Author Topic: Desires; Eliminate all desires, or just keep a balance?  (Read 8782 times)

Skanzi

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Desires; Eliminate all desires, or just keep a balance?
« on: December 26, 2013, 08:09:52 PM »
Hi there,

This is my first post on this forum, and I can tell it will be a pretty long one too.

I'm an 19-year old boy from the Netherlands, interested in meditation, nutrition, self-development and just interested in somewhat anything that enhances or can possibly enhance the quality of my life. I'm actually pretty obsessed with self-improvement. I'm always trying to live a better life. I'm very, very spiritual.

And i'm pretty confused right now. I will explain why that is in a moment. I've come to you guys because you seem spiritually pretty wise, you guys seem to be able to answer my questions quite properly and help me in a way that not many other people are able to do.

I'm in a place right now, where i'm thinking, thinking, and thinking. Trying to analyze, philosophate on all different concepts of life. Often i just don't know the answer and i get confused. The main reason why I'm such a thinker, so often engaged in thought patterns, is mainly due to my overfocused ADD. This means that have real trouble shifting my attention from thoughts that are actually irrelevant or not helpful. Not to say that philosophizing is a bad thing, but in the quantity that I do it, it is a true hinderance. These thoughts distract me during a conversation, during going out, during things that require attention. My tendency to analyze concepts is very big. And it's usually too often, the thoughts are too complicated, and it comes at the wrong time. This is not the same as just worrying or thinking negative. It's like i'm always trying to solve a puzzle in my head, and the pieces never fit in a way that it completely satisfies me, or it takes too long to find the right piece. This overthinking can get my head really messed up and confused because it requires too much mental effort for my brain to handle. I usually try to find the right thought that sopt the stream of thoughts, by saying something like: "Whatever feels right, is right". Meditation does allow me to control it a bit better, but it doesn't allow me to completely eliminate the thoughts forever. And sometimes that's for the better, because you need to think about life from time to time, just the amount i do it is way too much, and at the wrong time. I've developed this kind of 'overthinking' since i climbed out of my panic disorder. I'm panic/anxiety free for about 4 months now I suppose. It's hard to tell when it completely stopped.

Having said that, something that now completely preoccupies my mind, is the concept of 'desires'. I always had this concept in the back of my mind, but i started to philosophate extra much on this when i went out jogging just a few hours ago.

Now follow me here with my thoughts, it's gonna get pretty lengthy.

The philosophating started after taking some L-Tyrosine, which causes the catecholamine system to be much more active (Dopamine, Noradrenaline, adrenaline). I noticed that i felt much more impulsive, but it especially increased my looking for an adrenaline rush, doing something i was afraid of. I realized that it increased some sort adrenaline-junkie type of behaviour. I thought about it, is this a good thing? Is it a good thing to seek enjoyment from adrenaline? I realized that it's not. I realized that cravings, addictions and needs are never a good thing. Then i started to think about it. I remembered someone saying that you should do something you're scared of every day, pushing your comfort zone every day. And then i remembered me pushing my comfort zone, doing something i was scared if, and getting pretty happy after I had done it. But was that good? At least it felt like a good thing. I wondered why. Then i realized that it was not really the adrenaline rush that was the goal of my action, but the fact that I was positively pushing my comfort zone. I was developing myself.

maybe that last bit is not very relevant with what i'm gonna say right now, but let me continue. It got me thinking about desires. I have learned that having desires is a bad thing. I already had some confusion about the concept of desires before, but now i started to get even more in-depth with it. I used to say to myself: "As long as i'm not dependent on something, it's fine to enjoy and look forward to certain events or things in life". That's what i used to think. However, I'm seriously starting to doubt whether that self-made statement is true. Because everything that makes you enjoy something, is (unconciously) coupled with some desire, even if it's very minimal and insignificant. I started to think about buddhist monks, how they are perfectly happy without desiring anything at all, and how their goal is to desire nothing at all. All they do is meditate all day long (well it's not all they do, but it is what they do most of the time). If they can be perfectly peaceful like that, shouldn't become a buddhist monk? Should I eliminate all the things that make me happy in life (food, going out, socializing, sex etc...) and move to vietnam or something to become a buddhist monk?

See, the thing is, i would do anything, ANYTHING, if it's for the better. Hypothetically, i would run naked through the streets, wrestle with a bear, kill everyone around me and set my house on fire if i was absolutely certain if it was for the better (ofcourse it isn't for the better, but, hypothetically). I can not understand someone who doesn't try to get everything out of life. I find it very hard to understand someone who just comes up with lame excuses for themselves in order to not do something, while in the back of their mind they know that they should do it. Just because it doesn't emotionally feel good for them. I'm just not like that. Even if all my emotions are trying to hold me down, i still try to look at things objectively and truly find out what the best choice is. Granted, usually i should follow my emotions and my intuïtion, but not always.

I know there's a difference between wanting a specific result, and wanting a pleasurable activity. I know wanting/needing results are by definition bad, and that you always should enjoy the process of whatever you do, and live in the moment. But i'm still unsure about desiring those pleasurable activities. Because... Those are also desires, right? They are from a different caliber then wanting a specific result. Because if you want a result you want to get your pleasure from something externally, and you should ground your happiness internally. But i'm unsure about doing something that you enjoy in the moment. Like skiing. Hell, i love skiing, the freedom, the space, the mountains and the snow. And while you enjoy the process, you enjoy doing it, i still desire it. I desire getting in that process, in that flow. And at that point, you're still putting value in something externally.

And I know what it is to feel happy and very relaxed, unconditionally of what i'm doing. At least to an extent. I do have these moments where I feel appriciation for everything, and that my emotions are very little affected by things that happen outside of me. Then i feel that core self-esteem and nobody or nothing really has effect on my mood. Nothing can really get me to feel worse, but nothing can get me to feel much better too, which is fine because i'm already happy at that point.

