Autism

Alleviating worldly suffering along the way.
PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Autism

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Mar 30, 2012 9:24 pm

undefineable wrote:What I'm trying to say is that while I and maybe you can see potential problems beyond just the practicalities of daily living arising for people of certain temperaments as a result of autism, the pattern you'll find across the board is that the more an autistic screens himself from the implications of his condition by positive thinking and so on, the more success he allows himself in life, the more he thereby contributes to the good of society, and -in return for the mental discipline I described- THE MORE OTHERS TAKE TO HIM.


Well, that's pretty much true for everybody.

undefineable wrote: Interestingly enough, I've not heard of any autistics, successful or not, trying to minimise the differences between autistics and normals in the way you've been


I think that highlighting the differences, historically, is what lead to things like institutionalization. My son is "normal". He likes to play Nintendo, he wants to be a cook. He likes eating at McDonalds. He enjoys being around other kids his own age. These are all "normal" things. But he also has things that impair his social development and make the things he wants to do, such as ordering a meal for himself at McDonalds (a skill that has taken about 3 years to accomplish, and still not fully) extremely difficult if not impossible.

We could just have let him sit in the corner his whole life and spin things, and I guess if an "autistic" wants to do that, okay. But we are more focused on the "normal" kid inside, who is faced with so many difficult challenges. I think that, sometimes, people with aspergers or something where they might have some sensory issues, may not realize that what is extremely challenging for them may be nearly impossible for somebody else. My son is very smart, but how far would he get in a regular college if he won't go through doors he has never seen before? How many online tests will he pass if he can't bring himself to type the letter "R"? So, even though what causes autism in one person does not result in a disability, the same thing can cause a disability in somebody else.

So, that is probably why we and so many other parents focus on the "normal' part, even though we accept the reality of the 'autistic' part. it is also why so many people reject the concept of separate "autistic" humans.

And again, I do appreciate your insight into this stuff.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.

undefineable
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Re: Autism

Postby undefineable » Fri Mar 30, 2012 9:28 pm

black people living in a world that favors white people don't have to prove to you that they have experiences and interactions specifically conditioned by their skin color. autistic people living in a world that preferences common social behavior do not have to prove to you that they are disadvantaged by that. you are fully entitled to resist that information, but this resistance is your problem, not mine and is something that you have to overcome, not something i am obliged to solve for you.


I missed this off at the end of responding to that post _ _

Did I mention I'm one of them? :rolling: - Clearly, WE autistics ARE disadvantaged as described above. Again, though, non-autistics and those (mercifully few) autistics who've felt compelled to basically £$%^ our own minds with the reality of our condition can hopefully see that a world without 'common' social behaviour would be either no world at all or a Superhuman world in which everyone miraculously functioned perfectly despite having no shared expectations whatsoever.

Also, none of what Daelm wrote failed to line up with my expectations. One of the biggest conclusions to come out of Buddhism, though, seems to be that unenlightened experience itself is always fickle, since karmic conditioning pushes it to privilege some elements of conscious awareness over others - I think that happens way back at the 1'st skandha-?!

As to PadmaVonSamba's question, I'd venture autism manifests as a particular pattern in the aggregates. I can't yet, though, fully explain or even 'feel through' (with Insight) the reason why the aggregates do not constitute a solid entity, and won't venture to verbalise any tentative conclusions I may have reached in the past.

I will be limiting my further 'contribution' to this thread.
"Removing the barrier between this and that is the only solution" {Chogyam Trungpa - "The Lion's Roar"}

undefineable
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Re: Autism

Postby undefineable » Fri Mar 30, 2012 10:01 pm

I think that highlighting the differences, historically, is what lead to things like institutionalization. My son is "normal". He likes to play Nintendo, he wants to be a cook. He likes eating at McDonalds. He enjoys being around other kids his own age. These are all "normal" things.


It seems that autistics themselves have to feel comfortable with the differences and highlight them exclusively. After all, any number of 'normal kids' around them are hardly going to do anything else to them in their formative years!

It seems equally that 'normals' involved in autistic lives owe it to everyone involved to treat them in much the same way as they would normal people behaving normally, with a few necessary adjustments, e.g. redirecting an autistic kid away from 'stimming' just as you'd redirect a normal kid away from dangerous activities. For many people, this will extend to imagining (however incorrect this may or may not be) that they and the autist are alike in some way. I don't know whether or not you could manage the exercise I suggested based on Daelm's writing - of accurately imagining being stripped of all the components of experience as far down as pure light, sound, taste, smell, and touch. But whether you manage to simulate profound autism or not is of little practical consequence, unless you yourself are autistic enough to get obsessional about simulating the experience of autists unrelated to you {Hence 'institutionalisation', perhaps?}

If you are curious, just bear in mind that the interests you describe in your son are likely shorn of much of the social significance that would normally flesh them out - atleast superficially. -Many young people would not admit (atleast) that the taste and texture of food are important to them, that they enjoy hobbies for reasons other than 'getting on' socially, or that they enjoy technical jobs for their own sake; such is the wider autism spectrum _ _ -.

