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Matt

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Viewing 15 posts - 1,366 through 1,380 (of 1,400 total)
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  • Matt
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    Lester,

    Your questions were far less interesting than your statements. :). Consider that the girl you met and the girl in your head are very different. Her body is full of blood and puss and bones. She gets diarrhea, acts selfishly, and can be vindictive. She is not fueled by rainbows! 🙂

    With warmth,
    Matt

    PS I agree that posting her picture would be highly inappropriate.

    in reply to: Acceptance #38012
    Matt
    Participant

    Adam,

    Sometimes we get confused about what provides us nourishment in each moment, and so we scramble for it unskillfully. I’m sympathetic to the difficulties you’re expressing, and a few things came to heart as I read your words.

    What I read is you find great nourishment in connecting with others. This is great, fine and worthy. Human connection is one of the three needs for spiritual development (according to the Buddha… it is the Buddha, dharma, and sangha. Said differently it is our ability to awaken, the truth we resonate with, and the community that we connect to). But what is going wrong?

    When we engage with others, and our confidence is low, we slip away from our inner truth and adopt theirs. Said differently, we look to others for kindness and acceptance when we don’t have those for ourselves. It is like we have a leaky bucket, where praise goes in and slips out before it has a chance to help our confidence grow. For people with empathy it is even more difficult, because there are many layers to each moment… often the words said conflict with other perceptions that arise.

    There is a relatively simple solution, though it is a process. We have to figure out who we are. Know thyself. Come to know what you perceive and what you feel. Then, take responsibility only for that.

    The process or practice of doing that is meditation. Consider perhaps looking for a meditation center in your local area, where teachers help people just like us find the path to inner wellness. Said differently, when we spend time sitting with our self, we come to know and love our bodies and minds, and it provides us an authentic confidence that nourishes us in a way that is critical.

    If you’re hesitant to find a meditation center, consider reading about co-dependence, as it seems you have a similar difficulty. Pia Melody has a great book as does Melody Beattie. In the mean time, you could do some activities that are self nurturing. What do you like to do? What activities open your heart and help you feel comfortable and confident? For me, playing with my kids, soft music, cooking, writing, bathing and meditating do it. What does it for you? Perhaps it is time to turn your attention inward, and work to please yourself. It is not selfish! As you become more stable and happy, your gifts to others will be much more nourishing to us all.

    With warmth,
    Matt

    in reply to: Pain Identity: Am I alone? #38005
    Matt
    Participant

    Graham,

    Goodness, what a mind you have! It is awesome and potent, which is a blessing and a curse. Consider reading “cutting through spiritual materialism” by chogyam trungpa, it has helped others who have issues like yours.

    Sometimes the arrow just has to yanked out directly, but it can be painful. Shame is an interesting feeling. Something in us tells us that we are unworthy of connection to others because we are so broken. We have a feeling that we don’t deserve happiness, or a connection to love, energy, joy. To me, it seems like this is a good place to direct your potent awareness.

    Consider that shame and pride arise together in our crown chakra and cut us off from the big picture. When we see an “unworthy bastard” we are splitting off a chunk of the infinite in our mind. “That is not god/Buddha/truth/love, that is a jerk/idiot/asshole” when we do that to the objective world around us, we are saying “we are not one, you are below me.” When we experience that same lack of acceptance inside, we feel shame. “I am not god/Buddha/truth/love, I am a broken, worthless being.”

    Maybe you are smart enough to realize you’re not happy? And that happiness and peace of mind is something you’ve been obsessed with finding? Do you know how many of those “fallen idiots” have waaay more of what you seek than you do? Maybe its disguised envy? Either way, do you think your judgment is based on firm ground?

    Notice how your mind reacts to such things? It is possible to experience humility instead. You, me, and everyone else are born ignorant, with everything to learn. You’ve been judging others and the structure of the world from pride, then judging yourself and your structures from shame.

    You said you have begun to notice thoughts, which is great! Perhaps you could add a lovong-kindness practice as well. “Breathing in, I look deeply at my hope that there is something beautiful inside each of us. Breathing out, I wish to use what I’ve learned to help awaken that in myself and others.”

