Accepting Yourself

Discuss your personal experience with the Dharma here. How has it enriched your life? What challenges does it present?

Accepting Yourself

Postby Jesse » Thu Aug 21, 2014 4:18 pm

I think we all have aspects of ourselves we dislike. For a long while I have been trying to accept parts of myself that I truly hate. Thing's like anger, conceit, sexual impulses, greed, etc.

I think in some ways, when we realize these things harm us we switch to the opposite end of the spectrum unwillingly and start developing aversion to them, so how do we accept these things about ourselves without indulging them?

What are your experiences?
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Re: Accepting Yourself

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Fri Aug 22, 2014 2:35 am

Jesse wrote:I think we all have aspects of ourselves we dislike. For a long while I have been trying to accept parts of myself that I truly hate. Thing's like anger, conceit, sexual impulses, greed, etc.

I think in some ways, when we realize these things harm us we switch to the opposite end of the spectrum unwillingly and start developing aversion to them, so how do we accept these things about ourselves without indulging them?

What are your experiences?



This is my answer to like half the personal questions people post of this nature, but seriously when those things are really looming larger than life, Tonglen (*starting with myself*) is very helpful.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Accepting Yourself

Postby Ayu » Fri Aug 22, 2014 7:08 am

Yes, tonglen fits.
For me the best of the good methods is demon-feeding, because the aversion does personify and I can start to understand it, its ignorance. I always like to understand it all.
And yes: these aversions or suppressed tendencies have to be worked out as far as possible. Basic rule: Don't judge and keep the mindfulness.
By the way: for example an alcoholic supresses the ability of dreaming in the night. So he doesn't work out his psychic stresses for the time of his alcohol abuse. All bad dreams rest on a garbage heap and if he finally fortunately stops drinking all of the mud comes out at once. It is a good sign, but that's why these people need professional aid.

So every work on any inner demon is another step to mental and physical health. But slowly and thoroughly and with much love to oneself. Like if you were your own child.

Edit: my experience is that my life became better as soon as I started to accept myself and also the things and people around me. It was an immediate effect, but now I work on that since nearly 30 years.
Now it is always interesting to detect old tendencies again, that I believed were overcome.
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
From 10th of 37 Bodhisattva Practices
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Re: Accepting Yourself

Postby Jesse » Fri Aug 22, 2014 7:47 am

Good advice, thanks both of you. I think the main reason these things frustrate me is I feel far more aware of the thing's going on in my head these days. I don't remember ever being all that aware of my thought processes. In some ways it kind of sucks, but good in that I want to figure out a way to be more at peace with myself. I think it's just a rough process.

Don't judge and keep the mindfulness.


It's very hard to do!

I suppose I will try tonglen though. Thanks :)
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Re: Accepting Yourself

Postby dharmagoat » Fri Aug 22, 2014 8:05 am

I have always had difficulty conceiving of any kind of relationship between me and myself. Who is relating to whom?

So my way of finding acceptance of myself is by making no distinction between myself and others and simply focus on my acceptance of everyone. By leaving one's concept of oneself out of the picture, the self is automatically healed.

Sounds like a nice theory, but it actually works.
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Re: Accepting Yourself

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Fri Aug 22, 2014 8:48 pm

Jesse wrote:Good advice, thanks both of you. I think the main reason these things frustrate me is I feel far more aware of the thing's going on in my head these days. I don't remember ever being all that aware of my thought processes. In some ways it kind of sucks, but good in that I want to figure out a way to be more at peace with myself. I think it's just a rough process.

Don't judge and keep the mindfulness.


It's very hard to do!

I suppose I will try tonglen though. Thanks :)



http://lojongmindtraining.com/Commentar ... &proverb=7" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; Sure you've seen this site.

Reading commentary on Lojong slogans, and practicing Tonglen really has helped me through some of the more difficult times where it's been a real task to live with my own mind. I also reccomend Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoches book on Lojong. One of the things I like about Lojong, is that it is not a complicated undertaking.

It also helps me a lot to simply use my confusion to generate aspiration for myself and others to be free of it. "May all beings be free of this state" type of thing.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Accepting Yourself

Postby Ayu » Fri Aug 22, 2014 8:55 pm

Jesse wrote:... I think the main reason these things frustrate me is I feel far more aware of the thing's going on in my head these days. I don't remember ever being all that aware of my thought processes. In some ways it kind of sucks, but good in that I want to figure out a way to be more at peace with myself. I think it's just a rough process.

Yes, I think so too. You have a great task. How wonderful it is will reveal ...
You should know clearly what you want to abandon. And also you have to know where you want to go. Keep being kind to yourself by doing healthy uplifting things.

