Overthinking Tolle's Message

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Overthinking Tolle's Message

Postby EdmondDantes » Tue Aug 04, 2015 6:03 am

Hello folks, I just finished A New Earth and I really enjoyed it. The issue I am having is overthinking his concepts and ideas when trying to incorporate them into my life. I have a constant stream of egoic thoughts throughout the day and am not sure how to handle them. For now, I just catch myself internally and say "Well that is pretty egoic" when I find myself on a thought spiral. Overall, I am a person who lives largely in my own mind. How does one transcend this without overthinking it. I'd appreciate any insight. Thanks
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Re: Overthinking Tolle's Message

Postby Enlightened2B » Tue Aug 04, 2015 4:46 pm

Hey,

I can relate totally as I too am a person who has lived much of my life in my mind and can only offer my own advice based on what I have applied to my own life of late.

Simply watch it. Just watch the thoughts lovingly. You don't necessarily have to do a 'formal' form of meditation. But, I have compulsive thinking patterns already. So, what I have been doing is putting my attention on the breath of my abdomen and do a counting method of one to five. Very slow breaths and very slowly. And then counting backwards from five to one. It's very relaxing as well. You can actually do this at any point of the day when you feel stressed. Just watch those thoughts, watch the emotions and watch the sensations. There's no reason to energize thought patterns at all, but simply let them be. You connect with something deeper and have greater access to intuition. I notice myself that a lot of stuff is coming up, especially when I meditate in public.

Hope this helps.
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Re: Overthinking Tolle's Message

Postby lmp » Tue Aug 04, 2015 5:14 pm

Most people understand cases of projecting various problems unto others, if there is no health care its the governments fault and so forth.

In a similar manner thought is projecting its own activity to 'an ego' of its own making, as if the ego wasnt thought itself, basically the ego doesnt exist in any other sense than that thought has created it.

The stream of thought you are describing is taking place and in that stream is also the attribution of the thoughts to an ego.
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Re: Overthinking Tolle's Message

Postby lmp » Tue Aug 04, 2015 6:11 pm

Basically what I'm saying is that thought is streaming egoic thoughts AND thought wants it to stop or the situation to be transcended, who is going to win?

I dont know if you get the same feeling I got from seeing that it is so, but you asked for insights into it. For me, at a certain point I knew that there wasnt a solution to that so the conflict of trying to solve it went away.

It may sound like the stream of thoughts should just be given free reign if nothing is done about them, but what actually happens is that the ego is questioned and seen as a part of the stream, it is part of the problem, not the one to solve it. I dont know if it makes sense to you. If not, thats fine.
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Re: Overthinking Tolle's Message

Postby Manyana » Tue Aug 04, 2015 6:17 pm

I find this link good as a reminder.

It is Eckhart answering the question "What is the key to stop the self talk in the head".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydrR3myr3mc
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Re: Overthinking Tolle's Message

Postby ashley72 » Thu Aug 06, 2015 7:41 pm

Tolles message is better suited for "Utopia"than the real world.

The reason engaging adults have responsibilities is they're dealing with their changing life situation... They may run a business or have dependent children to worry for. You can't achieve these kinds of heights in life without having worries and anxiety from time to time. It absolutely comes with the terrain of a busy adult life where it's possible to trip up if your not on guard.

In the Tolle video posted, Tolle goes on about self reflecting on your worries & seeing how it's futile to worry as its all some perverse self fulfilling prophecy aka positive feedback loop!

The problem is Tolle doesn't tell you how to really overcome your worries through exposure & engagement.

Worries or anxiety are a normal human response to fear. Our mind produces anxious thoughts when we sense danger. If the danger is real that is a good thing because it will save our arse. However, if it's not really dangerous, and we imagine something non dangerous by mistake... We're than suffering unnecessary because we're being frightened by a phantom.

The thing about life is your going to be faced with danger from time to time, and you'll need to worry & respond accordingly to overcome that pitfall. At other times your going to think your in danger when your probably not. It's those times you need to expose yourself to the issue without avoidance, to quickly realize it wasn't an issue at all. That prevents the positive feedback loop (mental suffering) from arising which doesn't serve a positive constructive purpose.

My issue with Tolles message is that it comes across in his video that all thinking or worry is unhelpful... which is clearly not the case. The human species has evolved by using the power of thought & worry to overcome trillions of problems... to create and advance towards a modern civilization with all its comforts.

