Introduction Post/Looking for friends/curious about what's best for me

Cole Thomas MacDonald, modified 1 Month ago.

Introduction Post/Looking for friends/curious about what's best for me

Posts: 7 Join Date: 10/11/21 Recent Posts
Hi, I'm Cole. 33 years old, about to turn 34 in a few days. I heard of this place from Daniel Ingram, can't remember where... I've been checking a lot of podcasts/interviews with him as I turned into a tad of a fanboy of him after hearing him once or twice on Guru Viking, there's usually a scale of judgement I have with people I listen to, either they're boring, or an asshole/arrogant... well so far I always love listening to Daniel talk :p . My interest in meditation, awakening, etc.  started through psilocybin. I was recreationally doing mushrooms at 16 starting with  a couple 2 dried gram trips, then trying 3, then 4, then 5.... while mostly doing it for "fun" sometimes I find it hard to draw the line in between having fun and having a geniune curiousity for phenominon, I was starting to feel "something there" but it wasn't until about a year later that I tried a full seven grams, and while that's a pretty long story to tell I remember having a moment at the peak where I for the first time ever saw that every thing I could possibly conceptualize in my head had an opposite, and then I felt all opposites come together and had this moment of true, clear... bliss is what I want to call it? and also something seemed very familiar about it like my whole life was adding up to that moment and a thought of "this is what the buddha realized". Looking back I'm assuming this would be an Arising & Passing experience in regards to Daniel's maps.

     Oddly enough after this seconds-long or maybe instantaneous moment I acted totally insane on the outside, trashing my room & attacking my parents, trying to speak in tongues, trying to harm myself, expose myself... I almost got the cops called but my parents managed to restrain me. It's hard to explain why I did that, there are parts of the experience where I blacked out, but parts that I could remember. I am 50/50 on weather I became "posessed" by something, or that it was maybe my own way of purging some kind of childhood trauma. This experience scared me from psychedelics, I recreationally smoked cannabis at the time too and after that experience even a tiny puff would give me an anxiety attack... 

   Over the years I got curious again and started low & slow, and have gotten into experiences meeting entities & feeling energies, "downloads" as people call them, stuff like that... but, I've always been weary to have a full level 4-5 experience like the one I had when I was young. My life outside of that has kind of... well, I realized how much I "aimed low" in life and settled for a construction job that I can't stand anymore, I really wish I were a recording artist or MMA fighter. ( I have practiced these things casually/sometimes more committed and serious, but have serious doubts about being able to do anything worthwhile with my passions this late in life) I like to think of my material life purpose somehow syncing with my spirituality but the more I think about it in a left-brained way it might just be a coincidence... but it does seem like the more intriegued I get about consciousness & the occult, the less I can stand my job and people. I feel like I'm stuck in a "dark decade of the soul" like, stuff is seriously bad right now. I so far through a combination of a bit of luck and being cheap been able to work minimally and survive, but I am seriously concerned for my life... kind of suicidal. 

     Apart from psychedelics I took up meditating focusing on the sensations of the breath in the nostrils for 30 minutes a day for a year, and when I realized that it's either nowhere near enough or not working, and without a real belief that enlightenment is possible (or if it's even something I want) I stopped.  Also, a big excuse that I gave into  is that, say if I'm training martial arts, the coach can actively see what I'm doing wrong and correct it. In meditation, I might be sitting perfectly still on the outside, but some fine detail about how I'm doing something wrong INSIDE my head can likely never be caught, as a teacher can't be inside my head.

   So yeah, I've been looking to maybe meet similar people, and wondering where I should start. If I were to guess I'd assume someone would recommend a retreat.  Sorry if I'm venting, I feel like I kind of am... I started this pretty late and I've had enough writing for now. I'll edit this more tomorrow with some better stuff to say, and organize it better. I'm kind of dumping this in a rush so I apologize.
George S, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Introduction Post/Looking for friends/curious about what's best for me

Posts: 2111 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Hi Cole,

Welcome to the DhO!

