Apathy

This is the place to post whatever questions you have related to the teachings of Eckhart Tolle. The rest of us will do whatever we can to help you achieve a better understanding :)
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turiya
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Re: Apathy

Post by turiya » Sun May 13, 2018 7:24 am

Great thread! Love reading everyone's input!
Niki wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 3:22 pm
I have a love-hate relationship with all the spiritual teachers I listen too; sometimes they just annoy me, often they tranquilize me (like a medicine) and then sporadically I get a truly deep insight that opens my eyes and reveals a layer of 'crust' or 'shell' that I had been clinging to and I am then able to shed it.
I know what you mean. I've experienced the same. :lol:

I don't have anything to add... Just want to share an Adyashanti video you might find helpful (or at least not too annoying :mrgreen: ):

https://youtu.be/ttPe1U5T7n0
“We ourselves are not an illusory part of Reality; rather are we Reality itself illusorily conceived.” - Wei Wu Wei

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Re: Apathy

Post by Niki » Sun May 13, 2018 3:14 pm

Thank you for the link :)
Everybody is being very helpful to this old mule and I'm greatful.

Today I want to stew in self pity, resentment and maybe a bit of general anger directed at nothing in particular-=haha!
Today I say BS to enlightening or any kind of "spiritual panacea" since I will be plenty light when I die--so why not just enjoy my prideful, stinking selfish self and my huge ego-- waaaaahaaaa (evil laugh)--I might just give someone the finger today!

:D

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Onceler
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Re: Apathy

Post by Onceler » Mon May 14, 2018 1:26 am

Do you keep a journal? You’re a good writer. Write through it. I find it helpful in seeing changes and subtle trends and also in releasing what’s on my mind and heart.

(I think you should flip off everything)
Be present, be pleasant.

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turiya
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Re: Apathy

Post by turiya » Mon May 14, 2018 10:44 pm

Onceler wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 1:26 am
(I think you should flip off everything)
Yes! Give everything the bird (including the bird itself)! :D

Also, another fun practice: try to be as egoic as you can!... It's as impossible and as silly as trying not to be egoic :lol: (... since it's the ego that is doing all the trying.) You'll know you're doing the practice right if you end up laughing at yourself and the absurdity of the situation.... Very liberating!
“We ourselves are not an illusory part of Reality; rather are we Reality itself illusorily conceived.” - Wei Wu Wei

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jukai
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Re: Apathy

Post by jukai » Thu May 17, 2018 4:26 am

I think that apathy is a defense/coping/survival mechanism, and a very effective one. I also think that apathy is, ironically, the last step on the stairway leading to death, although its aim is the opposite - self-preservation. Because, when you have stopped caring, you are a corpse with a heartbeat and a pulse, one step from death.

"In a sense, I am dead already." - Eckhart Tolle, in Even the Sun Will Die

Apathy is what my organism deemed was the best (or perhaps the only) way to cope with reality, when caring about the outcome of events proved too painful and fraught with anxiety. It has worked. I am not in a psych ward. I am able to do my daily chores, perform essential self-care, and speak to people on a superficial level. And in my frantic attempts to preserve my life, all I have done is deaden it - it is mind-boggling, to be sure. Apathy is not something I am proud of. I'd rather care, like most do.

Sometimes, I feel like this whole body of teachings is just a copout for people who couldn't face the world as it is and so created a set of fantasies. I don't blame them, obviously, because I resorted to the same approach of self-preservation.

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Re: Apathy

Post by Webwanderer » Thu May 17, 2018 5:33 pm

jukai wrote:
Thu May 17, 2018 4:26 am
Sometimes, I feel like this whole body of teachings is just a copout for people who couldn't face the world as it is and so created a set of fantasies. I don't blame them, obviously, because I resorted to the same approach of self-preservation.
This appears to assume that it's an either/or option which is born of a mostly egoic perspective. I'm not criticizing the ego here, just pointing to how things often unfold when life is not sufficiently considered from a larger perspective.

