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John

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  • #60465
    John
    Participant

    You’re welcome Anna. And thank you for the discussion 🙂

    I hear what you are saying about it feeling bad/dirty. I suspect that the more you explore this, the more you’ll feel comfortable with it and those thoughts as well. I think you’ll start to notice that these thoughts are normal to being a human and are not bad.

    Best wishes to you 🙂

    #60366
    John
    Participant

    Hi Anna,

    My view is that masturbation is like most things in that it is healthy when done in moderation. Just don’t let it be something you do all the time (nothing else going on) and you’ll be fine. I’ll get to your thoughts of others in a moment. But looking at masturbation in itself, what’s not to love? You get to learn how you are wired, what pleases you, on your terms, in the comfort of whatever space is comfy for you. You control the speed and pressure, when to stop and when to release. It’s a win, win, win, win (and then some) situation for you. Again, allow yourself the experience in moderation and you’ll be fine.

    Guilt from thoughts. I’ve experience this as well, but not as much anymore. Here are some thoughts which helped me.

    I haven’t met anyone who has complete control over what thoughts pop in their head. Our senses are constantly stimulating our brain, bringing all kinds of images and words to mind. Receiving physical pleasure will surely keep a steady stream of fantastic imagery flowing. It’s not surprising that at least some of these images are of someone you find physically attractive. Seeking out someone attractive to mate with is part of how we are wired. When you’re in love with someone, why would this hard wiring shut off? It’s like when you hang out with your loved one, and notice an attractive man. Do you stop recognizing that man as attractive just because you’re in love? I’d bet you don’t, and you shouldn’t, and that is normal because of how are brains are wired. Learn to cut yourself slack on this, at least for the reason that thoughts are very much out of our control. How we decide to follow through on our thoughts is what needs attention, imo.

    Then you might ask ‘should I follow through with masturbation when having these images of someone else?’ Absolutely. It doesn’t mean that you’re in love with the person you’re picturing. You may just think they have sexy features. In my experience, love and sex are two separate things, and obviously often go hand in hand. Seeing these as separate can be a challenge because there are strong emotions involved with each. Maybe that’s how guilt works it’s way in. I’ve had my share of struggles with it. But the more I saw them as separate, the more healthier I felt my approach to sex and love became.

    So my advice in a nutshell. Allow yourself the wonderful experience of self pleasure and exploring what turns you on. Go easy on yourself. The thoughts which trigger from physical pleasure might be all over the place. Let it happen and enjoy. It doesn’t mean you’re in love with someone else. It may just mean that they have features which you find sexy.

    : )

    #60258
    John
    Participant

    This reminds me of someone else who posted recently, saying they can’t shut off the mind, and they just go go go.

    My suggestion to them is the same I’ll give to you.

    Spend time not thinking. Just start now for one minute. Turn off all electronics, close your eyes, and just feel. Any thoughts that emerge, just let them come and go. For this time, which is all about you resting your brain, those thoughts are meaningless. All thoughts are meaningless during this. Only allow your brain to focus on your senses at the present moment. Sit still and comfortable, keep eyes closed. Begin to sense parts of your body. Focus on arms, feet, nose, whatever, for as long as you like. But any images or thoughts which happen, just let them pass. Your brain needs a break from that. Deep sleep is great but not enough sometimes. Do this simple idea for a minute, or longer if you’d like, up to you. I say a minute so you get a taste of it. It can be quite challenging at first. Our brains are easily distracted by calls, tv, thoughts about ‘what should I be doing’ and ‘why did I do that’. These are all distractions. This meditation I’m trying to describe to you is simply being in the moment, being in tune with your senses. You’ll likely not notice much at first, but if you do, even better. Hopefully you’ll get the idea of what I’m trying to explain. It’s easy concept but difficult to practice, at first.

    #60241
    John
    Participant

    Hi Ayame,

    I can’t say I’ve been in your position but I feel I can relate to some of what you’re describing.

