Mindfulness... looking for a way out

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oak tree
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Re: Mindfulness... looking for a way out

Post by oak tree » Fri Jun 14, 2013 2:29 pm

Have you ever observed the gaps between the thoughts.
For me, this was far more effective than observing the thoughts.
My practice was to let thoughts be exactly as they are and simply notice the spaces between them.
In the beginning there were few spaces and they only lasted a second or so but over time they grew more frequent and lasted longer. Thoughts gradually settled down and eventually silence was there even when thoughts were present.

emcconnell
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Re: Mindfulness... looking for a way out

Post by emcconnell » Fri Jun 14, 2013 3:57 pm

For the most part it sits pretty well with me.
Your reactions to 'what is' are part of 'what is'. So there are clearly parts of 'what' is that you are not accepting. How do you feel about that ? Are you able to accept your reactions as well ?
The things you are write are very lucidly written. But also very negative. Very glass half-empty. Or more like, glass totally empty and there is never going to be any possibility of filling it up for the rest of time !
I fully understand that my reactions are negative. But these negative reactions are in response to negative events/situations.
I accept that, I accept my reactions.
I don't really subscribe to the glass half empty vs glass half full point of view.
I've always looked at this slightly differently. Half empty vs half full... the amount of liquid is the same. So the problem is not with the amount of liquid (I understand that). My perspective is more like that glass is too damn big. If the glass were smaller (less negative events/situations) then the amount of liquid in the glass would be perfect.
Negativity always exaggerates what is happening. Please notice that. It exaggerates everything, and hides any pockets of light.
Again, I fully understand this. It's "pockets of light" that elude me and always have.

The 'ego' is trying to learn from every situation. If your parents were angry when you were happy, then the ego will try to hide your happiness ... of course as you get older and the parents are no longer there, then the 'ego' can still be continuing this pattern. But, why does the 'ego' try to do this in the first place ? ...Because it is trying to keep you safe. You wouldn't have survived childhood without it. So, a real sense of understanding, and compassion, and even gratitude can be brought to it.
Do you know my parents (sure sounds like it). They were angry BUT I wasn't happy. "Survived" childhood? Perhaps on a physical level yes I did. Not too sure anything else made it out alive.
The ego didn't try to hide happiness, it tried to stop the anger that my parents were having. It tried to fix it. This "happiness" never developed in me, and never has. But it has been my ego's life long task to help/fix/accommodate others. It will do this at any cost to itself (no matter what). This is all I have ever known. So when people talk to me about a "sense of self" or my "true being" I have no idea what they are talking about, there is no sense of self. The ego needs to help/fix/accommodate/protect others in order to survive. It does not afford me the same obligations. It is not trying to keep "me" safe, It is trying to keep everyone else safe (with the hope that this will bring some sort of security), with the hope that "I" will then be deemed needed/wanted/loved. I understand and have compassion for other, but applying that to myself is a totally alien concept.
Now that you have successfully -you see something good happened!- negotiated your formative years, you have the space to investigate the deeper parts of yourself.
That's the crux of the biscuit... I find no deeper parts of myself
And so you have started mindfulness practice. But somehow got entangled with certain things. Negativity for one.
You say that you are the "watcher"; but if you are not noticing your negativity ... then you aren't the "watcher". The mind is watching itself.
Trust me I "watch' the negativity, THAT is the issue, the more I watch it the stronger it becomes.
I have become disillusioned he whole theory of the "watcher". After awhile it's like I started to think this way:
When the first person to ever come to the realization that there may be a "watcher" this was an "idea", a though. Someone had the thought (or idea) that there may be consciousness beyond thought, but this was a thought and it came from their mind. I have come to think of the "watcher" as the mind watching itself. I know of no other way it can not be the mind. It may be so for you, ,but it is not for me and telling myself that it is so does not make it so. I have read/heard a lot about how this can "not be understood on the level of the mind". But I don't think there is any other way to understand something without the mind. If the mind can not grasp it, prove it or validate it how can it accept it as the truth?
In the same way you say you are "accepting" things. But clearly not, as you don't accept your reactions. Notice this. Your reactions are very uncomfortable, and they are not being accepted.
I accept them, I watch them but this is what gives them power. The theory that "whatever is exposed to the light itself becomes light" REALLY doesn't work for me. For me... whatever is exposed to the light is amplified and it becomes clear just how dark and ugly it is. And once it has been seen for what it is it can not be un-seen and it is now more powerful.
And when you are present it is not that there is another tape running, but that there is no tape. There is nothing running. That is where you are trying to get too.
There are many 'practices'. But I sense that you close down any possibilities, out of a misunderstanding of your situation, and I have tried to describe what I can see of it here.

