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Off TopicWhy meditation is a badass discipline and a great path to happiness (self.TheRedPill)

submitted by Diddlydangerous

Summary: Sitting alone with your thoughts proves more painful than an electric shock. There is no 'you' there just other people's conditioning. Sitting in forced-determination meditation proves an ordeal due to the first study and as one experiences the pains of stillness consistently resistance to pain is reduced, equanimity is increased, leading to deeper states of fulfillment, well-being, and joy which scientists are finding neural correlates for.


“All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” - Blaise Pascal

The Atlantic Monthly recently reported on a study in which individuals would rather administer electric shocks to themselves than sit alone in a room with their thoughts.

The researchers say, "This line of research started with a whole different question, which was, ‘How can we help people think better?’" Westgate explains. "What we found, to our surprise, is that people really can’t do this very well at all. Our question changed to, ‘What's going on here?’"

Perhaps it is an issue of mental control, she speculates. Most people often get lost in thought — while walking down the street, taking a shower or remembering a recent vacation.

“So it's not that we can never enjoy thinking,” she says. “But something about doing it on command, at a certain time — and deliberately — is really, really hard, which suggests that it may be an issue of mental control.”

“It may be that our minds ... are not designed to withdraw from the environment, to withdraw from the people around us and to focus inwards,” she says.

This can explain a lot of what goes on in society, all the busyness and tedium. It also shows operationally that most people are dominated by their thoughts or verbal hallucinations depending on your point of view (or conditioning.)

The first great truth comes from an insight that gains one access to stream entry in Buddhism, which guarantees enlightenment in time. This insight comes when one sees that the "self" is just the byproduct of conditioning.

The redpill is a good example of conditioning. You hear many other people's opinions and over time if you are like me it changes your outlook on life radically. More than just an exercise in semantics, are you the same person before and after you "unplug?"


The second aspect of meditation that I wanted to share because I think it applies to this forum is the Skinnerian aspect of "sitting" as it is referred to. B.F. Skinner was a psychologist who helped develop the theory of behaviorism, or positive and negative conditioning.

According to his theory, if an organism receives a bad consequence an action will not be repeated. If it receives a good consequence the action will be repeated.

When one sits on a hard surface in Zen or any other meditative practice, one must deal with the arising of thoughts which is apparently worse than an electric shock (because they experience other people's conditioning of them beneath which there is no entity.) The reptilian brain which guides most of our behavior then desperately wants to move or shift and when it does and we do move or shift this drives and distorts behavior.

The reptilian brain drives most of our behavior and is associated with the oldest circuitry in the human brain. Neuroscience has attempted to identify a neuroscience of happiness, and according to Daniel Gilbert and Richard Davidson at a conference in 2011, a hypothesis is that one of the old circuits in the brain that is responsible for sensing things also can be recruited to produce the feeling of fulfillment or well-being.

So trying to be as precise as possible, it seems as if dealing with the pain of sitting alone with one's thoughts, and experiencing the ache that comes from sitting still and feeling the urge to resist fully and deeply but not giving in to it, allows one to experience a sense of increasing sensory fulfillment that becomes ever more widespread over time.

This Skinnerian toughness that one gains from the middle path never leaves you. It becomes the operating principle of your life. It develops "spine."


Lessons Learned: 1. Sit still for long periods of time and don't move. 2. Don't cling to positive or negative states
3. Closely examine positive and negative states 4. Pain is a goldmine for insight into impermanence of sensations 5. Joy and bliss do not come only from optimal external circumstances, they can be cultivated. 6. You are created by the conditioning of others around you.


[–]look4wolfpack 84 points85 points  (4 children)

