Dear Readers,

In 1895, Freud presented his work, " Project for a Scientific Psychology," in which he proposed the Pleasure Principle as the driving force for the id, the impulsive and primal part of the personality.

The Pleasure Principle states that, in order to achieve psychological satisfaction, an organism is reflexively drawn to activities that create feelings of pleasure, while avoiding those that cause pain.

Seems evolutionarily sound, doesn't it? Until you consider how much of our growth comes from facing that which we fear, rather than giving into our baser instinct to run.

Running from that which makes us uncomfortable is actually fraught with more problems than standing firm and facing it, as it creates unnecessary suffering. Suffering, in Buddhist terms, results from trying to avoid or control what we don't want in our lives. By trying to avoid pain, we actually double down and create a whole boatload of problems in the guise of avoidance, distraction and acting out.

The more we try to control, the more we suffer. The more we surrender, the more equanimity, or calm and stability in the face of chaos, we experience.

In this month's featured article, Dan shares with us what he has learned about suffering from the current political climate and points us toward the opportunity for wisdom that it presents.

(Spoiler alert!) Breathe deep and lean in.

In peace and compassion,
~ Louisa
Announcements
  • Inclement Weather Policy: A reminder that The Center for Mindful Living will follow the OPS schedule in case of inclement weather.
     
  • Change in time for Open Studio! In April, Open Studio will be moving from its weekly Monday slot to a monthly, Sunday afternoon workshop. Starting April 9-and then every second Sunday of the month thereafter-please join us from 2 - 4 PM for a joyful exploration of the creative process with Pamela Mueggenberg.
Welcome Dr. Nanci Nilles!

In April, The Center for Mindful Living family will be growing as we welcome Nanci Nilles, Psy.D. from the Naval Branch Health Clinic in Gulfport, Mississippi.

Dr. Nanci Nilles earned her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology at the Illinois Professional School of Psychology in Chicago, Illinois. She has extensive experience treating  adults coping with pain, loss, and emotional trauma. Nanci provides both individual and group treatment. At the heart of her work is creating a safe environment so people can explore their feelings and make choices in support of their unique needs and values. The focus of her group work is teaching mindfulness to improve regulation of mood and behavior.

In addition to adult and geriatric individual therapy, Nanci will be offering Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) groups and chronic pain management groups. 

You can schedule an appointment with Nanci by emailing her at Nanci@thecenteromaha.com , or stop by our Earth Day booth at Elmwood Park on April 22nd to say Hi!
Ongoing Contemplative Practices
  • Workshop: Sitting Meditation Groups  No Charge
  • Workshop: Mindfulness Study Group  No Charge
  • Workshop: Open Studio NEW TIME! No Charge
Workshops & Events
  • Where are all the workshops?
    Well, with all of our spring programming underway, we find ourselves in a bit of a lull. However, we are busy deciding on summer classes and are considering offering both Mindful Self-Compassion and Basic Mindfulness for the first time during the summer. Check back with us in the next few weeks for the new schedule.
     
  • Join us at our Earth Day Booth!
    Be sure to stop by The Center for Mindful Living booth at Earth Day on April 22 from 11 - 6 PM at Elmwood Park to say hi and meet our newest colleague, Nanci! See you there!
Featured Articles
There is Suffering
By Daniel G. Weidner, MA

When I awoke on the morning following the last national election I was suffering. The results of the election took me by surprise. The nature and personality of the President-elect gave me great concern. The future for our Democracy seemed uncertain. As a result I found it difficult to Meditate, and I still have times during meditation where I experience difficult and discursive thoughts that relate to the current political situation.

I cite this experience of suffering only as an illustration of how things that are beyond our control can have a significant impact upon our lives. I am reminded that the shape of our life and the nature of our thoughts have less to do with what we encounter than our relationship to them.

Through the practice of Mindful Meditation we are able to sit with and observe our thoughts, as well as related feelings and emotions. We have a choice when we sit with uncomfortable and painful thoughts. We can do what Pema Chodron suggests and "lean into the sharp points" or we can attempt to push the thoughts and related feelings out of our consciousness.

Meditators begin to understand that the latter option does not work. They begin to understand that their relationship to these thoughts and feelings shifts and changes when they take the time to just be with them in meditation. As we begin to become comfortable in meditation, and begin to habituate ourselves to openness, we come to know the nature of our thoughts and emotions. We see that they are ephemeral and impermanent, and thus we begin our investigation into suffering and our journey down the path of openness.

The Buddha taught that suffering points to the nature of the world of things and the inability of that world to satisfy or bring about happiness. Suffering tends to be self-induced. Suffering exposes us to the dualism of the human condition: pain and pleasure; happiness and sadness; kindness and hate; sorrow and joy... 

The Buddhist teacher Ajahn Sumedho taught that when we learn to be with our thoughts and feelings in meditation we begin to admit the truth of suffering and dualism in our lives.  He taught that through this process of conscious understanding we begin to change our perspective from "I am suffering" to "there is suffering." This realization is truly liberating. We come to grasp that suffering poses no inherent reality and that it arises and falls away due to its dependence upon causes and conditions-most of which are not in our control.
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