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Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure

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Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure Raving Rhubarb 7/5/18 8:40 AM
RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure Daniel M. Ingram 7/5/18 10:21 AM
RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure Raving Rhubarb 7/5/18 1:55 PM
RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure Stickman2 7/7/18 8:13 AM
RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure Raving Rhubarb 7/8/18 5:06 AM
RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure Stickman2 7/10/18 8:40 AM
RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure Raving Rhubarb 7/8/18 4:55 PM
RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure Raving Rhubarb 7/18/18 6:37 AM
RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure Raving Rhubarb 7/21/18 3:57 PM
RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure Raving Rhubarb 7/31/18 9:59 AM
RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure Raving Rhubarb 8/7/18 9:04 AM
RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure Adam 8/8/18 7:54 AM
RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure Adam 8/10/18 6:29 AM
RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure Raving Rhubarb 8/20/18 9:10 AM
RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure Adam 8/20/18 10:53 AM
RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure Chris Marti 8/7/18 5:46 PM
RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure Raving Rhubarb 8/20/18 8:54 AM
RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure Raving Rhubarb 9/29/18 10:19 AM
RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure shargrol 9/30/18 6:39 AM
RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure Raving Rhubarb 10/5/18 2:01 PM
RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure Raving Rhubarb 10/10/18 1:28 PM
RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure Raving Rhubarb 10/29/18 7:27 PM
RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure Raving Rhubarb 1/21/19 3:07 AM
RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure Chris Marti 1/21/19 7:08 AM
RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure Raving Rhubarb 1/22/19 4:34 AM
RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/22/19 6:16 AM
RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure Raving Rhubarb 1/24/19 12:52 AM
RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/23/19 4:02 AM
RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure Raving Rhubarb 1/23/19 6:52 AM
RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure Chris Marti 1/22/19 6:49 AM
RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure Raving Rhubarb 1/23/19 3:42 AM
RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure Raving Rhubarb 1/30/19 7:10 AM
RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure Raving Rhubarb 3/5/19 6:19 AM
RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/9/19 10:20 AM
RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure Raving Rhubarb 4/10/19 3:36 AM
RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/10/19 5:32 AM
RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure Raving Rhubarb 3/26/19 12:15 PM
RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure shargrol 3/26/19 12:57 PM
RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure Raving Rhubarb 4/9/19 9:06 AM
05.07.2018

Hi,

I like rhubarb and this is going to be my practice log about mainly meditation and possibly a few other things including body work and random ramblings about anything.
I invite you to chime in if you have any thoughts about my notes.

My practice history:

Some years ago I did about 600-800 hours of Vipassana practice, most of that on retreat. I assume that I attained stream entry and made some significant progress towards second path. But doing this, I stumbled upon lots of 'stuff' and a lot of agitation, which seriously derailed my attempts at further Vipassana practice. I also discovered the value of Brahmaviharas, so the previous years I temporarily dropped Vipassana completely and practiced about 1500-2000 hours of Metta, Mudita and Karuna instead.
Recently, my practice was completely derailed for almost a whole year by the emergence of some serious 'stuff'. Because of that I'm currently taking antidepressant medication and am somewhat back to sanity by now.

My plan for practice right now (which might change at the drop of a hat):

I suspect that further Brahmavihara practice won't accomplish what I'm looking for, whatever that is, but including some sanity and liberation from being caught in 'stuff', and releasing tension.
So I'm back to Vipassana, with a bit of Metta at the end of each sitting.
It might be even better to practice both 50-50, but I'm notoriously bad at doing more than one thing, so I intend to concentrate on Vipassana only for the next months.
I practice Vipassana according to the instructions of Ajahn Tong.

My main challenges:

I have lots of neurotic crap aka stuff living in my mind, some obvious, some hidden.
My body holds a lot of tension and a very bad posture. When I try to relax, my body starts shaking violently. Delving deep into body work didn't change anything about this, so I'm pretty sure it's a deeper psychosomatic issue.
(I hope that meditation will eventually dissolve all this tension, but I don't hold my breath any more.)
Because of that I can't do walking meditation, so instead of walking I will either omit it completely or just move my feet while sitting, a technique I learned from a teacher in this tradition.
I guess I suck at concentration.
On the plus side, I consider myself quite good at Vipassana practice.
Previously, when I got increased concentration from Vipassana practice, lots of agitation derailed my practice. I hope this doesn't happen again.

My first goal:
get the sitting time up from 30 minutes to 60 minutes, which is the maximum in Ajahn Tong's tradition.

RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure
Answer
7/5/18 10:21 AM as a reply to Raving Rhubarb.
Interesting.

What are the chances that the things you label as stream entry and second path were the A&P or Equanimity? It is exceedingly common for people to mistake these for path attainments.

Stream enterers and beyond tend to cycle pretty rapidly, so the long periods of difficulties you describe would be more likely to have moved through or changed or morphed or whatever in a shorter period of time.

Spontaneous movements and the like when sitting are typical of the Three Characteristics and A&P stages, as well as a bit in Cause and Effect.

When you say you are good at vipassana, what exactly do you mean?  By what criteria do you judge your accomplishments?

What phenomena did you label as stream entry and second path? What exactly happened? With whom were you working, if anyone, and what did they say about what you were going through at the time?

I agree, the Brahmaviharas are great.

Thoughts?

RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure
Answer
7/5/18 1:55 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
Interesting.

What are the chances that the things you label as stream entry and second path were the A&P or Equanimity? It is exceedingly common for people to mistake these for path attainments.

Stream enterers and beyond tend to cycle pretty rapidly, so the long periods of difficulties you describe would be more likely to have moved through or changed or morphed or whatever in a shorter period of time.
Hi Daniel,
this is a misunderstanding - I do think I attained stream entry, but I'm sure that I did not attain second path. I only said that I think I may have made some significant progress towards second path.
As to stream entry, this is quite some years ago, so the following is from distant memory:

I worked with a teacher from Ajahn Tong's tradition and I was on retreat. They gave me the determination exercise which students get only when they're in stable Equanimity territory. I meditated diligently for days, went up to High Equanimity, received the exercise on fruition duration training and got what I think of as a five minute-fruition. The teacher wouldn't discuss attainments though, as is typical in Ajahn Tong's tradition.