    Said differently, perhaps you’re experiencing emptiness sickness from having a a strong vision but a weak heart. It is easy to see, but more difficult to love. Dont take my word on it, just try it. A simple breathing exercise for 15 mins a day for two weeks and the results should be fairly noticeable and provide relief.

    With warmth,
    Matt

    in reply to: Angry son #38003
    Matt
    Participant

    Maleena,

    Coping with anger directed at us is difficult, especially from our children. I’m sorry for the pain you’re experiencing with this and hope my words can help. A few things came to heart as I read your word.

    First is that children often rebel against their parent as they try to understand who they are as people. It takes on many forms, but it sounds like what you’re experiencing is a painful and dramatic version of that. Couple the atypical mind he has with his pain over the divorce (plus other factors such as drug abuse and permissive parenting from dad), and it seems reasonable that his responses are expressions of where he is at right now.

    Love is often requires us to be patient as those we love grow to be people we can connect with more easily (less painfully). In the mean time, however, its not like we can just turn off our feelings and ignore our kids. So what to do?

    The main thing that our children need is the unconditional love we have for them. It seems like this might be the best potential way to let your son know you are there for him. This is more difficult when they are expressing to us, so it is good to practice alone (such as in meditation if you do that, or in the tub or whatever else you do to self nurture where your thoughts settle). To practice, you could: “breathing in I remember the beauty of my son, breathing out I send my love to him”. As you feel the kindness for him strengthen in your heart, move to “breathing in as your mother I am able to hear all you have to say, breathing out I am here for you my son.”

    Consider it this way: if your son is saying lots of painful things, he has painful things inside him. When he does his fault finding and name calling, it is not that much different than when he cried for your attention as a baby. You didn’t say “why did you wet your diaper, don’t you know that now I have to change it?” You were moved to help him for his sake. Now though It is “you said hurtful things to me, don’t you know that now I suffer?”

    During difficult communications, it is often helpful to be validating to their side, then tell them we are there for them. For example:
    “I hear you telling me you’re angry, and i am here for you my son”
    “I hear you telling me that I am selfish for divorcing your father, I’m sorry for whatever hurts you have from that, and i am here for you if you want to talk more.”

    The goal isn’t to be a punching bag, where you absorb his anger and bounce around in your head and heart. The goal is to be more like a lightning rod, where you give his pain back to the earth through your love. Said differently, as you practice breathing acceptance and love in and out in regards to your son, you can hug his crying and not make it about you.

    Then, if he needs help or opens up, he will have those loving seeds in his memory and heart, where his mom held his views close and loved him through them. Even if he doesn’t forgive you to your face, if and when those seeds blossom, they will offer him a path home. Either to your love or his own, but it will help him for sure.

    With warmth,
    Matt

    in reply to: Every Day #37984
    Matt
    Participant

    Jacques,

    What a fantastic question! I am sorry it is difficult for you in this moment, but the place you’ve arrived is also very fertile for co-creative love. The connection you had with her was certainly very amazing. Reality came alive and everything shined, and you knew that anything at all is possible. The true beauty that we are as a person awakens and we jump into the things we love with courage during this time.

    The reason that heartache becomes so universal, in my opinion, is because we associate the feeling we have with the person, as though they are the ones providing the feeling. Its true that some people can awaken us to the courage of our heart, but love comes from within. Said differently, when we are open, curious, and courageous, our hearts waken and we are filled with love. Its easy to do that with certain people, and they teach us.

    If we associate that love with the teacher, then we are essentially handing them the keys to our happiness. After they leave (the room, the state, the world) the gravity of the association forces us to crave them, to regain that sense (sense data or inner feeling) of power and beauty.

    The solution is twofold. First, we have to accept the feeling was inside us the whole time. They were like a midwife to our heartsong, and helped us awaken… but the love was ours, and we shared it. They made it easy, but we jumped (or were dragged 🙂 ).