And if desires are insecurity, from what i've been told, then shouldn't I desire anything anymore? Should i do what the monks do and meditate all day long? Should i cut off my friends, never go out again, never socialize again, never watch tv again, never do anything i enjoy again, and just move to tibet and meditate all day long in a monastery?
Or otherwise, just build it up to that point? I mean, it would be a little too extreme for me to go from meditating 20-30 minutes twice a day to meditating 12 hours a day, i wouldn't be able to maintain it, i wouldn't be able to handle it. Just like trying to do a wheelie on a motercycle when you have your very first motercycle lesson wouldn't work.
And, decreasing the amount of things i desire gradually, instead of cutting off all desires at once here at home. I would problably get like depressed or something when i wouldn't be able to see my friends, go out anymore, not being able to be on the internet and to watch tv etc... Even if i would try to meditate all the time, i would very likely be bored out of my friking mind.

Because, i would seriously travel off to tibet and just become a buddhist monk if that would enhance the quality of my life the most. I would seriously do it, without anyone in my surroundings having any experience with buddhism, without anyone to guide me , i would still do it, if it were for the best. No doubt in my mind.

But how do i find out what is actually the best? How do i know what i should do with my life? Are all these desires bad? Should I slowly build off everything i desire, and just gradually focus on my inner self-esteem and relaxation more and more?

Or is it also a good option, to keep doing the things i enjoy to do, but just put less and less value on them? Become more independent from them without them affecting your emotions not at all anymore?
Is it possible to do that actually? If you put less value on something can it still affect your emotions positively just as much? Or will the difference of enjoyment of it go down because your baseline happiness and confidence goes up?

I don't really know what i should do, i don't really know if i still should seek to enjoy external stimuli. I'm not sure how to live my life, and i'm not sure how these all these dynamics and concepts work exactly. I wanna know that, i am very hungry for knownledge. I just need someone or something to guide me. I'm so confused :S

Feel free to post good article or video references, they would be very appriciated.

Greetings and thanks for reading :)
Do you have a conflict? A doubt which you don't know the answer for? Try this:

- Advise yourself like you would advise a friend.  If you can easily advise your friend, why not take the same advice to yourself?

If you're still not sure, just admit you're not sure and just make a choice.

Peace

Renze

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Re: Desires; Eliminate all desires, or just keep a balance?
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2013, 09:35:22 PM »
What you're saying is that you have doubts about the renunciate nature of Buddhism. That is fine. Buddhism is an ideology, so you don't necessarily have to accept it fully. My advice: study it, practice meditation, stay critical and see what works for you. You say you have an intellectual mind, woud be a waste not to use it.

DarkNightOfNoSoul

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Re: Desires; Eliminate all desires, or just keep a balance?
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2013, 12:39:13 AM »
Skanzi, your post is very intelligent and insightful - I wish I'd attained your level of thinking at 19 years old (then I might not have spent much of my life pointlessly chasing money and women, lol).

I'd like to offer a few thoughts for what they're worth - I'm somewhat hesitant to offer advice because I don't feel I've advanced far with my own meditation practice yet, but hopefully other forum members will set things straight if I say anything unhelpful.

With regard to ordaining as a monk, earlier this year I spent nine days at a Buddhist monastery in Thailand. This monastery was specifically designed for westerners wanting to become monks (the monastery is called Wat Pah Nanachat). For me this experience, although amazing, helped me realise that personally I wasn't (yet!) ready to take on the austere lifestyle of a monk. To give you some idea of what's involved, here are three short video clips on becoming a monk by a Canadian guy who trained in the same tradition (Thai Forest); it took him several years before he was ready to take the monk vows:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsxbzIdo92s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_sll7FtgAQ&list=SPEAF1C6352D4F61F9&index=25
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ittQd5zk0ok&list=SPEAF1C6352D4F61F9&index=38

In terms of a less radical renunciation process - that is, giving up the things you currently enjoy in your everyday life - something along these lines is probably wiser at this stage than heading off to Asia to ordain, but perhaps try a balanced approach. That is, whilst indulging heavily in the things you desire is unlikely to be helpful for your spiritual practice, I also don't think there's a need to try and force yourself to give them up completely straight away. Based on my own experience, my feeling is that if you continue with your meditation practice, over time you will naturally start to lose interest in many of these things anyway.

So I agree with Renze's advice to continue with your meditation practice, and I'd perhaps look at gently increasing the time you spend meditating each day, and see if you can bring mindfulness into your everyday activities as well. And if you haven't done so already, you might find an introductory ten-day meditation course helpful, either in south-east Asia or perhaps at one of S. N. Goenka's meditation centres, which are worldwide.

I also agree with Renze that perhaps it would be helpful for you, with your enquiring mind, to study Buddhist teachings in more depth. I've personally found that it provides quite a coherent intellectual framework, without the requirement to take anything on blind faith. This might help ease some of your confusion, and by examining it critically you'll be able to determine for yourself whether it's the philosophy for you. (BTW you might also be interested in studying Greek Stoicism, which was independently developed but shares many philosophical similarities with Buddhism.)

One more thing: I think patience is extremely important. I know when you're young there is a feeling of urgency and you want to make things happen immediately, but personally I've found the process of change to be very gradual - I did my first meditation retreat in 2006 yet I still feel very much a beginner on this path. Of course, everybody's different, and results may vary.  :)

All the best!
« Last Edit: December 27, 2013, 01:20:42 AM by DarkNightOfNoSoul »

Re: Desires; Eliminate all desires, or just keep a balance?
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2013, 04:48:31 AM »
hey Skanzi,

thats a lot of thoughts  ;)

Quote
The main reason why I'm such a thinker, so often engaged in thought patterns, is mainly due to my overfocused ADD. This means that have real trouble shifting my attention from thoughts that are actually irrelevant or not helpful. Not to say that philosophizing is a bad thing, but in the quantity that I do it, it is a true hinderance. These thoughts distract me during a conversation, during going out, during things that require attention. My tendency to analyze concepts is very big.

Truth can be found only in the silence of the mind. You might want to relax your mind to calm down when ever you feel attached to thoughts and are flowing nonstop.

Samatha is a good tool for this.
Beathing in i calm my mind, breathing out i calm my mind.

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Having said that, something that now completely preoccupies my mind, is the concept of 'desires'.

Desires are very important in life and one should not be blindly wanting to irradiate them. One has to go to depth of the problem (suffering) and see that it is not the desire that causes suffering, its the attachment to it that causes it. So desires are good, but when they turn to craving it is bad.

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Then i realized that it was not really the adrenaline rush that was the goal of my action, but the fact that I was positively pushing my comfort zone. I was developing myself.

