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Trouble just being.

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  • #59866
    Jason
    Participant

    For as long as I can remember I have been chasing something, career, money, happiness, success, etc.. I am 39 years old have pretty much accomplished everything I have ever set out to do. I know this is one of those good problems. For the first time in my life I had a sense of complacency, a feeling I told myself I desired for a long time. But honestly I don’t know what to do with myself now. My entire life I have had something to sink my teeth into something that has monopolized my time. When I do something I live it and it consumes me. At the moment I have nothing that is consuming me, I am still relatively happy but board and find myself seeking little things to obsess over, spent two months every free moment looking for the perfect boat to buy, then I spent another couple of months buying a camper. It wasn’t till just the other day that I realized that I am using these purchases to fulfill my desire to have something to “do”. Now when I have nothing going on which is all the time I have spent weeks looking online for the perfect campground. I have never been this idol and it is really eating at me. The problem is I am not able to do things in moderation, I am always raising the bar and once I achieve the highest level within what I am focused on I switch to something else. To give you an example in the last 4 years I sold a business, transformed my life, lost 60 lb, started living for the soul, went to dental school, graduated from dental school, started a practice, trained mixed martial arts, and became a cage fighter just to name a few things I push myself to do. How is one who has always been as active as me find comfort in the stillness of everyday life? Can’t seem to shut off my mind, my ego that wants to go,go,go. I have nothing to be sad about in my life I am extremely blessed with family and a few friends. Yet sitting back and enjoying all I have never seems to be enough. Thanks for listening, I would be interested in hearing of anyone that has felt the same and how they dealt with it as well as general comments.

    #59879
    Natasha
    Participant

    Hello 🙂

    Today my cat was laying in her box… just laying there for hours — waiting for the rain storm to pass before going back on a hunt.

    I was shocked that I stood still to watch her laying still for as long as I did.

    I got married because I was bored with dating.

    I had kids because I got bored with all my hobbies.

    I sing and write music – but I get bored with it easily and want to be in an even better choir – traveling the country… or better yet – the world!

    Someone said I had trouble ‘sitting with myself’. I would been working an ACA program for people who grew up in dysfunction of any sort or alcoholic homes. We learn to expect chaos – and need it to feel normal. It’s a drag. I am getting so much better personally – at staying in the moment, and enjoying the person I am, or in other words – my own company stripped of people, bling, stuff, boats, campers etc etc (funny I did the same thing with campers and boats and lake houses etc). I suppose I craved the calm – and in my mind – it was great, but when I got there – it was not how I thought it would be. It was work, I couldn’t sit and enjoy anything at all…

    Today I am compelled to pull over the car and watch the sunset alone.

    I can sit on the porch of said lake house and listen to nature. I can spend time with people connecting instead of fantasizing or entertaining or being ‘a monkey’.

    It’s better.

    I hope this for you. xxxx

    #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!

    #59995
    Jason
    Participant

    I have been working towards this for what seems like forever but actually only abut a year or so. I made a promise to myself that i would “stop and smell the roses” and i have kept that promise daily. The time i spend alone, observing, admiring i find leaves me feeling like a fake. I sit quietly trying to truly see the beauty of this world, finding beauty in the norm but come away unfulfilled. I feel like i am trying to convince myself this is what i want rather than feeling the reward of the stillness. Dont get me wrong; i have made progres. I am not the man i was 3 years ago. I am better, stronger more loving and compassionate. But alway find myself leaning back to what has worked for me in the past as I do not know how to exist in this new role i have sought.

    #60032
    Natasha
    Participant

    I can relate to that feeling.

    I had to try out all the senses… for me – music was the one. I am inspired most by sound – inspirational sights are augmented when accompanied by water trickling, or some ear buds with inspirational music that suits me (it took a lot of searching for this), if I also have the smell of a beautiful flower or lovely incense I’m even more intrigued… I am still not a touch person in a way I have figured out. But I could imagine myself in a hot spring surrounded by all of this and being tantalized… or possibly sitting on a bed of velvet… not sure.

    Our senses are a gift. I’m not an expert on this by any means – and maybe I am wrong because I have read almost nothing about this so I only have to go off what I personally think – but here goes: If we feel a sense of value in ourselves…. that we are a gift to the Earth (not like Gods Gift to Woman or Men lol) but truly that it is an honor to be here – that everything that had to fall into place to get consciousness is an unbelievable gift and honor… and we have all these gifts in our senses… why not honor ourselves and the Universe that presented us by immersing our self in some peace in that regard.

