Kindness & Compassion – By Pierre Zimmerman 8/1/21
KINDNESS & COMPASSION FOR THE SELF AND OTHERS – By Pierre Zimmerman
Our capacity for empathy, lovingkindness, compassion and altruistic behavior is inborn, rather than acquired through socialization or cultural exposure. Compassion is what makes an empathic response manifest in kindness. However, it takes awareness and practice to change reactive habits and develop it into an active force in our lives.
Compassion brings purpose to our lives and a sense of feeling useful. It reduces stress and releases oxytocin, which is associated with reduced levels of inflammation in our cardiovascular system, interestingly enough, related to matters of the heart! It also strengthens the tone of the longest cranial vagus nerve, which is the marker of our overall state of health.
Cultivating lovingkindness for one self and self-compassion is not self-absorption, self-pity, self- esteem or self-gratification. It is self-caring by being mindful, which is the ability to hold all kinds of experiences in awareness within the context of a shared human experience rather than judging them. Self-compassion is needed in order to effectively be present for others suffering and assist them in bringing relief.
Compassion contributes to better relationships and strengthens the connections with loved ones and getting rid of loneliness, one of the most painful forms of suffering in our culture. This in turn strengthens our immune system. We can promote kindness in a defended world that sponsors and prides itself through autonomy, selfies, superficial interactions and greed, in pursuit of power, and laughs at compassionate action. Not only can we repay people who are kind to us, we need to spread random acts of kindness to others as an organizing principle in our society.
One Roof Welcomes Heather Lofink, LMHC, August 2021
One Roof welcomes Licensed Mental Health Counselor Heather Lofink.
Heather specializes in working with adults struggling with depression, anxiety, life changes, relationship issues and more. She offers an empathetic, non-judgmental environment where you can safely explore your feelings while working collaboratively to achieve your goals in therapy.
Heather treats anxiety, depression, trauma, addiction, life transitions, relationship issues and other concerns utilizing many strength-based approaches including Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy, and Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR), among others.
Visit her personal website for complete details including a list of the insurances she accepts and her fees. Contact her directly to schedule an appointment.
PRESENCE – By Pierre Zimmerman 7/1/21
PRESENCE – By Pierre Zimmerman
Presence is moment to moment awareness and attunement with oneself and others. We are relational beings, our brains are wired as such, and healthy present-centered relationships are necessary for wellbeing. Injuries and suffering happen in all kinds of relationships, and so do a lot of repairs to these connections with intention. Being present means that we are committed to bringing ourselves fully in the moment with others, with compassion, on multiple levels: physically, emotionally, cognitively and spiritually.
Presence is embodied, meaning it lives from the neck down. We need to be centered with ourselves and have a sense of immersion with another person, in all the details, within that moment. When we are grounded and immersed, there is a larger sense of spaciousness and expansion within the connection. We summon the intention to be compassionately with and for another. These four qualities: grounding, immersion, expansion and demonstrating compassion with another are essential.
Presence is a process of being open and receptive, inwardly attuned. It is intentional and relational, meaning it lives between two beings and is deeper than each individual, allowing for a profound connection and consciousness field. Our prosody in voice is really important, as are our facial features, with direct and softened eye gaze. We approach the other with kindness and acceptance.
This creates a right brain to right brain communication. There is an inter-brain synchronicity linkage, like jazz musicians playing improv music together, their mirror and motor neurons as well as brainwaves start to connect with each other. We need to regulate to relate, relate to regulate, the essence of presence being not what we do, but how we are, in the specific relationship at any given moment.
Recent “Unfixed Podcast” with Pierre Zimmerman
DIMENSIONS OF WELLBEING – By Pierre Zimmerman 6/1/21
DIMENSIONS OF WELLBEING – By Pierre Zimmerman
Let’s look at the dimensions of wellbeing from the point of view of qualities of mind and heart that can be trained in as essential skills. Wellbeing is complex, has many factors that contribute to it with contemplative experiential activities, a convergence of science and subjective elements in different communities. There are four major dimensions that define wellbeing: awareness, connection, insight and purpose.
