9
   

Meditation + Career/relationships

 
 
Reply Mon 22 Jun, 2015 03:23 pm
Hello,

So I did finally (after about 10 years of coming on here and saying I was going to start meditating) start meditating.

It's part of a major life overhaul because I realised the main ways in which I have been making me happy have been working, but they have temporary. I am always happy about something I will get in the future, and I eventually have become completely worn out and realised I exchanged some of the best times of my life for times that never ended up happening. A bit like Christianity.

One major question I have is, how can we integrate aspirations into a more zen understanding of every day life? I'm not going to continue to work myself to death under the promise of the future like I have been doing since school really, but telling myself NOT to think about those things makes me depressed. How can I integrate the two? Same goes for relationships? I want to imagine one day hopefully I will find someone I will fall in love with and get married to etc. how can I put that desire in a place that is useful for me?

pq x
 
PUNKEY
 
  2  
Reply Mon 22 Jun, 2015 06:24 pm
I have been able to find a guide for life by studying the Noble Eightfold Path of Buddhism. Kind of like another set of "commandments" to follow.
Right vision, Right intention, Right speech, Right Action, Right concentration, Right mindfulness, Right livelihood, Right Effort.

Great way to "check" my actions.

Re: meditation. I like "active" meditation. "Babbling" for 5 minutes clears the mind so that clear thought can happen. Walking and taking note of each step also does this. I could never do the lotus-sitting type of silent meditation, but others have told me it helps. Yoga also offers a kind of mediation at the end of most workout sessions.

FBM
 
  4  
Reply Mon 22 Jun, 2015 07:41 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
First, I don't claim to be an expert. I haven't mastered anything. I'm just relating my experience.

There are quite a few ways to get headed in the direction you want. Maybe first consider that what you do to increase your mental stability and tranquility today will continue to have effects tomorrow and the next day. You need not plan it; it's going to happen. Paticca samuppada. If you set up the right conditions, you'll get the results you want.

Towards that end, consider the Noble Eightfold Path, as Punkey said. Also, consider the different types of meditation. If you're looking for serenity, do serenity meditation. Mindfulness meditation leads to serenity in its own way. Whether you're in motion or doing anapanasati (mindfulness of breathing) doesn't matter so much. Feel free to switch whenever the urge arises. Trust this sort of urge. If one type of meditation becomes unpleasant for any reason, switch.

Insight meditation, vipassana, reflecting deeply about the dhamma, can be done anytime, anywhere you have a few spare minutes. I do it when I'm on the bus or subway or waiting in line for something, instead of keeping my mind plugged into my smartphone.

One thing you can trust, though, is that it's not necessary nor even possible to map out your future in any great detail. Trying to do so is itself a major source of stress for many people. It used to be for me. Just do today. Sure, it's necessary to think about the future, but it's not necessary or wise to attach to any particular version of it that you prefer. Today, do what brings peace to your mind, and your mind will gradually develop the ability to remain tranquil almost no matter what happens in the future.

Finally, I would like to point out that Cognitive Behavior Therapy has a lot of parallels with Buddhist meditative practices. Hope that helps.
George
 
  4  
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2015 05:59 am
I'm not a Buddhist and the way I learned to meditate is quite different, so
I can't comment on that.

But I will offer this, for what it's worth. At the top of my whiteboard at
work I have written the Latin phrase AGE QUOD AGIS. It means "do what
you are doing". It sounds simple, but if you think about it, there's a lot of
wisdom there.
JLNobody
 
  2  
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2015 10:45 am
@George,
Very good George: Do whatever you are doing wholeheartedly or with full attention. That is consistent with vipassana and shikantaza (buddhist approaches to the meditative life). Where did you learn that principle?
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2015 11:19 am
@JLNobody,
I am not into Buddhism but I often and naturally fall into a total absence of awareness of my surroundings lose total track of time and tend to gaze endlessly at light bulbs, I don't think of anything at all...when I come out of it after a while I often have interesting new insights on issues I could be worried about one week before, it just comes to me out of nowhere...since you are sort of an expert on the matter is there any Buddhist meditation technique that advises something similar or is it just my own thing JL ?
0 Replies
 
George
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2015 01:01 pm
@JLNobody,
JLNobody wrote:
. . . Where did you learn that principle?
In the novitiate of a Catholic religious order.
0 Replies
 
vikorr
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2015 05:03 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
While I've done meditation in the past, and think it's a useful tool - I don't claim to be an expert on the subject, but have some thoughts on PQ's posts:

Quote:
but telling myself NOT to think about those things makes me depressed. How can I integrate the two?
A number of thoughts strike me, regarding this passage:

Our mind is incapable of thinking in the negative. Tell yourself 'NOT to think about an elephant', and you need to think about an elephant in order to know what not to think about. Tell yourself 'I'm going to think on ###, and you need not think of the elephant.