Let's look at example, if you don't brush your teeth everyday they will most likely rot, particularly if you have a high sugar diet. So naturally, if you don't brush your teeth one day, the next day you might have anxious worry that your teeth are going to rot. If this worry makes you brush your teeth regularly that's probably a good thing... because sugar does rot teeth over time if you continue to eat sugar each day without brushing your teeth (they will eventually rot away). So worry has a practical use in the scheme of positive behavior. But as we know there is a down side to... as sometimes we might have a phantom that were worried about which causes avoidance behavior that limits our experience. Like some people won't fly on aero planes or travel in cars because they worry about dying In a crash. Statistically the chances are extremely low, but some people want zero probability that nothing bad will happen each time they travel which can lead to 100% avoidance. This is just not rational in modern day life. We can get hit by lightening (1 in million chance) but that shouldn't stop us from going outside.
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Re: Overthinking Tolle's Message

Postby randomguy » Thu Aug 06, 2015 9:01 pm

Worrying about not worrying anymore? I guess mind can justify about any habit.
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Re: Overthinking Tolle's Message

Postby ashley72 » Sat Aug 08, 2015 9:31 am

randomguy wrote:Worrying about not worrying anymore? I guess mind can justify about any habit.


Yes, the mind (or more broadly the nervous system) has input cycles & output cycles. These system cycles can at times feed positively back into themselves. In other words, an output cycle can feedback into the input cycle and cause a positive feedback loop.

In other words, the output cycle i.e worrying thoughts, can themselves be worried about!

But just because the system isn't always perfect, doesn't make it worthless. You just need to be aware of system limitations or the common errors in thinking that can lead towards dysfunction.

Just using the following self talk can lead to positive feedback loops forming...."I must control my feelings." Or "I should never make mistakes".

This is because they are judging or labeling the output cycle in a self referential way that causes positive feedback... The output positively feeds back into the input.

Particularly judging feelings of danger, heart palpitations, as danger itself will lead to a panic cycle.
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Re: Overthinking Tolle's Message

Postby randomguy » Sat Aug 08, 2015 7:07 pm

ashley72 wrote:You just need to be aware of system limitations or the common errors in thinking that can lead towards dysfunction.

Imagine you meet someone who worries 20 times more than you do. Let's say you are having a conversation with this person and you mention a forecast for rain tomorrow. This person starts to worry heavily about all the things that could happen in the rain tomorrow, all the car and bicycle accidents, all the worms that will get washed up and eaten by the birds, on and on not to mention the 100 things that could happen to him or her. He or she starts wondering how together you might prevent all these catastrophes to come.

So you say, Ok this is a dysfunctional level, it's not a healthy level of worry like I have. Then something happens to you that erases your worry feedback loops. I don't know what. You eat a chemical. You have a cup of water in a styrofoam cup and you accidentally take a bite of the cup, swallow it and for whatever reason pow, the loop that creates worry is gone. It's gone. A reflex forms in the body as if it's about to worry about this change but nope, it just fades, there is no worry. So the day goes on and to your astonishment you are brushing your teeth and doing all the things you normally do. Weeks go on and you are brushing your teeth, tying your shoes, not stepping in front of busses. And you thing, I'll be darned. I'm not worrying about a thing. I guess it wasn't as essential as I thought.

A year goes by then you meet your yourself from a year ago by way of time machine and start talking to yourself. The conversation turns to how normal and essential worry is. What do you say to your old self?
Do the yellow-rose petals
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Re: Overthinking Tolle's Message

Postby ashley72 » Sat Aug 08, 2015 7:49 pm

The only thing I don't like about your little parable is a valid way of preventing ruminations or worry.You don't end the mental suffering by biting into a foam cup!

Usually there is an underlying "biggest fear" at the top of the "fear-response" hierarchy driving the positive feedback loop of generalized anxious thinking. Therefore sufferer needs to observe what is that irrational biggest fear which needs exposure.

For example if someone has social anxiety they usually imagine or make up a lot of little imaginary problems as part of a very complex avoidance strategy for not attending a social event. By getting to the top of the hierarchy which is generating the positive feedback you can fix the disorder.

Thinking in itself isn't the issue, neither is the fear response. These sub systems of the nervous system are essential to what it is to be human. To often people tend to blame thinking entirely for their problems... when clearly both thinking & the fear response is essential to our normal functioning.

Mindfulness & being in the here & now comes naturally when you end ruminations that are being driven by some irrational biggest fear.

If I visited my old self, I would say find the biggest fear causing all your ruminations and expose yourself to that fear rather than burying it in your ruminations, which is nothing more than a veil of avoidance.
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Re: Overthinking Tolle's Message

Postby randomguy » Sun Aug 09, 2015 12:29 am

You don't end the mental suffering by biting into a foam cup!

Well I'm glad the time travel portion of the story was at least acceptable.
Yes, don't eat styrofoam http://saferchemicals.org/2014/05/26/st ... oam-101-2/
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Re: Overthinking Tolle's Message

Postby smiileyjen101 » Sun Aug 09, 2015 6:48 am

The problem is Tolle doesn't tell you how to really overcome your worries through exposure & engagement.


Well it's likely that you've already had the exposure and the engagement and you made an enemy, obstacle or means to an end of it.

Tolle does tell you in ANE that if you are doing one or more of these things then you are creating suffering for yourself and those around you.

Given that you might be figuring that's not working so well for you, he goes on to describe three other modalities of thinking and being - acceptance, enjoyment and enthusiasm.

So I disagree that he hasn't covered it. Right there in the Awakened Doing section.

