1. Unfortunately The Project Meditation Community Forum is no longer active. Although registration and the creation of new posts not possible, you can still read and search the forum...

    If you are unable to find what you are looking for within the Project Meditation Community please check out our new Blog and/or our Facebook page.

Fighting against compulsion and self-criticism

Discussion in 'Meditation Chatter Box' started by Mythrill, Sep 3, 2009.

  1. Mythrill

    Mythrill Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Hello everyone. I decided to post here my own experience. I am around 20 years old and I've been fighting against compulsion and a short attention span. It is so severe that I haven't managed to get a job so far. Nor I feel motivated to. I'm delusional of mankind in general: my impression is that people around me have a rotten heart, and they will treat people different from them as inferior beings; I also notice that me being in the presence of these people influence me negatively, and sometimes I see myself judging people when I should not, and I don't feel I have the strength to face them. So I usually prefer to stay away.

    I also have a "blocked mind". I can write well, but when I speak to people, my mind "blocks", and I lack the same fluency I do in written texts. Additionally, I can't picture things when I'm awake, but sometimes, when I'm about to go asleep, I can see lucid pictures.

    Noticing I had these problems, I tried self-help behavioral therapy. It did work wonders for my panic attacks, but I didn't feel motivated to log all my feelings, and I obviously made no further progress.

    I had tried meditation before, as a kid. So I decided to try it again, but applied to these kinds of compulsions and my short attention span. So, after subscribing, I received an email with this piece of conversation:

    You may be experiencing an inner calm and feelings of happiness.

    I pictured myself in a similar situation - I knew my toughts were already there, but I didn't feel the "click" on how they could be cloudering my creativity. I do face a dilemma: should I let these criticizing go, and never question them, or question them and try to learn from them, at the expense of a great emotional breakdown? I guess the biggest problem here is on how I'm being emotionally affected by them, so the best I can think of now is to accept them and don't get too emotionally distressed.

    Your comments on this subject would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. GilesC

    GilesC Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2009
    Messages:
    1,856
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Hy Mythrill, and welcome to the community. :)

    This is human nature, unfortunately, but that doesn't mean that it applies to everyone. Be assured, there are people out there who do not judge others in this way; people who are working towards bettering themselves, not at the cost of others, but inclusive of others. This forum is just a small window into a part of that, as I'm sure you'll find out in your time here.

    Recognition that others are having a negative influence on us, is the first part of taking control for yourself and preventing it. If you don't know it's there you can't stop it, but once you become aware of your Self and how you are re-acting, you can start to act, rather than re-act. So, well done for recognising that in yourself.

    Maybe surprisingly to some, I'm a little like this myself. In conversations, I tend to be the "listener" rather than the "talker" most of the time yet, when it comes to the written word, such as on forums etc., I can articulate just as you describe. This isn't a "blocked" mind, nor is it an issue, but simply a recognition of how you "interface" to the world. There is no right or wrong way to interface, the only thing that makes us feel it is wrong is ourselves, based on ideas we have from observing others.

    I have some friends who are fully confident at standing up in front of people and talking and rallying them up, really getting them into the flow of the discussion or teaching or whatever it is they're doing. I'm not really a "stand up in front of people and talk" type of person, but it used to make me a nervous wreck to do it, and now, after time doing complementary therapies and meditation, I'm a lot better at it; I'm more in control and simply do not take on any ideas of being judged by those listening... after all... if they have a problem with what I'm saying, it's their problem to deal with... not mine! ;)

    Given time, practice, meditation, therapy etc. we all learn and we all change. We will never be the same person in this world tommorrow as we are today. So why hold onto what we think of ourselves today... this will just hold us back.

    People's perceptions vary from person to person.
    There are 3 basic types... Visual (seeing), Kinesthetic (touchy feely :D), Auditory (sound; listening; speaking).
    Whilst we all have some level of each of these things, most people will exhibit a primary type. You can often tell the primary type of a person by the way they mainly talk... e.g.

    "I can see what you're saying" (Visual type person)
    "What you're saying feels right" (Kinesthetic type person)
    "I hear what you're saying" (Auditory type person)

    So, you're primary type isn't visual. That's ok. It's easy enough to translate what someone requests of us into our own type. e.g. if you're doing a guided meditation and they say "See yourself sitting at the base of a tree", and you know you have trouble visualising this, you can simply "feel" what it is like at the base of the tree or "hear" it depending on your type.

    It's possible to train ourselves to work with the other perceptions, and meditation, brain entrainment etc. can help with that.