If at all developing, then developing without insight of anything.

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If they can be perfectly peaceful like that, shouldn't become a buddhist monk? Should I eliminate all the things that make me happy in life (food, going out, socializing, sex etc...) and move to vietnam or something to become a buddhist monk?

what works for one doesnt work for the others. Dont depend on results of others...

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I find it very hard to understand someone who just comes up with lame excuses for themselves in order to not do something
We all do that  :D , as long as conceptual mind keeps reasoning out everything one is not free from this suffering.

Quote
Because if you want a result you want to get your pleasure from something externally, and you should ground your happiness internally.

There is no externally and internally. We are all one dependent organism. Everything depends on other. Everything exists in others before getting its form. Everything ends up in others.

Quote
But i'm unsure about doing something that you enjoy in the moment. Like skiing. Hell, i love skiing, the freedom, the space, the mountains and the snow. And while you enjoy the process, you enjoy doing it, i still desire it. I desire getting in that process, in that flow. And at that point, you're still putting value in something externally.

Here you can see the self finds happiness without wanting the surroundings to enter its ego circle.  In the sense the self becomes happy only when a showroom watch becomes my watch.... but not in the case u mentioned. Self accepts everything as it is n finds happiness. It doesnt try to change anything.
This is the happiness not bound by surrounding and is good to cultivate it. Thats what we all are trying to cultivate.

Quote
And if desires are insecurity, from what i've been told, then shouldn't I desire anything anymore? Should i do what the monks do and meditate all day long? Should i cut off my friends, never go out again, never socialize again, never watch tv again, never do anything i enjoy again, and just move to tibet and meditate all day long in a monastery?
Or otherwise, just build it up to that point? I mean, it would be a little too extreme for me to go from meditating 20-30 minutes twice a day to meditating 12 hours a day, i wouldn't be able to maintain it, i wouldn't be able to handle it. Just like trying to do a wheelie on a motercycle when you have your very first motercycle lesson wouldn't work.
And, decreasing the amount of things i desire gradually, instead of cutting off all desires at once here at home. I would problably get like depressed or something when i wouldn't be able to see my friends, go out anymore, not being able to be on the internet and to watch tv etc... Even if i would try to meditate all the time, i would very likely be bored out of my DUCKING mind.

Only you can find the answer but here is my suggestion. Attend a 10 day course of vipassana. Follow all rules. If at the end of the 10 day course you dont want to leave the course, U dont want it to end, U go back to your place and in a week u start getting suffocated and want to go to another course, then you are ready to be a monk. As i see it you still have half minded desire to be free ( only some times). So its not advisable to be a monk yet.

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Because, i would seriously travel off to tibet and just become a buddhist monk if that would enhance the quality of my life the most.
Relax. take time. Find out more about yourself. Attend 10 day courses. A lot of them... then decide.

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Or is it also a good option, to keep doing the things i enjoy to do, but just put less and less value on them? Become more independent from them without them affecting your emotions not at all anymore?
yes,

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Is it possible to do that actually? If you put less value on something can it still affect your emotions positively just as much? Or will the difference of enjoyment of it go down because your baseline happiness and confidence goes up?
Yes, the change has to come from with in. Intellectually wanting it wont help. That change is brought by vipassana (insight).

Quote
I don't really know what i should do, i don't really know if i still should seek to enjoy external stimuli. I'm not sure how to live my life, and i'm not sure how these all these dynamics and concepts work exactly. I wanna know that, i am very hungry for knownledge. I just need someone or something to guide me. I'm so confused :S
Can you see your thinking causing you suffering? i.e, sm1 who doesnt think and just does things is more happy than you are?
Can you see yourself complicating things because you have this self wanting to follow right and wrong that itself created?
Can you see that you dont find happiness in things you used to before ? Can you see your happiness is going down by doing all this?

If yes then you are doing somthing wrong. Now find that mistake and rectify.  :D

Good luck.
be happy.

Pacific Flow

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Re: Desires; Eliminate all desires, or just keep a balance?
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2013, 06:33:34 AM »
I really love the advise you guys are giving to this young Padawan here. There is a lot of truth in what has been written, i can get a lot of out that even if i didn't post the question. Can feel the goodwill and compassion.

May all beings be happy!

Skanzi

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Re: Desires; Eliminate all desires, or just keep a balance?
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2013, 10:08:57 AM »
Thanks guys!

I always felt scared, uncomfortawle and ashamed reading back my posts for the comments. This is mostly because i've posted these type of thoughts on many forums but i never felt quite that understood. I always recieved comments that were missing the point or unfriendly. I always felt like an attention whore or something. I feel like i csn realate the most to you guys in terms of wisdom and insight. Not to say that i'm the wisest most insightful person. But i'm trying to develop myself and understand myself more. You guys make me feel understood, so thanks for that!

And i got an additional question about love. My brother is currently deeply in love with his girlfriend and vica versa. And i can see hem being much more confident and happier, especially when he's with her. Which is understandable, because love is a cocktail of positive neurotransmitters. (fenylethylamine, noradrenaline, adrenaline, endorfine, dopamine and oxytocine). So yeah, understandably it makes you very happy when things are working out. But is being in love a good thing? It's also the cause of all these songs on the radio about  a girl. Either the guy saying how happy she makes him, or some song with a guy singing that he is so down because she left him and he desperately wants her bsck. Love is a very powerful emotion. But is it a good thing to be deeply in love in a relationship? Because after love very often comes suffering, arguing, fights, sadness and depression. You could say that love is addicting, like an drug. I can relate to it. In which ways is love a good thing, and in which ways is it bad?
« Last Edit: December 30, 2013, 10:12:42 AM by Skanzi »
Do you have a conflict? A doubt which you don't know the answer for? Try this:

- Advise yourself like you would advise a friend.  If you can easily advise your friend, why not take the same advice to yourself?

If you're still not sure, just admit you're not sure and just make a choice.

Peace

Re: Desires; Eliminate all desires, or just keep a balance?
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2013, 10:45:29 AM »
Hi,

mmm love is a subject best understood with experience, and i can see your post itself has many answers for the questions you have asked.

I think you are only referring to lustful love or a love between a couple. So i will talk only of that love. ( if u mean love in general then there is a different way of loving, which is free from desire)

Quote
But is being in love a good thing?
Yes, it is. No, it is not.

