My new 'practice'

Adam . ., modified 8 Years ago.

My new 'practice'

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
So my whole conception of 'practice' has changed it seems. Over the past 2 years I have basically systematically repressed my thoughts and actions in an attempt to train myself towards more clarity and equanimity etc. Even when doing very open, passive practices there was still lots of strange beliefs about how I should be and how my subjective experience should appear which really did nothing but create lots of pressure and suffering. The pressure built up until an 'explosion' the thought loops and painful experiences of which it was composed I detailed in this thread:

http://dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/3944123

Jake and Jason gave me some interesting advice and I have started approaching life in a way I never had except perhaps in my pre-meditation life. I see now that my approach to 'spirituality' was basically just an adoption of beliefs about how I should be, instead of being a 'good little boy' for my parents or whatever I was being a 'good little meditator'. Now I am trying to to accept myself, acting natural, being extroverted etc. so far it has worked better for being happy than anything I have done in the past 2 years.

I don't know what this fits in with, maybe actualism, maybe CCCism but I will report on any form of 'psychological progress' that occurs, because I am still interested in the different ways people can improve the way the interact with the world in general.

if anyone has any thoughts i;d be interested
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: My new 'practice'

Posts: 1633 Join Date: 5/18/10 Recent Posts
I think investigating the 7 factors of awakening and using them to investigate the 5 aggregates will show you how your willpower/volition/choices are affected by many things you don't have control over. Look at what you think is "mine" and see how automatic a lot of it is. To let those impulses arise and pass away without manipulation of any kind and to make different choices based on your important values should make life better. Use the willpower more efficiently. I too have gotten more extroverted as practice has progressed. (I'm usually quite introverted)

Keep practicing and adding more skills to your arsenal.
Adam . ., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: My new 'practice'

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Ok, well intense depression popped back up today, so I don't think my formula of extroversion and self-acceptance will be the magic bullet I thought it was. In fact the only thing I can do to 'survive' right now is pure concentration. Panoramic attention, investigation of beliefs, trying to think positively, trying to alter perceptions are all basically unbearable.

And I know that whole thing ^ is just an optional narrative, but it takes so much energy to believe in a different narrative that I can only maintain such a perspective-shift for about 20 seconds. What really baffles me is that in the 5 days before today after 'blowing up' there was authentic joy, I spent the whole time socializing with people and there were practically no negative thoughts. I really don't think I am capable of so wholeheartedly committing to the non-meditation approach as I did in those days, and it really seemed to work but now the shit is coming back as if it never left and I can't fathom why.
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Jon T, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: My new 'practice'

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
That sucks adam. Perhaps, you'd benefit from focusing on the things which make you feel positive and tend to sustain positivity. Things in that category tend to feel chore-like, however. They mostly revolve around work, fitness, maintenance and finances. But doing them does create a positive self-image. A great barrier lifted when i learned to accept and enjoy them. Concurrently, I learned to not let lazy days and procrastination change my mood to a self-defeating one.
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Jon T, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: My new 'practice'

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
Jon T:
That sucks adam. Perhaps, you'd benefit from focusing on the things which make you feel positive and tend to sustain positivity. Things in that category tend to feel chore-like, however. They mostly revolve around work, fitness, maintenance and finances. But doing them does create a positive self-image. A great barrier lifted when i learned to accept and enjoy them. Concurrently, I learned to not let lazy days and procrastination change my mood to a self-defeating one.



I want to add four things that may help.

1) having a life goal clarifies intention. And intention gives credence to your life: it creates a positive self-image. I'm 35 years old and went through my whole life with either temporary unrealistic life goals or no life goals whatsoever. It finally clicked one specific day during a conversation with a new friend who was talking about her life. And I thought, 'i can do those things too and they seem like a really good idea.' (home ownership and subsequently i've also begun paving the way to go back to school and get a MSW for the therapist license - so far my work in both areas is all preliminary) It was especially important for me because I create my own hours. Having a specific reason to go to work narrows and clarifies my intention. You may be in a similar situation because you are a student and skipping one class or not studying for one test won't have immediate negative consequences like getting fired or written up. This life goal should be wholesome and genuine to your interests and talents. Being young and in school gives you the opportunity to set the foundation for your entire life without having to backtrack or play catch up (unless you change majors and even that is only a year or two). Instead of choosing to feel overwhelmed if you can't figure it out or full of regret if you think you may have to re-do some things, feel empowered that you have a capable mind and a clear head and are able to forge your own path deliberately and with wisdom. Use your parents, the school advisors and anyone and everyone else to help you talk it out. which leads me to #2.

