April 7, 2020
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How mindfulness meditation redefines pain, happiness & satisfaction | Dr. Kasim Al-Mashat | TEDxSFU

so I'm here to speak about the elephant in the room I know but it's very for all of us in one form or another it's this dissatisfaction and unhappiness with what we have in our lives so maybe if you're here or watching this you have all the basics covered food water safety shelter but somehow we long for something more as a psychologist I've really seen how we all want to be happy but keep chasing it in the future and I know that myself really well because I had everything in life a loving support education career but I wasn't enough and that really frustrated me and eventually I discovered the real obvious reason it's really obvious it's our mind it really gets distracted a loss of negatives and has a difficult time being right here in the present moment what helped me see that so clearly was mindfulness meditation I came across it and the research in my field and started using it to have clients and that took me on a personal journey which eventually led me to this ridiculous gut feeling that I had to do which is drop everything in my life and go to a six month meditation retreat in Southeast Asia in a forest monastery in silence I tell you was the most difficult unpleasant painful six months of my life but it really taught me profound lessons that has inspired me to be here today so I'm here to really share with you my personal insights and professional understanding of mindfulness meditation with the hope that you give it a chance so you can see for yourself how it can redefine the way we approach happiness satisfaction and reduce the suffering in our lives from the pain that's already there okay so back to some not-so-good news about our mind it has the tendency for a negativity bias or evolutionary psychologists refer to it as a survival mechanism so there is a bunny in the bushes there sounds our mind is ready with a stress response for a fight-or-flight response I did it backwards actually fight-or-flight response even if there's just a bunny we're getting ready for a tiger and neuropsychologists refer to that as our brain being like velcro to the negatives latches on to negatives anyone familiar with that just hang on and being like Teflon fabric to the positives letting in law slip away okay so it's not all bad news with the advances in neuroscience mindfulness meditation has been shown to change the structure of our brain and you don't have to do a six-month retreat in a forestry that's a good news even in eight weeks and mindfulness programs practicing 40 45 minutes a day you can improve concentration decision-making compassion and life satisfaction so what exactly is mindfulness meditation it's one form of meditation and basically it's training the brain to be present it's based on thousands of years of wisdom tradition from Asia and how we do it one way is we place our attention on the belly to watch our breath but we do that in a particular way or as Jon kabat-zinn who brought mindfulness to medicine which is quite big actually he defines it in four words we pay attention and on purpose so with an intention and in the present moment so right now and the hardest part for all of us non-judgmentally really tough so let's say this is our attention we place it right on the belly guess what's going to happen with our mind we're going to get distracted but without pushing against the fats or hating the thoughts or clinging on to them good or bad right back now you can get a sense of that if you like now if you'd like to join me by price placing your hand on the belly and we're just going to observe two breaths natural inhale natural exhale even slightly inhale exhale inhale exhale okay now when we do that some of you maybe notice that there will be thoughts emotions or sensations but we don't get lost in them we bring our attention back and every time we do that guess what we're doing to our brain strengthening the muscles in the brain every time it's a gym workout for the brain and in the process of doing that patiently I mean it takes a lot of patience and compassionately we learn to work with our mind and be present with whatever is here now we don't have to like what's here when I first arrived at the forest monastery I asked the monk said is it true there are poisonous snakes on the compound he said yes yes deadly deadly just stay away from them walk mindfully great use a flashlight at night and I love this one too check your meditation cushion before you sit on it I mean I could have died that was you know possibility but the best part he said send them love they were here before us okay mr. monk ah I wasn't ready for that yet so but I didn't notice even before going to this longer treat I noticed some changes in my mind and how it reacted just from daily meditation one day I was stuck in a traffic jam really early in the morning 5:40 on the way to the gym and unexpected and instead of the usual why are these people moving get uptight agitated and the mind going into this is gonna be a horrible day I'm late for stuff what surprised me is what I heard I thought cool interesting the thought I hope no one's hurt maybe there's an accident or maybe it's construction and those workers were up all night and I started wishing them well may they be safe today now I still was late so that didn't change but I didn't spiral into the negativity of the mind and really showed me I was worth working that muscle in the daily practice so let's put together what I shared so far with a little illustration imagine this is pain could be anything let's just say stomach pain signals travel to the brain if you imagine this is our brain or mine one Reds will be relatively calm we have now a signal off pain but it doesn't stop there we're not usually loving to it we hate it and we get agitated and wish it wasn't there and then what we do we let negativity leak to rest our mind why me why is this happening and then we stir it all up with negativity what kind of horrible thing this is we worry and instead of being present with the pain we get taken for a ride in our mind I know that really well because I experienced that deeply at this forest retreat you see the honeymoon phase ah following my dream meditating for so long that ended after the first night you know everything that brought me happiness or I thought brought me happiness was pull for under my legs people I loved there's no technology no social media no internet just seclusion deprivation and was a wake-up call in the morning 3:00 a.m. every day but but it wasn't this nice chime of ding good morning casa no it wasn't that it was boom boom boom every morning startled me which would begin our 13 14 hours of daily meditation in the heat of a lovely insects scorpions yes work actually someone got stung by one as they sat on their cushion when I was there so and sleeping on this lovely wooden bed with just a little bit of foam daily hunger because last meal of a day guess what lunch and when 10:30 in the morning I was a reality so whenever my mind got stirred up in any of that pain it was crushing I felt trapped I actually woke up one night screaming from it all and really saw how when we begin to fight and resist our reality it gets worse things began to change for me when I just started to look as pain as pain and so so clearly that it was my mind though is creating the suffering which is optional Wow all I have to do is just be in this moment and mindfulness showed me we can be in the eye of the storm watch it all pass moment by moment and there's such freedom trusting in permanence in that way and then really holding our pain with great compassion because it's painful already you don't need to hate it more just be with it you know as a psychiatrist Viktor Franklin and Frankel and he said choice is the last human freedom choice I learned that using mindfulness as a choice and even when all my freedoms felt like they were taken away I experienced freedom right here and my biggest biggest epiphany is happiness and satisfaction there's none of the distant future or when I go back home it's actually available for all of us in every moment it blooms naturally from a state of mind that's calm not agitated and peaceful so when I leave you of this all that was me there on a leave you love this acronym but captures some of my learnings and I hope you use it when you find yourself lost in any kind of suffering and it's lost the first letter L just know you are lost and suffering and thoughts come back to the present moment o offer loving kindness you don't have to like the pain just hold it of compassion see and smile see pain is pain or joy is joy without the added agitation of the mind and smile knowing you just did that and T for take a deep breath knowing you are not alone we are all dealing with the condition of the mind so I invite you to join me in taking a deep breath into the nose and exhale so to sum up if we don't retrain the brain it can cause ADD pain and the training can begin with mindfulness meditation it's not a quick fix with magical results nor is it going to make us immune to the challenges in life but imagine imagine if half of us created a daily meditation practice to be more present in life with a good and a bad offer more compassion and feel more moments of satisfaction and happiness and let that bloom naturally from the state of mind that's more peaceful that's a recipe for a positive change and it can start with you thank you