    Though, what sticks out to me is how you talk about failure.
    “if the kids have done badly that it is automatically my fault”
    “if I don’t worry or beat myself up that I am failing somehow and should be trying harder”

    We’re taught that failure is a bad thing. I personally disliked school mainly because of the idea that if I failed enough, then I could flunk the whole year, then have to repeat it. I was terrified of that happening. I quickly put together that failure should be avoided at ALL costs. I’m feeling this kind of vibe in your post.

    Over the years, my view on failure has changed.

    First of all, it’s normal to fail. How many times do we succeed at anything on the first attempt? Our body and mind are not perfect. We each have at least slightly different wiring in the brain. Our minds wander at times because we have an imagination which doesn’t shut off (another good thing). We have emotions. Any one or more of our 5 senses could be stimulated, prodding our focus to shift to something else. Just from these examples alone, to me, it’s easy to see how easily we can fail at even the simplest tasks. Again, the mind isn’t perfect. Mistakes will be made. Maybe we should go easier on ourselves and others?

    Secondly, failure can be a good thing. We can learn from mistakes, hoping to not repeat them. Will we get a perfect score on the next attempt or the one after that? Not sure. We still have those other things going on which contend with our focus, mentioned in prev paragraph. Surely there are times when you learned something from a mistake that you otherwise would not have learned if you had succeeded.

    I wanted to explore fear of failure because it was something that bothered me quite a bit through the years. Like a subtle under current, rearing it’s head during pivotal moments. I used to catch a glimpse of the fear for a moment, then give into the fear, and do what ever it took to feel like I wasn’t failing. These included flat out denial and/or masking the failure with a success in something else. Listening to your post reminded me of this experience so I thought I’d touch on this topic. Perhaps fear of failure is something worth looking at for you? Or maybe it doesn’t apply to you. But hope it helps in some way.

    #60223
    John
    Participant

    Hi Anthony,

    The chapter of your life with this woman has come to a close. By your account, this ended when her drug use became a problem. You got that out of your life, and that is a good thing.

    Now you think about all the good times and good parts of her, physically and personality. This is normal. You might have a hard time finding someone who doesn’t know how this goes. Love interests who had so much going for them, but had at one or more red flags/deal breakers. Then you start wondering ‘what if I just tough it out, maybe it’ll be ok’. Following through with this WILL lead you down a destructive path. You will basically condition yourself into believing that the relationship is ok, even though it’s not. You will train yourself to accept pain, then a little more, then a little more, just to be with her. You’ll believe that things are just about to turn a corner. A light at the end of the tunnel. You’ll feel it coming. But it never comes. It will drive you crazy. The cycle then repeats. I don’t know everything about relationships, but this is not what you want. If I may be bold, we all want someone with the good stuff (physically and mentally), the out of this world chemistry, no destructive baggage, and they WANT TO BE WITH US. She is destructive AND clearly does not want to be with you. If she wants to be with you under a condition, like, you allow her to move back in, then that does not count. Healthy relationships are about two people who want to enjoy each others’ company without conditions.

    I’m not going to sugar coat things and say ‘you will find someone better’. The future is uncertain and nothing is guaranteed.

    But holding onto this girl will guarantee that you will not experience the relationship you really want. Even if a fantastic match is right in front of you, you might not even notice it if your focus is latched onto this girl who has moved on.

    Close the chapter. Remember the good parts. Leave it be. Learn the lessons. Move on.

    Hope this helps!

    • This reply was modified 8 years, 1 month ago by John.
    #60218
    John
    Participant

    Hi Geek,

    Can we get more details on what the ex-friend was so offended about?

    Because, if it really is to do with you thinking calm, rationally, and being considerate of what others may want, then I don’t really see what the problem is, on YOUR end.

    Can we get more info?

    #60149
    John
    Participant

    My apologies Ruminant! I try to keep my messages gender neutral. : )

    Good luck Jason!

    #60126
    John
    Participant

    Jason,

    I think you just have trouble with quieting your mind (like most of us). You said in your initial post ‘Can’t seem to shut off my mind, my ego that wants to go,go,go’

    This is what we are encouraging you to do, in the best way we can explain it. I think Ruminant does a fantastic job breaking it down to provide one view of what affects what, and the first paragraph of his first post is what I want to echo. To add to that, I want to make this simple, because simple is what I feel you are looking for at the moment. Later on, you can fill in the gaps with the how and why it ties together. But right now I’m pretty confident that you just want the simple go to answer. And it is simple, there is no deep thinking or searching for meaning involved.

