Author: smcblog

What Does It Mean to Be in a Secure-Functioning Relationship? and Why Should It Matter to Me?

By Stan Tatkin and Tracey Boldemann-Tatkin // Secure functioning refers to an interpersonal system based on principles of true mutuality, collaboration, justice, fairness, and sensitivity. It means that you and your partner are in a foxhole together, protecting each other from the outside world… and from each other. Secure functioning assumes you and your partner have different minds, with different interests, drives, and histories. Secure-functioning partners are fully interdependent in the sense that each happily accepts the other as a burden, and both agree they are in each other’s care. In this kind of two-person system, you and your partner form a couple bubble, which you can think of as a protective boundary that protects your resources and sense of ongoing safety and security. Think of a couple bubble as an ecosystem or terrarium that provides you and your partner with the sustenance you need to carry out your daily tasks, deal with fears and anxiety, handle difficult situations and people, and undergo personal growth. In a secure-functioning relationship, you and your partner assure each …

Healing Sound

Healing Secrets of Sound

By Christine Stevens // The roar of joy that set the worlds in motion Is reverberating in your heart —Radiance Sutras, Dr. Lorin Roche We are all wired for rhythm by our circadian sleep and wake cycle, our brain waves, our cardiac beats, and even our neural firings. This is our personal music medicine. So many people have been told they have no musical ability. They believe they can’t ‘hold a tune in a bucket’ or keep a beat. But the truth is we are the music. I call it “homo musicalis”. The healing power of music is not just a fluffy concept; it is based on both historical and research-based evidence. One of the fathers of music therapy, psychologist and music therapist Dr. Mark Rider, known for coupling musical experiences with active visualization for pain reduction, writes about the power of group sing-alongs to treat trauma responses for veterans. In fact, group drumming has been shown to directly activate the immune system and calm stress responses. A 2001 study published in the journal Alternative …

The Beauty of Pristine Mind

By Orgyen Chöwang // At its core, our mind is pristine. Pristine Mind is a beautiful, naturally vibrant state, brimming with life, self-sustaining in its capacity to provide a dependable, inexhaustible source of happiness and joy. Sadly, most of us do not realize the true nature of our mind. We have become disconnected from it. Pristine Mind becomes obscured by the mind’s misperceptions and inner experiences—thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and judgments—that pollute its true nature. As a result, we live in a mind that leaves us insecure, alternating between times of happiness and sadness. This robs us of the ultimate experience of life, deeply connected and aware of this pristine state of mind. In Pristine Mind we are not detached or withdrawn from the world. We do not need to reject worldly pleasures. In Pristine Mind we are far more present to the world than we have ever been before. We experience life’s pleasures more robustly, work more effectively, and, above all, love more richly and more universally. Living in this way does not leave us …

Interdependence Is the Tie That Binds

By Stan Tatkin // I watched the popular TV show Madam Secretary, and there was a moment when the central figure got a mini lecture from a Nobel laureate mathematician about negotiations. The character stated that the key to getting disparate parties to agree on peace is to illuminate their interdependence. I won’t say I got the basic idea for this blog from the TV show, but I was inspired to write after watching it. Interdependence means, in the case of couples, that each partner has a stake in something. We could say childrearing is one such shared investment, although having a child is not sufficient to keep couples together. Just look at the stats. Because many partners do not function securely together to begin with, they tend to become increasingly insecure when they add children. They resort to childrearing as a separate endeavor and not as lovers collaborating in a family enterprise. The demise of their relationship should not be a surprising outcome. But there is another common tie that should bind partners together: …

Wisdom from Running and Meditation: Four Tips for Living Your Happiest

By Michael Sandrock // When Jon Pratt led a meditation, yoga, and running retreat at the Shambhala Mountain Center a few years back, he made a simple point that resonated with some of us newcomers to meditation: that there is not a right or wrong way to meditate. “It is simply noticing.” That is how Marty Kibiloski describes what he learned from Pratt and others in his journey from highly successful businessman (yet dissatisfied, inattentive husband and father) to highly successful businessman (and happy, satisfied husband, father and friend). We often learn from society that we need to work hard in a job we do not like, in order to make a living. Satisfaction and happiness will come later, we are told, once we retire. But we do worry, consciously and unconsciously, wondering how to find calmness, peace and tranquility. However, it is possible, explains Kibiloski (@martykibiloski), to have high success and high satisfaction. The key is focusing on your effort and not the outcome, whether it be the amount of money you make, how …