Of course it's okay to do so as it's all about experience of all kinds and will ultimately be incorporated to its best advantage. Evolution of consciousness tends to work that way. Contrast is useful after all, in understanding how life energy flows and manifests experience. So if you get lost in apathy, know that it won't last forever. Eventually the veil will be lifted even if death has to come first in order to see it.

You don't have to wait till for death for some greater clarity however; but you can and it won't matter much in the eternity of life. It's very much a choice and a more enjoyable life experience is available through a perspective that sees life as a valuable opportunity to explore possibilities.

WW

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turiya
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Re: Apathy

Post by turiya » Fri May 18, 2018 12:40 am

jukai wrote:
Thu May 17, 2018 4:26 am
Sometimes, I feel like this whole body of teachings is just a copout for people who couldn't face the world as it is and so created a set of fantasies. I don't blame them, obviously, because I resorted to the same approach of self-preservation.
At times, I have felt this too.

At other times, I have felt like this whole (human-made) world is just a copout for the human mind which doesn't want to face what is... and so it created "fantasy" Time (a troubling past to always try to run away from and an ideal future to always try to attain) so that it never has to face what is.

...Never, that is, until it stops all the avoiding and grasping.

At other other times, I've felt un-feeling about it either way. (lol... To feel un-feeling... How is that even possible?)

Anyway, it's fun to watch these feelings (all feelings... especially the un-feeling feelings :lol: ) arise, stay a bit, then go.

(... But it's not so much fun to try to avoid or grasp at any feeling. :wink: )
“We ourselves are not an illusory part of Reality; rather are we Reality itself illusorily conceived.” - Wei Wu Wei

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Onceler
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Re: Apathy

Post by Onceler » Fri May 18, 2018 11:46 am

I have felt the same way jukai describes.....apathetic and suspicious of my motives for the spiritual search; a defense mechanism against a frightening world. I also agree with WW in that there is another side to apathy and we can go through it to something else. The ‘something else’ for me is a strange state and has some similarities to the apathetic state. There is a fIattening of emotions which is good in that I am certainly not suffering like I once did with depression and anxiety, guilt, shame and other destructive emotions. However, I also don’t experience the highs I once did; joy, happiness, giddiness, anticipation, excitement, etc. I feel very calm and peaceful most of the time, but all of life has this peace-infused quality with a certain universal sadness that’s hard to describe. Not unpleasant, for sure and more desirable by light years than my old suffering ways, yet a little......dull? I sometimes affectionately call this state ‘old joy’, a deeper, yet more spare/austere version of joy.
Yet I am more engaged and energetically involved with my life as never before.

This may be a bio-chemical product of middle age, a wringing out of neurotransmitters, dopamine most likely, brought on by years of food and substance abuse. Or a dysthymic ghost depression, a resonant echo of years of deeper depression that I’ll never quite shake off. Who knows? The Qigong teacher I follow talks about a sort of universal, low grade sadness that is an inevitable part of expansion and growth and exploration into the ‘emptiness’. A recurring riff from a close friend of mine who looks at me more deeply than others is the question, ‘why are you so sad?’ This sounds suspiciously close to apathy.
Be present, be pleasant.

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Re: Apathy

Post by Webwanderer » Fri May 18, 2018 2:16 pm

I have found that the 'application' of appreciation has a cumulative effect on well being. To make it a point to sit in nondescript appreciation on frequent occasions raises one's energy at the moment and over time. Of course it's unlikely for one to be able to live every moment in appreciation, as life has its challenges and distractions, but general improvement in one's emotional/mental state is available.

Appreciation, as I see it, is the closest we can get to unconditional love in this human environment. It's well worth exploring.

WW

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Re: Apathy

Post by Rob X » Fri May 18, 2018 6:12 pm

Hello Niki, welcome to the forum. Sorry to hear of your recent loss.

There’s another way of approaching this which only really becomes digestible when one is tired of the whole spiritual circus and seeking game - it sounds like you’re at that place.

