Struggling with surrendering

Here you may share how the words Eckhart Tolle have affected your life.

Struggling with surrendering

Postby costello » Wed Jun 04, 2014 11:24 pm

Hi:

I'm new to this forum, so forgive me if I've put this in the wrong area. I'm also new to Eckhart Tolle, so I may not have all his vocabulary down quite right.

I'm currently struggling with a situation which is a source of great stress for me but which I can see could be helpful in my spiritual growth if I can figure out how to work with it. I dislike a lot of noise, and I've chosen both a career and a home with that in mind. I've lived in my home for 17 1/2 years. I'm buying it. Nearly two years ago some very noisy people moved in next door to me. At first in was a dog which barked at me every time I walked out of my house. After a year or so, the dog disappeared. Now their teenaged son and his friends are riding four wheelers and dirt bikes up and down the street, around their house, behind my house, etc. - sometimes for hours on end.

I've explored ways of ending the noise. Talking to them doesn't work. The police refuse to help. I'm not prepared to go to the expense and hassle of litigation. Currently I'm looking into moving to my mother's house which has both positive and negative sides to it. It does help, however, to know that I have an "out," that I'm not stuck in this situation.

Anyway, I can see how I'm contributing to my own suffering in this situation. The noise itself is very stressful, but I do think the angry stories I tell myself about it probably cause ten times more suffering than the noise. And yet I can't seem to help myself. I was listening to Stillness Speaks as I drove home yesterday - the section on surrender. It all sounds so nice when there's nothing really hard to surrender to, but as soon as that four wheeler started up, I felt a surge of anger.

I did get a bit of relief by remember him saying that if you can't surrender to whatever is happening in the now, surrender to the fact that you can't surrender. In fact, it was more than just a bit of relief. It was a huge relief. I think I'm being awfully hard on myself because I can't seem to go all zen on this situation. I think you can imagine my internal monologue: "This isn't right. It's not fair. I work to pay for this home and the long commute so I can have some peace and quiet. Why should their kid's desire for a bit a fun preempt my need for quiet at the end of the day?" etc., etc., etc. All true IMO but not really helpful. In fact it's harmful. And then I beat myself up for not handling it better.

I love DBT, and this surrender thing reminds me of radical acceptance. She says you can change the situation, change the way you look at it, accept it, or continue to suffer. Those are your four choices. She emphasizes that accepting doesn't mean you think it's okay. I do think that's an important sticking point for me. This isn't ok. It's not okay to occupy your space and the space of your neighbor with a wall of outrageous, nerve-jangling sound. And there's a part of me that believes - I think - that accepting or surrendering is just giving in, saying it's okay.

Another sticking point for me is the fact there's a human agent here. There are people involved who know I don't like the noise and who can choose to stop it. But in fact they're amused by the fact they're causing me pain. The boy grins and waves if he sees me outside when he's riding by. And it's not a friendly grin and wave. It's a 'ha ha it's funny that I can do what I want and you can't stop me" kind of grin and wave. I find it much easier to surrender to something that no human being has control over - like the weather.

Anyway I'll stop there. I'm sure you're all familiar with the problem. You probably have you're own versions of the same story. Thanks for listening.
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Re: Struggling with surrendering

Postby Phil2 » Thu Jun 05, 2014 9:55 am

costello wrote:I love DBT, and this surrender thing reminds me of radical acceptance. She says you can change the situation, change the way you look at it, accept it, or continue to suffer. Those are your four choices.


So what choice did you make ? ... apparently you chose to suffer, right ?

... but you also resist this suffering, which means that you did not really 'choose it ... you just resist to 'what is', you endure it as a 'victim' ... because if you really chose to suffer, you would not resist it ...

and as Jung said "What you resist persists" ...

So why not change the way you look at all this ? ... which might indeed change the situation eventually ...

I take an example, if you could think "Oh those are just kids, it's normal they need to make fun and play", this would change the way you look at them, then you would be smarter with them and maybe joke with them and instead of seeing them as enemies, you would make friends of them, and they won't take pleasure anymore in annoying you ...

