Over Preoccupation and expectations

wylo , modified 10 Years ago at 5/11/12 7:10 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/11/12 7:02 AM

Over Preoccupation and expectations

Posts: 166 Join Date: 11/18/11 Recent Posts
Hi all,
Before I go on , ill just briefly say where Im at, after a big abdiding awakening and insight into no "me" a year ago, I worked and worked at it, until I hit what I now genuinely beleive is MCTB 1st Path in mid/late March.

Heres my issue,
My whole life Ive been overpreoccupied by things, its always been the same pattern..
-> new interest
-> excitement that this will be thing I become super succesful/rich/even famous for
-> over obsession and over preoccupation
-> relatively impressive results/growth in that area
-> harsh realization and gut wrenching feeling that you gotta be a master at that to be really the best.
-> Lessening excitement , increase in suffering and bitterness
-> Get bored and stop after having learned loads about it and having made very good progress.
-> overall a sense of bitterness for a while
..
..
,.
-> new interest (THIS ONE WILL BE THE ONE).
-> and so the cycle begins again

This played out several times over my life until enlightenment presented itself to me. A completely different opposite take on how my life should be lived, not to mention an answer and a reason for my previous behaviour and what I was looking for, i.e. the fundamental knowledge , (even if I dont fully experience it yet), that there is literally nothing outside of this very moment that make you more content.

Now, my biggest fear was that I was turning this into the same old same old, like above^^, new interest -> passion -> results ->then potential bitterness and a realization that Ive destroyed my ambition in life, ive destroyed my ability to improve anything else in my life, as in , basically despite all the insight, all the peace, the lack of fear, and growth in genuine inner confidence Im becoming a small bit crap "at life". Im getting lazy with my business, Ive made no effort to meet the opposite sex, Im not challenging myself in other ways.

The thing is Ive sort of justified this a bit by telling myself this is fundamentally the most important thing I could ever do in my life, that my own suffering, my own fear, my beleifs/ideas and whatever negativity is still lingering is the root cause of why other things have failed in the past.

People always say "It doesnt solve your problems", but I call bullshit on that to an extent, yes it does, most of my problems were fear based/negativity based/beleif based, and these "bases" are falling apart.
Ok, it hasnt solved my conventional problems , im still broke, Im still single etc etc but my justification is that by getting this done, then I can start working on other isues, with ease and confidence, as oppose to fear and blockage.

My question is, am I being really really naive? Should I be so over-preoccupied? I love being really preoccupied by something, but unfortunately it always results in the neglection of other things.
Am I getting it all wrong? that despite the sense of freedom the majority of the time, despite the peace, despite the reduction in fear that essentially Im weighing waaay too much importance on this as being the answer to other stuff?

Have any of you ran into this problem ? Finding a balance, trying to find a way to motivate yourself back into the conventional world?
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 5/11/12 8:42 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/11/12 8:42 AM

RE: Over Preoccupation and expectations

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
wylo .:
Heres my issue,
My whole life Ive been overpreoccupied by things, its always been the same pattern..
-> new interest
-> excitement that this will be thing I become super succesful/rich/even famous for
-> over obsession and over preoccupation
-> relatively impressive results/growth in that area
-> harsh realization and gut wrenching feeling that you gotta be a master at that to be really the best.
-> Lessening excitement , increase in suffering and bitterness
-> Get bored and stop after having learned loads about it and having made very good progress.
-> overall a sense of bitterness for a while
..
..
,.
-> new interest (THIS ONE WILL BE THE ONE).
-> and so the cycle begins again


Have you considered these possibilities?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclothymia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bipolar_II

Just throwing it out there.
wylo , modified 10 Years ago at 5/11/12 9:16 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/11/12 9:06 AM

RE: Over Preoccupation and expectations

Posts: 166 Join Date: 11/18/11 Recent Posts
Interesting, I had actually considered bipolar in the past because I knew my personality was much more obsessive compare to most people, but whenever I read about it I just simply couldnt relate to some of the extreme symptoms , but those links seem a bit more probable alright, as they seem to stress a much milder version of it, its something Ill give some thought, and read into.

