity and invite questions. We greet these questions with more questions because consciousness must be experienced through those questions and not answers.
"Human consciousness is just about the last surviving mystery. A mystery is a phenomenon that people don't know how to think about - yet. There have been other great mysteries: the mystery of the origin of the universe, the mystery of life and reproduction, and the mystery of the design to be found in nature, the mysteries of time, space, and gravity. These were not just areas of scientific ignorance, but of utter bafflement and wonder. We do not yet have all the answers to any of the questions of cosmology and particle physics, molecular genetics and evolutionary theory, but we do know how to think about them.... With consciousness, however, we are still in a terrible muddle. Consciousness stands alone today as a topic that often leaves even the most sophisticated thinkers tongue-tied and confused. And, as with all of the earlier mysteries, there are many who insist -- and hope -- that there will never be a demystification of consciousness.”
Daniel C. Dennett, Consciousness Explained
Questions to Encourage Mind-Field Awareness:
A human being is part of a whole, called by us the Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.-- Albert Einstein
“As human beings we all want to be happy and free from misery… we have learned that the key to happiness is inner peace. The greatest obstacles to inner peace are disturbing emotions such as anger, attachment, fear and suspicion, while love and compassion and a sense of universal responsibility are the sources of peace and happiness.”
-- Dalai Lama