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Karma
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9/8/15 9:11 AM
So, here's the thing: I'm 64 and for some 40 odd years have tried my best at practising some form of meditation, usually a Buddhist form, but without making any progress whatever. Fair enough, that's probably down to me and not putting enough effort into what I'm doing - least that's what I tell myself.

Recently, I began what has turned out to be the longest time of practise I have ever done, around 4 months now - and things seemed to actually be improving - I could actually begin to see why people found meditation such a good idea. Thoughts had stopped emerging - or didn't intrude when they arose, the breath was calm and carried a beautiful peace with it - I seem to be entering a new place. Then it fell apart.

Now, here's where I am - and it's a point I seem to cycle around to every few months but it is also a massive block which I can't get my head, or heart around.

When it falls apart I end up becomming obssessed with my past. To be more focussed, obssessed with my late teens, early twenties. I think of all the opportunities I had, all the people I knew, all the friends I had. Everything seemed to hold so much potential - I so looked forward to the future. Unfortunately like many/most/all/some people of that age I had no regard for what I was really doing - the chances I threw away, the people I hurt and threw away, the way I thought I knew it all and in fact knew nothing, etc., etc..

Now I have to cope with the guilt - now I can see how I hurt so many people - how callous I was, how I didn't give a shit for other people's feelings. Now I see the karma being generated.

BUT - and here's the point of this message - I genuingly didn't understand things in the way I now do. I had no idea about the consequences of actions. No idea about just what I was throwing away so easily - but how could I? I neither knew the game, the rules, nor did I know the hand I had been dealt - so how the hell was I meant to play properly.

How is it that the karma that I generated THEN and which now returns to haunt me so badly, fair?

Of course I wouldn't do the things I did if I where equiped with the knowledge and experience I now have - but that's irrelevant isn't it?

By my standards today my actions in the past were drawn from the bottom of the morality bucket, they were so selfish and thoughtless - but I didn't know that, I didn't understand that - yet the karma was created.

So - is there anything I can now do to try and mitigate that karma - to apologise for what I did and try to improve things?

Seriously, how do I say sorry to people I no longer know?

(as a PS - a few months ago, I did phone and ex-girlfriend, whom I had dumped in such a terrible way and tried to speak to hear - an event that went down like a lead balloon - can't say I blame her - so, even if I could, I won't be apporaching people directly again!)

RE: Karma
Answer
9/8/15 10:03 AM as a reply to Neil Cavanagh.
Neil Cavanagh:

Now, here's where I am - and it's a point I seem to cycle around to every few months but it is also a massive block which I can't get my head, or heart around.


I think we all go through these cycles.  When the mind is trained enough to be still, it is like a pond that has settled, now what was usually obscured at the bottom of the pond is clearly seen.  And, by being seen, it can be dealt with.  You seem to already have the insight into the understanding that what was in the past, actions in the past, unwholesome actions etc, were acted upon due to lack of understanding at that time.  Now, even deeper, understand that all that is left of the past is the mental formations, they are now able to be seen by the mind , due to your mind being calmed by meditation.  Now, the opportunity is here in the present to dissolve the mental formations, through wisdom.  It is a process.

This meditation practice link below is one method, or way of looking at this phenomenon.  Once these old mental formations are workde through they will lessen in strength in the same way that the other surface thoughts lessened in strength, that you described in your post.  Eventually they will dissolve as being a problem, the memories remain, it is just that they will not carry a suitcase of negative emotions with them.  The memory will be transformed, though repeated observation and realization, into a learned experience.  Basically Dukkha, Dukkha we all share, and we all have done unwholesome things, well , I have anyway, I am human.

But, all this still takes time, practice.  Work equals results.  Some of the older crap likes to come up over and over hundreds of times,or more,  just keep meeting it with as much equanimity as you can muster.  It can even become absurd and hilarious at how stubborn the mind can be.  It is like " I can't believe this shit is still coming up, unbelieveavble!"  But, just keep meeting it with equanimity , as best as possible.  The opposite is the ruminating and dwelling within the old mental formations, that just feeds them.  And one does not want to feed the Demons.  Starve them out.  Repalce them with the wholesome, i.e. Equanimty, Brahma Viharas, again, as best you can.  It is not always easy, of course.

http://www.dhammasukha.org/forgiveness-meditation.html


Psi

Disclaimer,  this is all presented as suggestions.