I guess the past few months I was treating those more "depressive" episodes as dark night. I dont even like using the word depressive, more like unmotivated.


Now all that said, to be perfectly honest, when I write out descriptions like the one I did there, Im only ever pointing out the extremeties of it, on a par with someone like yourself describing an insight stage like "misery", but we both know you are not experiencing "misery" as the regular person would read it.

Also, for the most part , since waking up (leaving aside stages/models/where i think im at) I have left most of that thinking pattern behind, in that the whole idea of me wanting to be "somebody" has for the most part fallen away thankfully.What I want out of life has changed. (But im aware how easy it is to fool ourselves and lie to ourselves about certain phenomenon , so ill leave a disclaimer that I could be completely wrong here)

But just to expand on that, if this latest hobby (enlightenment) was like the past hobbies, Id probably want to be some known teacher, an author, or something to that extent, that would be my equivalent of 'making it', whereas I have literally absolutely no interest in any of that stuff, its 100% the opposite this time, I just want to perceive my present existence with as much clarity and peace that is possible.

Maybe I just need to take it easy for a while. I guess when you gain such a strong insight into how your own mind/thoughts/ideas is pretty much completely determing how you are viewing everything in the world, you get addicted to wanting to fix it entirely.


I gotta admit I can really relate to cyclothymia
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 5/11/12 10:10 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/11/12 10:01 AM

RE: Over Preoccupation and expectations

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
Let me make this comment really quickly because I only have a few moments to spare:

If you actually do have a mood disorder such as cyclothymia, then in some ways that might undermine the way you're looking at things (in relation to the question in this post). Instead of thinking "If I pursue spirituality, will it reduce negativity, and will that ultimately help my everyday problems?", you might think, "If I pursue medical evaluation and treatment, will it reduce negativity, ultimately helping me with both my spiritual pursuits and my everyday problems?" Because, chances are, if you have a mood disorder, it's screwing with everything in your life to some extent or other.

A thought for how to evaluate any symptoms you have: it's probably better to think about how much dysfunction they're causing you, rather than how they match up to your preconceptions about how extreme the subjective experience of them would have to be to count as "serious". (I have known people with bipolar-type disorders; their symptoms and the resulting behavior, when taken piece-by-piece, can often seem decently well within the acceptable range (i.e. not "extreme" or "a serious problem"), despite the fact that, taken as a whole, their life is seriously impacted and worsened by whatever symptoms and behavior they have.)

Bruno Loff mentioned being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, so perhaps he can say something about how it (and his current treatment, whatever it is) impacted his practice and his everyday life.

I really have no idea whether you have cyclothymia or whatever, but your description was pretty striking (and you seem to have so much recurrent doubt about things, beyond what I would suppose is normal, given what you've achieved so far, which may or may not be based in some kind of cyclical mood fluctuation)...

Good luck either way!

EDIT: This seems like a reliable, extensive reference: http://psycheducation.org/. I know at least one person who has told me about their very bad experience with bipolar disorder + antidepressants; see http://www.psycheducation.org/bipolar/controversy.htm in connection with that.
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fivebells , modified 10 Years ago at 5/11/12 10:51 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/11/12 10:51 AM

RE: Over Preoccupation and expectations

Posts: 563 Join Date: 2/25/11 Recent Posts
wylo .:
-> harsh realization and gut wrenching feeling that you gotta be a master at that to be really the best.
-> Lessening excitement , increase in suffering and bitterness

Now, my biggest fear was that I was turning this into the same old same old, like above^^, new interest -> passion -> results ->then potential bitterness and a realization that Ive destroyed my ambition in life, ive destroyed my ability to improve anything else in my life, as in , basically despite all the insight, all the peace, the lack of fear, and growth in genuine inner confidence Im becoming a small bit crap "at life". Im getting lazy with my business, Ive made no effort to meet the opposite sex, Im not challenging myself in other ways.