Obviously I'm not sure if it actually was stream entry. After all, I didn't experience rapid cycling after that, and the event didn't repeat. So maybe I'm just a deluded bastard. On the other hand, I experienced a permanent change of perspective related to no-self, I had a nice month-long honeymoon, the three respective fetters dropped away, my concentration skills went way up (though I still have no idea at all how to get into anything resembling Jhana), faith in the teachings increased dramatically, and on subsequent retreats, the meditation started at A&P as was confirmed by my teachers, also the following meditation territory was very different from before.

These days, I don't really care if I'm a stream enterer or not. Whatever happened before I consider not too important right now. I have faith that I can apply the technique correctly, and that awakening is possible and that's all which seems relevant.

Spontaneous movements and the like when sitting are typical of the Three Characteristics and A&P stages, as well as a bit in Cause and Effect.
I know, but what I experience is something very different. My whole body has lots of tension and very bad posture, and whenever I try to relax, I start to shake. I've talked about this to psychologists, psychiatrists, meditation teachers and body workers. No one knows what to do with this. The phenomenon is there independent of which nana I'm in. It's pretty frustrating. I may have to live with it for the rest of my life but I really really hope that it will somehow eventually dissolve.

When you say you are good at vipassana, what exactly do you mean?  By what criteria do you judge your accomplishments?
I was being imprecise. I meant that I think the Ajahn Tong noting technique is a very good fit for me.
Two different teachers I worked with said that I did quite well and that I'm very aware of mind.
My subjective impression is that I can follow this technique quite well in that it's easy to follow the breath. Also the three characteristics reveal themselves in great abundance without me having to actively look for them. Of course it's hard to judge how good I actually am since I can't really compare myself with others. But I'm suspect that for me the insight-first approach is a much better fit than the concentration-first approach.

RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure
Answer
7/7/18 8:13 AM as a reply to Raving Rhubarb.
"I like rhubarb"

Then you should make this it's wicked scrummy.

https://godfulfood.blogspot.com/2016/04/youd-have-thought.html

RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure
Answer
7/8/18 5:06 AM as a reply to Raving Rhubarb.
08.07.2018

@Stickman: thanks for the tip!

Reading MCTB2 rekindled some urgency for insight practice in myself, and I spent much time in the past days practicing with lots of zeal.
In the past, this made me go totally over the top with effort and tension. This time, my practice seems much more balanced. Basically, I can sit down and enjoy the breath, not worrying to much about which insight stage I'm in or whether I'm doing this right, although such thoughts still do occur occasionally. Practicing Brahmaviharas for so many hours seems to have instilled a certain baseline of equanimity in my mind.

On the other hand, I often think that practice is BORING. I think back to times of high concentration on retreat, where I meditated in Reobservation, and became fascinated with weird blips in the mind moving back and forth and trapping me (this reminds me of the passages in MCTB2 which state that you can pass the dark night in realms of fascinating geometry instead of content). I think back of those times where I'd have frequent visions. I think that I'm supposed to note the 3 characteristics all the time, but all that happens is the occasional bland moment of "wait, I'm not actually controlling this thing that just happened" or of "hm, this sort of sucks" and of "hm, this thing actually changed which I didn't expect it to".

Stage-wise I suspect that I started at n4.n4, progressed across n4.n9 (intense drive to practice), n4.n10 (finding excuses not to practice) and now I'm in the middle of n5 (things suddenly end and I'm sort of disgusted. So once the cat is out of the bag (hello insight maps), thoughts about maps are always likely to occur no matter how much I intend to not get lost in them.

I already achieved my first goal of pushing the practice up to 60 minutes. I also already introduced the mindful prostration at the beginning. Now the next step is to introduce the (sitting-) walking meditation. The final goal is to get this up to 60 minutes as well.

RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure
Answer
7/8/18 4:55 PM as a reply to Raving Rhubarb.
08.07.2018 #2

The Ajahn Tong technique has four parts: mindful prostration, walking, sitting, Metta.
According to the instructions, noting works slightly different in walking and sitting.
What happens if you take out the walking part entirely? It doesn't work any more. There's something wrong. You can still follow the breath and occasionally note other things, but attention works somewhat differently.

At least, something changed when I introduced walking (while sitting).
There was a sense of observing something. Then observing the observing. Then observing the observing the observing... emoticon
Additionally, I seem to get much deeper into the current subnana, although sitting time is shorter.
Anyway, I now decided to go back to the recommended version of doing as much walking as sitting. So now I do 30 minutes of both, and I'll try working my way up through 35/35, 40/40 etc. to 60/60.

A note on walking while sitting: It's somewhat annoying. And it's weird, too. But it seems necessary, so I'd better stop complaining. What can I do? One of the problems with it is that lifting the heel properly is impossible when the legs are away from the body. Another issue is that it needs a lot of force to move the legs while sitting. On the upside, by the time I'm an Arahant, I should have an impressive sixpack emoticon

The last sitting was quite calm and a bit confused. The one before that was wild and I wanted to stop and run away. Seems like the standard progression from Reobservation to Equanimity, though probably as subnanas of dissolution.

The more I think about this project, the more enthusiastic I get.
Awakening is real and I'm having a real shot at it. I mean, how cool is that!
I should probably have tried that sooner emoticon

As an aside, I have random flashes of remorse mixed with shame. These have been there for months if not years. It's starting to seriously get on my nerves. I can't see any utility to this, but my mind somehow insists on permanently rehashing old irrelevant painful stuff. Hm.

RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure
Answer
7/10/18 8:40 AM as a reply to Raving Rhubarb.
I made it, it's nice.

RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure
Answer
7/18/18 6:37 AM as a reply to Raving Rhubarb.
18.07.2018

I am observing the occasional stomach cramp. This is either the purifying effect of meditation or plain old bad luck.

I observed two more re-observation to equanimity transitions. So I may be at n9.n4 now. The nanas seem to fly by pretty quickly. Either this observation is true and probably because of past practice, or I'm completely misattributing the effects of practice.