Funny, JD and I posted at the same time. Yes, lodjong is something like a key to many solutions. :smile:
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
From 10th of 37 Bodhisattva Practices
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Re: Accepting Yourself

Postby duckfiasco » Fri Aug 22, 2014 11:22 pm

Take heart: seeing our own pride and defilements is none other than the compassion of the buddhas illuminating our usual sense of superiority and arrogance. It's a good thing to realistically see our situation, and to be honest about our biggest struggles. For me, that's definitely lust and doubt.

The Tannisho wrote:According to Shinran, "Under the influence of our karmic past we human beings will do anything."
...
Thus, leave everything good and evil to the working of karma and single-heartedly entrust yourself to the Primal Vow.

The quote is in the context of Pure Land practice, but I think the compassion of Amida and the buddhas has myriad manifestations in our lives. It's a matter of entrusting oneself wholeheartedly to a practice and being absolutely persistent, I think. A lustful or hateful mind isn't really lucid enough to gauge its own state or even what's wise or foolish to do at the time. After all, it likely spent all day cultivating and preparing this moment of suffering... how could it suddenly abandon its precious pet project when the time is ripe to dive into the hell it made? :rolleye:

Like you say, we don't want to solidify the defilements even more by feeling aversion towards them or thinking "ugh not again, I really DO have this stupid problem!" So cut the crap right at the moment of falling into suffering with an easy, continuous practice you can carry in your pocket so to speak, be it a mani, the nembutsu, a quick body-scan, whatever it is. You may have to deal with the suffering of self-loathing and guilt before you can tackle a harmful behavior in itself. That was personally a big turning point for me, feeling that the love of Amida embraced me even in my shame, as the nembutsu appeared during the most recent in a long string of failures to resist greed. Guilt and self-hatred aren't helpful, but for a long time they may feel like the most logical or even only option we have. Instead, scatter the seeds of your practice indiscriminately in every place you find.

We're passion-ridden, deluded beings in an ocean of desire. We don't refrain from killing 1,000 people because we're just that good, but because we don't have the karmic predisposition. Likewise, we don't have illicit sex or do drugs or write overly long forum posts because we're just that horrible of people :P This whole paradigm needs to be embraced and dissolved into a solid practice that connects us to the compassion of the buddhas and bodhisattvas. Then we can recognize the extent of their blessings in our lives. The poison becomes the antidote, as in the lojong slogan "Three objects, three poisons, three seeds of virtue".

That was kind of a stream of consciousness, but I wish you all the best, Jesse! :thumbsup:
Namu Amida Butsu
The Perfect Way knows no difficulties
Except that it refuses to make preferences;
Only when freed from hate and love,
It reveals itself fully and without disguise.
- Sengcan (tr. Suzuki)
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Re: Accepting Yourself

Postby Jechan » Sat Aug 23, 2014 10:48 am

Hi Jesse, nice post.
We can see ourselves through our practice of the Dharma, whichever your chosen method may be.
Practicing correctly changes our environment and our environment is only ,and always ,just a reflection of ourself.
Accepting ourself and practising correctly will reveal the most favourable environment.
南無妙法蓮華経
南無妙法蓮華経
南無妙法蓮華経
南無妙法蓮華経
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Re: Accepting Yourself

Postby Dan74 » Sat Aug 23, 2014 12:44 pm

Hi Jesse, All,

This is an ongoing process for me. A couple of things come to mind.

One is meditation that is grounded in the physical. Like the sensation of the breath, maybe starting by scanning. This is a very powerful practice that cannot be underestimated. And coming to terms with our physical existence is a big part of self-acceptance, at least for me.

Another is the practice with the feelings like Tonglen/Mettabhavana that's already been mentioned. Great stuff as well as the easily dismissed pop psychology stuff of forgiving oneself for all past mistakes. Loving oneself not in an indulgent narcissistic way but in a nurturing caring way. You are another person needing love, why not give it to yourself? In the way you take care of yourself, in the way you go through the day, do what you do. Put more care and affection, more nurturing gentle quality into it.

In Zen there is a a prayer:

All the evil karma ever committed by me since of old,
On account of greed, anger, and folly, which have no beginning,
Born of my body, mouth, and thought--
I now make full open confession of it.


There's a related talk by the late Daido Loori Roshi on this here: http://www.purifymind.com/TakingRespon.htm

Yet another thing that comes to mind is cultivating a spacious consciousness. You say you are more aware of your thought processes. This can be very useful but it can also be damaging if this ability is not balanced out by a more spacious all-embracing awareness. Vipashyana and Shamatha, two wings of a bird. This spacious consciousness by its very nature is forgiving and accepting - it is non-judgmental. Equanimity, simply abiding, letting go...