2) Have a bff or two. Talk everything over with them. If you have trouble cultivating genuine friendships than this is something that needs to be addressed: It undoubtedly is contributing to both the cause and maintenance of the depression. For decades, I was unable to cultivate sincere friendships. Late last year, I had maybe the only two real conversations in my entire life. It works. I was deeply upset that I couldn't seem to hang my hat anywhere and felt all alone. I had two real conversations with people whom I've known for years but to whom I never before opened up. Together, they made me feel less isolated which in turn helped clear out the negativity. Serendipitously, I had the aforementioned conversation with the new friend soon thereafter.

3) You can include meditation in that category of things I mentioned in the first post: Things which promote a positive self-image but can also feel chore-like. I don't meditate and I don't recommend it. But developing concentration is a different matter. I can't see it as anything other than a highly useful skill. There may be more comprehensive ways to do this than sitting on a cushion: No matter. As with the other things, don't let poor meditation sessions or skipped sessions be an excuse to feel bad.

4) Don't drink too much or smoke too much pot, ecstasy, acid, etc. I only mention this because you are a student. You are imbibing too much if your social life mostly revolves around it or if most every time you drink, you get drunk. You will not be able to cultivate genuine friendships if you are drunk or with people who are drunk. You can "blow off steam" (w/e that means) or focus solely on having fun while cultivating a reliable network of people with whom you can laugh and discuss.
Adam . ., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: My new 'practice'

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I wonder: does simply forcing a perspective work? It seems to be working right now. I.e. just imagine/remember what is is like to feel joy/whatever you want to feel and then just push yourself more into that feeling tone... I will experiment with that, I have done it before but I think I could probably do it better.
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: My new 'practice'

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I don't think that would be healthy, to be honest. It sounds like you'd end up ignoring the things that make you unhappy. When those things are ignored, they don't go away, they just get worse in a hidden way which really lets them wreak havoc later.
Adam . ., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: My new 'practice'

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
you might be right but I am going to try it anyway... mostly because it isn't 'things' that are making me unhappy just negativity building on itself. i have heard a lot of people suggest that it is possible to just create joy in this way and it seems to be working as I am attempting it now, also it seems like as I do it more it becomes more effortless and natural. I'll see what happens.
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Andrew Ken, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: My new 'practice'

Posts: 52 Join Date: 2/27/12 Recent Posts
i think it can work to an extent. the important thing is to get a clear look at whatever the suffering is in this moment, before you go about transforming it into something else.

so for me this would be

note characteristics of suffering -> equanimity -> add positivity


*edit: grammar*
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. Jake ., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: My new 'practice'

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Nothing wrong with being cheerful and appreciating life, but Claudiu and Andrew make really important points I think. The danger of spiritual (or actuallist ;)) bypassing is really important. Denying negativity is not healthy. But choosing not to perpetuate it is indeed wise. And our emotions arise in the interaction of attitude, expectation and circumstances amongst other factors. The first two we have a lot of potential influence over. But really dropping false expectations usually involves acknowledging them first and really cultivating a positive attitude does not mean seeking to prolong a positive emotion or clinging to positive thoughts. It's pretty tricky actually ;)

The most important thing in my view is to first commit to really being authentically in contact with your actual experiencing. Just being completely in touch with what is coming up. From there if you want to experiment with adopting certain attitudes or cultivating certain qualities of experiencing or habits of body speech and mind or setting up particular circumstances go for it! This way you set it up in a way that you are less likely to repress or deny stuff, which will only come back to bite you on the ass anyway.