I actually really enjoyed this. I heard an analogy recently (forgot where) that compared meditation to a mana potion in video games. That made me chuckle, and I decided to try it again after years of meditating on and off for spiritual reasons in my youth. I went outside and sat in a chair, closed my eyes, and just drifted away almost like falling asleep but I was fully awake and fully aware. I just relaxed and didn't try to think or not to think, which allowed me to observe the thoughts that were occurring without my permission or assistance. THAT is what I think he's talking about here. I noticed most of these thoughts were negative, at least the most powerful ones. I heard my neighbors pull up in their driveway and wondered if they'd think i was rude for not waving to them, but I remained in a state of meditation. I then began to worry they'd think I was on drugs slumped over in a chair with my eyes closed. I still didn't move, even though I really wanted to. Then I started laughing really hard because it was so utterly amusing to me to watch these insecurities struggle like drowning rats in my brain. "PLEASE! PLEASE MAKE SURE THEY AREN'T JUDGING YOU! JUST OPEN YOUR EYES FOR A MINUTE AND ACKNOWLEDGE IF THEY'RE JUDGING YOU!" I laughed even harder, which of course made my insecurities explode because here I was with my eyes closed, no headphones on, nothing happening around me, slumped over in a chair laughing my ass off. Still didn't care, still hovered in the back of my mind somewhere observing these involuntary thoughts struggling for their life as if any of it really mattered. Like if my neighbors judged me I'd just explode in flames or something. I kept feeling the urge to stop, to do anything else but meditate, to say "Ok good job, you're finished, get up now!" but I stayed there for about 10-15 minutes. It was one of the most pleasant feelings in my entire life and I can't wait to do it again today. Really puts emotions into perspective, not as a part of you, but as a part of your lower self. The animal's conditioning, as OP said.

[–]refusewool 14 points15 points  (1 child)

Thanks to your comment, I also just burst out laughing whilst slumped in a chair.

[–]ItchyIrishBalls 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Good stuff and well written.

[–]TheIceReaver 3 points4 points  (0 children)

For me, this type of experience is what it's all about folks! Never mind all the added benefits that eventually come, the focus, clarity, spine. Never mind the mindblowingly intense euphoria and energy you will feel, the breadth of your imagination you will sense.

Meditation is good fun.

[–][deleted] 59 points60 points  (36 children)

Recommendation for beginners:

For philosophy read or listen to "The power of now" - it legit helped me get rid of social anxiety

For practice pirate or buy Headspace series (guided meditation)

[–]tubameister 14 points15 points  (2 children)

there was a time in college where I meditated for 30 minutes a day for 3 months, and it totally cured my social anxiety. So instead of freaking out about not knowing what to say, I simply didn't know what to say, and was able to learn from situations much more constructively.

[–]mada0207 3 points4 points  (1 child)

So why did you stop and dos you notice things going back to how they used to be previously?

[–]tubameister 4 points5 points  (0 children)

I stopped because I got really busy with school but the lessons I learned still stuck with me. Now I only meditate occasionally and notice that when I haven't in a while I get spikes of anger at small things like the wifi struggling to connect or my hearing loss preventing me from hearing things that most people would.

[–]Endorsed ContributorMarsupian 10 points11 points  (1 child)

I prefer the free ebook mindfulness in plain english over headspace.

The power of now was a game changer for me.

[–]SW9876 5 points6 points  (2 children)

Can you elaborate on how "The Power of Now" helped you get rid of your social anxiety.

[–][deleted] 23 points24 points  (0 children)

It made me realize that the anxiety is a bunch of false beliefs I had in my head (damn these people are probably thinking I'm weird, I'm going to fail, etc.) and the only reality that is true is what I'm experiencing right here and now - thoughts are only an inaccurate commentary on reality, the past doesn't exist (only your memories of it) and the future does not exist (again only what your mind creates because you can never truly know what's going to happen and how a things are going to go down - in a social interaction for example.

So the way to do it is to shut down your thoughts and experience the now completely and be in the moment. When ,for example, someone rejects you - you react in the now, it isn't possible for the anxiety to appear because there's no resistance to reality.

I'm not a native speaker so if this doesn't make sense hit me back and I'll try to explain more clearly.

[–]Hank3590 4 points5 points  (8 children)

Just to be clear, are you talking about this? -http://www.audible.com.au/pd/Health-Personal-Development/Get-Some-Headspace-Audiobook/B00FGG220Y

I'm thinking of purchasing both of these on my Audible account.

[–]1empatheticapathetic 3 points4 points  (4 children)

That link won't work for me but headspace is a smartphone app that has daily guided meditations.

[–]teedotohhh 0 points1 point  (3 children)

Do you have a subscription with them? How do you like it?

[–]netflixandch111 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Headspace is great to get started but there's no need to pay for it unless you really want to. There are thousands of guided meditations out there on YouTube and other websites. The meditation subreddit is great as well.

I went to my local kadampa center for an introductory meditation class and it was great. Maybe try finding one nearby to where you live.