    You will always be progressing. Maybe not consciously, but there will be progression. As already mentioned above, recognition/awareness of your issues is the start to dealing with them. You know what your issues are, and that awareness will assist you in bring things to you that can help you to deal with them. It could be that that awareness has brought you to Project Meditation; some unconscious knowledge that tells you that meditation will help. ;)

    Only you can decide what you really want to do with your thoughts. Meditation will certainly help them to become more peaceful.

    The truth is that the thoughts are based on things from the past.... past experiences, past teachings, past thoughts. These thoughts are not what is here and now in the present moment, but you are using those past based thoughts to create an idea of what the future is, yet the future is only determined by what is here in the present moment.

    So, simply put (although not always so simply practiced), yes, you can choose to let go of the critisizing, negative, restrictive thoughts.

    During meditation, if you find thoughts come into your mind, simply observe them and avoid getting caught up in following the thought or judging it or questioning it (as this is just more thoughts). By observing the thought, and recognising it is just a though and not the true present moment, it will dissolve away by itself.

    Once again, welcome and I look forward to seeing you around.

    Hugs

    Giles
     
  3. Ta-tsu-wa

    Ta-tsu-wa Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2007
    Messages:
    282
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Try this...

    As long as you choose to view people as essentially "bad", your life will continue to be filled with "bad" people, regardless of whether your view is objectively 100% accurate or 100% false. In fact it is guaranteed you will have more negative experiences, more confrontational encounters, more times you will get the short end of the stick, than virtually anyone else you know. Your subjective views color everything in both the subjective and objective worlds.

    The reason for this is not because Fate puts more of these people in your path than it does the rest of us, but because you expect to encounter them, and because you expect to encounter them you create a self-validating filter that causes you to see such people. You're hyper-attuned to seeing the negative in people. This point of view is a choice you make, not something that is forced on you. You can change it any time you like.

    This is something akin to what is experienced by people who have a "victim mentality". You can be victimized by something and still be a happy person, but if you adopt a victim mentality you assure yourself of perpetual misery, regardless of how good or bad the outer circumstances of your life. There's no such thing as a happy victim.

    In a similar way, if you choose to see people around you as being generally "bad", you're no longer interacting with people as they are, you're interacting almost exclusively with your own attitude about how you believe people are.

    The Germans have a wonderful little saying. It goes, "Wer Fehler finden will, findet sie auch im Paradies," which, translated roughly means, "Whoever seeks to find things that are wrong will find them, even in paradise." In the same way, whoever expects to find bad people will find them, even in a crowd of saints. And the result will be that it will make you miserable. Not the bad people, but you.

    So what to do about all this?

    Let's accept your premise for the moment, and concede that the majority of people are real toads. It doesn't matter whether or not this is true, but just for the sake of argument let's say it is.

    Rather than dwelling on this fact, you want to play a game, and the game is called "As If". For the next hour, make the decision that no matter how people really are, you're going to pretend and act "as if" the people you meet or think about are basically good people.

    Start with that toad checker at the grocery store; the one you know for a fact overcharges you on purpose whenever you go through her line. During the next hour, if you should chance to meet her or think about her, treat her and your thoughts about her "as if" she was a very good person. If you have to, imagine some fictitious situation from the past in which maybe you unwittingly dropped a couple of dollars out of your pocket when going through her checkout line, and as you were getting into your car in the parking lot she came running out with the bills in hand to return them to you, even though it really wasn't much money and you'd probably not have missed it anyway. Yet she took the time to stop what she was doing, retrieve your money, and chase you down in the parking lot to return it to you.

    This is make believe and imagination, I know, but pretend it happened and imagine it as vividly as you can. And when you think about this woman, think about her "as if" that really is her nature.

    Do this for everyone you meet or think about, just for one hour. Don't let yourself think about the way you believe people "really are". Just think about them "as if". It's a game, and you only have to play it for an hour.

    What will happen if you play? Well, you'll probably note that during this hour the number of people who act like toads around you will probably decrease. You might not encounter any of them during that hour. But more importantly, if you take note of how you feel at the beginning of the game, and then again at the end. you're likely to notice a very distinct feeling of lightness inside. It will almost be like you've cleared out junk in a crowded room and now there's more space to breathe, and it will feel good.

    So then why not play the game for another hour? After you do this for a bit you can extend it to an entire day. As you start to feel better and better, this new way of seeing others changes how you interact with them. Your point of view will quite naturally shift towards a more positive general appraisal of people. The more you practice this, the longer and more persistent will be this positive point of view, and the greater will be that sense of lightness and space inside of you.

    What will this do for the toads who currently surround you? Will they become better people? Some of them will. Some of the behaviors people exhibit are really just responses to the feelings they get from being around you. If you have a negative feeling, their behaviors tend to mirror that negativity. When you have a positive feeling, their behaviors will mirror that, instead.