    Don’t think. Feel.

    Start now if you want, for a minute. Just feel your senses. Listen to your senses, the information being taken in.

    If you start to have thoughts float by, like ‘should this mean something?’ or ‘what is supposed to happen?’, let them float right on by. Those are nonsense thoughts for the moment.

    Close your eyes. We are very stimulated by sights, and can easily be distracted by them, bringing up more useless (for the moment) thoughts. Let your focus check in on your other senses, one at a time. Sense different parts of the body. Allow yourself to just feel. No judging or figuring out or planning or organizing or questioning or remembering.

    Just feel.

    You’re spending a lot of time looking for answers, which can lead to spending a lot of mental energy, putting the brain through a lot of work. The brain needs to rest, even outside of your nightly sleep. I suspect that is what you can use at the moment. That’s because I keep thinking of your comment of ‘can’t seem to shut off my mind’.

    Put aside the quest for meaning. Quiet the mind. Just feel, and without expectation of finding anything.

    After you’ve practiced that for a bit (up to you for how long), notice if you feel any different.

    Hope this helps

    #60082
    John
    Participant

    Rewa, I’m sure it is tough for you right now. But hang in there. You made a promise to someone you have a lot of respect for, and that is tough to go through. You mentioned in the other post that your parents, though hurt, were ok with your choice with wanting to no longer be a nun. Is that right? You also said that you lied to them, by not telling them about seeing your guru twice, is that right too? If these are true, then I suggest opening up to your parents, especially if you feel like you’re lying to them. They might be upset again, but they will appreciate you coming forward with honesty. I can tell this situation is uncomfortable for you, but you can take steps forward by being open and honest to your parents. What do you think about this suggestion?

    #60059
    John
    Participant

    Hi Rewa,

    I’m going to get straight to the point here. We all do stupid things throughout our lives. Anyone who says otherwise is either lying or in denial. We can’t possibly know what our choices will bring us down the road, we just make the best decisions that we can at any given time, with our limited knowledge at that time. It’s never perfect and yet we do the best we can. The future is always uncertain and we can’t change the past. Because of this, we are going to make mistakes. Even when we learn from previous mistakes, we’re going to make new ones. Again, anyone who tells you that they know everything and walk the path perfectly is a fool. Accept that you, along with everyone else, have done stupid things, and will do more stupid things in the future. It is normal. The sooner you accept that, the sooner you can get past the guilt. For example, I’ve been in relationships just because I was attracted to the girl. I wasn’t even interested in their personalities. I’ve learned quite a bit from those experiences. But I was stupid for doing it. I even wanted to like their personalities. I lied to myself, convincing myself that I was in it for the right reasons. But they were just lies, so I didn’t have to face the painful truth. We do things like this all the time, and for many different reasons. Now when I talk about the experiences, I can laugh about how stupid I was in those relationships. It’s taken time to get to this point, but it’s also helped me go easy on myself when I catch myself doing more stupid things. When I talk about those things with others, they tend to share their own stories of doing stupid things, and we laugh about it. Making a promise is another opportunity to do something stupid. I say this because when we make promises, we are claiming that we are going to do something in the future. We are making a guarantee that it will happen. But we also know that the future is uncertain. You see the problem here? By making a promise, we are guaranteeing a future event which is uncertain. It doesn’t really make sense. But we do it anyway, mainly because it makes sense when we’re making the promise. We picture the promise simply unfolding according to a nicely laid out plan. However, we don’t see the unknown forces which end up guiding us in other directions. We don’t see them because we can’t see into the future. The best we can hope to do is make educated guesses on what might happen. But even that doesn’t really tell us anything for certain.

    Begin to accept that we all do stupid things, which include making a promise which we no longer wish to keep.

    I hope this helps!

