Twitch Reddit Music Or No Music Reddit Site Www.Reddit.Com The Train Whistle… Source of Comfort – Source of Pain

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The Train Whistle… Source of Comfort – Source of Pain

I was sitting quietly on a cushion in a corner of my massage room meditating when it came. Sitting silently, no music, no cd’s telling me how to meditate or what to envision is not an easy thing to me. For a long long time, it seemed like such a waste of time for a Dutchman who must have a program in the head that tells me that being productive is, by far, the most important human undertaking of any one day. Somewhere along the way, I learned that a spinning mind was a happy mind, but then I learned it wasn’t so. A spinning mind is a what the brain delivers when it is overwhelmed and unfocused on a meaningful thought or project. I meet lots of people with spinning minds and it is exhausting. Many minds spin well into the night and deprive us of our sleep. And so I have learned to meditate, which for me is letting go of the thoughts that spin and just breathe.

Just breathe… How often I tell my clients to just breathe. Most with spinning minds either hold their breathe for periods of time while concentrating or breathe in small bites from their upper chest between their sternum and chin. One method deprives the brain of oxygen. Oxygen=good, so one might think of taking a breath. The other, high chest breathing, is the kind of breathing we do when stressed, afraid or fearful. It literally signals the brain that something is wrong, one is under some kind of attack or over stressed. To help us out, the brain sends us some chemistry that puts us into fight or flight mode and we get worse. Medications that calm us block the cell receptors that receive the anxious, angry and fearful chemicals of emotion so that when the they show up, the site is blocked and they can’t make our tummy hurt or our mind spin. Great discovery to help you get past the bad moments before perhaps learning how to neither have them nor need the meds.

So sometimes I tell clients to breathe from the tummy, below the navel even if it makes you look fat! Down here, concentrated breathing, slowly and with intent sends the message that all is well, in control and good. The brain accommodates by sending out the good chemistry of peace, safety and contentment even if one feels “this is not productive.” It’s why Buddha has a belly and a slight smile on his face. All is well with deep belly breathing. All is hell with shallow chest breathing. The brain will figure out what we need to make our day depending on the message it gets in our breathing. So when is tell the stressed and anxious to “breathe”, it’s always a big tummy breath and I can feel them melt down on the table.

But back to the point. While breathing, just breathing, I heard it. The wind was blowing in the nooks and crannies of the home my practice is in so it was already a great moment to zone. But then I heard it. A train whistle in the distance passing through town. It was perfect. Wind in the eves ,the long lonely but calming sound of a train and the faint thumping of wheels on rails. It was all good…for me, and then my mind drifted towards my sister.

I was visiting her a few months ago and when driving together in town started to come down a road with a railroad track crossing it up ahead. She was driving and I noticed the car speed up and we passed over it and were into town rather quickly. We all knew why. Trains and whistles in the day or night don’t mean the same things to the mind of my sister as they do to me. Her grandson and my great nephew was recently killed by a train that he did not respond to while wearing headphones. He was lost in thought, no doubt, at the loss of his grandma that morning in a brief trip to the store across the tracks in Rochester, NY. He never heard it coming and died instantly. He and his grandma were buried the same day.

Trains sounds don’t soothe the mind of my sister. They terrify her and bring up the pain of it all. Now train sounds are everywhere and sometimes she has to close the windows to shield herself from what she no doubt never noticed in the past. Train whistles in the night don’t comfort her as they do me because her brain has been rewired and by association, train sounds are all connected with the worst experience in her life and the life of her daughter. A brain will do that to you. I hear trains and whistles even as I write and they do not bring to my mind the anxiety, anger and depression they bring to hers. Those sounds are not directly connected to personal pain or emotional trauma. I am a bit removed from it. I want to open the window and take them in. She would have to put her hands over her ears if she were hear until it passed. Such is the power of the mind and what it chooses to associate itself with. It determines our behaviour and sometimes makes others ask us why.

None of us are free from this phenomenon of peace or panic associated with sounds, ideas, people or organizations. Our experiences and the associations that get stuck to those moments of pain, fear and anger forever taint how we filter our world. I have a hard time with organized religion, which has become an oxymoron to me. It would be as difficult for me to sit through the sermon of a man who had not done his homework or was merely being an emotional Bible reader trying to motivate an audience as it would be for my sister to stand at a RR crossing and wave at the engineer. It’s all about associations and the memories that get tied to them, that make us so often who we are and do or not do for us what they used to do.

I visited an elderly man in a nursing home once who was dying and reciting the “Lord’s Prayer” to himself when I arrived. Every few seconds he’d twitch and wince and I attributed it to whatever he was physically suffering from. He did it about three times throughout the course of saying the prayer. It was odd. His son was there and I asked him why his dad did that as it seemed to stop after he finished. The son said that when his dad was young and learning the Lord’s prayer in school, every time he hesitated or forgot a part of it, he got switched on the hands by the teacher. For his dad, decades later up until the moment of his death, the Lord’s Prayer came complete with twitching associated with it when the boy was hit for losing his place or forgetting the next line. The brain figured the pain and the prayer went together so never allowed him to separate them from each other. Every time in his life when he said that prayer, he acted out the pain glued to the experience of memorizing it. Sad, but not uncommon in so many other ways.

