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 Post subject: wallowing
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 7:14 am 
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I keep repeating the same negative patterns over and over again, I try to chip away at it, but I feel like i've stood still after years of trying. The same neuroses I had when I was 10, I still have them. They trap me in my head and prevent me from being beneficial to others.

What do you do about feeling this way..outside of the usual intellectual answers? I'm wondering, how does one deal with just feeling like a shitty person?

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 Post subject: Re: wallowing
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 2:44 pm 
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The fact that you can even pick up on your own neuroses shows you are already doing the work to overcome them.
The next step is to get to the heart of your issues, and that requires a very gentle and very honest probing into the sore spots and bruised areas, a journey that is painful but healing at the same time. It requires time on and off the cushion, just watching and learning how your mind works. Gradually you begin to note when thoughts arise, and can learn to break the habitual pattern of believing them.

If you were raised in a traditional Christian/Catholic household, the concept of original sin was planted early, and may have led to internalization of self as flawed. With that training, it is very difficult to see self as basically good. And if the family was dysfunctional as many are, seeds of neuroses were planted very early.

Having walked a similar path myself for many years, I can only say that lots of meditation practice, getting to know your own mind and touching your own heart, are essential. One resource I found especially helpful and give a highest recommendation is Tara Brach's Radical Acceptance. Another is Pema Chodron's Start Where You Are. You are right, you can't intellectualize your way out of neuroses, and these books are down to earth practical guides. A fearless journey into the heart of your vulnerability can overcome your "shitty" self.

Hope that helps.
Don't give up.


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 Post subject: Re: wallowing
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 4:25 pm 
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Johnny Dangerous wrote:
I keep repeating the same negative patterns over and over again, I try to chip away at it, but I feel like i've stood still after years of trying. The same neuroses I had when I was 10, I still have them. They trap me in my head and prevent me from being beneficial to others.

A local psychotherapist who uses mindfulness/meditation in his practice recently said to me that the growth/healing of the mind that meditation gets at is NOT the same growth/healing of the mind that psychotherapy gets at. That the domains of mind are different. That even accomplished gurus would benefit from psychotherapy in clearing up their neurotic issues. This is, I think, particularly true for the Western mind, because we've all grown up in such a neurosis-generating culture.

So maybe some good old fashioned therapy would help you, JD?

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 Post subject: Re: wallowing
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 4:52 pm 
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Thanks guys, i've tried alot of therapy..there were a couple bright spots, but mostly my experiences with it were that it worked for "mental triage", but was not very useful for getting to the root of things, or examining long term issues. The exception to this is EMDR, which was pretty effective, but was so similar to meditation that it hardly warrants going to a person for it.

Justsit: It sounds like you get it man, it's like not being able to stand living your own skin, not all the time of course, but when it comes to the surface it's pretty biting. I'll pick up the Tara Branch book.

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 Post subject: Re: wallowing
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 5:24 pm 
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What does Buddhism say about the "undoing" of vasanas?

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 Post subject: Re: wallowing
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 5:33 pm 
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rachmiel wrote:
What does Buddhism say about the "undoing" of vasanas?



Seemingly, you can kind of 'step out' of it all by seeing your true nature ala Dzogchen, or you can do something more gradual.

Never sure how that translates on a day to day level of working with your own nonsense really. Maybe I just need to sit more heh.

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 Post subject: Re: wallowing
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 6:18 pm 
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I have a suggestion: Get enlightened! It's the universal cure. ;-)

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 Post subject: Re: wallowing
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 6:42 pm 
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rachmiel wrote:
I have a suggestion: Get enlightened! It's the universal cure. ;-)


Damn, that's all I was missing, done and done.

Mission accomplished, get ready for the post about my awakening and great achievements in the Exploring Buddhism section.

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 Post subject: Re: wallowing
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 8:45 pm 
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Mud, mud, glorious mud
Nothing quite like it for cooling the blood
So follow me follow, down to the hollow
And there let me wallow in glorious mud.


