Message Boards Message Boards

Miscellaneous

My weakness is a lack of resolve and discipline. now what?

Toggle
So I have identified my weakness. I am too addicted to my habits. I don't mean  a drug habit or anything, but I mean habit as behaviors that I have grown accustomed to. I am accustomed to procrastination, to escapism through internet/games/movies, to constant daydreams. I am completely enthralled in those aforementioned things.

I have tried to make myself meditate instead of doing those idle pointless things, but I would constantly cut my meditation session short so I can go back to my electronics, and if I made my electronics unavailable, I will simply sit there and fantasize. I can fantasize for hours at a time. Ironically, many times I fantasize about meditation, about achieving enlightenment and attaining superpowers. I would rather do that than put in the actual work to meditate, because meditation is hard work while fantasizing is easy and pleasurable.

I feel stuck. Am I just doomed to this pattern? All my resolve and plans and scheduling gets chipped away by my addiction to my habits, and it seems like the specific habits that I have are completely detrimental to mindfulness and concentration.

Out of desperation, I have signed up for the 10-day retreat and hopefully I can get in, I am on the waitlist right now.

I desperately want to change, I just feel stuck. Is there a cure for my condition?

RE: My weakness is a lack of resolve and discipline. now what?
Answer
11/15/14 1:53 PM as a reply to jack.
Have recently started meditating again. I'm in similar position, but I've just decided to start small. Currently using the Headspace app for guided mindfullness. 10 minutes in the morning and have now added 10 minutes body scan in the evening. Then just plain awareness practice when I can remember to do it during the day such that Thusness has written about. Noting is a no go for me currently. I dont get how its done actually lol. The explanations are just confusing, noting a thought creates another thought of noting, infinite loop.

10 day retreat. Hopefully you wont spend all time fantasizing. If cant even do it for 2 minutes it sounds like a struggle to try 10 days. Should probably practice before going.

RE: My weakness is a lack of resolve and discipline. now what?
Answer
11/15/14 3:08 PM as a reply to jack.
I think this a completely understandable thing to feel when presented with enlightenment as a pathway to a goal. On this forum, especially, people go on about how horrible their dark nights are, so it's not very encouraging, haha. If you haven't had any glimpses of what enlightenment actually is, or you haven heard it explained well enough, then it's actually amazing you're practicing at all, considering how frustrating things can be - so good for you for trying, I say! emoticon

Now, consider for a moment what your goal actually is. Forget what you've heard, what is your deepest desire about enlightenment? For me it was always that I wanted to find peace of mind. Freedom from the anxiety that bothered me all the time. I wanted to be content and satisfied. This is what every mind wants, I think. All of our entertainment is designed to provide as much of this as possible, which is why you want to go back to it when you try to meditate. Even your fantasizing is a way of providing yourself with entertainment to bring satisfaction. All of this is understandable, isn't it? You aren't crazy, just normal like all the rest of us, haha.

So let's consider why this entertainment satisfies you. When you are playing a video game, or watching a movie or show you like, it allows you to enter a state of concentration that isolates you from things you are worried about or feeling negative about. Your attention is no longer preoccupied with those things that bothered you so your mind is allowed to rest and enjoy itself by letting go and taking things in as they are.

Now, suppose for a moment that you had nothing to worry about at all - everything in your life was stable, enjoyable, and perfect. You wouldn't feel a need to be entertained because you would have nothing you needed to be distracted from. You could just rest with your satisfaction.

If this doesn't seem right, examine your feelings - they are always caused by something. If you are bored and restless, it means you feel there are things you must do and you don't have time to do them (so, whatever you are doing now is keeping you from your desired task). If you're angry, then someone has hurt you in some way. If you are worried, there is something you must remember to do in the future, something you must practice for, or maybe something that will be difficult or upsetting. Without these causes, you can just rest your mind and be at peace, satisfied by what is happening - just as you are while being entertained.

So, now, what is the path to this goal? Your electronics are providing a temporary relief for you, but when you put them down, your problems come back. You feel addicted because they seem like the only cure - the only way to let your mind rest. There is another option, though.

