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Falling off the path
Answer
12/17/10 10:53 AM
Hello everyone,

just a brief background on me; found the actual freedom pages back in 2007 following what can probably be described as a post-breakup PCE (more on that later). I was searching for "down to earth" or some such after having a brief realization that I'd lived with my head in some rather thick clouds for quite a while. (I've made two posts on the Yahoo group and then waddled away straight away. It seems that my fear of doing this is immense, and I still can't keep away.)

A few days after reading some of the material I had an experience that I still can't quite understand, but the best way of describing it is that I ended up in some kind of stark reality that I just wanted out of, by any means. It may be that my first experience wasn't a PCE after all, and this was the real deal that I couldn't handle. After that I haven't had any PCEs that I can recall, just rather brief EEs.

What irks me the most is that since I found out about AF, and even after agreeing that it all made sense, I've just gone further and further away from the goal. If I didn't know better, I'd say that I've actually started wallowing in my own underbelly, becoming more cunning and dissociated every day the more I've learned about the human condition (actualist calenture, maybe?)

As it currently stands, I'm even less sincere and naïve than I was before, and I'm even more of an "I" that I was when I started. Whenever I try to invoke sincerity, I end up either in intense dread or shame/guilt, and I seem to project very often (to the detriment of my current relationship with the ex, which is a story in and of itself).

AF in and of itself makes utter sense to me, but I just don't know how to muster up the intent, and break through my current modus operandi. On exceptionally bad days, I tell myself that I'm too much of a lost cause to ever be able to do this... which is one hell of a cunning way for "me" to gain strength again. Feelings of helplessness and asking for assistance also seem to serve the same purpose.

What I'm mostly curious about is how others have handled guilt and shame, especially about having done exceptionally silly things, as well as the feeling of just not "being worthy". I'm currently at an impasse where I can't continue on as I have been, but I feel like I'm a volatile animal in an electrified cage with very little bearing.

(Posting this is a bit like standing on the 10 meter trampoline and not daring to take the plunge, but having too much pride to be able to just climb down the ladder again.)

RE: Falling off the path
Answer
12/17/10 2:13 PM as a reply to Elin S.
Hi Elin,

Welcome the DhO.

You said many things in your post, but I'll address what you say is currently of most interest to you:


Elin S:


What I'm mostly curious about is how others have handled guilt and shame, especially about having done exceptionally silly things, as well as the feeling of just not "being worthy". I'm currently at an impasse where I can't continue on as I have been, but I feel like I'm a volatile animal in an electrified cage with very little bearing.

(Posting this is a bit like standing on the 10 meter trampoline and not daring to take the plunge, but having too much pride to be able to just climb down the ladder again.)


Would you be willing to say more about the nature of the guilt and shame you speak of here?

What observations about them have you made when they arise? How does the experience of guilt, shame, and unworthiness produce the feeling of volatility; could you describe that feeling as well, how it manifests itself and what are the features of it when it arises?


Stefanie

RE: Falling off the path
Answer
12/17/10 6:34 PM as a reply to Seraphina Wise.
SW:
Hi Elin,

Welcome the DhO.



Thank you, Stefanie. I've been following your posts with quite a lot of interest. I realize that we're all human, but reading what another female has to say about AF and life is especially interesting.


Would you be willing to say more about the nature of the guilt and shame you speak of here?

What observations about them have you made when they arise? How does the experience of guilt, shame, and unworthiness produce the feeling of volatility; could you describe that feeling as well, how it manifests itself and what are the features of it when it arises?

Stefanie


I'll be honest and say that I have a very hard time separating the various emotions when they arise. My instinctual reaction is just to run away or try to deny the feeling, or just unload it (it's not so much a feeling as it's just a very hard knot in the chest area, making me almost physically hunch).

I'll vacillate between a very intense feeling of failure as a human being and being a sham through and through and intrinsically flawed, then denial and "it's no big deal", irritation since "I" just want to be able to follow my instincts, back to dread, regret, sorrow, submission, fear of being found out and fantasizing about/dreading a future where no-one will want to even talk to me because of my perceived sins.

I think the volatility has a lot to do with the vacillating; when guilt dictates that I'm a bad person I'll do whatever I can to repent; when I'm denying I'll take off on a tangent of intermittent happiness (and very often entitlement and pride), then irritation as I realize the problem is far from gone. While this is happening, I'm sometimes lucid enough to understand that what I'm doing is bizarre, but the counter-reaction to that is to either lay down flat and play dead, or desperately will myself to feel something else (further dissociating). Sometimes I'll wake up from this self-absorbed self-flagellation and wonder why I'm wasting mine and everyone else's precious time feeling sorry for myself, but then it's back again. It's as if I'm stuck in some kind of histrionic script with very little view of reality as it is.

Please bear with me if this doesn't quite answer your question. When I started AF back in 2007 I had an easier time being honest with myself and picking myself apart and putting the process into words, but currently there's a very thick layer of denial and dishonesty on top of everything that I have to dig through. Even writing this I'm unsure if this is really how "I" feel/am or whether I'm just feeding my bad feelings in order to stay put where I am.

Which I actually think it is. I'm just at a loss as to where I go from here. My base feeling is that I have to somehow repent for being nothing more than an animal and hurting, using and disappointing others -- preferably with death (psychic death rather than physical death?).

