ChickenDinner22's journal

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by chickendinner22, Jan 2, 2021.

  1. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member


    It truly is life-changing. If you are just getting started, I really recommend Sharon Salzberg's Real Hapiness: The Power of Meditation. While the self-help-like title might be a little off-putting to some, it really is a great starting point into the practice. I recommend reading the whole book, but even if you don't, it offers you an incremental, weekly plan over a month that offers multiple, concrete types of practice and builds you up to daily habit. It's been a while since I've read it, but if I remember properly, it also includes some research that connects meditative practice with various types of brain change, defines the key terms you need to understand the practice (awareness, concentration, mindfulness, lovingkindness, attention, etc.), there's a bit of philosophy in there (but separated from the religiosity of Buddhism, so you don't really have to wrestle over whether or not to accept the ontological claims of the belief system), and a section about practice after your first month is over.

    If you are a secular skeptic who really needs some convincing about the utility of the practice, Sam Harris's book Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion makes a compelling argument for picking up the practice, but be forewarned that it isn't as applied as Salzberg's book. The main point of the book (in my opinion) is to win over the secular crowd; otherwise, I don't think it is that useful hands on (an interesting read though; the section about split-brain patients is fascinating). If you want a more applied approach, I recommend Harris's (haha this is confusing, Sam, not Dan) eponymous app, though I have heard nice things about Dan Harris's app as well as Headspace.

    Note that Salzberg's approach is rooted more in the Vipassana approach (i.e. insight meditation, with its origins in Theravada Buddhism), whereas Sam's is more a mix of Dzogchen (Vajrayana-style practice, in particular Tibetan), Vipassana, and elements of Western philosophy (as an aside, he also has experience with Advaita Vedanta practice, which is a school of Hinduism). What's great about the Waking Up app is that it includes Harris's meditation lessons, but also other series from teachers like Diana Winston, Richard Lang, Henry Shukman, and others (Vipassana-based mindfulness, The Headless Way (an interesting exploration of subjectivity pioneered by Douglas Harding), and Zen (particularly Koan practice) respectively). I also recommend Harding's On Having No Head: Zen and the Rediscovery of the Obvious, but this is something best read after becoming a bit more familiar with the various terms, phrasings etc. mentioned throughout (predominantly) Eastern spiritual literature; otherwise, it may end up sounding like a bunch of nonsense.

    Let me throw one more plug in there: while I haven't read anything from Winston, her course in the app was great. If the above books don't resonate with you at all, she might be a nice alternative to look into. You may also want to try out Tara Brach. The little of her content that I've exposed myself to seemed pretty good overall, with my impression that she places greater emphasis on the compassionate elements of meditation. That might be more up your alley. Lastly, if Salzberg worked for you, you may also want to check out some of the work of her IMS co-founders Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield.

    Anyway, sorry for the lengthy post. It's a great practice that can benefit people regardless of where they are in life, addict or not. I'm pretty happy that you discovered the practice now rather than later.

    Hang in there!

    Take care
  2. Rudolf Geyse

    Rudolf Geyse Active Member

    I can relate to this. Fighting this addiction in earnest over the last year I've picked up on so many helpful pointers and techniques that I wish I had started in my twenties, rather than going into my forties... But... I can't despise the path I've been on 'cos it was the only way I could learn what I've learned and do better from here on out.

    Keep up your good streak
  3. @NewStart19 Thanks for all the book recommendations. Several are on my list already but now I can add the others.
    NewStart19 likes this.
  4. 11 days. Today I had some urges. Was thinking about past relationship and my brain said "wouldn't it be nice if one of them emailed you right now". So I said to my brain "no, it would not be nice".

    I went through my sent personal emails from 2005 to 2007. I can't believe what an asshole I was and that was in my 30s. No telling how much more of a jerk I was in my 20s. Perhaps I should not feel so guilty about a failed college relationship.

    Today I am grateful for my wife. She as stuck by my side through thick and thin.
    Rudolf Geyse likes this.
  5. 12 days. In this mornings mediation I realized there is a set of events that happen. First, a thought or memory. Second, an emotion tied to that thought or memory. Third, my brain/body wanting to do something to make that emotion go away. Since mid-summer, I've been thinking of memories of a college girlfriend or, normally, I will have a sexual thought. Today, I really tried to recognize that it was a thought and that I had an emotion. One of the mediation books or within the Headspace app said to just identify it as "thinking" or "an emotion". This seemed to help.

