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April 22, 2022 at 4:04 pm #398680
(^ thanks for that tip! and the company name)
thanks a lot 🙂 i want to make a distinction here (im half making this up as i go along, bear with…):
as i see it, there is meaning and there is purpose.
my purpose, which i’ve made up and might change anytime, is to spend my life doing my best to grow as a Buddhist; practicing compassion toward myself and the world, whilst making space for beauty, creativity and adventure— and to enjoy the ride. this is my purpose, my cognitive idea of what i’m trying to do with my life.
meaning meanwhile has more dubious, well, meaning in my eyes. i take it to be more emotional than purpose; it’s not a directive, it’s more of a feeling that i have good reason to stay here. it’s a sense of being tethered to this life, feeling passionately that life is something i want to live. the opposite of depression, apathy, numbness.
cynically we might say that purpose and meaning together make up a psycho-philosophical buffer against the existential angst inherent to being human. i have a hunch though that meaning is a real, spiritual thing coded into the very fibre of existence, even if i often find it hard to connect with said meaning.
granted, i 100% agree that “the simple things that are meaningful on a daily basis are just as important”. i think what i’m wrestling with, underneath much of the day-to-day stress i experience, is that while i have a fairly strong sense of purpose and orient my life and goals toward that purpose, i still despite that feel very apathetic and numb a lot of the time. it’s like this disconnect between my head and my heart; i read philosophy, watch lectures, give myself compelling reasons to be here, but sometimes on a deep emotional level i just feel utterly disinterested in life. i’m young and already i feel like the spark of passion and curiosity i had growing up is fading. the same things that used to be amazing and exciting when i was a kid now feel hollow, and the only way i can get a glimpse of that state of mind is through taking drugs, but it’s a transient experience, like opening up and smelling an old perfume bottle belonging to someone you once loved.
there are definitely things i wanna change yes. id like to recover from depression and grow into a calmer and more secure person. i’d like to connect more with the universe. i’ve been setting and pursuing compelling goals for as long as i can remember. i care a lot about my loved ones, animals, politics… i guess all this is just not enough sometimes to drown out the ever-pessimistic part of me that just couldn’t care less whether i live or die.
hope im making sense and not veering off into incomprehensibly pretentious territory … !April 20, 2022 at 1:43 am #398464
Your enthusiasm is so beautiful, thank you!
Sending so much love to both of you and the entire community. Today I’m so exhausted, uncomfortable, cynical, heartbroken, and still I’ve been able to smile.
Life is revealing itself to me every day and it’s confusing, tiring, weird and amazing. I wish it was easier. I wish I could hold onto things forever in my arms and never have to let go. Life is so painful and tragic and crazy. I’m so tired of being tired and sick of being sick. I’m proud of myself and of everyone who keeps going. I’m proud of people who did their best and weren’t able to keep going. Despite it all, I’m proud of humanity.
Sometimes it all feels like a cruel joke or game, and I lose sight of any sense of meaning. There are two sides of me, one seeped in nihilism and the other an ever-hopeful optimist. I don’t know who’s right but I really hope there is some meaning to it all.
I keep returning to my childhood. Standing around in shops looking with wonderment at mundane products, waiting for my family to buy things. The music in videogames. The smell of rain. Feeling safe around my dad, laughing at his jokes. Seeing rainbows and wondering how they worked. Feeling like an outcast in school.
I can’t believe how human i am. I cant believe how imperfect i am. I can’t believe life is so long and so short, and that everything i do or say will likely someday be no more than a flash in the pan.
I took magic mushrooms a few months back and had this insane experience ive never talked about because i dont know how to talk about it, i cant put it into words. it was like i was in a play or a novel. I felt what it means when we say “all the world’s a stage”. I saw, felt and experienced countless rooms and tunnels embodying my psyche, as labyrinthian as any other person’s. the room i was most frightened of but also incredibly drawn to was a room in a hospital with a bed in it. this room had so much gravity. it pulled everything slowly towards it and was so heavy and made myself and everything around it heavy along with it. I felt the presence of the grim reaper and I sensed that this is all for nothing. And i felt agony at the thought. I try so hard, we all try so hard to make something of our damn lives. And i just hope so desperately that it’s all for something. I hope there’s a reason for me to get out of bed in the morning and push through my pain and exasperation at the state of my body and the world in order to do something like write this out, or listen to my mum, relate to others, connect with people.
Thinking about existence and meaning has become an incredibly psychedelic and haunting experience. Why am I here? The question is so basic and so cliche but I cannot escape it.