Oh and also, it helps to broaden the perspective from whether things 'work' for a few days or weeks to a longer term view. This is because when one applies a method consistently the effects on one's total system, conscious and unconscious, are more complex than can be predicted. Sometimes when things feel better it is just because one has 'succeeded' in avoiding consciousness of something and sometimes when things feel worse it is because one has become conscious of something previously under-the-hood. Life will have its ups and downs whether you practice or not. But good practice leading to abiding awakening will in mine and most others' I'm aware of experience lead to much deeper stability, satisfaction and efficacy in life. Trick is between point A and point C there can often be some destabilizations, more intense ups and downs. It's worth it though.
Adam . ., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: My new 'practice'

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Hey Jake, I am not so sure that this is bypassing or repression or anything like that. When I look into my own experience it looks like there is no such thing as 'latent' negativity such that it would be possible to repress negative thoughts such that they 'fester' in some sense. If there is some sort of negative thought loop going, and I ruthlessly let go and 'overpower' those negative thoughts with their opposites it doesn't seem like anything is being avoided really, I don't think its possible to work through it without acknowledging it... furthermore I think if I am specifically looking out for repression it won't be able occur.

I think some sort of repression is possible, but that is when one pretends to one self that some problem which exists doesn't. I think my earlier posts in this, self-diagnosing some sort of repression was actually just a rationalization, I never directly experienced any evidence that 'repression' was the cause of anything, there were just lots of really negative narratives which I totally bought into.

Then again it is possible that I am wrong and I am just missing something as I look at my experience right now. What it looks like at the moment is that any sort of thought loop creates a 'rut' in the mind and if you keep going through it it gets deeper and easier to sink into. I suspect that there really was to some degree a lack of progress in the history of my practice and that wasn't purely distorted negative perspective, but my current theory about the cause of that is that I didn't have enough consistency, I would often get into meditating and then get into something else instead and miss a couple days of practice.

So I think I am going to start practicing with the similar attitudes (but I've definitely learned some things from all this, such as right now I don't have any specifications on what has to be the 'right answer' only what works... also I am not so ashamed of my own suffering and meditation problems) I had before but with an emphasis on consistency, that said I will also try to maintain some other things like exercise and social life.

Regarding the actual practice I am going to try to do with serious 24-ish/7/365 consistency is going to be the generating of joy, specifically wonder aimed towards sensory experience. I have much stronger intention to really practice HARD as a result of all that intense suffering, the last two days I have seen new sincerity that has really allowed to me to put in ALL of my energy to this in a way I definitely haven't before. You're right though about waiting longer to judge how effective a certain practice is, I will report back in a few weeks.
Change A., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: My new 'practice'

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Adam . .:
Regarding the actual practice I am going to try to do with serious 24-ish/7/365 consistency is going to be the generating of joy, specifically wonder aimed towards sensory experience. I have much stronger intention to really practice HARD as a result of all that intense suffering, the last two days I have seen new sincerity that has really allowed to me to put in ALL of my energy to this in a way I definitely haven't before. You're right though about waiting longer to judge how effective a certain practice is, I will report back in a few weeks.


In my experience, I couldn't 'generate joy' because of the stuff that used to be in auto mode that was 'creating sorrow'. I had to first deal with the stuff that was creating sorrow in order to be able to generate joy.
Adam . ., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: My new 'practice'

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that makes sense intellectually but how can one drop a certain affective energy without creating another? if you have a certain emotion and it is based on a certain 'perspective' a certain negativity, then it seems like you can either try to drop that negative perspective and not replace it with anything in particular or try to replace it with its opposite. if you're just dropping it without an aim to replace it then what replaces it is a sort of neutral observance, but in my experience this can leave subtle aspects of the original negativity still in place. if you try to replace it with its opposite it takes more energy but it is worth it when you are really really sick of the negativity.
C C C, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: My new 'practice'

Posts: 946 Join Date: 3/9/10 Recent Posts
Adam . .:
Ok, well intense depression popped back up today, so I don't think my formula of extroversion and self-acceptance will be the magic bullet I thought it was. In fact the only thing I can do to 'survive' right now is pure concentration. Panoramic attention, investigation of beliefs, trying to think positively, trying to alter perceptions are all basically unbearable.