Enlightenment is a word used to describe what happens to a person who realizes that it is the resting, itself, rather than the objects of distraction that brings the mind the satisfaction it wants. The sage understands that the distractions (or concentration, if you will) is simply making that letting-go easier to do. If you want to be content and satisfied at all times, then all you need to do is let your mind rest at all times. The main reason this is difficult is because we have been trained by nature and our environment that there are things we must avoid, things we need to cringe away from. We are afraid, fragile creatures who just want to be happy.

So this is why meditation can be difficult. We are learning to allow ourselves to fully experience the things we call negative so we can let go of control while they are happening and remain satisfied and at ease. That negativity is nothing more than the cognitive dissonance between the ego and the rest of the mind. The ego says, "this must not happen this way." But things are out of its control. It has no choice but to be here, right now. It can't escape, so it creates tension and dissatisfaction and craving and desire.

So all meditation methods are pointing back to this - to be free from suffering, you practice allowing everything to happen - even (especially) the bad things - so that the mind will learn to rest and those negative reactions will no longer arise. This is the crux of the issue.

However, it doesn't have to be as brutal as that sounds. You certainly can dive right into your suffering and desire and practice accepting it all directly, but that can be a difficult path. What most traditions will do is teach you to master concentration so you can isolate yourself from negativity and get direct experience with that ability to let go completely. As this letting-go becomes the most desirable thing, you can slowly reintroduce the negativity you experience in life and learn to accept it. Eventually, when the path is complete, the concentration ability can be abandoned completely and you can live effortlessly at all times.

At this point, it sounds like what you really need and want is a glimps of that peace of mind that's at the end of the path, and a way to reify it in meditation so that meditation can replace your other distractions and you can begin to exercise some control over your own happiness. This is precisely what the Buddha told his followers to do - Jhana.

There are many instructions on how to attain jhana, and a lot of debate over what jhana is, but the main thing to rememebr is this: It doesn't matter what states you reach, and it doesn't matter how concentrated you are. What really matters is whether or not you can begin to let go of control and start to experience that perfect contentment that comes from allowing the world to go on without intervention.  The basic instructions are to take an object of some kind - the breath is common and recomended by the Buddha - and just watch it with the intent to let go of your problems and forget them for a little while. Let go of control and allow the effortless contentment and satisfaction that is naturally present when you are without problems to shine through. When you are at peace and at ease, reintroduce yourself to your problems a little at a time and try to let them go on without you. Let go of effort and control and just rest in what is happening. This will lead you to the goal.

Hope this all helps. emoticon

RE: My weakness is a lack of resolve and discipline. now what?
Answer
11/15/14 3:20 PM as a reply to jack.
rich r a:
So I have identified my weakness. I am too addicted to my habits. I don't mean  a drug habit or anything
Hmmm...this is interesting..as an exercise perhaps you should reread your post assuming that you are addicted to a certain substance. Replace your words of habits/fantasy with a substance and see what you think. What advice would you give yourself?

I've found that we are addicted to our minds first and foremost. We create our own drugs/brain chemicals that external substances mimic. We can explore our addictions to the primary cause - thoughts and the feelings behind them. Explore what are the exact qualities of the uncomfortable thoughts/feelings that fantasy and games mask/hide. Just sit right now after reading this and start exploring the next fearful/stressful/negative feeling that arises and what you want to do about it. Stay with it for a couple minutes doing nothing to alleviate what comes up. Try to see it as clearly as you can.

rich r a:
Out of desperation, I have signed up for the 10-day retreat and hopefully I can get in, I am on the waitlist right now.
I desperately want to change, I just feel stuck. Is there a cure for my condition?
I think this a fantastic way to jump start your practice. Congratulations on taking action to do this....follow thru until you do it. Tell us how it turns out.
Good luck,
~D

RE: My weakness is a lack of resolve and discipline. now what?
Answer
11/15/14 11:28 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
I have read Mctb and other things, and the consensus seems to be that once I've attained the first jhana, everything will get much easier. And logically that makes a lot of sense, of course once I've discovered the bliss of meditation, I'm going to want to do it all the time. But I imagine that I am very very far away from first jhana because of my extremely poor concentration and discipline and mindfulness, and the only way to get better is to put in the work.

I suppose this is one of those situations where there is no magic pill, and I simply have to put the work in despite my mind's protest. I really wish there is some "magic pill" though, some cure that will make this easier for me. Because at the rate I am going, it's going to take me at least a decade to attain even just the first jhana, and I'm not sure if I am okay with things taking that long.