Eddies in the Stream

By Dr. Rick Hanson // 1 Rivers flow and eddies form. An eddy is a relatively stable pattern whose elements continually change. It is “standing-streaming,” a term from Evan Thompson’s marvelous book, Mind in Life. All eddies disperse eventually. 2 In a river, an eddy depends on many conditions. These include: The state of the eddy itself just one moment ago The shape of the riverbed, nearby boulders, water flows immediately upstream, and the amount of snowfall last winter. Going back and back, those conditions depend on the history of the earth, the solar system, the universe. Countless molecules of water 3 Molecules depend on atoms, such as hydrogen and oxygen. Almost all atoms heavier than helium depend on the stars which made them, mainly while exploding. A river is fluid stardust. A particle of any size is congealed energy. A river is a flow of light. 4 Atoms depend on subatomic particles made from quarks. Quarks are made from even smaller entities – perhaps infinitesimal vibrating strings – that comprise the substrate of the physical …

How to Be Yourself

By Blake D. Bauer // Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go.  – Hermann Hesse If you stop pretending to be something you are not, or to feel other than you do, then what? If you were to let your mask come off, and show the world all of who you really are, then who would we all get to meet? If you stopped trying to fit in or to please your parents, friends, partner or whomever else’s approval, praise or love you seek, then what would you say? Where would you go? And what would you do? If you allowed the world to see your darkness and your light, your vulnerability and your power, do you fear you’d end up alone? But wait, are you not alone already when you feel misunderstood or unable to express what you really think and feel? It is ironic that we as human beings inevitably have to ask ourselves, ‘How do I be myself?’ One might assume that it’s easy …

[VIDEO] Beyond the Comparison Trap: A Radically Happy Approach to Glimpsing our Nature

By Erric Solomon // It used to be that every year my wife, Eva, and I would go to Cabo San Lucas in February to escape the relentless winter rain. It was only a two-hour flight from Silicon Valley, and we would leave in the morning and be on a stunning beach the same afternoon. One trip, we were having an especially idyllic time. We would start every morning meditating while looking out onto the ocean, and then go for a swim. Sitting on our beach chairs we were in bliss. I put my arm out and lovingly drew beautiful, dear Eva toward me and then I heard myself gently say with a little sigh: “Too bad every day can’t be like this.” As soon as I heard these words slip off of my tongue, I realized that even during this perfect moment, I was subtly dissatisfied.  During such wonderful times, haven’t we all caught ourselves thinking, “Too bad every day can’t be like this?” The inability to be fully present robs us of even …

Writing as a Path to Awakening

By Albert Flynn DeSilver // Writing as a Path to Awakening begins with a primal human question; who am I? Who am I, really? I can not tell what I am, because words can describe only what I am not, said the great Indian mystic Nisargadatta Maharaj. We set off writing on the path to awakening by tuning into what we are not. If we are not what words can describe, and words can describe pretty much everything, then what the heck are we? This is Writing as a Path to Awakening’s ultimate question, with the invitation to write and live your way into the answer. Writing as a Path to Awakening is about how conscious living informs conscious writing (conscious creativity) and in turn, how conscious writing and creativity inform conscious living. It’s one infinite loop, the helix of return. The practice of writing is an exploration of consciousness, a practice toward deeper self-awareness, and moves us along the path of awakening to our true nature. Many of our greatest spiritual teachers from around …

Mindful Hiking

Practicing Mindfulness and Awareness in Nature

By Kay Peterson // A passing rainstorm doesn’t have to ruin a hike if we remember to bring a raincoat or don’t mind temporarily getting a little wet! The clouds are certain to pass and we may even be left feeling stronger and more rejuvenated than we expected. Our emotional landscape is much like the weather – we may not be able to control it, but we do have power over our reactions to it. As human beings, we have a tendency to gravitate toward pleasurable experiences and to avoid potentially painful ones. One could argue that some of that tendency is a by-product of important survival instincts. We need to be able to identify and act when we encounter potentially life-threatening situations. However, this “instinct” can also run amok – especially these days when we rarely find ourselves being chased by dinosaurs 😉 Sometimes that part of the brain that alerts us to potential danger has been trained to be reactive – to be especially sensitive – often due to some kind of trauma …