RE: Karma
Answer
9/8/15 12:28 PM as a reply to Psi.
Thank you Psi - some really helpful,msensible and thoughtful comments. I've briefly looked at the web link and intend to try the technique.

One thing that has occurred to me is just how much these demons are mine - they have nothing to do with the people concerned do they? I actually have no idea how they reacted. In fact the evidence I have suggests that, once the initial pain has gone, they picked up their lives and things worked out for them (well, as much as things work out for anyone). 

But taking these things deeper Indo now see as part of the way my meditation has gone. As I'm seeing things differently, perhaps a little more clearly, I have to work on what now appears and deal with it.

So, once again, thanks Psi, and new perspective and hopefully a new approach.

Thank you.

RE: Karma
Answer
9/8/15 1:35 PM as a reply to Neil Cavanagh.
Neil Cavanagh:
Thank you Psi - some really helpful,msensible and thoughtful comments. I've briefly looked at the web link and intend to try the technique.

One thing that has occurred to me is just how much these demons are mine - they have nothing to do with the people concerned do they? I actually have no idea how they reacted. In fact the evidence I have suggests that, once the initial pain has gone, they picked up their lives and things worked out for them (well, as much as things work out for anyone). 

But taking these things deeper Indo now see as part of the way my meditation has gone. As I'm seeing things differently, perhaps a little more clearly, I have to work on what now appears and deal with it.

So, once again, thanks Psi, and new perspective and hopefully a new approach.

Thank you.

Hi Neil, 

Had some more thoughts arise, and haha, you had already thought them.  Yeah, I had forgotten to add, sometimes I would approach the individual involved , usually they have forgotten the incident, gotten over it, or worse yet, bringing it up just stirs up their own internal pains, which may be bad, epecially if they have no method or plan to deal with "stuff", i.e. mental formations.

This is not to say there is not a time and place to apologize, it just has to be the right time and place, that is a different , but related thing to dealing with the mental formations.  Just be prepared for backlash, sometimes people do not want, accept , or need an apology.  And, they do not have to accept an apology, what they cling to in their mind is , indeed, up to them.

We can really only work with this moment moving forward.  Which is why it is important to follow as wholesome path as possible, in order to not create further disharmony for ourselves of others.  It is enough to ddissolve and learn from the past without adding more stuff to contend with.  

But, if we do, This formula has helped me to stay on track, Recognition, No Blame, and Change.

Also, sometimes it is just as simple to substitute with the attention on the breath, taking a deep breath in, and letting a deep breath out.  This can just ground us back into the present day moment of reality, back to a point of stabilization.  And, from what I can tell, mixes stabilzation with the old mental formations, diluting the past, like internal alchemy, metaphorically speaking.

Psi

P.S.  I will stop here, but, yeah, mostly what is left with us now are little bundles of neural knots of the past, they just need to be untangled.

So it is the understanding that releases, i.e. Wisdom.  The Tranquility during meditation allows the thoughts to arise naturally, we see them, that is Insight, Vipassana, then actually Understanding what arises leads to Panna, or Wisdom, which leads to release.

And, one more, there are different Methods, and different Methods do also work.  Just recognizing the arising of old mental formations as sensations is just as good, and perhaps works better for some.  Same with the Anatta, recoginizing the impersonal nature of the whole mess.  Or, even Anicca, the Impermanency of this and that, and the other.  Many methods, but I think they all do the same thing, just different descriptions and angles pointing to the common phenomenon.

RE: Karma
Answer
9/8/15 8:57 PM as a reply to Psi.
Psi:

Once these old mental formations are workde through they will lessen in strength in the same way that the other surface thoughts lessened in strength, that you described in your post.  Eventually they will dissolve as being a problem, the memories remain, it is just that they will not carry a suitcase of negative emotions with them.  The memory will be transformed, though repeated observation and realization, into a learned experience.  Basically Dukkha, Dukkha we all share, and we all have done unwholesome things, well , I have anyway, I am human.
IMO, Psi gave some good advice.  They say a splinter hurts the most when it is coming out.  Seems to be natural to try to avoid pain but for some things, the only way to get out of it is to go through to the other side, to neither hide from it but also to not get stuck in it.  Otherwise the splinter continues to fester.  As you deal with upper layers of problems and issues and clear those out, you then find the ones that were hiding lower down.  And then you may have a bit of work to process those issues out as well.  They were there this whole time affecting  you but now you see them more clearly.  We all have things we did that we regret later, you can only work from the now to do better. 