    #59998
    John
    Participant

    Hi Ashley,

    It sounds like you’re trying to create friendships, rather than allowing them to happen. There is the saying ‘making friends’, but this is misleading, imo. We can make a move to introduce ourselves to one another, but a friendship should not be presumed. Start by simply being respectful of someone for the person they are. Show yourself this respect too. If you find yourself in company with someone who shares similar interests as you, do not presume a friendship. Maybe something else about them turns you off, and be honest about those things to yourself. Maybe you two just don’t click, despite the similar interests, so let it be. It’s easy to want to overlook red flags just to be close with others. Ask yourself what kind of experience you really want. This may be the meaning you’re looking for. For me, my strongest relationships have been ones where I feel like the other person is compassionate, a good listener, offer their best advice, and then *naturally* I feel like reciprocating it back to them. Friendships should also be about complete freedom to come and go as one pleases. There should be no set schedule for staying in contact, and hanging out. And naturally laughing and joking around together is a must. It shouldn’t all be about serious stuff. Again, treat everyone with respect for them as an individual, including yourself. Keep conversation light and fun. Don’t lead the friendship anywhere, just let it unfold on it’s own. Let it be as shallow or as deep as it allows.

    Hope this helps!

    #59928
    John
    Participant

    Hi Rewa,

    It sounds like there is a lot of pressure keeping you from leaving. Society, your parents, your guru, your promise.

    Let’s start unpacking these. Promises can be broken, it’s ok. People will be upset, perhaps for a while, but they will get over it. At the end of the day, people who care about you just want to see you happy. Maybe they’re just afraid you’ll run off to some destructive lifestyle. Focus on what you’d rather be doing. Have you given it thought? Where do you want to work or what do you want to learn? They might feel more at ease with your choice if they know what you really want to do. This goes for you too. Continue to be completely honest with yourself and what you want. Don’t back down, and just settle to be a nun, so that you avoid upsetting others, and to avoid breaking a promise. And don’t be so hard on yourself for making a promise like that. People make lifelong promises all the time (marriage, for example). But people change over time, right? We develop different ideas, desires, outlooks on things slowly over time. We’re bound to go retract some things we’ve said in the past, break some long term promises.

    Stay strong, focus on what you really want to do with your life, and communicate open and honestly with your parents, your guru, and yourself. This is YOUR life where YOU get to choose what’s best for YOU.

    : )

    #59881
    John
    Participant

    Hi Jason,

    In this culture, we’re taught to chase after our dreams, like you said. This gives us the false notion that happiness is something we have to seek out, beyond ourselves. But where is the happiness (contentment) really coming from? That’s right it’s coming from inside us. We have learned to allow ourselves moments of happiness when we have reached a goal. Well, why not just allow happiness to happen regardless? When we sit and recognize how amazing it is to be alive in the first place, having this experience, what more reason do we need? It really is that simple, on paper. In practice, that’s where it’s tricky, because we’ve been conditioned to believe that happiness MUST be pursued.

    The brain is a muscle, a reflex organ, wanting to do what it’s used to doing. Getting yourself to unlearn that conditioning, and seeing the simple truth, and putting it into practice, well, takes practice. Though it’s a practice of not imagining things, not letting your mind wander. Meditation is simply that. Try sitting and see how long you can go without imagining anything at all. You’re only conscious of what your senses are picking up, that’s it. Just going 10 seconds is tough, right? They call this ‘calming the monkey mind’. I am no meditation master by any stretch but I’ve experienced enough to see the positive effects. Failure seems not as big of a deal anymore. I learn from it and move on. I still strive for things but it’s more about the kind of person I am becoming, how I treat others. There is still enjoyment and appreciation in material things, but it’s a not a ‘must have’. It’s a revelation of something I already knew about, yet kept overlooking (happiness comes from the inside and doesn’t need a reason to be experienced/shared).

    Hope this helps!

    #59840
    John
    Participant

    Hi Emilie,

    As Obi-wan Kenobi once said, ‘you’ve taken your first step into a larger world’

    No, I don’t think you are watching too much Neil Degrasse Tyson. What you’re doing now is exactly what this man encourages all of us to do more of… question everything.