On a (slightly) more serious note there is quite a lot of kilometerage in "Fake it until you make it". I did this after my wife walked out on a 15 year marriage without any warning or explanation. I wasn't comfortable with the way people around me were trying to console me all the time - they meant well, but I felt I didn't deserve it. So, I faked being happy and carefree, and... this is important... I did it sincerely. Before long I started to realise that I actually was happy and carefree, a state that has persisted for the last 6 years! It does take a certain amount of perseverance though. :smile:

YKMV (cos, you know, metric).

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 Post subject: Re: wallowing
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 8:53 pm 
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Johnny Dangerous wrote:
The same neuroses I had when I was 10, I still have them. They trap me in my head and prevent me from being beneficial to others.

What do you do about feeling this way..outside of the usual intellectual answers? I'm wondering, how does one deal with just feeling like a shitty person?


What kind of practices do you do?

Any concept you have of yourself, even very persistent patterns, are only thoughts. Recognise thoughts as that and don't follow them. Ideas and judgements about yourself only have power if you follow them around. They're only mind-weather. Drop them, or even better, don't pick them up in the first place.

This, in a Dzogchen context, has been an incredibly beneficial practice for me.

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 Post subject: Re: wallowing
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 9:06 pm 
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Paul wrote:
Any concept you have of yourself, even very persistent patterns, are only thoughts. Recognise thoughts as that and don't follow them. Ideas and judgements about yourself only have power if you follow them around. They're only mind-weather.

Yes, agreed. The more you observe the mind, the more clear this becomes. :thumbsup:


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 Post subject: Re: wallowing
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 9:51 pm 
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Johnny Dangerous wrote:
I keep repeating the same negative patterns over and over again, I try to chip away at it, but I feel like i've stood still after years of trying.
I know this feeling too well.

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
What do you do about feeling this way..outside of the usual intellectual answers? I'm wondering, how does one deal with just feeling like a shitty person?
Emptiness really helps me. If there is no self, there there are no real or imagined faults. I may think I'm a horrible person, but others don't believe that. If being horrible was part of who I am, then everyone (even strangers) would think I'm horrible.

Furthermore, by seeing the negation of self and resting there, I sometimes feel that on this basic level, everyone is the same as me. There is an equality between me and everyone I'm jealous of. There is even the same equality between me and the Buddhas.

Another thing that helps me is thinking that my thoughts aren't 100% correct. I'm been mistaken before about various things, so why am I sure I'm not mistaken that I'm a loser? I then think about all the good things about my life and about all my good qualities.

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-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

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 Post subject: Re: wallowing
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 11:07 pm 
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Johnny Dangerous wrote:
I keep repeating the same negative patterns over and over again, I try to chip away at it, but I feel like i've stood still after years of trying. The same neuroses I had when I was 10, I still have them. They trap me in my head and prevent me from being beneficial to others.

What do you do about feeling this way..outside of the usual intellectual answers? I'm wondering, how does one deal with just feeling like a shitty person?


Did you get any secondary gain out of starting this subject?


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 Post subject: Re: wallowing
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 11:41 pm 
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Johnny Dangerous wrote:
I keep repeating the same negative patterns over and over again, I try to chip away at it, but I feel like i've stood still after years of trying. The same neuroses I had when I was 10, I still have them. They trap me in my head and prevent me from being beneficial to others.

What do you do about feeling this way..outside of the usual intellectual answers? I'm wondering, how does one deal with just feeling like a shitty person?

Metta and Dana, especially mentally giving. And not identifying.
"I am not my thoughts".
:namaste:

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 Post subject: Re: wallowing
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 11:51 pm 
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Paul wrote:
They're only mind-weather.

Nice. And helpful to remember.

But ... cyclones and tornadoes are also "only weather." Minds prone to such extremes of weather have a real challenge remaining equanimous during these extremes. I speak from spirituo-meterological experience. :tongue:

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 Post subject: Re: wallowing
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2013 12:58 am 
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As my precious guru so kindly keeps encouraging us, "Erring and erring, I walk the unerring path," and

"Grant your blessings that my mind may follow the Dharma.
Grant your blessings that my Dharma practice may become the path.
Grant your blessings that the path may clarify confusion.
Grant your blessings that confusion may arise as wisdom."


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 Post subject: Re: wallowing
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2013 4:27 am 
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When feeling down or depressed, that's about the last time you want sit with your thoughts or practice loving-kindness.
So the negativity easily makes more of itself, and you're along for the ride.

