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Success in daily life
Answer
4/8/14 11:31 AM
Hi Folks,

I was wondering if I could get some input / advice from people on being successful in daily life.

Some issues I'm struggling with:

1. My mind is focused on meditation and not on work. Right now, I'm veery [I'll keep the typo] focused on meditation. I find it's a big distraction from my worldly responsibilities. I get up in the morning (slowly - it's hard to get out of bed), drink coffee, spend time on DhO & reading meditation material, spend an hour sitting, and don't get to the office until late. In the evening, I spend another hour on the cushion. During the week and on the weekends, I visit and host meditation groups. My mind is just very attracted to meditation and the Dhamma right now. As a result, it's not attracted to or interested in my work. This makes it a struggle to be productive at the office. I encounter resistance at every step of doing work-related tasks.

2. I'm tapering off some meds that I take for anxiety and depression. Haven't noticed much depression coming back (aside from some heightened sensitivity), but I've definitely noticed some anxiety. Any tips for dealing with this? What's the antidote to anxiety? [As a result of practice, the feeling of anxiety is greatly attenuated compared to what it used to be -- but I'm still getting it.]

3. I seem to be addicted to the DhO / Internet. I experience pretty strong impulses to check this even when I'm at the office. It's pleasant / gratifying, and as a result of pleasure, there's craving. With craving, I feel a strong impulse to get on the website. I shouldn't even be posting right now!

I know some folks here have a lot more on their plates than I do -- I'm single, have a pretty flexible work schedule, and live alone -- how do you make progress in meditation while still fulfilling your worldly responsibilities?

Any other thoughts or experiences?

Thanks!

RE: Success in daily life
Answer
4/8/14 12:57 PM as a reply to Chris G.
I'll try responding to my own message here to see what comes up. Will still greatly appreciate input!

(1) and (3) are basically the same problem -- addiction. The solution I see is to:

(a) Set some behavioral goals. E.g., only getting on DhO during a specific time of day. Be sure to include some minimum amount of exercise and a healthy diet.

(b) Keep observing, over and over, the connection between the pleasant feelings and the stressful craving to reproduce those pleasant feelings. Close, careful, repeated observation of the mind and body will over time let the mind see that indulging in this gratification -- even at the mental level before I take physical action -- is actually unsatisfying and stressful, and will naturally attenuate the mind's grasping. Moreover, it will reveal the fact that the pleasant feelings themselves are unsatisfying. The more I observe, the more deeply the mind will understand the unsatisfactoriness of these activities, and the more it will let go. This is a long-term project though.

(c) Keep asking: what actions are skillful? And keep taking steps, baby steps if necessary, toward fulfilling those actions. Write some actions down that I can be successful at, and take them. Make small bits of progress toward my behavioral goals.

(d) Find the alternative to indulging in gratification. That is: the wholesome, nonaddictive pleasure of attention to the present. Helpfully, as a byproduct, this leads to clarity and insight.


For (2), well, I think there are two antidotes to anxiety: exposure and skillful action.

(a) Exposure: This means pursuing the thought-train of what I'm anxious about to its end, and to the extent possible, experiencing those negative scenarios (either in my imagination or in reality) with as much clarity and lack of judgement as possible.

(b) Skillful action: Same as (c) above. Keep trying to take actions to keep myself afloat. One step at a time. The difficulty here is resistance. Try to understand the cause of this (craving?), and relax into the present.


Not sure how satisfying the above response is to me. Thanks again for any input.

RE: Success in daily life
Answer
4/8/14 1:32 PM as a reply to Chris G.
Hello Chris,

It seems that you would like to be "successful" in your daily life when you are not formally meditating and from your post I wonder if success to you in your daily life right now means maintaining discipline at work by continuing to attend to work related tasks? You also mentioned that you are weaning yourself off of psychotropic medication which can have an effect on motivation, attention, and general cognitive processes and perceptions. First, you seem passionate about the dharma and formal dharma practice which I think is a strength. You also seem to be having some difficulty integrating these practices into your daily/work life. There seems to be a separation of the two practices, dharma practice and daily life/work practice. Perhaps they are not as separate as you think they are. Is there a way for you to integrate your dharma practice into your work life (e.g. making your mundane work activities the object of attention/concentration, attending to three characteristics while doing work tasks having work conversations, applying loving kindness towards yourself while doing work tasks etc..)?Perhaps making your non-work dharma/meditation practice less formal would help to transform the potential perceived boundaries (e.g. maybe not sitting on a formal cushion but in a chair at the table, not timing your sits, intending to practice concentration, insight, metta etc.. while doing the dishes etc..). In my experience, integrating formal dharma practice and work life is challenging but can make daily and work life more meaningful and productive.