Already, right now, there is nothing that you need to do - or become - or attain in order to be the perfect expression of Reality (or Source or Awareness or God or whatever…)

Can you see - it’s already happening - this that’s going on is Source unfolding perfectly - you can’t put a foot wrong. You (as in, the body-mind with all of its frailties) are not doing you. Reality/Source/the Cosmos is doing you - complete with ego and the rest. Just relax as this unfolding and know that everything is okay (even when it feels otherwise.)

The paradox is that in the moment of this very seeing, ego identification is transcended.

It’s a misunderstanding (and a probable cause of apathy) to think that we must somehow systematically diminish our ego (and by ego, modern teachings are often referring to your personality/character and its interests.) This is simply about the realisation of a deeper reality beyond the identification with the limited framework of the ego/personality. In seeing this, some (possibly many) ego traits or passions may fade - but they may not - and they certainly don’t have to.

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Re: Apathy

Post by jukai » Sat May 19, 2018 2:57 am

turiya wrote:
Fri May 18, 2018 12:40 am

At times, I have felt this too.

At other times, I have felt like this whole (human-made) world is just a copout for the human mind which doesn't want to face what is... and so it created "fantasy" Time (a troubling past to always try to run away from and an ideal future to always try to attain) so that it never has to face what is.
I see your point. Yes, it is helpful to look at things from both opposing perspectives, till we settle somewhere in between.

I think what I'm starting to realize is that it is up to each one of us to define our own life/world/universe, and determine what is important or not. After all, if I believe that the past and the future are very important, then they are (to me). Who is anyone else to tell me otherwise, for they will never be in my shoes or see through my eyes.

In response to what you said about the mind making up a human-made world, I think that is partly true. I like to think of what is "made up" by the mind as an embellishment of what you call "what is". To some, "what is" is enough; to others, it isn't and they feel the need to embellish the form of the now with something. I think I belong in the latter camp. It isn't enough for me to just sit still; I like to embellish the now. The real challenge, then, is to not take what I do too seriously.

I think we are, all of us, just passing the time, just dancing to the music, just moving from one "distraction" to another, till the music stops someday. And, when we stop dancing for a moment too long is when we are really faced with the horrors of life (the regrets and anxieties in the mind). I think that is why people keep themselves occupied in what Eckhart calls "largely pointless activity". So, in that sense, what you said is true - we are all constantly running away from "what is", but I don't see that as a bad thing.

All said and done, I do believe in the old adage "An idle mind is the devil's workshop."
Last edited by jukai on Sat May 19, 2018 4:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Apathy

Post by jukai » Sat May 19, 2018 4:41 am

Onceler wrote:
Fri May 18, 2018 11:46 am
apathetic and suspicious of my motives for the spiritual search; a defense mechanism against a frightening world.
Very nicely put.
Onceler wrote:
Fri May 18, 2018 11:46 am
The ‘something else’ for me is a strange state and has some similarities to the apathetic state. There is a fIattening of emotions which is good in that I am certainly not suffering like I once did with depression and anxiety, guilt, shame and other destructive emotions. However, I also don’t experience the highs I once did; joy, happiness, giddiness, anticipation, excitement, etc. I feel very calm and peaceful most of the time, but all of life has this peace-infused quality with a certain universal sadness that’s hard to describe. Not unpleasant, for sure and more desirable by light years than my old suffering ways, yet a little......dull? I sometimes affectionately call this state ‘old joy’, a deeper, yet more spare/austere version of joy.
Yes, that is exactly how I'd describe it. It's as if the curve on the graph representing emotions has been "flattened", like in the graph on a hospital vital signs monitor. The depths of despair are gone, taking the giddy highs along with them. Something has been gained, but something has been lost. And, there is this lingering backdrop of sadness, perhaps because we have lost the part of us that was capable of experiencing those intense emotions. Tranquil but dull.
Onceler wrote:
Fri May 18, 2018 11:46 am
Or a dysthymic ghost depression, a resonant echo of years of deeper depression that I’ll never quite shake off. Who knows? The Qigong teacher I follow talks about a sort of universal, low grade sadness that is an inevitable part of expansion and growth and exploration into the ‘emptiness’.
Dysthymia is a very apt word to describe the lingering sadness. It was one of the first medical diagnoses I received when my search for what was wrong began.
Onceler wrote:
Fri May 18, 2018 11:46 am
A recurring riff from a close friend of mine who looks at me more deeply than others is the question, ‘why are you so sad?’ This sounds suspiciously close to apathy.
Yup. Your friend probably senses that you are grieving the loss of your former (innocent) self. I think that some of us, who have been to the dark abyss and back are probably distinguishable from the rest, just by our general demeanor. "They" can probably sense that we are sort of in another world. They don't quite know what we've been through, but they sense it as being fundamentally different from their own experience. I've had the word "deep" been used to describe me.