    Of course there will still be some toads but they won't bother you nearly as much and they certainly won't have the sort of power over your feelings that you've given them up to this point in your life. When you come face to face with a genuine toad you'll likely just say, "Ah, a toad," and let it go.

    Give it a try. You certainly have little to lose unless you value feeling miserable and negative about people. In which case, just stick with your current paradigm of living in a world filled with bad people because so far its returned everything to you exactly as you've requested it.
     
  4. seatrend8899

    seatrend8899 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2009
    Messages:
    276
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Welcome to PM myThrill!

    I was off the forum for a few days and have been seeking out unread posts.

    mythrill, your initial post drew the attention of two of the most helpful people you will ever find "online". If you are like me mythrill you will need to carefully read over their posts a few times to "absorb" the context. Very learned posters indeed and their knowledge is delivered with a real caring approach for others.


    shine on :) :)

    jim
     
  5. Mythrill

    Mythrill Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    I was reading all your posts all along. I decided not to answer immediately, however, because this triggers my anxiety (waiting all the time for answers), and to give room for people to write. But now I guess I can reply.

    About my pessimistic view of people:

    I admit my view of people is biased and it obviously, it's not cutting. But everyone's view is. Perhaps I'm being overly pessimistic, but I don't believe being the overly optimistic about people would help either. I suppose it's important to know when people are being "toads" to you and learn to react in a way that will make them understand what they are doing. So, basically, I'm trying to reach some balance.

    [quote="Ta-tsu-wa]
    Of course there will still be some toads but they won't bother you nearly as much and they certainly won't have the sort of power over your feelings that you've given them up to this point in your life. When you come face to face with a genuine toad you'll likely just say, "Ah, a toad," and let it go.
    [/quote]

    I'm trying (and hoping) I can achieve a similar result through meditation. Letting it go when I don't need to worry about it, and acting properly without being controlled by my own anger when something needs to be done.
     
  6. Mythrill

    Mythrill Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    About people with a rotten heart and my withdrawal, things got a bit confused. Let me explain better:

    I do believe most people have a rotten heart, but that perhaps I'm overly pessimistic about them.

    When I was talking about my "withdrawal", however, I was speaking of very specific people. I was acting against my own ideals to please them, and this is what I usually hate most about people: nullifying themselves to please others. So I told myself: "hey, it's ok if you have your own lifestyle, but I don't want to change to please you either". I believed we could learn from each other, but since they only wanted to enjoy life, I decided to let them be.

    And now an update on my journey:

    I've been practing meditation at least a day: using the meditation timer, for 20 minutes, to improve my focus, and guided meditation to get rid of my self-imposed limitations, release anger and helping in addictive traits. So far, I've calmed down a little. Sometimes it's hard to focus, so I lie down in my bed instead and it helps. If I practice the focusing first however and use the guided meditation first, I feel as if I was receiving anesthesic: I fall asleep very deeply without even noticing. Which is unusual of me, because I tend to take a lot of time to even get relaxed and sleep (even listening to a song). I suppose I may be falling into a deep hypnotic state.

    In any case, I'm a bit more relaxed most of the time, and I even managed to wake up early today. I've been a bit less sleepy during the day lately.
     
  7. GilesC

    GilesC Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2009
    Messages:
    1,856
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    36
    I look at it slightly differently....

    I have a choice.
    1) I can choose to be pessimistic and assume everybody is like everybody else and therefore they're all "toads", OR 2) I can choose to meet everybody as if I am meeting them for the first time, without judgement.

    Of these two choices, what are the effects?

    1) This choice will make me feel bad. It may not necessarily be the truth about the other person, but I can't risk the assumption that they aren't a toad as I may get hurt. This pessimism primarily effects one person.... me.
    2) Even if I already know this person, if I meet them as if for the first time, I can find out about that person in the "here and now". If I have met them before, they may have been a toad to me then, but they may have been having a bad day and simply taking that out on me to vent their own issue; that doesn't mean that they are necessarily a toad now. If I haven't met the person before then I have no previous knowledge of them, so making a judgement based on experience of others is unfair to them as well as to myself.

    "react":-
    To react to something we are RE-enACTing, based on things that have happened in the past, whether those things were good or bad in our opinion.

    If we were to take a particular situation and see the outcome of that situation, then another situation that starts off apparently the same, will not necessarily have the same outcome. There are too many influencing factors. A person who was a toad to us when we met them in a past situation, will not necessarily be a toad to us again, even if the situation starts off apparently the same. If we Re-Act to a situation in the present moment, we are basing that on what we believe will be the outcome of the situation, which is based on the past situation.