And I know that whole thing ^ is just an optional narrative, but it takes so much energy to believe in a different narrative that I can only maintain such a perspective-shift for about 20 seconds. What really baffles me is that in the 5 days before today after 'blowing up' there was authentic joy, I spent the whole time socializing with people and there were practically no negative thoughts. I really don't think I am capable of so wholeheartedly committing to the non-meditation approach as I did in those days, and it really seemed to work but now the shit is coming back as if it never left and I can't fathom why.


Yeh I get this sort of thing too, but there's an answer. Try to remember the point at which the depression started and you will find negative expectation cloaked in some other more subtle form.

Here's some examples of scripts that might be running (along with some implications in brackets).

-- "I was so happy - there's no way I could have sustained that forever"..... (happiness requires hard work, happiness won't sustain itself)
-- "Nothing lasts forever" (everything has to end including my happiness, so I must be worthless)
-- "Bad things always follow good things, life evens itself out"
-- "I always knew this wouldn't really work"
-- "This is so great.... I better be extra careful to hold onto this lest it slip away" (I fear loss of happiness, I fear it can't be mine).
-- "I better grasp onto this good feeling because it's fading" (it's going...I can feel it going....GRASP)

The thing is, it worked. You were happy. Now just let go of all negative feelings in your body...the whole lot at once. Just do it for 5 seconds..... now extend that 5 seconds to a minute.... now 5 minutes, now notice how it tends to sustain itself quite easily...it flows on its own.

Don't try to replace negative scripts with positive ones, just let go all fear....of everything....now. Keep doing it until the flow appears. Then start mixing with people again and it will get you back where you want to be.
Adam . ., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: My new 'practice'

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Thank you Jon, your type of suggestion definitely works if it is stimulating enough that I forget about how shitty everything seems long enough for it to stop seeming shitty.

I think you make a good point CCC, I actually think something very much like that is what happened. OK - so I have something to watch out for when I am happy - trying to control it in some way and causing it to shut down. I think what happened in this particular case is that I was getting overly vigilant about the joy evaporating and trying to 'prepare' which started the negative spiral.

Assuming I 'screw up' again though, I should figure out some good tools for getting out of negative thought loops other than hanging out with people. That is what worked this time, I spent the last 2 hours studying with a few friends for a test and forgot about it. I only worry that this type of 'solution' is a. dependent on things out of my control and b. not dealing with the root of the problem. CCC I tried something like what you suggested here:

The thing is, it worked. You were happy. Now just let go of all negative feelings in your body...the whole lot at once. Just do it for 5 seconds..... now extend that 5 seconds to a minute.... now 5 minutes, now notice how it tends to sustain itself quite easily...it flows on its own.

Don't try to replace negative scripts with positive ones, just let go all fear....of everything....now. Keep doing it until the flow appears. Then start mixing with people again and it will get you back where you want to be.


But it just didn't seem to work. I will wait until the next time the negativity kicks in in full and write about what I do with it.

edit: another thing I just thought of is that I really don't have to practice AT ALL once there is some degree of happiness, because for me right now the only point of this thing is happiness. I think all this suffering is making me appreciate a simple sort of enjoyment more.
C C C, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: My new 'practice'

Posts: 946 Join Date: 3/9/10 Recent Posts
Adam . .:
Thank you Jon, your type of suggestion definitely works if it is stimulating enough that I forget about how shitty everything seems long enough for it to stop seeming shitty.

I think you make a good point CCC, I actually think something very much like that is what happened. OK - so I have something to watch out for when I am happy - trying to control it in some way and causing it to shut down. I think what happened in this particular case is that I was getting overly vigilant about the joy evaporating and trying to 'prepare' which started the negative spiral.