What I have been saying all along is that this practice of "being present" is what causes the volume on the tape to be turned up to 11. It does not diminish it, it makes it worse. But I can not find the way back to normal unconsciousness and the tape is blasting in my head 24/7.

I have attempted many practices and I assure you that I have been open to the possibilities of all of them. I try and try until they pretty much just don't make sense to me. But I do keep trying. I think I have a pretty firm understanding of my situation, it's the methods of trying to improve my situation that cause more anger/frustration/confusion/fear that I can never quite seem to grasp. No matter how many times someone holds up that "brass ring" of enlightenment or inner peace it always seems to be just out of my reach.

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rideforever
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Re: Mindfulness... looking for a way out

Post by rideforever » Fri Jun 14, 2013 6:32 pm

Hmm. I am listening to what you say.

Let's go back to your childhood. The situation at home. It seems that you were trying to fix things, and became busy in your activity to fix and accommodate other people.

And it seems to me that your activity on the spiritual path is just this fixing activity continued. Nothing has really changed. The underlying mechanism is just the same.

Do you see that in yourself ?

Can you relate this pattern of spiritual searching to the fixing pattern at home ?

This behaviour, and let's not call it the ego, it's just part of your behaviour, is quite typical for children from difficult homes.

Frantic activity.

Why ? Well essentially it keeps you so busy that you don't notice the pain.

What you are doing doesn't really matter ... just as long as your are busy.

And this of course is why you never find anything on your spiritual search. The mechanism is not trying to find anything ... it is just trying to keep you busy.


"This is all I have ever known."


Yes, this is all you have ever known. And, this is all you have ever been.

Can I ask you are you safe now, in your life ? Are you away from the dangers that were at home ?

If so ... and I hope you are ... then there is a good possibility for releasing this activity.

I would try to keep it very simple, and humble. And just say something like this ...

"well, I was at work today, and my mind was driving me mad ... and that hurts. And looking back all this stuff started at home ... and it makes me sad that this is how my life has become."


I have had a similar situation to you. And taking it slowly, and unravelling this pain inside, from childhood, it undoes the knot that is at the root of this fixing busy activity.


What I can see, and I can't be certain but .., is that all your spiritual activities are undertaken by the ego. And so it's not real. When you say you are the "watcher" ... well you are not the watcher - if you were the negativity would go. You say you are accepting things ... but if you did then they would not affect you. So you are not really accepting things.

All this spiritual stuff has been folded into the busy / fixing activity of the ego ... probably you need to go back to the root cause and deal with the pain that is still being hidden.

I think this quite normal really. You bust out of home, and you want to get on with your life ... you don't want to look back. You don't want to go back. Life is short just get on with it. But ... you see it was YOU who was there are home. I am sorry, but all that stuff really happened. And so some reconciliation of that pain is really needed. This is just how it is.

For me, on my journey, I was let's say "pretty strong" maybe like you. Meaning that although I was suffering, I had enough will to climb a few mountains. And I did. But I still felt cr*p. ... in the end, I did have to go back to the beginning and face the music, face the pain. Slowly, and humbly ... just remember all the terrible things that were happening to me at home.

And, eventually, that knot was undone ... and then all the spiritual stuff start working as it was supposed to.

Because it was me, the real me, doing it.
I was proud, and I demanded the finest teacher
.. .. and when he appeared
.. .. .. .. I was so small

emcconnell
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Re: Mindfulness... looking for a way out

Post by emcconnell » Fri Jun 14, 2013 8:15 pm

Do you see that in yourself ?
Can you relate this pattern of spiritual searching to the fixing pattern at home ?
This behaviour, and let's not call it the ego, it's just part of your behaviour, is quite typical for children from difficult homes.
Frantic activity.
Why ? Well essentially it keeps you so busy that you don't notice the pain.
What you are doing doesn't really matter ... just as long as your are busy.
And this of course is why you never find anything on your spiritual search. The mechanism is not trying to find anything ... it is just trying to keep you busy.
Makes sense to me but... I undertook this spiritual search to deal with all of this. I went into this search fully understanding all of this.
I went into it to alter the behavior of "keeping busy" to avoid the pain. But like I said, exposing it to the light has made it stronger and more entrenched than ever. It has not eased it in any way.
And I do not see it as a matter of not being patient enough, not understanding the automatic thinking, trying too frantically or not trying hard enough. I have really tried (with an open mind) all of the methods/techniques that were offered.

