Rat in the attic

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by A New Man, Jul 23, 2014.

  1. A New Man

    A New Man White Knuckle Brigade 2013

    So this week at kids sport (haha i lied) it was uncomfortable to watch two other dads go through ego crises of their own. Maybe it's something every person must experience when they step up to the plate and out of their comfort zone. I'll try to help them out, hopefully they don't relapse to whatever their drug is over the next few weeks.

    Bought my wife the blu-ray of Cats for Mother's Day. My kids watched it very intently and now they are obsessed with it. It's nice when you find something that resonates with them.

    One of my kids attended a birthday party this weekend and the home she visited was very fancy, in a nice part of town- probably the nicest house she has ever seen. Afterwards we got lots of questions from both kids about why they couldn't live in a house like that. We tried to explain, not all people are born with the same wealth, people make different choices about how they spend their time etc, but it got to the point where it felt like i was just making excuses and i shut up. I don't usually care about keeping up with the Jones but when your kids ask you a bunch of questions about their living conditions its hard to ignore.

    Australia had an election on Saturday and returned our conservative government. I worry a lot about climate change and so this was a blow, because our conservative party does not intend to do anything about it. Our seat was one of the only to come close to kicking out their incumbent MP, so at least I can still feel good about my neighbours.
     
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  2. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    This is so interesting. Something similar I remember that made you feel so bad about yourself last year. And now you experience how not only you went through this learning curve already, but also how we are all human beings and encounter the same difficulties. We must be kind to ourselves.

    Indeed, let's hope they don't relapse, but in anyway they are stepping up to do these things so I guess they are going to be alright.

    I guess that Australia is a country that is going to suffer a lot from global warming, also economically. It is frustrating that most people can only think short-term.
     
  3. A New Man

    A New Man White Knuckle Brigade 2013

    Yeah. it's interesting watching these guys and knowing what they are experiencing and seeing them push through it in their own ways. It's inspiring actually.

    Slept badly last night. Woke at 3am and didn't get back to sleep till 5.30am. Stayed in bed and had a think about the reboot, and wondered what caused my last relapse, which made me think of the videos i found on youtube that were the cause (not the cause of course, but the immediate manifestation). I started to drift into the memory, "checking out" of the present moment. It felt like I was disappearing into a warm, dark room inside my mind, and pulling up the rope ladder so no one could reach me. Which made me think of a tree house and how porn and fantasy are like having a tree house in your mind, where you can disappear and pull up the ladder and everyone will leave you alone (add a box of old playboy mags in the tree house for good measure). But the fact is you're a grown man sitting in a tree house, pretending the world outside doesn't exist, and life continues on around you, the kids are like "Where's daddy?" (He's in the tree house), the wife's wondering why shit isn't getting done (He's in the tree house) and we're wondering why everyone seems so distant and our lives are on standby (You're sitting in a tree house dude). It sounds childish and ridiculous, and it is. The tree house will always be there in my mind, just got to remember to keep walking past it, remember what it stands for.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
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  4. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    Great analogy. I like to think that we can burn the tree house down. It's part of the revolution.
     
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  5. Bobo

    Bobo Well-Known Member

    You have the ability to call things the way they are! Thinking in this way is very positive!
     
  6. A New Man

    A New Man White Knuckle Brigade 2013

    Quite tired today after another bad night. There must be a local cat or possum that jumps on our bins around that time. Last time I had a bad night i posted here and then did chores around the house instead of doing my day job. Reorganized the bedroom, and moved a lot of the crap out of there. In the past I would have spent such a day feeling sorry for myself and looking at porn. The wife liked the changes to the room- wife's approval is still nice to have now and then, just not as necessary as it once was.

    Tomorrow morning i'm reffing a game for one of my kids. This is something i would not have agreed to do in the past, but i'm feeling more confident in my ability to handle stress and also improve at doing new things. I also get a big "rush" when these things work out, or at least I walk away intact, which is the pay off of stepping outside your comfort zone I guess. Tonight I embarrassed myself at another sporting event (yeah, we do a lot of sport) by calling out the wrong name from the sidelines. This might not sound like a big deal, except I was shouting the wrong name at my OWN kid lol. I felt foolish and on the way home was beating myself up badly, but slowly the old Buddhist practices kicked in, or letting go, being kind to myself, reminding myself I am no use to anyone up in my proverbial treehouse.