Awareness stands for being conscious, the ability to regulate our attention, and we have access to it anytime, building on meta-awareness. We cultivate being aware not just during meditation practice but during our waking hours.
Connection is in essence how we build and maintain relationships. We demonstrate an intention to be with others. We have appreciation for being part of a community, not necessarily of like persons, sharing norms, practicing gratitude and cultivating compassion.
Insight allows us to gain more awareness, discern what is wholesome or not, develop a range of related ideas, and understand inter-connectedness. We inquire how phenomena of sensations, thoughts, and emotions are understood and sustained, which brings us wisdom.
Purpose is vital for our psychological, cognitive, conative and emotional wellbeing. It is a way for us to orient ourselves and espouse our values and intentions, and best stay connected to experience as we embody them.
These four dimensions are skills that we train with and apply in life. In indigenous communities, connection and a sense of belonging come first, and there is more focus on ecosystems. In the educational realm, it might be purpose that takes priority. In mindfulness groups, awareness and insight take precedence. All four dimensions are included in any context.
The healthy emotional life of a being is characterized by contentment, joy within, flexibility, very little “stickiness,” creativity, being deeply responsive, and having a capacity for connection. There is an interest in figuring out common ground, developing listening and curiosity, while favoring dialogues and building bridges in order to be part of organic networks.
INNER KNOWING – By Pierre Zimmerman 5/1/21
INNER KNOWING – By Pierre Zimmerman
We discover ourselves through connection with others, and when this is absent, we become a stranger to ourselves. The experience of emotional resonance is familiar to almost everyone, because mirror neurons allow us to know in a visceral, first-hand way to feel others and empathize with them.
We are able to sense the internal state of our body; this is called interoception. We can also feel what others are feeling with a high degree of accuracy and discern someone else’s emotional experience within our own body. This suggests that the strict demarcation between self and others is delusional and that separate individuality is mistaken. The boundaries of ‘you’ and ‘me’ become permeable and the notion of a wholly separate self dissolves.
There are deep levels of mutual attunement, intimacy, resonance and inter-connectedness when a feeling of coherence emerges. It happens when we are in touch with our inner knowing, sense of values, ethical stance, efficacy, purpose and self-worth. These come together and evoke a feeling of wholeness that arises from the body and mind.
Often this felt sense of wholeness involves the area of the heart and belly and allows us to use our intuition. What thought divides, the heart unites, and when attention hones in upon the heart area, there is the experience of coming home. Once the mind knows its limits, it can rest in the fullness of the heart.
When we practice meditation or contemplative training, it sharpens and sustains our attention, enhances wellbeing, and leads to more empathic emotional responses to the suffering of others. It is linked with pro-social emotional behavior and important physiological markers of health. From the belly and felt sense we move to the heart with loving kindness and from there to the mind’s clarity and wisdom, all aligned in the ground of being.
Resources for People with Disabilities – CapNY Discovering Ability
On Meditation – By Pierre Zimmerman 4/1/21
On Meditation – By Pierre Zimmerman
The main point of meditation is to get to know ourselves: our mind, our behavior, our ground of being. We think we know ourselves, but actually we often don’t, because everything around us changes constantly and hopefully we do too.
We often say we meditate “on something.” We practice mindfulness meditation to experience a state of being, called the ground of being, from which we pay attention to every thought and action, prior, during, and post meditation.
This leads to us becoming more refined, and with it comes gentleness. We pay attention to pain and pleasure, developing empathy and friendship for the self. From there we are able to understand and resonate with the suffering of others. We become kinder and drop into basic goodness and wholesomeness of self. We begin to gain trust in ourselves and the world. A view of the path or journey emerges, and we do things for ourselves and others which give us universal genuineness.