RE: My weakness is a lack of resolve and discipline. now what?
Answer
11/16/14 1:10 AM as a reply to jack.
rich r a:
So I have identified my weakness. I am too addicted to my habits. I don't mean  a drug habit or anything, but I mean habit as behaviors that I have grown accustomed to. I am accustomed to procrastination, to escapism through internet/games/movies, to constant daydreams. I am completely enthralled in those aforementioned things.

I have tried to make myself meditate instead of doing those idle pointless things, but I would constantly cut my meditation session short so I can go back to my electronics, and if I made my electronics unavailable, I will simply sit there and fantasize. I can fantasize for hours at a time. Ironically, many times I fantasize about meditation, about achieving enlightenment and attaining superpowers. I would rather do that than put in the actual work to meditate, because meditation is hard work while fantasizing is easy and pleasurable.

I feel stuck. Am I just doomed to this pattern? All my resolve and plans and scheduling gets chipped away by my addiction to my habits, and it seems like the specific habits that I have are completely detrimental to mindfulness and concentration.

Out of desperation, I have signed up for the 10-day retreat and hopefully I can get in, I am on the waitlist right now.

I desperately want to change, I just feel stuck. Is there a cure for my condition?
The feeling of stuckness is rumination. Rumination is thinking about problems instead of solutions. Always look at positive actions to do something about your circumstances as a replacement for rumination because rumination is a dead-end. That's why it feels "stuck" like you have no other option. Depressed people also feel stuck all the time because they don't pursue other options for their predicaments.

Understand how the amygdala works. It releases addictive neurotransmitters for many things but it also releases stress hormones when you do something different than the habit. I feel the stress chemicals are actually what reinforce the habit more because many people continue addictive habits even if the brain doesn't respond with pleasant neurotransmitters. They are doing it out of avoidance of stress hormones. Just know that everytime you do something different from your short-term preferences you are in new territory and that's a good thing. It will also be uncomfortable but these stress impulses are impermanent and if you wait long enough they go away on their own.

While you practice a faster thing to do is to box up the video games and put them somewhere where it will be irritating to unbox them. When you want to do something different you might get a lot of stress hormones and feel drained. This is when the brain wants to do something short-term to alleviate the stress. Welcome the stress and keep going into new territory in your life. When you get the benefits of better behaviours the brain will reward you eventually. You just have to stick it out with the uncomfortable feelings in the head and chest until this happens. I found that if I couldn't do the right thing it was often good to do nothing and just meditate to replace the old habits.

If you want to see your source of conditioning just watch your intention to pay attention. The head could be like a spotlight of attention and the intentions are a quick feeling of "I'm about to do this" "I'm going to do this". They move very quickly almost at the speed of actions. Being aware of this and nudging an intention to move attention to something better is going into new territory. This is why meditation/awareness needs to be during daily life and not just on the cushion.
rich r a:
I have read Mctb and other things, and the consensus seems to be that once I've attained the first jhana, everything will get much easier. And logically that makes a lot of sense, of course once I've discovered the bliss of meditation, I'm going to want to do it all the time. But I imagine that I am very very far away from first jhana because of my extremely poor concentration and discipline and mindfulness, and the only way to get better is to put in the work.

This is your problem here. You're thinking of the end goal. You need to fall in love with the process which is 99% and achieving the goal ends up being 1%. When you achieve goals new goals will appear.

I suppose this is one of those situations where there is no magic pill, and I simply have to put the work in despite my mind's protest. I really wish there is some "magic pill" though, some cure that will make this easier for me. Because at the rate I am going, it's going to take me at least a decade to attain even just the first jhana, and I'm not sure if I am okay with things taking that long.
This paragraph above is correct (accept for the taking a decade for 1st jhana. It's more like a few months). Learning how to develop jhanas is like any other skill (including video games etc). You'll learn faster if you let go of bashing yourself which = stress chemicals. When I first started noticing I had a problem I was addicted to electronics as well (movies more than games) and was studying for difficult exams but found I had no attention span. It was extremely scary and difficult to admit I had a problem but I had to admit it and do something else. 