For apologies, IMO it can be a good journey to make apologies where you can, a person may be angry at you still, but that does not mean it was bad for you to apologize.  It is up to them when they decide to let go of anger.  We also all have people in our history that did bad things, part of their journey will be to learn to let go of anger.  You may have to face difficulties to do apologies, but it is still, IMO, a cleansing thing if done in a heartfelt and honest way.
-Eva  

RE: Karma
Answer
9/9/15 9:15 AM as a reply to Psi.
Excellent - thank you so much Psi.

One thing you have made me realise is just how powerful, and beautiful, this Buddha dharma is  - and, of course, I have only just put my toe in the ocean.

The reason I write that is that over the years whenever I have got to this same sticking point I have usually given up my practise and got back into wandering around in a mess. the standard response from friends was along the lines, 'Let it go', 'It's all an aillusion - don't worry about it', 'Nothing is real - stop worrying so much'. All of which no doubt came from well meaning hearts - but was of no use at all. It isn't a case of 'just letting go', it's a case of how do actually do so?

What I love about the advice and the link you gave me is that firstly, you make a great deal of sense and, far more importantly, you have given me something to do - some practical advice as to how to begin to move forwards.

I actually tried it this mornign during my first sitting and I was overwhelmed by its affect. OK - I'm far too old to believe that one session has removed all my daemons but I did actually feel some of the stomach knots relax. I 'saw' things very differently. What had been far too onerous for me to deal or cope with completely lightened and I felt much more able to see what I need to deal with - to see how it belongs to me - how they are my creation - my mind games.

Sitting just now and although I am only at the very first stages of developing concentration I did feel it returning - mind settling down - even if only a little.

Thank you so much Psi!

PS - could I ask your advice about the form of my meditation - if it's not appopriate here I'll use a different forum - and I don't want to take up too much of your time?

RE: Karma
Answer
9/9/15 2:21 PM as a reply to Neil Cavanagh.
It's hard to give advice if I don't know what you mean by practice and without knowing your goals....
For all I know, you think sitting still is practice and your goals are to constantly ruminate about the past and resolve old stuff. In which case I would say that you are doing a wonderful job so far and continue. emoticon
All sorts of stuff comes up from meditation. Most of it is distraction so that the mind can get out of actual training - as it now is. It is much more fun for the mind to wallow in yer "stuff" then to actually practice. If you find that your psychological/karma stuff is a problem, go see a psychologist. Resolve what needs to be worked on there and get back to meditation. Oh, and when your in the psychologists office, you might not want to practice meditation there, just as you shouldn't psychologize on the cushion. Keep these activities seperate.
Tell us about your practise and what your goals are.
Good luck,
~D

RE: Karma
Answer
9/10/15 1:50 AM as a reply to Neil Cavanagh.
Neil Cavanagh:

PS - could I ask your advice about the form of my meditation - if it's not appopriate here I'll use a different forum - and I don't want to take up too much of your time?

My current suggestions.

1) Keep practicing, and study Bhante's book on Forgiveness Meditation, 

http://www.dhammasukha.org/uploads/1/2/8/6/12865490/a_guide_to_forgiveness_meditation_may_2015.pdf

2) Be like a freight train, keep rollling, keep a daily practice, put the hammer down, do not let anyone stop you from getting through this.

3) Dhamma Sukkha is going to have an online retreat for forgiveness meditation, their first online retreat for this, I believe, and it starts Oct. 30th.  You can also sign up to their online discussion group, they are very straight forward and direct, they will show you how to stay on track.

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/dhammasukha/info

4) You could see a Psychologist as DreamWalker suggested?  I did not see any indication of a need for that, but I may have a blindspot there.  I just see a normal mind with normal and typical human mind phenomenon.  But you know yourself better than any of us.

5)  If you want to ever give up, go back to #2.