I observed a coarse form of delusion concerning impermanence. When cycling I habitually believe that the current situation (incline, decline, flat) will just stay the same, and the difficulty as well. Surprise: it's not true.

By now, I'm at 40/40 and more is probably already possible.

I feel a bit unsure about if I'm doing it right, especially since I'm currently doing this without a teacher. But I don't think there's any sign I'm doing it wrong either.

RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure
Answer
7/21/18 3:57 PM as a reply to Raving Rhubarb.
21.07.2018

Seeing nanas and nanas and more nanas... and the mind won't shut up thinking about even more nanas.
I'm up to 50/50. It's a lot of pain. Let's see if I'll get eventually used to it.
What's happening now? I had the impression, by naive counting of nanas, that I might have reached Equanimity.
But obviously this is not Equanimity.
So what is it? Based on the mountain of motivation yesterday and my rolling up the mat tendencies today plus its overwhelming quality I'd say it's likely Reobservation.
But I wouldn't bet too much on this guess.
Luckily it doesn't really matter.

However, I'm a bit worried about my concentration ability.
Or rather, about my lack of it.
I have the suspicion that my concentration is rather low, despite lots of practice.
And that might be a side effect of medication.
Which makes me consider discontinuing it.
But it's probably too early for that.
Which sort of sucks.
I feel that I should have the occasional insight into something, but instead it seems I'm only rehashing past knowledge.
Or maybe I'm just really overthinking all of this and having much too high expectations.

RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure
Answer
7/31/18 9:59 AM as a reply to Raving Rhubarb.
31.07.2018

There was another shift that looked like the classic transition from Reobservation to Equanimity.
In the session when it happened I wasn't actually thinking about map theory.
Instead I was lost in almost giving up, and one time I actually fell off my chair and kept lying on the ground (mattress) for some time.
Since that, I usually remove the mattress from the place beside my chair to get rid of temptation.

If this is really Equanimity is a question I'm happy to avoid, though there is nothing to obviously contradict it.
Practice itself contains all kinds of things. Mostly it seems that what I observe has already happened.
Sometimes it feels as if I'm observing all those things which are happening, but most times I'm more lost in it.

Twice I had a 'dharma dream'. In both instances, it seemed clear to me that I should go practice more Metta, for whatever reason.
I then practiced some Metta while dreaming, or in a state between sleeping and wakefulness.
The second dream also had some imagination about fruitions containing frogs. Or something emoticon

Another observation is that whenever I practice Metta (usually at the end), I feel like I'm on the verge of crying, though for no particular reason.

In the last sitting, I felt like I had global aversion to everything. Suddenly, this dissolved into neutrality, and I felt much better.
This is the first moment which feels as if I'm actually getting something out of this practice.

RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure
Answer
8/7/18 9:04 AM as a reply to Raving Rhubarb.
07.08.2018

I was lying in bed trying to sleep, the mind lost in annoying stuff, when suddenly it hit me "Wait! I'm not actually those thoughts!" and I was suddenly free. Nice.

I'm not sure how to use off-cushion time. There's a lot of potential for further practice, but practicing Brahmaviharas feels annoying and practicing mindfulness off-cushion leads to tension and shaking, which is even more annoying.

I cut time down to 45/45 again because I have no patience to sit through all the pains. Maybe I'll go up again later.

One thing that happens in most sits is remembering. I'm observing the breath or the walking motions until I stop to note something. Then, and later, memories occur of what happened before. This seems to be one of the most consistent things that happen.

Reading shargrol's posts reminds me that I'm a highly aversive type and that I need to take things easy. But how to actually do that remains a mystery. What often happens is that I decide to not overstress myself, and then as a result I get lazy and let the mind wander for minutes. This sort of laziness seems to be not a good idea. I need to somehow establish the faith in the process, the idea that this is a life process without fast results, forget the maps, and still find the determination to actually be mindful right now, every moment.

And one more thing. All I wanted was to become an Equanimity-man of steel without emotions and vulnerabilities. But it seems to not happen. Instead the process shoves things in my face which I had long tried to forget. For example, during the meditation I hear people laugh and conclude that they are laughing about me. This sucks. Old stuff I had almost forgotten comes up, and it feels as painful as it was the first time it appeared. Do I really have to go through this again? Judging by the previous years, this process seems to work in reverse: The most recent stuff appears first, and slowly I face things which are older and older. Not sure if this is accurate though.

RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure
Answer
8/8/18 7:54 AM as a reply to Raving Rhubarb.
I'm not sure how to use off-cushion time.

You may find the Morality part of MCTB inspiring. There are endless options, sometimes the hard part is giving yourself permission to ask yourself what you really need right now and then going for it, even if that just means taking a nap.

RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure
Answer
8/7/18 5:46 PM as a reply to Raving Rhubarb.
All I wanted was to become an Equanimity-man of steel without emotions and vulnerabilities. 

Yeah, that's what a lot of folks seem to want. It's impossible to do, as you're finding out. It would, on the surface, be so nice and wonderful and freeing to be immune to the pain and the fear and the anxiety, wouldn't it? Or would it? This deserves some deep pondering.

One thing that happens in most sits is remembering. I'm observing the breath or the walking motions until I stop to note something. Then, and later, memories occur of what happened before. This seems to be one of the most consistent things that happen.

As an exercise, you could look for this. Memory plays a huge role in how you perceive the world as you live through it. It's happening all the time (it's uber-consistent, you could say), and it's happening second by second. Can you observe that process as it happens, in the now?

RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure
Answer
8/10/18 6:29 AM as a reply to Adam.
To expand a little (since it may seem fatuous to suggest taking a nap), your posts remind me of my own struggles to integrate daily life & insight, not realising I was missing an essential part of practice - learning to allow the wisdom gained from insight to change my habits & actions. Some people find this so natural it doesn't seem worth mentioning, but other people (like myself and perhaps you) take naturally to practice techniques, but need to steadily work at adapting life in line with the lessons learned from insight. Things like listening to the needs of the body and mind, finding ways to relax which aren't primarily aversive, acting on instincts to curtail bad habits and give good habits a chance, making a point to treat each day as having a bit of malleability, allowing room for cultivating tranquility, flexibility, openness... but without necessarily needing to make it all into A Big Thing (which naturally results in aversion), instead just gradually adopting a perspective that listening to inner wisdom and taking occasional chances to make a little change will bit-by-bit create a positive loop, as insight, mindfulness and life all work together and help each another out. Sometimes that means just doing mundane, ordinary things that don't seem spiritual at all, like developing a life skill, taking a trip to the shops, taking time for a wholesome hobby, chatting with a friend... and sometimes taking a nap is clearly the only thing to do.

RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure
Answer
8/20/18 8:54 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
All I wanted was to become an Equanimity-man of steel without emotions and vulnerabilities. 

Yeah, that's what a lot of folks seem to want. It's impossible to do, as you're finding out. It would, on the surface, be so nice and wonderful and freeing to be immune to the pain and the fear and the anxiety, wouldn't it? Or would it? This deserves some deep pondering.
I used to think that all these things have a deeper meaning and some justification to be there but these days I'm not so sure about that. What's the point of living with chronic tension? Do I really need to regularly drown in pain or anxiety? Do I need this strange voice that regularly reminds me of being worthless? It seems that some people do just fine without those hassles. Why would I want to keep all that? I can't help but think that it is obvious that I'd be better off without.

One thing that happens in most sits is remembering. I'm observing the breath or the walking motions until I stop to note something. Then, and later, memories occur of what happened before. This seems to be one of the most consistent things that happen.

As an exercise, you could look for this. Memory plays a huge role in how you perceive the world as you live through it. It's happening all the time (it's uber-consistent, you could say), and it's happening second by second. Can you observe that process as it happens, in the now?

Reflecting a bit, it seems to be not a straightforward exercise. On the first glance, it seems obvious what is a memory: a thought of a past event. But actually, most if not all thoughts are influenced by memory. Is a repetition of an old thought already a memory? What about recalling the current meditation instructions?

RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure
Answer
8/20/18 9:10 AM as a reply to Adam.
Hi Adam,

your post reminds me of this talk of Bhante Sujato where he criticizes people for practicing only mindfulness and then expecting that this solves everything:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzsplKFYJw4

It seems like a valuable perspective, but I'm not sure that I even have any insights to integrate yet :/

RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure
Answer
8/20/18 10:53 AM as a reply to Raving Rhubarb.
I'm mainly referring to the insight that comes from crossing the A&P - in my opinion the whole of spiritual life after that is just one long process of coming to terms with the big ol' can of worms that's been opened up.

That new way of seeing complicates things. All the craving, avoiding & ignoring that is a routine part of normal life isn't so easy to turn away from anymore. There is now a friction between existing coping habits which have served a valuable purpose, and the new knowledge that all sensations are fleeting. These things naturally cause tension, since there are now two fundamentally opposed ways of seeing and acting. So the integration I'm referring to is learning to bring the ways of seeing and acting off cushion more closely in line to the ways of seeing and acting on the cushion. It's a slow process to allow that fundamental insight to integrate into the ordinary, mundane day-to-day, and to let familiar habits gradually change, but if you can make it a part of every day it will gradually start to snowball.

At some point, this becomes the only thing left to do - working on concentration and insight won't do much more good, because the rest of the day is spent rejecting the insight already there. Similarly, mindfulness off-cushion can't do much good without being willing to either change or make peace with whatever is observed. I've been at this point several times and not realised it, and somehow got over it each time without understanding that is what had happened. Not understanding what was going on made it hard work, and I fought it all the way until I finally gave in and let some tense habitual behaviour start to relax a bit, and eventually to adapt. At least this seems to make sense to me about what was going on, and still seems to be helpful now. I don't know if this applies to you too, but your story reminds me of those times in my life.

Aside from the aspect of integration I mentioned in the earlier post (working to make regular ordinary life a bit less aversive and more rounded), there are other things that can be useful - anything that seems to help cultivate peace, equanimity, tranquility, joy, a sense of balance, centeredness or groundedness off-cushion. Since you've done plenty of formal practice in brahmaviharas, maybe you'd find it helpful to try cultivating those more informally. Anything that appeals to you that helps to imbue normal life with those qualities - activities like gardening, walking in nature, cooking, some fun kind of exercise... whatever works for you. It may not sound super-spiritual, but for some people it is the most important part of spiritual practice to work on.

RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure
Answer
9/29/18 10:19 AM as a reply to Raving Rhubarb.
29.09.2019

It's been a while, but I haven't stopped meditating. Well, actually I did because I got sick last week.
Now I feel better, but I lack the motivation to start again since I think that while I'm taking meds my meditation sort of sucks anyway. I need to get off those I guess.

Recently, a close relative died. I was very sad. Although I don't believe in the limited emotional models, I noticed that a part of me still wanted to conform to them. "Hey you have meditated so much, you shouldn't be so sad. Now stop crying." wtf.

Since a few days ago, I feel suddenly pretty free from depression and weird obsessive thoughts.
As if the veil has suddenly been lifted and I said yes to life.
This thing is nice.
I doubt that it will simply last, but maybe this is an important step.

RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure
Answer
9/30/18 6:39 AM as a reply to Raving Rhubarb.
Each little glimpse of equanimity and saying yes to life has the result of "positively conditioning" the mind, just a little, which makes it that much easier to remember in the midst of tough nanas and depression and obsessive thoughts. We can usually endure any difficulty if we know the difficulty is temporary and that veil will eventually be lifted again.

No one ever just develops in a straight line, getting better and better... It's much more scatter shot, all over the place. it's actually more like watching someone do an oil painting: a splash of color here, a different color there, little dots all over the canvas, for hours and hours, and then amazingly this big spacious picture starts taking form, almost as real as a photograph. Amazing.

Each time you objectively and fully experience a sensation, an urge, an emotion, or thought pattern, it's like you have separated a muddy mess of oil paint into the bright colors that make it up. And your life becomes a little more bright and colorful. Not all at once, and the colors can get mixed up again, but we develop this instinct that things can be bright and colorful.

Ironically, once you go looking for the bright and colorful --- saying yes to life --- you see more and more bright colors. That's why after a while it isn't a total uphill battle. The mind wants to mindful and joyful and equanimous and cool as cucumber emoticon So we will always get pulled in that direction, it just takes time.

