How do you render negative thoughts unharmful?

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Kili
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How do you render negative thoughts unharmful?

Post by Kili »

How do you respond to negative images that may pop into your mind , say, close to the time of dying? How do you meet them so as to not be affected by them in your next life?
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: How do you render negative thoughts unharmful?

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

The only difference between negative thoughts at the time of dying and negative thoughts at any other time is that at the time of dying, you know death is coming soon, and during the other times you don’t know when death will come, even though it could still be that very same day, or even less than an hour from now.
So, one needs to always be mindful of negative thoughts.
The 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva and The Seven Points of Mind Training both provide methods for addressing negative thoughts as they arise.
EMPTIFUL.
An inward outlook develops outward insight.
Kili
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Re: How do you render negative thoughts unharmful?

Post by Kili »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Tue Jan 05, 2021 4:08 am The only difference between negative thoughts at the time of dying and negative thoughts at any other time is that at the time of dying, you know death is coming soon, and during the other times you don’t know when death will come, even though it could still be that very same day, or even less than an hour from now.
So, one needs to always be mindful of negative thoughts.
The 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva and The Seven Points of Mind Training both provide methods for addressing negative thoughts as they arise.

Thank you! Would you mind telling me about your favourite method to address , say, a memory from a violent movie you once saw, so that it doesn't affect you?
Soma999
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Re: How do you render negative thoughts unharmful?

Post by Soma999 »

Breath. When something bring fear, tension, we tend to stop breathing. Keep breathing. Let what scare or annoy you flow through you. Once you stop controlling it, resisting it, it will go.

If a thought never leave after some time, there is great chance you are fighting against it.
cjdevries
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Re: How do you render negative thoughts unharmful?

Post by cjdevries »

Having a regular mindfulness practice is very helpful for training the mind. Also, having a "deathing" practice can be useful.

In Reshad Feild's book "Here to Heal", he describes several mind training exercises designed to rejuvenate and calm the mind. He calls them "rejuvenation exercises" I found his penny exercise on pg 113 particularly useful. I do it almost every day as a practice and have found increased mental calmness that extends to other activities throughout the day.

In Anya Foos Graber's book "Deathing" there is a training program provided that teaches one to utilize Vibration (Chanting Aum), Relaxation, Sensing, Breathing, and other methods to bring your awareness to what you are experiencing and to train your mind to be more prepared for death. Doing these types of practices regularly does not mean we are free from negative thoughts, but I have found that these practices lessen my thinking because I am too focused on doing the exercises and creating a calm space in which to do them. For example, when I do the penny exercise that I mentioned above, I am in a much more calm state afterward and feel pretty relaxed about everything in my life. I would imagine if we can extend that feeling to [at or neath the time of death] then we have the chance to reap the same benefits.
"Please call me by my true names so I can wake up; so the door of my heart can be left open: the door of compassion." -Thich Nhat Hanh

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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: How do you render negative thoughts unharmful?

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Kili wrote: Tue Jan 05, 2021 1:24 pm
PadmaVonSamba wrote: Tue Jan 05, 2021 4:08 am The only difference between negative thoughts at the time of dying and negative thoughts at any other time is that at the time of dying, you know death is coming soon, and during the other times you don’t know when death will come, even though it could still be that very same day, or even less than an hour from now.
So, one needs to always be mindful of negative thoughts.
The 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva and The Seven Points of Mind Training both provide methods for addressing negative thoughts as they arise.

Thank you! Would you mind telling me about your favourite method to address , say, a memory from a violent movie you once saw, so that it doesn't affect you?
In the case of a movie or something like that which is fictional or fake to begin with, look at “behind the scenes” stuff, or read up on special effects. Of course, some movies recreate actual events. But the movie itself, you can look at the editing and study it the way a film student does. For example, the brief ‘shower scene’ in the original Hitchcock film, “Psycho” contains 64 separate shots edited together. And, how did they get a shot of water spraying towards the camera, without droplets actually getting on the lens? When you look at things this way, it’s like the Buddha (or perhaps Shantideva) referring to knowing how a magician performs tricks. Once you know, the effect isn’t so captivating any more.