Lastly through insight we realize that we are all doing our best, the best way we can, the way we see it. We are all work in progress, all a little bit broken. And that's OK. There's no point beating oneself over it. Best to just get on with life, pay attention and attend to what needs attending.

All this is work in progress too. And that's OK.
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Re: Accepting Yourself

Postby Malcolm » Sat Aug 23, 2014 2:56 pm

Jesse wrote:I think we all have aspects of ourselves we dislike. For a long while I have been trying to accept parts of myself that I truly hate. Thing's like anger, conceit, sexual impulses, greed, etc.


Why would you accept afflictive emotions? They are afflictive and are the root cause of suffering.

Either you renounce them, transform them or self-liberate them. But you certainly don't accept them. That way just leads to further rebirth in samsara.

M
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

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Re: Accepting Yourself

Postby Jesse » Sat Aug 23, 2014 3:53 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Jesse wrote:I think we all have aspects of ourselves we dislike. For a long while I have been trying to accept parts of myself that I truly hate. Thing's like anger, conceit, sexual impulses, greed, etc.


Why would you accept afflictive emotions? They are afflictive and are the root cause of suffering.

Either you renounce them, transform them or self-liberate them. But you certainly don't accept them. That way just leads to further rebirth in samsara.

M


I think mainly because we all have a tendency to think we're bad people because we have these afflictions, when that's not really the case. What I meant is to accept that they are a part of me, without feeling like they define me.

Dan74 wrote:
Yet another thing that comes to mind is cultivating a spacious consciousness. You say you are more aware of your thought processes. This can be very useful but it can also be damaging if this ability is not balanced out by a more spacious all-embracing awareness. Vipashyana and Shamatha, two wings of a bird. This spacious consciousness by its very nature is forgiving and accepting - it is non-judgmental. Equanimity, simply abiding, letting go...


Yes I totally agree. I used to think controlling things was the way to freedom.. boy was I wrong. Who knew freedom was in completing letting go of controlling things.

duckfiasco wrote:That was kind of a stream of consciousness, but I wish you all the best, Jesse! :thumbsup:


Thank you. I wish you the best also. :smile:

dharmagoat wrote:So my way of finding acceptance of myself is by making no distinction between myself and others and simply focus on my acceptance of everyone


Yea, I've noticed im happier when I try to focus more on helping others than my own situation.

Thanks for all the good advice/support. :smile:
"We know nothing at all. All our knowledge is but the knowledge of schoolchildren. The real nature of things we shall never know." - Albert Einstein
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Re: Accepting Yourself

Postby Malcolm » Sat Aug 23, 2014 4:04 pm

Jesse wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Jesse wrote:I think we all have aspects of ourselves we dislike. For a long while I have been trying to accept parts of myself that I truly hate. Thing's like anger, conceit, sexual impulses, greed, etc.


Why would you accept afflictive emotions? They are afflictive and are the root cause of suffering.

Either you renounce them, transform them or self-liberate them. But you certainly don't accept them. That way just leads to further rebirth in samsara.

M


I think mainly because we all have a tendency to think we're bad people because we have these afflictions, when that's not really the case. What I meant is to accept that they are a part of me, without feeling like they define me.



We do bad things, non-vrituous things, because we are afflicted. Afflictions are never a part of oneself but they do define us as sentient beings. If you want to stop being a sentient being and start being an awakening being you have to deal with your afflictions via one of three paths I mentioned.

Why am I a sentient being and not a Buddha? Because I am subject to afflictions. How do I become a Buddha? Buy overcoming afflictions and attaining omniscience. How do I begin? By setting out on one of the three paths, depending on my capacity.
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Accepting Yourself

Postby dzogchungpa » Sat Aug 23, 2014 4:50 pm

Malcolm wrote:Buy overcoming afflictions and attaining omniscience.

Where can one buy these overcoming afflictions and attaining omniscience of which you speak?
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Re: Accepting Yourself

Postby Malcolm » Sat Aug 23, 2014 5:06 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:
Malcolm wrote:Buy overcoming afflictions and attaining omniscience.

Where can one buy these overcoming afflictions and attaining omniscience of which you speak?


Coming soon to Walmart, steeply discounted.
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Accepting Yourself

Postby Mkoll » Sat Aug 23, 2014 9:14 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Jesse wrote:I think we all have aspects of ourselves we dislike. For a long while I have been trying to accept parts of myself that I truly hate. Thing's like anger, conceit, sexual impulses, greed, etc.


Why would you accept afflictive emotions? They are afflictive and are the root cause of suffering.