“Enlightenment" (a.k.a. a BIG reduction in suffering) is definitely possible, as lots of people on here can attest. I was suicidal a few years ago when I started meditating. You are right to question whether it is something that you “want” though … It would be more accurate to describe it as a process of recognizing how your wants cause you to suffer, and how seeing that causes you to let go of them and suffer less. These problematic wants fall into 3 categories:

- “Greed”: Stuff you think you want, which is causing you to feel unhappy not having and/or trying to get (‘I would be happy if only I could be/have an X’). Often this is hard-to-get stuff, so there’s a lot of effort involved and chances of failure are high. And then when you do look at people who are lucky/hardworking enough to have gotten this stuff, they are often still unhappy. This kind of stuff is often a reflection of some unacknowledged emotional need, and that’s what really needs to be addressed through some kind of practice/therapy. Usually it’s not something you really need to survive and be happy, so letting go of it turns out to be easier than you think once you understand how it’s actually making you unhappy (even if beforehand you were telling yourself that you really needed this stuff to be happy). People had different standards obviously, but for any given standard you can always find examples of people who are happier with less and people who are miserable with more.

- “Aversion”: Stuff you think you don’t want, which is causing you to feel unhappy because you have it (or will have it). Often this is stuff you really can’t avoid and it’s the resistance to it which is worse than the experience itself. This is particularly true of past emotional traumas which haven’t been fully experienced, so they are trapped in the body causing all sort of pain, discomfort and problematic behaviors. This stuff can again be released through practice/therapy.

- “Ignorance”: Stuff you actually do need which you are ignoring, either because you already have it but are taking it for granted, or else because you are neglecting your real needs. If you are overlooking things you already have (food, shelter, clothing) then it could be because of unmet emotional needs (covered above). If you are neglecting your needs (sleep, diet, exercise etc.) then again it could be because of unresolved emotional issues, which are again resolvable through practice.

Meditation can be seen as a way of observing how our tendency towards the “three poisons” of  Greed, Aversion and Ignorance cause us to suffer unnecessarily, and thereby reducing the poison level. Psychedelics can be like a “gateway drug” to meditation, in that you get quick access to the wow states (unity, bliss, visuals etc.) but unfortunately you also get quick access to the unresolved emotional issues, which seems to be what happened to you. Meditation is a more consistent and gradual way to access similar states and release the psychological/emotional stuff more slowly (generally, although it can be pretty dramatic at times as well). The problem is that meditation can get off to a slow start (especially when compared with psychedelics), so you need to develop some confidence that it is worth it. If you’ve been avoiding emotional/psychological stuff for a while (which most of us do), then you come face to face with that resistance as soon as you sit and it feels like “it’s not working” (although that resistance is actually a sign that you are running into the fundamental issues).

Daniel’s book is an excellent place to start. Maybe check out some practice logs on here as well for inspiration. You don’t necessarily need to go on retreat. It can help kickstart or deepen things, but if you have the time and space in your daily life then developing a consistent 30-60 minutes per day practice can be just as powerful (since you are meditating through your daily life issues as they arise). There are people on here who can help give you practice tips if you describe your practice in a bit more detail, or you could find a teacher or other in-person community. It's definitely a trainable skill if you take some time to find the right practice/resources for you. It's important to note that meditation can't solve all issues alone, you may need therapy as well. Actually meditation and therapy go really well together and meditation enables you to get much more out of therapy than talking alone would. 

Best Wishes
George
Cole Thomas MacDonald, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Introduction Post/Looking for friends/curious about what's best for me

Posts: 7 Join Date: 10/11/21 Recent Posts
Thanks. Yes I was going to mention MTCToB, I was listening to an audio version of it someone uploaded to youtube... I've also glanced at the book itself through Daniel's link, I guess I just question what the point is if I'm not sure that I'm quite committed to meditation.  I have tried noting a few times and thought it was a rather intriguing experience the first time I tried it. I'll try to get through it, I guess. The amount of books I've started but not finished echoes the amount of songs I've tried to write but haven't finished; a symbol of a broken human being.

I get recommended therapy a lot, a big part of my problem is wanting as you described (but I'm not willing to accept that paragdim). Sure material success and fame might not make me happy but I still want it, and I still see my life as a failure not worth living if I don't get it.... even if it won't make me happy in the end. I guess I have a lot of hatred and jealousy inside of me that I want to "prove people wrong" that doubted me. I feel I would do anything to get some kind of power over people that wronged me in the past. I value that more than enlightenment.  I honestly worry that I will murder someone before accepting that I should let envy go and be happy with what I have.  I think about therapy a lot, but there's giant wait lists and I'm going to end up paying a bunch of money to extend my health benefits to have to wait another goddamn month to just START therapy, then one missed appointment and I'm embarassed, they don't call me back either, and I'm out of the system.  