[–]Igetitnow2 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I paid for it. It's really not worth it. As it progresses they just slowly remove parts from the free intro until it's just: "start like we normally do"... 15 minutes of nothing ... "open your eyes". I still use it since I paid for it, I guess that says something.

[–]rp_newdawn 0 points1 point  (0 children)

No you need to look on the App Store. Been using the app for a year, seeing how many days in a row I have meditated is really motivating and helps turn it into a disciplined practice

[–]ajs02f 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Both of these resources have helped me tremendously and have complimented each other nicely.

I look at it like this:

Practical philosophies like TRP, The Power of Now and Stoicism give me a guide or a model for how to be as a man and how to react to every situation. Meditation provides me the mechanism for ensuring that I actually follow these guides and models with my behavior.

Aligning action with thought is always a challenge for me. I am aware of how I want (or should) react to any given situation...but impulse from emotion often betray me. I don't act the way I know I should act or want to act. Maintaining a present state of awareness through mindfulness exercises help me to bridge the gap between action and thought. This allows me to act and react in accordance with my rational beliefs that are grounded in TRP and Stoicism.

TRP and Stoicism are like my road maps. Mindfulness through meditation ensures that I accurately follow the road map at every turn and ignore the temptation to wander off the correct path.

[–]asuus 4 points5 points  (5 children)

I have to disagree with the power of now. I read about 50% before I had to put it down. It's filled with new age jargon that is hard to follow and the author isn't a good writer.

For anyone who is interested in a more sensible approach to meditation I recommend 10% happier by Dan Harris where he delves in to what it's all about. Usefull or bullcrap? The book is funny and easy to read.

Waking up by Sam Harris (no relation to Dan) is a scientific and no bullshit approach to meditation. It has a several interesting stories and tangents from Sam so it's not that much of a how to manual.

Combined with the headspace app I've gotten a good grasp of how to meditate and why to meditate.

[–]ajs02f 3 points4 points  (1 child)

I have to disagree with the power of now. I read about 50% before I had to put it down. It's filled with new age jargon that is hard to follow and the author isn't a good writer.

There is some of that, but Tolle offers practical advice as well. What he calls "watching the thinker" is a practical tool to use daily to improve presentness. Observing and acknowledging thoughts as they arise in a non-judgmental way, as Tolle puts it "is the beginning of the end of involuntary and compulsive thinking."

To me it feels almost like mini-meditations or mindfulness reminders that you can use throughout the day.

[–]asuus 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Tolle does have his moments, but that's why I believe he is a bad place to start for a beginner. It's very hard to comprehend and the way he has packaged the info makes Sam and Dan a better place to start for anyone who has never meditated before.

A lot of his knowledge is in the books I listed, but written in a way that is more "normal". He makes a cameo in 10% happier as Dan has interviewed him. An interesting fellow, but not where I would point someone who is looking to learn about meditation.

[–]pardonmeimdrunk 1 point2 points  (1 child)

If the power of now isn't working you can try Tolle's other book a new earth.

[–]dingman58 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Seconded. Both of Tolle's Power of Now and A New Earth were great. Quite helpful for taming the mind.

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

The Dan Harris book is a solid recommendation. He approaches meditation as a bit of a skeptic and his stories portray him as a learner, not an expert. He provides a useful appendix and Q&A for help in beginning meditation.

[–]DabReligion 0 points1 point  (3 children)

let's say, hypothetically, for educational purposes... how could I pirate and app subscription? Asking for a friend

[–][deleted] 3 points4 points  (1 child)

You can't really pirate the app subscription but there's a torrent in piratebay with 365 days worth of meditation series for each day.

[–]character_ethics 2 points3 points  (0 children)

magnet:?xt=urn:btih:46F20E647E59D51A82B781BAF4472578623D1F75&dn=Headspace%20v2%20%28Complete%20-%20December%202015%29&tr=udp%3a%2f%2ftracker.publicbt.com%3a80%2fannounce&tr=udp%3a%2f%2fglotorrents.pw%3a6969%2fannounce&tr=udp%3a%2f%2ftracker.openbittorrent.com%3a80%2fannounce&tr=udp%3a%2f%2ftracker.opentrackr.org%3a1337%2fannounce

[–]Redasshole -5 points-4 points  (5 children)

Better advice yet: find a qualified teacher. Proper meditation is not something one can learn from a book or a mobile app.