In the case of actual life trauma, that’s really difficult because it makes a real dent... not just an imprint, but a dent in the subconscious mind that is difficult to smooth out again and can alter your future experiences just as losing teeth changes forever the way you chew food.
There are many approaches, depending on the trauma of course. Some things can be released through forgiveness. Some things need therapy.
The Buddhist approach is, I think, that ultimately you have to see your mind as the vast open sky and regard past events as like clouds that have come and gone, and that have no more reality to them beyond whatever reality you grant them. The question of course, is how do you stop giving thoughts so much “reality”? That’s where meditation practice comes in.

Meditation (Shamatha, or ‘calm abiding’ meditation) is really useful here when practiced regularly and consistently, because in that practice, all sorts of thoughts bubble up from the depths of the mind, and you just let them evaporate without indulging in them, and you return to your object of focus (your in an out breath, usually).
EMPTIFUL.
An inward outlook develops outward insight.
karmanyingpo
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Re: How do you render negative thoughts unharmful?

Post by karmanyingpo »

Kili wrote: Mon Jan 04, 2021 8:33 pm How do you respond to negative images that may pop into your mind , say, close to the time of dying? How do you meet them so as to not be affected by them in your next life?
Might I suggest teachers such as James Low and Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche? They teach ways to relate with the content of mind in a way that ultimately leaves no karmic trace... However depending on your own background and tendencies it may take training to successfully implement their teachings fully. Even so, it may be beneficial to connect even if you only get partway there?

KN
Kili
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Re: How do you render negative thoughts unharmful?

Post by Kili »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Tue Jan 05, 2021 6:59 pm
Kili wrote: Tue Jan 05, 2021 1:24 pm
PadmaVonSamba wrote: Tue Jan 05, 2021 4:08 am The only difference between negative thoughts at the time of dying and negative thoughts at any other time is that at the time of dying, you know death is coming soon, and during the other times you don’t know when death will come, even though it could still be that very same day, or even less than an hour from now.
So, one needs to always be mindful of negative thoughts.
The 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva and The Seven Points of Mind Training both provide methods for addressing negative thoughts as they arise.

Thank you! Would you mind telling me about your favourite method to address , say, a memory from a violent movie you once saw, so that it doesn't affect you?
In the case of a movie or something like that which is fictional or fake to begin with, look at “behind the scenes” stuff, or read up on special effects. Of course, some movies recreate actual events. But the movie itself, you can look at the editing and study it the way a film student does. For example, the brief ‘shower scene’ in the original Hitchcock film, “Psycho” contains 64 separate shots edited together. And, how did they get a shot of water spraying towards the camera, without droplets actually getting on the lens? When you look at things this way, it’s like the Buddha (or perhaps Shantideva) referring to knowing how a magician performs tricks. Once you know, the effect isn’t so captivating any more.

In the case of actual life trauma, that’s really difficult because it makes a real dent... not just an imprint, but a dent in the subconscious mind that is difficult to smooth out again and can alter your future experiences just as losing teeth changes forever the way you chew food.
There are many approaches, depending on the trauma of course. Some things can be released through forgiveness. Some things need therapy.
The Buddhist approach is, I think, that ultimately you have to see your mind as the vast open sky and regard past events as like clouds that have come and gone, and that have no more reality to them beyond whatever reality you grant them. The question of course, is how do you stop giving thoughts so much “reality”? That’s where meditation practice comes in.

Meditation (Shamatha, or ‘calm abiding’ meditation) is really useful here when practiced regularly and consistently, because in that practice, all sorts of thoughts bubble up from the depths of the mind, and you just let them evaporate without indulging in them, and you return to your object of focus (your in an out breath, usually).
Yes, I have intrusive thoughts of the worst kind due to OCD. And they often don't pass like clouds but stay put.As for not giving images so much reality I was wondering how to deal with that.. If they don't move on, I get panic that they might affect me
Kili
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Re: How do you render negative thoughts unharmful?