I also feel like I just want to tell a therapist "yo, I want to build a LIT life of money and fame, and you're just a therapist, so how are you going to even help me achieve that?" 

But yeah, I have tried therapy a little bit, but I have serious doubts about it. I feel like maybe they all suck in my city, or all the good ones are booked up for years. I feel like I don't have the guts to show my "true colours" and give the therapist a polite nice version of myself and when I talk about my problems I talk about solutions like I already have them all when I know I don't and I won't follow them. Then they give me a sheet with 10 cognitive behavioral distortions and it's like sure maybe I assume everyone thinks I'm stupid and not 100% of them do, but there definitely HAVE been times people have made fun of me for doing stupid things and it wasn't distorted at all and I'm miserable for it. Oh well, this isn't therapy.  Maybe I'll call to try and get in somewhere tomorrow (it's Canadian thanksgiving today, it's ALWAYS an effing weekend or holiday or not business hours when I'm seriously motivated to think of looking into therapy, almost synchromystical like God is hinting "just no") but I'm seriously doubtful and getting in such a low place I'm worried I'm going to tell a therapist off... then they'll be more witty than me and I'll try to attack them and end up in jail.
Hey Cole, John here, similar age, similar story. 
I don't know how helpful I will be here but I can share a couple of thoughts about my experience over the past couple of years. I started meditating about 2 years ago and I would say it has been a game-changer in the way I am able to understand my own personality issues, allowing me to better deal with them in a way I was never able to earlier in my life.  That's not to say it is a cure-all by any means.  I still have plenty of issues, and actually it may seem like there are more issues, but I think it's probably more accurate that I am actually just more aware of things that previously I had not even had the ability to acknowledge.  But through meditation and mindfulness I feel that I am better able to passively observe and rationally/un-emotionally deconstruct and understand where the problematic thought patterns arise from.  It is almost like being your own therapist in that regard. 

You will often hear, at least on the DhO, that meditation and therapy are two separate things.  This is true, but it is also the case that there can be lots of overlap between the two (depending on what type of therapy, and what type of meditation you are doing).  It is also the case that it's not always as simple as going out and finding the perfect therapist that a) wants to help you and b) is able to help you.  It is exactly the personality types that are deemed 'untreatable' that would benefit the most from good treatment.  Thankfully there are some people who understand the craziness of that situation who are working to change it.

As a side note, regarding therapy, I think I understand where you are coming from in that it can be a challenge in finding the right person for certain personality types.  I personally find it difficult in that it seems like therapists are hesitant to work with me despite me doing nothing that I am aware of, not being rude or anything like that, but they just feel it's not a good fit, just leaving me to wonder and speculate and usually blame myself in some way.  I actually wrote a post earlier today about it, asking for advice, that got deleted by the DhO gremlins and I haven't mustered the energy to retype it.

For meditation - maybe try some deep dives, just do a very relaxed weekend when you have the time and sit for 2-3 hours for a few days in a row and see what happens.  30 minutes a day may not be enough.  But as they say, YMMV, "this is not meditation advice" etc.

Regarding your issues with envy.  Man, I could say a lot about this, having had some serious challenges with jealousy and related types of issues in my life (and still do).  I did the recording artist/chasing the dream thing, still do, and one thing I can say about that is that for sure, one of my biggest regrets in life, is doing it for fame or for having a rockstar life, or whatever.  It was to the point at times where the envy/related issues was dictating how I made art and how I presented myself to the world, and I was doing nothing but shooting myself in the foot - and this is while acheiving what would surely be called 'success' by many peoples' standards.  One thing I have learned after all those years of foolishly chasing my own shadow - success  - at least the 'external' kind - does not exist in the way that people think it does.

Oh one more thing:
"I guess I have a lot of hatred and jealousy inside of me that I want to "prove people wrong" that doubted me. I feel I would do anything to get some kind of power over people that wronged me in the past"
Also speaking from experience here -- if you feel like you would do anything to have power over your haters, then it is the exact opposite that is true, they are the ones holding power of you, and it's actually not even them - it is your mental construction of these people, something that is actually empty of inherent existence (they probably don't even care).  Why should something that is empty of inherent existence dictate to you how to live your life and cause you suffering?