[–][deleted] 9 points10 points  (4 children)

You don't need to pay some fucker to teach you how to sit still and step back from your thoughts. It's just practice and discipline. Neither of which can any teacher give you.

[–]vipernick913 1 point2 points  (0 children)

This. Just try it. It takes some getting used to. But paying someone is not worth it whatsoever.

[–]dingman58 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Never had formal meditation instruction myself but if a book can be a decent teacher, couldn't a teacher also be reasonably helpful?

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

A teacher could also be helpful, maybe even incredibly helpful, but basic meditation is not that complex a discipline. A teacher could help, but they're far from necessary. It just takes practice.

[–]Redasshole 0 points1 point  (0 children)

You are a moron. I won't argue with you.

[–]thisornothing 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Read "Thoughts Without a Thinker" by Mark Epstein. He's a Western psychoanalyst and Buddhist practitioner, and he successfully managed to analyse the methods that Buddhism developed and how those are applicable to mental health and therapy. He cuts through a lot of the wishy-washy spiritual feel-good crap and presents meditation as what it is - a tool. It can be used to quiet your mind, to build your confidence, to know yourself.

"The Power of Now" is essentially a vague description of what Epstein writes about, and if you're turned off by that kind of vague hippy crap, I'd recommend "Thoughts Without a Thinker" instead.

One thing that changed my attitude was hearing meditation described as a "bicep curl for the brain". If you're training your body, then it seems obvious you'd train your mind and soul in parallel.

[–][deleted] 8 points9 points  (6 children)

New here, but I'm wondering if redpill shouldn't be giving meditation more attention.

That said, I would have liked this post to link meditation with the premises of redpill more closely.

[–]kunalbluevy 16 points17 points  (4 children)

Meditation is being in control of your thoughts. It builds discipline, and you need discipline to achieve your goals in life. You need discipline to be a better man in every aspect of your life which is what trp is all about.

Being in control of your thoughts reduces anxiety, anger and panic in any situation. A calm mind does not react, it responds. A calm mind does not loose frame. Once you master it, your mind can be the mighty oak that remains undeterred in any storms.

There was another excellent post about meditation on trp recently. Read it if you can.

[–]magus678 5 points6 points  (1 child)

Meditation is being in control of your thoughts.

Without going on a rant or being pedantic, I will just say this is a very common error in what meditation is. Creating an adversarial relationship with yourself where you are trying to subjugate parts of you is counterproductive.

You can't control your thoughts, but you do get a hand in shaping them. Becoming comfortable in that headspace is one of the central goals and benefits of meditating.

[–]pardonmeimdrunk 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Yea, if you try to control your thoughts you're going to go crazy. We can manipulate them but we can't control them. It's fascinating trying to figure out where the thoughts come from and where do they go.

[–]5kevin 1 point2 points  (1 child)

React and respond hold the same meaning in this situation. Care to explain your claim ?

[–][deleted] 3 points4 points  (0 children)

It is because you are new here that you think we don't give it attention. The posts tend to go in waves. We have periods where the accent is on physical fitness, periods where it is about meditation and stoicism, periods when it is about finance and goals, and of course lots of periods about dealing with women. TRP is pretty broad in its coverage. For myself, meditation and Stoicism, along with the physical side, is always core. And there is a lot of overlap between Stoicism and Buddhist /Taoist meditation ideas (although differences too). Right now, I'm doing the Stoic Mindfulness and Resilience Training course (http://donaldrobertson.name) which has just started, and also daily meditation using the Calm app (Calm.com) as a guide.

[–]kaezermusik 1 point2 points  (1 child)

for the skeptics who think mediation is filled with voodoo based on some of the texts and claims.

Check out Sam Harris' Waking Up (book). It touches more on the science and philosphy of mediation than just the spiritual aspect of mediation. It made me an avid mediator. Sam Harris holds a PhD in neuroscience , is a skeptic and one of the champions of atheism.

[–]NeoreactionSafe 6 points7 points  (0 children)

 

According to his theory, if an organism receives a bad consequence an action will not be repeated. If it receives a good consequence the action will be repeated.

 

The female Hamster Wheel seeks Subjective Happiness and in her mind when she gets good feelings she has made Progress.

The Masculine mind is the awakened mind which "steps outside" this behavioral trap.

Meditation is "ending the dreamworld" we call time.

The past and future are dreams.

The Hamster Wheel of Subjective Happiness is always "chasing" something which is anticipated to make you feel good. It's addictive behavior.