    Next, we have to cultivate that feeling for the people around us. This done easily with our kids, as we accept them and wish for their happiness… no matter what they do or how they look… its just there (even if it gets clouded by stress). In our romantic partner, it is not as easy for many reasons. What we can do, though, is practice deep looking on our partner. Take the time to look at who they are as a person, their struggles and sparkles, the way their body moves, the way they respond to our creativity.

    Sometimes it can be difficult to remain open to our partners. Intimacy is work, though! As we learn and grow, we either grow together or apart. With communication (giving and receiving with openness) the intimacy replaces the “sparkly newness” as the draw. The energy increases as both partners surrender themselves into the union. An exercise which could help this is: “breathing in I sense all of you, your smell, feel, sound, taste. Breathing out I pour all of myself onto you, calling you to join me as us.” When you both come into the moment, there is no need for more thinking… just breathe in in and let it out. When it fades, move back into the breath and the senses.

    As you practice opening to your partner, the associations between your heart and the muse will fade, and your wife will regain her sparkle in your vision. It won’t be from any one thing, but the woman she is and the “us” she offers through her own courage to love.

    This is how I deal with the “moments of fancy” when some beauty distracts me from my heartfelt commitment to my wife, and our intimacy is strong and stable.

    With warmth,
    Matt

    • This reply was modified 7 years, 2 months ago by Matt.
    in reply to: Am I weird? #37923
    Matt
    Participant

    PryingMimi,

    Sometimes there are those among us who are born with a strong empathy. From your words, it sounds like you see and feel a lot of information and are unsure what to do about it. Said differently, when people talk to you, there is so much information coming in that your mind becomes overloaded and you try to figure out what to do with the pieces. Does that sound right?

    Unfortunately, for right now, patience is the key. You’re still developing your frontal cortex (into your mid-twenties) which will help you put it all together. For now, take some time to learn about who you are. You have a special gift, and it is through looking inward at what your heart tells you that you will find your stride.

    We don’t really need to worry about “sorting it all out” as though we have to put everything in a category in our mind. Instead, there is a different strategy.

    We can consider our body like a house, and the world around us like wind blowing at the house. When the wind gets really strong (lots of data coming at us) we try to shut the front door to stop the pressure from building in our mind. Said differently, we try to ignore or parse what we see, hear, feel. What happens is we can for a little while, and then we lose strength and the door flies open and we are knocked around.

    Instead, we learn to keep the back door open which lets the wind passes right through. This is done by just noticing what is there, without trying to judge or categorize the sense data. Said differently, we can say “what is really here now? breathe it in, breathe it out.” Then the moment is passes and we are ready for the next.

    As you find your stride over the next few years, I have every confidence you will overcome your social difficulties. Just take some time to play and dance and sing whatever songs make your heart feel warm and strong. As you get to know yourself, people will want to be your friend because you will have so much to share and such an empathic nature.

    With warmth,
    Matt

    PS: Yes, you’re weird. Thank goodness!

    in reply to: Devastating break up and self hatred #37915
    Matt
    Participant

    Oskari,

    I’m sorry for the difficult time you’re having, love can be painful in its coming, remaining and passing. A few things came to heart as I read your words.

    Often times when we are in pain we get confused. The mind races and fills up all the space, so we cannot even see a foot in front of our face! We try to heal the pain by settling the confusion. Said differently, perhaps in getting “closure” you are really looking to dispel the confusion thinking it will heal the pain. This might work, but usually only brings up more pain, more questions.

    Sometimes we have to yank out the arrow at the source, and deal with the pain directly. To do that, you have to accept the confusion is present and the pain is present. Then you can see the truth.

    She was in love with you, and now she is in love with another. That’s how it is… as much as you want to struggle against it and know why and how and what did I do and how could she and 5 years and on and on… she’s moved on.

    So, you’re left with the pieces of yourself and the confusion. If you think back to a few moments ago, a day ago, can you see how you’ve been running around a maze in your head? There is so much unknown that you imagine all sorts of answers, look for all sorts of escape routes. The problem is it is a maze of mirrors… there really isn’t a way out by walking. You have to let go of the whole maze.

