GDM's Log

George GDM, modified 2 Months ago at 5/24/22 7:50 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 5/24/22 7:41 PM

GDM's Log

Posts: 2 Join Date: 5/24/22 Recent Posts
Hi Dharma Overground,

I feel it's time to stop lurking and start a practice log.

I have three motivations, all simple.

  • I am living in a very stressful and depressing situation at the moment. It will go on for some time, and I will need some relief from the personal emotions involved in it.
More broadly and more importantly in the long run...

  • I am tired of living my life in mental and emotional patterns that can't bring lasting satisfaction, clarity, insight or peace.
  • I am tired of feeling estranged from the ultimate reality of what I am and what I'm immersed in.
I don't have a fixed idea of what I hope to attain, but I know that my current mental and emotional world is a very limited and limiting thing, and I don't want to be entangled in this forever.

I was inspired by a recent post by Shargrol.
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/23878026#_com_liferay_message_boards_web_portlet_MBPortlet_message_23878726

Selected quotes here:
[Shargrol]:
It's important to understand that what good therapy and meditation does is gives you solace _within_ your distressing thoughts. When you see distressing thoughts as just thoughts and when you notice your "mind" is bigger than those thoughts, then there is just a little more space. You don't feel trapped and you know you have options. There is a sense of being free, despite having distressing thoughts at the moment.

And that's the trick, so to speak, of good therapy and meditation. When you learn to see sensations as sensations, urges as urges, emotions as emotion, and thoughts as thoughts --- then these "mind objects" are just what they are and they aren't so distressing. ...

Therapy plus meditation is the best combination for making progress. But it doesn't just "make the bad stuff go away". Actually, it makes us better able to "be okay" during challenging experiences where we don't "feel okay" when "things don't seem okay". ...

A meditation practice gives us lots of experience in just sitting and noticing our thoughts are just thoughts, emotions are just emotions, urges are just urges... It trains us to be aware of our mind/body and not fall into trance-like actions. This is why meditation helps build sanity. It is practice for living in a mindful and awake way. ...

And don't judge progress by what "shows up" in your body/mind. You judge progress by how good you can be with simply being with your thoughts and emotions without acting. So in a way, if you have distressing thoughts and emotions while meditating, that's good! It gives you a chance to be with distressing thoughts and emotions! So "bad sits" are "good practice". And if you can develop this attitude, you'll make a lot of progress.

When I read this, I thought it was simple and superb advice to the original poster. I also recognise it as simple and superb advice to me emoticon So this will be my practice. Just this, nothing more.

GDM (another George)
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Chris M, modified 2 Months ago at 5/25/22 7:19 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 5/25/22 7:19 AM

RE: GDM's Log

Posts: 4484 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
More broadly and more importantly in the long run...
  • I am tired of living my life in mental and emotional patterns that can't bring lasting satisfaction, clarity, insight or peace.
  • I am tired of feeling estranged from the ultimate reality of what I am and what I'm immersed in.

These are almost identical to the reasons I began a meditation practice. While this path is not a short one, please stick to it with consistency. It has resolved these issues for me, and I suspect it will for you, too, George. And keep us informed about what you're doing and feeling, and ask questions heree as they come up.

Welcome to the rest of your life.

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George GDM, modified 2 Months ago at 5/25/22 9:18 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 5/25/22 9:18 PM

RE: GDM's Log

Posts: 2 Join Date: 5/24/22 Recent Posts
Thanks, Chris. "Welcome to the rest of your life" has and optimistic and exciting ring to it, but I also get the "here be dragons" aspect emoticon Anyway, I'm up for it. I already know what the alternative leads to.

I'll take your advice on consistency. My initial plan is at least two formal 45 minute sessions every day, with shorter periods of basic mindful awareness whenever it occurs to me.

With formal sits my aim is to just sit and be aware, don't expect miracles, don't try to figure everything out, don't try too hard to concentrate or control my experience, just settle in and let myself be aware of whatever comes up. Put aside any tendency to affirm or deny the validity of thoughts and feelings, just be aware of their presence and their character (as thoughts and feelings) instead. 

Unless anything out of the ordinary happens or I need to ask questions, I'll write a summary at the end of each month. I figure that's long enough to allow for daily fluctuations, but short enough to track any overall trends.

Thanks again, Chris. Looking forward to "the rest of my life" emoticon