Meditation is ending all addiction and ending time.

 

[–]Drenmar 2 points3 points  (5 children)

I tried several times to make meditation a habit and ultimately I always failed. Meditation is hard as fuck. I will try again.

[–]aewiggin 2 points3 points  (3 children)

For me the most difficult (and important) aspect of meditation is the discipline involved in doing it consistently and applying numerous other lifestyle changes that make it easier. If your sleep schedule is fucked then you're not going to feel like meditating before bed. Similarly, if you're playing too many videogames, watching too much TV or working right up until you sleep then meditation is going to be more difficult. I've started and stopped numerous times and I can definitely say that I felt much better when I was organised enough to meditate consistently.

[–]apachemd 0 points1 point  (2 children)

This. What in the best, most regular, predictable time of the day to do daily mediation? One would thing mornings shortly after waking, and I have tried to do that, but I wake up to 20 emails, 5 texts, etc, and I immediately grab coffee and get to work... putting off meditation till another day. For those of y'all that mediate consistently, when and how do you incorporate it into your daily routine?

[–]aewiggin 2 points3 points  (1 child)

I like to do it before I sleep. It helps quiet my mind so that I'm not laying in bed thinking about everything.

My routine is usually:

  1. Stop working 45-60 minutes before I plan to sleep
  2. Make some tea
  3. Read a book and sip tea for half an hour
  4. Brush teeth
  5. Meditate for 10-30 minutes

[–]apachemd 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Interesting, I'd imagine that is a great to counter insomnia too. Will try it, thanks!

[–]JackGetsIt 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Try different types of meditation until you narrow down on one that you can do consistently. I made a post a few days ago and in preparation for that post I read about 6 others previously posted on redpill that go into lots of different meditation types and routines. I'd argue that it the consistency of meditation and not the occasional 'long' session implied by OP that will net you the greatest benefits.

[–]JackGetsIt 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I've read the shock study your referring to. What stood out for me is that people can't be 'bored' anymore. Which if you think about it is a sad a possibly dangerous state of affairs for society as a whole. People are becoming addicted to instant goods, instant entertainment, instant food, instant sex, instant transportation.

[–]MuffinSnatcher14 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Meditation is typically confusing or overwhelming at first--This video is what oriented me and got me hooked on the practice. While it is no substitute for the Power of Now, Meditations, etc. it is, in my opinion, a must-watch for beginners/intermediates.

[–]camenossaber 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Wow I could've sworn I was in the meditation sub. Even just focusing on awareness of the now is extremely helpful.

[–]najaanwe 2 points3 points  (8 children)

Thanks for the interesting post OP.

My two cents: Be careful with using meditation if you are currently suffering from depression and/or anxiety (particularly when these are severe) as it can be conducive to rumination, which ultimately reinforces negative thought cycles. I see many articles online that advocate using meditation against these mental states, but from personal experience I found it more detrimental than helpful in these instances. If anything, 'getting out' of ones head and engaging the senses is best when depressed or anxious-- sports, nature walks, playing a musical instrument, etc. are all good alternatives.

In sum: Meditation is not a silver bullet for all problems and circumstances. Reserve meditation for when you experience better/healthy states of mind. Be careful with it when (severely) depressed or anxious.

[–]1beerthroway 24 points25 points  (1 child)

If you are depressed you are living in the past.

If you are anxious you are living in the future.

If you are at peace you are living in the present.

-Lao Tzu

Meditation is practicing staying in the present. It absolutely helps depression and anxiety.

[–][deleted] -2 points-1 points  (0 children)

I speak on Lao Tzu totally differently. I am not related to him because even to be related a distance is needed. I don’t love him, because how can you love yourself? When I speak on Lao Tzu I speak as if I am speaking on my own self. With him my being is totally one. When I speak on Lao Tzu it is as if I am looking in a mirror – my own face is reflected. When I speak on Lao Tzu, I am absolutely with him. Even to say ”absolutely with him” is not true – I am him, he is me.

[–]magus678 14 points15 points  (1 child)

Be careful with using meditation if you are currently suffering from depression and/or anxiety

If you are meditating and it is enhancing your rumination I have to say you are doing it wrong.

Meditation isn't contemplative thought (though, there are similarities).

Mindfulness meditation has very good data in its favor when practiced properly for breaking up the rumination cycle you mention.