Post by Kili »

karmanyingpo wrote: Wed Jan 06, 2021 4:01 am
Kili wrote: Mon Jan 04, 2021 8:33 pm How do you respond to negative images that may pop into your mind , say, close to the time of dying? How do you meet them so as to not be affected by them in your next life?
Might I suggest teachers such as James Low and Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche? They teach ways to relate with the content of mind in a way that ultimately leaves no karmic trace... However depending on your own background and tendencies it may take training to successfully implement their teachings fully. Even so, it may be beneficial to connect even if you only get partway there?

KN
Thanks! Do you have a particular practice in mind or a book chapter?
Kili
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Re: How do you render negative thoughts unharmful?

Post by Kili »

Soma999 wrote: Tue Jan 05, 2021 3:59 pm Breath. When something bring fear, tension, we tend to stop breathing. Keep breathing. Let what scare or annoy you flow through you. Once you stop controlling it, resisting it, it will go.

If a thought never leave after some time, there is great chance you are fighting against it.
Thank you! I appreciate it!
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Re: How do you render negative thoughts unharmful?

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

Kili wrote: Wed Jan 06, 2021 8:38 pm
PadmaVonSamba wrote: Tue Jan 05, 2021 6:59 pm
Kili wrote: Tue Jan 05, 2021 1:24 pm


Thank you! Would you mind telling me about your favourite method to address , say, a memory from a violent movie you once saw, so that it doesn't affect you?
In the case of a movie or something like that which is fictional or fake to begin with, look at “behind the scenes” stuff, or read up on special effects. Of course, some movies recreate actual events. But the movie itself, you can look at the editing and study it the way a film student does. For example, the brief ‘shower scene’ in the original Hitchcock film, “Psycho” contains 64 separate shots edited together. And, how did they get a shot of water spraying towards the camera, without droplets actually getting on the lens? When you look at things this way, it’s like the Buddha (or perhaps Shantideva) referring to knowing how a magician performs tricks. Once you know, the effect isn’t so captivating any more.

In the case of actual life trauma, that’s really difficult because it makes a real dent... not just an imprint, but a dent in the subconscious mind that is difficult to smooth out again and can alter your future experiences just as losing teeth changes forever the way you chew food.
There are many approaches, depending on the trauma of course. Some things can be released through forgiveness. Some things need therapy.
The Buddhist approach is, I think, that ultimately you have to see your mind as the vast open sky and regard past events as like clouds that have come and gone, and that have no more reality to them beyond whatever reality you grant them. The question of course, is how do you stop giving thoughts so much “reality”? That’s where meditation practice comes in.

Meditation (Shamatha, or ‘calm abiding’ meditation) is really useful here when practiced regularly and consistently, because in that practice, all sorts of thoughts bubble up from the depths of the mind, and you just let them evaporate without indulging in them, and you return to your object of focus (your in an out breath, usually).
Yes, I have intrusive thoughts of the worst kind due to OCD. And they often don't pass like clouds but stay put.As for not giving images so much reality I was wondering how to deal with that.. If they don't move on, I get panic that they might affect me
This crosses the line from Dharmic advice to advice on clinical issues like OCD. So I'll give a brief blurb based on my own experiences, I am in school for psychology but am only a substance abuse counselor, so this is my personal stuff, not meant as professional advice, just my opinion as someone with a small sliver of education and a lifetime of dealing with anxiety and OCD.

First, OCD thoughts are not volitional, in the sense that we are not overtly "choosing" to perpetuate them, they operate at a level that is fairly inaccessible to us for the most part, though I have had some success with being able to see them coming early through years of meditation. The energy that creates these thoughts is deep, that is the only conclusion I have for now.

Thoughts that "get stuck" do so because of our attachment or aversion to them, not usually due to our ideas about the content itself. For instance, some people have recurrent violent images but no desire at all to violence, etc. In fact, for many people these thoughts are "sticky" precisely because they are so objectionable...they are sticky due to aversion more than attachment. So, fearing and avoiding thoughts and emotions is a good way to get them to grow and continue.