When I started concentration practices I was quite awful because I would manipulate the breath too much and hyperventalate or make the breath too shallow and space out. I would furrow my brow and squeeze the muscles in my face and none of this was good practice. I eventually learned to relax all muscles in the body with some body scanning and then accepted that I must return the attention to the breath to strengthen the attention muscle. Even if there's no result the exercise itself does strengthen the attention span and the fruits will be harvested later. Another thing I learned was to not care about the goal but to be just okay with consistency of watching the breath. When the mind wanders and without any analysis or judgment just nonchalantly return the attention to the breath. Jhanas happen when the conditioning is ripe. When I got my first jhana it was a big deal after the fact, but just before it happened I just enjoyed not having to ruminate and just be with the breath. Enjoy this time for yourself. Savoring really helps.

My recommendation to you is to let go of pre-judgments, analysis, rating, measuring etc. (this is important in insight practice as well) and just be with the breath as lightly and consistently as possible. Relax tension in the body because if the mind is tense the body will cringe. If there's negative thoughts that are habitual it's best to welcome them instead of wrestle with them. Fighting them will condition the habit further. If your mind goes negative welcome it and then purposefully add something positive like "It's nice to just enjoy the breath and nothing else". Then let go of thinking all together to focus on the breath. Just maintain, sustain the practice. If the mind wanders then that's okay, just gently bring it back with kindness. I would recommend some metta practice as well. Giving love to yourself and your body realizing that this is healthy and okay will make concentration easier.

Focusing on the end goal is actually bad in life as well as any form of meditation. It causes restlessness and boredom. Fall in love with the process.

A lot of people have very negative self-beliefs and those beliefs are conditioned and sabatoging people.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQqSF8bQckI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mg5d9fdwI0o
REBT

Having healthy scientific beliefs about cause and effect will help improve your meditation.

So in summary:

1. Change your environment to remove the addictive cues.
2. Challenge and let go of unrealistic beliefs and replace that with scientific cause and effect.
3. Relax the body and meditate with the aim of practicing the process well, as opposed to anticipating the result.

I hope this helps

Richard

RE: My weakness is a lack of resolve and discipline. now what?
Answer
11/16/14 1:37 AM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Very informative, Richard. The experience you said you went through when you first started sounds exactly like what I'm going through right now. Lots of facial tension that I'm sort of learning how to deal with just recently, but it's still kind of there but I know I made progress. As well as too much control and force on my breath, but I'm getting a bit better at that too. So it sounds like you were once in my shoes, and I should take your word for it that jhana is a couple months away rather than a decade, but I still find that hard to believe it won't take me a year at minimum.

Now that you mentioned it, I do remember myself being noticably more irritable and unhappy if I have my computer in front of me, but I stop myself from turning it on. Eventually I do cave in and turn it on, in fact that's what happened today. Told myself I wouldn't turn the computer on, but here I am lol. I could take it a step further and unplug the inner wires of my computer. In fact, I will do that.

Still, that brings up the other issue of my mind simply resorting to fantasizing as its method of escape. But I suppose that's easier to deal with than the endless entertainment that my computer brings me.

By the way, I absolutely know I have a problem. I've known for a while now. I am the type of person who is very shut-in and spends most of his time on the internet ever since I was in my pre-teens. I'm in my mid-twenties now, and this is basically more than a decade long addiction of mine that has led me to develop some very ugly attributes of procrastination, scatter-mindedness, loner behavior and mentality, etc the list goes on. This is why I think jhana is very far away from me.

And about the idea of loving the process rather than the end goal... well, of course that would be great. But that's hard to do, isn't it? The end goal, jhana, is pleasurable and blissful. It's easy to love. The process involves feeling emotions of boredom and tension and stress and pain. It's much harder to do, let alone love...

RE: My weakness is a lack of resolve and discipline. now what?
Answer
11/16/14 10:57 AM as a reply to jack.
rich r a:
Very informative, Richard. The experience you said you went through when you first started sounds exactly like what I'm going through right now. Lots of facial tension that I'm sort of learning how to deal with just recently, but it's still kind of there but I know I made progress. As well as too much control and force on my breath, but I'm getting a bit better at that too. So it sounds like you were once in my shoes, and I should take your word for it that jhana is a couple months away rather than a decade, but I still find that hard to believe it won't take me a year at minimum.