You seem to have a goal to decrease the amount of time spent on the Dharma Overground during work hours. Continually setting an intention to attend to work activities, vowing and/or resolving to do so, or perhaps, developing a ritual to increase the strength of intention and/or resolve (e.g. writing goals down for the work day prior to going to work.) Treating your work activities as the object of your meditation (similar to the breath in anapannasati practice) may be helpful. Notice when you have become distracted from work activities, non-judgmentally note the distraction/what is happening, and bring your attention back to work activities/the meditation object.

Regarding anxiety, your desire for an antidote for it has within it the relationship of aversion to the anxiety and is feeding the anxiety and perpetuating it. Observe the anxiety, note it without judgment or reaction, perhaps attending to the anxiety as if it were a nervous child and wish it well as a mother would a scared infant, nurturing the anxiety and loving it, holding it with compassion. If you can develop a relationship with the anxiety such that you have accepted it to the point that you are ok if it existed indefinitely and never went away, that is likely the point that the anxiety may begin to decrease.

Regarding desire/craving for getting on the Dharma Overground, again, this seems to be a desire for dharma which is a skillful desire, in my opinion, (Bodhicitta). Again, viewing this as a distraction from your meditation object (your work activities) while at work may be helpful. Maybe give yourself some time to view it during breaks or lunch to continue to learn and grow in the Dharma.

Thank you for your practice emoticon

Metta,

Drew

RE: Success in daily life
Answer
4/8/14 3:59 PM as a reply to Chris G.
My suggestion and interpretation (based on person experience!):

The problem is PROCRASTINATION. You are using DhO (and in some way, spirituality) as a form of procrastination. And procrastination is just a strategy to help deal with anxiety.

Suggestions. Tricky - "success in (daily) life" is pretty open ended. The things you said in the second post all sound skillful. Figure out what that anxiety is all about. But I would add: quit the DhO. If you are addicted, you need to go cold turkey. Don't come back for a long time. Add it to your hosts file(windows)/internet blocking program. And get a girlfriend (easier said than done!). Have more on your plate. Have more hobbies. Hosting and visiting meditation groups is good - gets you out of house and doing stuff.

(sawfoot hits "save" and then adds www.dharmaoverground.org to hosts file...)

RE: Success in daily life
Answer
4/8/14 6:57 PM as a reply to Chris G.
I've had many similar experiences to you so I know what's going on. Use the 7 factors of awakening to balance yourself during the day but ultimately work needs to just be work. Noting during work helped me but some years of good practice in daily life was what really did it. The years had to pass with consistent practice. Most of my practice is daily life practice with little sitting. That middle period when you're not seeing enough insight can be a problem. Being in concentration states during work will not help. Just keep working normally and be personable with people.

This book in particular has been a help for me to understand motivations of people in the work-place or any where:

Meet your happy chemicals

Don't mess with other people's serotonin.

Just know that addictions are really just a way of escaping what you don't want to face. Most people aren't addicted but trying to avoid unpleasant judgments and situations. You have to practice in a way that allows life to be as it is so that you are okay with failure. Most success has lots of failures beforehand. With work the only way you'll improve upon it is by looking at it as pure cause and effect. If you put a lot in your work you'll get more out of it. Bettering yourself in conventional ways (which is basically developing marketable skills) is the only way to create more success. Successful people standout in someway to create demand for their skills. You also have to prevent yourself from having beliefs like "low frustration tolerance" and "entitlement views". These can be debilitating and are often a cause of suffering.