The thing is Ive sort of justified this a bit by telling myself this is fundamentally the most important thing I could ever do in my life, that my own suffering, my own fear, my beleifs/ideas and whatever negativity is still lingering is the root cause of why other things have failed in the past.

Have any of you ran into this problem ? Finding a balance, trying to find a way to motivate yourself back into the conventional world?


Yep, story of my life. While EIS's speculations are definitely worth exploring, I agree with you (see section 4) that this is the most important work in life. In your practice you have built up some valuable capabilities which you can turn to the study of what's going on in your life. Why not see what happens if you make the "gut wrenching feeling" the object of meditation? If you explore this, you will probably find mudita meditation helpful.
Trent , modified 10 Years ago at 5/11/12 1:14 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/11/12 11:20 AM

RE: Over Preoccupation and expectations

Posts: 361 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
hello,

it might be worthwhile to really ponder the stream analogy. if you were swimming across a body of water of unknown breadth, and you could not turn back, what would be on your mind? would you be worried about your finances, or your social status, or your relationships? Or would you be concerned with balancing your energy, refining your swimming technique, etc? would you be wondering about how to balance the aims of those two categories, or would you be wholly concerned with swimming for your life?

if you have found the resolve to enter the stream, then it's probably not a bad idea to be somewhat obsessed (very resolved) on reaching the other side. otherwise, you risk floating around forever in the water, or being swept away by the current, or pulled under and chewed up by the rocks on the bottom ('the dark night').

trent
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katy steger,thru11615 with thanks, modified 10 Years ago at 5/11/12 12:17 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/11/12 12:17 PM

RE: Over Preoccupation and expectations

Posts: 1740 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
Hi Wylo,

First, thanks for your contributions here. Your openness and efforts and humility...useful!

I appreciate what others have said, but, I want to underline Trent's point. There are many ways to avoid the practice. I am not saying, "Don't go get diagnosed" with something, but I am saying, the hard, consistent, simple showing-up for the work of mindfulness/HAIETMOBA/noting remains. The practice must be done. You clearly, by your own accounts, are a capable meditator and sati-kins (derivative of munchkin, I guess). Honestly, I think it is daily mindfulness that rings the bell when people are getting stuck here---the egoic mind just wants more me chat. Try 6 weeks of dedicated actualism or mindfulness or sensate open awareness...whatever the practice, just consider making time for sati. Then make concentration practice alert and bright. Never lie down during a tiring moment of sitting. Stand up. Otherwise the egoic mind, like a child, learns "hey, when I am tired I get to go take a nap."

If it helps, I remember much restlessness and dissatisfaction before the "candidate event" (thanks to Tarver...the phrase sounds funny to me to use that versus SE), and even for two months after the event. Now, somehow settled, I see how much energy I waste and how much curious, useful, good engagement can be had en every moment. Hell, maybe I am only in really high equanimity. One can call it spaghetti sauce for all I care, but the practice is what delivered and the practice is simple: keep the mind in sati/HAIETMOBA/noting/mindful throughout the day unless you are doing cognitive processing (then the mind is mindful of the cognitive effort task)...and run with meditation in alertness; that little space above the lip becomes a universe and a funny door to the mind in anapanasati.
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Martin M, modified 10 Years ago at 5/11/12 5:01 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/11/12 5:01 PM

