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Author Topic: anyone ever tried meditation/mindfulness?  (Read 17073 times)

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Offline tinam7

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Re: anyone ever tried meditation/mindfulness?
« Reply #310 on: January 06, 2014, 06:11:06 PM »
No judgment, of course.
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Offline Cheesus

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Re: anyone ever tried meditation/mindfulness?
« Reply #311 on: January 07, 2014, 05:15:28 AM »
Of course :)

I just came on to reply to a PM someone sent me so I thought I would drop by the GAD forum and lo and behold this thread is still alive. I couldn't resist Thoreau's quote when I saw you guys talking about god.

I hope you all are well.
Alex
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Offline doogle2

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Re: anyone ever tried meditation/mindfulness?
« Reply #312 on: January 07, 2014, 05:41:06 AM »
Hey Cheesus - I'm fine thanks, funnily enough I was perusing the thread from the beginning last week, stumbled across you and wondered how you were.

Hope you are well too, take good care - and stop mentioning Tina's "G" spot   :laugh3: :laugh3: :laugh3: (hahaa - hope no one is offended)
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The human mind is inspired enough when it comes to inventing horrors; it is when it tries to invent a Heaven that it shows itself cloddish ~ Evelyn Waugh

Offline tinam7

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Re: anyone ever tried meditation/mindfulness?
« Reply #313 on: January 07, 2014, 07:50:22 AM »
It's OK, maybe we can start chanting Ooooom, Ooooom, etc.

What happened to Buddhism, A? I'm so deep in it may get a toga and join up with the Dalai Lama.
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Offline Cheesus

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Re: anyone ever tried meditation/mindfulness?
« Reply #314 on: January 08, 2014, 01:07:33 PM »
I thought it was the greeks who wore togas? Aren't they white? You might stand out a bit hanging out with the DL :p

Doogle, I'm good thanks. Been doing v. well with my anxiety issues and have now managed to dig deeper and started healing other psychological misgivings that are perhaps at the root of great deal of my recurrent discontent (and maybe even my M.E.) (EDIT: Also, Doogle... LOL!)

Something I wanted to share in this thread, actually, is my recent experiences with mindfulness and suffering. Often when mindfulness is begun, people see it as a means to outsmart suffering. The though is 'oh if I am in the present moment, then I will not suffer because suffering happens when I am in the future or past'. This is true to an extent. Particularly when the suffering is superficial (and by superficial I don't mean not real, rather I mean at the surface).

However, when the suffering is bone deep as it is with probably everyone who finds their way to this forum, it is not so simple. It is impossible to outsmart suffering. You cannot remove yourself from it. 'Observing it' is often misinterpreted by the beginner - or even those who have been practicing a long while - to mean that they distance themselves from it and dissociate from it. I made this mistake time and time again in my own practice. I thought if I force myself into the present or put my experience in a box then it would naturally solve itself. Leaving this mindset has been a long, drawn out process.

To possess this mindset completely misses a really essential part of mindfulness. I now avoid at all costs the idea of 'letting go' or 'observing'. Instead, I have learned to think about it in terms of sitting with my experience. If my experience is painful, then I must be with it. I must offer it my support. I do not get involved, but nor do I resist it. If I am with a crying child, I do not resists its tears and nor do I encourage them. I sit with the child and offer it my presence and my love. Jack Kornfield elucidates this concept beautifully in his book A Path With Heart. I have just broken up with my girlfriend which is extremely painful. What I must do now is to be with that pain; to offer myself and the experience kindness and compassion; to acknowledge at a very deep level that I am suffering, but that it is okay to suffer.

The reason I bring this up now is that I have just finished talking about this with my therapist. He is a trained mindfulness teacher in addition to being a therapist, and he grounds his psychotherapy practice either directly or indirectly in mindfulness. We were discussing how often he sees people attempt to skip over their suffering. When we are wrought with turmoil, mindfulness must encourage us to be with that turmoil, to investigate it. Only by doing this do we actually learn, and only by doing this are captive energies truly released. Often this can be a very difficult or even traumatic experience, and is a long way from the contemporary concept of mindfulness as a means to gain calmness and clarity. To paraphrase a quote in A Path With Heart: 'if you haven't cried during meditation, you haven't really started meditating'.

Anyway, I just wanted to discuss it because I feel like when mindfulness is approached form a place of deep suffering people see it as a means to end that suffering. I noted to someone on a mindfulness forum the other day that to address their anxiety via mindfulness they must sit with their suffering, and they took this to mean that it was a bad idea and would make them worse. This is not so. Mindfulness is a means to offer your suffering compassion, love, acceptance, understanding and presence. Do not put it at arm's length. Sit with it.

I see so much suffering on this website. It is so saddening.