Runaway from the below thinking errors in this video:

Rational Emotive Therapy

Try and achieve goals without yearning and wanting results from them. Just look at the cause and effect. You may need to work harder than you ever had in order to develop work skills. You may need to stop meditation in the conventional sense and just make it something you can do as a daily practice. I've blown job interviews while being in the dark night/withdrawal symptoms phase. Employers can tell when you're down and they really want to hire "go-getters".

Stay grounded. Imagining jobs and scenarios is just more stress. That's the best advice I can give you. Reality, reality, reality. You can only experience what actually happens.

RE: Success in daily life
Answer
4/9/14 12:43 PM as a reply to Chris G.
Hi guys,

Thanks for all of your responses, I really appreciate them!

I guess I might not have been 100% clear on what I meant by success: this just means succesfully, and non-stresfully, holding a job and fulfilling other worldly responsibilities, so that I can live comfortably, save some money, that sort of thing.

I identified some problems I'm facing: addiction, difficulty working and anxiety.

Some suggestions I see are: better integration of work & practice, working with intentions / goals / resolutions, changing my relationship to anxiety, avoiding DhO, finding a girlfriend, having more hobbies, not meditating formally, attending to reality, focusing on cause and effect, metta practice, and this Focusing book which I still need to check out.

This point stands out the most to me right now:

Richard Zen:
Just know that addictions are really just a way of escaping what you don't want to face. Most people aren't addicted but trying to avoid unpleasant judgments and situations.


This really uncovered something for me. I seem to have some constant aversion turned on, probably 100% of the time, which manifests as unpleasant sensations in the body, especially in the head and face. Having to work, i.e. perform tasks I'm uninterested in, exacerbates this. So I seek the pleasure of entertainment -- whether it's the DhO or other things -- to avoid the unpleasantness of the present moment. I'm trying to escape from dukkha by indulging in such things. And it just leads to more problems.

So this addiction to the DhO has two sides - the gratifying feelings it induces (the carrot) and the unpleasant feelings it distracts from (the stick). Between these two things, a pretty strong addiction is created.

This constant aversion -- I think it's "bracing against life", a "fight or flight response", or something similar. It's hard to know where it comes from. But I believe it's practically always turned on.

I experimented with Culadasa's basic instructions for walking meditation yesterday. Rather than focusing exclusively on the sensations in the feet or legs, his instructions take the present moment as the object of meditation, and he encourages you to attend to anything in the present that the mind takes interest in. He emphasizes that it's an easy and enjoyable activity, going so far as to call it the "pleasant moment".

I found this to be really eye-opening, because it gave me a chance to relate to the present in a much different way than I habitually do. Rather than fighting / bracing myself, I open up and explore and enjoy. When I did this, I noticed a few things. First, the aversion was there, and I think it will only dissipate with a lot of practice of this sort -- my mind needs to be exposed to reality in an intimate way, and find that there's nothing to fear there, nothing so terrible, that it's actually ok. Second, in addition to the aversion, there was indeed pleasure. But it's a non-addictive, wholesome pleasure. Third, I noticed that, after a few minutes of this, my mind was much less inclined to seek out my usual addictions (the Internet). I was happier and needed them much less.

Regarding anxiety, I'm pretty sure it's work-related. There's a fair amount of uncertainty regarding my career right now, so there is concern about not having one -- or if I do find a long-term job, it being something I dislike and is unpleasant day-in, day-out. There are some thoughts about ending up homeless, and dealing with all of the unpleasantness that would come up there. So, just more aversion, really (plus some imagination). Dukkha. I'll definitely work toward being more accepting of those senstaions.

Well, this was educational, so thanks again. I think I need to focus more on this attention to the "pleasant moment" and decondition the minds aversion toward (or fear of?) life in general. With this, I think the addictions will dissipate and it will be easier to work & act skillfully.

Something Avi said in his 4th path thread is inspiring:

Avi Craimer:

It feels like I lost the piece of myself responsible for resisting sensations. Everything is in flow all the time. I can't detect any aversion/attraction except for a short while after coming out of Nirodha Samapatti.


Sounds good to me!