6) Laugh 

Psi

P.S.  There are other methods, and they will do the same thing, same end results, but I would just get started, if you get traction from one, say the forgiveness meditation, keep it up, work it through all the way to the end, then start the next stage.  A solid foundation is always best.

just my 2 cents

RE: Karma
Answer
9/10/15 2:22 AM as a reply to Psi.
Ah, sorry Psi - slight misundertsanding here. My original question asking for advice about my practise was simply could I present you with my current practise and ask your opinion - I didn't expect you to be able to offer soemthing without further knowledge of myself. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

I'm going to write the following to explain it better - I will appreciate any reply you offer - including no at all if that's what you decide:

My goals can be simply stated: I want to know what I am? What is reality? what is consciousness?

As I say, simply to state.

In my late teens, the late 60s, I was inspired by Sri Ramana Maharishi's approach and started to try and meditate on the question, 'What am I?'. I didn't get anywhere since I didn't have any idea about how to meditate - and in those days there were very few books and no other resources for me to use - not where I lived in England anyway. Later, in 1972, I was re-inspired when I came across the same question but this time as part of Zen Buddhism - a koan. I loved this idea and started to find out more about Zen and Buddhism. But still I had no practical training - no teacher(s) - so things didn't go too far.

In the meantime I was also learning about physics in an attempt to uncover what it could tell me about the nature of reality - well, I was young and naive. After 7 years at university I realsied that physics isn't really concerned about what reality IS - in fact it doesn't know - what physics can tell me is how reality will behave - not what is doing the behaving.

Finally, after many, many failed efforts to establish a meditation practice, in 1989 I went to stay in a Zen monastery for a short while. This was an amazing experience but circumstances did not allow me to stay there. So, I left with the advice from my teacher that it would OK to focus on the 'What am I' question but focussing on the breath was probably just as good.

A few years ago I retired - around 4 months ago I realised that I was to die (yeh, ok we all are, but realisation is a powerful thing) and committed myself to sitting. I started to sit, focussing on the question, 'What am I?'. Gradually I increased the sitting to around 2 to 3 hours per day. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I had my first experience of something arising within the concetration of my practise. My thoughts simply stopped - for a long time no thought arose - I was simply present in some way. At the same time, I could feel something, calmness, stillness - but no thought about these things they were simply there.

Fine, I carried on. The next few sessions were the same - then came the almighty collapse which caused me to write the original part of this discussion - the daemons arose. I couldn't clear them - they occupied almost all of my thoughts throughout the day. The only thing that slightly helped was to go right back to the basic training in the monastery and focus on my breath. But even this was so hard.

At this point I didn't know whether my practise was wrong - whether I had done something wrong - or what? I was very confused.

I came across this website and posted my question. At the same time I started to read the MCTB book which had been on shelves since a couple of magicians in Brighton recommended it during one of their postings abut their experiences. The book was (is) brilliant - and I love the way everything is presented.

And now (at long last) the very specific piece of advice I would like to ask your opinion about:

The book, and most of this website, talk a great deal about breath meditation. My training has been different, using the 'What am I?' question. However, because I now see myself right at the beginning of any serious commitment to exploring meditation I wonder if I would be wiser to bringmyself in line with most of the others here and focus on my breath - or should I stick with the 'What am I?' question? Or maybe it simply doesn't matter?

So, Psi - any advice is very appreciate.

Thanks for everything - it will be last posting - promise.

RE: Karma
Answer
9/10/15 8:43 AM as a reply to Neil Cavanagh.
Neil Cavanagh:


A few years ago I retired - around 4 months ago I realised that I was to die (yeh, ok we all are, but realisation is a powerful thing) and committed myself to sitting. I started to sit, focussing on the question, 'What am I?'. Gradually I increased the sitting to around 2 to 3 hours per day. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I had my first experience of something arising within the concetration of my practise. My thoughts simply stopped - for a long time no thought arose - I was simply present in some way. At the same time, I could feel something, calmness, stillness - but no thought about these things they were simply there.
Well, as I said upthread, you have cleared the mind to a new level, like the settled pond.  And, by doing so, more mental formations have arisen.  It is just more garbage, the mind wants to tell stories about regrets, stories of desires unfulfilled, stories of unwholesome acts, etc. etc.  All garbage, keep tossing it out.  How?  By practicing.

What am I ?  No, ask Who am I?  This leads more directly to the source of the I-making.

