Venue and time: Sunday May 7, 2017, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm (Meditation and Discussion), Moksha Yoga, London Ontario, Canada (hosted by Greg). Half hour drop-in meditation on Tuesday May 9, 8 – 8:30 pm, facilitated by Greg.
Schedule: Drop-in Meditation 7:00 pm to 7:30 pm on Sunday April 2, Moksha Yoga, London Ontario, Canada. The drop-in meditation will have a component related to our discussion topic on mindfulness and addictive behaviors. Break for chat and tea 7:30 – 7:40 pm roughly served from our beautiful glass teapot; 7:40 – 8:30 pm – Discussion on the topic: From smart phones to smoking – Mindfulness and addictive behaviors. Participants are welcome to either or both of these events. Attendance is free, and donations are gratefully accepted. For insurance requirements you need to sign in at the front desk of Moksha. See you Sunday!
From smart phones to smoking – Mindfulness and addictive behaviors
Addictive behaviors affect us all, and are ever more present in our society, spread through media. How can mindfulness help with such behaviors?
Like last week’s discussion, this week’s discussion is inspired by the conference, A Mindful Society , attended last month by LMC facilitators Greg, Daniel and Kristen. It is in particular motivated by a key note talk by Judson Brewer, perhaps the foremost researcher on mindfulness approaches to addiction. Please note that none of the LMC facilitators are trained in the treatment of addiction; and anyone experiencing severe addiction, should see a qualified professional. Instead the purpose here, is an initial exploration, of the universal role addictive behaviors play in all our lives.
The tendency of addictive behaviors to be sticky perhaps originate in our tendency to engage our auto-pilots. Even though we can only hold a small amount of information in our active memory (the analogue of RAM or fast access computer memory), our mind beautifully enables the learning of complex tasks, by daisy-chaining simpler sub tasks together. By repetition, such daisy chains enables us to perform complex tasks (e.g. driving a car, play a musical instrument, etc) by short circuiting this barrier of limited amount of current memory. Repetition, enables the learning of such tasks. While there are many advantages of this auto-pilot daisy chain behavior, including evolutionary methods, that led to it remaining a prominent feature of our brains, it has a dark flip-side. We also note that the stickiness of addictive behaviors served the purpose of remembering where to find food. Locate food, eat (and remember location), repeat!
Mindfulness emphasizes that addictive behavior is a deep aspect of our being, that can both help us and hurt us. Gaining an understanding of such behavior is important for us all. One reason: advertisers have become particularly effective at penetrating to messaging directly in ways that exploit the stickiness of our addictive behaviors, and also the reward systems of our minds. Another key aspect of approaching difficult addictive behaviors, is not by trying to control them, but instead, becoming curious about them, and exploring the sensations that occur when we experience them.
Suggested preparation: We suggest watching the short TED video by Judson Brewer (it has over 7 million views!):
Or watching say the first 15 minutes of the longer video
The London Mindfulness Community (LMC) is a community of mindfulness enthusiasts. Our meditations are designed to be accessible to those who drop in occasionally. Those wanting to know more about integrating mindfulness into daily life, can benefit from our Sunday Discussions. These topics are presented in a self-contained way and will be posted on our website (usually by the previous Wednesday):
http://londonmindfulnesscommunity.org (and its associated FB page, search London Mindfulness Community on FB).