This is called the paradox of thought suppression..again accords well Buddhism:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog ... ssion-work


http://www.brainblogger.com/2009/12/09/ ... ppression/


My own perspective is that OCD thoughts are some sort of Karmic fruit, we can simply let them be of their own accord and dissolve (and believe me, I understand how tough this is personally), and unless we have a volitional relationship to them, we do not create new Karma from them. Again that is my personal perspective, but I have never heard a good explanation on them from any Buddhist teacher, so caveat emptor.

Beyond the general Dharma advice of learning to let thoughts be and dissolve, as well as related meditative practices.. I would recommend you seek out a therapist that can help you with the intrusive thoughts and panic, there are plenty who use Buddhist methods, and some who are Buddhist themselves. I will give you the website of someone who I found helpful in my own struggles with this:

https://drmartinseif.com/

In particular you might read the parts on intrusive thought and anxious thinking, they helped me a lot. Completely non-Buddhist, just Western therapy, but quite compatible.

Again, this is not professional advice, rather advice to find a professional if needed. Luckily, most therapists involved in this sort of treatment today use methods that are completely compatible with Buddhism, though this was not always the case.

In short, most Dharma teachers do not specialize in this, you need a specialist. As far as Dharma stuff for anxiety though, Tenzin Wangyal and Mingyur Rinpoche are great starts, In my opinion. They both have Youtube videos on the subject I believe.

If it's a real problem though, seriously, do your best to get real help, if it's volatile enough to significantly affect your life, you need a specialist.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: How do you render negative thoughts unharmful?

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Kili wrote: Wed Jan 06, 2021 8:38 pm
PadmaVonSamba wrote: Tue Jan 05, 2021 6:59 pm
Kili wrote: Tue Jan 05, 2021 1:24 pm


Thank you! Would you mind telling me about your favourite method to address , say, a memory from a violent movie you once saw, so that it doesn't affect you?
In the case of a movie or something like that which is fictional or fake to begin with, look at “behind the scenes” stuff, or read up on special effects. Of course, some movies recreate actual events. But the movie itself, you can look at the editing and study it the way a film student does. For example, the brief ‘shower scene’ in the original Hitchcock film, “Psycho” contains 64 separate shots edited together. And, how did they get a shot of water spraying towards the camera, without droplets actually getting on the lens? When you look at things this way, it’s like the Buddha (or perhaps Shantideva) referring to knowing how a magician performs tricks. Once you know, the effect isn’t so captivating any more.

In the case of actual life trauma, that’s really difficult because it makes a real dent... not just an imprint, but a dent in the subconscious mind that is difficult to smooth out again and can alter your future experiences just as losing teeth changes forever the way you chew food.
There are many approaches, depending on the trauma of course. Some things can be released through forgiveness. Some things need therapy.
The Buddhist approach is, I think, that ultimately you have to see your mind as the vast open sky and regard past events as like clouds that have come and gone, and that have no more reality to them beyond whatever reality you grant them. The question of course, is how do you stop giving thoughts so much “reality”? That’s where meditation practice comes in.

Meditation (Shamatha, or ‘calm abiding’ meditation) is really useful here when practiced regularly and consistently, because in that practice, all sorts of thoughts bubble up from the depths of the mind, and you just let them evaporate without indulging in them, and you return to your object of focus (your in an out breath, usually).
Yes, I have intrusive thoughts of the worst kind due to OCD. And they often don't pass like clouds but stay put.As for not giving images so much reality I was wondering how to deal with that.. If they don't move on, I get panic that they might affect me
Let me ask...
In a sense, you have a kind of panic experience. Or s as by experience. Any way you want to describe it.
But then, do you also have a separate awareness of that experience? What I mean is, while the experience is happening, is there another mind that is observing that, which says, “I am having this experience” ?
EMPTIFUL.
An inward outlook develops outward insight.
karmanyingpo
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Re: How do you render negative thoughts unharmful?