So all that is to say, well, for one thing, you're not alone. But also, I think there can be a happy medium between having to "settle" for what you have and not be able to entertain any sort of hope for worldly advancement if you really aren't happy with your life, and wanting this totally lit superstar lifestyle.  IMO there is nothing wrong or unhealthy about wanting to get yourself into a happy, more meaningful place. (You might find somewhere along the road that your life is actually pretty great.) Meditation could help get you there.  So anyway, just a little bit of rambling back at you.  Welcome to the site and hope you find something helpful here emoticon
Cole Thomas MacDonald, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Introduction Post/Looking for friends/curious about what's best for me

Posts: 7 Join Date: 10/11/21 Recent Posts
Thanks for your reply, John.  I've heard most of the stuff you've told me before. I'm well aware the people that made me feel like crap in the past don't care about me, that doesn't really make me feel any better.  I'd still like to be in a position to pull up at a red light beside them in a 10x more expensive car and laugh at their rust bucket, even if they don't recognize me anymore. I doubt any amount of logic is going to make it go away.  I mean, I still wanted to be a recording artist before having this angst in me, it's more that I've made some catchy songs that I believe brought out to their fullest seem at a "professional level".  

I'm addicted to cannabis and caffiene too, I don't think that helps this situation at all but I really have no will or desire to quit.

I uuh, I don't know what else to say right now. I'm in a low place. I wish currently I was never born. I find it weird how suicide is frowned upon by basically every possible angle of religion, culture, spirituality, you name it... except for antinatalists and people that have just done it... the idea that your life is wrong & the problem is unsolvable seems like it could happen so easily, yet wanting to cancel it is so bad? 

I know this forum wasn't made to be some kind of venting space and I'm sick of feeling insulted by potentially harsh replies, admin feel free to just ban me, I get it.
Hey I get it, I am usually one of those people who has to 'see for themself' whether something is true or not.  Intellectualizing something isn't enough for me.  In a sense meditation is that 'see for yourself' aspect.  There are layers to awakening, there is the intellectual level, then there is the experiential level to it, and then there is the permanent realization level to it.

The concept of 'no-self' can be understood intellectually-- in this case, you can understand that your desire to have power over other people is based on your projection of those people as somehow doubting/hating you -- but like you say, that's not enough.  The actual experience of no-self is more profound.  When one understands first-hand beyond any doubt that the concept of our "self" is empty, does not exist inherently, then it's easier to see through these mental constructions and whatnot.

Not to say that I am super advanced or anything, I am mostly just explaining how I approach these thought patterns for myself when they come up, and the types of things that meditation can help with, I don't mean to be preachy or anything like that.  Hope it helps.

I know this forum wasn't made to be some kind of venting space and I'm sick of feeling insulted by potentially harsh replies, admin feel free to just ban me, I get it.
I don't find it off topic at all, you're talking about where you are currently at and curious about getting more into meditation.  Why would anyone ban you for that?  One thing you could do if you are worried about being overly personal is start a log here, that way you have your own thread that people can chime in on and offer advice if you want them to.
Hey and one more thing - again I don't mean to sound condescending or preachy, just kind of bouncing some ideas out there and maybe they will resonate, maybe not, just want to try to show some support for you the best that I can -

Have you tried any concentration meditation, like breathwork for example?  Stuff that is more aimed at relaxation and centering, rather than deconstructing and self-inquiry (insight).  I have found that when I'm overwhelmed with personal issues it's usually a good idea to do types of meditation that will help settle me down and center me and then from there I can sort of move into more self-inquiry stuff from a more passive and calmed state.

One thing I like is the Wim Hof breathing technique, they charge a bunch of money for classes and stuff like that but I've never paid anything, just watched the basic technique here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nzCaZQqAs9I

Just a thought, hope it helps
Vincit Omnia Veritas, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Introduction Post/Looking for friends/curious about what's best for me

Posts: 10 Join Date: 10/12/21 Recent Posts
Hey Cole,

I'm also new to this community and looking for some direction, so I don't really feel in any position to give meditation advice (the more I read here the more I realize I actually don't know shit about meditation after all lol). I do understand depression, hopelessness and being suicidal. I will say that after finding meditation and learning of the options out there that it largely curbed my suicidal thoughts. I realized that if I ever wanted to completely give up on my life I could renounce myself to a monastary and start the process of killing "the self," and there was always the chance that I'd eventually heal enough to return to life.