It's why elite football teams (Rugby type) who suddenly start focusing on 'NOT dropping the ball / don't make mistakes' often end up dropping the ball more - because they must think about dropping the ball in order to know what 'not' to do. The more they focus on NOT, the more error prone they can become. The ones that focus on 'ball control' however, often end up better.

Another old saying is 'you don't stop a habit - you replace one habit with another'. Habits are hard to break (some argue, impossible), but much more easily, replaced by another habit.

And yet another that says 'whatever you fight, you are tied to' (whether it be by hate, fixation, automatic emotive responses, time consumption, or otherwise)

All of that is a long winded way of saying, my advice would be, rather than tell yourself 'not' to think on something - find something else / something new to think on. Or else, find a new way of thinking about 'it'.

Quote:
Same goes for relationships? I want to imagine one day hopefully I will find someone I will fall in love with and get married to etc. how can I put that desire in a place that is useful for me?
It sounds like you make plenty of mistakes? (not that there's necessarily anything wrong with that - most of us learn by doing).

Do you know the character traits of a person who is good for you?

I don't mean who makes you fall in love - because many people fall for the type of people people who are anywhere from bad for them, to immensely bad for them.

When looking to (eventually) find a spouse - when choosing (for the long haul) look at the foundation before looking at the icing?

Well, I had several other thoughts on other parts of your post, but I'm sure this is long enough already.
Krumple
 
  0  
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2015 09:04 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
The Pentacle Queen wrote:

Hello,

So I did finally (after about 10 years of coming on here and saying I was going to start meditating) start meditating.

It's part of a major life overhaul because I realised the main ways in which I have been making me happy have been working, but they have temporary. I am always happy about something I will get in the future, and I eventually have become completely worn out and realised I exchanged some of the best times of my life for times that never ended up happening. A bit like Christianity.


This is a fundamental aspect to existence. The Buddha referred to it as dukkha. You have come to this conclusion through your meditation? If so you should continue to pursue it.


The Pentacle Queen wrote:

One major question I have is, how can we integrate aspirations into a more zen understanding of every day life? I'm not going to continue to work myself to death under the promise of the future like I have been doing since school really, but telling myself NOT to think about those things makes me depressed.


You should continue to contemplate them because the truth is buried within them.

The Pentacle Queen wrote:

How can I integrate the two? Same goes for relationships? I want to imagine one day hopefully I will find someone I will fall in love with and get married to etc. how can I put that desire in a place that is useful for me?


Perhaps you will not like this response but isn't this idea the same as the above idea? When you talked about exchanging some of the best times of your life for something that never ended up happening. How are you certain that finding someone to fall in love with will go as you are hoping? I am not trying to make you pessimistic. I am saying you should continue your meditation so that you can bridge your previous revelation with this idea you are hoping for. You'll come to realize they both are the same. Maybe you don't like that conclusion but it is the reality of existence, dukkha.
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Jun, 2015 08:57 am
@George,
That's actually what "be here now" is all about.
0 Replies
 
The Pentacle Queen
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Jun, 2015 02:36 pm
@PUNKEY,
Thanks Punkey.

What is babbling?
I fear anything too traditional (eightfold path) would be too restrictive for me to follow and I'd end up not doing it, I commend you though.
0 Replies
 
The Pentacle Queen
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Jun, 2015 02:43 pm
@vikorr,
vikorr wrote:

While I've done meditation in the past, and think it's a useful tool - I don't claim to be an expert on the subject, but have some thoughts on PQ's posts:

Quote:
but telling myself NOT to think about those things makes me depressed. How can I integrate the two?
A number of thoughts strike me, regarding this passage:

Our mind is incapable of thinking in the negative. Tell yourself 'NOT to think about an elephant', and you need to think about an elephant in order to know what not to think about. Tell yourself 'I'm going to think on ###, and you need not think of the elephant.