    This week I started timing my swimming sprints for the first time in 27 years. I'm 8 seconds slower than the last time I timed myself, so plenty of room for improvement there. I will keep you guys posted on my swim times.
     
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  7. A New Man

    A New Man White Knuckle Brigade 2013

    It's been an interesting week. The reffing went badly. Thankfully i was mentally prepared for it, because a) it's unreasonable to expect a great performance the first time you do anything and b) no one else put their hand up to do it, so I was basically taking one for the team. No one got hurt, and my decisions were not good for either team, which evened things out in the end. In the days leading up to the game my anxiety started building, but i didn't fuel it with negative self-talk. It did ruin my sleep the night before, however. Fuck you anxious lizard brain, you didn't take me down with you.

    This year the 30 year anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre has been all over our news and the internet. I cried quite a lot watching the footage. I feel like i have a heart again, and it is working in the right way. I remember tearing up watching the news in the first year of the reboot and being surprised by it. These days i cry a lot more, but it feels normal and right. I don't care if my kids see me crying at sad stuff. It's probably good for them on some level.

    Kids are doing well at sport. My wife's parents never really bothered to take her to many sports when she was a little kid, so she always had this idea she was not a sporty or physical person. My parents did a little better, at least i learned how to swim properly. Now i have kids myself i see that the kids who are good at sport are actually the kids who do a lot of sport. They tell you to read to your kids a lot- it's the same thing.

    This idea, to not worry about what others think about you, is so powerful. Reading Pema Chodron she talks about becoming "fearless" and i really had no idea what she meant at first. But, like with so many of the things she talks about, the truth of it becomes apparent in time. As i understand it now she means we need to become more "outcome-independent". When I came off the field last Saturday after doing a bad job as ref I felt fine, just talked to people as usual, hugged my kids and got on with my day. People who take pleasure in other people's failures probably had fun. People who like me probably felt bad for me, but none of that matters because I did what I did and I know I'll do better next time. I still have a long way to go, relearning how to approach challenges after 45 years of doing it the old way, but it's a start. Not fearless yet, but fearing less.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2019
  8. MissingSelfCompassion

    MissingSelfCompassion Active Member

    The crying thing got me. I noticed myself crying more in the last year. However, this last month much of that compassion has disappeared again as I have fallen into old patterns. Did I fall back into the old pathways subconsciously? Maybe I lost sight or control of what I was doing. Though, I do believe that subconsciously I've avoided Pema Chodron, my meditation, and art work because these things were helpful in keeping me mindful of what I was doing. Time to pick up Pema Chodron again. In fact, I looked at my reminder to meditate and avoided it today because "I have to make this call before they close and send this email quickly." That was over an hour ago when I sat down to send the email. Thankfully, I came here instead of running to P. Time to go meditate. So glad to see you still sharing your rad thoughts.
     
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  9. A New Man

    A New Man White Knuckle Brigade 2013

    Reffed my second game today. It went much better. Some other dads were asked to do the job by the manager beforehand and all turned it down. Some of them are better qualified than me to ref because they have better knowledge of the game and better skill, but everyone has that initial reluctance i guess, regardless of their actual capacity.

    Finally posted a Success Story called "Came for the erections. Stayed for the happiness." It's pretty much a homage to Pema Chodron. Writing it I realized i have been putting off writing my story because the reality of "succeeding" for me (learning to manage my emotions) has proved to be very different from my old definition of success (getting arousal erections).

    3 days ago had sex with the wife using morning wood. It was very nice, although i had some fantasy intrude. That makes it sound like it wasn't deliberate. It was. Got to take responsibility for it. That evening I felt fucking incredible, just this amazing positive energy coursing through me. The following day one of my kids scored at a sports game and i felt elation. There are few times in my life I can say I felt really "elated". I didn't even think it was on my emotional scale, until yesterday. I once wrote on here that real life would never be able to provide the same high as porn, but i was wrong, life can and does. How fucking cheap and just poor quality is the experience of pmo in comparison to dopamine highs derived from truly positive experiences like making love to your wife, facing down your fears and seeing your kid shoot a goal. One is true gold, the other is fool's gold.
     
  10. Bobo

    Bobo Well-Known Member

    Your logic is impeccable. You are able to see things as they are. Proud to have you as a brother on this forum.
     
