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How do you be a good person with wholesome intention in daily life?

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How do you be a good person with wholesome intention in daily life? D. 11/20/17 1:14 PM
RE: How do you be a good person with wholesome intention in daily life? Doctor Avocado 11/20/17 2:02 PM
RE: How do you be a good person with wholesome intention in daily life? C P M 11/21/17 1:59 AM
RE: How do you be a good person with wholesome intention in daily life? Lars 11/21/17 8:47 AM
RE: How do you be a good person with wholesome intention in daily life? Yilun Ong 11/21/17 8:35 AM
RE: How do you be a good person with wholesome intention in daily life? D. 11/21/17 2:45 PM
RE: How do you be a good person with wholesome intention in daily life? matthew sexton 11/21/17 4:40 PM
RE: How do you be a good person with wholesome intention in daily life? Jinxed P 11/22/17 3:02 PM
RE: How do you be a good person with wholesome intention in daily life? D. 11/22/17 3:30 PM
RE: How do you be a good person with wholesome intention in daily life? Jinxed P 11/22/17 4:29 PM
RE: How do you be a good person with wholesome intention in daily life? D. 11/22/17 4:58 PM
RE: How do you be a good person with wholesome intention in daily life? junglist 11/23/17 2:20 AM
RE: How do you be a good person with wholesome intention in daily life? Yilun Ong 11/23/17 6:05 AM
RE: How do you be a good person with wholesome intention in daily life? Jinxed P 11/23/17 7:05 AM
RE: How do you be a good person with wholesome intention in daily life? Jinxed P 11/21/17 12:34 PM
RE: How do you be a good person with wholesome intention in daily life? Noah D 11/21/17 8:17 PM
RE: How do you be a good person with wholesome intention in daily life? Yilun Ong 11/21/17 9:03 PM
RE: How do you be a good person with wholesome intention in daily life? Alex 11/24/18 5:18 PM
RE: How do you be a good person with wholesome intention in daily life? Gurvi 11/22/17 9:59 PM
I think changing my harmful behaviour may be useful for my practise, as it has been fairly stagnant recently. And the fact that morality(sila) training is always stressed before any training of the mind seems to signal that getting rid of one's shitty tendencies is a part of awakening.

But, I have 2 major obstacles:
1. I dislike all interactions with people, I only ever feel at comfort, or at ease, by myself. Nor have I ever had a fulfilling relationship(non-romantic;  never had any romantic ones) with another person. Most feelings directed at others are hate and annoyance.

2. I put on a 'funny' persona in public/school, it's very hard to shake off as I revert to to that whenever I'm in any social situation. This leads to unnecessary and harmful speech, and too much attention.

Any ideas/practises on how to resolve this? I feel like just meditating more won't fix these core issues, and wholesome intentions and behaviour seem to be pretty much required along the path anyway. I've tried to rein in some of my more nasty behaviours lately but it just feels very 'unnatural' to say the least.

(Also, I've never done metta meditation, but is that a good practise for this kind of thing? )

Metta is good. But in my experience particularly metta that's not an isolated practise, but is instead ongoing in daily life to those you start conversations with or see. Simple intention like thinking of one positive quality about each person.


It's garden variety advice, but I also think voluntary service to others in need is really good. In an area that tugs at your heart or where you feel a more organic compassion. Perhaps towards others undergoing some difficulty previously experienced by you, family or friends. 


Service within a meditation/retreat centre could be good too. There's something really nice about serving others walking the path, and to do so where you have gratitude toward the centre and people supporting your own path too. It's usually quieter too if you're not wishing for too much interaction right now.

Deepankar:
Most feelings directed at others are hate and annoyance. 

I can relate to this. 

I’ll add the data point of my experience in case it helps.  It took regular practice for a while for this feeling of hate and annoyance to change.  And in fact, I didn’t even realize that this was a common state for me until I went for long periods of being completely free of these feelings, and instead had those feelings replaced with peace and ease.

For me, being able to progress somewhere to the middle levels of “The Mind Illuminated” eventually correlated to the big improvements in this area. I’d put the quality of my general experience to have improved generally by at least 60%, and sometimes going through periods much greater than that.

I just spend the first few minutes of a sit doing a little metta, but I don’t think the metta is a big factor, more so the regular practice in general.