It's important to know that when the "bad stuff" shows up in our sits, it's just our mind working on taking a muddy mess and turing it into the bright colors that make up that mixture. We need to see the bad stuff so that it can be transformed into the good stuff. And the way it gets transformed is with patience, acceptance, and curiosity.

RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure
Answer
10/5/18 2:01 PM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:
Each little glimpse of equanimity and saying yes to life has the result of "positively conditioning" the mind, just a little, which makes it that much easier to remember in the midst of tough nanas and depression and obsessive thoughts. We can usually endure any difficulty if we know the difficulty is temporary and that veil will eventually be lifted again.

[...]
Ironically, once you go looking for the bright and colorful --- saying yes to life --- you see more and more bright colors. That's why after a while it isn't a total uphill battle. The mind wants to mindful and joyful and equanimous and cool as cucumber emoticon So we will always get pulled in that direction, it just takes time.

It's important to know that when the "bad stuff" shows up in our sits, it's just our mind working on taking a muddy mess and turing it into the bright colors that make up that mixture. We need to see the bad stuff so that it can be transformed into the good stuff. And the way it gets transformed is with patience, acceptance, and curiosity.
tbh I'm not sure that's true. It seems to me that some people only get worse over time. Maybe not every mind wants to be mindful and joyful and equanimous?
For me it seems to be the case that I slowly get better over time, so I try not to worry about that too much. It even seems to be unrelated to meditation.

In fact, the meditation sessions almost seem like a different world.
As soon as I sit down to walk/sit, the mind starts to churn out anger and sadness both of which is largely absent the rest of the day.
On the other hand, my dreams seem to work on different stuff.
Recently I had a weird dream of re-playing a video game, which was easy except that you would always lose against the final endboss who would simply stomp on you. dafuq?
After waking up, I'm usually pretty depressed. After an hour or two, that usually passes. If I get to meditate in the morning, it passes a bit sooner.

RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure
Answer
10/10/18 1:28 PM as a reply to Raving Rhubarb.
"What if all this suffering produced by my chaotic mind isn't just an illusion? What if all this suffering is actually real?"

RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure
Answer
10/29/18 7:27 PM as a reply to Raving Rhubarb.
Some days I worry how much neurotic crap can fit in a single mind before it explodes. And then suddenly it's back to being quiet. Weird.

RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure
Answer
1/21/19 3:07 AM as a reply to Raving Rhubarb.
21.01.2019

No post for a long time. But I'm still here.
For the remainder of last year, I hardly practiced. I felt that the medication was dragging down my concentration so much that it simply wasn't effective.
By now, I have managed to discontinue one of 2 medications.
This has led to lots of improvements, one of those a much better ability to concentrate.
So, since new year I'm off the first medication and back to meditation, for now starting with about an hour a day.
In fact, I now feel much better than before, probably because of meditation.
One medication is still left, but I'm in the progress of discontinuing that, too.
If all goes well, I'll be free of it in about two months.

But before I go deeper into meditation, I need to take care of my body.
Every time I look in the mirror, I think to myself "oh no what did you let yourself become?".
Thanks to the medication I gained lots of weight. I want to undo this as soon as possible.
I want to remove those last existing signs of the medication.
I find it baffling how many people invest lots of time in meditation to free their mind of suffering, to free themselves of the weight of craving, aversion and delusion.
But at the same time they burden their body with lots of excess weight.
It would be so easy to free themselves of this weight, to take unnecessary stress of their body and feel all-around better.
All it would take is a few weeks or months of reduced food intake and lots of exercise.
In comparison to the work required for awakening, this effort is almost negligible.
But so few people do it.
Why? Is it lack of correct information? Or do people really not care about carrying around all that excess weight and harming their body? Or is it some misguided idea that not caring for the body is somehow spiritual? That feeling and looking good is an expression of unwholesome craving or something?

RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure
Answer
1/21/19 7:08 AM as a reply to Raving Rhubarb.
I think it's a craving - for food.

emoticon

RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure
Answer
1/22/19 4:34 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
I think it's a craving - for food.

emoticon
If people couldn't cope with craving for food, then they would get more and more weight without ever stopping.
And it's true, for some people this is what happens.
But for most people this is not what happens. Instead they get a certain amount of weight and then they more or less stay there.
But staying at (e.g.) 70kg is not much more difficult than staying at (e.g.) 90kg.
So I think that's not all there is to is.

RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure
Answer
1/22/19 6:16 AM as a reply to Raving Rhubarb.
I think this is really unfair and actually scientifically incorrect. Keeping a diet and exercising more doesn’t work for a body that has settled for a default weight that is overweight. The body will just burn fewer calories to keep its default weight. I know a lot of people who exercise a lot and eat in a healthy way and still carry overweight. I also know plenty of slim people who don’t exercise at all and eat junk food. Judging people from their looks is not very skilfull, and it causes harm. Even if they are eating in an unhealthy way, that’s not for anybody else to judge or comment.

RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure
Answer
1/22/19 6:49 AM as a reply to Raving Rhubarb.
I was joking!

Anyway, there are many "causes" of people being overweight. It's a complex mix of metabolic factors, genetics, diet and level of physical activity.

RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure
Answer
1/24/19 12:52 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I think this is really unfair and actually scientifically incorrect. Keeping a diet and exercising more doesn’t work for a body that has settled for a default weight that is overweight. The body will just burn fewer calories to keep its default weight. I know a lot of people who exercise a lot and eat in a healthy way and still carry overweight. I also know plenty of slim people who don’t exercise at all and eat junk food.
This is wrong. Like, (almost) completely totally wrong. This sort of dangerous misinformation is one of the reasons why people stay overweight even if they would like not to be.
If you are actually interested in the science, those might be good starting points:
https://www.reddit.com/r/fatlogic/comments/2i6oa3/can_you_actually_break_your_metabolism/ckzboth/
https://www.reddit.com/r/fatlogic/wiki/resources
https://www.reddit.com/r/fatlogic/wiki/faq

Judging people from their looks is not very skilfull, and it causes harm. Even if they are eating in an unhealthy way, that’s not for anybody else to judge or comment.
I disagree. Judging people's actions as skillful/unskillful is an essential part of life. The Buddha endorses the recognition of which actions are skillful and unskillful. Being overweight is clearly unskillful since it leads to suffering: All the health problems which are consequences of being overweight are suffering. Not finding romantic partners because of being overweight is suffering, too.