RE: Success in daily life
Answer
4/9/14 2:26 PM as a reply to Chris G.
Chris - I have struggled with many of the same problems. There is a lot that could be said, but you are making a good point about meditation calming the mind.

All of your behaviors won't magically transform overnight. But I have found that after some time practicing you begin to loosen those bonds and you can feel some dispassion and calmness.

Anxiety won't transform overnight either, in my experience. You can't just 'think your way out of' anxiety. Mine has abated a great deal, but it can still come back once and a while.

My two cents would be to just give it time, and practice intelligently. I really like Ayya Khema's teachings and also Thanissaro Bhikkhu's. The above meditation you describe sounds a bit similar though. Overall, try to find a method that works for you.

For a while, breath meditation was very anxiety provoking for me, so I switched to metta practice or the 32 parts practice for concentration and insight. After that, breath meditation at the nostrils was crazy anxiety provoking for me, so I followed the breath at the belly. You just have to see how things are working at that time, for you as an individual. Just because you are picking an easier form of meditation doesn't mean that you are cheating.

With metta,

RE: Success in daily life
Answer
4/9/14 7:39 PM as a reply to Chris G.
Chris G:
This constant aversion -- I think it's "bracing against life", a "fight or flight response", or something similar. It's hard to know where it comes from. But I believe it's practically always turned on.

I experimented with Culadasa's basic instructions for walking meditation yesterday. Rather than focusing exclusively on the sensations in the feet or legs, his instructions take the present moment as the object of meditation, and he encourages you to attend to anything in the present that the mind takes interest in. He emphasizes that it's an easy and enjoyable activity, going so far as to call it the "pleasant moment".

I found this to be really eye-opening, because it gave me a chance to relate to the present in a much different way than I habitually do. Rather than fighting / bracing myself, I open up and explore and enjoy. When I did this, I noticed a few things. First, the aversion was there, and I think it will only dissipate with a lot of practice of this sort -- my mind needs to be exposed to reality in an intimate way, and find that there's nothing to fear there, nothing so terrible, that it's actually ok. Second, in addition to the aversion, there was indeed pleasure. But it's a non-addictive, wholesome pleasure. Third, I noticed that, after a few minutes of this, my mind was much less inclined to seek out my usual addictions (the Internet). I was happier and needed them much less.

Regarding anxiety, I'm pretty sure it's work-related. There's a fair amount of uncertainty regarding my career right now, so there is concern about not having one -- or if I do find a long-term job, it being something I dislike and is unpleasant day-in, day-out. There are some thoughts about ending up homeless, and dealing with all of the unpleasantness that would come up there. So, just more aversion, really (plus some imagination). Dukkha. I'll definitely work toward being more accepting of those senstaions.


I think you're getting it. Keep in mind that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy practices can help with the aversion when you're goal seeking. I did some research on what helps weaken the aversion. I find that when a part of a task is completed the aversion to do more comes back in and reminding yourself of the benefits of your goals is still needed to replace the aversion and continue on. You need to repeat the thinking of benefits to stretch yourself more than you expect.

CBT

You might also be interested in research I did on Willpower. Lots of angles you can attack your problem with:

Willpower

Though I still think that just emptying your mind of all thinking (including analysis about meditation or psychology) and then putting in thinking about the benefits of stretching yourself will create enough motivation. Repeating that will condition a new good habit. Reorganizing your house is more of a stop gap where you create aversion on purpose to prevent access to the short-term addictions.

Have fun!

RE: Success in daily life
Answer
4/10/14 1:52 AM as a reply to Chris G.
Everything that you said completely resonates with me. I have been living like this for the past two years. No special attainments, just a strong interest in the dhamma, reading and practicing.
Have you considered changing your job? Maybe you can find something that you would be more interested to do than your current work. This might give you some motivation for daily life and at the same time maintain your practice.

RE: Success in daily life
Answer
4/10/14 3:07 AM as a reply to Chris G.
When I was in the throws of my early questing days it was really hard to get my life trip together. I functioned pretty well, was able to get up for classes and do homework and the like, but it was tough.

Stream entry helped tremendously. Suddenly medical school seemed possible again, suddenly I could think about working at least 30 hours/week, which seemed a total drudge before.