[–]spetz18 0 points1 point  (0 children)

For those who are finding this outcome, incorporating 10 or so minutes of metta daily before your meditation session is the answer.

[–]najaanwe 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I agree with many of the points made in the replies, but I'd like to clarify a few things to avoid further misunderstanding:

  • My comment was targeted at people that have or are enduring severe depression or anxiety. In my case, I was borderline suicidal. For anyone that has experienced clinical depression coupled with severe anxiety you will know that merely telling such a person not to ruminate on negative thoughts while they sit in silence for twenty minutes isn't very realistic or pragmatic.

  • I never said that meditation doesn't help alleviate depression and anxiety (indeed, there is a large volume of research that suggests it does), merely that there is a large room for error if you don't exactly know what you are doing-- which is the case for most people. I was therefore making the case that other activities may therefore be more beneficial (e.g exercise or cooking) for the given goal.

  • My comment was intended to be a warning, not a normative claim.

Nevertheless, cheers for the feedback.

[–]pmelton317 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I view this as a positive thing, though it can very obviously be viewed in the opposite perspective. It is healthy for you to experience those negative thoughts and let them come forth. Once you are aware of those things your opportunity to change them presents itself. Let those thoughts come and when they do, change them into positive thoughts. It's actually quite easy, the difficult thing is mustering the willpower to change them.

[–]jetsetter883 0 points1 point  (2 children)

If we are created by the conditioning of those around us, how exactly do we "go our own way" and align our purpose more with the person we want to be? I'm skeptical that the self is purely 100% environmental.

[–]Z28D 1 point2 points  (0 children)

We don't. I suppose none of us are truly "unique". If the self is nothing but conditioning then we are always acting in regards to some sort of conditioning, as well as the influence of mental chemicals from genetics. But I'm a stoner not a neuroscientist...

[–]pardonmeimdrunk 0 points1 point  (0 children)

We aren't, I think he's a little off here. We choose what to identify with and those identifications are our ego. The environment has an impact on the ego because of the memories it creates, but you still have free will to choose what to cling to and what to let go.

[–]ExitAscend 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Do you have a link to the study?

The Atlantic Monthly recently reported on a study in which individuals would rather administer electric shocks to themselves than sit alone in a room with their thoughts.

This sounds sensationalist and I don't trust the integrity of the media.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Is-ness is the nature of the inner emptiness; consciousness is the nature of the inner emptiness; bliss is the nature of the inner emptiness. That’s the fear people feel when they move into meditation. When they move into meditation they become afraid, they start trembling. A deep inner trembling arises. A deep anxiety and anguish arises. Why should it be so? You are coming nearer to a blissful state, nearer to an alert, aware consciousness, nearer to existence. Why are you scared of death? You are scared because you don’t know how to be empty. You know only how to be filled, you don’t know how to be empty. You don’t know how to die, how to die to the personality, how to remain in the inner emptiness. You don’t know. When you come inwards and thoughts start moving away from you, suddenly fear takes possession. Where are you going? You feel like you are disappearing, you feel like you are dying. A sort of non-existence grips you – as if you are standing at an abyss and you are looking down and it is bottomless. And you start trembling and perspiration pours from every pore of your body. Death is encountered.

[–]HeadlockBrock 0 points1 point  (0 children)

[–]snorted_the_red_pill 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I've always been obsessed with this notion, that people are not really people. That they are merely masks. I suppose that's why I enjoyed drama club so much at school - I was able to really change my persona as I saw fit.

There's this saying about it - "Everyone has three faces. The first face, you show to the world. The second face, you show to your close friends, and your family. The third face, you never show anyone. It is the truest reflection of who you are." - IDKwho

And these masks are built-up by societal conditioning (or brainwashing as RAW calls it). Always been very interesting for me.

[–]ThrowawayMonk91 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I need to try harder at this. First couple of times doing this, I just felt myself sitting there. Felt like i was wasting time :/

[–]ChickenBalotelli 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I like your write up, but what are you going on about when you say there is no you; there's only other people's conditioning?

and that experiencing other people's conditioning of them? and that there there is no entity?

i would argue that there IS an entity, and it remains untainted, even if the observer is confused for a little while.

[–]2 Senior Endorsed Contributorvengefully_yours 0 points1 point  (0 children)

It may appear that I do not agree, but I do. It's not like most people for me, my brain rarely sits around doing nothing, it's usually planning our diligently working to discover solutions to problems.

