Mindfulness/concentration is not the way to happiness

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Not Tao, modified 5 Years ago.

Mindfulness/concentration is not the way to happiness

Posts: 997 Join Date: 4/5/14 Recent Posts
You know, I think the whole obsession with "the moment" is misguided.  I'm currently in the most peaceful and happy era of my life, and my mind wanders just as much as it always has.  I kind of like daydreaming - it's where all my good ideas for stories come from - so I used to be kind of disappointed how much practice interfiered with that.  I don't think this whole concept of staying in the moment and spending all this time concentrating or watching what's happening really has anything to do with happiness, peace, or contentment.  For me it just kind of went the other way and supported neurotic tendencies.  Watching bad feelings is a great way to get stuck in them and obsess.
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tom moylan, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Mindfulness/concentration is not the way to happiness

Posts: 896 Join Date: 3/7/11 Recent Posts
...well that just like your opinion man.

jeff lebowski
Derek Cameron, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Mindfulness/concentration is not the way to happiness

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Not Tao:
Watching bad feelings is a great way to get stuck in them and obsess.


That's certainly a possibility. However, plenty of teachers caution against getting too involved with the thought-formations that induce bad feelings. The important thing to observe is the three characteristics, not the content.

Also, in traditional Buddhism, everyone would have a bliss practice as well as a mindfulness practice. In Theravada Buddhism, that means (hard) jhana. I've done some experimenting with the bliss practice in Tara Springett's Spiritual Joy. This is an informal, everyday-life bliss practice, derived from Tibetan Buddhism. It definitely works to re-educate your mind and stop it from fixating on the supposed satisfaction promised by the thought-formations.
C P M, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Mindfulness/concentration is not the way to happiness

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Hi Derek

Related to Bliss, I recall you mentioned somewhere on another thread that you had a rebound effect after periods of bliss. Does this still happen?  I think this happens to me sometimes.  Also, I don't have any special techniques to induce bliss, it just seems to be a byproduct of Samatha practice.
Derek Cameron, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Mindfulness/concentration is not the way to happiness

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C P M:
Related to Bliss, I recall you mentioned somewhere on another thread that you had a rebound effect after periods of bliss. Does this still happen?  I think this happens to me sometimes.  Also, I don't have any special techniques to induce bliss, it just seems to be a byproduct of Samatha practice.


Yes, the peaks of bliss can be followed by intense aversion, loathing, self-hatred, and what have you. In the book, it says you should deal with these by refocusing on the bliss/peace/joy. I'm not expert enough in the "technique" to be able to do that yet. 

I'll add that calling it a "technique" could be slightly misleading. You don't need to induce any feelings. It's a matter of noticing the sense of well-being that is already there. Over time, you get a positive feedback loop going.

It makes sense you'd get uncaused happiness out of samatha. I've heard Theravada monks call this the bliss of letting go. Maybe it was Ajahn Brahm. The Tibetan view (from which Tara writes) is that pure, clear, joyful awareness is our true nature. All we've done is to take the focus off the obscurations of this true nature.
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Noah S, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Mindfulness/concentration is not the way to happiness

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Derek, I've been curious about the mechanics of the post-bliss hangover ever since you mentioned it on one of my threads.  Its funny that agitation should follow bliss.  Can we write it off to brain chemistry?  Or perhaps explain it via the nanas?  Or is there some other interesting psychic explanation that could suffice?  Just some idea play here.
Derek Cameron, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Mindfulness/concentration is not the way to happiness

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Noah S:
is there some other interesting psychic explanation that could suffice?  Just some idea play here.

In ordinary consciousness, feelings that have been stuck in your system for a long time are muffled due to their familiarity. You've become habituated to them and don't notice them.

The bliss throws these bad feelings into sharp relief. I suspect that a serotonin test at just the right point would show eleveated serotonin levels.

Once the bliss fades, you become consciously aware of these feelings. You've broken the spell of familiarity. You become aware of feelings that were there all the time anyway.

That's my little theory. Others welcome.
C P M, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Mindfulness/concentration is not the way to happiness

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Derek Cameron:
Noah S:
is there some other interesting psychic explanation that could suffice?  Just some idea play here.

In ordinary consciousness, feelings that have been stuck in your system for a long time are muffled due to their familiarity. You've become habituated to them and don't notice them.

The bliss throws these bad feelings into sharp relief. I suspect that a serotonin test at just the right point would show eleveated serotonin levels.

Once the bliss fades, you become consciously aware of these feelings. You've broken the spell of familiarity. You become aware of feelings that were there all the time anyway.

That's my little theory. Others welcome.

I tend to agree with you,  but I'm not %100 sure.  I can't conclude if it's, as you say, the contrast, and the recognition of whats always there, or if things get actually worse after a blissful spell.
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Noah S, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Mindfulness/concentration is not the way to happiness

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Once the bliss fades, you become consciously aware of these feelings. You've broken the spell of familiarity. You become aware of feelings that were there all the time anyway.

That's my little theory. Others welcome.

Very nice!  I love it.  Exactly what I was hoping for haha.
Oochdd, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Mindfulness/concentration is not the way to happiness

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One explanation could be purely chemical: I have noticed that my A&P's and 1st-2nd Jhana remind me a lot of my MDMA experiences. I could basically 'feel' the serotonin flooding my brain. So perhaps these bliss techniques trick the brain into releasing serotonin just like MDMA does, and then you get the same Suicide Tuesday serotonin depletion hangover as you might get from a good weekend of partying and hugging random people at a festival.

