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Fitz
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7/5/15 4:42 PM
I'm finding at the moment i'm residing in and watching some quite re-occurring and ever-present negative states-only negative in the sense that that is what i've labelled them. This is a change as i think all my life i've just tried to find ways of getting rid of these states. Irritability is with me constantly, restlesness and discontent. Its my default state, i wake up like it. I'm hoping if i hang out with this enough and just keep feeling and watching it that eventually it will dissolve. I mean, of course i have experience of it dissolving. There is respite, i'm not feeling irritable all the time, but it's there a lot. Mostly activity makes it go away, but occasionally, activity will precipitate it eg at work. Right now, for example, i am focused on getting this post out so it is out of awareness.  
The other place i'm at a lot and have been all my life is lust masquerading as something else. I call it 'The Princess Complex'. You know, that story we build around our sexual drives that all i'm missing in life is my perfect princess and that when i find her, everything will slot into place. It has haunted me all my life, even within happy relationships. It really is an extremely powerful delusion for me that is the pinnacle of looking externally for a route to happiness and a fix that requires no work on myself at all. But its a delusion. I've got sadder and sadder over the past five years since my marriage break up because the illusion is getting weaker the more practice i do. It scares me, the possibility of that dissolving. Even after my marriage break up i had a five month fling then straight after got into a three year relationship which has just ended. So i'm just now resigned to a period of celibacy and watching my mind as it fights with the loss of this story. The strange thing is, i'm experiencing more feelings of jealousy now than i ever did in the relationship. It's like, 'i don't get this'. I'm trying to objectify it but its difficult.
I find that the Reichian breath work and exercises on the body break up these apparently 'stuck' or 'trapped' energy states. But boy, do they come back with avengeance after the work. 
I have an overwhelming feeling that i am no fun anymore. I feel it most when i'm with my nine year old daughter, because, well she is full of life and fun. I find it hard to step up to the mark. I feel like i'm letting her down. I also feel like i'm constantly on the verge of something big, a major breakthrough, or that i'm on the verge of total collapse and obliteration. Seeing my therapist helps but i think i've peaked with the positive transfer. 
Done 1.5 hrs meditation today and really enjoyed surfing through this site and investigating the books bandied around-especially the Kenneth Frost book-i agree that there's hundreds of thousands of sources of fluff all around but not much that feels like a manual. Just being here makes me feel like i'm getting closer. 

RE: Fitz
Answer
7/5/15 7:35 PM as a reply to Steve Fitz Williams.
Sounds like you are just starting and are hurting a lot. I would first look at things like cause and effect and just look at all the causes and effects that were actually out of your control. Surely somethings you could have done better but you can't change the past, and must focus on choices for the future.

Buddhism is a long process so I would keep things simple at first and develop basic concentration practices and cultivate attitudes that allow more freedom right now. The Brahmaviharas (The sublime attitudes) are a good starting point.

  • For Loving-Kindness: May _____ be happy. May ____ be peaceful.  May _____ be safe. May _____ live with ease.
  • For Compassion: May _____ be free from suffering.
  • For Sympathetic Joy: May the happiness and good fortune of _____ always increase.
  • For Equanimity: People's happiness depends upon their actions and not my wishes
  • (Vivid imagery really helps with these types of practices. Vividly imagine people and situations so the positive emotions arise)
The first one helps to relieve hatred. The second one reduces cruelty. The third one reduces envy. The last one hits on the cause and effect I was just talking about so you become less needy. If you are doing stuff to cause stress in your thinking you can be sure that others in your life are struggling with similar negative thinking patterns that dog their peace as well. If you compare developing these practices daily (including your daily life - which is the best practice IMHO) to letting the mind wander over negative habitual thinking you can see one mode prevents you from hatred, cruelty, envy, and neediness. Other modes of thinking can allow those negative patterns to return. If you want to develop a healthy self then that would be a great way to go about it. I would recommend using this practice for the rest of your life. After a couple of years it should be clear how different you are from what you were before.

As you get more stable in this practice and do conventional forms of improving yourself (money management, eating healthy, exercising and whatever else you can think of) then you'll probably find that the only thing left to deal with is a perfectionistic self that wants everything to be "just so" and that is inhibiting your self-improvement. This is where vipassana can help by getting you to see that objectifying yourself like a concept is really just negative thinking habit (because people like to bash themselves) and that you are completely interdependent to the world.

Once you understand this interdependence then you'll see that ruminating is pointless and draining on your energy and any goals in your life are still based on causes and conditions and YOU have to cultivate the right causes and conditions and choose the right environments to pursue your goals.

Then finally you'll have to face the inevitable that everyone has to face which is that the particles that made up your body and were given to you by your parents will have to shift and change in such a way that there is death and at that point one must let go everything you think is "mine".

So you can see there's a long process but if you break down the goals into smaller ones and just learn to let go of rumination and to cultivate more positive and equanamous mind states you'll get some mental freedom NOW. The more often you do it the more often you get freedom from ruminating stress.

Good luck on your journey!

RE: Fitz
Answer
7/6/15 3:02 AM as a reply to Steve Fitz Williams.
Hello steve,

I would second everything that Richard Zen has said.

I'm glad you found this place. I did recently and I'm glad I did. This place has been a treasure trove of resources. I've received plenty of help from others here. I am sure you will too. Speaking of which, here's a link for a free book that is worth the read, imho, to get you started down the path. I'm working my way through it a second time now. I read a book, The Art of Living, first, that really inspired me to look into this meditation "stuff" that I was beginning to find more and more about on the internet. I stumbled upon this book and it changed my whole thinking about what can be accomplished with meditation. I've only been back into meditation now for 5 or 6 weeks; so I'm still very new. Just take what I say with a grain of sand emoticon

http://integrateddaniel.info/book/

Continue to post questions and I'm sure others can help you out. Way more than me :-)

I've also discovered I need to do Metta practice. You may also.

RE: Fitz
Answer
7/10/15 4:08 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Thanks for the comments folks, I really appreciate the input. I've been meditating daily for about five years but I only feel like I'm hitting it running at this point, doing at least an hour a day of breath concentration practice and I've just started doing noting seriously and systematically. I have been repeatedly told to do metta practices, but I have an aversion getting in the way. A real contempt blocking me doing it. I'm starting to realise I need to get over this somehow. I feel like the past five years, although earnest effort and discipline, have been  floundering around somewhat. I now need to get systematic and hit it hard. Thanks again and any further comments would be most welcome