What Sri Ramana Maharshi seems to call the Self, I call Anatta.  Kind of like Potato , Potata.  Look deeply back into these pointings below.  This is very serious.  It lines up directly with your experience. You have had the Insight, just need to transform the Insight to Wisdom. In other words, to understand the experience.
My thoughts simply stopped - for a long time no thought arose - I was simply present in some way. At the same time, I could feel something, calmness, stillness - but no thought about these things they were simply there.
Sri Ramana Maharshi

3. What is the nature of Awareness? The nature of Awareness is existence-consciousness-bliss.

7. When will the world which is the object seen be removed? When the mind, which is the cause of all cognition’s and of all actions, becomes quiescent, the world will disappear.

10. How will the mind become quiescent? By the inquiry ‘Who am I?’. The thought ‘who am I?’ will destroy all other thoughts, and like the stick used for stirring the burning pyre, it will itself in the end get destroyed. Then, there will arise Self-realization.
Psi
Mostly what is left with us now are little bundles of neural knots of the past, they just need to be untangled.   Now, the opportunity is here in the present to dissolve the mental formations, through wisdom.  It is a process.
Sri Ramana Maharshi

11. What is the means for constantly holding on to the thought ‘Who am I?’ When other thoughts arise, one should not pursue them, but should inquire: ‘To whom do they arise?’ It does not matter how many thoughts arise. As each thought arises, one should inquire with diligence, “To whom has this thought arisen?”. The answer that would emerge would be “To me”. Thereupon if one inquires “Who am I?”, the mind will go back to its source; and the thought that arose will become quiescent. With repeated practice in this manner, the mind will develop the skill to stay in its source.

Key take aways, repeated practice, keep burning up the thoughts, no matter how or what they are, just burn them all up.  How?  Practice.
When you practice and find that source, make that the object of meditation, stay in that source, that will purify and strengthen the process of purification.  Review, how did you get there the first time, what were you doing, what did you do before your practice that day?  Look deeply into that.

I would re-read this. I am going to print it out myself.


http://www.sriramanamaharshi.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/who_am_I.pdf


And to get an MCTB flavor, like I said upthread, many methods, same stuff, methods are methods.

http://www.dharmaoverground.org/dharma-wiki/-/wiki/Main/MCTB+No-self+vs.+True+Self/pop_up

And one of my favorites

http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/dharma-wiki/-/wiki/Main/MCTB+No-Self/pop_up

But, it does look as though you found what Sri Ramana Maharshi was pointing to. Now you just need to spread that butter to all the areas of the toast.  What he speaks is true, he just has a different wording.  And, as you have experienced for yourself, wording at a certain point is not necessary...

Psi

RE: Karma
Answer
9/10/15 8:50 AM as a reply to Psi.
Psi:
I just had to add this, this guy is so spot on....


Sri Ramana Maharshi
15. How long should inquiry be practised? As long as there are impressions of objects in the mind, so long the inquiry “Who am I?” is required. As thoughts arise they should be destroyed then and there in the very place of their origin, through inquiry. If one resorts to contemplation of the Self unintermittently, until the Self is gained, that alone would do. As long as there are enemies within the fortress, they will continue to sally forth; if they are destroyed as they emerge, the fortress will fall into our hands.
But, like I said earleir, what he labels as Self, I label as Anatta.  Kind of an irony there...

Psi

RE: Karma
Answer
9/10/15 12:05 PM as a reply to Psi.
[quote=
]
What Sri Ramana Maharshi seems to call the Self, I call Anatta.  
Instead of Anatta, better words may be, sunyata, emptiness, void.

RE: Karma
Answer
9/11/15 1:14 AM as a reply to Psi.
'Self' equates to 'Sunyata' - yes - I could see the connection in that sense. I don't understand it of course but I kinda see where you are going.

I have several books about SRM - including the very first 'spiritual' book I ever bought and the one which kicked the whole thing off for me, Paul Brunton's 'Search In Secret India'. What appealed about the approach taken by SRM is the shear simplicity of method - and the way that all questions put to him could really be answered by coming back to the simple, 'Who is asking?'. Although he would often try to answer a given question in the same terms that it was asked, it really all came back to that simple question.

Just a final point - you say, use 'Who' not 'What'. When I read the above book, c1970, it struck me that the word 'Who' implied some type personnality - whereas 'What' left the answer more open - it was less rigid. And, if this small separate 'I' is an illusion then I don't know that there is a 'Who' - whereas the is a chance there might be a 'What' (???????????????).