Quote
It's also the cause of all these songs on the radio about  a girl.
Most people cant find truth about one self so they fall in love with the image of the girl that they themselves craved in there mind and not with the girl itself.  Since everything is impermanent and everything is continuously changing, this image and the love depending on the image keeps getting changed by every action of the girl. Anything that is impermanent will come with suffering attached to it. So one has to be ready for it.

Quote
In which ways is love a good thing, and in which ways is it bad?
There is inherent suffering attached to love.
If one is satisfied with saying a charcoal is not burning just because he sees ash covering the red flame then he can find whatever little happiness is there in this.
But if one has become aware that the charcoal is burning and it will consume the charcoal as a hole if nothing is done, then for him he has to abandon the idea of love and find the water to extinguish the flame that is consuming him.

« Last Edit: December 30, 2013, 10:56:55 AM by siddharthgode »

Renze

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Re: Desires; Eliminate all desires, or just keep a balance?
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2013, 04:12:05 PM »
Most people cant find truth about one self so they fall in love with the image of the girl that they themselves craved in there mind and not with the girl itself.  Since everything is impermanent and everything is continuously changing, this image and the love depending on the image keeps getting changed by every action of the girl. Anything that is impermanent will come with suffering attached to it. So one has to be ready for it.

You are right, but the lesson to be learned here is how easily your mind is manipulated/conditioned. If the goal of Buddhism is to free your mind from conditioning, then falling in love can be very insightful. Say, for example, you fall in love with a Christian girl. Before, you may have been very critical of parts of Christianity, but as soon as you fell in love, you started thinking quite positively towards it. Did Christianity suddenly change? Of course not, but your perception changed. The same effect can be seen in friendships, and - dare I say it - student-teacher relationships. Think about this when you watch that next dhamma talk by your favourite teacher...

Skanzi

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    • Doing Vipassana, Anapana and Ashtanga yoga
Re: Desires; Eliminate all desires, or just keep a balance?
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2013, 05:06:46 PM »
Quote
Can you see your thinking causing you suffering? i.e, sm1 who doesnt think and just does things is more happy than you are?
Can you see yourself complicating things because you have this self wanting to follow right and wrong that itself created?
Can you see that you dont find happiness in things you used to before ? Can you see your happiness is going down by doing all this?


You make a valid point. I tend to be very frustrated over the fact that everyone else seems just to enjoy life effortlessly. And i always try to improve myself and live my life to the fullest yet i'm the one who's often confused and sometimes depressed. But you are right sir, I should try to calm my mind down more often. However, i will divide liek one or two hours every day by thinking about these concepts and writing them down. Giving myself the space and time to philosophate and analyze seems like a better idea.
Do you have a conflict? A doubt which you don't know the answer for? Try this:

- Advise yourself like you would advise a friend.  If you can easily advise your friend, why not take the same advice to yourself?

If you're still not sure, just admit you're not sure and just make a choice.

Peace

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Desires; Eliminate all desires, or just keep a balance?
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2013, 08:49:00 PM »
If it's any consolation for you Skanzi, no one is normal, and few people enjoy their lives effortlessly. Everyone has their kinks and quirks that constrain and hinder them, but when people feel low they tend to look up, rarely down. Try not to worry so much about improving and being better, if you can develop a sense of presence with whatever you're doing then that is enough.

Re: Desires; Eliminate all desires, or just keep a balance?
« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2013, 05:51:23 AM »
Be aware of your daily actions and your mental reactions.

This will teach you more than  philosophizing and analyzing can do.

Skanzi

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Re: Desires; Eliminate all desires, or just keep a balance?
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2014, 11:50:16 PM »
Alright, i'll give an update.

So first i want to ask if you guys know a good forum regarding spiruality, self-development/self-improvement etc...
This forum seems to be more tailored towards meditation, which is fine, but it doesn't feel like the right place to ask many questions which are not so much tailored towards meditation. If you have a suggestion for another, better place where i can ask for guidance and help with all the questions i have, please feel free to do so.

Perhaps that's mostly just coming out of fear to be honest. I think the reason why I feel emberrased actually to read back my post for answers, because i feel like i'm demanding attention for others. I'm not sure, but i think that's what it is. I feel like a attention-craving weirdo or something. I feel like i'm being too open, too transparant about my emotions and thoughts to people i totally don't know.  I am however able to rationalize that it's okay to just find answers to doubts and problems. But i suppose it's only that i'm slightly scared of the reactions, and i'm not sure why i would be. I don't feel bad typing this post at all though, i actually feel quite good and i get really focused and concentrated on that what i'm writing. I actually enjoy the writing much more that the anticipation of the answers.

Anyways, let's continue on that topic. I never like the idea that i'm being a little bit egocentric in the form of not listening well to others, throwing out impulsive reactions, talking mostly about myself and my own interests and problems. I feel a little too rude and antisocial when two people are talking about a subject and suddenly i have something to say about that that i really wanna talk about. At that point i jus have a strong desire to throw in my comment. But maybe i'm too much deluded by the idea that it's 'good' to listen well too others. I once tried to not be too disruptive in conversations and listen a little better to others, but often i just kinda wandered off with my attention, got bored of their conversation, and started to get too much into my head. I started to wander like: "Should i just throw this comment in? should i try to talk about this? Am i being egoïstic if i suddenly start to talk a lot about my own interests?". I remember that the times that i just don't think at all about egocentrism, attention-seeking behaviour and my role in a conversation were actually the most enjoyable times. I remember feeling the best when i did act impulsive, weird in my own way and when i did not think about how others would percieve me and judge me on the things i said and did. Yeah, I like to hear myself talk.

However, i think at that point i am being quite egocentric. But i'm not sure, maybe that's just insecurity that i'm thinking that. It could be that i'm by far not as egocentric as I think I am when it comes to conversations. There's a big possibility that the idea that i should 'listen' to others makes me feel like i'm doing something wrong when i'm talking a lot or getting attention by doing weird impulsive things. And note that my goal is actually not to be less egocentric for the sake of the validation of other people, but for my own personal improvement. The need to be less egocentric is build on the idea that listening to others better and seeking less attention would be better for my own mental health.