Reminds me the famous quote from President Lincoln (he was answering to a question about Southerners):

"The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend."
"What irritates us about others is an opportunity to learn on ourselves"
(Carl Jung)
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Re: Struggling with surrendering

Postby far_eastofwest » Thu Jun 05, 2014 11:08 am

Headphones with an mp4 attached with an audio book (booksshouldbefree is the website, you can download Walden to start, its good) or nice music (or some really bad gangster rap, whatever).
And maybe change your internal dialogue from the 'this isn't fair' one to a "this is a noisy place at times".
This isn't fair is a victim statement, can't do much when you are a victim. Stating the base fact, the place is noisy, can bring about solutions.... (we have noisy crows part of the year, morning and evening, they have so much fun cawing).
the bit DBT (have no idea who that is) missed.... find a solution, even a part solution, and do something to make the situation more tolerable ..... ah... double glazing... time to insulate.... work out on the treadmill at the times the noise is most likely, play tetris online..... take up dirt bike riding.... whatever
The 'problem' may provide you with some 'solutions' that may well enhance your life? Up to you. There are things you can do that don't involve speaking to these people, litigation, moving etc.

Personally I wouldn't move house.
There is nothing harder to find than a black cat in a dark room
Especially when there is no cat....
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Re: Struggling with surrendering

Postby costello » Thu Jun 05, 2014 4:09 pm

Thanks for the feedback, Phil.

"So what choice did you make ? ... apparently you chose to suffer, right ?"

I've chosen to try and use this experience for spiritual growth. I'm just not being particularly effective at it right now.

"... but you also resist this suffering, which means that you did not really 'choose it ... you just resist to 'what is', you endure it as a 'victim' ... because if you really chose to suffer, you would not resist it ..."

I don't understand this.

"So why not change the way you look at all this ? ... which might indeed change the situation eventually ..."

I think reframing it would be very useful. I doubt I'll ever convince myself that kids need to have fun and therefore these kids should be allowed to deprive me of my peace. First, you can have fun without making so much noise. And, second, my need for peace is at least as strong as their need for fun. I do think some way of reframing it would be helpful, though.

I think it a way I'm reframing it as an opportunity to grow, but so far I'm just unsuccessfully repressing my anger then beating myself up with it doesn't work.

"you would make friends of them, and they won't take pleasure anymore in annoying you ..."

I can see the wisdom of this, and yet I'm not sure I can accomplish making friends with them. I'm not an incredibly social person to begin with. And I have absolutely nothing in common with the neighbors. Nothing.

A decade ago I adopted a teenaged boy with severe behavior problems from foster care, and I learned a lot. Some of the books I read advised calming yourself in order to help calm the dysregulated person. Your calm will flow to them. Well, I learned very quickly that it's not enough to fake calm. It doesn't matter if you have a low voice, sweet words, and a placid face. If you're roiling with anger inside, the other person will know it. Particularly a person with a significant trauma history like my son. You genuinely have to calm yourself - which I did eventually learn to do, so I'm not hopeless. ;)

Applying that to befriending this boy next door: I don't have the heart for anything but fake "friendship" right now. Possibly if I got to know him, that would change. I don't know. I just know it makes me feel a little nauseous to even think about being friends with him.
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Re: Struggling with surrendering

Postby costello » Thu Jun 05, 2014 4:28 pm

Thank you, far east of west.

"Headphones with an mp4 attached with an audio book (booksshouldbefree is the website, you can download Walden to start, its good) or nice music (or some really bad gangster rap, whatever)."

I've tried headphones. I've tried all sorts of ways of blocking the noise. I've even put the attic fan on. Nothing blocks it. It's almost better not to try and block it at all, because it just increases my anger and frustration when it doesn't work.

"And maybe change your internal dialogue from the 'this isn't fair' one to a "this is a noisy place at times"."

I think that's a really good idea. I'll try that. Of course, "this is a noisy place at times" for me will lead to "I need to find a quieter place to live." Because for me quiet is a prime necessity in a home.

"This isn't fair is a victim statement, can't do much when you are a victim. Stating the base fact, the place is noisy, can bring about solutions.... (we have noisy crows part of the year, morning and evening, they have so much fun cawing)."

We have geese on the lake part of the year. Really noisy. And I actually enjoy that noise.

"the bit DBT (have no idea who that is) missed...."

DBT = dialectical behavior therapy. It's a form of psychotherapy I learned about when my adopted son was court ordered to therapy. It's based in part on Buddhist principles.

"find a solution, even a part solution, and do something to make the situation more tolerable ....."

I've tried blocking the noise. So far, the only thing I've found useful is just to leave my house while the noise is on.

"Personally I wouldn't move house."