Post by karmanyingpo »

Kili wrote: Wed Jan 06, 2021 8:39 pm
karmanyingpo wrote: Wed Jan 06, 2021 4:01 am
Kili wrote: Mon Jan 04, 2021 8:33 pm How do you respond to negative images that may pop into your mind , say, close to the time of dying? How do you meet them so as to not be affected by them in your next life?
Might I suggest teachers such as James Low and Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche? They teach ways to relate with the content of mind in a way that ultimately leaves no karmic trace... However depending on your own background and tendencies it may take training to successfully implement their teachings fully. Even so, it may be beneficial to connect even if you only get partway there?

KN
Thanks! Do you have a particular practice in mind or a book chapter?
I actually recommend attending their live teachings and only checking out books after doing so. Both offer online teachings regularly. For example there was a retreat fully on Zoom by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche last year.
Reading too much about their type of teachings before actually receiving the teachings from them live can (or not depending on your tendencies and background) present obstacles.
James Low offers talks on a fairly regular basis and they are free. Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, some of his teachings are free (shorter talks and such) but others (usually longer retreats) are paid but the amount can be adjusted to your needs and situation

KN
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Re: How do you render negative thoughts unharmful?

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karmanyingpo wrote: Thu Jan 07, 2021 1:52 am
Kili wrote: Wed Jan 06, 2021 8:39 pm
karmanyingpo wrote: Wed Jan 06, 2021 4:01 am

Might I suggest teachers such as James Low and Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche? They teach ways to relate with the content of mind in a way that ultimately leaves no karmic trace... However depending on your own background and tendencies it may take training to successfully implement their teachings fully. Even so, it may be beneficial to connect even if you only get partway there?

KN
Thanks! Do you have a particular practice in mind or a book chapter?
I actually recommend attending their live teachings and only checking out books after doing so. Both offer online teachings regularly. For example there was a retreat fully on Zoom by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche last year.
Reading too much about their type of teachings before actually receiving the teachings from them live can (or not depending on your tendencies and background) present obstacles.
James Low offers talks on a fairly regular basis and they are free. Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, some of his teachings are free (shorter talks and such) but others (usually longer retreats) are paid but the amount can be adjusted to your needs and situation

KN
Man, I really wanna take some teachings from James Low. I had no idea he was jut doing Zoom sessions.

Anyway, on the OP: A TWR book to check out is Awakening The Luminous mind. There are guided meditations that go a long with it. I actually have used these clinically with people surrounding triggers for substance use, and I think they are just generally very healing methods of meditation, as well as having a very profound and deeper level wrt to the path.

The crib notes version is "three precious pills":

One thing I like about TWR's presentation is that it can start simply by wanting to improve one's daily life, something that I think sometimes Buddhists poopoo too much. Being able to deal with negative emotions and thoughts is very important.

Reggie Ray also teaches some practices that I think are very therapeutic, though there I'd give the caveat that his presentation is not for everyone and he is controversial in some quarters.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low
karmanyingpo
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Re: How do you render negative thoughts unharmful?

Post by karmanyingpo »

Johnny Dangerous wrote: Thu Jan 07, 2021 2:03 am
karmanyingpo wrote: Thu Jan 07, 2021 1:52 am
Kili wrote: Wed Jan 06, 2021 8:39 pm

Thanks! Do you have a particular practice in mind or a book chapter?
I actually recommend attending their live teachings and only checking out books after doing so. Both offer online teachings regularly. For example there was a retreat fully on Zoom by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche last year.
Reading too much about their type of teachings before actually receiving the teachings from them live can (or not depending on your tendencies and background) present obstacles.
James Low offers talks on a fairly regular basis and they are free. Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, some of his teachings are free (shorter talks and such) but others (usually longer retreats) are paid but the amount can be adjusted to your needs and situation

KN
Man, I really wanna take some teachings from James Low. Can you let me know via PM next time he has something coming up? I am not even sure where to to look.

Anyway, on the OP: A TWR book to check out is Awakening The Luminous mind. There are guided meditations that go a long with it. I actually have used these clinically with people surrounding triggers for substance use, and I think they are just generally very healing methods of meditation, as well as having a very profound and deeper level wrt to the path.