Could also be that A&P and the DN are related to more long term serotonin imbalances in the brain. (supposedly your serotonin levels should be back to normal two weeks after an MDMA trip, and the first couple of days after are the worst, so a multi-month DN could not be explained by a simple serotonin release and depletion alone, but perhaps a more long lasting imbalance?)
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Noah S, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Mindfulness/concentration is not the way to happiness

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Oochdd:
One explanation could be purely chemical: I have noticed that my A&P's and 1st-2nd Jhana remind me a lot of my MDMA experiences. I could basically 'feel' the serotonin flooding my brain. So perhaps these bliss techniques trick the brain into releasing serotonin just like MDMA does, and then you get the same Suicide Tuesday serotonin depletion hangover as you might get from a good weekend of partying and hugging random people at a festival.

Could also be that A&P and the DN are related to more long term serotonin imbalances in the brain. (supposedly your serotonin levels should be back to normal two weeks after an MDMA trip, and the first couple of days after are the worst, so a multi-month DN could not be explained by a simple serotonin release and depletion alone, but perhaps a more long lasting imbalance?)

Just saw this.  I like it too.  Makes sense.
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Richard Zen, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Mindfulness/concentration is not the way to happiness

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You're criticizing a mindfulness practice you weren't actually doing properly. Rumination is the opposite of mindfulness. People need to do good practice for sure but even more important is doing it long enough for the brain to start changing. This means having goals in life and investigating and challenging those tendencies that counter act you. Use the breath to breathe into irritating sensations in the body to let go in a peaceful way. Too much analysis while meditating is back to ruminating again. Stress leads to short-term pleasure to numb the pain. Remember the limbic system wants to control things it likes and that's why desire is always mixed with a some fight or flight responses embedded. Certain desires will be less painful and others will be more depending on how much controlling is involved. Controlling what you have no controll over would be endless fight or flight ruminations.

The more you do a mindfulness practice (which means examining the actual experience of habits, reactivity and actions) makes you more sensitive to them. You get to know them and become disenchanted with identifying with them so you act on them less. Once you have your food, shelter and clothing you can ask yourself questions "do I really need that?" to keep your equilibrium.

Then just go for the things you are avoiding that are good for you. That would be a deeper happiness because you would access happiness from areas you normally avoid. This would be fresh, vibrant, alive territory.
Pål, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Mindfulness/concentration is not the way to happiness

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You might like ceremonial magick. It's like very strict and concentrated day dreaming which makes your daydreams come true emoticon
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Not Tao, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Mindfulness/concentration is not the way to happiness

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I'm having a hard time relating to this discussion.  You guys seem to be "in the trenches" with this stuff - like taking it seriously and finding ways to deal with things.  Bliss vs. Dark Night Terror from Hell.  It's kinda like, what?  Where did all the normal humans go?  I'm not really sure how to talk about this anymore, I guess.  I keep trying to say something that seems really obvious to me, but you guys aren't really getting it...

Ok, how about this - paying attention to anything makes it serious.  The problem is the "paying attention" part and the "serious" part.  It's so unnatural and contrived.  It's easier to just take all of this less seriously.  I mean, the "three C's" have seriousness built into them.  It's like this big mission to solve the myseteries of existence or something, haha.  It's all so dumb.  I dunno, I should probably just stop posting here, but I think it'd be really fun to see someone have the same aha moment I did.  Maybe it's so simple only stupid people like me can benefit.  emoticon
Pål, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Mindfulness/concentration is not the way to happiness

Posts: 778 Join Date: 9/30/14 Recent Posts
Another thought: why do you put daydreaming vs concentration? Day dreaming can be very concentrated! I think. 
C C C, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Mindfulness/concentration is not the way to happiness

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Not Tao:
I'm having a hard time relating to this discussion.  You guys seem to be "in the trenches" with this stuff - like taking it seriously and finding ways to deal with things.  Bliss vs. Dark Night Terror from Hell.  It's kinda like, what?  Where did all the normal humans go?  I'm not really sure how to talk about this anymore, I guess.  I keep trying to say something that seems really obvious to me, but you guys aren't really getting it...

Ok, how about this - paying attention to anything makes it serious.  The problem is the "paying attention" part and the "serious" part.  It's so unnatural and contrived.  It's easier to just take all of this less seriously.  I mean, the "three C's" have seriousness built into them.  It's like this big mission to solve the myseteries of existence or something, haha.  It's all so dumb.  I dunno, I should probably just stop posting here, but I think it'd be really fun to see someone have the same aha moment I did.  Maybe it's so simple only stupid people like me can benefit.  emoticon

I'm normal.

Keep posting.  I like your approach and vibe.
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Not Tao, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Mindfulness/concentration is not the way to happiness

Posts: 997 Join Date: 4/5/14 Recent Posts
It's kind of lame how you're always stroking your own ego Pawel, lol. You're not going to learn anything new by pretending everyone is less experienced than you. Feel free to assume I haven't checked off all the altered states and insights on your list of infinite wisdom if it makes you feel more enlightened, though. Seems like what most people are interested in around here. I'm kind of tired of the bullshit, myself.

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