THE ACT OF BEING – By Pierre Zimmerman 12/1/21
THE SHEER ACT OF BEING
Becoming Fluid Like Water – By Pierre Zimmerman 11/1/21
UNCONDITIONAL PRESENCE, Becoming Fluid Like Water.
Most of us live in a state of continuous contraction and constricted awareness that forms a nucleus of avoidance, attachment, or both. Often we develop an identity and view of ourselves and the world based on rejecting experiences we don’t like, or grasping onto others that are attractive to us. In order to hold on to this identity, we develop stories about the way we are or what reality is; stories which in essence are just mental interpretations of our experience, a way of organizing our beliefs and opinions, but not the experience itself. One story tends to reinforce another story, which creates an increasing distortion of reality.
How do we move from constriction and partial views of reality? One way is to engage in being present with our experience, with what is, in the moment. We call that beginner’s mind. Unfortunately we have become experts at being ourselves, and in the process, loosing our ability to be open in a fresh, open-minded fashion. The totality of our present experiencing is much larger and richer than anything we can know or describe about it at any given moment.
This meditative tradition through most of the different lineages always presented the great discovery of pure awareness and un-fabricated knowing, clear and fluid like water. We are immersed in this sea of pure awareness, but our busy mind is constantly hopping from one thought island to another thought island, rarely resting. Here we learn to become more comfortable with the space between one breath and the next, so that we can merge with the fresh edge of the moment and relax our body-mind.
Join us! Offices for Rent at One Roof
Art Show Fundraiser/Event to Benefit Beyond My Battle, Oct. 28th
Mary Kathryn Jablonski at Saratoga Arts October 23rd
Bridging the Divide – By Pierre Zimmerman 10/1/21
From the Desk of Pierre Zimmerman:
BRIDGING THE DIVIDE
Fear divides us because we feel powerless. COVID isn’t going away, and the rawness of emotions is vivid. It is the opposite of kindness, because the reptilian brain is very active and in a state of arousal. When in such a state, we often get in a mode of “us versus them.” We feel that we are different, maybe better off or worse, others being wrong in their beliefs and opinions. There is always sorrow, or grief underneath fear, which tends to create more isolation.
We face fear with mindfulness, integrating the frontal cortex, to call on compassion, a shared, caring spaciousness, so that we are not hooked. Kindness is the pathway to a larger more resilient space, relaxing into a natural sense of caring through intention, a longing of our human heart to be spiritual, to want to live the truth of who we are. It is an energetic heart opening.
A true sense of belonging gives us more access to connect with common universal issues. We can change the “unreal other,” formerly categorized as bad… We can pause, make a U-turn, check out our inside world and befriend it.
Tara Brach, has an acronym that is very helpful called RAIN:
Recognize the emotion/or what’s going on
Allow the emotion/experience to be there, just as it is, a wave in the ocean
Investigate the body/the emotion with kindness
Natural awareness of what you experience, and non-identification with thoughts/feelings/experiences.
This is coming from a caring place, living from a more integrated range, including the other, with kindness… seeing the bigger picture. The basic intention is to understand their view, their life value, and what matters to them. Recognizing that they also wish to reduce their suffering, which is our common ground. Keep stretching the effort to build connection and hold disagreement, replacing mistrust with basic trust, bridging the divide. It is a liberating experience even though it is disagreeable or might seem futile for a moment!
EQUANIMITY – By Pierre Zimmerman 9/1/21
By Pierre Zimmerman
Given the political, racial, and economic divides these days, cultivating equanimity is called for more than ever. Using the four immeasurables and the image of the sun, we can think of equanimity as the full moon reflecting the light of the sun in a vast cloudless night sky. For compassion it is the sun setting, meeting the darkness of suffering with tenderness and care. Sympathetic joy carries the image of the sunrise, brightening everything in its path, moving upward with inspiration and freshness, while loving kindness is the sun at noon, bright and strong, shining on everyone.
The cooler quality of the moon reflecting the sun doesn’t signify a lack of caring, in fact, it balances the other three aspects of love, so that we don’t burn out in expressing the other aspects of love to others. It keeps us grounded, centered, and resourced. Equanimity means impartiality, tolerance, letting go. It is the capacity to see the full picture, accept inclusiveness and perceive a situation in its entirety without bias. We can stand firm without taking sides, see a given circumstance from all angles and cultivate spaciousness.
Thich Nhat Hanh used to have this simple meditation exercise: “Breathing in, I dwell in the present moment; breathing out, I know this is a wonderful moment.” This meditation doesn’t ignore or deny the suffering in our world, it is not indifference. It is the ability to hold pain and terror as well as great love and wisdom. It is coolness in a world that is only getting hotter. The climate surely reflects this. The question is: how do we see from all sides and include them in our hearts? Seeing ourselves as beloved, not victims, we are in opposition to no one. Our only enemies are delusion, craving, ignorance and hatred.
With equanimity, we know how not to make things worse when suffering arises, we can choose not to add to suffering by resisting, suppressing or judging it. Instead we can open to our own or someone else’s suffering, knowing it is part of life. Experiencing peace, we give no fear in the process and are given in return ample freedom.
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.