If you are really in the throws of the thing, a few months of really solid practice some place like Panditarama Lumbini and getting at least stream entry can really get life back on track. My two cents anyway.

RE: Success in daily life
walking meditation
Answer
4/10/14 4:48 AM as a reply to Chris G.
Chris G:


I experimented with Culadasa's basic instructions for walking meditation yesterday. Rather than focusing exclusively on the sensations in the feet or legs, his instructions take the present moment as the object of meditation, and he encourages you to attend to anything in the present that the mind takes interest in. He emphasizes that it's an easy and enjoyable activity, going so far as to call it the "pleasant moment".

I found this to be really eye-opening, because it gave me a chance to relate to the present in a much different way than I habitually do. Rather than fighting / bracing myself, I open up and explore and enjoy.


Hi, I was very surprised to learn that - according to Analayo's book "Satipatthana - the direct path to realization", page 140, he mentioned that the standard instructions from the Buddha for walking meditation were not how it is practised today.
Analayo's footnote mentions the Majjhima Nikaya I 273, but this is a Pali version and I have no clue yet as to where I can find it in Bhikkhu Bodhi's version. Analayo quotes: "while walking and sitting, we will purify our minds of obstructive states." 'Obstructive state' seems to be a synonym for the five hindrances.

Anyway, your comment triggered me to respond, hope it helps a bit. I've downloaded the Culadasa zip file, but haven't started reading yet.

RE: Success in daily life
Answer
4/10/14 5:44 AM as a reply to No-Second-Arrow Z.
Hi No-Second-Arrow Z,

Thanks for sharing that. Here, I have a tidbit I can contribute: the PTS page numbers are in Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation of the Majjhima Nikaya in two places. First, scattered throughout the text, there are square brackets with the PTS page numbers, e.g. [273] occurs at the bottom of page 363 of the Majjhima Nikaya. Second, they also occur in the header of each page, so "i 273" is listed at the top of page 363. The quote you're referring to occurs on p. 365.

I think Culadasa draws both from the suttas, different traditions (Theravada, Tibetan), his knowledge of neuroscience, his own experience, and his students' experience.

Cheers,

RE: Success in daily life
Answer
4/10/14 6:03 AM as a reply to Mike H..
Mike Howard:
Anxiety won't transform overnight either, in my experience. You can't just 'think your way out of' anxiety. Mine has abated a great deal, but it can still come back once and a while.


Yes, I agree that I can't think my way out of anxiety. The anxiety seems reasonable to me, honestly. I'm not working so productively, so I'm laying down causes which will have their effects, one if which is (very potentially) homelessness. It's a real possibility: I run into homeless people almost every day in town. And there would be a lot of dukkha there: cold, heat, toothaches, hunger, thirst, malnutrition. Predicting this scenario, and not liking this potential dukkha, my body triggers some reaction: "hey, we need to work on this! Seriously!" That would be useful, if it only provided motivation to work. But my friend anxiety goes a little overboard and actually makes it more difficult to work. It's well-intended but not so effective.

Come to think of it though, some of these homeless people I know seem pretty happy, smile easily ... Maybe it wouldn't be so bad.

What do you think helped with your anxiety?

My two cents would be to just give it time, and practice intelligently. I really like Ayya Khema's teachings and also Thanissaro Bhikkhu's. The above meditation you describe sounds a bit similar though. Overall, try to find a method that works for you.


Thanks, but what does it mean to practice intelligently?

For a while, breath meditation was very anxiety provoking for me, so I switched to metta practice or the 32 parts practice for concentration and insight.


I love the 32 parts!

RE: Success in daily life
Answer
4/10/14 9:52 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
If you are really in the throws of the thing, a few months of really solid practice some place like Panditarama Lumbini and getting at least stream entry can really get life back on track. My two cents anyway.


Thanks Daniel, appreciated. This gives me some encouragement in making a long meditation retreat one of my life goals. I guess I'm just anxious about the practicalities of it: taking time off from work, finding a job when I return, that sort of thing. But there will be a natural time to do this, namely, when my current contract expires in mid-2015.