    Something happened while you two were apart. What and why and how don’t matter, they won’t make you any better off. What can make you better off is cutting off all the spinning thoughts. Drop the maze altogether. If you can accept that she was in love with you and now she is in love with another, then you have the truth and the way out.

    When your mind starts spinning and you get sucked back into the confusion, just tell yourself those simple words and breathe. “Breathing in I know and accept the truth of what is here, breathing out I let that truth heal my painful feelings.” Over and over, and with time, the confusion will settle and with it, the pain. How long depends on your mental strength and various other factors.

    This will also work when you start spinning about the loss of the dreams you dreamed with her by your side. “Breathing in I see and accept that dream isn’t here. Breathing out I wish to let go of the old dreams and become the truth of who I am.”

    With warmth,
    Matt

    in reply to: Your best ways of delaing with negative people #37908
    Matt
    Participant

    Pat,

    There was much happiness inside me as I read your words, thank you for sharing your insights, confusions, and praise. You asked if telling her was a valid method of letting go, and I can understand why you might think so! Sometimes that works really well, but only if both people agree on what is there. Otherwise it becomes a battle of “who is seeing rightly” which often only fuels the anger on both sides.

    Letting go is hard, but I believe in you and the Buddha inside you. But how to let go?

    We think that letting go is some major release, where we see something in a new light and then we are healed. It is not the case. The light can show us the staircase out of the old way, but it is through effort and endurance that we actually let go.

    To let go, first you have to know what to let go of! That’s the trick… what gets cut? Now that you are not unskillfully associating your anger with your sister, your mind is in a fertile position to see what to do!

    The anger is coming from your spinning thoughts. Your mind works around the event and all the attachments you have… to your sister, your dream of your sister, your medical issues, your daughter, your pets, your sense of justice etc etc and adds steam to the cycle. It starts with “hmm, that sister sure is interesting->something in my memory hurts->how could she have said that-> what about me! -> that inconsiderate bitch!

    This cycle creates the anger. Said differently, the anger and the spinning thoughts are arising together in your body. It is the spinning that causes the anger, and the anger causes the spinning. That’s it. We have delusions that it is more, but that is because we are so used to connecting “sister” to “anger” that our mind is forgotten as a key role in the process.

    All you need to do is concentrate and notice when the thoughts are spinning or the body feels anger. Breathe in and out, tuning into what is there. The breath is there, some vibrations are there (that you had been calling anger) the thoughts are there. Gently move your attention away from the thoughts and into the breath. It will last a moment before the mind sucks your attention away. That’s normal. Just be patient with yourself and gently move your mind back to the breath again. Soon, the thoughts and anger will vanish. They will come back when you see/hear/think of another trigger, but those triggers decrease in strength the more you practice moving your attention back to the breath.

    The breath is really any meditation object, something simple to concentrate our awareness. If not the breath, perhaps a candle, some music, you could chant om… just something other than being lost in the cycle of mind.

    I am so excited you refuse to take things on faith! That means you are wisely discerning. Never assume someone is right, but trust that others have gone through similar things and might have innovations that help. Apply the innovations, try them out! If you notice they work, you won’t need faith… you’ll have authentic confidence, and that makes all the difference.

    With warmth,
    Matt

    in reply to: Emotionally Severed #37863
    Matt
    Participant

    Kimmi,

    Sometimes when we are unable to feel emotions (feel “blah”) and the sparkle seems to have left from the world, it is because we’ve been forgetting to nurture ourselves and others. What do you do for self care?

    People-pleasers often fill up their tanks on the newness of a situation, but after awhile the newness wears off and the energy fades. They find that the pleasure from being charming and dancing for others doesn’t really nourish their roots.

    Instead, what we can do is work on nurturing ourselves. This is not selfish! One of my teachers said that it is like they tell you on an airplane… in the case of a loss of cabin pressure, put on your own mask first… and then help others. If we go to put on our children’s mask first, for example, we run out of air and both of us are left without breath. When we self nurture, it is just like this.

