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  • in reply to: Just a logical theory making everything pointless for me. #54742

    I’m a determinist. At least, I think it’s probably correct, everything you said in your opening post. Except I don’t see how that makes life pointless, and I don’t need the possibility of some supernatural gubbins to give my life meaning.

    Yes, I’m a bunch of particles bonded together temporarily. My emotions are controlled by chemicals running around in my body, my thoughts are nothing but habitual electrical impulses. So what? I can switch on an electrical massage wand, put it to my special places and presto! Life feels great! Was that predictable? Was it pre-determined that I would do this? Yup. Does that make it less enjoyable? Nope.

    Even if, in an absolute sense, there’s no free will, in a more every day sense I do things and results happen. I noticed that my partner was feeling sad about something, so I chose to ask him about it, and we decided to spend an evening together just talking and catching up, reconnecting. I expect this to have positive results. I could have not asked, he could have said “oh, it’s nothing”. Even if our actions were predetermined, we feel like we made choices. Your choices may be pre-determined, but you still have to make them. And they will still have consequences, for you and others.

    Pleasure still exists; even if it’s a chemical event in my brain, I still enjoy it. Happiness still exists. Love still exists. Grief still exists. Comfort still exists. YOU still exist. The people you love still exist. Strangers who may one day be your friend still exist. There’s so much to learn, to enjoy, to explore. So how is life meaningless?

    in reply to: Help Me Understand My Actions, Please. #54741

    Hey Sandy,

    I’ve not read your other posts, so I don’t know exactly where you stand with this person, but it sounds like there’s not much chance of you getting back together. So what happened was this: you did some good things, disconnecting and keeping emotional distance, and then you slid back into older behaviour that makes you fearful and frazzled and in pain.

    The reason you did this is that you get something out of that pain.

    I can’t tell you what that is, maybe it’s the sense of connection it gives you to him, maybe because it gives you something to blame (I feel bad because of HIM, so it’s not my fault), maybe it’s just because you’ve grown used to feeling fearful and dependent on that trickle of news you get from his facebook, and you feel a kind of vertigo when you stand on your own. Or some other reason. It’s often something that makes sense emotionally, but is, rationally speaking, totally barmy.

    When you find yourself doing something over and over, even though you know it makes you feel bad, it’s probably because there is something in that shit sandwich that you crave. I used to read rabid anti-gay websites, because there was something about the anger it gave me that made me feel invigorated and righteous. Of course, it also made me miserable, but it took me a long time to realise the misery wasn’t worth the energy I got from being angry. I stopped looking at the sites (and that was hard, and I had to quit a couple of times). I now get my energy from healthier, more positive thoughts, and I don’t have that voice of hate and fear yammering into my head every day. Life is a little better.

    Keep on quitting. Keep on doing the good things you know you need to do. And if you can figure out what the magic ingredient in that shit sandwich is, try to figure out other ways to get it.

    in reply to: Abstain from all intoxicants? #54697

    Robito, forgive me but, if you really want to follow the Buddha’s advice, would you not have to become a monk? What are your main sources for the dhamma? The Suttas/Sutras of different traditions can be surprisingly different. For example, I am surprised that someone who takes the teachings of the Buddha seriously would refer to the “Self”, capital S and everything. What self is this? Where did you find it? 🙂 But maybe the tradition you’re reading in doesn’t teach not-self as an important concept.

    I think, if your experiment revolves around doing exactly what the Buddha advised to see if it ‘works’, then I guess you’d at least have to take the precepts very seriously, and undertake abstaining from alcohol, even if it makes you seem weird to your friends and you feel like you’re giving up something rather nice (the occasional pint). If you want to be a renunciate, giving up things that are actually rather nice is going to have to become a habit.

    But perhaps I misunderstand your mission. I’d love to hear more about what you’re planning.

    in reply to: Looking for advice… #54606

    Firstly, some opinionated opinion from the priceless pages of my asshat opinions: you don’t need to be some dude’s dirty little secret. You were right not to put up with that bullshit. You done right, girl.