Also, just carrying unnecessary weight around IS suffering. Some idioms directly express this observation. To explain awakening to non-meditators, I've often compared awakening to weight loss: not carrying a weight around that you no longer need.

What really causes harm is telling people they can't change their weight and then watch their health and general quality of life deteriorate until they finally die of diabetes type 2.

I'm not sure if you got my main point:
I'm not really surprised that the general population is overweight. The usual person does so many dumb things that being overweight isn't really special among them. I am surprised that meditators (i.e. persons who have decided to eliminate suffering) are overweight, because not being overweight is so much easier than to awaken.

RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure
Answer
1/23/19 3:42 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
I was joking!
I did realize that. I still replied because it could have been a serious reply as well.

RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure
Answer
1/23/19 4:02 AM as a reply to Raving Rhubarb.
I am interested in science and that’s why I read scientific journals in real scientific databases, not on reddit. I have access to those databases through work since I work as a scientist at the university. You are wrong, and what you are saying causes harm. Do you really think that people who are struggling with overweight haven’t thought about cutting down on what they are eating and increasing their exercise? That’s really patronizing and condescending and not helpful in any way.

This is your practice log so I won’t go into any more debate.

RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure
Answer
1/23/19 6:52 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I am interested in science and that’s why I read scientific journals in real scientific databases, not on reddit.
Great. I find the fatlogic subreddit to be a nice overview. I'm hanging out at university, too, but I understand that not everyone wants to read the actual studies, and for most folks, the summary is enough. And the fatlogic subreddit is mostly accurate. In fact, the first link contains lots of links to scientific papers.

I have access to those databases through work since I work as a scientist at the university. You are wrong, and what you are saying causes harm. Do you really think that people who are struggling with overweight haven’t thought about cutting down on what they are eating and increasing their exercise?
Of course they have. But they fail for several tragic reasons:
  • People are really bad at estimating calories
  • People don't know their real TDEE
  • People overestimate the energy they burn through exercise
  • People are fed the complete bullshit lie that "they can't lose more than 500kcal/day, because otherwise they go into starvation mode"
The combination of those factors (and there are studies about all of them) leads to people losing significantly less than 500kcal/day (if at all). This means that someone who wants to lose 40kg needs more than 3 years to attain that goal. Obviously, this is not a feasible strategy.

That’s really patronizing and condescending and not helpful in any way.
It's not patronizing because I'm not telling anyone what to do. It's everyone's personal choice and I'm not going around and insulting people for their choices. I'm also not going around and telling everyone that they must start meditation. I just have trouble understanding their choices.

This is your practice log so I won’t go into any more debate.
Don't worry. If it gets out of hand, a moderator can always split the thread.

btw I'm not saying this is in any way easy. I'm aware it isn't:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5639963/
I'm just saying it's a lot easier than experiencing the dark night at high resolution, facing your inner demons and restructuring your  mind.

RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure
Answer
1/30/19 7:10 AM as a reply to Raving Rhubarb.
30.1.2019

At the moment I'm doing 40/40 minutes of meditation in the morning.
It's nice. Usually, I become slowly ever more relaxed during the sitting.
But even if that doesn't happen, I feel much better for the rest of the day.
That seems to hold true almost regardless of the conditions that occur during the meditation.
People are often scared of dark night, but I find that even in the most difficult conditions, life with meditation is still better than life without meditation.

I was suffering for some time the withdrawal symptoms of the second medication. But after about a week, that passed. Now I have started the next reduction step, this time a bit smaller. I'm excited to see if it works without withdrawal symptoms this time.

As to the meditation sessions themselves, nothing special seems to happen there.
But 2 other strange things have been happening for the last few weeks, which may be related to meditation, the drug withdrawal or be just random noise.
Both things are completely new and weird, but don't really bother me yet.

1. Fear of going crazy. There is nothing to indicate that I'm in fact going any kind of crazy, but the fear arises that I'm going crazy. I observe random things in the mind and interpret them to mean that I'm going crazy. That, under normal conditions, they shouldn't be there.


2. Universal disgust. I'm disgusted by pretty much everything. I'm disgusted by the food I eat. I'm disgusted by the streets I walk around. By food, exercise, sex. By dead things and living beings. By the thought of even being alive. By human nature. By the world. By my own sense experiences. Probably disgust is too strong a word because the visceral aspect is missing, but I lack a better description.

Yesterday, I bought some dumbbells and carried them home on foot. They weighed over 20kg. It was only a 10 minute walk, but I was really tired and irritated. My knees hurt and I was sure that I'd hate my life if I'd always have to carry around that weight. Then it hit me. That is approximately the weight that I set out to lose. I already carry this kind of weight around. And tons of people carry twice or thrice that weight around. That made me pretty sad.

So although I've slightly increased meditation time, my main project is still losing all the weight I gained from the medication. (And then some.)
So far this is going surprisingly good. I've managed to lose almost 6kg within 2.5 weeks. On some days I calculated that I lost up to 500g.
I did this by a combination of eating moderately little (about 1500kcal/day) and doing 1-4 hours of cycling each day.
I'm glad that I have this much time to do this project that fast. It is a luxury that I'm aware most people don't have (although I tend to think it should be a universal human right).
If I had to draw it out for months and months I would probably eventually falter.
Still, this seems pretty extreme. I wouldn't have thought that this is possible, I expected that I'd run out of energy and wouldn't be able to do that much exercise.
Possibly, using the home exercise bike makes this somewhat easier than cycling in nature, since the conditions are controlled and constant.