Examples of these 'weird impulsive things' and egocentric actions are: I make a lot of weird noises, lay over the edge of a couch when there's company, just for fun. I make random fighting moves like kicks in the air. I say something like: "F*ck Yeah!" to someone who's talking when it's competely out of context (When the person just started talking his/her sentence, i already intent to say: "frik yeah" at the end of the sentence, whatever the sentence may be about). I very often conversation say: "I think...", "I feel like...", "I would...". Without responding to what the other said really, but talking about my perception of the topic. These are particulary the things i do when i feel good. When i feel good, that's when i start to act really impulsive and random like i just described, it's a bit less when i feel worse.

I must notify that i'm usually not doing these things for attention, but just because i really enjoy doing them. I like to express myself that way. Sometimes however, I'm not sure if i'm doing something because i want attention or that i just enjoy doing it, i'll get back on that later.

But now that i think about it, the moments when i act really impulsive and random, not thinking about 'social and conversation rules', are the moments that i'm having the most fun in my life.

I could try to put more effort in listening more to other people, but i think i would just suppress my impulses too much and that would make me too uneasy. Perhaps I should just accept the fact that I am quite an egocentric person when it comes to conversations and not try to change that. People who can't accept that flaw of my personality. Aren't people to spend time with. Doesn't make them necessarily bad people i guess, but we just can't calibrate with each other so i shouldn't try to.

I must say however, that i am able to really pay a lot of attention to someone when he/she is talking about something I myself am really interested about. Then I'd like to listen just as much as i'd like to talk. But when someone is talking about something i don't care about, i either wander off with my thoughts or attention, or i try to find something in the conversation that does spike my emotions and talk about that excessively.

But what do you guys think? Should i try to change anything in my conversational skills, perhaps try to listen a bit better, or should I just not try to change anything and perhaps just be a little egocentric if that's what i enjoy to do? Just forget about social rules, forget about what's 'right' and just act completely egocentric if i feel the need to do so?

By the way, when i write posts like this, i suddenly notice how much the fruits of meditation are paying off. I suddenly become aware of my massive concentration and focus on this post while i'm typing it. I didn't even notice myself getting into this state, but i really like it now that i'm aware of it. It's almost a meditation itself :P
That's why, like i said on the top of this post, that i enjoy the process of writing much more than the anticipation of the answers. I really can focus on that what i'm writing. Otherwise I'm easily distracted by thoughts, but now i can just focus at one thing. There are no hindering thoughts while i'm writing this. The hindering thoughts i do have, i just write them down. That's problably why i favor to write these really long posts. I just really like the process of writing, getting detailed into stuff. And I can express everything that's bothering me digitally on the internet. I feel like it's an outlet for all the bothering thoughts i have. I can sort off... Write them off. This sort of made me realize that i need to write a lot more. Write down my doubts and worries even more. Perhaps i should write a book :) I also just like talking about them to someone in person to be honest. I just want to express them.

But, don't get me wrong though, that does not mean that sufficient answers wouldn't help me. In fact, they would help me a lot. Admittedly, for some reason, there's just some anxiety involved in reading my posts back for answers. But that does not mean that i wouldn't benefit from good responses to my posts. Sure, feel free to respond to my post and think along with me. I just need to get over that feeling of anxiety that i have when reading for answers after i made the post. I'm just... not sure how. Because i've had that feeling of anxiety on numerous forum posts i made on the internet, and never was i not scared to read them back. This also includes e-mails i made where i'm very transparant about my emotions. Maybe i'm scared of not feeling understood? I'm just not completely sure. The funny thing is, i have no problem talking about my emotions and thoughts to someone in person. I actually don't feel embarrased telling these things to someone in person. (well, it depends on the person and on the context though, i don't walk up to a random person on the street and tell him all my thoughts).

Now i have to end this post, because i really need to get up early tomorrow. I'm going to an meditation introductory cursus :P Time just flew by without me noticing it. I will problably continue with this post tomorrow. The thing is however, that experience has thought me that i very often don't finish what i started. Knowing myself, tomorrow i problably will even feel slightly ashamed of all that i just wrote, and not be motivated to type further on the other things that were bothering me in my mind. But i'll just see about that tomorrow, now i really need to sleep.

By the way, i'm also going to try a 10-day vipassana cursus. I'm just not sure when and where yet.

But there's just one question i have, would it be alright for you guys if i sort of kept a psychological diary on this topic? Write more of these type of posts? Just within this topic, not that i would spam the forum here with multiple topics of me.

Or would you recommend a better alternative for these wall of texts?

Greetings.
Do you have a conflict? A doubt which you don't know the answer for? Try this:

- Advise yourself like you would advise a friend.  If you can easily advise your friend, why not take the same advice to yourself?

If you're still not sure, just admit you're not sure and just make a choice.

Peace

Embracetheday

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Re: Desires; Eliminate all desires, or just keep a balance?
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2014, 04:19:23 AM »
When I was 21 I took my first Vipassana Course under the tradition of Mr. Goenka over 40 years ago. I had a very inquisitive mind like you and wanted to have a better understanding of my reality.

If you go to dhamma.org, you can learn more about this scientific technique that has helped millions of people. You can also find where there is a course near you. Take a course, and let nature take care of the rest. Many of your questions will be answered through the meditation and others you will disgard as no longer being important. I hope this helps you.

Re: Desires; Eliminate all desires, or just keep a balance?
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2014, 05:10:13 AM »
Quote
I feel like a attention-craving weirdo or something.

we all are.

Quote
I never like the idea that i'm being a little bit egocentric in the form of not listening well to others, throwing out impulsive reactions, talking mostly about myself and my own interests and problems.

We all do this. Dont fight it. Just observe it without wanting it to go away, with equanimity.
Listening is a art that needs to be learnt. When you stop feeding ego the energy like i said above, it becomes less and less interested in interfering, it stops trying to show its views to the world.
But if you fight it then you feed it more energy.