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Re: Apathy

Post by Onceler » Sat May 19, 2018 5:02 pm

Rob X wrote:
Fri May 18, 2018 6:12 pm


It’s a misunderstanding (and a probable cause of apathy) to think that we must somehow systematically diminish our ego (and by ego, modern teachings are often referring to your personality/character and its interests.) This is simply about the realisation of a deeper reality beyond the identification with the limited framework of the ego/personality. In seeing this, some (possibly many) ego traits or passions may fade - but they may not - and they certainly don’t have to.
Yes!
Be present, be pleasant.

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Re: Apathy

Post by Niki » Sun May 20, 2018 4:25 pm

Hello everyone :)

Wow! what a lot has gone on since I last logged into this thread on apathy!

Thank you. I feel a lot of love in these posts.

I would, however, caution to be careful of 'intellectualism" and over analyzing...(I work at a university and no first hand the trap that is)

Having said that, I can now say that the posts are very welcome. I am incredibly uncomfortable in my skin these days. I can't seem to stop suffering--because I want to damit--I don't want to die to myself. I want the pain and so I have it. But when I have the pain, I'm miserable and plead to God to be free of it!
Mamma mia! it's like the waves of labor, this incessant back and forth: I wanna die, I don't wanna die...I wanna, don't wanna....
There is no doubt that I turned to spiritualism in order to "save my 'self'". The irony is, that in order to do this one must kill the "self"! hahaha!! :lol: seriously--is that not the most brilliant thing ever?

One thing, that has never been more obvious to me, is how much my thinking revolves around disliking myself. If I'm in that place where I watch my thoughts stream by, I see that every other thought is about how: stupid I am, incompetent, unworthy, disgusting, just plain pile of smoking, reeking excrement that should be avoided at all costs etc. etc.
And I am shocked.
There is just pure loathing and hate at the core of my thinking. I was so unaware of this.

But then, marching to the rescue and right on cue, comes the VICTIM. OMG--what a drag the victim is! Here's a sample: poor me, my mother was horrible to me, my sisters are evil witches, the world hates me, I do everything and nobody cares or helps me, nobody acknowledges all my effort, and I'm so selfless, loving and giving but get nothing in return....bla bla bla, it is really quite nauseating.

Let's not even mention my states of panic/manic thinking when I absolutely have to do XYZ right now or else!

What a full house my brain is--just overstuffed with junk!
Yes, I am clearing it out. Slowly. And, of course, I'm agonizing over each minuscule item I shed. This will be a long process to be sure.
Thank you.
Niki

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Re: Apathy

Post by Webwanderer » Sun May 20, 2018 7:56 pm

We can only hate ourselves if we don't 'know' ourselves. That which hates, and that which is hated, are both thought constructs and the markers of an illusory separation from our true nature. That which we are in Essence is Divine. Get beyond thinking and the painful judgment that is born of emotionally charged entrained beliefs. Discovering truth is more a matter of insight than logic. If it feels bad it's simply contrast inspiring a larger evolution of consciousness.

WW

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