    This is a good thing. No, a wonderful thing. But let me advise you to pursue it in bite sized chunks. And when looking for an answer, start with ‘I don’t know’. It’s ok not to know. This idea can be a problem for some people. Some want a clear cut answer immediately and are not comfortable with an undecided. If you ever find yourself uncomfortable in this way, please remind yourself that we as a species are just beginning to ask these big questions. Also, our brains can process only so much. Not one human can comprehend quantum mechanics, for example. The saying goes ‘if you think you understand quantum physics, then you don’t understand quantum physics’. So don’t burn yourself out.

    With that said, welcome to the world of questioning everything. Is there a higher being? Who knows. If there is, what kind of evidence would you need to believe it? You mentioned precision and beauty that exists. What if we questioned THOSE things? What is beauty? Does precision necessarily mean that there was a designer? For example, the eye can be explained by evolution to have gradually (over millions of years) adapted into the beautifully precise instrument it is today. It did not pop into existence immediately in its current form. First there was a photo sensitive cell, then a lens, then an improved lens, then a tiny hole like a pin hole camera, and on and on. Each step giving a slightly better evolutionary advantage than the previous.

    As far as the evidence we have, it is plausible that everything we see in the universe started out as hydrogen atoms over 13 billion years ago. Great collections of hydrogen gas pulled together by gravity to form the first stars. Stars which burned through hydrogen, to create helium, and other elements. Some stars explode after billions of years, launching these elements towards other forming stars. One of these was our very own Sun over 4 billion years ago. Gases and other elements swirled around our sun for millions of years over a large disc area, with gravity pulling clumps together into the planets we have today, including Earth. Guess where all of the elements (iron, carbon, etc) we have on Earth came from? Yes, an exploded star from before our Sun was born. These elements account for the same elements which life is made of (hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, etc). Isn’t this amazing? As Carl Sagan said, ‘we are made of star stuff’. And even more, he said, ‘we are a way for the cosmos to know itself’. To me, if this is true, and we having mounting evidence to support it, then to have the beauty and precision we experience in life begin with only hydrogen atoms is simply awesome. With an example like that, I personally don’t need a designer to feel in awe of the universe.

    Keep questioning. But when it comes to answers, you don’t have to take anyone’s word for it. Science is ALL about seeing for yourself. The mounting evidence I speak of is open for you to look at, test, and discover for yourself. Often, there is an argument brought up which seemingly puts science on the same level as religion. The argument is that religion is faith based, and since someone like me doesn’t comprehend the more complicated science theories (and/or math behind them) then I’m taking the scientific theory on faith as well. True, I don’t know all of the evidence for scientific theories. But I do know this: science is open to scrutiny, and there is no shortage of humans who want to scrutinize. Science has a peer review process where someone publishes an idea to be scrutinized by ANYONE. If just one flaw is found by anyone, the idea will be thrown out. Whereas with religion, or at least my experience with religion (raised catholic), you are told what to believe. There is no questioning, fact checking, testing, or scrutinizing among the members. The answer is always to just have ‘faith’. I don’t want to go further into this, I mainly want to point out the difference between science and religion. Certainly, there are people who believe they have their proof for the existence of a higher power, and I respect their freedom to believe.

    Ok, I felt like I got carried away a bit, but I was happily excited by your post so there you have it. : )

    #59839
    John
    Participant

    1. If the sperm is not a good match for the egg.
    2. If the sperm reaches out to the egg but does not hear back.
    3. If the egg is occupied with another sperm.

    Though it doesn’t have to be male=sperm, female=egg. It is so ingrained in our culture (and likely our evolution?) that the man pursues the woman, makes the first move. I’m fine with this and will make the first move, but starting with that move it must be a back and forth (tit for tat as mentioned above) going forward. I picture a tennis match where I hit the ball of interest onto her side of the court. Will she respond? How will she respond? When will she respond? Very fun and intriguing. But I am not hitting another ball over to her. Got to wait until she hits the first one back over to me (if it returns at all). And by tennis match I mean a back and forth partnership, not a competition. A respectful connection which may lead to friendship and/or more. Or nothing at all. Overall, I try to keep expectations low and respect high.

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