"This is all I have ever known."
Yes, this is all you have ever known. And, this is all you have ever been.
Can I ask you are you safe now, in your life ? Are you away from the dangers that were at home ?
If so ... and I hope you are ... then there is a good possibility for releasing this activity.
I would try to keep it very simple, and humble. And just say something like this ...
"well, I was at work today, and my mind was driving me mad ... and that hurts. And looking back all this stuff started at home ... and it makes me sad that this is how my life has become."
I do not feel that I am ever "safe" in any situation. There is no "safety", there is no relaxation, there is no situation in which I can let my guard down.
Most of the time I feel like a trained chimp that has to "perform" and provide happiness for others and if I don't perform then they will find a chimp who will.
A self fulfilling prophecy perhaps, but this is one of the main "beliefs" that I have been asked to challenge again and again by various therapists over the years (my present one included). And each time I have challenged this belief and stopped "performing" things go south in my relationships pretty quickly. First I'm met with confusion, then anger, then ridicule (when I try to explain why I have stopped performing) the ultimately the inevitable "What happened to you, you used to be so much fun?" And finally the ending of any relationship. It's all well and good for those around me as long as I don't stop singing and dancing, but as soon as I do... See ya'. The constant attempts to challenge this belief over the years have not made me realize that the belief may be flawed, the challenging has made the belief stronger than ever. The belief has proven to be true time and time again. So how many times can you stick you hand in the fire and actually believe THIS time I will not get burned.

I have had a similar situation to you. And taking it slowly, and unravelling this pain inside, from childhood, it undoes the knot that is at the root of this fixing busy activity.
What I can see, and I can't be certain but .., is that all your spiritual activities are undertaken by the ego. And so it's not real. When you say you are the "watcher" ... well you are not the watcher - if you were the negativity would go. You say you are accepting things ... but if you did then they would not affect you. So you are not really accepting things.
Taking it slowly and unravelling the knot only leads to more pain and anxiety (for me). Like I said understanding it and exposing it to the light does not diminish it, it makes it stronger.
Maybe I do not fully understand the concept of "the watcher" but like I said before I believe "the watcher" is just another mind created perspective.
I fully accept things as they come to me (I don't have to like them or condone them but I do accept them) I have never understood how they "won't affect me" just by accepting them.
I have pain in my right knee from an old injury, I accept that. There are certain things that I can no longer physically do because of this injury, I accept that. My knee still hurts like hell, I accept that. This does not make the pain go away. To me there is no difference between this pain and emotional pain.

All this spiritual stuff has been folded into the busy / fixing activity of the ego ... probably you need to go back to the root cause and deal with the pain that is still being hidden.
I think this quite normal really. You bust out of home, and you want to get on with your life ... you don't want to look back. You don't want to go back. Life is short just get on with it. But ... you see it was YOU who was there are home. I am sorry, but all that stuff really happened. And so some reconciliation of that pain is really needed. This is just how it is.
This is exactly what all of these years of therapy have been addressing. The root cause, digging up what has been hidden or repressed. Stopping and actually looking back. That is what I have been doing for 15 years. But what I am saying (and continue to say) is that this is exactly what makes the pain worse. And I don't go into each new method with the mind set that "this isn't going to work" I honestly keep believing that maybe THIS is the one that will help. I am not defending my position to be in pain, this is just the way it ends up working out for me. And once the new method of therapy or whatever practice I may be trying makes the pain worse I am generally told "sorry this isn't working for you, perhaps you should try something else".
For me, on my journey, I was let's say "pretty strong" maybe like you. Meaning that although I was suffering, I had enough will to climb a few mountains. And I did. But I still felt cr*p. ... in the end, I did have to go back to the beginning and face the music, face the pain. Slowly, and humbly ... just remember all the terrible things that were happening to me at home.
Been there SO many times that sometimes I think it's still 1964. The music and the pain have been faced so many times that they are now my every day companions rather then just dwelling in my subconscious. The more I face them the stronger they become. And now there is no choice but to face them because they have taken up residence (front and center) in my mind.
And, eventually, that knot was undone ... and then all the spiritual stuff start working as it was supposed to.
Because it was me, the real me, doing it.
Glad to hear that this worked for you (and I'm sure countless others here) But the way it has become for me is this... I started this journey to "untie this knot" First I had to recognize that there was a knot, then I had to dig to identify the source of the knot. The recognition and understanding of the knot did not untie it. Instead of undoing the know now... I AM the knot.