RE: Success in daily life
Answer
4/10/14 8:42 AM as a reply to Chris G.
Chris G:
Here, I have a tidbit I can contribute: the PTS page numbers are in Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation of the Majjhima Nikaya in two places. First, scattered throughout the text, there are square brackets with the PTS page numbers, e.g. [273] occurs at the bottom of page 363 of the Majjhima Nikaya. Second, they also occur in the header of each page, so "i 273" is listed at the top of page 363. The quote you're referring to occurs on p. 365.


Thanks Chris G, very helpful!

RE: Success in daily life
Answer
4/10/14 9:57 AM as a reply to George S. Lteif.
George S. Lteif:
Everything that you said completely resonates with me. I have been living like this for the past two years. No special attainments, just a strong interest in the dhamma, reading and practicing.
Have you considered changing your job? Maybe you can find something that you would be more interested to do than your current work. This might give you some motivation for daily life and at the same time maintain your practice.


Good to hear I'm not alone :-) Thanks for your response.

Yeah, I consider changing my job all the time. Haven't figured it out yet though. I have a contract at the moment, so I'll be doing what I'm doing until at least mid-2015 -- or at least that's the plan!

RE: Success in daily life
Answer
4/10/14 10:47 AM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Thanks Richard for this and all of your previous posts. A lot of useful cognitive tools here.

I think your point about thinking about the benefits of what I'm doing is one about counteracting negative focus. Good to remember.

Edit: I look at this world, with all of its stress, pain, sickness, old age, and death, and I try to think about ways I can help. Maybe I can find a career in helping the homeless, or the mentally ill. And then I despair: I just can't fix it all. So I have to ask myself: am I just focusing on the negative? Maybe there is a fix, that if a person just relates to the present in a different way, life is not so terrible, not simply a cascade of painful events and day-to-day stress. At least for myself. I don't know. I guess right now, the taste of coffee, the soft light filtering in through the windows, a nice computer to type on, the company of others -- not all bad. And there are a few moments here and there of being awake to the mystery of life. (But there is still a bit of despair.)

There are pleasant sensations, unpleasant sensations, and the mind's proliferations. And there is some confusion, not knowing what to do. But that is probably just a proliferation as well.

RE: Success in daily life
Answer
4/10/14 12:25 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
sawfoot _:
The problem is PROCRASTINATION. You are using DhO (and in some way, spirituality) as a form of procrastination.


Initially I didn't agree with this, but upon further reflection I do agree. Though I think a better word is avoidance. I'm using the DhO, and spirituality, to try to avoid the difficulties and discomforts of life. Maybe knowing that will help a little.

That's not the only reason I practice meditation though. After some profound (for me) experiences, I made a resolution to keep practicing. I've renewed it several times since. I think it's worth it to wake up & see clearly.

RE: Success in daily life
Answer
4/14/14 1:37 PM as a reply to Chris G.
Chris G:
Mike Howard:
Anxiety won't transform overnight either, in my experience. You can't just 'think your way out of' anxiety. Mine has abated a great deal, but it can still come back once and a while.


[ . . .]

What do you think helped with your anxiety?

My two cents would be to just give it time, and practice intelligently. I really like Ayya Khema's teachings and also Thanissaro Bhikkhu's. The above meditation you describe sounds a bit similar though. Overall, try to find a method that works for you.


Thanks, but what does it mean to practice intelligently?



You ask two good questions. My anxiety was improved by passing through the stages of insight (to wherever I am now, not sure about that). I could explain why I think that, but it is really just about advancing to some small degree.

As to "practicing intelligently," I am probably not the most consistent person in this. But my main suggestion would be to pick up one set of meditation instructions, like Mahasi Sayadaw's, and to try your best to follow them to the letter. To the letter. Modify or change stuff up later, after you have a bit of practice under your belt. And try to be honest with yourself and just give it time. Read suttas. But try to focus on what helps you right now. That has certainly included DHO for me as well.

Personally, I think it is fine to geek out and distract yourself a little. You want to read the vinaya, learn new types of meditation, or post on forums, so what?