Now that you mentioned it, I do remember myself being noticably more irritable and unhappy if I have my computer in front of me, but I stop myself from turning it on. Eventually I do cave in and turn it on, in fact that's what happened today. Told myself I wouldn't turn the computer on, but here I am lol. I could take it a step further and unplug the inner wires of my computer. In fact, I will do that.

Still, that brings up the other issue of my mind simply resorting to fantasizing as its method of escape. But I suppose that's easier to deal with than the endless entertainment that my computer brings me.

By the way, I absolutely know I have a problem. I've known for a while now. I am the type of person who is very shut-in and spends most of his time on the internet ever since I was in my pre-teens. I'm in my mid-twenties now, and this is basically more than a decade long addiction of mine that has led me to develop some very ugly attributes of procrastination, scatter-mindedness, loner behavior and mentality, etc the list goes on. This is why I think jhana is very far away from me.

And about the idea of loving the process rather than the end goal... well, of course that would be great. But that's hard to do, isn't it? The end goal, jhana, is pleasurable and blissful. It's easy to love. The process involves feeling emotions of boredom and tension and stress and pain. It's much harder to do, let alone love...
This is a good discussion. You're a mirror of my old me but I didn't have the advice I'm handing you on a platter. This is going to be my best effort at trying to help the old me emoticon

Here are some links to books that helped me along the way. The summaries are quite good and are helpful even if you don't read the books:

http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5180575
Thinking fast and slow - What happens to the brain when you do something "hard".

http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5566441
Enneagram - Personality types and how to move forward

http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5552028
The Practicing Mind - About falling in love with the process

http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5005983
Meet your happy chemicals - All about neurotransmitters and cortisol

http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5211785
CBT

http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5036272
How willpower works

As good as the above information is there's still something missing. Understanding the amygdala and how it punishes us if we venture into new territory shows how the insight practice works. When we follow desires the carrot (dopmaine/serotonin/oxytocin/endorphins) is involved but we also get (cortisol) at the same time which reinforces the habit. This older part of the brain is limited and thinks that leaving habits is dangerous so it punishes us even when it's wrong. 

When we develop a concentration practice it releases some of those nice chemicals in a safer environment but can be a place to get stuck. Concentration is better used as a microscope to do the insight practice to see the impermanence of all experiences so the brain starts getting disenchanted. The disenchantment means we aren't day-dreaming about the carrot so the stick also falls away at the same time. When one hits strong habits of equanimity there is a larger sense of freedom. Letting go of short-term preferences and moving beyond short-term preferences is success. Holding on to preferences while doing the right thing will release more stress hormones. But as advantageous as it is to know this, it's only a gradual step. Unless you're an arhat (which almost nobody is in Buddhist circles) the stress is still operating even at a low level so that you feel great but the habits aren't changing quickly enough because going into new territory and imagining goals still will release a little stress.

You're not the only one going through this problem. People are addicted to internet, email, cellphones, books and even meditation. You can be addicted to anything that is easier than goals that require us to stretch ourselves to achieve our personal deep values. Video games give you dopmaine (goals) and serotonin (pride) but at smaller doses because they are easier than dealing with life goals that don't give instant gratification. Big life goals will give you greater amounts of those chemicals but require more commitment without instant gratification.

I'm going to digress to some recent insights I got while joining groups to develop myself in other skills in life. I went to Toastmasters and I'm really enjoying it but I can see some flaws and some repetitive behaviour. What usually happens is new people show up and watch how it works, then say "I like it and I'm coming back". Then the audience smiles and claps. Usually what happens is that they never come back. Some of this is because they don't want to tolerate the cortisol to better themselves. But some of the simplistic amygdala behaviour is this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHopJHSlVo4
Derek Sivers: Goals. Keep them to yourself

Talking to some other administrators for Toastmasters and they said only 10% completed their 10 speeches for their Competent Communicator Manual.

I also took a free French course runned by volunteers. Needless to say after a few weeks, my class is much smaller. On top of that there's no exams, no grades, and no assigned homework which eliminates much of the motivation. The only people still left are self-motivated.