Fortunately there are other reasons to move, so it's not just down to leaving to avoid the noise. Primarily, my mother is elderly and is to the point where she needs someone around more. Also, I'd like more room for my animals. Finally my house is deteriorating, and I don't have the money to repair it. I've been without a furnace for four winters now. And the foundation is crumbling badly.

All of that takes the emotional charge out of moving. I'm not doing the "these people have driven me out of my home" thing, because really I might be moving even without their noise.
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Re: Struggling with surrendering

Postby Phil2 » Thu Jun 05, 2014 10:05 pm

costello wrote:
"... but you also resist this suffering, which means that you did not really 'choose it ... you just resist to 'what is', you endure it as a 'victim' ... because if you really chose to suffer, you would not resist it ..."

I don't understand this.


It means that when you truly and totally accept the suffering, the suffering disappears ... why is it so ? because suffering is made of resistance to 'what is' ... once you accept the situation as a fact, there is no more suffering ...

costello wrote:"you would make friends of them, and they won't take pleasure anymore in annoying you ..."

I can see the wisdom of this, and yet I'm not sure I can accomplish making friends with them. I'm not an incredibly social person to begin with. And I have absolutely nothing in common with the neighbors. Nothing.


And this is your biggest mistake ... but you don't know why it is a mistake, right ?

You have much more in common with those neighbours than you can even ever imagine ... but your thinking will always deny this, because thought always operates in division, separation, exclusion and conflicts ... never by inclusion ...
"What irritates us about others is an opportunity to learn on ourselves"
(Carl Jung)
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Re: Struggling with surrendering

Postby Fore » Thu Jun 05, 2014 11:43 pm

costello wrote:A decade ago I adopted a teenaged boy with severe behavior problems from foster care, and I learned a lot. Some of the books I read advised calming yourself in order to help calm the dysregulated person. Your calm will flow to them. Well, I learned very quickly that it's not enough to fake calm. It doesn't matter if you have a low voice, sweet words, and a placid face. If you're roiling with anger inside, the other person will know it. Particularly a person with a significant trauma history like my son. You genuinely have to calm yourself - which I did eventually learn to do, so I'm not hopeless. ;)


This is the truth, it does not matter what is happening on the surface level, sweet speech, calm words, etc... the sin occurs within, with the quality of mind you carry, this causes us to tie ourselves in knots or untie the knots. If when these ignorant or sick individuals next door act inappropriately in the future see if you can keep part of your attention on the feelings inside, you do not have to feel anything special just feel whatever comes to the surface at that moment and then you may notice the quality of thoughts that come at that time. For example perhaps there will be heat at the back of the neck and your thoughts will be those of aversion to this situation. Just notice this or whatever else comes up, you do not have to like the situation as it presents itself but we also do not want to add to the situation if we can avoid this, we do not want to make the situation worse than it needs to be.

Your situation sounds difficult and all I can say is this too shall pass, but when is not known. It is also tough to practice stillness in this type of environment, if available to you stop somewhere quiet on the way home from work, or go somewhere quiet if you can when these people act up. A church, a temple, or a park, anywhere where there is some tranquility to begin with, and just sit for an hour in silence to regain some calm and balance. This will help you to face the stormy situation on your home front. Make sure you take care of your need for silence in your day to day, make this a priority to try and have at least 2 hrs of quiet solitude each day. Then the rest of the day can be filled with the noise and you will at least know that you have this time coming each day where you can be somewhat still and regain calm and balance.

costello wrote:Applying that to befriending this boy next door: I don't have the heart for anything but fake "friendship" right now. Possibly if I got to know him, that would change. I don't know. I just know it makes me feel a little nauseous to even think about being friends with him.


You do not have to be friends with these people, just see them as sick or ignorant people who are deeply suffering, and try not to hit them with a golf club. :D

Maha metta to you,
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Re: Struggling with surrendering

Postby Manyana » Fri Jun 06, 2014 2:11 am

Hi costello, Eckhart says in PON to imagine you are transparent to the noise, so you imagine it passing straight through you. He suggests that you start by practicing on noises that only annoy you a little bit, when that works, move onto a slightly more annoying noise and so on.
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Re: Struggling with surrendering

Postby KathleenBrugger » Fri Jun 06, 2014 6:30 pm

costello wrote:Fortunately there are other reasons to move, so it's not just down to leaving to avoid the noise. Primarily, my mother is elderly and is to the point where she needs someone around more. Also, I'd like more room for my animals. Finally my house is deteriorating, and I don't have the money to repair it. I've been without a furnace for four winters now. And the foundation is crumbling badly.