RE: Over Preoccupation and expectations

Posts: 91 Join Date: 9/3/09 Recent Posts
Hi,

I´ve written about the same pattern in my last journal post.
What´s interesting to me right now is EiS reference to mental disorders.
Although some of the symptoms fit quite well, others don´t at all.... I´m not really experiencing depressive episodes, on the contrary for the most part my mood is quite stable (i.e. neutral) but there are very short moments of sadness/crying (lasting a couple of seconds) which are triggered by experiencing/reading about things that - even to the smallest extent - have/had some value/meaning to 'me'.
It seems to me like a result of freed up(affective) energy which used to be part of the self-referential process and is now looking for every opportunity to get back on center-stage, i.e. form an identity...
It is noticed as such and I´m quickly back to feeling neutral/good... which I guess to an outside observer could indeed look rather bipolar lol.
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Richard Zen, modified 10 Years ago at 5/11/12 5:02 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/11/12 5:02 PM

RE: Over Preoccupation and expectations

Posts: 1664 Join Date: 5/18/10 Recent Posts
wylo .:
My question is, am I being really really naive? Should I be so over-preoccupied? I love being really preoccupied by something, but unfortunately it always results in the neglection of other things.
Am I getting it all wrong? that despite the sense of freedom the majority of the time, despite the peace, despite the reduction in fear that essentially Im weighing waaay too much importance on this as being the answer to other stuff?

Have any of you ran into this problem ? Finding a balance, trying to find a way to motivate yourself back into the conventional world?


Lots of people run into this problem including me. I still think that the Vedana (feeling tone) foundation of mindfulness should not be neglected. Also as the Dalai Lama points out you should look at what is unpleasant in the superficially pleasant activities and look for the pleasant in the superficially unpleasant activities to gain daily life working equanimity. If there is something neutral that is covering up more pleasant or unpleasant sensations then look into that as well. Most people who are awesome at their jobs or tasks find something addictive about them. After you go through a Vipassana process and destroy addictions it's easy to turn nihilistic (which is what you are trying to avoid). So my two cents would be to find a deep purpose in your life (that you may have had in the past or what you have recently developed) and start acting through trial and error to move toward that purpose. This is where logic practice though CBT (I posted below) will help more than mindfulness. You still want to rationally think about good choices when you make life changes and the conceptual cognitive part works just fine and should be used to guide some actions where obvious thinking will help. Yet going too far with introspection doesn't allow for enough detail to consider. There is more detail to learn about yourself in doing than being introspective without action. It's easy to get caught up in wanting everything to be perfect in life and psychologists point out that healthy relationship attachments can provide a large component of happiness. A Buddhist would say to release those attachments but I think the argument is more sophisticated than that. Release the attachment to the idea that you will be permanently happy by some future relationship and just give love and receive love when that relationship actually happens in the moment. That way you can follow Yoda: "Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose" without becoming locked up from a normal life.

I also just posted quotes from some books that have helped me:

Frankl Logotherapy and Ibarra Working Identity

I would also look into that book Willpower to see the lastest research on how temptation depletes willpower.

Willpower

Of course reading is great but 95% of it is the doing until new habits strengthen and old habits atrophy.

Okay just one more book with good exercises emoticon This one helped me a lot when I was using Buddhism too much forgetting the role of logic in decision making:

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

People are not disturbed by events but by the view they hold about them. ~ Epictetus


Basically to sum it up you need to use a query system where you look at the emotion that is currently happening to you and then look at the belief behind it because beliefs lead to emotions. If that belief is rationally out to lunch then your new belief based on observation and evidence should change your emotion. If you feel you're failing at other goals in your life due to inaction and you get some reactivity that is telling you so I think that is very logical and is okay to have. Some signals are telling you some common sense and don't let meditation be an excuse not to think, want or act. Pursuing meaningful work and relationships is not Samsara if you understand their limited results. Those limited results could be very good nonetheless. That's what I like about Daniel's book. One can plunge into society while having a meditation practice. I think CBT works well with Vipassana and "bare sensate awareness" or whatever people on this site prefer to call it. Most life activities have some trial and error component in them and it's necessary to get that experience before suitable options appear to your mind. You want to avoid bad relationships and develop good ones.