Either you renounce them, transform them or self-liberate them. But you certainly don't accept them. That way just leads to further rebirth in samsara.

M

I agree with Malcolm here, more or less. I don't think "accepting yourself" is the best way to look at the defilements.
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Re: Accepting Yourself

Postby Ayu » Sat Aug 23, 2014 9:43 pm

But you misunderstand the idea behind this accepting: it dosn't mean "I accept it, it's all fine, I like it all."
The thought goes becond appreciation or rejection.
To "accept" (in this context) is the first step for change.
As long as a heavy bad habbit (like for example addiction) is not accepted as existent, as a human weakness, this weakness remains strong. Life is that contradictory sometimes.
If you cut a branch of a bush (= not accepting a habit) four new branches will shoot forth. You'll have to find the root to dig it out - means "digging" = understanding. Accepting = look at it, don't ignore it, don't sweep it under the map.
As long as there is the sign "guilty" on it, there is no scope for work. I mean in this context here.
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
From 10th of 37 Bodhisattva Practices
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Re: Accepting Yourself

Postby Dan74 » Sun Aug 24, 2014 1:02 am

Meditation takes us just as we are, with our confusion and our sanity. This complete acceptance of ourselves as we are is a simple, direct relationship with our being. We call this maitri, loving-kindness toward ourselves and others. There are four qualities of maitri that are cultivated when we meditate:

1. Steadfastness. When we practice meditation we are strengthening our ability to be steadfast with ourselves, in body as well as mind.

2. Clear seeing. This is another way of saying that we have less self-deception. Through the process of practicing the technique day in and day out, year after year, we begin to be very honest with ourselves.

3. Experiencing our emotional distress. We practice dropping whatever story we are telling ourselves and leaning into the emotions and the fear. We stay with the emotion, experience it, and leave it as it is, without proliferating. Thus we train in opening the fearful heart to the restlessness of our own energy. We learn to abide with the experience of our emotions.

4. Attention to the present moment. We make the choice, moment by moment, to be fully here. Attending to our present-moment mind and body is a way of being tender toward self, toward others, and toward the world. This quality of attention is inherent in our ability to love. These four factors not only apply to sitting meditation, but are essential to all the bodhichitta (awakened heart) practices and for relating with difficult situations in our daily lives. By cultivating them we discover for ourselves that it is bodhichitta, not confusion, that is basic.

- Pema Chödrön

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Re: Accepting Yourself

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sun Aug 24, 2014 3:18 am

Malcolm wrote:
Jesse wrote:I think we all have aspects of ourselves we dislike. For a long while I have been trying to accept parts of myself that I truly hate. Thing's like anger, conceit, sexual impulses, greed, etc.


Why would you accept afflictive emotions? They are afflictive and are the root cause of suffering.

Either you renounce them, transform them or self-liberate them. But you certainly don't accept them. That way just leads to further rebirth in samsara.

M



If someone is strongly fixed on ideas of a relative self, seems like it's better to work towards a positive relative view of oneself, or at least have a bit of equanimity towards oneself. I don't think of it as accepting the afflictions, it's simply trying to avoid aversive reactions to the fact that you have them, and not misidentifying the afflictions as being "you"...even though, in a relative sense.. This is an interesting question because ultimately it seems to get into what level of mental health is required or needed for fruitful Buddhist practice.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Accepting Yourself

Postby Berry » Mon Aug 25, 2014 8:20 am

This is an excellent method of dealing with afflictive emotions:


"It's our failure to understand the simplicity of the natural state
that gets us into trouble. No conceptual structure will describe the true
nature of an emotion. We experience it the way we do because we don't
understand its essential nature. Once we do, the emotion tends to
dissolve.

Then we're not repressing the emotion, but neither are we encouraging
it. We are simply looking clearly at what is taking place. If we set a
cloudy glass of water aside for a while, it will settle by itself and
become clear. Instead of judging the experience of desire, we look
directly at its nature, what is known as "liberating it in its own
ground." Then it simply dissolves.

Each negative emotion, or mental poison, has an inherent perfection
that we don't recognize because we are so accustomed to its appearance as
emotion. Just as poison can be taken medicinally to effect a cure, each
poison of the mind, worked with properly, can be transformed to its
wisdom nature and thus enhance our spiritual practice.

If while in the throes of desire, you simply relax, without moving
your attention, that space of the mind is called discriminating wisdom
You don't abandon desire--instead you reveal its wisdom nature
."

( from 'Gates to Buddhist Practice' by Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche)

http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/tib/ctrad.htm

.
"Don’t burden others with your expectations. Understanding their limitations can inspire compassion instead of disappointment " ~ Chagdud Tulku
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