I've been trying to do a French Study Group that another person is overseeing and it has been a trainwreck. I tried to use a basic grammar book to do exercises at the beginning and each week some people would return and many others wouldn't. New people would show up and all they did was talk about themselves and disrupt the practice. One lady had so little concentration she couldn't even follow "repeating after me" instructions. She would interrupt about something else. Other fluent French speakers interrupted to supposedly help but they mainly talked about themselves or their opinions  As people came and went there were some regulars including me but yesterday became a trainwreck when another new person who was only with us for 1 week came back and also another fluent French speaker interrupted for over an hour repeating how certain words in English and French are similar but just need the endings to change. No practice was done, and nobody even did their homework. The new lady got mad at me because she wanted it to be "fun" and she didn't want to learn French grammar. Another lady agreed with her and did ego bullshit about how she knows best and that people learn differently because she's got an English PhD. Appeal to authority is such shit emoticon I was giving subtle hints to the French speaker who hijacked the meeting and he was so addicted to serotonin (pride/being a hero) that he couldn't stop. 

Obviously you need to practice in order to get an English PhD. so now this lady is trying to learn French without homework? The other lady wants to learn French without grammar? This is obviously their amygdala speaking and not their pre-frontal cortex. Learning psychology can make you have contempt towards people who are ignorant but one has to accept that this is a widespread attitude of narcissism. It's nothing new. I thankfully quit the group because doing the same thing with groups over and over again expecting a different result is a form of insanity. It doesn't matter what gender, race, ethnicity, IQ etc. The behaviour is predictable.

So now I've come to the conclusion that the best part of Buddhism, Cognitive Therapy, Willpower studies is that they all say the same thing, which is Right Effort is needed. Meditation can be a form of avoidance if done improperly. Only one thing really works:

Right Effort:
  • Let go of current unskillfulness
  • Prevent unskillfulness from arising
  • Cultivate skillfulness
  • Sustain skillfulness
  • When you fall of the wagon then just do the above again. Rinse and repeat for as long as you live.
No amount of reading books for eons, or looking for inspiration, or following a guru or meditating for years will do anything other than beat around the bush. If you follow what's in bold without analyzing, strategizing, deflecting, rationalizing, rehearsing, or any other mental masturbation you'll move into new territory in your life. You have to abandon enabling family and friends. You have to stop playing video games FOR GOOD. Moderation will often not be enough. The brain will eventually release those pleasant chemicals when you finally get some success achieving your deep values and then it'll be much easier from then on. Getting busy allowing little time to be idle prevents the temptation to fill it in with useless tasks.

This the best advice I can give in your situation. Please read this over and over again and do it over and over again. Everything else is avoidance. Now back to my French practice and developing my future speeches. emoticon

If you don't do this maybe someone else reading this thread might. That's often what happens.

Over and out.

PS:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H14bBuluwB8
GRIT. Saying the same thing!

Richard

RE: My weakness is a lack of resolve and discipline. now what?
Answer
11/17/14 7:11 AM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Great advice Richard - I always appreciate the detail you put into your posts, which have helped me a lot since discovering this website.

My way of looking at this, which came out of a motivational book some years ago, is to think about the homeostasis effect.  In biology our body is always trying to maintain a state of equilibrium.  If it's a hot day you will produce more sweat to maintain regular body temperature etc.  The same is true of the mind.  If you move away from one behavioural habbit and into another there will be a feeling of discomfort (cortisol being produced as you say).  Even if the old behaviour is a negative one, this is your established baseline.

The only way to get through this is to know the process is happening, label it, soothe with metta if needed and move forward.  Action in imperitive.  The more you dwell in this state the more your get stuck and inevitably move back to old habbits or coping mechanisms.

Another bit of advice is some positive visualisation, but on the process and not the goal.  If you can swicth your fantasies to focus on the act of meditation rather than the results then prehaps you can switch the emphasis and pull you towards the process.

Richard - on a seperate note it would be great to hear about your experiences with Toastmasters.  I am thinking about joining to help with anxiety around public speaking.

RE: My weakness is a lack of resolve and discipline. now what?
Answer
11/17/14 11:15 AM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Richard, that is good stuff.  I totally lol'd reading your description of the French class - been there.  Ha, you should become a life coach.

RE: My weakness is a lack of resolve and discipline. now what?
Answer
11/17/14 11:43 AM as a reply to jack.
I am not very far on the way, but i know the state you are describing very well.
There were times when my practice consisted of "just sitting on the cushion somehow and staying there, no matter what".
And it still did something good to me. Something healthy. I do not know what and how.