I hope this helps emoticon
wylo , modified 10 Years ago at 5/13/12 7:34 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/13/12 7:34 AM

RE: Over Preoccupation and expectations

Posts: 166 Join Date: 11/18/11 Recent Posts
End in Sight:
Let me make this comment really quickly because I only have a few moments to spare:

If you actually do have a mood disorder such as cyclothymia, then in some ways that might undermine the way you're looking at things (in relation to the question in this post). Instead of thinking "If I pursue spirituality, will it reduce negativity, and will that ultimately help my everyday problems?", you might think, "If I pursue medical evaluation and treatment, will it reduce negativity, ultimately helping me with both my spiritual pursuits and my everyday problems?" Because, chances are, if you have a mood disorder, it's screwing with everything in your life to some extent or other.

A thought for how to evaluate any symptoms you have: it's probably better to think about how much dysfunction they're causing you, rather than how they match up to your preconceptions about how extreme the subjective experience of them would have to be to count as "serious". (I have known people with bipolar-type disorders; their symptoms and the resulting behavior, when taken piece-by-piece, can often seem decently well within the acceptable range (i.e. not "extreme" or "a serious problem"), despite the fact that, taken as a whole, their life is seriously impacted and worsened by whatever symptoms and behavior they have.)

Bruno Loff mentioned being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, so perhaps he can say something about how it (and his current treatment, whatever it is) impacted his practice and his everyday life.

I really have no idea whether you have cyclothymia or whatever, but your description was pretty striking (and you seem to have so much recurrent doubt about things, beyond what I would suppose is normal, given what you've achieved so far, which may or may not be based in some kind of cyclical mood fluctuation)...

Good luck either way!

EDIT: This seems like a reliable, extensive reference: http://psycheducation.org/. I know at least one person who has told me about their very bad experience with bipolar disorder + antidepressants; see http://www.psycheducation.org/bipolar/controversy.htm in connection with that.


Thanks, regarding antidepressants etc, I will be VERY VERY cautious about that end of things, but I will go see someone alright, even if its just mild, like you say, it may be affecting both my regular life AND my spiritual path.

Regarding doubt, its really hard to tell, sometimes I wonder am I just a bit of internet moaner, you know? Like running into small issues and having a big rant online and then forgetting about it, and never bothering posting the cool stuff!emoticon but that said, there is obviously still very much a ME story in my original post, and that in itself is THE doubt, even if I dont doubt my awakening experience, so its interesting that you point that out.
wylo , modified 10 Years ago at 5/13/12 7:39 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/13/12 7:39 AM

RE: Over Preoccupation and expectations

Posts: 166 Join Date: 11/18/11 Recent Posts
fivebells .:
wylo .:
-> harsh realization and gut wrenching feeling that you gotta be a master at that to be really the best.
-> Lessening excitement , increase in suffering and bitterness

Now, my biggest fear was that I was turning this into the same old same old, like above^^, new interest -> passion -> results ->then potential bitterness and a realization that Ive destroyed my ambition in life, ive destroyed my ability to improve anything else in my life, as in , basically despite all the insight, all the peace, the lack of fear, and growth in genuine inner confidence Im becoming a small bit crap "at life". Im getting lazy with my business, Ive made no effort to meet the opposite sex, Im not challenging myself in other ways.

The thing is Ive sort of justified this a bit by telling myself this is fundamentally the most important thing I could ever do in my life, that my own suffering, my own fear, my beleifs/ideas and whatever negativity is still lingering is the root cause of why other things have failed in the past.

Have any of you ran into this problem ? Finding a balance, trying to find a way to motivate yourself back into the conventional world?


Yep, story of my life. While EIS's speculations are definitely worth exploring, I agree with you (see section 4) that this is the most important work in life. In your practice you have built up some valuable capabilities which you can turn to the study of what's going on in your life. Why not see what happens if you make the "gut wrenching feeling" the object of meditation? If you explore this, you will probably find mudita meditation helpful.