But if this information all starts bleeding into your meditation practice, totally swamping your mind and making concentration difficult, then you probably need to reduce the information intake. If it makes you spacey and super distracted walking around in daily life, then maybe cut down also. Same with any type of media, really. Just be pragmatic about what helps or hurts you at that time. It is called the 'pragmatic dharma' movement after all. emoticon

Personally, if you feel unmotivated at work, I'd just have a cup of coffee and throw yourself into work more. Take on an extra project. Your mind will be a lot clearer when you leave the office, and less distracted. Seriously!!

RE: Success in daily life
Answer
4/14/14 2:47 PM as a reply to Chris G.
Dear Chris,

The fact of the matter remains that it is difficult to live as a human being and be Awakened or actually free or whatever. Simply because, as a human being (a modern person) there is way too much crap to deal with.

People have to pay taxes, keep old friendships, appearances, monitor themselves essentially. Living as a feeling being is the most tiring thing in the entire world, because you can't control yourself. It is simply too stressful, and the body suffers.

As a result most Awakened or actually free people live leisurely lifestyles. Just something to think about.

RE: Success in daily life
Answer
4/19/14 3:43 AM as a reply to Chris G.
Chris G:
sawfoot _:
The problem is PROCRASTINATION. You are using DhO (and in some way, spirituality) as a form of procrastination.


Initially I didn't agree with this, but upon further reflection I do agree. Though I think a better word is avoidance. I'm using the DhO, and spirituality, to try to avoid the difficulties and discomforts of life. Maybe knowing that will help a little.

That's not the only reason I practice meditation though. After some profound (for me) experiences, I made a resolution to keep practicing. I've renewed it several times since. I think it's worth it to wake up & see clearly.


Well, I would put "procrastination" as a sub-category of a more umbrella term of "avoidance". Going on the DhO when you should be doing something else (like your work is a form of procrastination). It is strategy to avoid doing something else.

Sometimes procrastination can be productive, in by avoiding one thing you actually achieve something else. But there is a less productive form of productive procrastination where you mind tricks you into substituting an activity which feels like it helps your goal but ultimately is just a form of avoidance. So that goal might be wanting to be enlightened (to fix yourself), and spending your time reading about how to be enlightened (fix yourself) and other people's experiences of being enlightened (fixing themselves) rather than doing those practices.

Broadly speaking, you want to be happy. And meditation is an useful strategy for doing that. And seeing clearly, whatever that means, that probably helps as well.

And you want your life to have meaning and purpose. And what you often find in spiritual circles is the use of spirituality as a tool for finding and purpose where they are elsewhere lacking in your life. So you aren't really happy in your job, or elsewhere in your life, so you invest energy in being a spiritual person in order to find that purpose, meaning, a community. There isn't necessarily anything wrong with that - some people grow up to be engineers, some become priests. But it is a sign that something isn't quite right elsewhere.

So a lot of people around here struggle with depression and anxiety and lack of of motivation and various other minor (and occasionally not so minor) mental health issues. And many who stick around have found the spiritual stuff helpful. And then there are those that still hold on to the dream that it will be helpful...that it will allow them to fix themselves. And there are two sides to that - one side is the mindfulness and day to day practices (tactical stuff) and the other is the more long term life goal and meaning side of things (strategic stuff).

You know what you are avoiding - which is anxiety (which is another word for the manifestation of fear). And "Anxiety won't transform overnight " - you have to attack it from all angles - however inspiring reports of 4th path might be, or the wonders of a long term retreat, these are magic bullets, and you should be wary of looking for this kinds of escape.

The basics count for a lot. Good sleep, good diet, good social life, good exercise, self-discipline and routine, good stress management techniques (meditation and metta!) - but a lack of job security, a job you dislike, and the thought of possibly becoming homeless - well, no amount of meditation and equanimity is going to fix anxiety about that! Equanimity in the face of those kinds of problems reeks of avoidance. You have to work on the big stuff as well as the little stuff.

Chris G:

And there are a few moments here and there of being awake to the mystery of life. (But there is still a bit of despair.)


Life is like that, though, isn't it? Some moments of the joy of being alive, some mystery, some despair...