Depression is a joke. Nothing feels real anymore. But writing this felt pretty close to real. Writing this is in a way the most real I’ve felt in a long time. It feels good to get it out and feel seen by beings so compassionate as people like you both. I’m so incredibly grateful for and in awe of people like you. Thank you <3April 20, 2022 at 1:04 am #398463
Many thanks for this! Those candles sound cool haha. I’m so glad you have found many ways to look after yourself. I think yeah I do practice self-care on a daily basis, having read this list, which is probably why I’m still hanging in there. I wish it always enough to keep suicidal thoughts at bay, but I’m still grateful for what I have.April 9, 2022 at 8:07 am #397387
Thank you for responding with compassion <3 yeah it is a lot of trauma to be honest, however, although it all hurts, i have gotten better at bouncing back from things as a result of working on myself and therapy which im currently doing. i don’t mean bouncing back into productivity, i know my feelings are important. i mean more, bouncing back into a place of relative centredness from which i can experience and savour positive emotions.
the thing is, i feel like im ALWAYS in a period of intense stress, so i’m somewhat used to it. like, i dont really know what taking special care of myself would like look and whether it’s appropriate since there always seems to be something i’m super stressed about (i have very little emotional stability, even though it is improving).
what does taking special care of yourself look like for you?April 9, 2022 at 3:57 am #397384
many thanks for responding. when is life not difficult! haha. yes, very much so. a more difficult time for my family than perhaps it’s ever been. in the past 6 months I’ve lost my sister, my dad’s been found out to have cheated on my mum for decades, i was broken up with by my partner, my friend has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, my mum’s fallen out with her sister and my mum and brother have fallen into a bit of a depression. when i type all that out and read it, im surprised im still here to be honest, let alone maybe better than ever mentally (although still depressed).April 9, 2022 at 3:52 am #397383
thank you for your response. I definitely wouldnt claim to know! all i can say is that going by near-death experiences and buddhist/neurological insights about the inherent goodness of people, i would imagine that most people are compassionate enough to get there. i think the important thing is probably just to be more kind than unkind. Do you have any thoughts on what happens beyond death?
I have just looked up 1000 armed Chenrezig and teachings on human birth. thank you. the chenrezig imagery is very cool and is definitely an ideal we can all strive towards, i like the visualisation of growing and losing arms you talk about. nonetheless, i dont hold myself or anyone else to the standard of getting to 1000 arms! i feel the universe is quite forgiving.
i suppose the teachings on human birth drive home why suicide is a waste; it’s wasting a precious thing. and silly me in my silly little suicidal state of mind even forgot how much it would hurt the people who love me… another way it wouldnt be compassionate. you really lose sight of these things when you’re in the middle of suicidal ideation.April 9, 2022 at 3:39 am #397381
You’re right, it’s such a basic flaw in my thinking that i simply wasnt recognising. Of course being compassionate to myself is a necessary part of compassion, so killing myself would be quite… ill-advised. Besides, this body is property of the universe really, not quite mine.
You;re also very right about the ways the world has gotten worse, thank you for empathising with that and how it impacts my state of mind. i’ve actually been very fortunate in terms of getting support, enough to now be on my second round of therapy. they have helped a lot, but i’m still not in recovery yet (getting there!). i have really come to see, respect and honour the important of putting myself first and tending to my mental health in this time, so i suppose i was right when i said i was ready to start doing that.
it’s a shame that these thinsg havent been enough to stop me feeling suicidal, but it is only quite occasionally these days (maybe once a week or two, unless something traumatic has just happened)April 7, 2022 at 5:41 pm #397229
Hello anita, was in a more frazzled state of mind when i made this although it is indeed an issue i deal with. amazing to see you are still sharing your wisdom and compassion on this forum, hope you are well <3
yes, i do believe in heaven. i think of it as an immaterial paradise realm where spirits go upon death if they have lived compassionate lives. i suppose suicide isn’t very compassionate toward yourself though, now that i think of it…January 12, 2020 at 10:03 am #332883
I’ll try to get a good one!
Your existence is very appreciated. See you around 🙂January 11, 2020 at 2:29 pm #332745
Thank you Anita. I’m really glad to hear that you are content most of the time, not only of course for your sake but also since it gives me more hope for the future. A healthy dose of optimism is a powerful thing, isn’t it?
I’ve decided for sure I am going to start therapy when I move house in March. I spend so much time thinking about saving the world, but I realise I cannot help a single soul without putting my own needs first, and if that means such time-consuming resorts as therapy then that is that and I needn’t complain. I think it’s hard, perhaps especially as a man, to accept that you are a human being with emotions and that it’s really okay to need help and to ask for help. But I’m ready now.
Thanks and best wishes— you are really a kind soul 🙂January 11, 2020 at 10:46 am #332709
You capture well what I indeed experience. The detail about reliving more than just one’s dry words is true, but what struck me is your very accurate description of how “we feel badly, we then feel good and think: oh, I got it! From now on I will be feeling this good, but no, next we feel badly again.. and good and badly again” Very true, and funnily enough I had a conversation just the other night whether my parents suggested things never truly get better (not what I’m suggesting you’re saying). Your explanation of how connections in the brain are impossible to rewire with just logic also makes a lot of sense to me.
I’m also truly sorry to hear that so much of your life has been characterised by misery. I can only send you my best wishes for peace and hope that you have someone in your life as kind and non-judgemental as yourself.