  11. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Well said and inspiring. We often don't even know how incredible life could be like if we up our potential. If we become more of who we can be, deep down (not becoming someone else, someone we're not, but becoming more of our best possible version). It's almost tragic, because down there in the shades of who we could be, stuck in unhealthy patterns, we forget what could actually be. Or we never even discovered it. And it's hard to find a way out without being guided by a vision of what could actually be. But the good thing for those that often fall back down is they can get tastes of what could be. And gradually, hopefully, start living more and more in those "spheres".

    What you wrote reminded me of this passage in the Recovery Nation Workshop (Lesson 1), I find inspiring :

    "Continue to fall helpless to your compulsive patterns and the change will be a deeper ingraining of the addiction and a greater swath of destruction. Continue to engage in a pattern of relapse/recovery and the change will be a reinforcement of your inability to manage your life without addiction. Continue to pursue a sincere, complete commitment to rebuilding the core of who you are — building a life based on an evolving value system — and the change will involve living a life that you simply cannot currently comprehend."

    This passage always rang true to me.
     
  12. Outsider.

    Outsider. Turning Simple Disciplines Into Massive Success

    This!
    You made my day ANM !
     
  13. A New Man

    A New Man White Knuckle Brigade 2013

    Any talk of a "value system" rubs me up the wrong way... But thinking about it, that's exactly what happened. I incorporated Pema Chodron's teachings into my life including kindness to self, the basic goodness of people, avoiding poisons or pitfalls. I made an effort to stop objectifying people as rivals and sex objects, which could be viewed as a "values" thing i guess, although my motivation was not moralistic, more about survival. Chodron says her message really hits home when people are desperate to change and I was definitely fertile soil. The cool thing about what she teaches (and Buddhism in general i suppose) is that it's not prescriptive, it's more like "Just quieten your mind and see what happens..."
     
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  14. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    I'm definitely gonna check her talks on Youtube. Thanks for pointing me in her direction. I really enjoyed your success story as well!

    For the passage I posted from Recovery Nation I hear what you mean with "values". For me though, I think the main reason I feel pretty disappointed in myself (or ashamed ?) when I act out is because somewhere deep down in me that kind of action doesn't concord with the individual I think I could be (while still remaining myself). Well, with the values said individual expresses. But yea too much "value talk" can perhaps feel frustrating. I tried, though, not caring about acting out, not feeling ashamed, but it's hard. It's as if truly deep down there is a core value against that kind of behavior. (I'm not too clear right here cause I have to type this fast lol)..

    I especially posted it, though, because of the idea that when we are held back by various addictions or other unhealthy behaviors and that becomes our "normal", we often don't even know what life could be like without them. What healthy life can be like, how incredible it can be. "We can't even truly realize how rich life could be like, even for us". What you wrote about feeling elation that day, at your son's game, made me think of that.

    I sometimes get glimpse, fleeting ones, of what healthy life could be like. How much richer it would be then all I've been trying hungrily to get with unhealthy behaviors.
     
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  15. Outsider.

    Outsider. Turning Simple Disciplines Into Massive Success

    You got it ANM. Too much people here tend to be harsh on themselves. We like to beat us up, and then it's a vicious circle. Self depreciation/bad self esteem/no self confidence/bad and tough socializing etc etc... Everything is subtly linked. We do have to accept ourselves as we are, and be kind to ourselves yes! Each of us is the most important person of the world. Let's focus on our qualities and improve them.
    I'm currently reading a very good book on the Subconscious mind. Having a positive attitude and state of mind is crucial, so it's more than true that we mustn't see others as rivals. Life is finally simple. Simple and good values, a good state of mind, and good daily actions.
    Keep going on ANM !
     
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  16. A New Man

    A New Man White Knuckle Brigade 2013

    Been a stressful couple of weeks work-wise. I also had a medical procedure which stressed me out a bit in the lead up. In the past i'd have coped with it by not coping with it but i held my seat and got through the week. Got another drive across country next Monday, then 2 weeks with family. I relapsed to fantasy almost exactly 12 months ago in the same situation, so I get to do a re-run, and hopefully enjoy the time instead of escaping.

    I talk a lot on here about how ego was the source of a lot of my problems and how it made me fragile and unable to deal with even minor challenges in my life. The other day I stumbled across this great sermon by Martin Luther King called "Conquering Self-Centeredness". I'm going to quote some slabs of it here, because it rang so true.

    An individual has not begun to live until he can rise above the narrow horizons of his particular individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity. And this is one of the big problems of life, that so many people never quite get to the point of rising above self. And so they end up the tragic victims of self-centeredness. They end up the victims of distorted and disrupted personality...