Quote
Examples of these 'weird impulsive things' and egocentric actions are: I make a lot of weird noises, lay over the edge of a couch when there's company, just for fun. I make random fighting moves like kicks in the air. I say something like: "F*ck Yeah!" to someone who's talking when it's completely out of context (When the person just started talking his/her sentence, i already intent to say: "DUCK yeah" at the end of the sentence, whatever the sentence may be about).
You have to be more careful and mindful of your actions. If your actions are generating negativity in the people near by then it is bound to return back to you. If it is intentional then one has to face more difficulties, if it was unintentional then a little less.
As you can see it has returned in your case to haunt you  :D

Quote
But now that i think about it, the moments when i act really impulsive and random, not thinking about 'social and conversation rules', are the moments that i'm having the most fun in my life.
Yah but you are paying for it by remaining miserable during other moments.  :D

Quote
People who can't accept that flaw of my personality. Aren't people to spend time with. Doesn't make them necessarily bad people i guess, but we just can't calibrate with each other so i shouldn't try to.
lol, you yourself cant accept it completely. Dont spend time with yourself  :D
(not being mean or anything just a joke.)

Quote
I could try to put more effort in listening more to other people, but i think i would just suppress my impulses too much and that would make me too uneasy. Perhaps I should just accept the fact that I am quite an egocentric person when it comes to conversations and not try to change that.
Changing consciously these kind of reactions is temporary and stressful. Change has to come from with in. Better practice samatha when ever you try to listen to others.


Skanzi

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    • Doing Vipassana, Anapana and Ashtanga yoga
Re: Desires; Eliminate all desires, or just keep a balance?
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2014, 05:53:54 PM »


Quote
Examples of these 'weird impulsive things' and egocentric actions are: I make a lot of weird noises, lay over the edge of a couch when there's company, just for fun. I make random fighting moves like kicks in the air. I say something like: "F*ck Yeah!" to someone who's talking when it's completely out of context (When the person just started talking his/her sentence, i already intent to say: "DUCK yeah" at the end of the sentence, whatever the sentence may be about).

You have to be more careful and mindful of your actions. If your actions are generating negativity in the people near by then it is bound to return back to you. If it is intentional then one has to face more difficulties, if it was unintentional then a little less.
As you can see it has returned in your case to haunt you  :D

Yeah... But that it's 'haunting' me, is not really the case of feeling guilty, but more because i'm feeling doubtful of how it actually works. I always doubt about concepts, a lot. I'd say i could easily be very talkative and not feel bad about it afterwards. It's the doubt really, not the guilt.

But would you suggest it's a bad thing then, to act very impulsive and talkative and such? I mean, i don't think I generate negativity in other people like you said. Not at all i think. I never intent to be dominant and i don't require all the attention. It's much more that i just feel the need to follow my impulses, and with expressing those impulses, comes attention but i don't require it or anything to make me feel good. I would like a person like myself to be honest. I personally like people who are very talkative, impulsive, random and people who surprise me (in a positive way) with their behaviour. I just like to see joy and fun in other people, even if they have a big mouth. And when i act impulsive and i'm not thinking about 'rules', i'm having fun.

It's not an so much an ego thing, it's not so much: "I want people to hear me or look at me". It's more like: "I want to say this, because I really like to talk about this subject a lot." or "I want to do a random fighting kick in the air because i just like to"  or "I want to say: "F*ck yeah" because i feel excited to throw it out" (It's an excitement thing, nothing personal or insulting about it.). Like i said, it's really not for other people, it's for my personal growth.

Truth be told, i'm not sure whether it's my ego or if it's only a matter of having fun. I see other people having very long monologues of 10-15 minutes about some event in their life. And i enjoy listening to that too (eventually it can get too long and tedious), at least if they tell it with enthousiasm and when it's about something i''m interested in. But does that make them egocentric? Yeah, i suppose so. But is that a bad thing? Not really i think. I mean, we're both enjoying ourselves, right? Is that an ego thing?

I just have a hard time finding out what the place is where i´m coming from. Why am i doing what i´m doing? Like, would i also lay over the edge of a couch when there's nobody to watch it? Uhm... I could, but i'm much less likely to. Then again, it could also be the ambiance, the type of couch, the setting and the change of emotions that makes me want to lay over the edge of a couch when i'm having a party with people i'm comfortable with. But it could also be attention, I don't know!

Oh wait, i just realised that the word 'ego' is in the word 'egocentric' itself.   ::) Now i just want to know when you're being egocentric.

Okay so the real question is: "How do i know when i'm feeding my ego?" And "How do i find the right balance of entitlement?"

Lol i'm such a big doubter






« Last Edit: January 05, 2014, 05:58:43 PM by Skanzi »
Do you have a conflict? A doubt which you don't know the answer for? Try this:

- Advise yourself like you would advise a friend.  If you can easily advise your friend, why not take the same advice to yourself?

If you're still not sure, just admit you're not sure and just make a choice.

Peace

Re: Desires; Eliminate all desires, or just keep a balance?
« Reply #15 on: January 05, 2014, 07:08:42 PM »
Quote
But would you suggest it's a bad thing then, to act very impulsive and talkative and such? I mean, i don't think I generate negativity in other people like you said. Not at all i think. I never intent to be dominant and i don't require all the attention.

If your actions are not hurting others then whats the problem. If its a wholesome action then i would care less if its impulsive or not. In fact i would be happy if my impulse only does good actions (but some times it doesnt and only then do i intervene).

Quote
i'm not thinking about 'rules, i'm having fun.

Rules for me is very simple
1) any action that hurts others and myself is bad.
2) everything else i completely accept.


DarkNightOfNoSoul

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Re: Desires; Eliminate all desires, or just keep a balance?
« Reply #16 on: January 05, 2014, 09:45:17 PM »
Alright, i'll give an update...
Hi Skanzi, wow, I feel like I've just been drawn up into a whirlwind!

A couple of things spring to mind. First, try not to over-analyse things. I've always had a tendency to do that myself (especially as I study science), and it almost inevitably ends in confusion and frustration.

Second, be a bit wary about doing things just because they feel good or fun. Sure, it's in our human (and animal) nature to go through life seeking out things that feel good and avoiding things that feel bad. And this has worked well for us in a purely evolutionary sense, as it's ensured that our ancestors survived long enough to reproduce. But the modern human environment is utterly different to the African plains in which we evolved - most of us now live in a highly artificial environment in which rewards are plentiful and punishers relatively rare, and we share this environment with billions of others. So our natural tendency to be impulsive and a bit self-centred has the potential to harm others, and to harm ourselves in the long term. (So much for not analysing, lol!)