Assuming I 'screw up' again though, I should figure out some good tools for getting out of negative thought loops other than hanging out with people. That is what worked this time, I spent the last 2 hours studying with a few friends for a test and forgot about it. I only worry that this type of 'solution' is a. dependent on things out of my control and b. not dealing with the root of the problem. CCC I tried something like what you suggested here:

The thing is, it worked. You were happy. Now just let go of all negative feelings in your body...the whole lot at once. Just do it for 5 seconds..... now extend that 5 seconds to a minute.... now 5 minutes, now notice how it tends to sustain itself quite easily...it flows on its own.

Don't try to replace negative scripts with positive ones, just let go all fear....of everything....now. Keep doing it until the flow appears. Then start mixing with people again and it will get you back where you want to be.


But it just didn't seem to work. I will wait until the next time the negativity kicks in in full and write about what I do with it.

edit: another thing I just thought of is that I really don't have to practice AT ALL once there is some degree of happiness, because for me right now the only point of this thing is happiness. I think all this suffering is making me appreciate a simple sort of enjoyment more.


Something that was a revelation for me was being able to see that when I was negative, I was actually grasping tightly onto the negative thoughts, as though it was important to not let go of them. The thoughts were like particles in a mortar, and I was grinding them as hard as I could. I was trying to grind an answer out of the mess, but satisfactory answers never ever came. So I threw away the mortar, pestle and the thoughts....as best I could anyway. I realized that such thoughts were something I could just say "not thanks" to. The mind usually objects with "but if I don't work this problem out, nothing will change" but then again I had to let that go over and over and over because that's the hardest one to let go of.

I'd also like to know why that particular thing I suggested didn't work. I tend to think that if one's self-esteem is low, it must be built up by others. Did you do it around others? I understand you don't want to be dependent on others for your happiness, but so long as you are an ego, that's how it works. Unconditional happiness requires enlightenment - you and I aren't at that stage...well I'm not anyway, maybe you're ready for that. A new born baby learns self-esteem only through its reflection in its parents eyes. Without that external input it doesn't happen. And the same would be true for toddlers and adolescents. So mixing with others until the belief of ok-ness is more ingrained will be necessary. It builds up - you still need 'hits' of others' attention, but less frequently. That's the life of an ego - we all need to see our precious selves reflected in others eyes. But this way of living is SO much better than what happens without this input. Life can be happy - not everlasting happiness, not unconditional happiness, not un-caused happiness, just on and off and that's more than good enough to begin with I find. A great night out can last you weeks - it puts petrol in your tank AND it lets you drift into jhana with a bit of luck. People can see where I'm at - not that advanced is it? But how many people here are in the same boat? I'd say a lot.

I resonate with that last paragraph you wrote. I think happiness is not the result of a technique you employ, but that happiness is allowed to happen once you stop harming yourself with negative thoughts....it's still conditional and interrupted but it's more than acceptable. I guess once conditional interrupted happiness is no longer good enough, then you start meditating more seriously. But at this level (ego) it's more a matter of stopping doing something than doing something. The practice is just to stop what's harming you.
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Bruno Loff, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: My new 'practice'

Posts: 1094 Join Date: 8/30/09 Recent Posts
Adam . .:
Ok, well intense depression popped back up today, so I don't think my formula of extroversion and self-acceptance will be the magic bullet I thought it was. In fact the only thing I can do to 'survive' right now is pure concentration. Panoramic attention, investigation of beliefs, trying to think positively, trying to alter perceptions are all basically unbearable.

And I know that whole thing ^ is just an optional narrative, but it takes so much energy to believe in a different narrative that I can only maintain such a perspective-shift for about 20 seconds. What really baffles me is that in the 5 days before today after 'blowing up' there was authentic joy, I spent the whole time socializing with people and there were practically no negative thoughts. I really don't think I am capable of so wholeheartedly committing to the non-meditation approach as I did in those days, and it really seemed to work but now the shit is coming back as if it never left and I can't fathom why.


Funny, first thing I thought when I read your first post was "A&P," and "stories are such bullshit."

But reading your later stuff in this thread, I have come to find that, in my opinion, you are navigating the slippery slope towards dissociation.