Jean Kelley



  1. Toni Turpin Posted on April 30, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    Absolutely exquisite in it’s simplicity. Thank you so much 😊

  2. Kim Work Posted on April 30, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    13:30 starting to sound like dissociation encouragement.

  3. lëlœûçh vï brïtæñîã Posted on April 30, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    I want to know where he had his retreat

  4. Reno Riha Posted on April 30, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    Somebody know which monastery he went to??

  5. Xavius Americus Posted on April 30, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    After meditating on how he looks and sounds, he reminds me of Peter Lorre. “NO, Master! Don’t turn me into a RAVEN! (I hate that.)”

  6. yippie cienna Posted on April 30, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    this help my anxiety rightnow wow grateful 💟

  7. Jason Lima Posted on April 30, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    So true when you try to fight reality is really does get worse

  8. J & S Maruca Posted on April 30, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    The only true peace and happiness comes not through the right type of meditation, philosophy, or insight, but from living in the Spirit through Christ’s redemption and infinite Love.

  9. Eli Pagan Posted on April 30, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    Unbelievable message! So grateful that it popped up in my video feed. Will try this!!

  10. Deborah Bonney Posted on April 30, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    The best talk on mindfulness and he s so kind. His laugh is adorable too. 🕊🙏🏻

  11. Pauline Lozoya Hocking Posted on April 30, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    Amazing. Thank you.

  12. Mohtashim Mateen Posted on April 30, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    I loved the way he explained

  13. Johnny Johnny Posted on April 30, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    Meditation is so great. People think it's easy – just sit there in silence. They don't realize you are fighting a war in your mind against distraction which is way harder than you think. It feels great when you start winning against your monkey mind.

  14. Mindful - Grateful - Joyful Posted on April 30, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    Awesome talk 🙏
    Mindfulness it's so simple, but so often our mind takes flight, we lose touch with our body, and pretty soon we’re engrossed in obsessive thoughts about something that just happened or fretting about the future. And that makes us anxious.

  15. Mangesh Uike Posted on April 30, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    The best presentation on mindfulness till now.

  16. laettis Posted on April 30, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    What a soft and compassionate voice. Just listening to him makes me completely relaxed!

  17. ciaran delaney Posted on April 30, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    Hasnt done much for me.

  18. Shashank Sadafule Posted on April 30, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    He really looks so calm!

  19. NARESH RANA Posted on April 30, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    Vipashna not midfulness..

  20. Francis Posted on April 30, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    The energy of this dude is just so calming

  21. Travis Bickle Posted on April 30, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    you should make a stand-up doc i swear : ))

  22. Carolyn Leach Posted on April 30, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    This guy is adorable 😍 Great talk

  23. Vivek Acharya Posted on April 30, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    I love meditation but I'm bad at being consistent with it. I'll work on it.

  24. Micah DeLaurentis Posted on April 30, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    Everything is in this talk. Just listen very carefully

  25. superkb172 Posted on April 30, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    LOST great value thanks!

  26. Lizzy Mogil Posted on April 30, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    Best TEDx video I've ever seen! Thanks for sharing it with us ❤️ Dr. Al-Mashat

  27. mbp1021 Posted on April 30, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    👍🏼loved your presentation along with your practical tip👌🏽

  28. David Alan Mors Posted on April 30, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    very good speaker

  29. Veronica Kant Posted on April 30, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    Amazing presentation!

  30. Mahesh Kadam Posted on April 30, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    Superb- LOST
    Lost in thought.
    Offer loving kindness.
    See & smile.
    Take a deep breath.
    Thank you for new insights.

  31. Yziashu Posted on April 30, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    So true
    Thank you ❤️

  32. Michael Mike Posted on April 30, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    20 years living a life in addiction. Mindfulness and compassion is the way out. Every day feels great without having to act anymore on triggers which may or may not come. Who needs any drug like alcohol, sugar, attention etc. when you can start to be at peace with what is, and enjoy every moment to the fullest by just being present….. As Eckart would say, this is re-defying your Ego, your personalty to something pure and good. What an enlightenment this all is

  33. Retro Guardian Posted on April 30, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    Im siting in a parking lot watching this and thinking this man has a very unique hair cut then a man walks by my car with the same hair cut lol.