Not Tao's Nihilism Practice

Not Tao, modified 8 Years ago at 9/26/15 2:56 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 9/26/15 2:49 PM

Not Tao's Nihilism Practice

Posts: 995 Join Date: 4/5/14 Recent Posts
Here is a link to my previous practice thread:

I'm starting a new thread because my practice has finally become grounded in something specific. I've posted some threads about this, and there were some challenges that helped me clarify how to explain my current view (what I think of as true, or real) and why it even matters. So here are some aphorisms about what I believe, and how I am practicing:

- Nothing is objectively good or bad. The universe has no feelings or desires, and therefore has no purpose or meaning.
- As a single viewpoint existing within the universe, I do have feelings and desires, and these have been created through evolution to help me survive.
- Built on top of these feelings and desires is my social conditioning - concepts of right and wrong that are felt to be true.
- Stress (defined here as any feeling of unpleasantness) is caused by the conflict between the uncaring universe's random movements, and my individual viewpoint of social conventions and survival instincts. In short, stress is the desire to reshape the enviroment to suit me best.
- Some conditions cannot be changed, so I will have to depend on environmental conditions to avoid stress. Some obvious things in this category are: food, shelter, air, water.
- Other conditions can be changed, and over time can be dropped completely in order to reduce the amount of stress experienced. Some things in this category: social acceptance, entertainment, sentimental objects.

Part of the practice is learning to understand what is necessary and what isn't. Another part of the practice is allowing myself to let go of the things that aren't necessary - both to convince myself using logic, and then have the courage to take the leap and actually abandon the thinking/feeling that is happening. This is still a kind of environmental modification, but the modification is happening much "closer to home" in my own mind where I have much more control. A third part is understanding that certain things are truely necessary and should be accepted for the time being. This is a moving line where, sometimes, something like a healthy emotional environment or social interaction is needed. It remains to be seen how far this line can be pushed towards simplification, but so far the experience is that the simpler the conditions are in any moment, the easier it is to be content. I think of it as a moment-to-moment practice.

Practice, itself, has been varied and depends on what I'm currently thinking about and dealing with in life. It's probably best to explain each thing in context. Mostly, I work with the thought process itself to reduce and remove the sense of wrongness felt about things. I like to keep a divider between the "knowledge of feelings" and logical understanding. If there is a conflict between how I feel and what I understand to be true, I favor my understanding and attempt to re-condition myself towards the logical viewpoint. This involves positive reinforcement of the new viewpoint, and ending thought-loops that don't serve constructive purposes.

Or, put more simply, when I feel that something is wrong, I attempt to remove/correct the feeling itself no matter what it's in reference to. Removing the feeling, or "felt truth," is different from the logical understanding of what is right and wrong for my specific viewpoint. I think feelings and logical thought happen in different parts of the brain, and the goal is to disconnect the two processes so the feeling center can remain relaxed and the mind relies solely on logical thought to guide it. Nihilism has been an invaluable viewpoint to work through with this, since feelings present themselves as objective truths. By placing my feelings in a universal context, I can see how untrue they really are and start to drop them in favor of practical, logical thinking.