One first has to recognise that it is oneself creating the suffering,
then decide to change,
then be the change.

That 'stuff' is still going to arise, it's how we engage with it that differs.
Our rights start deep within our humanity; they end where another's begin~~ SmileyJen
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Re: Overthinking Tolle's Message

Postby ashley72 » Sun Aug 09, 2015 7:00 am

Irrational fear leads to avoidance not engagement. People with phobias do everything they can to make sure they don't come into contact with their irrational fear. In other words, there is a complete lack of engagement and avoidance becomes the sufferers constant behavior strategy.

How does living in the now cure a person with a phobia? If anything telling a sufferer with a phobia to live in the now won't help them overcome a phobia because it leads to spiritual bypassing. Which Is basically giving them a very convenient out - - a nice way for them to avoid or ignore their irrational fear altogether. They start believing that they don't need to bother with those fearful thoughts/sensations/emotions caused by their phobia & OCD. All they need to do is simply live in the present moment & all their irrational fears will subside.

But I've worked a lot with irrational fear myself over the past 9 years, and the only way to overcome irrational fear is to expose yourself to the fear repeatedly & stay with it until you stop perceiving the output danger signal as something dangerous. It's only after all the exposure therapy does your awareness or attention get freed up for other things naturally & you then get the opportunity to live more in the here & now. It definitely does not work the other way around, you can't just magically choose to live in the here & now and bypass all your irrational fears without exposure therapy!!!!

Can you share with us a direct quote where Tolle says exposure therapy is the best way to overcome a sufferers irrational fear before they can live in the here & now?

BTW, why a second book anyway? One would have thought Tolles core & essential doctrine would have been found in his first book.... and let's not forget the obvious... the book is called the power of now... Not the power of exposure! :wink:

Someone who is suffering from irrational fear which is all consuming... Turns to avoidance behavior and lacks exposure behavior. Exposure is the only way to grow in life. By exposing ourselves to new things we can enjoy the here & now in the fullest. But you can only do that naturally when you get shown how to stop avoiding things & replace it with exposure therapy.

The whole mechanism of learning new things requires exposure not avoidance. So embracing the here & now isn't really how one gets to the here & now... One gets to the here & now by first embracing exposure therapy and it's awesome power.

Others around are also coming to this important conclusion

http://jeffhilimire.com/2014/03/the-power-of-exposure/
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Re: Overthinking Tolle's Message

Postby randomguy » Mon Aug 10, 2015 7:23 pm

So embracing the here & now isn't really how one gets to the here & now... One gets to the here & now by first embracing exposure therapy and it's awesome power.

It's clear you disagree with Tolle. You have said this of course and this statement illustrates it nicely. But does that make Tolle wrong? Does it mean he should say something other than what he says?

Inserting a conditional step to reach the now assumes you are not here and now already. This is the misunderstanding Tolle's message points to. You are already here and now. Don't think so? Consider Adyashanti's suggestion; go ahead and try to leave the present moment.

"You "get" there by realizing that you are there already." - Tolle from PoN

I fail to follow the assumption that Tolle should be talking about phobia cures. Are you suggesting that people should only write about and talk about exposure therapy? Wouldn't that be a bit dull?
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Re: Overthinking Tolle's Message

Postby ashley72 » Mon Aug 10, 2015 9:48 pm

Well if everyone is already in the so called "here & now" why does mental suffering arise... OCD, PTSD, GAD, PANIC , Depersonalisation disorder etc... all anxiety/stress spectrum disorders (or more generally illness of the nervous system)?

You say we're already in the here & now & you get there by self realization. I disagree.

i think Tolle is a gifted writer, he uses powerful metaphors to explain abstract ideas about how he believes our cognition works. But being a gifted writer doesn't automatically mean all your theories are sound!

I base my knowledge on cognitive science. I study the nervous system,limbic system, the field of cybernetics to try and unravel the mystery of cognitive dysfunction.

I've tested all the knowledge I've uncovered over the years on my own anxiety spectrum disorder and basically it works!

It's the power of exposure... not the power of now...which ultimately allows you to overcome mental suffering. There are more steps then just exposure of course... but in a nutshell avoidance behavior gets adopted by the sufferer as a coping mechanism & this is what prevents the sufferer from getting well again.

Ruminating or obsessive worry is a feature of anxiety disorders, which prevents people from being attentive to new things, it hampers growth and learning... Because it's essential to expose yourself to new things in order to learn & grow.

BTW, the here & now is merely a metaphor - which maps something which is abstract... Or separated from us! All cognition is in fact metaphoric in nature. The here & now could also be described as being attentive to new things that arise in the visual, auditory sensory space around you. In other words, "exposure" is also a metaphor for accessing the here & now. But let's not get hung up on "words".

If I was with you I could also show you non verbally how to overcome irrational fear... I would grab your hand and lead you towards any irrational fear you may have... I could then non-verbally indicated to you that you need to stay here until the fear subsides.
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