I'm also a songwriter and tried to "go for it" for a while, eventually gave in and took a normal job and then went through a deep depression over gradually letting go of that dream. That said, I've never really had much interest in fame (frankly, I prefer to be as anonymous as possible - especially in today's toxic culture) - and even if I were to cultivate what I still believe is some genuine raw talent (I've gotten some high praise from people I trust know what they're talking about) to it's maximum level the odds of standing out from the noise and making a living in the music business (let alone becoming anything close to a rich rockstar or whatever) are not very good, and require a ton of effort and sacrifice, mostly involving self-promotion, networking, traveling, etc. that has nothing to do with actually making music. I know some extremely talented people who are still chasing that dream and I'm actually kind of glad that I got myself out. During COVID I decided to dedicate myself to writing again, honing my craft and bolstering my guitar/piano skills. When things opened back up for a bit I even hit a few open mics. I dunno, for me it felt kind of ... dirty. I hated going on stage and begging for people's approval. I posted some stuff on Soundcloud and it was like, what now? Promote myself? Become one of those desperate people who comment on Youtube videos of famous artists begging people to listen to them? I joined some online songwriting groups and it was just ... so many people desperately trying to get people to listen to their songs. Honestly, I didn't really want to listen to random people's music, so why would anyone want to listen to me? I'm still working on my relationship to music - trying to figure out how to just play and write for fun again, maybe eventually find a community of like minded people I can jam with and trade songs.

As for the envy, ego, wanting to impress people, prove myself ... I had all that. It did eventually fade (meditation, spirituality, passage of time helped with that I imagine). For example, back when I was hanging out on "the scene" with the artists and hipsters I'd post pics of myself on social media. They were taken by my photographer friends, so I looked super cool: partying in the city, surrounded by gorgeous women, posing with guitars, etc. I'd never even posted any actual music - but I did get word that all of the "cool kids" from my hometown who looked down on me in high school saw this stuff and were super impressed that I had become such a player. It was all an illusion, but in their minds I apparently had proven them wrong. That's when I realized I didn't actully care about those people anyway or what they thought.

That hunger for fame and approval? It's something within you, it has nothing to do with those other people. They're just phantoms anyway - we have a hard enough time getting to know "who" we are, and nearly all of what we think of others - even people close to us - are projections from within ourselves.
Cole Thomas MacDonald, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Introduction Post/Looking for friends/curious about what's best for me

Posts: 7 Join Date: 10/11/21 Recent Posts
Hi, Vincit. Man, I just wrote a whole 2 pages of stuff and then palmed some key that highlighted everything and because I type fast it was all replaced with the next word I was typing... super frustrating and I'm done for today :'(  

I appreciate your story though and relate to some of the stuff you said, albeit have trouble accepting it. Thanks for your reply and I'll try to say something along the lines of what I was gonna tomorrow or maybe the next day. Sorry! 

I guess as a side note I am on a trusted PC, I guess I should get some kind of key-logging thing to maybe prevent stuff like that, it's not the first time it's happened haha.... if anyone has something decent/free/or cheap to suggest that'd be cool :p 
Vincit Omnia Veritas, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Introduction Post/Looking for friends/curious about what's best for me

Posts: 10 Join Date: 10/12/21 Recent Posts
It's all good. I'd like to read it, but I assume just the act of writing out whatever it is you wrote was helpful to you and that's what's important. emoticon
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Introduction Post/Looking for friends/curious about what's best for me

Posts: 364 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
... if anyone has something decent/free/or cheap to suggest that'd be cool :p 

Type your replies in a word processor or something, anything, other than typing them in here. Then when you've finished a reply in that other app, copy it and paste it here.
Cole Thomas MacDonald, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Introduction Post/Looking for friends/curious about what's best for me

Posts: 7 Join Date: 10/11/21 Recent Posts
Maybe if it autosaves or something, I'm pretty sure the same thing could potentially happen otherwise.  Coincidentally I found that Windows 10 has a clipboard history you can access with win key + V though, that's pretty cool.
Vincit Omnia Veritas, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Introduction Post/Looking for friends/curious about what's best for me

Posts: 10 Join Date: 10/12/21 Recent Posts
Lol. I just wrote out a long reponse to some helpful people on my post and the whole damn thing just vanished into thin air once I pressed "Publish," so it's not just you. I guess from now on I'll copy and paste from Word or something when I want to write more than a short response. There must be some kind of time limit on this forum interface.
Cole Thomas MacDonald, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Introduction Post/Looking for friends/curious about what's best for me

Posts: 7 Join Date: 10/11/21 Recent Posts
Oh damn, that's rough.. I know in my case I just hit something with my palm to highlight everything, but I think I remember that happening on a message board a few years back. So irritating! 

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