That was the reasoning at first. I later found out that Paul Brunton, in his follow up book (title escapes me at the moment), actually suggests changing to 'What' and in the school of Zen that I trained, one of its 'founders' Yasutani-Roshi, also makes the statement that in the koan, 'What am I?', the words 'What' and 'Who' are equivalent.

I admit ignorance here (and everywhere) and so do not put this forward as an argument - I used 'What' more because it felt right, than because of anything deeper, or more substantial.

But as before Psi - thanks for all your comments. You have had a great impact on my path.

RE: Karma
Answer
9/11/15 8:28 AM as a reply to Neil Cavanagh.
Neil Cavanagh:
Hi Neil, 

Sorry if I am extending this out longer than you may have expected , but I had more insights into all this, and the Who am I?  What am I ?

It is not what the mind answers with that is of any concern, all that is to be discarded, immediately.  The method is to see the Silence that occurs in between the Answer and the Question, and then to abide in that Silence, to expand this level of consciousness.

You described your first taste of the Silence, now you know it is real, you know for a fact that all this meditation and spiritual path stuff is real.  How do you know?  Because you have experienced the Silence yourself.  Now, through practice, you can expand the Silence into your daily mental life, and deepen the Silence in your formal sittings.  Eventually this will be something you can activate or deactivate at will.


"Just as in the great ocean there is but one taste — the taste of salt — so in this Doctrine and Discipline (dhammavinaya) there is but one taste — the taste of freedom": with these words the Buddha vouches for the emancipating quality of His doctrine.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/bodhi/bl071.html


“When there are thoughts, it is distraction: when there are no thoughts, it is meditation.” – Ramana Maharshi

And many thanks to you Neil, you have helped to open up my mind again, reading Ramana Maharshi again is much clearer now than it was upon the last time I read his work.

Now,  back to practice, I have work yet to do myself.  emoticon

Peace

Psi  

RE: Karma
Answer
9/11/15 10:30 PM as a reply to Neil Cavanagh.
Psi:
Now you just need to spread that butter to all the areas of the toast.

Nice.

Neil, as Psi said, thank you.
You (also) have had a great impact on the paths of those here reading/replying. If we're reading/replying we get a benefitt, too. We learn about how we might reply, we see how we've changed from the years before or the days before, we're reminded of when we had overwhelming thoughts/feelings. (I liberally using the collective 'we' as a collection of what I've seen and contributed over the years).

So if you would, there's not reason to truncate yourself if you're getting benefit. I think those of replying here are also getting benefit. You speak clearly and honestly.

From a Buddhist epistemic perspective, meditation is said to be great karma. It's worth then noticing that meditation is not beating oneself up; it's usually a calming, observing practice.

Also, you have not only insight now into your own former conduct, but as you work through this you have authentic compassion for people who will later have similar insights and will also be inclined to shame and regret. A huge gift you have then in knowledge and understanding. 

I'm glad you posted and that there are these replies here. If it's beneficial to your reliable well-being, then no worries about post and thread length. I tease about my own post lengths, but only tease. 

Good effort and self-kindness. It may seem selfish and indulgent to do this now, but it is the good way to study with kindness and compassion. If you like, you can aslo take up a volunteer practice, even anonymously or generically, just something so that you know you're planting seeds of well-being for yourself and others. If you're concerned about harm through speech, you can meditate suffusively on metta during your volunteering and decide beforehand to speak little. 

Thank you for sharing what you're learning.

RE: Karma
Answer
9/12/15 12:59 AM as a reply to Neil Cavanagh.
Neil Cavanagh:
So, here's the thing: I'm 64 and for some 40 odd years have tried my best at practising some form of meditation, usually a Buddhist form, but without making any progress whatever. Fair enough, that's probably down to me and not putting enough effort into what I'm doing - least that's what I tell myself.

Recently, I began what has turned out to be the longest time of practise I have ever done, around 4 months now - and things seemed to actually be improving - I could actually begin to see why people found meditation such a good idea. Thoughts had stopped emerging - or didn't intrude when they arose, the breath was calm and carried a beautiful peace with it - I seem to be entering a new place. Then it fell apart.

Now, here's where I am - and it's a point I seem to cycle around to every few months but it is also a massive block which I can't get my head, or heart around.