It’s about the process, not the destination. I am aware of this. I am trying to accept that I perhaps won’t ever feel okay about myself the majority of the time.
I don’t want to seem stubborn, but… now that we’ve talked a bit about all that Anita, I wonder whether you still think the way I feel about my parents’ mortality is something that can only be solved by working on past traumas? If so, I think I am probably missing something and I’m sorry 🙁January 10, 2020 at 2:20 pm #332597
Definitely yes, that is how the brain works.
I see the difference.
And I suppose the answer is to reason with myself and get it into my head that my father is not God, that I do not need to base my perception of reality around how my parents spoke to me.
I have had those thoughts and contemplated that. I have done all I feel I can to rewrite that. But my mind presses on. My mind is insistent on me seeing myself in the worst way possible.
That’s not the whole story. I am capable at times of seeing myself in an incredible light. I’m capable of arrogance even. But even all that is just a coping mechanism sort of response to the actual low self-esteem that I have.
And sometimes people compliment me. It feels good. I resist it a bit but it feels good, it validates who I am and makes me feel like all my hard work pays off.
But it would be nice if I could feel good about myself without compliments. If I could, most of the time, perceive the inherent worth that lies within me just for being alive. Most of the time I miss that.January 10, 2020 at 6:20 am #332443
Most likely the bullying I got from teachers and peers for being gay (/feminine/generally unconventional). The bullying stopped in reality, but it’s continued in my mind far beyond that time wherein I see myself as harshly as my bullies saw me.
I will say that I did remember something my dad said when I was a child actually that really hurt— he said that nobody likes me because I’m annoying. So I suppose experiences with family does come into it.January 9, 2020 at 3:41 am #332231
Thank you for trying to clarify. Yes, your summary is correct, that’s how I feel. I did not feel there was much agression in my family and certainly no emotional neglect, though of course I could be wrong about that. So I find it difficult to link my current anxieties to such things when I don’t feel they exist for me.January 8, 2020 at 12:58 am #332045
Your response is much appreciated Anita. Your way of quoting the person you’re talking to keeps what you’re saying very rooted in the subject matter at hand and lends your suggestions a lot of weight.
I didn’t share the suffering in my individual life because I didn’t feel it was particularly relevant, or at least the specifics of what I endured. But your suggestions would have one think that indeed it is very relevant.
My obsessive-compulsive tendencies, for as long as I can remember, robbed me of any sleep most nights until I was a teenager and filled my days with dread as I convinced myself I was being stalked by a monster. I was then emotionally abused and sexually harassed by my teacher. This event along with abuse from other people at the school was in response to me being gay, which continued into high school where a rumour was falsely spread that I took pictures of boys in the changing rooms. Due to depressive moods and intense self-hatred I’ve experienced since childhood, I was suicidal since primary school, and attempted towards the end of high school. Then in college I was shown audio of children being raped without any warning.
I’ve never sat and acknowledged all that before, so thanks for giving me a reason to. (Sounds sarcastic but it isn’t, lol).
What you’re saying about being largely the same person throughout our lives is clearly true based on the scientific evidence you referred to. I’d be lying if I were to deny my subjective experience though, and my subjective experience is that my life so far has been very much a movement through a multitude of identities. Maybe that is my identity, though. Or maybe my brain isn’t done developing.
As for the rest of what you’re saying, well, I’m not sure what to say. I’m sorry to express that I simply don’t relate to the narrative you’re describing; the pain of the abusive persecution I faced as a child ripples on in its own way today as I struggle to accept the person I am, and suicidal ideation is still very easy territory for me to enter— these are the ways in which my childhood hurt continues today. I was under the impression that being scared about your parents dying was quite a common issue and quite directly tied to that external stimuli (my parents’ mortality). I am open to the idea of this fear being an alternate manifestation of a deeper childhood fear I carry due to trauma, but my heart tells me that is not the case. Maybe I am not thinking about it in the right way though.
I still am repulsed by the human race’s capacity for selfishness, and whether it was the base of my childhood wounds or not, the fact is that famine still continues today— as does climate change, escalating political instability, the killing of innocent animals for food… the list goes on and on, it’s just every person’s choice as to whether or not they let it be an issue for them. My resolution has been to try and help people as best I can.
I guess what I’m trying to express here is that whilst you seem to imply an underlying essentialism to all the problems I find myself obsessing over, I find it hard to see it that way and instead view my problems as the direct result of circumstances in my life and in this society. My parents ARE mortal, and unless I either was a particularly enlightened being or just didn’t love my parents very much, I’m sure that was inevitable to cause me some level of suffering. Sure, I’m a very sensitive person, so it might hurt more for me than the average person, but I don’t feel it’s an extension of some deeper trauma, as satisfyingly tidy as that answer may appear.
I don’t mean to be difficult and I’m sorry if that’s exactly what I’m being. I would be interested to hear your take on how the principles of clinging, non-attachment and the middle way apply to feeling better and healing.