WELCOME to my MIDL Mindfulness Softening Skill Training Classroom.
Through practicing simple, gentle breathing exercises you can learn the skill of turning off the Anxious Response through Mindful non-participation – ‘Softening Into’. Turning off the Anxious Response in this way means that you can be with any Unpleasant Emotional Responses in your life without reacting therefore Deconditioning the Habitual Patterns of reaction.
When we are experiencing something within our life that is beyond our control such as physical or emotional pain / trauma, our habitual response is that of resistance "I don't like". This resistance arises due to the Flight / Fight response (danger signal), being switched on within our mind. Our mind then signals danger and encourages a response by releasing a feeling of unpleasantness within our body. This feeling of unpleasantness has one purpose - to make us fight or run.
Any resistance to this unpleasant feeling renforces the danger signal and gives rise to an escape response. This response arises in the form of anxiety which then gives rise to fear, panic, depression, anger, frustration etc. - our armour or protection mechanisms. In our attempt to escape from this unpleasantness released within our body obsessive, agitated thinking then arises and extreme personality traits also start to develop.
Learning techniques to Soften / Relax Into any resistance to what we are experiencing switches off the Fight / Flight Response, removes any mental aversion present and therefore the intensification of the unpleasantness of the experience – breaking the cycle of reaction. Obsessive thinking then starts to settle and a notable Softening of a person’s personality and obsessions can be observed.
What can Mindfulness Softening techniques be used for?
*Trauma - Painful Memories
MIDL techniques for deconditioning Anxiety can be sorted into three main trainings:
1. Training 'Softening Into' Skills:
a) Learning slow diaphragm breathing
b) Physically relaxing with the out-breath
c) Mentally relaxing through gentle sighing
2. Developing Stillness Skills
a) Learning to 'not do' to experience stillness
b) Gradually training to deepen stillness
c) Relaxing into any resistance that arises
3. Applying "Softening Into' Skills:
a) Re-engaging of diaphragm movement.
b) Softening Into any resistance.
c) Softening into any habitual thinking.
d) Softening into any emotional responses.
e) Softening any defensive responses.
f) Deconditioning emotional charge.
Softening Into is the skill of learning to Soften / Relax into your relationship to the underlying flavour / taste of unpleasantness (pali: Vedana) that permeates all perceived experience when the mind indentifies 'danger'. This unpleasant feeling is produced by the mind whenever the Fight / Flight response is switched on to signify 'danger' and to make you respond by wanting to escape.
It is your relationship to the feeling of unpleasantness that is released by the mind, when the Fight / Flight response is switched on, that causes you to react / respond to a sense experience such as a sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, thought or memory.
Your emotional responses such as anger, anxiety, fear, depression etc. are your habitualised armour, your way of protecting yourself from the perceived danger of the unpleasantness that is released by the mind within your body. As a result of responding by trying to escape from the feeling released by the Fight / Flight response, you can inadvertently re-enforce the aversive behaviour and strengthen the perceived danger - therefore become trapped in a cycle of response and escape.
Once developed, the skill of Softening Into what you are experiencing, allows you to be with the unpleasantness released by the Fight / Flight response within the mind, without responding through aversion, thereby deconditioning the habitual relationship of fight or run and the emotional armours that arise from this cycle – this then creates the MIDL Softening path.
I can teach you simple, easy to learn Mindfulness techniques to help you to manage and experience freedom from anxiety / stress within your life