The crib notes version is "three precious pills":

One thing I like about TWR's presentation is that it can start simply by wanting to improve one's daily life, something that I think sometimes Buddhists poopoo too much. Being able to deal with negative emotions and thoughts is very important.

Reggie Ray also teaches some practices that I think are very therapeutic, though there I'd give the caveat that his presentation is not for everyone and he is controversial in some quarters.
You are right on what you said about TWR. 3 Pills - great

He also teaches from texts such as 7 Mirrors of Dzogchen and 6 Lamps which are traditional Bonpo dzogchen texts. What can I say... emaho

James Low is a very impressive teacher. Down to earth, accessible yet he sticks to the source at least as far as I can tell.
Hmmm. Have you checked his SimplyBeing Sangha website? I was taught on the 3 Pts of Garab Dorje by him. Loved it. Too bad I spent so much time writing notes HAHA maybe I should have just not taken any

Thx for adding on ... Hope our friend here can benefit from these amazing teachers

KN
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Re: How do you render negative thoughts unharmful?

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

karmanyingpo wrote: Thu Jan 07, 2021 2:20 am
You are right on what you said about TWR. 3 Pills - great

He also teaches from texts such as 7 Mirrors of Dzogchen and 6 Lamps which are traditional Bonpo dzogchen texts. What can I say... emaho
Yeah I've done a few short retreats with TWR in "the before times". The thing I was stressing is that he goes out of his way to say that improving one's daily life and mental state -and- pursuing the larger goals of the path are not exclusive, and are both necessary. I mention it because it's something you see Buddhists (and I assume Bonpos) do often with "high teachings"...assume that anything aimed at well being in daily life must just be some kind of distraction.
James Low is a very impressive teacher. Down to earth, accessible yet he sticks to the source at least as far as I can tell.
Hmmm. Have you checked his SimplyBeing Sangha website? I was taught on the 3 Pts of Garab Dorje by him. Loved it. Too bad I spent so much time writing notes HAHA maybe I should have just not taken any

Thx for adding on ... Hope our friend here can benefit from these amazing teachers

KN
Yeah i checked his site, awesome, I will definitely be watching the upcoming Q&A session.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low
karmanyingpo
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Re: How do you render negative thoughts unharmful?

Post by karmanyingpo »

Johnny Dangerous wrote: Thu Jan 07, 2021 2:38 am
karmanyingpo wrote: Thu Jan 07, 2021 2:20 am
You are right on what you said about TWR. 3 Pills - great

He also teaches from texts such as 7 Mirrors of Dzogchen and 6 Lamps which are traditional Bonpo dzogchen texts. What can I say... emaho
Yeah I've done a few short retreats with TWR in "the before times". The thing I was stressing is that he goes out of his way to say that improving one's daily life and mental state -and- pursuing the larger goals of the path are not exclusive, and are both necessary. I mention it because it's something you see Buddhists (and I assume Bonpos) do often with "high teachings"...assume that anything aimed at well being in daily life must just be some kind of distraction.
James Low is a very impressive teacher. Down to earth, accessible yet he sticks to the source at least as far as I can tell.
Hmmm. Have you checked his SimplyBeing Sangha website? I was taught on the 3 Pts of Garab Dorje by him. Loved it. Too bad I spent so much time writing notes HAHA maybe I should have just not taken any

Thx for adding on ... Hope our friend here can benefit from these amazing teachers

KN
Yeah i checked his site, awesome, I will definitely be watching the upcoming Q&A session.
That is actually why TWR has been so influential on me. He has showed me how to integrate practice with every moment. Because when you do something like the 3 pills you can practice anytime anywhere. So I agree!

Yes great idea. James wrote to me once in an email "i do my best to provide pointing out when ever i teach"!!!

KN
Kili
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Re: How do you render negative thoughts unharmful?