    Life has its beginning and its maturity comes into being when an individual rises above self to something greater. Few individuals learn this, and so they go through life merely existing and never living. Now you see signs all along in your everyday life with individuals who are the victims of self-centeredness... They live a life of perpetual egotism. And they are the victims all around of the egocentric predicament. They start out, the minute you talk with them, talking about what they can do, what they have done. They’re the people who will tell you, before you talk with them five minutes, where they have been and who they know. They’re the people who can tell you in a few seconds, how many degrees they have and where they went to school and how much money they have. We meet these people every day. And so this is not a foreign subject. It is not something far off. It is a problem that meets us in everyday life. We meet it in ourselves, we meet in other selves: the problem of self-centeredness.

    Now, we can say to a certain extent that persons in this situation are persons who have really never grown up. They are still children, at a point. For you see, a child is inevitably, necessarily egocentric. He is a bundle of his own sensations, clamoring to be cared for...

    Now the consequences, the disruptive effects of such self-centeredness, such egocentric desires, are tragic. And we see these every day. At first, it leads to frustration and disillusionment and unhappiness at many points. For usually when people are self-centered, they are self-centered because they are seeking attention, they want to be admired and this is the way they set out to do it. But in the process, because of their self-centeredness, they are not admired; they are mawkish and people don’t want to be bothered with them. And so the very thing they seek, they never get. And they end up frustrated and unhappy and disillusioned...

    Also, it leads to extreme sensitiveness. The individual who is self-centered, the individual who is egocentric ends up being very sensitive, a very touchy person. And that is one of the tragic effects of a self-centered attitude, that it leads to a very sensitive and touchy response toward the universe. These are the people you have to handle with kid gloves because they are touchy, they are sensitive. And they are sensitive because they are self-centered. They are too absorbed in self and anything gets them off, anything makes them angry. Anything makes them feel that people are looking over them because of a tragic self-centeredness. That even leads to the point that the individual is not capable of facing trouble and the hard moments of life. One can become so self-centered, so egocentric that when the hard and difficult moments of life come, he cannot face them because he’s too centered in himself. These are the people who cannot face disappointments. These are the people who cannot face being defeated. These are the people who cannot face being criticized. These are the people who cannot face these many experiences of life which inevitably come because they are too centered in themselves. In time, somebody criticizes them, time somebody says something about them that they don’t like too well, time they are disappointed, time they are defeated, even in a little game, they end up broken-hearted. They can’t stand up under it because they are centered in self.

    There are persons who come to the point that they are so self-centered that they end up with a persecution complex and the end result is insanity. They end up thinking that the universe stands against them, that everybody is against them. They are turning around within themselves. They are little solar systems within themselves and they can’t see beyond that... These are some of the effects of self-centeredness.
    I might leave it there for now and post some of his advice for overcoming self-centeredness in the next post. By posting this i'm not saying all addicts have this exact issue or at least not to the same degree i had it, but hopefully it helps some.
     
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  17. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Scarily familiar....
     
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  18. A New Man

    A New Man White Knuckle Brigade 2013

    I didn't mention yesterday, i've had sex 2x this month which must be some kind of record! Strangely I also had 2 wetdreams this week. Had some pretty strong urges to fantasize today, connected to the double-chaser, and possibly the roadtrip and family visit coming up. Need to stay mindful and busy. So, on with today's lesson...

    Ways to Conquer Self-centeredness (excerpts from Martin Luther King)​

    1. A Cause or Purpose Beyond Yourself

    I think one of the best ways to face this problem of self-centeredness is to discover some cause and some purpose, some loyalty outside of yourself and give yourself to that something. The best way to handle it is not to suppress the ego but to extend the ego into objectively meaningful channels... One of the ways to rise above this self-centeredness is to move away from self and objectify yourself in something outside of yourself. Find some great cause and some great purpose, some loyalty to which you can give yourself and become so absorbed in that something that you give your life to it... As I said, you don’t solve the problem by trying to trample over the ego altogether. That doesn’t solve the problem. For you will always have the ego and the ego has certain desires, certain desires for significance... This is the way to go through life with a balance, with the proper perspective because you’ve given yourself to something greater than self. Sometimes it’s friends, sometimes it’s family, sometimes it’s a great cause, it’s a great loyalty, but give yourself to that something and life becomes meaningful.