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rideforever
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Re: Mindfulness... looking for a way out

Post by rideforever » Fri Jun 14, 2013 8:25 pm

Hi, gosh well I am really sorry to hear it's that serious for you.

Are you holding down a normal job and wife / family / friends, that kind of thing ? It's a lot to all juggle especially when you have got all this stuff going on inside you.

What does work ? In your life, where are the moment of peace ? Of good things ?

Do you have a sense why things dont work for you ?
I was proud, and I demanded the finest teacher
.. .. and when he appeared
.. .. .. .. I was so small

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rideforever
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Re: Mindfulness... looking for a way out

Post by rideforever » Fri Jun 14, 2013 10:10 pm

Most of the time I feel like a trained chimp that has to "perform" and provide happiness for others and if I don't perform then they will find a chimp who will.
A self fulfilling prophecy perhaps, but this is one of the main "beliefs" that I have been asked to challenge again and again by various therapists over the years (my present one included). And each time I have challenged this belief and stopped "performing" things go south in my relationships pretty quickly. First I'm met with confusion, then anger, then ridicule (when I try to explain why I have stopped performing) the ultimately the inevitable "What happened to you, you used to be so much fun?" And finally the ending of any relationship. It's all well and good for those around me as long as I don't stop singing and dancing, but as soon as I do... See ya'. The constant attempts to challenge this belief over the years have not made me realize that the belief may be flawed, the challenging has made the belief stronger than ever. The belief has proven to be true time and time again. So how many times can you stick you hand in the fire and actually believe THIS time I will not get burned.
Do you get satisfaction from acting like a 'trained chimp' ? Ok, so you are surrounded by people when you act like that ... but are you enjoying ? Is that what you want to do in your life ?

Are you prepared to make any sacrifices ?

Are you looking for a magic answer that is not going to hurt ?

For a lot of people, they ignore / avoid the issue and the pain gets bigger and bigger, the difficulties higher and higher, until often there is some collapse, breakdown, disaster ... and then only are they ready.

In my case I was close to suicide. I walked into a shop the music was playing a song "it's later than you think it is." My interpretation was, if I am registering that I am thinking of suicide, then I might only have a few days left before it happened. So I got help.

Now, maybe you aren't at that place yet. You still prefer playing this role and clinging on to these relationships with people who like to watch you act this role.

I am sure many people on the path will tell you that your relationships change in a big way. All these 'trained chimp' watchers ... they are going to disappear. Did you want them to stay ? Is it worth anything ?

They will not understand. People on the path lose most if not all of their friends. I have. I couldn't give a sh*t. I am happy to be real. Now, I know some new people.

There is no shortcut. If you are false it hurts, and the hurt gets bigger until something changes.
I was proud, and I demanded the finest teacher
.. .. and when he appeared
.. .. .. .. I was so small

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ashley72
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Re: Mindfulness... looking for a way out

Post by ashley72 » Sat Jun 15, 2013 12:07 am

emconnell wrote:I believe that my thoughts ARE in line with my reality, I don't think they are arguing with my reality.
But you are arguing with your reality because your posts demonstrates that.

Thoughts have a cyclical nature. The more a person believes in their thoughts, the more cyclic they become. You want the obsessive thinking to go away.... This is the thinker not accepting the thinking...it's insane!

As Kiki says, it's impossible to win that one.... you need to go in the opposite direction and completely accept that obsessive thinking is acceptable....not unacceptable. You thinking will demonstrate on its second time in the cycle whether acceptance has happened. Can you see that? That "identification" with thinking is cyclical?

Eckhart Tolle says be careful you're not letting the "thinker" in thru the backdoor! Can you see that the thinker is coming thru the backdoor in your posts? It reveals itself clearly thru non-acceptance of things!!!!

If you become able to be the watcher of thoughts, instead of identifying with thoughts, you move to be able to free yourself from one of the greatest sources of suffering and open the door to a higher consciousness.

What then happens is that the mind becomes the servant, the great tool to be used consciously, instead of running on autopilot using you. Your true essence then reveals itself as the underlying awareness itself.