    To me – I think what I’m getting at – is a low self worth/value/esteem would cause for me to not cherish and revel in myself. And if I do not offer myself time to do this – I am not in appreciation for this (me) and the honor it is to be me. And if I am not engaging in that mind set and acting accordingly to stimulate my consciousness in these ways that I find delightful – then I am ‘less than’ I could be – or not living to my potential or testing my potentials, or interested in my true human potentials and capabilities. If I am not interested in me – then who else could be? And so if I am not good to myself, I end up no good to anyone – no good for my human family or species. And because I am a creature that was born into a need for socialization – it makes sense for me to figure me out – socialize with myself in the described way above (or other ways – again I’m new at this and pretty much making this up as I type) and spread myself out into my human family in the most happy or useful way.

    In short – I know as a stay at home mom, I am not happy when I do not spend some time alone rejuvenating. I basically suck at mothering and I suck in general. Cranky – prickly attitude. When I am prickly at others – I have to feel prickly. That isn’t good for me – or anyone.

    I am so glad to have this opportunity to work this out in my mind and slow my brain to the speed of my typing while sharing a moment in time with you. Thank you so much for this!

    #60074
    The Ruminant
    Participant

    Jason,

    You say that you sit quietly, trying to truly see the beauty of this world. What if you sit quietly, just seeing the world as it is, without trying to see it in a certain way? If you just simply are, without trying to be something, what happens? If you’re looking at a flower and trying to force yourself to appreciate it, when you really don’t, then what you are teaching yourself is how to appear to be enjoying life. Of course it will feel fake, because it’s not your authentic reaction to a flower. Sit with a flower and look at it and allow yourself to feel what ever comes natural.

    When I personally sense discomfort somewhere, that is where I know I should look. It is like giving a massage for the psyche: rubbing the muscles that are in good condition can feel nice, but rubbing the places that hurt gives the real rewards. Or like John said, seeing it as a muscle to be exercised. We tend to naturally exercise the parts that we see can give us some instant rewards, and tend to stay away from the parts that seem pointless or are uncomfortable to train.

    Like Natasha, I also grew up in a dysfunctional environment. As a result, I can sense the mood changes in other people and can sense what is lying underneath the polished exterior. Yet, I could be incredibly blind to myself. I had no idea what my identity was and who I was, as I had always been focusing on other people instead of myself. When I was forced to sit alone with myself, without any attachments to what I represented to the world around me, I felt like I was going to disappear! Like there was nothing there, inside of me. Just a deep, dark abyss of nothingness. I’m not going to lie, it was horrifying to experience that, and I can understand completely why people are reluctant to sit alone, facing emptiness, stillness. Yet, it’s not going to be empty forever. That side will grow as well, you’ll just have to give it time.

    When being silent, things will come out that are uncomfortable to see, but unless they are acknowledged, they’ll stay with you until you face them and say “OK, I accept you, I’ve seen you”. Whilst not completely there yet myself, I’m starting to see how the real enjoyment of life comes from the complete acceptance of the self and the reality. As it is, not as we would want it to be. Also, even if you were stripped of all of your achievements and belongings, what was left would still be pure, natural and precious. The unique body, mind and soul of Jason, who’s much more than just his accomplishments and the sum of his parts. How Jason sees and experiences a flower is completely unique in this world. Perhaps it is of no interest to you to know how you feel about flowers, but the same applies to everything else as well. Your authentic and unique experiences and thoughts and feelings are golden and more interesting than a degree in dentistry or being a cage fighter. Nothing wrong with those accomplishments, but those aren’t the really juicy parts 🙂

    If I were you, I’d use the natural inclination of being project oriented and seek a meditation group or a teacher of some sort, who could guide you on your journey. I personally want to some day attend a Vipassana course, which seems to be about facing the world and yourself as it is, without trying to run away from it. But since I don’t have personal experience of it, I don’t know if it would be something for you or not. I do hope that you’ll find something. Or at least become comfortable with the nothingness 🙂

    #60091
    Natasha
    Participant

    🙂 I love this post Rumi – it’s very interesting. The Vipassana you are talking about I’ve never even heard of! I can’t wait to check it out!