Another thing that I see changing is that it is much clearer to me when I am being an asshole. I don’t have the usual defence mechanisms in place to protect myself from that knowledge, and that’s a good thing. Some of the behaviours I had/have are not so easy to continue when they are staring you in the face.

It’s painful to be aware of these negative mind states, but the more you can be aware of them the better. I would hope that you have relief at times and also notice pleasurable states. It’s also a good idea to make use of all the regular things in the toolbox if needed: exercise, therapy, health care…

One thing that really helped for me in dealing with emotional reactions like anger was to see them in terms of physical sensations instead of as a significant "thing". At one point I felt some shame over something I did in the past, and noticed that the feeling of shame was mostly just warmth in the ears, tingling skin, increased heart rate etc. There are mental aspects as well, but when you break down a negative response into physical sensations, it takes the sting out of them (it also takes your focus away from whatever is causing the emotional response). As well, when you realize that you're feeling physical/mental suffering from the emotion, it becomes easier to let it go at that moment, and the next time you notice it occuring. It also increases compassion/empathy, because when you see someone else getting angry or feeling shame etc you really know how it feels, and you don't want them to suffer needlessly.

So far this seems to work pretty well for every negative emotion i've tried it on, and it can be interesting to do the same with positive emotional responses as well.

It is difficult to 'help' you without knowing why:

1. You judge that you have harmful behaviour?
2. You do not want any meaningful relationships?
3. (You seem very young but) You judge that life is mundane and why (perhaps) you think enlightenment transcends that?
4. You think that having good behaviour is something you need to do to help with practice?

You absolutely MUST, and I mean MUST start doing metta meditation. 30 minutes a day minimum.

Get the book Metta by Bhante G and start. 

RE: How do you be a good person with wholesome intention in daily life?
Answer
11/21/17 2:45 PM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
Yilun Ong:
It is difficult to 'help' you without knowing why:

1. You judge that you have harmful behaviour?
2. You do not want any meaningful relationships?
3. (You seem very young but) You judge that life is mundane and why (perhaps) you think enlightenment transcends that?
4. You think that having good behaviour is something you need to do to help with practice?

That's correct except for the 3rd point(but I am young; roughly university student age). I'm attracted by the heroic ideal of the bodhisattva, so obviously good behavior and compassion is a requirement. My goal is to just be free from suffering forever and see life from the perspective from someone who isn't so self-absorbed in their own problems.

Because my current perspective is that I'd rather just die and get life over with. Essentially, I'm looking for something to shatter this conception.

Also to Jinxed P:

I could start doing metta, but why do you reccomend it so urgently? Is there a danger that comes with meditating + harmful behaviour?

Deepankar:

...

Because my current perspective is that I'd rather just die and get life over with. Essentially, I'm looking for something to shatter this conception.

...
I think going on retreat, passing A/P, developing access to jhanas, then stream entry will shatter a lot of conceptions.  It Just Works.  You Can Do It. I went to my first 10 day retreat with the idea that I'd never done a real boot camp, or climbed an 8000 meter mountain and I never would, but a solid 10 day retreat might give me some sense of accomplishment and new perspective.  Warning: tis a journey best not begun, once begun tis best not abandoned.  [some wise person].

But you don't even have to go that far. Just sitting still, quiet, practicing equanimity in the face of every obstruction that arrises produces realizations that are worth the effort. One 10 day Goenka retreat is easy to find, free to do and might blow your socks off.

If you've already done real retreats and your socks did not get ruffled..... try an 8000m mountain? And pardon my impetuousness. emoticon

Learn to feel good on command.  Work with the breath, imagery, self talk & gratitude.  

Observe your actions.  Sort them into skillful & unskillful.  Observe how those actions make you feel.  If they are unskillful & feel good, practice repulsion towards them.  If they are skillful & feel bad, practice attraction to them.  If they are otherwise, do enjoy the ride.  

Observe yourself getting conditioned each day. Be grateful for that.

RE: How do you be a good person with wholesome intention in daily life?
Answer
11/21/17 9:03 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Disclaimer: I have not been where you are and have not tried this. You are smart, use it to determine the best course of action/s.