Utter, utter, utter acceptance of all things good & bad...is the key to becoming a true watcher. :D

When a persons "thinking" resists and wants things to be different (i.e desires a quieter mind) the more that person is identified with the thinker rather than being the silent watcher of their thoughts. Acceptance is the key, that locks the backdoor, so the thinker can no longer re-enter :wink:

Thinker-> non-acceptance (still identifying with the thinker) -> suffering

Thinker -> acceptance (silent watcher not identifying with the thinker) -> peace

Re-examine your initial post below and see if you can now identify your unwillingness to accept the Isness of your circumstances.
emconnell wrote:I have tried various methods of mindfulness, and when I try to “Look at with attention, without thinking about it or participating in it. Contain it whole in your attention. Look at it hard, and it goes away.” The compulsive thinking does NOT go away it gets MUCH worse. It just leads to more and more layers of compulsive thinking. I have read numerous books on “mindfulness” with the same result. The more I try and grasp mindfulness the stronger the compulsive thoughts become. It seems to have the opposite effect. The more I “Look at the thoughts/emotions with attention” the more fuel they have and they burn that much brighter.
It is this unwillingness to accept the mental story, which keeps you from becoming a silent watcher. Can you laugh at every thought the thinker throws at you? Can you just let all those absurd thoughts just bubble away without resisting? If the little voice in the head says "my thinking is never going to become quiet"....can you accept that thought? Can you let the thinker have that one??? Just once??????

emcconnell
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Re: Mindfulness... looking for a way out

Post by emcconnell » Mon Jun 17, 2013 2:21 pm

Sorry, computer crash while typing. (Moderator's Note: I removed your previous post that went unfinished before your computer crashed. You may want to edit this post appropriately).

What I was trying to say is that I still feel that the "thinker" and the "watcher" are indeed one in the same. I have not been able to find a way to get beyond this.
I do feel that the mind is watching itself and that's not such a good idea for me.

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ashley72
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Re: Mindfulness... looking for a way out

Post by ashley72 » Mon Jun 17, 2013 3:22 pm

The watcher is the listener or attentive side of our nature...

it is the deeper part...

the valley...

or receptive one.

On the other hand, the thinker or voice in our head.

is the mountain...

or creative force.

I see these two aspects of our mind as dynamically opposed, but at the same time complementary.

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rideforever
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Re: Mindfulness... looking for a way out

Post by rideforever » Mon Jun 17, 2013 3:40 pm

Have you tried the Just One Look - John Sherman 'technique'. It's like taking a quick snapshot of what's happening inside. Maybe useful ?
I was proud, and I demanded the finest teacher
.. .. and when he appeared
.. .. .. .. I was so small

emcconnell
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Re: Mindfulness... looking for a way out

Post by emcconnell » Mon Jun 17, 2013 10:30 pm

This is from the John Sherman site:
Now, in the same way that you moved the focus of your attention to your breath, move the focus of attention inward, looking for the faint sensation of what it feels like to be you. What you would call 'me'.

What you are looking for here is the simple me-ness of you. Not the thoughts that pass through you, or the emotions that play within you, or the sensations that rise and fall within you. You are that which is always here. Everything else — thought, emotion, sensation — comes and goes in you.
I do not get a sensation of "me". I do not find a "simple me-ness of you"


There are only thoughts, emotions and sensations

emcconnell
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Re: Mindfulness... looking for a way out

Post by emcconnell » Mon Jun 17, 2013 10:54 pm

Perhaps I should have stated that this technique is not new to me.
I did not frantically try this for 5 minutes then post.

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ashley72
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Re: Mindfulness... looking for a way out

Post by ashley72 » Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:02 am

emcconnell wrote:I do not get a sensation of "me". I do not find a "simple me-ness of you"
You are both senseless...
emcconnell wrote:Perhaps I should have stated that this technique is not new to me.
I did not frantically try this for 5 minutes then post.

& wise. :D :(

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Onceler
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Re: Mindfulness... looking for a way out

Post by Onceler » Tue Jun 18, 2013 1:05 am

emcconnell wrote:
I do not get a sensation of "me". I do not find a "simple me-ness of you"


There are only thoughts, emotions and sensations
It is very subtle and simple....easy to overlook. There is not much there, which is sort of the point. When we realize who we truly are, not much, we realize we are life itself. Keep looking, but keep it simple.
Be present, be pleasant.

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rideforever
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Re: Mindfulness... looking for a way out

Post by rideforever » Tue Jun 18, 2013 7:38 am

http://www.johnsherman.org/john_sherman ... rself.html

This video is good. It takes you from the breath, to the tongue, to the sense of me.

Takes time to relax into it.
I was proud, and I demanded the finest teacher
.. .. and when he appeared
.. .. .. .. I was so small

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