{N.b. Apologies for an edited version of an earlier post appearing at the bottom of the last page - The edit time-window is very tight :shrug: }
"Removing the barrier between this and that is the only solution" {Chogyam Trungpa - "The Lion's Roar"}

PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Autism

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat Mar 31, 2012 12:21 am

undefineable wrote: I suggested based on Daelm's writing - of accurately imagining being stripped of all the components of experience as far down as pure light, sound, taste, smell, and touch.


Well, A long time ago I used to take acid. is it like that?
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.

undefineable
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Re: Autism

Postby undefineable » Sat Mar 31, 2012 2:11 am

Double post
Last edited by undefineable on Sat Mar 31, 2012 2:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Removing the barrier between this and that is the only solution" {Chogyam Trungpa - "The Lion's Roar"}

undefineable
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Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2012 12:34 am

Re: Autism

Postby undefineable » Sat Mar 31, 2012 2:14 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
undefineable wrote: I suggested based on Daelm's writing - of accurately imagining being stripped of all the components of experience as far down as pure light, sound, taste, smell, and touch.


Well, A long time ago I used to take acid. is it like that?


Realise that if I answer 'yes' I will be shouted down by all my fellow autistic Dharmawheel members! However, I've never taken anything beyond a couple of tokes on spliffs, so can't really comment! What I've heard of magic mushrooms sounds nearer the mark, but who can say?

I've often felt my brain used to create its own 'altered states' of consiousness beyond the conventional categories of thoughts, feelings, and sensations - I find I identify with Wordsworth's poem "Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood", the only difference being that my own impressions had a more Pagan than Christian flavour, and that as an atheist I put it all down to the effects of sensory input on my brain. However, this is likely more tied up with my own family history (and by extension probably Wordsworth's) of schizophrenia that I feel privileged to have escaped (I'm beyond the 'danger zone' -for contraction- of the 'teens and 'twenties) than by autism.

I could go on about how sharply-defined, albeit spacious and variable, the autistic state is by comparison, but I realise that any such continental-style commentary is inevitably at least as false as it is true.
"Removing the barrier between this and that is the only solution" {Chogyam Trungpa - "The Lion's Roar"}

AdmiralJim
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Re: Autism

Postby AdmiralJim » Wed Apr 04, 2012 5:56 pm

I don't think Buddhism says anything about autism........the buddha was a spiritual pathologist if you will not a medical one.........
I don't know where we are going but it will be nice when we get there

Drew
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Re: Autism

Postby Drew » Thu Apr 05, 2012 3:26 pm

"autism spectrum" and "Asperger's syndrome"

Do these words define a person? Or, are they themselves conceptions imposed by the rational minds of those who choose to classify others according to phenomena of mind and body?

Remaining present, not past or future, is there benefit to classify our selves? Departing from the present, would we each not find a place along a spectrum, or a niche within a syndrome?

Respond with open heart to the love within each, and you shall be closer to the truth :heart: .

PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Autism

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Thu Apr 05, 2012 8:16 pm

Drew wrote:"autism spectrum" and "Asperger's syndrome"

Do these words define a person? Or, are they themselves conceptions imposed by the rational minds of those who choose to classify others according to phenomena of mind and body?

Remaining present, not past or future, is there benefit to classify our selves? Departing from the present, would we each not find a place along a spectrum, or a niche within a syndrome?

Respond with open heart to the love within each, and you shall be closer to the truth :heart: .


They are clinical terms. How rational the people were who came up with them is anybody's guess.
"spectrum disorder" means that it is a label applied to a wide range of traits which vary both is type and in severity.
My teenage son is has autism. So, people might say he is "on the spectrum".

But to my way of thinking, there is a 'typical" spectrum too, although because it is typical, nobody thinks of it that way. My son likes playing basketball, nintendo, eating junk food and listening to popular music. These are all typical teen behaviors.
My personal feeling is that almost all labels, while conveniently useful for one purpose or another, are ultimately misleading. this includes "race" and nationality, sexual preference, political labels, and even the term "buddhist' sometimes.
And these are all labels that somebody just made up.

The Diamond Sutra is a great thing to read concerning this, even though it is addressing the labels we put on to phenomena which is empty of any inherent (finite) existence.