You shouldn't naively copy this method, though. Rapid weight loss is not entirely without risk. If I was morbidly obese (i.e. if I planned to do this for months), I'd do this under medical supervision.
If done right, rapid weight loss is both effective and permanent, though.
You shouldn't just trust random internet strangers, so here's some evidence for my assertions:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29467800
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26813524
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30496740
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25459211
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24383503
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26813524
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4272668/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3606061/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27773644

On a side note, I've been wondering if I'm abusing unskillful tendencies to support skillful goals.
I've found that I'm pretty bad at doing things simultaneously.
It would be nice if it was different, but it isn't.
So I've basically given up and try to do single things with extreme focus and dedication.
Within this 'extremeness' there's probably unskillful things buried in there. It might pay off to investigate that.
But at the moment, it serves me well, so I don't do it. (Even if I did, I would have no idea where to start.)
Another example is vanity.
I plan to use all the vanity I can summon in myself to keep my weight low once I'm there.
Using vanity as a motivation could be much easier than comparably unclear long-term health benefits.
Now, vanity might not be skillful (or is it?), but in this case it seems useful, so why not use it, since it's there anyway?
Other tendencies of questionable skillfulness that come to mind are pride, uncertainty, fear...
Does this make sense?

RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure
Answer
3/5/19 6:19 AM as a reply to Raving Rhubarb.
27.2.2019

Meditation:
I increased meditation time from 45/45 to 50/50 and then 55/55. Meditation makes me feel so much better. I don't think I will ever quit this. My practicing Brahmaviharas for a few years seems to have taught me to be more relaxed about all of this. I realized that I actually enjoy the Vipassana thing, and that seems largely independent of the specific conditions which arise in practice.
The difference between doing the one meditation a day and doing nothing is the difference between feeling all shit and feeling rather ok.
Regardless, much does not happen. Reading this forum, it seems that some people get real insights by doing 1 hour a day or less. That doesn't seem to work for me.
Well, what can I do. I guess I need to increase the dose.
Which is exactly what I plan to do in a few weeks or months.
But now is not the time yet.
Instead I'll slowly increase meditation time bit by bit.

Social Life:
Some people claim that it's very important who you socialize with. Hang out with successful and happy people, and their habits will rub off on you. On the other hand, hang out with losers, and you're most likely a loser yourself.
So far, I had categorized this sort of advice under "Questionable things said by weird callous people who try to optimize their life by questionable standards".
Last week, something happened which made me more seriously consider this concept.
I hung out with a friend who is basically a good guy but would by most people be considered a loser.
We had quite the fun, but I noticed how his attitude would slowly creep into my behaviour.
I ended up stuffing myself with junk food. I stayed too long and I drank too much caffeine and I couldn't sleep the whole night! So I ruined that day's calorie balance, and the next day I felt like crap.
Why? I seriously don't know. In fact, I was well prepared. I had brought my own food and had a rather exact plan of what I would do. And it all crumbled pretty fast.
What can I do? Obviously, I can't really blame him for what happened me. But if I don't find a way to prevent those negative effects on me, I will need to stop hanging out with him. This sucks.

Internet:
Lurking on the internet is like my only vice. In the beginning, it was quite fascinating, and I probably learned a thing or two.
It's also really bad, it takes a lot of time, gives me headaches, ruins my sleep and clouds my head with all sorts of negativity and distracting or unhelpful concepts. It keeps me from the good things in life and actually doesn't do me good at all.
So I decided that if I wanted to get my life in order, I need to treat this as a disease and stop it once and for all.
Turns out, leechblock effectively solves this problem without much effort.
However, I'd still like to have the good things from the internet. So I created an internet cheat day.
Doing this internet cheat day makes it much more obvious how much harm is actually done there.
I'll lurk on various weird sites and I notice how the content of my mind goes to shit. It's pretty impressive. I start to wonder how I could not realize that for years.
It's also a sign that having this internet cheat day is probably still too much.
But completely removing it seems like a too large step to take.
So how do I deal with this? I don't know yet.

How to build habits:
This is a good and important questions, and I don't really know.
I'll usually try and plan to install a 100 good habits at once and it never works.
Now I've decided to try a new protocol: Every week I sit down and decide on one single small change which I can do.
Then I'll try to do that for one week and then review how it went. Then repeat.
Let's see if this works.
For now I have successfully used this to minimally increase meditation time.

Weight loss:
This is still my current primary project and I'm more than 50% done. I'm officially not overweight any more, now I'm looking to get to the lower normal weight bmi range and then try to find a weight which I feel maximally comfortable with. I'm still following my protocol where I lose about 1-2kg/week by doing two hours of exercise each day and eating rather little. I still feel good about this. But every time I try to increase this further, it doesn't work. I'll feel like shit and have to abort whatever I was trying. For example I tried to introduce a bit of strength training because research says that strength training prevents muscle loss on an energy deficit. But that doesn't work. Well, what can I do? Not worry about it, I'll hopefully get all of it back later...
So the bottom line here is to use what works, carefully monitor how I'm doing and being content with a procedure which is already much more successful than most people think would be possible. Being content with stuff is hard.

Big picture thinking:
What's a good way to approach life?
I'm currently reading Jaron Lanier's book about virtual reality.
This is pretty interesting, but what got me thinking is his approach to life, or rather how the book portrays it.
It sounds like thus huge adventure, where you would always be exploring new exciting things and be on the verge of the future.
I realized then that I rather look at life as a simple optimization problem with set rules and given procedures that just work.
In a way, one could view the Vinaya as a rather elaborate solution to the optimization problem of "avoid suffering living as a monk".
Now I wonder if I actually want to look at my life in this way.
'Optimization problem' sounds rather boring, uninteresting, heartless and uninspiring.
On the other hand, it might just be a good idea, at least for a while until I get the basics of my life handled.
Besides, 'Awakening' should, as a goal, be inspiring enough.
The optimization thing has some funny effects. During some activity, I'll get lost in thought, and then I become aware of that and think "this thought is not conducive to optimizing X" and drop the thought. This could probably be done in a more directed and intentional way, possibly to a ridiculous extent. Not sure if this is a good idea though.

RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure
Answer
3/26/19 12:15 PM as a reply to Raving Rhubarb.
26.3.2019

In small steps I further increased meditation time and now I'm stable at doing 60/60 in the morning and 30/30 in the evening. Additionally, I do an untimed freestyle session of either metta, mudita or focusing at the end of each meditation, whichever I feel most like doing.