Wind, rain, thunder and lightening is not relaxing for everyone depending on experiences with them. Women who hate men have reasons as do men who don’t want to go home or back to church. Some people can’t go to airports anymore and don’t look up when they hear a jet going overhead. It’s too painful, or scary or depressing. Sitting near an ocean or getting on a boat might be one man’s dream and another man’s nightmare depending on how their brain chemistry has wired them based on past experiences.

Sometimes we need to keep this in mind when trying to encourage people, if encouragment of people is what one is want to do. The basic rule should be that encouragement by an encourager should actually encourage the one who is discouraged. You’d be surprised how many times it is not. Depending on experiences and how the brain has associated painful events in the lives of people, what might encourage you only makes someone else angry or depressed. I have known ministers who have told parents of children killed in various ways that it was about time to get over it, or they need to come to church and they will feel better, when one is impossible and the other is not encouraging. Driving to church, for these people meant driving over the spot where their child was killed. For the minister, that road was a way to get around and for the parents, that road was one to be avoided as it was too painful. It’s just a road. It’s just a train. But the mind makes associations.

Here are a few ways not to encourage people who have experienced a hardwiring of their brains by circumstances different from yours or ours.

To those that have lost children…do not say, “Well at least you will see them in heaven.” Parents don’t want to see their children in heaven, they want to see them at the dinner table. Do not say…”God won’t give you more than you can bear,” because they can’t bear what they are going through and that makes no sense to them. Don’t say…”Get over it, It’s just a train. It’s just a river. It’s just a church. It’s just a bridge.” It is just that to you because you don’t have the physical chemistry the brain has given them to associate those things with emotional pain. May you never have to find out just how it works. One person who recently lost her only daughter in an auto accident said, “if i hear one more church member tell me that I must be strong or this would not have happened, I will quit going.”

To those that are having financial problems…do not say, “If you give God his tithe, you will have the windows of heaven opened.” Wrong! People who say this are usually comfortable and don’t miss the funds they give anyway. They have never had to choose between tithing and rent, or food or school. And whether we like it or not, God does not follow through on “whatever things you shall ask, I will give it to you.” That’s a formula for chaos anyway. Mention tithing to many adults who grew up deprived because of it and see what I mean. Once burned, twice smart. Once your mind figures out that God doesn’t really need your money and if he owns the cattle on a thousand hills anyway, he could sell a few if he did need some, you will feel better.

To those who are having a crisis in faith…do not say, “Just trust Jesus,” “The thoughts of man are vain,” “The heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, and this would be you,” “Oh yea of little faith,” “You need to pray more,” “You need to fast more,” “You need to study more,” You need to spend more time reading that which really is taking making less and less sense in the real world to you and seems to cause more problems than it solves. Personally, religion should improve people, lessen war and killing and make people more honest and less materialistic. Oh well. People who say such things generally don’t have the experiences in their lives that have made those they seek to counsel and encourage not like them in how they think. It’s kind of like going to a Priest for marriage or childrearing counseling. Why would anyone do that and expect much understanding based on experience?

Humans have many different experiences and we don’t all share the same ones. People who have seen war cannot generally be encouraged by those who have not. But can be by people who understand how the mind works even if they have not been in war. People who have not been burned by religion generally cannot be encouraged by those who have their heads in the clouds and are God haunted themselves. People who have not lost children generally cannot be inspired by miraculous accounts of God’s intervention in the lives of other families when it was not so with them. I once told a minister who went on and on in a sermon about how a girl in her church was miraculously saved from death in a horrible crash to keep it to himself. In an audience of 10,000 or so, there are a few dozen parents sitting there feeling more forsaken than he can possibly imagine and agonizing over why that wasn’t their experience. Those who haven’t expereinced it may be entertained, and those that have are being tormented. Just drop it! And so often, the one liners of that well meaning but inexperienced members and ministers can come up with will simply drive that family from the church. I have seen it over and over.

Ah, there is another train coming. That long whistle on a windy day soothes my soul. For my sister this is not so and if she was here now, I would be turning up the music or getting her more towards the inner part of the house. Nice…now I can hear the soft whine of a jet going over head. Someone in town, no doubt is blocking it out.

When the associative sounds, people and places come to haunt, just breathe. Breathe low in the tummy. Remind yourself, whether anyone else understands it or not, “I am ok. My emotions are the reaction to my mind which is producing the chemistry associated with the trauma that those experiences caused my brain to memorize. They are connected in me differently than those that try to understand me and it’s ok. Breathe…Breathe from your tummy. It will pass and life can go on having won one more small victory over experiences that hurt our spirit, but force our growth. On the other side of trauma is a very very practical encourager and teacher being born…

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