    The energy of overcoming the feeling of blah is generosity. Put a few dollars in your pocket and give it to someone in need. Go somewhere alone and be gentle with yourself, “breathing in I am looking at the beauty of nature, breathing out i wish to be happy and share happiness with others”. Soon, there will be so much inward beauty that the world won’t have to be sparkly anymore, because it will be sparkly inside. Its from that sparkle that lasting love comes forward like an endless river!

    With warmth,
    Matt

    in reply to: Having trouble sorting out feelings… #37860
    Matt
    Participant

    Breathe. And breathe. And breathe.

    More specific? You first. 🙂

    With warmth,
    Matt

    in reply to: How do I make this right? #37857
    Matt
    Participant

    Yonson,

    I’m sorry for all of the guilt and shame you’re feeling. It is a difficult thing to overcome, which is why making reparations is so critical to the healing process. The question seems to be “is my past so dark and twisted that I am now unlovable?” The answer of course is no, you are lovable. You don’t have to take it on faith, though, you really only have to see it.

    All of us are born ignorant. We rely on our teachers and parents to show us how to live happy, healthy lives. When you fell into addiction, it was either because your body is just one which becomes addicted to drugs or because you were compensating for some other lack in your life. The lacks might have been self-esteem, creativity, humility, human connection… some void that was getting filled. The consequence of drug addiction is it leads to really mindless behavior.

    That mindless behavior can take on all sorts of betrayal, deception, and violence. When the pain of those actions becomes strong enough, we say “enough is enough, I want out” and we figure out a way out. You’ve done it! 6 months is awesome.

    So why the guilt? As you begin to regain your strength, you see the difference and it strikes you. You love your wife and have so much appreciation for her help, that when a memory resurfaces the difference between then and now zaps you. Mind races, thoughts start churning and you begin to “beat yourself up to defend her honor.” This is normal, and think of this: if you weren’t a loving heart, a hero, you wouldn’t care. The guilt means you are a great person who did bad things. It happens to all of us. I have fallen on the path of my own so many times I can’t even count them. Most of us have.

    It is really up to you, how to honor your wife. You could beat yourself up as much as you want. Instead, you could also honor her by helping her with her needs and wants. Don’t fret over the past, simply use it to strengthen your dedication to be steadfast in never doing that again. When thoughts come up, memories, dig deep and accept that you did do those things, but never again. Its enough. You learned.

    Rub her shoulders, tell her thank you, cook her a meal. Accept that you’re doing it to overcome the guilt AND honor her struggles and dedication. After a few weeks and months of service, the guilt won’t be there and your dedication will be all that remains. From there, the confused drunk who did dumb things will be just a memory of someone who is gone, left to rest where he belongs… past.

    With warmth,
    Matt

    • This reply was modified 7 years, 2 months ago by Matt.
    in reply to: I need help #37855
    Matt
    Participant

    Alana,

    I’m sorry its so tough for you right now, I hope you find your better days soon. There are few things that come to heart as I consider your words.

    One of my teachers told me that when we go through dramatic changes we do the best if we give them space. In Buddhism, it is said that the greatest force for change is patient endurance. Much like a flower bulb needs time to open after it is planted, our bodies need time to heal from traumas. You are doing great! Overcoming addiction is tough. Tough! Right now, that is taking a lot of your energy.

    Its important to give ourselves space to heal. Self care, such as laying in bed, taking a bath, sitting in nature, cooking a meal… all these can be done with that patient endurance. “Yes, this feels icky now, but I am stepping each step with the courage to keep going… here is this feeling, and it will fade. I am healing with each moment that I make a healthy choice, it is OK to be patient.”

    With each step, you’re getting distance from it. Over time, your body will heal, and that frees the inner strength that’s now focused on recovery. Then, you will have the strength to become the person you dream to be. She’s in there… she’s the one who is shedding unskillful habits.

    Right now, in this moment, it is important to choose your battles carefully. If you try to recover all at once, it is like banging your head into a rock. Trust that as you keep moving forward, what is tough now becomes easy as you practice. Said differently, each big thing that you work on takes effort, and that effort can tire us out. If you work on too many things at once, you might just be tired all the time.