    #60100
    Jason
    Participant

    Thank you all for you wisdom and i will be taking into consideration all of the advise in order to progress forward. Ruminant I want to thank you in very much as well for such an insightful post. This journey is as difficult as anything i have taken on in the past. I find it troublesome in the way that i never really know what it is that is wrong or at the very least have difficulty quantifying it but certainly know that things are not exactly right. I was told by a Jungian philosopher and author that happiness is not all that we have all imagined, that life is more about finding meaning. “If you can fill your days with meaning that is about as good as it gets.” My work days are full of meaning, i receive tremendous gratification in what i do. But have trouble finding the meaning outside of work. This is where the sitting silent comes in. The two things i have in my life outside of work and my pursuit of accolades are my two children. These two are the loves of my life and i spend a great deal of time with them. This affection for them also breads anxiety in me as i do not want to be so developed with my children that i have not fully developed without them and will eventually feel empty when they are grown and gone. How does one nurture the meaning in ones life without becoming dependent on it? Is the time sitting alone suppose to be meaningful or is this just the time between meaningful events that i am just suppose to learn to be comfortable in? Or am i just WAY over thinking things and just not being in the moment thinking bout the future?

    #60118
    The Ruminant
    Participant

    Jason,

    I’m basing my own view of how things work on my personal experience. Having read plenty of similar experiences, I feel confident enough to share the view in hopes that it might help see things more clearly. I am not, however, making claims that I have access to some ultimate truth 🙂 I use poetic language to describe the experiences, because there is no other way to explain it. It is impossible to be literal or very practical with things that are so abstract.

    According to my experience, it is unconditional love that fills the void within and makes it possible to not be so dependent on external things and beings. A lot of people say that they feel unconditional love towards their children, but I think that’s different. There is a condition there, which is the familial connection. It is familial love (“I love you despite what you do, because you are part of my tribe”). In my own experience, what unconditional love feels like, is this radiant warmth towards the self and it fills you up so that the rest just radiates to your surroundings. Because you feel filled with love, you feel love, you are love. All of a sudden it’s easier to face others without judgment or fear. There is no need to cling onto someone else to provide the warmth, because you’re already filled with it. But in order to accept that such love would enter your heart, you have to accept yourself. Unless you love yourself unconditionally, you can’t have such love. The good thing is that it is you who gets to decide.

    It all sounds great and easy, but it’s not. We have secrets, guilt, fear, shame, that we simply do not want to face and accept. Some we can be aware of, others can be accessed through meditation. Years of accumulated fears and sorrows and shame that were left undealt with, because dealing with them was too difficult. Perhaps we haven’t received love or attention, and grown to believe that it was not for us, so we automatically reject love. It’s then easier to deny, look away, create illusions and move on. But if you don’t accept all of you and accept that you are worthy of love, then the love can’t enter and isn’t unconditional. It has conditions. It is like filling only parts of your being with light, but wishing to keep other parts in the dark. Those dark spots are then the ones that we try to fill with other things, other people, possessions. Sometimes even thinking of other people as possessions or the extension of the self.

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with having possessions and striving for achievements and having strong connections with other people. It is more about the intention. If the self-worth is tied to these things, then not only are you ever going to be free, the other people can’t be free either. “I need you, because without you I feel empty”. It places too much expectations on the other, and starts to destroy the connection. However, one could also feel completely content and happy, filled with light and love, and the connections are like a cherry on top of already wonderful existence. Those connections feel joyous, instead of necessary. “I’m so happy that I get to share my life with you”.

    I have no view of the meaning of life, so I can’t respond to such inquiry. I have stopped troubling myself with such questions. I’ll do the best that I can with what I’ve got and try to nurture life, love and light. It seems like the healthy thing to do. Basically, I am here now, for what ever reason, and I have the choice of spending that time living in denial and in darkness, emptiness, or I can face the fears and live in light and love and have a joyous existence. That is the simplest way of looking at it, from my perspective. Occam’s Razor approach 🙂

    Oh, and how does all of this work with mindfulness? I think that mindfulness is a tool to keep the mind from getting out of control and starting to get entangled again, creating new fears or holding onto old ones. The heart is probably ready to receive abundance of love, but the mind doesn’t always agree 🙂 So you’ll need to have tools to keep the mind in check and connected with the heart. At least that is how I see it.