Impulsiveness does decline with age, and of course meditation gradually releases us from the urge to act on our impulses. But while we are still learning I think we need to exercise some restraint in our speech and actions so we don't cause harm. Buddhist guidelines are usually summed up very simply:

1) Don't do harm to others or oneself.
2) Do good.
3) Purify your mind (that is, meditate).

All are equally important. And as others here have said, if you practice meditation on a daily basis (and perhaps attend the occasional intensive retreat) the answers to many of your questions will gradually come to you, without the need for intellectual analysis.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2014, 10:05:02 PM by DarkNightOfNoSoul »

Skanzi

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    • Doing Vipassana, Anapana and Ashtanga yoga
Re: Desires; Eliminate all desires, or just keep a balance?
« Reply #17 on: January 07, 2014, 04:43:33 PM »
I guess, what my problem is is that i'm constantly trying to analyze every action i make, i constantly think: "Is this good for me? How does this affect me mentally? Ami I doing something wrong if i act this way?"

One example of last night would be that i wanted to go home when i was at a party, and i said goodbye  to people, but they didn't hear me, so i said: "Hey, i'm leaving!". Okay so now they heard me and i said goodbye, but immediately after i started to think: "Wait, did i just want their attention? Did i just need them to say goodbye to me and notice me? Or did i just wanted to make sure they heard me? Was it bad that i repeated the fact that i was leaving to them?"

And i thought about this like all the way back in the bus to my house. I finally concluded that perhaps i did want a little bit of attention, but it wasn't completely bad because i also justg wanted to make sure they heard me.
I am always thinking about what i do, and how it can possibly affect my mood.

I have an urge that i NEED to understand, otherwise i'm not satisfied.

My mistake is problably that i'm confusing cause and result. I think that what i do physically affects how i become mentally, but it's mostly how i am mentally, affects how i act physically.

Yes, i do know that my thoughts about this cause me become all messed up in my head and confused, but i find it really though to stop. It's also because of the reason that i feel like i'm figuring out something when i think so much. That i'm understanding and learning when i'm analyzing my thoughts and actions. I guess this might be true to an extent, but not in the amount i do it.

The reason i think so much, is because i have an overactive cingulate gyrus, or overfocused ADD, this explains a bit more:

http://addandsomuchmore.com/2012/09/18/overfocusing-cognitive-inflexibility-and-the-cingulate-gyrus/
« Last Edit: January 07, 2014, 04:52:38 PM by Skanzi »
Do you have a conflict? A doubt which you don't know the answer for? Try this:

- Advise yourself like you would advise a friend.  If you can easily advise your friend, why not take the same advice to yourself?

If you're still not sure, just admit you're not sure and just make a choice.

Peace

Re: Desires; Eliminate all desires, or just keep a balance?
« Reply #18 on: January 07, 2014, 06:53:16 PM »
Quote
One example of last night would be that i wanted to go home when i was at a party, and i said goodbye  to people, but they didn't hear me, so i said: "Hey, i'm leaving!". Okay so now they heard me and i said goodbye, but immediately after i started to think: "Wait, did i just want their attention? Did i just need them to say goodbye to me and notice me? Or did i just wanted to make sure they heard me? Was it bad that i repeated the fact that i was leaving to them?"

I think you are over complicating stuff. I would say just relax and let go, but u wont really in a state to do that.

In your case ego has realized that whenever it arises you becomes unhappy. But it doesnt want die as well. So you are stuck in a place with no escape. It is not possible to escape from this problem from intellectual arguing that ego does.

Viktor

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Re: Desires; Eliminate all desires, or just keep a balance?
« Reply #19 on: January 09, 2014, 10:53:29 AM »
While reading your posts, a quote by Shakespeare got into my mind: "Nothing is either good or bad but the mind makes it so." While good and bad may be useful roadposts, ultimately the journey is go beyond good and evil.

I think it is ok to be a bit egocentric. Or maybe that is to say, it is good (goddamnit :D ) to take care of oneself and not deny ones nature too much. If by taking care for my body I am not harming anyone or myself there is nothing to say against it.
Especially if it comes to sexuality, I think the spiritual community is overcompensating in contrast to the culture within it lives. i.e. while our culture is completely oversexed, the spiritual community tends to repress sexuality too much - which leaves crucial parts of the psyche unintegrated. Jack Kornfield writes compellingly about that. Even Goenka wrote somewhere that is better to live ones sexuality because suppressing it does more harm than  is helping anything. I know you weren't specifically asking about that, but I think there are parallels to many other parts of our lives.

Skanzi

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Re: Desires; Eliminate all desires, or just keep a balance?
« Reply #20 on: January 09, 2014, 09:20:53 PM »
Alright, let's give an update.

Oh by the way, it's not that i am blind to the advice you guys give. It's not that i don't read it and learn from it. I just want to write down what i think.

Things haven't been going too great really tbh. I'm experiencing a lack of interest in life. Mild symptoms of depression, ups and downs, but a general feeling of sadness. The worst thing is that i don't know why i have to feel this way or what i can do about it. It's a pretty confusing and vague place to be in. I notice this fog in my head that doesn't allow me to think clearly. My memory is poor, my concentration is poor, my mood is poor, my motivation in poor. My ability to organize, plan ahead is and always has been poor. Whether the reason that i feel bad is mainly the cause of my ADD, my autism, my supplements, SAD (Seasonal affected disorder which i problably have), the lack of enjoyable things in my life, something else or a combination, i don't know.

And yes, i do know that all these thoughts cause confusion and can make me feel worse, and they do that a bit too. but i don't think as much about concepts as i do writing them down now. And i just feel like there's missing something in my life that's causing these depressing feelings.

What i do know however, is that something needs to change. I don't know what it is really. I notice, that the more depressed i feel, the more i feel like i need something outside me to make me feel better. I don't know to which extent that is true. I mean, i know that you're supposed to find happiness within yourself, but i just don't see how i could possibly be happy when i keep having the same daily rhytm i have right now. I clearly notice a sense of self-fulfillment whenever i'm happy. Not really wanting anything and just going by the flow. Now, i feel like i need love, i need sex, need a girlfriend, need adventure, need something new, need activity, need more friends, need to travel, need to keep seeing people etc... The worst part is that i don't really know if i should suppress these desires, and not do anything with them. I mean, i know that true happiness comes from within but i can't really imagine me being like that without some of these external things.