My 2 cents:
Carry on what you are doing now.
You are being sincere to yourself.
That is all what is needed - in my experience.

Carry on cycling in your habits as long as they perpetuate themselves, just be utterly sincere about it.
Experience your getting lost. Experience being pushed about the place by your desires and habits. Experience being stuck. Experience desperation, fully, totally, physically.

Do not mix up sincerity with self-pity, judgement or cruelty. You know what I mean.
Good luck.

RE: My weakness is a lack of resolve and discipline. now what?
Answer
11/17/14 12:35 PM as a reply to G Mojo.
G Mojo:

Richard - on a seperate note it would be great to hear about your experiences with Toastmasters.  I am thinking about joining to help with anxiety around public speaking.
  • Well ultimately if you follow what I wrote in bold above you can try anything.
  • Toastmasters is easy in that the daily speech competitions aren't real ones. They are just for practice whether you win or lose. The real competitions have real judges. I actually saw one loser vote for himself when he was competing with me. Of course I didn't. I asked Toastmasters about it and they said there's no rule. One senior Toastmaster lady said that she doesn't vote for herself but she knows others that do. It's good to notice this ahead of time so you don't put too much emotion into results from your speeches. They are just there for practice. I'm sure lots of people give up when they see this and especially when they put a whole bunch of effort and lose while others vote for themselves.
  • Follow the manual to a tee and watch TED talks videos and Toastmaster videos. Google how to do openings, transitions, and closings.
  • If you're like me and have too much material you need to start getting less precious and hack away at the detail and look more for impact and audience rapport.
  • Guess what happens when you're about to do a speech? You'll get a shot of cortisol in the middle of your chest. This is where the famous saying "what you resist persists" comes true. Welcome it because it goes away on it's own.
  • The meditation practice made me more extroverted because people are now calling me an extrovert. I'm an INFP so I'm definitely not an extrovert but the meditation practice will make you care less what people think and that helps a lot.
  • Table Topics is the hardest because you have to make up stuff on the fly and the only way to get better is to keep doing it.
  • You'll likely win when you do your icebreaker but it's total bullshit and blowing smoke up your ass to make you release serotonin (I actually did a presentation on this emoticon) but you'll have trouble winning after that without greatly improving your quality. You'll be competing against people who are on their 7th or 8th speech and I'm sure the politics will be to reward those people if they are pretty good. Certainly they can be exceptional. Focus more on real competitions. The weekly competitions don't mean anything and are highly political.
  • After your first 10 speeches you get your competent communicator diploma and you can choose from 15 different manuals that go into different skills like storytelling, technical, media etc.
  • It's actually possible to get your CC and still be bad at speeches. Always improve with every speech.
  • Record yourself. Hear how you actually sound. For me I noticed that certain wording was too verbose for speeches and had to simplify it. I'm currently struggling with time and have to edit the hell out of my speeches without sacrificing impact. 7 minutes goes by in a flash. I also need to slow down my speech. 
  • Improve your eye contact.
  • Get credit for your other roles in Toastmasters to fill out your Competent Leadership manual. Some people overlook this.
  • Finally create your own goals with Toastmasters otherwise everything looks aimless. Lots of people start and then give up for a few years and then come back but still don't have a goal. 

RE: My weakness is a lack of resolve and discipline. now what?
Answer
11/17/14 12:42 PM as a reply to lama carrot top.
carrot top:
Richard, that is good stuff.  I totally lol'd reading your description of the French class - been there.  Ha, you should become a life coach.

Yeah but I'm too busy cleaning up my past errors of anxiety and being a doormat. Better late than never I say. If I get some outward success then people might listen to me. It's easy to get partially enlightened and end up like Eckart Tolle and be a bum and even he be didn't want to stay there. He became a successful author instead. It's because he's rich with his books that people will confer authority towards him. Others use robes to gain authority. People follow authority. My French class is like communism. If it's free people will treat it that way. If they have to pay for it and do exams then they will have more motivation. emoticon

RE: My weakness is a lack of resolve and discipline. now what?
Answer
11/18/14 1:00 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Sounds good! Have fun on the retreat!