    Today, I am grateful that I am different today than I used to be and I continue to grow.
  6. 13 days. Ran outside for the first time in forever. Even though it was cold, I thought it would be good for my soul to get outside for a change.

    Today I'm grateful that I make enough money that when I need new running shoes, I can just buy them without having to make sacrifices.

    I have lots of thoughts that I need to write down. I will definitely record them in my private journal but wondering if I should write them here for others to see (and perhaps comment and help). Thoughts?
  7. 14 days. Once you get some distance to PMO, it's amazing to see the brain and body work the way they are supposed to. Wife left the house and I took a nap. When I woke up, I had this incredible feeling of boredom. In the past, I would have mistaken this feeling (or associated it) with loneliness. To cure this feeling, I would have PMOed, convincing myself that I needed it to feel loved and to feel whole. The reality is this feeling is your brain/body telling you to do something, get better at something, do some work, etc.
    Thelongwayhome27 likes this.
  8. badger

    badger Active Member

    I am 66 years old and still fighting it. hang in there. you have your whole life to live. do it clean. take care
    Rudolf Geyse likes this.
  9. 15 days. I'm glad COVID and 2020 happened. Without it, I would still be PMOing and would not have faced the tough decision to quit. My marriage is stronger today than it has been in the past and I'm working through issues I have long since ignored. I can tell my brain is still playing tricks on me trying to cause me pain by remembering my college relationship and saying "it was so good; you screwed it up; you'll never have something like that again". How silly that it was over 25 years ago and a part of me is still hung up on that.

    From someone else's reboot journal, they had the following questions: Would I marry myself or someone like me? What have I not accepted about myself? What gifts await me as I love and accept who I am and who I am becoming?
    Sometimes I have thought it would be cool to marry myself. But when I think about it now, I cringe. My 3xday Og Mandino reading says "always will I work on my grace and manners for they are the sugar to which all are attracted". I so wish I head learned that lesson earlier in my life. I made a fool out of myself and ruined a few great relationships being a selfish opinionated, arrogant asshole, and thinking I'm always right. So no, while I do think I am a catch by most measures, I wouldn't marry myself.
  10. Rudolf Geyse

    Rudolf Geyse Active Member

    Glad to hear your marriage is doing well and that you're moving forward on some of these issues. Sometimes we have to learn things about our character shortcomings the hard way. Strength to you on this journey and on this streak.
  11. Day 18. Reading Power of Now and it talks a lot about being stuck in the past. It's something I have to work on. My whole life, my thoughts have either been "things will be better when..." or (more recently) "things used to be better ....". I just need to enjoy the now and all the ups and downs of the present moment.
  12. Day 19. Major urges the last 24 hours plus my brain was really stuck on the past. I realized I had not meditated in a few days so I spent 20 minutes. Amazing how quite my brain was post-meditation. My wife left the house to meet a friend and I could feel myself thinking of going to watch P or MO; I'm proud of myself since I stopped as soon as I realized what was happening. I don't think that would have happened had I not meditated.

    I've started to write down all my memories from my college relationship along with my perception of what I thought at the time (even though it was 25 to 30 years ago). There is a youtube video form Jordan Peterson about getting unstuck so I figured I would give it a go in my journal. Below is from that video (Quora actually)

    What do I do to get out of being stuck in the past?

    Write it down.

    I got this from Dr. Jordan Peterson, a world-renowned psychologist who expanded Dr. James Pennebaker’s research on how writing affects people.

    Basically, writing, as Jordan Peterson says, is a form of enhanced thinking. By writing down your thoughts you force your brain to create new neurons that literally remodel your brain.

    When you’re stuck in the past, he explains that your being/self/brain hasn’t truly extracted out the wisdom or knowledge out of that slice of time. That is one of the reasons why we can perceive the past: to learn about past mistakes and events so we won’t get hurt by that predator again. This is what it means to be stuck in the past. Your brain still sees it an unresolved piece of a puzzle.

    One way to un-stuck yourself would be to write it down. In the most comprehensive way possible, and as you are going through it you will suddenly find yourself creating new connections and insights regarding what happened, coupled with the fact that the ‘you’ in the now have vastly different views and experiences than the person before. Hindsight is a good teacher in this very case.

    One thing you’ll notice if you pay attention is that once you’ve ‘extracted’ your gold, you will start having vastly different dreams. Dreams that if observed connect to where you are now or what your psyche wants to tell you,

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