When it falls apart I end up becomming obssessed with my past. To be more focussed, obssessed with my late teens, early twenties. I think of all the opportunities I had, all the people I knew, all the friends I had. Everything seemed to hold so much potential - I so looked forward to the future. Unfortunately like many/most/all/some people of that age I had no regard for what I was really doing - the chances I threw away, the people I hurt and threw away, the way I thought I knew it all and in fact knew nothing, etc., etc..

Now I have to cope with the guilt - now I can see how I hurt so many people - how callous I was, how I didn't give a shit for other people's feelings. Now I see the karma being generated.

BUT - and here's the point of this message - I genuingly didn't understand things in the way I now do. I had no idea about the consequences of actions. No idea about just what I was throwing away so easily - but how could I? I neither knew the game, the rules, nor did I know the hand I had been dealt - so how the hell was I meant to play properly.

How is it that the karma that I generated THEN and which now returns to haunt me so badly, fair?

Of course I wouldn't do the things I did if I where equiped with the knowledge and experience I now have - but that's irrelevant isn't it?

By my standards today my actions in the past were drawn from the bottom of the morality bucket, they were so selfish and thoughtless - but I didn't know that, I didn't understand that - yet the karma was created.

So - is there anything I can now do to try and mitigate that karma - to apologise for what I did and try to improve things?

Seriously, how do I say sorry to people I no longer know?

(as a PS - a few months ago, I did phone and ex-girlfriend, whom I had dumped in such a terrible way and tried to speak to hear - an event that went down like a lead balloon - can't say I blame her - so, even if I could, I won't be apporaching people directly again!)


Ok Neil Cavanagh, let's think about this, because if you think about this it will actually make sense.

It (appears), that in life, you learn things gradually, over time, and discover things, only in hindsight. In your situation, you're asking how you can be blamed for treating people a certain way, that you (64 y/o N.C.) would not treat them in, now. This unravels pretty quickly.

The obvious questions is, what do you know now?

If, it is true, that, over the course of 40 years you learned a lot about life, and wouldn't treat those people the same way you did back then, as you would now... that doesn't make any sense.

Because at this rate (within the shifting sands of time continuum you live in): you will NEVER know, that is correct, you will NEVER know, what if you discover in 5 years, that you were EXTREMELY, and ENTIRELY, correct, in treating those people in that way, never mind the fact that there is no way to actually measure whether you SHOULD have treated them that way (i.e. right or wrong, etc)

What if, you treated the ex-girlfriend badly, and dumped her, only to marry the LOVE OF YOUR LIFE (seemingly), later

What if, you stay with the love of your life, and her status as a soulmate is CONFIRMED, but then, in alternate Neil-Cavanagh timeline, you divorce your wife, and meet the ACTUAL LOVE OF YOUR LIFE

The point is, you'll never know, ever, how can any of these things be confirmed or known? Much less the fact that they can be measured (as right, or wrong, or good, or final, in an ultimate, objective sense, which it cannot by the way)

Either way, life is only lived in a certain way, from the present to the future (well, common wisdom suggests this, though it might not be true at all)

You cannot play the game of life, with all the knowledge that comes from playing the game of life, before hand, it goes in one direction only, that's why it's funny, how can you possibly have hindsight knowledge, before something begins, it was literally by making those mistakes, Neil Cavanagh, that you learned anything to begin with

If you never made any mistakes, you would have never known any of these things you know now

So what I'm saying is, this is the only way it can ever really be, because of the apparent persistence of the arrow-of-time, etc

Just chill out, it's fine, who knows, made you did your ex-gf a favor and she married a "much better guy", but who knows what could-have-been, that's the point, who knows

Cheers,

JJ

RE: Karma
Answer
9/19/15 10:40 AM as a reply to J J.
Yup - totally agree JJ - I went around all those cyclic argument routes myself before posting. the problem was that using rationality wasn't gettng me anywhere. Friends saying, 'chill out', 'relax', 'get over it', 'move on' etc., etc., wasn't helping - such words didn't resolve anything, didn't enable me to move on - although I appreciated both the advice and its intention.

It was Psi's reference to the Forgiveness Meditation (which I recommend to anyone) that actually broke the wall - it enabled me to move, to do something - and that was what I needed. I needed something to do - not something to think about.

So, I appreciate your writing - and in the end we are where we are.

Thanks.

RE: Karma
Answer
9/19/15 10:41 AM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
OK Katy - that helps. Thank you!