I think it it is possible to be enlightened without compassion by an absolute desire for deliverance. Can you do the following absolutely to the very end?
"Seeing thus, the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones grows disenchanted with form, disenchanted with feeling, disenchanted with perception, disenchanted with fabrications, disenchanted with consciousness. Disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion, he is fully released.
Seeing thus the misery in conditioned things (formations), his mind finds no delight in those miserable things but is entirely disgusted with them. At times, his mind becomes, as it were, discontented and listless. Even so he does not give up the practice of insight, but spends his time continuously engaging in it. He therefore should know that this state of mind is not dissatisfaction with meditation, but is precisely the "knowledge of disgust" that has the aspect of being disgusted with the formations. Even if he directs his thought to the happiest sort of life and existence, or to the most pleasant and desirable objects, his mind will not take delight in them, will find no satisfaction in them. On the contrary, his mind will incline and lean and tend only towards Nibbana. Therefore the following thought will arise in him between moments of noticing: "The ceasing of all formations that are dissolving from moment to moment — that alone is happiness."
If you try very hard and cannot, there is compassion in you (stop hiding it) and therefore a lot more work to do...

Metta is great: find people you can summon compassion/love/respect for, preferably someone alive who knows you and you wish/picture them well.

Wrathful Tantra - worth a try to walk all your negative energies to their rightful end: https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/6854486



Deepanker,

Putting on my psychologist hat (I only have a masters, take that for what it's worth), I think you are depressed. Your misanthrope, your suicidal thoughts, these are all symptoms of depression.

I think getting professional help might be something to look at. But here is what else you can do....

1. Exercise. Do you follow a hardcore exercise program? If not, start now. Exercise has been show to do better in treating depression than medication. I know being depressed you feel lethargic and don't feel like exercising. You have to fight that and do it anyway. 

2. Good sleep, turn off electronics two hours before bed. Wake up and get some sunlight. If it is cold and dark where you live think about getting a 10,000 lux lights for 40 bucks and use it for 30 minutes minimum per day. 

3. Diet. Whole natural foods. No processed nonsense, I personnaly recommend Paleo, but really all good diets follow the same pattern. Real Food. Not processed.

4. Positive thinking. Challenge your negative thinking all day long. Watch your thoughts and turn those negatives into positives. Try and see the bright side of everything. 

5. Get out in nature when the whether is nice. 

Do those 5 things, and in a few weeks to months you will be feeling much better and like life is worth living. 
I could start doing metta, but why do you reccomend it so urgently? Is there a danger that comes with meditating + harmful behaviour?
No, metta is just very beneficial. 

RE: How do you be a good person with wholesome intention in daily life?
Answer
11/22/17 3:30 PM as a reply to Jinxed P.
I don't think I'm depressed. I just heavily dislike not being at ease, most events in life(and people) cause me to lose that ease so it seems like a logical conclusion to not want to do anything with that. And I do most of those things anyway(except for exercising and going outside when it's not necessary.)

I guess I'll try out metta, but I doubt it will change me much. I just want nicer karmic consequences, and being a person with better social habits will probably cause me to be bothered less often thus leading to a better quality of life.

Deepankar:
I don't think I'm depressed. I just heavily dislike not being at ease, most events in life(and people) cause me to lose that ease so it seems like a logical conclusion to not want to do anything with that. And I do most of those things anyway(except for exercising and going outside when it's not necessary.)

I guess I'll try out metta, but I doubt it will change me much. I just want nicer karmic consequences, and being a person with better social habits will probably cause me to be bothered less often thus leading to a better quality of life.

Maybe you are right, you are not depressed. But the reason, imo, that most events in life and people cause you to lose that sense of ease is because you are depressed, or anxious, or some other psychological ailment that needs to be addresssed. That's not a normal psychological condition. It seems you know this and are looking for ways to rectify which is half the battle. Well done. 


Anyway, I'd look into it more. No shame in if it you are. I've been depressed too and didn't realize it for a long time, trying to rationally justify the way I was until it finally hit me that I was depressed and that solved a lot of problems because I did something about it. Take this few minute test, be honest, and see how you score..

Short version

http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/mental-health-screen/patient-health

Longer version

https://www.psychologytoday.com/tests/health/depression-test

RE: How do you be a good person with wholesome intention in daily life?
Answer
11/22/17 4:58 PM as a reply to Jinxed P.
I scored pretty highly but, again, I don't think my state of mind can be judged that easily from an online test.