Post by Kili »

Johnny Dangerous wrote: Wed Jan 06, 2021 11:48 pm
Kili wrote: Wed Jan 06, 2021 8:38 pm
PadmaVonSamba wrote: Tue Jan 05, 2021 6:59 pm

In the case of a movie or something like that which is fictional or fake to begin with, look at “behind the scenes” stuff, or read up on special effects. Of course, some movies recreate actual events. But the movie itself, you can look at the editing and study it the way a film student does. For example, the brief ‘shower scene’ in the original Hitchcock film, “Psycho” contains 64 separate shots edited together. And, how did they get a shot of water spraying towards the camera, without droplets actually getting on the lens? When you look at things this way, it’s like the Buddha (or perhaps Shantideva) referring to knowing how a magician performs tricks. Once you know, the effect isn’t so captivating any more.

In the case of actual life trauma, that’s really difficult because it makes a real dent... not just an imprint, but a dent in the subconscious mind that is difficult to smooth out again and can alter your future experiences just as losing teeth changes forever the way you chew food.
There are many approaches, depending on the trauma of course. Some things can be released through forgiveness. Some things need therapy.
The Buddhist approach is, I think, that ultimately you have to see your mind as the vast open sky and regard past events as like clouds that have come and gone, and that have no more reality to them beyond whatever reality you grant them. The question of course, is how do you stop giving thoughts so much “reality”? That’s where meditation practice comes in.

Meditation (Shamatha, or ‘calm abiding’ meditation) is really useful here when practiced regularly and consistently, because in that practice, all sorts of thoughts bubble up from the depths of the mind, and you just let them evaporate without indulging in them, and you return to your object of focus (your in an out breath, usually).
Yes, I have intrusive thoughts of the worst kind due to OCD. And they often don't pass like clouds but stay put.As for not giving images so much reality I was wondering how to deal with that.. If they don't move on, I get panic that they might affect me
This crosses the line from Dharmic advice to advice on clinical issues like OCD. So I'll give a brief blurb based on my own experiences, I am in school for psychology but am only a substance abuse counselor, so this is my personal stuff, not meant as professional advice, just my opinion as someone with a small sliver of education and a lifetime of dealing with anxiety and OCD.

First, OCD thoughts are not volitional, in the sense that we are not overtly "choosing" to perpetuate them, they operate at a level that is fairly inaccessible to us for the most part, though I have had some success with being able to see them coming early through years of meditation. The energy that creates these thoughts is deep, that is the only conclusion I have for now.

Thoughts that "get stuck" do so because of our attachment or aversion to them, not usually due to our ideas about the content itself. For instance, some people have recurrent violent images but no desire at all to violence, etc. In fact, for many people these thoughts are "sticky" precisely because they are so objectionable...they are sticky due to aversion more than attachment. So, fearing and avoiding thoughts and emotions is a good way to get them to grow and continue.

This is called the paradox of thought suppression..again accords well Buddhism:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog ... ssion-work


http://www.brainblogger.com/2009/12/09/ ... ppression/


My own perspective is that OCD thoughts are some sort of Karmic fruit, we can simply let them be of their own accord and dissolve (and believe me, I understand how tough this is personally), and unless we have a volitional relationship to them, we do not create new Karma from them. Again that is my personal perspective, but I have never heard a good explanation on them from any Buddhist teacher, so caveat emptor.

Beyond the general Dharma advice of learning to let thoughts be and dissolve, as well as related meditative practices.. I would recommend you seek out a therapist that can help you with the intrusive thoughts and panic, there are plenty who use Buddhist methods, and some who are Buddhist themselves. I will give you the website of someone who I found helpful in my own struggles with this:

https://drmartinseif.com/

In particular you might read the parts on intrusive thought and anxious thinking, they helped me a lot. Completely non-Buddhist, just Western therapy, but quite compatible.

Again, this is not professional advice, rather advice to find a professional if needed. Luckily, most therapists involved in this sort of treatment today use methods that are completely compatible with Buddhism, though this was not always the case.

In short, most Dharma teachers do not specialize in this, you need a specialist. As far as Dharma stuff for anxiety though, Tenzin Wangyal and Mingyur Rinpoche are great starts, In my opinion. They both have Youtube videos on the subject I believe.