It's why elite football teams (Rugby type) who suddenly start focusing on 'NOT dropping the ball / don't make mistakes' often end up dropping the ball more - because they must think about dropping the ball in order to know what 'not' to do. The more they focus on NOT, the more error prone they can become. The ones that focus on 'ball control' however, often end up better.

Another old saying is 'you don't stop a habit - you replace one habit with another'. Habits are hard to break (some argue, impossible), but much more easily, replaced by another habit.

And yet another that says 'whatever you fight, you are tied to' (whether it be by hate, fixation, automatic emotive responses, time consumption, or otherwise)

All of that is a long winded way of saying, my advice would be, rather than tell yourself 'not' to think on something - find something else / something new to think on. Or else, find a new way of thinking about 'it'.


Thanks vikorr, really useful.
I guess I got sad because I'd think of my ambitions, and then tell myself 'you can't think of those because they're not 'real' or not 'in the moment enough'' and this would be discouraging because it feels like I'm deliberately squashing something good (my passion), so I guess instead I should say: what thing can I do today which will be a positive step towards this kind of life?
The Pentacle Queen
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Jun, 2015 02:50 pm
@Krumple,
Krumple wrote:

The Pentacle Queen wrote:

Hello,

So I did finally (after about 10 years of coming on here and saying I was going to start meditating) start meditating.

It's part of a major life overhaul because I realised the main ways in which I have been making me happy have been working, but they have temporary. I am always happy about something I will get in the future, and I eventually have become completely worn out and realised I exchanged some of the best times of my life for times that never ended up happening. A bit like Christianity.


This is a fundamental aspect to existence. The Buddha referred to it as dukkha. You have come to this conclusion through your meditation? If so you should continue to pursue it.


The Pentacle Queen wrote:

One major question I have is, how can we integrate aspirations into a more zen understanding of every day life? I'm not going to continue to work myself to death under the promise of the future like I have been doing since school really, but telling myself NOT to think about those things makes me depressed.


You should continue to contemplate them because the truth is buried within them.

The Pentacle Queen wrote:

How can I integrate the two? Same goes for relationships? I want to imagine one day hopefully I will find someone I will fall in love with and get married to etc. how can I put that desire in a place that is useful for me?


Perhaps you will not like this response but isn't this idea the same as the above idea? When you talked about exchanging some of the best times of your life for something that never ended up happening. How are you certain that finding someone to fall in love with will go as you are hoping? I am not trying to make you pessimistic. I am saying you should continue your meditation so that you can bridge your previous revelation with this idea you are hoping for. You'll come to realize they both are the same. Maybe you don't like that conclusion but it is the reality of existence, dukkha.


Thanks Krumple. No I came to it because I chase everything and literally I did so much work and traveling last year I completely wore myself out and this year it's been really hard to keep the momentum up. I also chased a relationship for two years and it finally got stable and I won the love of the other person, and am getting the slightest hints of being bored (doh). I am very worried about this as my boyfriend is (very majorly) depressed with a history of addiction, so I feel a lot of guilt/fear about the fact I might have to break up with him. I realised one of the reasons I feel trapped is because if I was single and I got bored by something or someone I would just find 'the next new thing', but because I am in this situation, it's preventing me from doing that. I have to stick in this position for a bit to check I my feelings have definitely changed towards him before breaking up with him, so it's making me contemplate the way I make myself happy and how if I'd been able to be a bit more stable and not 'chase the next thing' all the time I probably wouldn't be in this situation.
0 Replies
 
The Pentacle Queen
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Jun, 2015 02:51 pm
@FBM,
FBM wrote:

First, I don't claim to be an expert. I haven't mastered anything. I'm just relating my experience.

There are quite a few ways to get headed in the direction you want. Maybe first consider that what you do to increase your mental stability and tranquility today will continue to have effects tomorrow and the next day. You need not plan it; it's going to happen. Paticca samuppada. If you set up the right conditions, you'll get the results you want.

Towards that end, consider the Noble Eightfold Path, as Punkey said. Also, consider the different types of meditation. If you're looking for serenity, do serenity meditation. Mindfulness meditation leads to serenity in its own way. Whether you're in motion or doing anapanasati (mindfulness of breathing) doesn't matter so much. Feel free to switch whenever the urge arises. Trust this sort of urge. If one type of meditation becomes unpleasant for any reason, switch.

