Mindful Tools for Everyday Living - Getting Unstuck

(1) Notice when you get “hooked” - Shenpa

  • Begin to clearly notice the hook  - may feel like a tightening, tension or heat
  • Shenpa is human nature, not problematic in and of itself
  • We get carried away in the momentum of the hook, caught in a habitual pattern
  • It's like the “itch” of a mosquito bite and then we feel the need to scratch it
  • Shenpa is the tiny spark, our reaction is the kerosene that can take the spark into a full blown forest fire
  • The Kerosene is our thoughts, talking to ourselves and fueling the fire.  We will justify our pattern of behavior by thinking we have the "right to react"  and we talk ourselves into our reaction, justify it,  but this sets off a chain reaction which results in unhappiness and unease.  This reaction is often motivated by our desire to escape this uneasiness and underlying discomfort (blame someone else for example) -- this is the desire to scratch the itch.

(2) Learn to “Choose a fresh alternative” - Relax, Open Up and Be with it

  • Do something different
  • We often act in a way that only strengthens our unhealthy habits of resentment, anger, blame, etc.
  • This habitual response only entrenches us in our patterns of behavior
  • Try to NOTICE the feeling of being hooked and then PAUSE and simply sit with that feeling
  • Remember that these feelings are fluid, impermanent, temporary
  • If we don’t feed the spark, it will go away.  If we get into a habit of not feeding it, it will stop hooking us.

(3) Make this a life long journey to experience freedom, joy and happiness

  • Make this a way of life
  • Two Habitual Responses to the Hook:   (1) Repressing or denying it OR (2) Acting Out as we move into the storyline, which makes our experience very solid
  • Choose a fresh alternative and learn to let go of the story
  • We need to do this with Lovingkindeness to ourselves – don't beat yourself up for feeling  a certain way or for getting "hooked" as this will add shenpa on top of shenpa, be kind and forgiving of yourself without adding additional negativity towards yourself.
  • Positive Groundlessness - simply experiencing the rawness of what is may result in feeling a sense of groundlessness.  We feel we need something to ground us which may be our anger, for example, but this groundlessness can be positive.  In this space of positive groundlessness, we see that there is no need to hold onto to bias, preference, hatred, anger.  This is a scary place as there is a sense of no ground beneath our feet, no fixed point of reference or view to hang on to.  But this groundlessness is also filled with positive qualities such as vastness, openness, freedom, limitless potential and nothing to hold us back from joy and happiness.
  • Mindful Awareness Practice  helps us sit with the "hook" and learn to be with this feeling.  It also helps us to PAUSE when we are hooked, recognize the feeling and that it is only temporary (learn to sit with the itch), and choose a fresh alternative, a path that helps us move through life with greater ease and happiness.