    For now, consider breathing meditation to help build patience. It can help us build concentration (increasing your strength) and help us let go and relax. It also helps us calm our minds so that we have the endurance to get through tough times. On YouTube, you can search for “jayasaro (5) counting breaths”, which has a simple and effective method.

    Do you have a sponsor? Often times, being able to connect with someone who knows the struggle can help us believe that recovery is not just possible, it is who we really are finally getting to come out and play. At AA, did you open up to the group? I’ve found that this world is full of loving and wise people, and when we bear our soul to them we are not only given help seeing “what’s next, what’s here, what to do”, but also in raw strength in knowing we are loved.

    I know you can do this. I’ve seen it done by people, and you seem to be asking all the right questions and having all the right frustrations. The main point at this point is you need nurturing. Hug, bathe, sing, sleep, breathe, talk… healthy ways of saying to your body that you are beautiful and deserve special care and attention. It does! You do!

    With warmth,
    Matt

    in reply to: Miscommunication in communication #37778
    Matt
    Participant

    Tera,

    In contrast to some of the other pertinent and valuable opinions, there is another factor in communication that might be overlooked. When we invite someone to share with us, we are asking them to open to us. When you asked a question to your friend, she responded with such and such, which was her view. When you responded, was it because she asked you to share your view? Did you consider that your words might devalue her opinion of her own view?

    Ex:
    You: what do you like in a partner?
    Her: I like physical beauty, smart, sexy, good job.
    You: oh yeah? Well I like maturity, intimacy, spiritual growth. If he is mature and intimate, physical appearance and job are meaningless.
    Her: what the hell? I’m not shallow.

    Can you see in those words how the fantasy you trumped/stepped/devalued your fantasy friend’s view?

    One of the notions that applies to Buddhist monks is that they don’t preach dharma to strangers. If they are asked questions, they answer openly and skillfully, but they do not engage in religious debate.

    I feel something similar applies to those of us who focus on our spiritual development. We often can see things that others cannot, and it is our responsibility to take care in what pieces of reality we communicate to others. Otherwise we bring the fiery torch of our light and can easily burn away trust as the fire undermines the confidence of others.

    Of course, we have free will and can do anything and say anything we want. However, if this is a repeating pattern for you with multiple people, chances are there is something happening on your side that is causing it. Perhaps you love your insight so much that you share it when the other is not ready or open to it?

    With warmth,
    Matt

    • This reply was modified 7 years, 2 months ago by Matt.
    in reply to: what direction to go? #37775
    Matt
    Participant

    Some say that meditation is the only way to become sane. If you are considering meditation, that’s great! There are often local meditation centers (such as Buddhist temples) where you could get instruction. From your words, i think a Zen center might do well for you if available.

    in reply to: A Jokester #37747
    Matt
    Participant

    nick,

    Being assertive starts with a total understanding that you are sovereign over your body. You have every right not to be hit, playfully, psychologically, physically or otherwise. Its your body, so his jabbing is invasive.

    From that ground, perhaps you could say calmly:
    “I don’t like that, stop. Now.”
    “If you want to touch me, how about rubbing my shoulders?”
    Get up and leave the room
    “When you do that, I feel abused. Is that what you intend?”
    “That doesn’t feel loving”

    The more calm you stay, the more likely it will be to reach him as long as you are consistent. It is quite usual for a jokester/abuser to be doing what they are doing to get a reaction. If your reaction remains “that is wrong” without an emotional outburst, there is a much better chance that his desire to poke will blow itself out. Said differently, if you are consistently reflecting it back at him, he will either see it and stop, or you will become more and more assertive until you realize his cuteness isn’t enough to keep you in the line of fire.

    In between, when he seems open and with you, you could try explaining your side of it. Don’t tell him what to do or what not to do, but say that when he does X, you feel Y. You don’t like feeling Y, and it is painful. If he cannot hear you, or makes excuses, perhaps you could suggest couples counseling. Communication is very important for intimacy, and if he isn’t listening on such an important issue, there are probably many areas in your relationship where you are not heard.

    With warmth,
    Matt

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