If it's a real problem though, seriously, do your best to get real help, if it's volatile enough to significantly affect your life, you need a specialist.
Your statement on thoughts we don't have a volitional relationship to not creating kharma made me sigh in relief. I found it so paradoxical that buddhism teaches to laugh at thoughts and how pompously they act, and then on the other hand makes people paranoid in terror of thoughts producing bad kharma and afterlife. This would be terrible news for all people with OCD, terrible terrible news. But your caveat reconciles some of the seeming paradoxes. I would like to learn more about this. Thank you also for the many suggestions. I was just about to check out Mingyur Rinpoche.! 7
Kili
Posts: 39
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2021 12:22 pm

Re: How do you render negative thoughts unharmful?

Post by Kili »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Thu Jan 07, 2021 12:15 am
Kili wrote: Wed Jan 06, 2021 8:38 pm
PadmaVonSamba wrote: Tue Jan 05, 2021 6:59 pm

In the case of a movie or something like that which is fictional or fake to begin with, look at “behind the scenes” stuff, or read up on special effects. Of course, some movies recreate actual events. But the movie itself, you can look at the editing and study it the way a film student does. For example, the brief ‘shower scene’ in the original Hitchcock film, “Psycho” contains 64 separate shots edited together. And, how did they get a shot of water spraying towards the camera, without droplets actually getting on the lens? When you look at things this way, it’s like the Buddha (or perhaps Shantideva) referring to knowing how a magician performs tricks. Once you know, the effect isn’t so captivating any more.

In the case of actual life trauma, that’s really difficult because it makes a real dent... not just an imprint, but a dent in the subconscious mind that is difficult to smooth out again and can alter your future experiences just as losing teeth changes forever the way you chew food.
There are many approaches, depending on the trauma of course. Some things can be released through forgiveness. Some things need therapy.
The Buddhist approach is, I think, that ultimately you have to see your mind as the vast open sky and regard past events as like clouds that have come and gone, and that have no more reality to them beyond whatever reality you grant them. The question of course, is how do you stop giving thoughts so much “reality”? That’s where meditation practice comes in.

Meditation (Shamatha, or ‘calm abiding’ meditation) is really useful here when practiced regularly and consistently, because in that practice, all sorts of thoughts bubble up from the depths of the mind, and you just let them evaporate without indulging in them, and you return to your object of focus (your in an out breath, usually).
Yes, I have intrusive thoughts of the worst kind due to OCD. And they often don't pass like clouds but stay put.As for not giving images so much reality I was wondering how to deal with that.. If they don't move on, I get panic that they might affect me
Let me ask...
In a sense, you have a kind of panic experience. Or s as by experience. Any way you want to describe it.
But then, do you also have a separate awareness of that experience? What I mean is, while the experience is happening, is there another mind that is observing that, which says, “I am having this experience” ?
I used to have that but at some point this awareness was lost. Maybe because I gave up regular meditation practice.
Kili
Posts: 39
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2021 12:22 pm

Re: How do you render negative thoughts unharmful?

Post by Kili »

karmanyingpo wrote: Thu Jan 07, 2021 1:52 am
Kili wrote: Wed Jan 06, 2021 8:39 pm
karmanyingpo wrote: Wed Jan 06, 2021 4:01 am

Might I suggest teachers such as James Low and Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche? They teach ways to relate with the content of mind in a way that ultimately leaves no karmic trace... However depending on your own background and tendencies it may take training to successfully implement their teachings fully. Even so, it may be beneficial to connect even if you only get partway there?

KN
Thanks! Do you have a particular practice in mind or a book chapter?
I actually recommend attending their live teachings and only checking out books after doing so. Both offer online teachings regularly. For example there was a retreat fully on Zoom by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche last year.
Reading too much about their type of teachings before actually receiving the teachings from them live can (or not depending on your tendencies and background) present obstacles.
James Low offers talks on a fairly regular basis and they are free. Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, some of his teachings are free (shorter talks and such) but others (usually longer retreats) are paid but the amount can be adjusted to your needs and situation

KN
Thank you! I am going to check out both of those :)
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