When we label ourselves, we are trying to define who we are ("de" = of ; "fine" = end) in other words, we are trying to establish what our cut-off point is, what separates us from everything else. So, If i say I am a liberal or conservative, a jock, or a buddhist or white or black or israeli or palestinian or chinese or american or straight or gay or whatever, I create this 'identity' in my mind, this sort of box that my concept of myself is confined to.
That's okay, until i start to actually believe it, and even worse when I go to war over it.

But the dharma teaches us that the mind's real nature is infinite, not finite.
What if, instead of trying to "define" who I am, I try to "infine" who I am instead?
As long as humans are making up labels, we might as well make up some good ones.

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Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.

skittish
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Re: Autism

Postby skittish » Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:58 pm

Angelic Fruitcake wrote:...But when I think of myself as a child, before my oddities began bothering people and people in turn bothered me, I was closer to enlightenment than ever as an adult. I was acutely aware of my experiences and lived in adoration of all things. I would spend hours sitting or walking while simply breathing or dreaming. And for the most part, when I was either alone or in the company of animals, I remember having a strong experience of being one with the world...


One of the nicest, most honest expressions approaching natural mind I've heard in a long while. One need not go through the door of "normal" human experience to connect with natural mind. Lovely.

undefineable
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Re: Autism

Postby undefineable » Mon Apr 16, 2012 4:32 pm

The enlightened state of mind sounds, from what I've heard, unlikely to respect artificial and arbitrary distinctions of "normal" and "abnormal" human experience.

However, the notion of 'natural' mind implied by AngelicFruitcake's doesn't accurately reflect experience that is mediated via autism.

"Adoration of all things" would depend on a consistent perception of "things" in much of their fullness -and emptiness ofcourse- that autism challenges in a different and deeper way than simply belonging to the human realm challenges it, as the rest of this thread has shown. Likewise, a feeling of oneness with the world does not necessarily mean that what one feels to be 'the world' resembles anything external to one's own mind.

An abstract feeling of "adoration", perhaps transmitted by a recognition (in spite of autism) of mother-love would be more likely.
"Removing the barrier between this and that is the only solution" {Chogyam Trungpa - "The Lion's Roar"}

undefineable
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Re: Autism

Postby undefineable » Mon Apr 16, 2012 6:46 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:The Diamond Sutra is a great thing to read concerning this, even though it is addressing the labels we put on to phenomena which is empty of any inherent (finite) existence.

When we label ourselves, we are trying to define who we are ("de" = of ; "fine" = end) in other words, we are trying to establish what our cut-off point is, what separates us from everything else. So, If i say I am a liberal or conservative, a jock, or a buddhist or white or black or israeli or palestinian or chinese or american or straight or gay or whatever, I create this 'identity' in my mind, this sort of box that my concept of myself is confined to.
That's okay, until i start to actually believe it, and even worse when I go to war over it.

But the dharma teaches us that the mind's real nature is infinite, not finite.
What if, instead of trying to "define" who I am, I try to "infine" who I am instead?
As long as humans are making up labels, we might as well make up some good ones.


http://medicinebuddhasangha.org/teachings/arima_3.html wrote:Padmasambhava said our view should be high as the sky, but our actions should be as fine as flour.


-The meaning of 'actions' taken to include, presumably, actions of mind, as usual-

In other words, Buddhism still allows me to be loosely defined, despite my online moniker, given the distinction of 'conventional' and 'ultimate' truth. And, given that many people define themselves, as Daelm explained earlier, as an owner of mental processes rather than just the mental processes themselves, our conventional identity can be a whole lot more limiting than we'd like to think it is.

The main pitfall of teachings such as 'infinite mind' is that when we hear them, we put another limitation on our minds and imagine we're really some super-being like James Bond or Arnie.

But in terms of dharma, our minds are obviously not infinite in practice until we are enlightened - How we are in life flows along the furrows dug by past karma, and a new situation can only be established drop by drop.
Last edited by undefineable on Mon Apr 16, 2012 7:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Removing the barrier between this and that is the only solution" {Chogyam Trungpa - "The Lion's Roar"}

undefineable
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Re: Autism

Postby undefineable » Mon Apr 16, 2012 6:54 pm

AdmiralJim wrote:I don't think Buddhism says anything about autism........the buddha was a spiritual pathologist if you will not a medical one.........


The medical is spiritual, sister :lol:
"Removing the barrier between this and that is the only solution" {Chogyam Trungpa - "The Lion's Roar"}

skittish
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Joined: Sun Apr 08, 2012 5:58 am

Re: Autism

Postby skittish » Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:35 pm

undefineable wrote:The enlightened state of mind sounds, from what I've heard, unlikely to respect artificial and arbitrary distinctions of "normal" and "abnormal" human experience.

Sure.

undefineable wrote:However, the notion of 'natural' mind implied by AngelicFruitcake's doesn't accurately reflect experience that is mediated via autism.