    Rather than Re-Act in the present moment, we should seek to simply Act; take account of the present situation in it's fullest, by ignoring our preconceptions from the past, evaluating the present and act as the need arises Now.

    Of course, it's possible that this present situation may have an outcome similar to a past situation, but at least by being in the present moment we are acting on the present moment and not on biased judgement, thus anything that goes 'wrong' is a result of how we (and the other parties involved) acted now and, knowing we acted in the best way we could in the present, we can know that we did what was needed, and no blame should be apportioned.

    There are 60+ Billion people on the planet. How many of them have you met personally? A few thousand perhaps? You cannot possibly know the hearts of the "most".... but let's look at it a different way....

    You may look at a person and believe that they are an evil toad.
    Someone else may look at that same person as see them as a loving caring parent or partner.
    That person cannot be both an evil toad and a loving caring parent/partner at the same time.
    Therefore the only conclusion to this is that the person is neither of these things. These things are judgements of the individual who believes them. If that judgement is causing pain for the individual with that belief, then only that individual can choose to let go of that judgement and be free of that pain. The other person cannot do it for them.

    And you should not change to please others. Their desires for you to change is due to their own issues, but you cannot change their issues, only they can do that, just as they cannot free you of your issues, only you can do that.

    Naturally, our body is aware of when we lie down, and our physiological processes will act accordingly. For yourself, without meditation it sounds as if you have your discursive mind keeping you awake, but with the guided meditation this is not happening. The reason for this is likely that the guided meditation is giving your mind a single point of focus, taking it away from the discursive thoughts, and finally allowing your mind to calm and your natural physiological processes to act and take you into sleep. You obviously need the sleep in this case, and that is good.

    If you find it hard to focus without lying down, what is it that your mind is getting caught up in at these times? 2 points about this...
    1) With practice you can choose to simply observe these thoughts without getting caught up in them and the act of observation will allow them to dissolve and you can bring yourself back to the practice of meditation.
    2) If you are trying to focus, then the act of trying will generate thoughts in the mind, thus preventing us from meditating fully. With meditation there is nothing to focus on... all that is required is that we simply observe (and let go where necessary).

    That's great news. Keep up the meditation.

    Hugs

    Giles
     
  8. pollyanna

    pollyanna Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    Messages:
    1,935
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Hi there Mythrill, here's something that maybe of help which Michael sent out some time ago in The Good Life:-

    How to free yourself from others negativity:-

    "Don’t let other people wear you down. If you think that’s easier said than done please read on.

    The way to free yourself from the unpleasant affects of other people’s negative energy is to recognize and love yourself as you are, and to accept other people as they are and see them for where they can be.

    As you live more consciously through regular meditation you will love finding the real peaceful and happy you.

    You have total choice in every moment as to how you act in response to any situation. If someone throws their negativity at you by criticizing, condemning or taunting you, it is up to you what you do about it.

    By placing your attention on them, (even to show them how dreadful, incorrect, and unpleasant they are for doing what they’re doing to you) you are feeding that negative energy and engaging in a feedback loop that brings increased negativity back on yourself.

    You don’t have to diffuse the situation, or correct the other person’s perceptions. You just have to diffuse your own emotional charge about their perceptions. Don’t allow yourself to be drawn into their charge or you will be giving them way too much power over you.

    Nobody knows you better than you know yourself. If someone criticizes you, just remind yourself that it’s their ego, map of reality or belief system. Everyone’s got one, and everyone’s entitled to theirs. You don’t have to believe theirs. You only have to believe yours.

    Chances are, more often than not, the negativity we perceive as coming at us from another person was not even intended. We all communicate differently, but we all communicate from the same place – our own individual map of reality, our unique experience and perspective of life and the world.

    Most of the time, when someone’s talking to you, they’re not even paying much attention to you at all. They’re stuck inside their own heads (their map of reality, their unique experiences and perspectives), speaking to themselves, and you just happen to be the one present to witness it, the mirror off which they’re bouncing their own reflection. In other words: it’s not about you – even when they say it is.

    Allow someone to have their drama. You don’t have to make it yours. If you cannot tolerate being in the presence of it, remove yourself from its presence. Otherwise, just let it happen like the weather.

    Cloudy or sunny, your day goes on. Attention is energy. What makes the storms around you linger, what makes them worse, is when you feed them with your attention. Let the storms brewing around you blow over you, and they will blow over.

    Ignore them. Let it slide. Turn around and walk away. You don’t need to think of the right response, or the positive thing to say. Say nothing. It’s hard, but it works. Even if your silence only infuriates the perpetrator of the negativity, that’s over there, that’s them.