In order to "be happy," all it takes is that you convince yourself you are happy. It is like a skill. With enough practice, you can be happy while all sorts of foul things happen around you, and while doing all kinds of selfish things. This is speaking from personal experience.

Rumor has it that, with enough practice, the dissonance between what is happening and how happy you are can become so large that your behavior and attitudes will appear creepy to those who are not always happy.

Happiness is overrated. I think it is better to be balanced and observant and accurate than it is to be happy.
Adam . ., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: My new 'practice'

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Right now bruno all that sounds like nonsense to me. No offense. Right now I am just doing whatever eliminates suffering, something about my recent experiences really have made that an absolute priority.
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Bruno Loff, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: My new 'practice'

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Adam . .:
Right now bruno all that sounds like nonsense to me. No offense. Right now I am just doing whatever eliminates suffering, something about my recent experiences really have made that an absolute priority.


Do pay attention to the part I claim to be from personal experience. That is not nonsense, it is me telling you something I have direct, personal experience with. And yet it was entirely subconscious before it having been seen through, and hence, for all you know, could well be happening to you. It is a vibe which I distinctly associate with actualism.

Whether this applies to you or not, I do not presume to know, and my (vague, uncertain) impression could well be completely wrong. There are so many variations and possibilities!... Good luck with your practice.

On the divergence of opinion, I should add that being happy --- as in, feeling and/or acting joyful and excited, and speaking and thinking in that manner --- is quite different than being balanced, in my opinion, and I much prefer the latter.

Also, I am curious to know what in your recent experiences put such emphasis on being happy, but I am not sure you are interested in sharing, given that you haven't thus far.
Adam . ., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: My new 'practice'

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Also, I am curious to know what in your recent experiences put such emphasis on being happy, but I am not sure you are interested in sharing, given that you haven't thus far.


There have been extremely negative emotional experiences and I don't want to repeat them, they were really bad so now one of my main priorities in life is avoiding that type of suffering.

Do pay attention to the part I claim to be from personal experience. That is not nonsense, it is me telling you something I have direct, personal experience with. And yet it was entirely subconscious before it having been seen through, and hence, for all you know, could well be happening to you. It is a vibe which I distinctly associate with actualism.


Ok, well I have had experiences of trying to be happy while being selfish etc. but it always turns out that if selfishness is arising then genuine happiness isn't, only the sort of false happiness that comes from convincing yourself that you are happy. I have definitely had experiences of that and 'practicing' like that is exactly the thing that led me to posting about all this.

That sort of self-denying false happiness is what led me for a long time towards an approach aimed at balanced observation type practice, but right now I have found an alternative approach to creating joy that doesn't lead to repression. At least that is what it seems like right now, if people stop telling me it won't work then I can go try it out and come back and talk about it.
John Wilde, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: My new 'practice'

Posts: 501 Join Date: 10/26/10 Recent Posts
Adam . .:

Ok, well I have had experiences of trying to be happy while being selfish etc. but it always turns out that if selfishness is arising then genuine happiness isn't, only the sort of false happiness that comes from convincing yourself that you are happy. I have definitely had experiences of that and 'practicing' like that is exactly the thing that led me to posting about all this.


I agree with Bruno and Jake, and was in the midst of writing something to warn you about a mock blitheness that can be the near enemy of genuine happiness.... but then, I see from the above that you're already familiar with it.

What I will say, though, is... any approach I've tried that was based on the maintenance of some kind of affective posture toward life (whatever it might be), became tiring in the end, and didn't lead anywhere truly interesting or new. It was always a relief when I finally (had to or chose to) abandon it and drop the posturing. Then the energy was freed up for other things, which (paradoxically) was more likely to well up as genuine happiness.

But that's me.

It's a subject of great interest to me, so I'd really like to hear about the results you actually get when you've tried it for a while.