    I’ve seen people who discovered a great meaning in their jobs and they became so absorbed in that that they didn’t have time to become self-centered. They loved their job. And the great prayer that anyone could pray at that point is: “O God, help me to love my job as this individual loves his or hers. O God, help me to give my self to my work and to my job and to my allegiance as this individual does.” And this is the way out. And I think this is what [Ralph Waldo] Emerson meant when he said: “O, see how the masses of men worry themselves into nameless graves, while here and there, some great unselfish soul forgets himself into immortality.” And this becomes a point of balance when you can forget yourself into immortality. You’re not so absorbed in self, but you are absorbed in something beyond self.

    2. Proper Perspective on Your Achievements

    And there is another way to rise above self-centeredness and that is by having the proper inner attitude toward your position or toward your status in life or whatever it is. You conquer self-centeredness by coming to the point of seeing that you are where you are today because somebody helped you to get there. And so many people, you see, live a self-centered, egocentric life because they have the attitude that they are responsible for everything and for their position in life... no matter where you stand, no matter how much popularity you have, no matter how much education you have, no matter how much money you have, you have it because somebody in this universe helped you to get it. And when you see that, you can’t be arrogant, you can’t be supercilious.

    If you have the privilege of a fine education, well, you have it because somebody made it possible. If you have the privilege to gain wealth and a bit of the world’s goods, well, you have it because somebody made it possible. So don’t boast, don’t be arrogant. You, at that moment, rise out of your self-centeredness to the type of living that makes you an integrated personality.

    The next section is about the importance of Religion (he mentions not just Christianity but also Ancient Greek beliefs) but I am going to relabel it here as

    3. Empathy For Others

    The other day, I went out to Kilby prison to pray with some of the men on death row. And it’s always a very tragic experience, not so much a tragic experience as a sort of sad experience to look at men who have committed great crimes and now they are standing in a little cell with nothing there much, just in a little cell between four walls. And they can’t see much and they’re just waiting for the day of their death and the day of their ultimate doom. And I went to pray with some of these men. And I never can forget as I walked away from there after praying and walked out of all of these bars, I couldn’t walk out with arrogance. I couldn’t walk out with the feeling that I’m not like these men. I couldn’t walk out with the attitude of the Pharisee, “I thank Thee God that I’m not like other men.” But as I walked out of that door, something was ringing in my heart saying, “But for the grace of God, you would be here.” As I look at drunkard men walking the streets of Montgomery and of other cities every day, I find myself saying, “But by the grace of God, you too would be a drunkard.” As I look at those who have lost balance of themselves and those who are giving their lives to a tragic life of pleasure and throwing away everything they have in riotous living, I find myself saying, “But by the grace of God, I too would be here.” And when you see that point, you cannot be arrogant. But you walk through life with a humility that takes away the self-centeredness that makes you a disintegrated personality.

    And when you take this attitude, you go into the room of your life and take down the mirrors because you cannot any longer see yourself. But the mirrors somehow are transformed into windows and you look out into the objective world and see that you are what you are because of somebody else. You are what you are because of the grace of the Almighty God. He who seeks to find his ego will lose it. But he who loses his ego in some great cause, some great purpose, some great ideal, some great loyalty, he who discovers, somehow, that he stands where he stands because of the forces of history and because of other individuals; he who discovers that he stands where he stands because of the grace of God, finds himself. He loses himself in that something but later finds himself. And this is the way, it seems to me, to the integrated personality.

    This last part reminds me a lot of Pema Chodron's tonglen exercises, which are meditations on building empathy for others by focusing on people in your immediate circle who are in distress and then moving out to a more general wish for all people in the same situation to find peace. His image of "taking down the mirrors" is a very powerful one and i can say from my own experience it does open a window onto others and the wider world that wasn't there before, or got shut somewhere along the way.

    Got a weekend of hard labor in the garden lined up. Looking forward to it.
     
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  19. ruggerdoug

    ruggerdoug Well-Known Member

    @A New Man, enjoyed the out takes from MLK. I'm spending part of my weekend reading others journals to learn from their struggles. I'm a long way into my fight but just at the beginning. The references to Pema Chodron's teachings look pretty valuable to help give me perspective in the fight I actually have. Anyway, thanks for sharing so long into your journey. It is incredibly helpful!
     