The phenomenal world is no longer seen as an obstacle and is appreciated. We transmute aggression, ignorance and craving into a state of wisdom by simply observing them, without being hijacked by them or acting out, letting these states subside. We gather wisdom when we are free from ego and anxiety, a state of mind and heart that need not be cultivated and which cannot be lost.
Sunday 4/11 Meditation w Pierre Live at Caffe Lena
Caffe Lena has always been a respite from the world, a place of healing and peace… On 4/11/21 Dharma Meditation with Pierre Zimmerman returns to an IN PERSON format LIVE at Caffe Lena! MEETINGS will be held SUNDAYS from 9am-10:15am. Lenas is located at 47 Phila St. Saratoga Springs. PLEASE RSVP TO PIERRE by calling 413-992-7012 or Emailing PIERRE at least 24-hrs in advance. Masks must be worn at all times, and coronavirus safety measures, including distancing, will be practiced. A $10 donation is suggested.
Pierre will provide the SUNDAY essay for us to contemplate together.
Dharma Meditation includes inspirational topics that support emotional, cognitive, and ethical wishes for wellbeing. This is a sitting meditation for 25 minutes with a silent break allowing people to stretch, followed by a second sitting, introduced by a brief talk. Pierre posts his Sunday Dharma essays on our WEBSITE BLOG for the weekend for you to follow along with him. A discussion on the topic and some insights and reflections about the nature and commonality of our basic humanity is shared by attendees. This meditation is open to beginners and/or those who have been meditating for a while. This group has been ongoing 10+ years. A $10 donation per class is suggested. Register via email to PIERRE.
WEDNESDAY MEDITATION continues weekly from 5:30-6:45pm with Pierre Zimmerman and MEETS “IN PERSON” AT THE HALL OF SPRINGS. Located within Spa State Park, 108 Avenue of the Pines, Saratoga Springs. Masks required, health & safety regulations will be followed. A $10 donation is suggested. RSVP by calling 413-992-7012 or Emailing PIERRE 24 hrs in advance.
LOOSENING THE GRIP OF OUR LIMITING CORE BELIEFS – By Pierre Zimmerman 3/1/21
LOOSENING THE GRIP OF OUR LIMITING CORE BELIEFS By Pierre Zimmerman
Our core beliefs are often based on our earliest and potent fears, lodged in our brain from early childhood on. They are based on strong assumptions, conclusions and conditioned survival skills that have little to do with the present moment. While they served a purpose in the past, our brains are designed to anticipate the future, and past memories of endangerment are stuck in the long-term memory part of the hippocampus.
If it happened before, most likely it is bound to happen again, we presume. A few failures can still instill feelings of helplessness, deficiencies, humiliation and shame. Most of our core beliefs are reinforced by past hurt and fear, and strangely enough, dearly holding on to them. “I am not good enough,” is maybe the most common belief from which stems self-devaluation, self- degradation and rejection. The greater the degree of early life trauma or consistent stress, the more likelihood there will be of deeply entrenched fear-based beliefs and a tendency to isolate.
Deprivation, poverty, racial and gender biases, abuse, and condemnations affect us, and even though they are rooted in the past, they feel current and true. The Buddha said, “with our thoughts we fabricate the world.” When people pull away, our sense of rejection will confirm our belief. When we believe that nobody likes us, we will behave in ways that broadcast our insecurities. If we have a tendency to believe that others will attack or criticize us, we will more than likely become defensive or aggressive.
Using our attention and awareness, we are able to disconfirm these beliefs and ask ourselves, “Is this really true?” When we note fear thoughts, we can create some space between ourselves and our beliefs and realize that the underlying beliefs are real but not true! They are appearances, interpretations of reality that entrap us. Taking refuge in the present moment, dropping into the felt sense of our body’s experience, we are able to use our aliveness, intelligence and compassion to see the downside of the beliefs and narratives of unworthiness and “badness” that we tell ourselves.