I can switch off easily any time I like, unless I am massively stressed. It's something I learned early on in life and perfected during the first gulf war. Sleep deprivation for six months will teach you to shut everything down in an instant, and start it back up again just as fast. It's different for me, having ptsd I need to talk to myself daily and say the right things. I need to look inward and observe if there is any merit to what is fucking me up, be it a memory or anxiety, so I can deal with it.

I will often stop doing everything, and listen to that tiny voice in my head that sure seems to know what to do when I have a problem. Or I will stop and think back to a time where I had a certain serenity in my life, which stands out because it is so rare, and focus on it rather than the whirlwind of destruction around me, and that brief interlude is all it takes to put me back on mission. It might be longer for you, but I only need a break in the chain to achieve a different perspective.

Getting inside your own head and finding out what you can improve or discard is immensely beneficial. I have to do it daily, so I don't even notice it until I stop to think about it. No need for religious beliefs or chakras and che, you can be just you. Being alone in your thoughts can be awesome, it can also be terrifying if you've had a past like mine. Find your way around your thoughts, ask yourself if it's true, if it's possible, and if it's probable of you're stressed about what might happen. My meditation all relates to stress management, because stress and I make a volatile combination. Too much stress and any little thing can set me off and it's never a small incident.

I live alone, and I love it. I'm in my own head all day every day, utilizing the traits of ptsd that can cripple the strongest men. Don't be afraid of what is in there, it can't hurt you, especially your past. It's over and done, you're still alive, face it, think about it, roll it over and over in your head until it is meaningless. That is every day for me. The things I do will work for you if you apply them to your situation. Our minds function very similarly.

[–]mister4string -1 points0 points  (5 children)

As someone who both meditates and who has been shocked by paramedics once (unsedated) and by the defibrillator in my chest six times (also unsedated), I would argue that I would absolutely positively prefer to be alone with my own thoughts. I can't control getting shocked; I can take steps to limit the likelihood of it happening again, but I have ultimately very little control over it. But I CAN control how I think. And meditation is a fantastic way to get me to understand my thought processes. It does not necessarily take away my pain or send me into euphoria, but it helps me understand that the pain I suffer and the euphoria I experience are internal, learned experiences. And anything that can be learned can be understood and, to a degree, anyway, unlearned.

Meditation is incredibly difficult. The mind will fight you every step of the way. There are distractions left and right, up and down. But start to understand how those distractions came to be, start to clear those distractions away, and things begin to fall into place. My goal is not lack of pain or bliss, those will come as sure as the sun will rise. My goal is peace. And having a calm, still mind is a huge step towards that.

[–]pardonmeimdrunk 0 points1 point  (4 children)

What are your techniques to try to control what you think?

[–]mister4string 0 points1 point  (3 children)

It sounds a lot simpler than it is, but it's about simply noticing where my mind goes and steering it back. Check out a guy named Jon Kabat Zinn, he teaches a discipline of mindfulness meditation and he has a great meditation on breathing. Simply put, just sit in a comfortable position and pay attention to nothing but your breath. Your mind WILL wander, it can't NOT wander. The goal is to notice when it does that and gently guide it back to paying attention to just your breathing. You'll have to do it again and again, but the key is to do it gently and not judge yourself while doing it.

You start to recognize your thought patterns. If you can simply notice them as they arise, you can start to steer them away or towards other things.

[–]pardonmeimdrunk 0 points1 point  (2 children)

That's a great explanation, thanks, have you given any thought to where the thoughts come from, and where they go?

[–]mister4string 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Not in those moments, no, but other times, sure. I'm pretty introspective, anyway, so I'm always looking to discover what motivates me to do self-destructive or constructive things. I think a lot of negative thoughts come from past experience: what's that saying that if you're depressed, you're thinking in the past and if you're anxious you're thinking in the future? Something like that. The key is to be present wit your thoughts, right here and right now. Not easy.

As to where they go....nooooo idea and I'm satisfied with that. :)

[–]pardonmeimdrunk 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I've been somewhat introspective myself, observing the thoughts and staying present. Stuck on why we can't control them / where do they come from aspect, and I've realized that we can control them, to some extent.

[–]Epic_baconnage -3 points-2 points  (0 children)

Sitting alone with your thoughts proves more painful than an electric shock.

Do you have proof (other than anecdotal) of this claim?