    You can be an oasis of peace even in the presence of choppy, shark infested waters."

    Also the daily gratitude exercise can create amazing changes. Here's a link to a video Michael made:-

    http://www.project-meditation.org/community/mind-body-spirit/1547-gratitude-video.html#post7757

    My mum and dad taught me to count my blessings and look for the good in others - thankfully, this became a part of my "map of reality" and has served me incredibly well, creating much happiness and caring relationships - I hope it serves you well and wish you an abundance of peace and joy :) :) :)
     
  9. islovin

    islovin Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2009
    Messages:
    52
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Stop Fighting

    I do NOT believe people are bad. I believe we are all the same.

    My meditation practice allows me to know this to be true. The deeper I go into my own consciousness the Happier I feel. This tells me that deep down inside, each and every one of us there is only GOOD.

    We all have thoughts and feelings that can be labeled as “good” or “bad”. We can not control our thoughts or our feelings. We CAN control how we act in response to those thoughts and feelings.

    I believe that when we are unaware, we tend to react, which wouldn’t be so bad if in the past our automatic responses were beneficial to us and others. Unfortunately, most of us don’t even know why we react.

    Now, I take some time before I ACT and this works for me.

    When I ACT, rather than react, I am using my awareness to make a conscious effort to see all of the consequences of every possible Action.

    My goals and my intentions are to consistently choose Actions that benefit most and hopefully all, without hurting anyone in the process.

    With practice my “reactions” will always be that choice.

    My meditation practice gives me the ability to be more aware and to choose better ways to act!
     
  10. Mythrill

    Mythrill Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    An update: it's 2:40 AM here, and I'd like to post you the news. I've been more motivated lately, and while I was meditating to focus well on one thing, my focus on several things actually improved a bit. My improvement in focusing on my tasks certainly improved, and I've been using MSN much less, and I haven't even noticed it lately. I also noticed I don't have a big urge to eat as I used to. It still happens if I got cookies to eat near me, but not as frequently, and I have been able to "resist" better.

    Also, yesterday I felt very, very sensitive. I almost felt like crying for no reason, and somehow my heart felt lighter.
     
  11. Mythrill

    Mythrill Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    I'm sorry, everyone. It was a bit late and I was (I still am) filled with work, so I was confused. It's been hard to meditate. I am doing it, but somehow I am not concentrating well. Just one or two days ago I had an interesting feeling of falling into a "void": I didn't actually think of anything, while managing to stay awake. Unfortunately, I didn't manage to get that now. I just meditated, and managed to concentrate only on the final minutes.
     
  12. Mythrill

    Mythrill Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Hello, guys. It's been a while I've been meditating. I'm noticing time in meditation seems to pass faster now, but I'm having trouble concentrating in guided meditation. What to do?
     
  13. GilesC

    GilesC Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2009
    Messages:
    1,856
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Time is non-existent in the state of meditation, so if you are noticing time passing faster, this can only mean you are spending more time actually in the state of meditation. Well done. ;)

    Avoid attempting to concentrate, just let it come to you.

    Hugs

    Giles
     
  14. Mythrill

    Mythrill Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Thanks Giles. I'll try just let meditation come to me.
     
  15. Mythrill

    Mythrill Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Recently I have learned my father lost his job, so this has been a hard hit for me. I've been tried to cope with it, but of course I've got fragilized. However, I think I've been trying and starting to understand what is to let things go. I've been trying to let my mind empty in meditation not by making itself empty, but by letting the meditation go. Somehow, the feeling of no thoughts while meditating is very comforting...
     
  16. Mythrill

    Mythrill Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    I keep meditating. I don't manage to do it everyday... but I'm definitely letting it go more often during meditation. I'm also remarkably better in chess, and I'm taking longer to get upset in situations that I would get so easily like it.
     
  17. CharlieBrown

    CharlieBrown Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2009
    Messages:
    98
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Hey, didn't know you were playing chess! Then we have something more in common, a part from meditation! :cool:
     
  18. GilesC

    GilesC Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2009
    Messages:
    1,856
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Great news Mythrill. As you're finding out for yourself, it becomes easier the more you do it and you do start to notice things changing around you too.

    Long time since I played chess. Not enough people like to play, which is a shame.

    Hugs

    Giles
     
  19. Mythrill

    Mythrill Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1

    Yes, I suppose so. I learned to move the pieces when I was 20, but only later decided to study it more deeply.
     
  20. Mythrill

    Mythrill Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Unfortunately. If meditation allows me to focus, chess taught me how to plan.
     

Share This Page