    Secondly. You seem to have a good handle on the things that aren’t helping you. You mention your limited social life twice. You mention the thinking and more thinking. You’re struggling with anxiety and depression, and you’re scared, and that’s very understandable. This is scary stuff.

    So helpful things might be the opposites of the things you mention. Expanding your social life. Spending less time thinking over your situation. Being courageous. These things are not easy. I had a very small social circle, tried different things to make more friends, and it took me years to finally make it work (but I did). And there wasn’t a magic formula, I just did the things they tell you to do: get out there, take classes, join the local theatre group, volunteer, yadda yadda, you know the drill. And it’s so, so hard, especially if you’re also up against your own anxiety. But in the end I did find my people, and I made some friends, and it got easier.

    Keep pushing, but not so hard that it’ll exhaust you. Make sure you’re comfortable, and just lean into it a little. Step by step expand your sense of what you are capable of, and the kind of person you are. I used to give myself little gold stars if I managed to make small talk with someone I didn’t know well (yep, really). Now I can casually flirt with people. And there’s nothing I can point to to say: there, that’s what changed. I just tried as best I could.

    All my best wishes.

    in reply to: Mindfulness #54604

    A started with Mindfulness some five years ago. I would say both that it’s made a huge difference in my life, and that I’m far from always mindful.

    In my experience, deliberate practice, both in formal meditation and in more informal “being present” in everyday life becomes easier the more you do it — practice makes it easier to practice. And it’s a huge help to notice things before you’re reacting, or to notice your reactions before they run off with you. It becomes easier to ask: what is the kind thing to do here? What would lead to the best outcome, rather than to what my wounded ego wants?

    And does that help with relationships? Uhuh-yeah! It makes all the difference, whether it’s with someone you get along well with, or in conflict. Even if they’re not on the same path, even when they’re complete asshats acting stupidly and selfishly, it helps to have just that arms-length detachment so you can see how their asshattery stirs up your own. Because what mindfulness hasn’t done for me (yet?) is get rid of my own asshattery. Au contraire, I can see it more clearly than ever. Even with all the gains I’ve made, I still go off the damn rails sometimes. In some ways it’s worse, because I can see myself acting like an idiot while I act like an idiot, and yet I keep acting like that. But on the other hand, I know my idiot moments aren’t as frequent as they used to be, and don’t last as long. And that’s worth it.

    In short: recommended. Five stars. 🙂

    in reply to: Abstain from all intoxicants? #54597

    Hey Robito,

    Interesting project. I agree that “spirituality” isn’t worth much if it doesn’t change the way you actually behave.

    When it comes to the precepts, I struggle with this myself, although it’s more numbers 3 and 4 that trip me up. 😉 As far as intoxicants go, I’ve always understood this as a kind of precaution. When under the influence of intoxicants, it’s very hard to stick to the rest of the precepts. It’s hard to be mindful of yourself when your mind’s not working properly, so to speak. So we abstain to help ourselves stick to the path, and not end up with a hangover both in the literal and in a kind of karmic “what have I done?!” sense.

    I don’t drink or smoke anyway, so it’s fairly easy for me to say I pass this test. I do use caffeine sometimes, but not habitually. Is that against the precepts? I don’t know. Some people feel you can’t ‘abstain from killing’ unless you’re a vegetarian. They have a good point, but I’m not a vegetarian yet.

    The way I see it, the precepts are a tool to challenge yourself, to be mindful of what you do, rather than hard and fast thou-shalt-nots. And I think it’s natural that there’s variations in interpretation. To you, abstaining from intoxicants might mean not to drink to intoxication, rather than not drinking at all. For me, abstaining from sexual misconduct might mean something wildly different than what it meant in the Buddha’s time, but that doesn’t mean I don’t take sexual morality and the consexuences of my actions seriously.