Insight meditation, vipassana, reflecting deeply about the dhamma, can be done anytime, anywhere you have a few spare minutes. I do it when I'm on the bus or subway or waiting in line for something, instead of keeping my mind plugged into my smartphone.

One thing you can trust, though, is that it's not necessary nor even possible to map out your future in any great detail. Trying to do so is itself a major source of stress for many people. It used to be for me. Just do today. Sure, it's necessary to think about the future, but it's not necessary or wise to attach to any particular version of it that you prefer. Today, do what brings peace to your mind, and your mind will gradually develop the ability to remain tranquil almost no matter what happens in the future.

Finally, I would like to point out that Cognitive Behavior Therapy has a lot of parallels with Buddhist meditative practices. Hope that helps.


Thank you. I need to do a lot of googling then I can get back to you Smile
0 Replies
 
vikorr
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Jun, 2015 04:34 am
@The Pentacle Queen,
Quote:
Thanks vikorr, really useful.
I guess I got sad because I'd think of my ambitions, and then tell myself 'you can't think of those because they're not 'real' or not 'in the moment enough'' and this would be discouraging because it feels like I'm deliberately squashing something good (my passion), so I guess instead I should say: what thing can I do today which will be a positive step towards this kind of life?

Although I've read a number of your posts, I haven't read enough of them to know what your ambitions are.

It sounds like you find your ambitions unreachable. If it helps, I think that ambitions, no matter how 'not real' they are, can still be very good for a person, especially when they are passionate about those ambitions...if the person engages in 'one step at a time', passionately, knowing that they may never quite reach their ambition.

When the focus is the passionate journey, rather than the final destination, each day can be that much more rewarding. That said, Learning how to find joy in the journey, can take a bit of work...and too, I find work is usually involved in just about anything deeply rewarding.

Quote:
what thing can I do today which will be a positive step towards this kind of life?
Yes.
The Pentacle Queen
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Jun, 2015 11:00 am
@vikorr,
vikorr wrote:

Quote:
Thanks vikorr, really useful.
I guess I got sad because I'd think of my ambitions, and then tell myself 'you can't think of those because they're not 'real' or not 'in the moment enough'' and this would be discouraging because it feels like I'm deliberately squashing something good (my passion), so I guess instead I should say: what thing can I do today which will be a positive step towards this kind of life?

Although I've read a number of your posts, I haven't read enough of them to know what your ambitions are.

It sounds like you find your ambitions unreachable. If it helps, I think that ambitions, no matter how 'not real' they are, can still be very good for a person, especially when they are passionate about those ambitions...if the person engages in 'one step at a time', passionately, knowing that they may never quite reach their ambition.

When the focus is the passionate journey, rather than the final destination, each day can be that much more rewarding. That said, Learning how to find joy in the journey, can take a bit of work...and too, I find work is usually involved in just about anything deeply rewarding.

Quote:
what thing can I do today which will be a positive step towards this kind of life?
Yes.


Thanks for that. They're not totally unreachable, but not exactly easy. I'm doing relatively well in an artistic profession. 'm freelance, so one year I will have lots of performances in different countries, then I will have a 4 month gap, it's hard not to fall into the 'everything will be fine forever' 'everything will be terrible forever' pattern of thinking. It's also easy to fall into more work = more success trap, taking on lots of projects that aren't useful or that your heart isn't in as a knee jerk reaction to that kind of fear. I'm sure most freelance people experience that. But yeah, I mean I am actually doing this because of my love of the every day experience of the artistic work, I wish I could just get my head round the lifestyle and sense of trajectory.

So you think meditation would definitely help with this?
Thank you.

vikorr
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Jun, 2015 04:12 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
I do think meditation will help with it - the degree it helps is the question (it could be a little, or a lot). Certainly it will help you find out more about who you are.

The degree is only in question because of 1. the Bell Curve; and 2. how much dedication you can put into it. Presuming you are only able to give a limited time to meditation (whether through lack of time, restlessness, or other), the bell curve is a Statisical curve that is found to hold true for human abilities - it reflects the percentage of people with a natural talent (or lack of talent) for something. If you have a natural talent for you, it may work very well. The Bell curve, as an example in areas affecting the subconcious - explains why some people can be hypnotised on stage, while others can't...it's why hypnotists usually have an group of people that they try and hypnotise (search Bell Curve for more info).