Yeah, that's why I wrote "approaching natural mind." There's clear loving-kindness toward herself in there though, and recognition is half the battle.

PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Autism

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:15 am

undefineable wrote:
But in terms of dharma, our minds are obviously not infinite in practice until we are enlightened - How we are in life flows along the furrows dug by past karma, and a new situation can only be established drop by drop.


Our experience of mind on a daily basis is not infinite. I can't just instantly conjure up an entire encyclopedia, although there are people with autism who have very remarkable memories and memory processes.

It is the true nature of mind which is infinite. It has the potential for full realization, for enlightenment.
You could say it is like a telescope which is not focused, and you have to adjust it until the image is clear and then you can see things millions of miles away. But that is because the potential for that to happen is there. That is what the meaning is to the expression that the nature of mind is infinite.

But, my understanding is that realization only relates to brain function insofar as the activity of the brain is part of the process for realization. So, a person with autism who may exhibit seemingly infinite awareness of some things (and this is not unusual) this does not mean that part of the brain is enlightened.

I wish it did mean that and that somehow autism was linked to enlightenment.
If that were the case, I would be very happy.
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Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.

undefineable
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Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2012 12:34 am

Re: Autism

Postby undefineable » Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:42 pm

skittish wrote:There's clear loving-kindness toward herself in there though, and recognition is half the battle.


What is it with auties and apparent self-maitri? Maybe when life's tough, a being naturally builds up its inner resources, a mix of self-maitri and self-cherishing being among them.

PadmaVonSamba wrote:You could say it is like a telescope which is not focused, and you have to adjust it until the image is clear and then you can see things millions of miles away. But that is because the potential for that to happen is there. That is what the meaning is to the expression that the nature of mind is infinite.


:bow: I'm sure this would have become a traditional image if telescopes had been around for longer!

PadmaVonSamba wrote:But, my understanding is that realization only relates to brain function insofar as the activity of the brain is part of the process for realization. So, a person with autism who may exhibit seemingly infinite awareness of some things (and this is not unusual) this does not mean that part of the brain is enlightened.


Any brain studies of such autists will show different patterns (in terms of both structure and activity) during their contemplation of the things about which they've gathered 'seemingly infinite awareness' to those distinct patterns already observed in the brains of meditators - We don't need to resort to philosophical dualism or idealism. The idea that something like enlightenment could be 'partial' (rather than a gradual overall process) sounds rich in comedy potential :rolling:

PadmaVonSamba wrote:I wish it did mean that and that somehow autism was linked to enlightenment.
If that were the case, I would be very happy.


We wish that all sentient beings were enlightened. :anjali:
"Removing the barrier between this and that is the only solution" {Chogyam Trungpa - "The Lion's Roar"}

ClearblueSky
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Re: Autism

Postby ClearblueSky » Mon May 07, 2012 8:15 pm

Though Autism itself isn't addressed in Buddhism, I think it is very possible to incorporate your spiritual beliefs in the caring for and dealing with it (which by no means means you should ignore Western/modern help entirely). There is actually a really interesting and touching documentary that deals with the karmic and spiritual side of autism with a mongolian shaman tradition, I highly suggest you check it out. "The Horse Boy" it's called.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1333668/

tracefleeman
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Re: Autism

Postby tracefleeman » Sat May 12, 2012 9:59 pm

As a man with Aspregers syndrome, I usually don't identify myself as Autistic. When you think "Autism", you don't usually get positive thoughts. When in actuality, most people with autism are very bright and high-functioning. Famous people with autism include Thomas Jefferson, HP Lovecraft (one of my favorite authors) and Albert Einstein...Speaking of which:
Buddhism has the characteristics of what would be expected in a cosmic religion for the future: It transcends a personal God, avoids dogmas and theology; it covers both the natural and spritual; and it is based on a religious sense aspiring from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual, as a meaningful unity. -Albert Einstein

If there is any religion that would cope with modern scientific needs it would be Buddhism. -Albert Einstein


Namo Yaoshifu!

PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Autism

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sun May 13, 2012 12:36 am

tracefleeman wrote: Famous people with autism include Thomas Jefferson, HP Lovecraft (one of my favorite authors) and Albert Einstein


I don't know whay you would think any of those people had autism. If they did have some atypical brain patterns, they certainly weren't disabilities. Autism was not even a diagnosis in Jefferson's time. If every person who is smart and eccentric has autism, then sign me up.
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Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.

justsit
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Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2009 8:24 pm

Re: Autism

Postby justsit » Sun May 13, 2012 2:06 am

New American Psychiatric Association DSM V criteria proposal will eliminate the diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome and include it within the Autism Spectrum Disorders. More here.


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