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  20. A New Man

    A New Man White Knuckle Brigade 2013

    Spent the day out in the garden as planned. We have been having trouble with the back lawn for years, one problem after another has meant the grass is never level and certainly not level enough to play ball on, which is really why we have a lawn in the first place. So today we had a pile of dirt delivered and i spent the day trying to level it out, digging up the lumps and filling in the troughs. I listened to Pema's talks on youtube while I did it- I haven't listened to her speak for some months and it was good timing with the trip coming up next week. Youtube plays all of her talks one after another and i listened to them all, twice. There was one part that I really like and i think it captures the predicament of addicts perfectly- here it is:


    ‘We are all like young children with a bad case of scabies. We are old enough to scratch, but not old enough to realise that when we scratch, the scabies spreads and get worse. This is an analogy for what we all do. We have discomfort- the itch- that goes along with the scabies and then we scratch it. When we scratch we get very temporary symptom relief. And it spreads and pretty soon we are scratching all over our body, the whole thing is bleeding and we are really suffering. In this analogy the child is taken to the doctor who gives a prescription, which is like going to a spiritual teacher, being given the teachings, and in particular being given the meditation. Learning to stay is a description of meditation. Staying with the itch and not scratching. In other words, scratching is turning away from, trying to get away from, trying to escape the fundamental discomfort. The itch. Which we could also call insecurity or just the bad feeling that comes over us.

    So we itch and itch and we go to the doctor and the doctor says "You have scabies. Scabies itch. If you keep scratching them then it gets worse, so what you have to do is stop scratching and apply this medicine, the teachings and the practice. Ways to work with the itch. Then you can heal". And then, what I love so much about this analogy, Rinpoche said "And if the child wants to heal, and if the child has enough love for themselves and wants to heal they will follow the doctors instructions and will go through the discomfort of feeling an itch that you’re not scratching. And then gradually they have their own reward. It isn’t the doctor that gets the reward or anyone else but its you that experiences the rash getting less, the urge to scratch gets less, and then the itch starts itching less. And as any of us know, particularly those with strong addictions, this can take a very long time. Never the less its the only way because if you keep scratching, not only does the itch get worse but you find yourself more and more in hell basically because your life becomes more and more out of control and misery-based. Either you numb out, or you start craving things (That's mine, I get into craving and pleasure), or we have a more aggressive style and we obsess and rage about others, self hatred etc. So those are the classic 3 styles of scratching: numb out, rage and craving comfort, and there is less and less ability to stay. It comes down to a willingness to do something for yourself. Willingness to connect eith your own strength, your own wisdom and your own confidence rather than just doing the habitual thing which is going for the short term symptom relief which never addresses the root of the problem.

    So in the Buddhist teachings they say that the root of the problem… is actually the self-absorption, this fear of being present. You go from being open, receptive to your mind and to your world and to other people, to your emotions, to the whole thing, which is a sort of a broad feeling and which is a far less reactive feeling, and it’s a more ‘at home’ feeling–you go from that to going into a small, dark room. Or like an ostrich sticking its head in the sand. This is called ‘ego,’ where everything gets extremely small.

    The Buddhist teachings talk a lot about ego. Ego clinging. One of the words for it is ‘the cocoon.’ And you just stay in there because you’re afraid, basically, of your feelings and the things that life is going to trigger, and the things that are going to come at you. And you know, if that strategy worked, then the Buddha wouldn’t have really had to teach anything. You could just sort of protect yourself, which all living beings do, and then that would result in security and happiness and comfort and there would be no problem. But what has been observed is that this going inward, this self-absorption, this trying to find zones of safety creates suffering. Terrible suffering. Because it weakens us. And the world becomes more and more terrifying. And our mind and our emotions become more and more threatening as well. There's a lot of different ways to talk about ego clinging, but in essence, it’s the fact that we are never present. There is this deep-seated compulsion to distract ourselves, even when we're not having a major itch...

    But if we want to heal, if we have enough love for ourselves, enough trust and confidence that we have the wisdom and openness then our wisdom becomes activated more and more. I don’t want to die bleeding to death from all this scratching. I don’t have to have one more scratch in order to already know what is happening here. I know. But, this will take a lot of courage because I don’t want to feel that itch. So, are you willing? yes. Because I don’t want to die bleeding to death from my own unwillingness to heal."
    Someone recently asked me which Pema Chodron talks to listen to. I'd say listen to them all. Put aside a few hours and just let youtube run through the whole darned lot. You need to hear her speak a few times to really get onto her wavelength.

    Promise not to post any more slabs of text next time.
     
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