    I have experienced pretty much both ends of the spectrum and have come to realize that whilst I’m not a walking bundle of love and compassion 24/7, living authentically is such a rush compared to trying to be something that you’re not. Essentially, accepting yourself as you are without judgment, and accepting the reality as it is. There are less regrets and fears, which were mostly just illusion as well. No need to make it more complicated than it is. If you like something, enjoy it. If you don’t like something, don’t pretend that you do.

    Regarding Vipassana, if someone is interested in it, there are couple of interesting documentaries on YouTube:

    One is Doing Time, Doing Vipassana: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WkxSyv5R1sg I think it’s a very fascinating one and have watched it a few times. It has an interesting point about how these people lived in a jail with hellish conditions, yet still admitted that sitting alone with your thoughts was more difficult.

    Another is a documentary called The Dhamma Brothers, preceded by an interview of Thich Nhat Hanh about mindful living: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PCXeHNL3s8

    I hope that was all more clarifying than confusing 🙂

    • This reply was modified 8 years, 1 month ago by The Ruminant.
    • This reply was modified 8 years, 1 month ago by The Ruminant.
    #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

    #60128
    The Ruminant
    Participant

    I’m a “her”, but otherwise I agree with John 😉 (my gender doesn’t really matter though in this situation)

    I never had any formal training in meditation, and was sort of thrown into cold water and just had to learn how to survive. I did it pretty much exactly how John is describing it. I refused to have conversations with myself, interrupted the words that started to form, and let go of those thoughts that did pop up. It took a bit of practice, but after a while, it was possible to just be without the constant narration. It is a really wonderful tool to have. I used to think so much all the time, that I resorted to alcohol to quiet down the mind. With each glass of red wine, the thoughts went down from a gazillion to only one, until I passed out. To be able to have some rest from the constant thinking without having to resort to such antics is a huge blessing. Now thinking is enjoyable again, as I can control it and it doesn’t control me. I control the words, the words do not control me. Life is more simple, as there’s really no need to analyze every possible thing that is going on. I can choose what’s worth the time and effort.

    But enough about me. Just wanted to share that and agree with John 🙂

    #60147
    Jason
    Participant

    thank you guys/gals 🙂 i will work on it.

    #60149
    John
    Participant

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

    Good luck Jason!

    #59994
    Jason
    Participant

    <cite> @tash said:</cite>
    Hello 🙂

    Today my cat was laying in her box… just laying there for hours — waiting for the rain storm to pass before going back on a hunt.

    I was shocked that I stood still to watch her laying still for as long as I did.

    I got married because I was bored with dating.

    I had kids because I got bored with all my hobbies.

    I sing and write music – but I get bored with it easily and want to be in an even better choir – traveling the country… or better yet – the world!

    Someone said I had trouble ‘sitting with myself’. I would been working an ACA program for people who grew up in dysfunction of any sort or alcoholic homes. We learn to expect chaos – and need it to feel normal. It’s a drag. I am getting so much better personally – at staying in the moment, and enjoying the person I am, or in other words – my own company stripped of people, bling, stuff, boats, campers etc etc (funny I did the same thing with campers and boats and lake houses etc). I suppose I craved the calm – and in my mind – it was great, but when I got there – it was not how I thought it would be. It was work, I couldn’t sit and enjoy anything at all…

    Today I am compelled to pull over the car and watch the sunset alone.

    I can sit on the porch of said lake house and listen to nature. I can spend time with people connecting instead of fantasizing or entertaining or being ‘a monkey’.

    It’s better.

    I hope this for you. xxxx

    I have been working towards this for what seems like forever but actually only abut a year or so. I made a promise to myself that i would “stop and smell the roses” and i have kept that promise daily. The time i spend alone, observing, admiring i find leaves me feeling like a fake. I sit quietly trying to truly see the beauty of this world, finding beauty in the norm but come away unfulfilled. I feel like i am trying to convince myself this is what i want rather than feeling the reward of the stillness. Dont get me wrong; i have made progres. I am not the man i was 3 years ago. I am better, stronger more loving and compassionate. But alway find myself leaning back to what has worked for me in the past as I do not know how to exist in this new role i have sought.

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