I used to have a big problem with being promiscuous, and lots of negative thinking and guilt with it.
What helped was noticing the thoughts always stayed about the same.
I cut off harmful relationships and established a lot more balance over the years.
But it didn't matter one bit! Same old self-hating thoughts, like nothing had changed.
One night I suddenly thought, "Wow! Why am I still listening to this? It's not remotely accurate."
I never noticed my thoughts could be total fiction, especially such old and forceful ones.

Until you find some crack in the story, it may be hard to see beyond the intellectual level you mentioned that a thought is still a thought, no matter the content.
It's just too magnetic, the habits too familiar.

It may be a "says who?" moment, or deciding to welcome the negativity as fuel for compassion practice, or as subject matter to study how cycles of thoughts arise, or to see what negativity feels like physically, or...

You have many options that don't include tuning out as though watching TV at the airport just because it's there :)

And anyway, falling on your face and getting back up is 99% of the path. You just fall less as time goes on and you learn where your feet are :rolleye: don't worry! :)

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 Post subject: Re: wallowing
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2013 9:03 am 
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rachmiel wrote:
Paul wrote:
They're only mind-weather.

Nice. And helpful to remember.

But ... cyclones and tornadoes are also "only weather." Minds prone to such extremes of weather have a real challenge remaining equanimous during these extremes. I speak from spirituo-meterological experience. :tongue:


With the techniques of tantra or dzogchen there isn't the need to try and 'cope' with such strong emotions. A coping strategy (ie psychotherapy, I guess) can only be so strong before it buckles and breaks.

If a practitioner has got experience with self liberation will actually benefit from stronger emotions and difficulties as they add fuel to the fire and increase their capacity. When a person can recognise the nature of their mind, the more thoughts, the more dharmakaya.

It is also worth noting that the biggest emotions have to grow from tiny thoughts. If tiny thoughts can't get a grip then there is no problem.

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Look at the unfathomable spinelessness of man: all the means he's been given to stay alert he uses, in the end, to ornament his sleep. – Rene Daumal


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 Post subject: Re: wallowing
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2013 9:26 am 
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rachmiel. The only way to get rid of desires (vasanas)is to find out `Who gets the desire? What is its source?' When this is found, the desire is rooted out. Buddhism, has real insight. As for psychotherapy it features way, way down the list, as it neither has the wisdom or insight to root out the vasanas as the therapist himself is full of wordly desires. So is it the blind leading the blind?


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 Post subject: Re: wallowing
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2013 10:12 am 
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Johnny Dangerous wrote:
I keep repeating the same negative patterns over and over again, I try to chip away at it, but I feel like i've stood still after years of trying. The same neuroses I had when I was 10, I still have them. They trap me in my head and prevent me from being beneficial to others.

What do you do about feeling this way..outside of the usual intellectual answers? I'm wondering, how does one deal with just feeling like a shitty person?

I think you and I are opposite reflections of each other: You have a tendency to hate yourself; I never hated myself, but have always had the tendency to hate others.

The main thing which changed me and made me a bit kinder was becoming a school teacher. It is the a job which forced me to become better at dealing with others and which resulted in me also learning to care about others (since I hate most of my relatives, so I didn't have much practice at this before). Now I have hundreds of cute, little people whom I care about and the feeling is quite amazing! :D

Jobs and other social situations can be very powerful influences, which can be more powerful than meditation for some people (at least in the short term).

So how could this relate to you? Maybe you need to put yourself in a situation in which you are forced to care about yourself and forced to improve yourself a bit. I'm not sure what that would be, though, because I don't know much about you... Maybe join a yoga class which has a friendly, kind atmosphere and focus on being kind to both your body and to your mind? Or get a massage from a very kind person. Just some random ideas... Abusing yourself won't help improve yourself.

And since you're doing Vajrayana, have you done the Vajrasattva part of ngondro yet? Maybe that could help you a lot. That's the point at which I gave up, but, like I said, we are opposites in some ways, so it might be exactly right for you.

And for whatever it's worth, I don't think that you're a bad person. I have enjoyed many of your posts here and your intentions seem to be good. If you want to chat a bit sometime, send me a PM.


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