Monday, November 12, 2007

‘Transforming Personal History’

My husband and I attended a really incredible workshop this weekend at the Nyingma Institute in Berkeley. It was called "Transforming Personal History" and was taught by Sylvia Gretchen.

What's done is done in the past but our remembrances of past history are already colored by our own inaccurate perceptions. This workshop was about using meditation to purposefully address what happened in the past and reduce its power to hurt.

Sylvia guided us through meditations that first had us envisioning a peaceful place, maybe a happy memory, before touching the negative emotions. Her argument to us was that our happier memories define who we are as much as the negative ones do, but we tend to dwell upon the negative.

When the time came to examine some of our negative memories, she suggested various techniques, such as imagining yourself telling your younger counterpart what he or she didn't know then, such as it will all turn out OK. Or maybe you imagine explaining yourself to a person with whom you had a conflict.

n my case, examining a memory of being bullied in school, I imagined myself as I looked on the first day of school, only I introduced my older self telling me that the other students could possibly pick up on subtle, nonverbal cues that I was oblivious to and that this had very possibly made me vulnerable to being teased. I took this approach because discovering a possible reason was very comforting to me when I learned that children with AS are frequently the victims of bullying.

The workshop also combined physical movement meditation exercises, which is called "Kum Nye." The Nyingma Institute devotes entire Sunday morning classes each week to Kum Nye but we didn't go this week. Saturday's day-long intensive was enough and was definitely beneficial.

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