My experience with meditation is that it can be used for anything from physical relaxation (you focus on your muscles, tighten, then relax them one at a time), to mental relaxation, to introspection, to retraining the subconscious mind, to taking a mental journey (which may be the part that interests you most).

As a note on the above list - I include my experiments with my subconscious mind to be meditation, because the method of playing with your subconscious has many similarities meditation - it's mostly the goals that differ.

If you try meditation to influence the sub-concious, just realise the the subconscious does not use words to 'think' - it uses images, feelings, instinct, memory as primary sources, so you must use those things when dealing with it. Also, the subconscious cannot fully differentiate between real & imagined (scientifically proven), and it makes connections through association - so you can use this (from a meditative state) to retrain your brain.

In terms of taking a subconscious journey - it is quite a creative experience (it is a journey that allows your subconscious to interact with you).

Other things that you can do with the subconscious is have it (your subconscious) explain peculiar dreams (of your own) to you. That experience was quite interesting.

Also possible is 'lucid dreaming' - that is, being aware that you are dreaming, and influencing / directing your own dream. For some reason, although I can do this, I don't have any particular interest in doing so. I'm fairly sure a person can achieve all sort of interesting affects (in their waking life) by utilising their dreams, but I think I like my dreams just to be dreams. A friend of mine, who first pointed out it was possible, said he liked to fly around, levitate things, and other stuff...ie. It can obviously be used creatively.

That is to say - consider meditation in it's traditional uses, and also consider using your subconscious to enhance your creativeness, and skills set...doing either (meditation or subconscious utilisation) will increase your own awareness of who you are.
The Pentacle Queen
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Jun, 2015 12:50 pm
@vikorr,
Thanks so much for this, really interesting.

How would you use it for retraining your subconscious?

Really want to find more out about how to actually do and start exploring all of this. Do you have any recommendations of books and tapes which would be good for me to start? (I am not naturally good at meditation). Obviously I can google but I gather it's a field where I might get fed mumbo jumbo if not careful.

Really appreciate all this info, thanks.
Pq
vikorr
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Jun, 2015 08:54 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
It's been years since I read the books on the subconscious. You are right though - there are a number of average books out there.

I would recommend:

'Instant Self-Hypnosis by Forbes Robbins Blair'. This one I recommend, mostly because it works - It will, in very simple terms, show you how to hypnotise yourself, with your eyes open. It will also explain a very important difference between hypnosis and all other ways of accessing the subconcious - that is, hypnosis works by overwhelming the conscious mind until the subconscious has to take over, while the meditation based ways work by letting go of the conscious mind until the subconscious is left.

'TNT The power within you; by Claude Bristol and Harold Sherman'. I found this one a little corny, but I recommend it because it brings together, in very simple terms, a lot of research, but is aimed squarely at the user.

'Your mind knows more than you do; by Sidney Friedman'. I didn't find this particularly useful, but it does show you how to do one very useful thing - use a pendulum to find answers. The basic idea is, you put a ring on a string, and then ask a question that has a yes or know answer, and depending on how the ring moves, will indicate the answer your subconscious mind gives. It can become very reliable with practice...some people will find this ability more useful than others, hence it's inclusion.

How to manipulate the subconscious is still not fully understood. The books on the subconscious range in usefulness. That said, I found it informative to read books on it from multiple sources...with the aim of finding what works for my purposes. I found that way, I got something out of each of the books...eventually I learned how to 'listen' to certain aspects of my subconscious, and how to negotiate with my subconscious (as an example - to ease away non-useful discomforts/worries/fears) without having to enter a meditative state. I find this particular trait much more useful than the other skills I learned...but I don't know that I can explain exactly how to do it.

In the end, - although I recommend the first two in particular (they are fairly simple & straightforward) - I would also recommend reading several others, with the goal in mind of finding what works for you... things that can help you achieve your ambitions. I find when I read such books with a goal in mind, then what is useful becomes much clearer to me....and often ideas from different books will join together (for me) to form something useful.

Best wishes.
The Pentacle Queen
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Jun, 2015 10:11 am
@vikorr,
Thank you so much Vikorr, this is the most useful development I've made in a long time, I'm very grateful to you!
0 Replies
 
 

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