RE: Falling off the path
Answer
12/18/10 2:29 AM as a reply to Elin S.
Castaneda says that our most cherished and deeply held belief is that we are sinful (fundamentally flawed, 'bad', unworthy). Maybe the 'original sin' (separation from the Ultimate and the creation of the individual ego) caused us to believe this. Since re-union is so hard, surely we must be un-worthy? Well that's the way the unconscious mind erroneously interprets it.

Personally I like working with these very deep core beliefs. My own method is to repeat them, write them out, make them bigger, louder. I emphasize them. Then I just watch them dispassionately. Then (as Castaneda suggests) I try for one second to take a chance on not believing it, just for one second. My thinking is that if I can learn to witness myself manipulating core beliefs, that I might learn that they are just mind stuff I have inherited along the way. Perhaps then I can then get into some deep silence. That's my aim. Trying to get rid of negative core beliefs through distraction (meditation) might be dangerous, from what I've heard. Watch them instead? I find it much more effective.

I used to have a theory that dark night could be avoided. I'm not quite so confident about that any more. (Daniel will be rolling his eyes!).

RE: Falling off the path
Answer
12/18/10 6:07 AM as a reply to This Good Self.
Dark Night cannot be avoided, it's an inevitable part of the process regardless of practice.

Personally I like working with these very deep core beliefs. My own method is to repeat them, write them out, make them bigger, louder. I emphasize them. Then I just watch them dispassionately. Then (as Castaneda suggests) I try for one second to take a chance on not believing it, just for one second. My thinking is that if I can learn to witness myself manipulating core beliefs, that I might learn that they are just mind stuff I have inherited along the way. Perhaps then I can then get into some deep silence. That's my aim. Trying to get rid of negative core beliefs through distraction (meditation) might be dangerous, from what I've heard. Watch them instead? I find it much more effective.


So trying to get rid of "negative core beliefs" might be dangerous? What do you base that claim on?

It also seems that you're comparing "distraction" with meditation which is untrue and unhelpful particularly when you're using the term on a site which is centered around hardcore meditation practice. Meditation is not a distraction technique, what you're referring to is a psychological process of repressing negative emotions which, while unhealthy, isn't generally "dangerous".

Don't stick to Carlos Castaneda, he's a good writer but there's more effective techniques to be found.

RE: Falling off the path
Answer
12/18/10 6:24 PM as a reply to Elin S.
Elin S:
Even writing this I'm unsure if this is really how "I" feel/am or whether I'm just feeding my bad feelings in order to stay put where I am.


The first step is to become conscious of the cause (as above) then you can influence the effect which creates (is) the experience.

Allow yourself to be happy if only for a moment and the cycle is broken. It doesn't have to be any harder then this all it needs is sincere effort. Its only you who gets in the way.

RE: Falling off the path
Answer
12/18/10 8:47 PM as a reply to Elin S.
Hi Elin,

Since we've had a chance to chat (off board) at length about the issues you raised here, I am wondering if you would be willing to start a practice thread to share your progress?

Stefanie

RE: Falling off the path
Answer
12/18/10 11:53 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
I'm more meaning that meditation can be (improperly) used as a distraction, or an escape from strong negative emotions. And that's dangerous yes. Trying to get rid of them makes them stronger. Better deal with the negative emotions in a way that dis-empowers them, is what I'd say. Then get to meditating.

Castaneda is the best spiritual writer I've ever come across. I'll try to give it up if you really think I should, emoticon

RE: Falling off the path
Answer
12/19/10 3:58 AM as a reply to Seraphina Wise.
SW:
Hi Elin,

Since we've had a chance to chat (off board) at length about the issues you raised here, I am wondering if you would be willing to start a practice thread to share your progress?

Stefanie


I'd be quite happy to.

RE: Falling off the path
Answer
12/19/10 4:06 AM as a reply to Jeff Grove.
Jeff Grove:
Allow yourself to be happy if only for a moment and the cycle is broken. It doesn't have to be any harder then this all it needs is sincere effort. Its only you who gets in the way.


This was quite succinctly put, and what actually ended up happening after my conversation with Stefanie.

RE: Falling off the path
Answer
12/19/10 5:44 AM as a reply to Elin S.
It's great to see you're getting back on track, Elin, welcome to the DhO!

Meditation has so far successfully eliminated or attenuated plenty of my unwanted mental habits. I'm sure that with your down-to-earth attitude, and your determination to change things (also known as "seeing no other way out" emoticon ), you'll eventually overcome all of these things.

One point which you should be aware of, is that when one has a deeply ingrained mental habit (such as fear, or shame), it will take time to weed it out. There are various techniques to do this, but all of them require one to apply oneself over and over again, over a period of weeks or months. I have benefited from using different techniques at different times.

One such technique is called "Focusing," and is especially aimed at removing/resolving specific emotional issues (instructions; I actually recommend the "Focusing" book by Eugene Gendlin). I've used it and it works. The fact that you can pinpoint the location of your difficulty (you mention a knot in the chest) is a good thing. I know from experience that when such a knot unties, the problem gets better.

And there will be many such knots to untie. This untying of knots, in fact, is what it's all about. But I don't think one can untie every knot at once, I think this would be overwhelming. So let it happen, knowing it will take a bit of time, and if you blame yourself or get scared, realize that's just the knots doing what they do, go take a walk and relax.

Have fun cleaning your inner mess emoticon
Bruno