Adam . .:
That sort of self-denying false happiness is what led me for a long time towards an approach aimed at balanced observation type practice, but right now I have found an alternative approach to creating joy that doesn't lead to repression. At least that is what it seems like right now, if people stop telling me it won't work then I can go try it out and come back and talk about it.
Adam . ., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: My new 'practice'

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
any approach I've tried that was based on the maintenance of some kind of affective posture toward life (whatever it might be), became tiring in the end, and didn't lead anywhere truly interesting or new.


I've done the same thing, usually tiring out pretty quick, but what I am doing new is at least slightly different because I am not just holding the 'posture' but also actively and creatively trying to find details of sensory experience that are fascinating and enjoyable, mostly visual but also hearing and sensations on the skin. Also I think the cause of the tiring out was partly that I would judge how well I was practicing by how intense the emotional feeling was, now I am instead judging it by how much fascinating detail I am perceiving per second and how 'in the moment' I am. It's a slightly different approach than merely maximizing emotional feelings in the body which could often be really tiring as you said.
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. Jake ., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: My new 'practice'

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Bruno Loff:


Happiness is overrated. I think it is better to be balanced and observant and accurate than it is to be happy.


Well said. The tricky part of 'practice' that is based on eliminating and/or replacing one kind of experience with another is that it is difficult to know how experience actually functions very well unless one has spent a fair amount of time getting to know oneself on all levels. And frankly, in my experience, getting to know oneself and befriending oneself on all levels takes a lot of time and pays off with much greater mental-emotional stability. Symptoms like depression and elation, in my opinion, only arise with a lack of such self-knowledge. They are signs that parts of you are hidden.

This self-knowledge can include a formal practice of sitting and noticing what actual thoughts, feelings sensations intentions etc. actually arise for the actual you on a moment to moment basis. Trying to 'hack' the experiential system prior to gaining this kind of self awareness is quite possibly dangerous. It's worth considering. You are going to make your own choices and follow your own path, Adam. But I assume since you're posting on a public board that you are open to feedback, which is why I am commenting.
Adam . ., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: My new 'practice'

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Come on.. I don't need the 'your practice won't work' narrative to be enforced any more. It is really strange to me that everyone would be so happy to bolster that narrative on such unstable grounds. How do you know that I didn't gain enough self knowledge to cross this implicit (and IMO doubtful) threshold at which altering reaction patterns is possible from the last difficulties in my practice? And is it really the case that no self knowledge is gained unless you are passively observing? In my experience I learn more when I try to change things, resistances and thought patterns are forced to come out with more clarity. Let me practice for a few weeks and come back to you.
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. Jake ., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: My new 'practice'

Posts: 698 Join Date: 5/22/10 Recent Posts
Adam . .:
Come on.. I don't need the 'your practice won't work' narrative to be enforced any more. It is really strange to me that everyone would be so happy to bolster that narrative on such unstable grounds. How do you know that I didn't gain enough self knowledge to cross this implicit (and IMO doubtful) threshold at which altering reaction patterns is possible from the last difficulties in my practice? And is it really the case that no self knowledge is gained unless you are passively observing? In my experience I learn more when I try to change things, resistances and thought patterns are forced to come out with more clarity. Let me practice for a few weeks and come back to you.


You do seem to have a lot of wisdom and self knowledge, Adam, and I apologize if I implied otherwise emoticon I appreciate your honesty and self-reflectiveness. I can also relate to what you wrote in your second to last sentence. And to echo John Wilde, what I'm saying really pertains to me and my own experience. So don't take it personally :p Good luck with your practice, and I'll look forward to your updates. Take care!

P.S. I'm not recommending passive observation. Including 'intentions' in the set of things to notice should negate that extreme, but I understand where you're coming from. Speaking for myself I've found more lasting transformation in opening up to what I'm already doing than in trying to alter those patterns. The altering happens on its own. For me, "I" as an ego just didn't have a leg to stand on in making those kinds of calls ("I" still don't), but it took a lot of painful learning experiences of 'me' trying to change 'myself' to clue into this. So I'll admit to being on the watch for that sort of thing on these boards-- as it seems to be a common error that leads to needless suffering. But no biggee, and I certainly recognize that there is so much lost in translation in this format that I would be much obliged if you would forthwith assume that I'm assuming I don't know enough about you to make really any comments, but insofar as I do make comments, I hope you and everyone else will take them in that spirit and we can all get to know each other a bit better!
Adam . ., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: My new 'practice'

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
but insofar as I do make comments, I hope you and everyone else will take them in that spirit and we can all get to know each other a bit better!