There's only been 1 time in my life where I would actually identify as having all the symptoms of clinical depression, and I am ,thankfully, past that period.

[Any ideas/practises on how to resolve this? I feel like just meditating more won't fix these core issues, and wholesome intentions and behaviour seem to be pretty much required along the path anyway.]
>>>>>>>
I am not sure what type of mediatation you are doing. Have you tried to label all the mental states ( e.g. thinking, future planning, past indulgance, annoyed, angry, pissed off, happy, joy  etc) to the best of your ability ( without stressing it out) at all time during the day whenever you have opportunity to do so for however long or short ( even one moment or 2 or n) . If you have not, try it but label it verbally in your head. It would not hurt to try for few days. I heard it somewhere Mind tends to be shy once you start noticing it . 

RE: How do you be a good person with wholesome intention in daily life?
Answer
11/23/17 2:20 AM as a reply to Jinxed P.
Jinxed P:

Do those 5 things, and in a few weeks to months you will be feeling much better and like life is worth living. 
I could start doing metta, but why do you reccomend it so urgently? Is there a danger that comes with meditating + harmful behaviour?
No, metta is just very beneficial. 
Above you say "a few weeks to months" would result in feeling much better. It sounds like a good idea to indicate a time frame, so you know how patience should be exercised, as long as we don't get upset at the end when things aren't perfect.

Would anybody care to suggest how long to notice any difference with metta practice? I've heard from one teacher that a week of daily metta practice is enough to begin noticing slight changes. That is, begin noticing rather than feeling much better.

RE: How do you be a good person with wholesome intention in daily life?
Answer
11/23/17 6:05 AM as a reply to junglist.
I do not think it has anything to do with time other than it being a great habit to form. Personally, a very powerfully summoned Metta practice, involving your entire being soaked into it, with full concentration, with all your compassion/love for a sustained minute will launch you into bliss and/or a jhanic state, with an afterglow that lasts for awhile. Going through the motion isn't going to be of much use if you do not put your heart into it -

Think of the recipient or yourself, wish and picture them happy (may use a happy memory), feel their happiness, smile/grin/laugh if it comes with no restrain, soak and share in that bliss with all your genuine heart and being, let it fill and explode in you... <-- may need practice, so the more genuine, powerful practice, the better!

RE: How do you be a good person with wholesome intention in daily life?
Answer
11/23/17 7:05 AM as a reply to junglist.
junglist:
Jinxed P:

Do those 5 things, and in a few weeks to months you will be feeling much better and like life is worth living. 
I could start doing metta, but why do you reccomend it so urgently? Is there a danger that comes with meditating + harmful behaviour?
No, metta is just very beneficial. 
Above you say "a few weeks to months" would result in feeling much better. It sounds like a good idea to indicate a time frame, so you know how patience should be exercised, as long as we don't get upset at the end when things aren't perfect.

Would anybody care to suggest how long to notice any difference with metta practice? I've heard from one teacher that a week of daily metta practice is enough to begin noticing slight changes. That is, begin noticing rather than feeling much better.


This is tough to put a time table on because the effectiveness of metta practice depends on your concentration. While there have been clinical trials that show beginners will notice effects of metta practice with relatively little amounts of practice time ( a few week course meditating around 1 hour a week or so) if you have a strong concentration practice the effects of metta can be quite profound. 

Personally, my first retreat was a metta retreat with Bhante G, and around the 3rd or 4th day I had some strong concentration and while doing metta practice I hit jhana for the first time. The afterglow was a state of bliss that lasted the rest of the retreat. For the next few months I never once got angry. 

So I agree with that teacher, a week is enough to notice changes, but if you have strong concentration a week can lead you to feeling much better. 

RE: How do you be a good person with wholesome intention in daily life?
Answer
11/24/18 5:18 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah D:
Learn to feel good on command.  Work with the breath, imagery, self talk & gratitude.  

Observe your actions.  Sort them into skillful & unskillful.  Observe how those actions make you feel.  If they are unskillful & feel good, practice repulsion towards them.  If they are skillful & feel bad, practice attraction to them.  If they are otherwise, do enjoy the ride.  

Observe yourself getting conditioned each day. Be grateful for that.


really good advice!