THE GUEST HOUSE

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
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who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

-- Jelaluddin Rumi,
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Offline scb07d

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Re: anyone ever tried meditation/mindfulness?
« Reply #315 on: January 08, 2014, 02:16:52 PM »
Very good points Cheesus. :)

People tend to interpret Mindfulness 2 ways I think.

1) Doing nothing is the solution to uncomfortable feelings.
2) There is no solution to uncomfortable feelings and you have to live within them.

The second one seems to be legitimate Mindfulness while the first is a misinterpretation.

Some people would say that our system of Language and Cognition is designed in such a way that when you try to get rid of something uncomfortable inside your skin it can never work because you're referencing that thing in the process. It's like trying not to think about a pink elephant or whatever. So basically, there can never be a "solution" to how you feel... and Mindfulness is the acknowledgement of that I think.
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Offline doogle2

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Re: anyone ever tried meditation/mindfulness?
« Reply #316 on: January 08, 2014, 04:26:31 PM »
Well I can't say I agree - take this story:

There were 2 monks, Master and Student, out walking one day. The sun was shining, birds were singing, there was a lovely gentle breeze in the air, it was a fine day for a walk.

They came to a river bank. The river was swollen. They could still cross but they would have to get wet as the water was waist deep.

Just then a woman arrived, "oh dear", she said "I need to cross, but I can't, could you help me".

"Certainly said the Master, I'll carry you across, if you would allow it.", the woman agreed and so the Master picked her up and carried her across. At the other side she thanked him and went on her way, the monks walked on. The student was very upset, but didn't say anything.

Hours passed and the Master, knowing the student was very distracted, finally asked him what was wrong. "Master" said the Student "Why did you carry that women, we are not supposed to get involved with women?", the Master replied "I put the woman down at the river bank, it is you that is still carrying her!".

The Master isn't doing 1) or 2) - the Master let go of any mental agitation or "suffering" at the river bank, moved on and went back to enjoying the sun shine, the birds singing, the gentle breeze in the air (what else was there for him to do?).

He didn't have uncomfortable feelings because he was free of them - he put them down, let them go, moved on and came back to reality, out of the mental realm of living and back into the NOW, the present moment - where life is actually happening (as Thoreau quite rightly said).

The student on the other hand got lost in worry, doubt, fear, concern, etc. and "suffered" as a result.
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The human mind is inspired enough when it comes to inventing horrors; it is when it tries to invent a Heaven that it shows itself cloddish ~ Evelyn Waugh

Offline Cheesus

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Re: anyone ever tried meditation/mindfulness?
« Reply #317 on: January 08, 2014, 05:13:37 PM »
The woman is the master's suffering. He treated her with care as he carried her across the river. Once on the other side, once he had offered his burden lovingkindness, he was able to put her down move on.

The student exists in Samsara. He did not offer the woman compassion or kindness and thus was he unable to drop his burden.

I get where you're coming from with 'b', scb. However, I would not quite phrase it as 'live within' and understand where Doogle's interpretation has arisen. I would more like to think of it as a compassionate acknowledgement. To sit gently with your experience as it rises and falls offers different connotations to living within the experience. The former suggests a gentle presence, the latter indicates being trapped. I do not want to hold my experience at arms' length, and nor do I want to fully exist as the experience. I just want to gently reassure it that everything is okay, and promise it that I am happy to sit vigil by the bedside until it passes.

Honestly I can never think of any better way to describe it other than treating suffering as you would a crying child. You do not push it away, you do not command it to stop, you do not encourage it, you do not sit and do nothing. Instead you hold it close and offer it warmth. When the experience is ready to pass, it will pass.
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Offline Cheesus

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Re: anyone ever tried meditation/mindfulness?
« Reply #318 on: January 08, 2014, 05:26:42 PM »
Taking the metaphor further, the woman never would have been able to cross the river without the master's compassion. Nor could he simply drop her whenever he liked. Only once he reached the far side of the river could he let her go.

Furthermore, the student was actively averse to the woman. He could not let her go.
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Offline scb07d

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Re: anyone ever tried meditation/mindfulness?
« Reply #319 on: January 09, 2014, 01:46:08 AM »
Yeah, you're right.

You can make a distinction between toleration VS acceptance or willingness. I didn't mean to suggest that one should *tolerate* the way they feel... you're right it's more about incorporation.

I think when you tell people they have to accept the way they feel it can come off as just saying "suck it up" or "just deal with it." That's definitely not what acceptance is. I'm probably guilty of coming off like that.

It can be difficult to remember what it felt like prior to reaching a point of acceptance. And so you can end up talking to people without being delicate because you lose touch with that other perspective. I definitely need to get better at remembering what it's like to be carrying that level of suffering around everyday. It's obviously more complicated than just telling people to "let go" of it.
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