OK, and don't think I don't appreciate your helpful comments in trying to figure myself out, perhaps it would just be too hard for me to have another big, disorienting insight at the moment.
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Jon T, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: My new 'practice'

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
I feel that i fell into dn over the last 3-4 days and just realized it today. I feel that the slide was very subtle and slow and today it reached a level that became perceptible. I mention it, because, I feel that while in depression it's okay to will oneself into a better mood. But I also think that the willing should be founded on logical reasoning. The fact that it is better to be joyful than sorrowful is a start but more specific reasons can also be entertained. And the last thing that should be done is to be blameful. Neither blame yourself for feeling bad or acting poorly nor blame anyone else for making you feel bad or living poorly. I feel if i think smartly than my mood will follow. I also feel that dn or depression is biological: my serotonin levels may be low or w/e. Nonetheless, i can still think well; i can still value happiness as opposed to merely accepting a lowly mood. i can be mindful of this bounty we call life. I can still value the moment over various selfish thoughts. I can realize the moment is a free gift and a great gift. But while depressed, malaise can easily set in and some intelligent, non-judgemental, common-sensical effort need be applied.

But what I think you are doing is willing yourself to feel wonder. And thoughts that induce wonder are different than ones i mention above. But i see no reason why easy reminders about how strange shapes and space and sounds are won't create wonder just as easy reminders about the freedom of this moment and the preeminence of happiness will bring joy.

I think the thing which cancels out these efforts is an aversion to sorrow. Yet valuing happiness over sorrow would seem to necessitate an aversion. But this, i believe, is an error. Sorrow is like a wrong turn. Habitually, we get angry and blameful when we make a mistake like making a wrong turn or missing an exit. But when we realize that such emotions are counter-productive and need not be automatic than we begin fixing them as they come up. And though we continue to make wrong turns, we eventually stop having those blameful reactions. Practice makes perfect. And sorrow is a more subtle, passive phenomenon that produces the same reactivity. Though we continue to slide into sorrow, we don't have the same reactive counter-productive aversion to it. And because the reactivity is so counter-productive, we find ourselves getting out of sorrow quicker and quicker. Practice makes perfect. Between sorrow and the aversion to it, it's the aversion/reactivity which is the greater problem. Sorrow continues after the reactivity is gone for good. Hopefully, sorrow too will disappear.
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Simon E, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: My new 'practice'

Posts: 248 Join Date: 9/23/11 Recent Posts
Hi Bruno,

Bruno Loff:
In order to "be happy," all it takes is that you convince yourself you are happy. It is like a skill. With enough practice, you can be happy while all sorts of foul things happen around you, and while doing all kinds of selfish things. This is speaking from personal experience.


Considering how many unhappy and depressed people there are in the world it seems a bit odd to trivialize happiness. Being happy is very difficult for a large number of people.

http://www.dhammasukha.org/Study/Books/Metta_Booklet.htm

Metta,
Simon
waq
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Andrew Ken, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: My new 'practice'

Posts: 52 Join Date: 2/27/12 Recent Posts
some non meditation general life advice:




don't try to be more extroverted. accepting yourself and trying to be more extroverted are in conflict.
extroverted isn't better than introverted and introverted isn't a "wrong" or "broken" way of being.
introverted is also different than being shy or timid.
i think shyness and timidness certainly are painful hindrances that lessen with more self acceptance
but extroversion and introversion are just two sides of the personality character coin, neither one is better than the other

perhaps trying to be more extroverted is still in the same vein as trying to be a "good lil person" and fulfilling societal expectations/pressures



some information you might find interesting on the topic

Susan Cain: the power of introverts TED Talk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0KYU2j0TM4&feature=endscreen

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