    I think the key is that you think through what you do, and are careful of what the outcome of your actions may be for yourself and for others.


    I like this a lot. I have very similar views to yours: I think death just means nonexistence, and there’s no need to fear it because you won’t be there to experience it. The end may be painful and sad, but death itself I think of as rest, relief, and yes, peace.

    As for meaning, we all make this ourselves, the whole messy wibbly-wobbly interlinked biosphere. None of us asked to be here, and none of us were given a task to do or a test to pass. We just put those on ourselves and each other. I think the only test is how the things you do make yourself and others happy or miserable. We all prefer happiness to misery, so let’s try to work for happiness when we can. That’s my purpose as I see it.

    Thanks for your post. It’s nice to read about someone getting on well with themselves. 🙂

    in reply to: How to help heal someone you hurt physically? #54595

    I’m glad to hear that, Lance. You sound like a decent guy. Stay the course, my friend.

    in reply to: Handling excess feminine sexual energy #54594

    I’m glad that was of some use. 🙂 Good luck.

    in reply to: Handling excess feminine sexual energy #54538

    Hey Ruminant,

    Everyone else has given really great chakra/energy/spiritual type suggestions, and you seem happy with that, so maybe my more down to earth suggestion isn’t needed. But I’m a down to earth type of person, and this seems like a down to earth kind of problem, so I’ll offer it anyway. For clarity, I’m biologically female, although my gender identity is, uh, in flux, I’ll say. But I got the bits you got, and sister, I feel ya. This is my advice.

    Have a wank.

    OK, I know you say that having orgasms just seems to bring it back stronger. I used to think that too, until I tried, on the suggestion of a rather wonderful young man, to NOT have orgasms for a while. That makes it worse. Trust me. If you got these urges, they’ll want to come out one way or another, and it’s better to give them the space.

    I would suggest taking the time every day (or more if you need to) to fantasise, touch yourself, and really make yourself feel good. When I say have a wank, I don’t mean just that. I mean dress up, take the time, touch yourself all over, kiss your own skin, let the energy build. This energy is yours. It’s what you have, and great going showing shame the door, by the way. But it seems like you’re saying: “OK, I know I don’t have to be ashamed of it, but it really is kind of in my way here.”

    It’s not in your way. It is you.

    Of course I understand you probably can’t afford to lounge around all day in fancy underoos snuggled up with a hitachi (though how awesome is THAT for a lazy Sunday plan?) and I know how exhausting and distracting it can be to feel that kind of hunger all the time. But trying to control it isn’t going to help. It’s a part of you that, for whatever reason, needs some attention. I think if you spend some time with it, real, quality time without trying to control it or figure it out, the urgency will die down and you’ll find a comfortable and pleasurable way to be with yourself.

    Yes, you can harnass this energy. When you do, it turns into pleasure. What could be better?

    in reply to: Coping with the negativity of others #54536

    Boy, he does sound like a charmer. 😉

    You’ll have to treat him as your training ground. He tests your patience, and by his testing, he can help you grow it. Try different mental approaches: is it helpful to just let him blather and not pay much attention? Is it helpful to focus on feeling sorry for him to have to live with all this negativity in his head? Is it helpful to try to shut him down as quickly as possible by giving curt, I’m-not-interested answers? Try to watch yourself react to him, catch yourself in the act of turning into that cow, and see if you can stop the transformation as it’s happening. You’ll still usually fail, but if you think of it as a kind of boot camp for learning patience, you may get something out of it rather than feeling like you’re failing all the time.

    Of course, you didn’t ask to go to Patience Boot Camp. But here you are. Trying to use his immature assishness to grow is your best option, I think.

    in reply to: The most useful thing you have learned or experienced #54534

    I like this question. I might use it as a journalling prompt.