This leaves me to confusion to what i should and shouldn't do.
Just about 15 minutes ago i was sitting opposite to this girl in the train and i noticed that i straightaway felt really attracted to her. I was imagining all types of good possible experiences with her if she was my girlfriend.

But i don't wanna go talk to her. Why? Because i'm scared. And i don't mean general anxiety. Ofcourse there's a bit of anxiety involved to start a conversation, but that's not what i mean. I've done stuff like that before and i'm definately able to handle anxiety and take action. I'm afraid of where i'm putting myself when i do go and talk to her.

What i mean with that is that i don't know whether i would talk to her for the right reasons. I know it can be a good thing if you're excited to push your comfort zone and enjoy doing it, but i doubt it to be a good thing if i do this for the sake of 'getting her'. You know, i don't want to do this for the outcome. I don't want her to be the cause of my happiness. I'm allergic to the idea that you need someone or something specific for your happiness. If i want to do something scary, i only want to do it to overcome anxiety, not for the result. And if i have the feeling that i'm doing it for an outcome, i simply won't do it because i don't want to cultivate dependence on anything. The thing is, i find it very though right now to mentally get myself to the point that i do something for the fun rather tgan the outcome.

And just as scary is the idea that i actually do it and it does make me feel better, disregarding the outcome. But then i don't know how much to do next. Then, what else should i do that can make me feel better? How much more girls should i talk to? How much more should i do? I don't want to get lost in this vague area where i don't know how much action to take and where i overexhaust myself emotionally because i don't know my own limits, which i've done before.

I know there are a few fundamental things you are sort of dependent on, but there are multiple ways to get it (Health, money, social contacts, people to talk with)

I'm just not sure i made the right choice not talking to the girl and trying to have a little conversation. Maybe i would've really enjoyed doing it, even without getting her number. I don't know that.


There's just one question i have: When you're feeling down and you have strong feelings of desires for something, are those desires actually something to cultivate, to follow up? Should you take action based on your increased need for something, or would that make matters even worse?
How do i find out?

I for instance can't stand the idea that a girl or girlfriend could mean that i would be happy again. Why? Because it makes me so desperate to get one. You can't have a girl as a goal in your life. You can't lean on her. Your goal should always come first. I just don't have a goal right now. That's the problem.

I do however know that when you're feeling sad and you want to talk to someone, you should do that. If you would suppress that desire things would turn out even worse. You can't ignore basic human needs.

Do you have a conflict? A doubt which you don't know the answer for? Try this:

- Advise yourself like you would advise a friend.  If you can easily advise your friend, why not take the same advice to yourself?

If you're still not sure, just admit you're not sure and just make a choice.

Peace

Re: Desires; Eliminate all desires, or just keep a balance?
« Reply #21 on: January 10, 2014, 03:43:34 AM »
Its better to find the answers for all these kind of questions in oneself.

Skanzi

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    • Doing Vipassana, Anapana and Ashtanga yoga
Re: Desires; Eliminate all desires, or just keep a balance?
« Reply #22 on: January 12, 2014, 10:58:22 PM »
Its better to find the answers for all these kind of questions in oneself.

Why may I ask?

I mean, we all need teachers in life, we all need someone or something to learn from to grow wiser and stronger. I can figure out an own answer to my questions, i can think of something, but they usually don't satisfy me enough.

That may be a problem of me actually, that i don't trust my own ability to make choices enough. And that causes me to seek answers from others in order to make me feel comfortable. In most cases, i want someone to confirm that what i already suspected instead of getting an answer to something i absolutely didn't know. Because usually i already knew it, but I wanted someone else to confirm it so i could be sure. So i can say to myself: "Aah... It's so nice that i don't have to doubt that belief anymore and that i can just fully trust it. It's a big weight of my shoulders"

I'm just scared of following a false belief because that could bring me down. That's why i want other people to confirm what i think.

So, is it a bad thing that i seek so much answers from other people? Should i trust my own ability to make decisions and choices more?

The reason i want to know so much, is because i have both ADD and autism. My type of ADD causes my anterior cingulate gyrus in my brain to be overactive, which is also active when trying to solve a riddle. Basically i just think and think and think because of that, and my autism builds on top of that because people who are autistic are always very objective and try to go by theory, not belief. Usually i find it extremely difficult to just have trust in something without having the satisfying objective theory to underpin it. I'm just not a person of faith and belief, not subjective at all.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2014, 11:08:26 PM by Skanzi »
Do you have a conflict? A doubt which you don't know the answer for? Try this:

- Advise yourself like you would advise a friend.  If you can easily advise your friend, why not take the same advice to yourself?

If you're still not sure, just admit you're not sure and just make a choice.

Peace

Renze

  • Member
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Re: Desires; Eliminate all desires, or just keep a balance?
« Reply #23 on: January 13, 2014, 09:38:33 AM »
Its better to find the answers for all these kind of questions in oneself.
I'm just scared of following a false belief because that could bring me down. That's why i want other people to confirm what i think.

There's good reason to be cautious, Skanzi. Too many people just follow a teacher without questioning and without even reading up on what the hell it is they're doing. There's growing criticism of Buddhism in the West. When I first heard about this, I was full of anger and disbelief. But reading into it, being open-minded of the reasoning of other people, a lot of it started making sense to me. I'm trying to bring some of that criticism here on this forum, because I genuinely think it's the most important thing to discuss right now.

Re: Desires; Eliminate all desires, or just keep a balance?
« Reply #24 on: January 13, 2014, 04:25:27 PM »
skanzi,

Coating one of my real life experiences feels better here.

When i wanted to go to a place which is new to me i used to ask for directions form someone on the road and start walking, but soon I used to doubt the directions given and ask another person. Then walk some more then ask again.
This used to happen because i wanted always to walk on the right path.

But now I ask and start walking not worrying of the path being right or wrong. I only ask again if i forget the path.
only thing i can do wrong is when i go hit a bus or something. Getting lost is ok. Eventually i will realize i have lost track and ask again and reach my destination. So i no more worry if the path is right or wrong every moment because it doest really matter anymore. I know i will reach the destination at sometime so worrying is pointless.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2014, 04:27:46 PM by siddharthgode »

 

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