This is awesome. During the meditation nothing special happens. In fact it's pretty boring except I'm not bored doing it at all. But I feel so much better during the rest of the day. My mind is much more flexible, and I'm much faster at spotting thought mistakes and correcting them. I'm much better at doing things despite often feeling like shit. In the evening, I fall asleep very soon after lying down and closing my eyes.
I should have adopted this habit like 7 years ago instead of... well, not doing it.

Also I NEVER worry about which nana I'm in or something. Fuck that shit, lol.

Oh, and I'm off medication completely. Yay to that. Never again.

RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure
Answer
3/26/19 12:57 PM as a reply to Raving Rhubarb.
Sounds good, rock on (responsibly emoticon )!

RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure
Answer
4/9/19 9:06 AM as a reply to Raving Rhubarb.
9.4.2019

I wrote in the last post that I never worry about maps. That was true, but only until it wasn't emoticon
I still think that this is not a good idea, but of course the pattern recognition doesn't just stop because of that.
And some things just stand out, and not starting to analyze them is basically impossible.
I mean, nothing screams "muncitu" louder than waking up at 6am after few hours of sleep with the following thoughts:
1) What time is it?
2) 6am. this sucks. i'm tired. I should try and go to sleep again.
3) STAND UP AND MEDITATE YOU LAZY FUCK
Oh, well. (I went to sleep again btw. lol.)

I feel settled in the 3 hours/day rhythm to the point where 3 hours feel like not enough. I take that as a sign to increase time, so I'm adding another hour in the morning starting today. There's nothing keeping me from jumping to 5 hours instantly, but the jump seems too... big.

I went to the psychiatrist who supervised me weaning myself off the meds. I asked her about psilocybin.
She said "there are studies showing that it can be very helpful for really depressed patients, but the results are not yet sure, and little is known about possible long-term effects." We had a conversation about why I'm considering this and about the alternatives which haven't worked. After I explained everything to her, she didn't try at all to talk me out of this experiment. This is probably the closest of an endorsement that you could possibly get from a professional who risks losing their job for an actual endorsement. Hm.

I had some more things which I wanted to note down. But I not only forgot most of them but I also realized that it was probably just a bunch of random conditions which were not particularly interesting. This seems to be the way long-term practice logs go. At the beginning everything seems so relevant and exciting. After some time, only the long-term trends (days or weeks) seem relevant, until they are seen as random conditions, too. Eventually, only really long-term relevant changes stay relevant, but they are so long-term that they are usually missed and not reported at all.

RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure
Answer
4/9/19 10:20 AM as a reply to Raving Rhubarb.
Raving Rhubarb:

Social Life:
Some people claim that it's very important who you socialize with. Hang out with successful and happy people, and their habits will rub off on you. On the other hand, hang out with losers, and you're most likely a loser yourself.
So far, I had categorized this sort of advice under "Questionable things said by weird callous people who try to optimize their life by questionable standards".
Last week, something happened which made me more seriously consider this concept.
I hung out with a friend who is basically a good guy but would by most people be considered a loser.
We had quite the fun, but I noticed how his attitude would slowly creep into my behaviour.
I ended up stuffing myself with junk food. I stayed too long and I drank too much caffeine and I couldn't sleep the whole night! So I ruined that day's calorie balance, and the next day I felt like crap.
Why? I seriously don't know. In fact, I was well prepared. I had brought my own food and had a rather exact plan of what I would do. And it all crumbled pretty fast.
What can I do? Obviously, I can't really blame him for what happened me. But if I don't find a way to prevent those negative effects on me, I will need to stop hanging out with him. This sucks.


Who gets to decide who is successful? According to what standards? This sounds like potentially very ableistic and elitistic advice, depending on what is meant.

When it comes to your friend, is there a way for you to talk about your own needs when the two of you hang out? Would it be possible to explain that you end up doing things you didn’t intend to do and that you would appreciate if you could hang out in a way that doesn’t include eating foods that make you feel unwell and drinking too much caffeine? Formulated in a non-judgemental way, of course. Maybe you could say that you are trying to establish certain habits and are too easily distracted from them, that you get tempted or just fall into old habits? Perhaps if you hang out for several hours, you could take a dinner break away from each other and then meet again afterwards? Sounds like it would be a shame to waste your friendship with a good guy just because you have different needs with regard to eating habits. If you explain that this life change is important to you, would he listen and respect that?

RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure
Answer
4/10/19 3:36 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Raving Rhubarb:

Social Life:
Some people claim that it's very important who you socialize with. Hang out with successful and happy people, and their habits will rub off on you. On the other hand, hang out with losers, and you're most likely a loser yourself.
So far, I had categorized this sort of advice under "Questionable things said by weird callous people who try to optimize their life by questionable standards".

Who gets to decide who is successful? According to what standards? This sounds like potentially very ableistic and elitistic advice, depending on what is meant.
Yeah, I agree (as I said). Then again, the Buddha probably said something similar about how you should prefer to hang out with people who have the 8-fold path down pat emoticon

When it comes to your friend, is there a way for you to talk about your own needs when the two of you hang out? Would it be possible to explain that you end up doing things you didn’t intend to do and that you would appreciate if you could hang out in a way that doesn’t include eating foods that make you feel unwell and drinking too much caffeine? Formulated in a non-judgemental way, of course. Maybe you could say that you are trying to establish certain habits and are too easily distracted from them, that you get tempted or just fall into old habits? Perhaps if you hang out for several hours, you could take a dinner break away from each other and then meet again afterwards? Sounds like it would be a shame to waste your friendship with a good guy just because you have different needs with regard to eating habits. If you explain that this life change is important to you, would he listen and respect that?
Don't worry, I'm not giving up that soon. emoticon

RE: Raving Rhubarb's Meditation Adventure
Answer
4/10/19 5:32 AM as a reply to Raving Rhubarb.
That’s kind of what I meant with ”depending on what is meant”. Successful in terms of being compassionate, wise and respectful towards other sentient beings - sure. That’s a good choice of people to hang out with. Successful in terms of prestige and conventions - not so much. I saw that you said that too, but you seemed to consider it after all.

Good for you.