    For now, my deathbed message to the world would be something along the lines of this: “Whatever has happened to you, whatever’s been done to you, whatever shit you got going on in your life, you can still be amazing. You and me and everyone else have our own shit to wade though, and most of it is invisible except to ourselves. So be kind, to yourself, and to everyone else. Being kind is the only path to enlightenment that’s worth a damn if you ask me.”

    Something like that. I’ll check back for more responses.

    Danger: that was a good thing to do man. High five! Wait, wash your hands first. OK, high five.
    At the same time, the other people may not have done anything for their own reasons. Maybe one of them was a germophobe who really wanted to do something, but couldn’t face the thought of touching the dead tissue. Maybe one of them was just acting like he didn’t care because he was terrified of not fitting in with his new college friends, and would be bullied like he had been all his highschool years. Maybe they just didn’t know what to do, but hated themselves afterwards. Maybe one of those pretty girls couldn’t stop because she had a doctor’s appointment to get emergency contraception and was scared out of her damn mind.
    Maybe not, but the point is: don’t judge people for not doing what you think they should be doing. You don’t know what’s going on with them. I think the thing to do in a situation like that is just to be grateful that you WERE able to do what needed to be done, and wish them well on their journeys, whatever they are.


    Oh, my love. Please don’t go back to this man.

    He hasn’t changed. You already have the evidence of this. He texts you and e-mails you and uses his family to try to force you to change your mind about him? You reluctantly agree to speak to him, and he immediately pushes for a meeting and ups the ante on his messages and harassment? That is not respectful. You don’t have to wonder if he’ll disrespect you again, he’s doing it right now.

    All he cares about is that HE gets what he wants, because HE can’t see a future without you. Well, boo hoo. You know what else he can’t see? YOU. He doesn’t care about what you want, how you want to go about this potential reconciliation, your comfort levels, how fast you want to go. HE wants to talk to you, therefore you have to talk to him. HE wants to meet up, therefore he won’t leave you alone until you do. This stuff would be a red flag signalling a potential abuser even if he wasn’t an actual abuser who actually abused you in your actual history together.

    You know what kind of guy he is. You can see he hasn’t changed. Do not go back to this man.

    You’re still young. There are plenty of guys around your age, or younger or older, who are ready to settle down, want a family, and who are GOOD guys. Who know how to love someone. And you deserve one of those.

    My heart goes out to you. Whatever you choose to do, always believe that you deserve to be treated well.

    in reply to: Should I walk away? Stuck with no idea #54532

    Aw, man! What a horrible situation to be in.

    The unkind way to look at it is that he was friends with you only in the hopes of getting into your pants, and then when he was there he decided that’s not what he wanted and bailed. That is sucky behaviour on his part, and maybe you’re better off getting rid of him.

    On the other hand, he sounds kind of troubled. Why would you pursue someone for years, and then drop them? Either he doesn’t know his own heart, which must be painful to realise, or he’s been crushingly disappointed in something he’d built up as the shining super-special one thing he needed to make his life complete. He may need some time to get over you, and perhaps you can be friends after a few months or a year of being at a distance.

    On balance though: you “did not meet his expectations”? What, like that’s your fault? He sounds like a ass. It’s sad to lose a friend, but I think he might not be a friend worth having.

    in reply to: How to help heal someone you hurt physically? #54401

    Hey Lance,

    No, you weren’t being sexist, Danger was. He was saying something about women being emotional or something. His post seems to have vanished, but Linecrosser responded to it too, so I know I’m not imagining things.

    “Being a true friend is what I am now but then she does go elsewhere with it.”

    I’m not entirely sure what you mean by this, but as I said, it’s not for you to say how she heals, or how she feels about you. Be there for her, but don’t try to control her. If she’d rather hang out with other friends, that’s her right. If she behaves in a way towards you that you’re not willing to put up with, then don’t hang out with her. That’s the only power you have here: be there for her, or let her go. You can’t make any demands on her, given the situation.

Viewing 15 posts - 226 through 240 (of 264 total)