A couple of days ago, I wrote about Adrenaline and Dopamine. This is a big topic, and an important one, so I want to add a few more thoughts to the conversation. In Not Always So, Suzuki discusses calming the mind and how sitting zazen (or meditating) helps calm the mind. He likens it to the need for a clean white screen at the beginning of a movie…it is the best opportunity to see the movie being played. He then points out that in certain respects, our need to start each day calming our mind is very much the same as needing a clean white screen to start a movie.
1. When we experience a movie, sometimes we laugh, sometimes we cry, sometimes our emotions are all over the place…the point is that we experience all kinds of emotions, but we do not sit and analyze them because we are watching a movie and we know it is not real; we experience the emotions and then we let them go…no lingering build up of held-in emotions.
2. The one thing that always is there in the beginning of the movie is the plain white screen.
Looking at number 1 above: If we can view our life in this manner like a movie, then we can experience the events and their emotions, and then we can let the emotions go and have no lingering build up. Essentially, we have a clear mind, which makes it easier to deal with life’s events. Our Dopamine is free to release into our bodies and saturate our beings. We are doing and feeling and being…not over-thinking, and we are poised for recovery.
Looking at number 2 above: When the movie ends, all of the projection, color, action, and emotions are gone. The next day, in order for the next movie to show properly, we need to start again with a plain white screen. That is what is accomplished with sitting zazen and meditating; we are allowing our minds to clear. We are getting rid of residual, held-in, held-over emotions so we can start our day with a clear mind and a new ability to deal with life. Then when a stressful situation appears, it is not piled upon layers of emotions making a clear solution difficult to conceive, so instead of having fear, we say, “Okay, let’s do something about this,” and we are poised for recovery.
If each time we went to the movies, the movie from the day before, and the day before that, and the day before that, etc. was playing on the screen simultaneously, and then they projected our movie onto the same screen, what would we experience? Amongst other things, we would experience anger and frustration at the situation, and confusion about trying to understand our movie, and we might suffer a stressful panic attack from the sensory overload of multiple movies being projected simultaneously on the screen while multiple soundtracks were blasting through the speakers, and our tremors most likely would rage out of control, which then causes fear. And, while in Adrenaline Mode, we are not poised for recovery.
So, what do we do? Start our day with a plain white screen.
At some point at the beginning of each day, we need to take at least five minutes to just sit still and focus on our breathing. Over time, we may wish to sit longer. Sitting zazen (on a cushion on the floor, legs in lotus or crossed position, back straight) is the way I do it. I know that some of you cannot sit on the floor. No problem…sit in a chair, legs not crossed, feet flat on the floor; that is the way I did it when I had Parkinson’s.
I do not recommend closing our eyes all the way as we may go to sleep. I close my eyes about three-quarters of the way, or we can stare straight ahead. The right way to do this is what we are most comfortable doing; we need to trust ourselves. Once we find our quiet spot and sit there, we count our breath from 1-10 like this: Start with an exhale and follow with an inhale. That is 1. When we get to 10, start at 1 again. As we are sitting and breathing and counting, we are experiencing sitting and breathing and counting, and our residual, held-in, held-over emotions from the day before melt away, leaving us with a plain white screen.
We are doing and being and feeling, which leads to opening our Dopamine faucet a little. Fear melts a little and joy starts to surface…the hardest part is not analyzing the experience…just do and be and feel.
Now, we are ready for the day. We are better equipped to deal with new emotions and stresses as they arise because we can project them onto our plain white screen, deal with them, and let them go…and we are poised for recovery.
Think about it: Poised for recovery!
Aren’t you worth it?
All my best,
Please Note: On a previous post, “Fighting Parkinson’s, and it’s time to heal the world,” I explained what we are doing moving toward a clinical study of the Recipe for Recovery. I have received an outstanding response from people pledging to send their neurological records, and I already have received neurological records from people in 6 different countries. Yes, we do have the power to heal the world, and I am grateful for all of you.