All of that takes the emotional charge out of moving. I'm not doing the "these people have driven me out of my home" thing, because really I might be moving even without their noise.

It occurred to me when I read this that perhaps your noisy neighbors are the universe's way of helping you make the move. Maybe it's right that you move, considering the things you've mentioned above, and without the impetus of the noise you'd have kept putting it off. This makes me think of a joke:

A flood came and a woman was stranded in her house. Someone came along in a boat and said, "come on I'll take you to dry ground." She replied, "no thanks, God will save me." Time passed and the water got higher. She was now at her second floor window when another boat came by. The person called out, "I'm so glad I spotted you, jump in!" She replied, "no thanks, God will save me." More time passed and she climbed up onto the roof. Then a helicopter flew by and a man came down a rope with a bucket to pick her up. She waved him off, saying once again, "no thanks, God will save me." The waters kept rising and she died. When she got to heaven she asked God, "why didn't you save me?" God replied, "I sent you two boats and a helicopter--what did you want?!"

Sometimes it takes dramatic circumstances for the universe to get our attention. :D

This could be completely irrelevant to your situation, just wanted to share the thought.
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Re: Struggling with surrendering

Postby viking55803 » Fri Jun 06, 2014 11:11 pm

Your situation is definitely a challenge to your inner peace. I actually felt angry just hearing about it! Not very ET of me, is it?

The only thing I might add is to focus on the times when there is NO noise, and direct your attention elsewhere when there is noise. Or, simply leave the situation for a time to allow yourself the joy of presence without that distraction.

None of these things may be of help, but I think you came to the right place!

Peace,
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Re: Struggling with surrendering

Postby Onceler » Sat Jun 07, 2014 12:46 am

I'm a firm believer that every problem has a solution....maybe that's acceptance in this case, I don't know. I think our "spiritual" insight and practice makes us more creative and less likely to react out of defensiveness and fear, allowing for a greater flow of creativity. I don't know the solution in this case, but it's probably doesn't involve getting into a pissing contest....think outside the box.

And maybe get a good set of noise canceling headphones....
Be present, be pleasant.
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Re: Struggling with surrendering

Postby tod » Sat Jun 07, 2014 1:51 am

I have used very noisy neighbours in what I call my 'acceptance practice'. The world is offering you this unique opportunity; make use of it while it is present as the noise makers will eventually 'grow up' or 'move away' and then you will have lost this teaching tool. Note the noise or the annoyance that comes up and do not react to it; just watch it, just be with it, and it will go as all things do; and just give a friendly wave to the riders as they go by, as if completely untroubled and appreciative that they are 'having a good time' - as you always are as your true self.

With best wishes,
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Re: Struggling with surrendering

Postby smiileyjen101 » Sat Jun 07, 2014 2:01 am

Interesting discussion :D

With reference to what Phil is saying - take a look at how you titled this 'story' - this is the way it's being seen - by you, in you, through you.

It's interesting that you have all the other reasons for moving. Sometimes when we are experiencing change we feel as if we need to justify it and create 'suffering' where we are in order to move away from it. The same might happen if one has outgrown a job or a relationship, we make 'enemy', 'obstacle' or means to an end of the person/s, thing/s and/or situation in order to move us forward. It's one way, the other is to move or change in acceptance, enjoyment &/or enthusiasm.

A couple of other things occurred to me - you have a notion that how you behave and would have others behave is 'right'. Was this learned in an environment of punishment & reward for behaving how others would have you behave?

The 'struggling with surrending' might really apply to the 'changes' that are occurring and you're looking for someone to 'blame' or propel you. I read a quote once that said 'change is the violence that throws us headlong into our future'.
It's only violent if we're resisting it. It's only a struggle if we're making an enemy, obstacle, means to an end of others, situations or things.

Viking said: Your situation is definitely a challenge to your inner peace. I actually felt angry just hearing about it! Not very ET of me, is it?

:wink: umm nope. Why did you get angry? What 'offence' do you imagine is occurring?

Viking said: The only thing I might add is to focus on the times when there is NO noise, and direct your attention elsewhere when there is noise. Or, simply leave the situation for a time to allow yourself the joy of presence without that distraction.

I'd suggest the reverse - realise that noise is everywhere all around us all the time, we put our attention into it or not and feed our opinions about it, or not.

Its not about the noise, it's about resistance to it.
Our rights start deep within our humanity; they end where another's begin~~ SmileyJen
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