Cheers fivebells, I should probably clarify, regarding my description of that cycle Ive been through my whole life, that was sort of prior to awakening. Although it didnt fully go away, the intensity of it, so the gut wrenching feeling is sort of gone, but you're right its something I must look at when my interest drops off and I feel somewhat demotivated.


Ill read your comment now,

to the others, thanks for the responses, Ill reply back this evening emoticon
wylo , modified 10 Years ago at 5/14/12 6:57 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/14/12 6:57 PM

RE: Over Preoccupation and expectations

Posts: 166 Join Date: 11/18/11 Recent Posts
I have read the other responses thoroughly, and want to say thanks for tips advice and stream analogy, Ill check out the CBT stuff and the stuff you recommend too Katy.

But I wont undermine the idea of any disorders or conditions either, its quite freeing to feel not above it, possibly something I would have denied 6 months ago.
I must stress though, this pattern did for the most part fall away after my initial step into this whole thing.
Also my main question was more about a concern whether Im weighing too much importance on this to the point that its neglecting other stuff, but Richard Zens reccomendations have a nice balanced view of it, that certainly helps bring it into the conventional life.
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Jon T, modified 10 Years ago at 5/15/12 8:11 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/15/12 8:11 PM

RE: Over Preoccupation and expectations

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
Trent .:
hello,

it might be worthwhile to really ponder the stream analogy. if you were swimming across a body of water of unknown breadth, and you could not turn back, what would be on your mind? would you be worried about your finances, or your social status, or your relationships? Or would you be concerned with balancing your energy, refining your swimming technique, etc? would you be wondering about how to balance the aims of those two categories, or would you be wholly concerned with swimming for your life?

if you have found the resolve to enter the stream, then it's probably not a bad idea to be somewhat obsessed (very resolved) on reaching the other side. otherwise, you risk floating around forever in the water, or being swept away by the current, or pulled under and chewed up by the rocks on the bottom ('the dark night').

trent


Hi Trent,

Are you saying that a practioner sufficently far along to know exactly what he wants and why he wants it should put everything non-essential on hold until his final success?
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 5/22/12 8:16 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/22/12 8:16 AM

RE: Over Preoccupation and expectations

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
Martin M:
Hi,

I´ve written about the same pattern in my last journal post.
What´s interesting to me right now is EiS reference to mental disorders.
Although some of the symptoms fit quite well, others don´t at all.... I´m not really experiencing depressive episodes, on the contrary for the most part my mood is quite stable (i.e. neutral) but there are very short moments of sadness/crying (lasting a couple of seconds) which are triggered by experiencing/reading about things that - even to the smallest extent - have/had some value/meaning to 'me'.
It seems to me like a result of freed up(affective) energy which used to be part of the self-referential process and is now looking for every opportunity to get back on center-stage, i.e. form an identity...
It is noticed as such and I´m quickly back to feeling neutral/good... which I guess to an outside observer could indeed look rather bipolar lol.


The big thing that made me suggest some kind of bipolar-spectrum disorder as a possibility in wylo's case is the way that he described cycles of goal-setting and goal-oriented behavior, which, as I understand it, is more suggestive of an underlying disorder.
Trent , modified 10 Years ago at 5/22/12 2:41 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/22/12 2:41 PM

RE: Over Preoccupation and expectations

Posts: 361 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
hello,

Jon T:
Are you saying that a practioner sufficently far along to know exactly what he wants and why he wants it should put everything non-essential on hold until his final success?


i was hinting at a point that a practitioner can reach where there is no longer a choice about whether to maintain or relinquish the non-essential. to return to the metaphor, the man can either float around in the water ruminating on things irrelevant to his situation until he dies, or he can focus on swimming for the shore. is there really a choice there? just so, a person either dies in stress while ruminating on irrelevancies, never to uncover the meaning of life, or persists diligently onward. now, if the distance to the goal isn't knowable, do you risk not committing 100% right this moment? do you risk one day lying on your death bed, regretting that you did not commit yourself wholly when you had the opportunity?

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