Author Topic: How do you "accept" something, technically?  (Read 5724 times)

John Bruzi

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How do you "accept" something, technically?
« on: April 30, 2014, 05:21:48 PM »
After about a year of realizing that I am incompetent in confronting people (road rage, street bullying, abuse from my father) and "accepting" the fact, I still face terrible feelings (resistance) when at the verge of a confrontation.

I have very negative habits of mind when it comes to confronting people. When driving, it only takes a threatening gesture or move from another person to terrify me and put my heart on a course of 5  to 10 heart beats every second, which has made me very anti-social. Over time I have come to realize that the root of this problem lies in my past (childhood) experiences as I have been bullied, humiliated and undermined more times than I can remember.

I know that one can make the suffering much easier by accepting their weaknesses and fears before facing them, but so far it hasn't done me any good. I want to know how I can profoundly "accept" something so humiliating, because it is easy to talk to myself about it and say "okay, this is me, I have to accept it before I can change it", but when faced with the horrible emotion itself (during a confrontation) the emotion only lasts so long, with nothing but despair and shame left afterwards. This means I can never grasp the original emotion and face it, not without being overwhelmed by it in an uncontrolled situation.

I want to be able to induce the emotion and face it in its pure, unadulterated form. Only then can I profoundly accept it and face it. Is there any form of meditation that focuses on fear induction?

Please guys, do help me if you think you can. I have deep trust in meditation but I don't know how to work it out.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2014, 05:55:57 PM by John Bruzi »

Quardamon

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Re: How do you "accept" something, technically?
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2014, 08:15:44 PM »
Hello John Bruzi,

I am glad to hear form you again.

This time you tell a few more details of what you are going through in the last year.

I want to start with a remark on the course of action that you want to take. And then we will see what follows. What I start with may sound very uninteresting to you.
I want to be able to induce the emotion and face it in its pure, unadulterated form. Only then can I profoundly accept it and face it.
So, you want to go on the quest for the original emotion.
And you are convinced that you need to go on that quest.

For over fifty years, that has been the conviction in psychoanalysis: That one needs to go to the origin in childhood and discover what went on there.
Also the conviction was, that once the discovery was done, the rest was relatively simple.
(And the idea was, that there was one single event or one single theme that was the origin of the problem.)

I simply disagree with you that you need to go on that quest. 

The good news is, that what you say here is then not really a problem:
This means I can never grasp the original emotion and face it, not without being overwhelmed by it in an uncontrolled situation.

Sigh. I am not sure that you can follow what I mean.

You already mentioned road rage, shame, despair. And you mention being overwhelmed. So - there is no shortage of discoveries. You discovered a lot.

Ehm   . . .    I am not going to be nice or reassuring. You also discovered, that there is a lot more, that you cannot grasp. So you also discovered that there is a limit to what you can do.
That is a beautiful discovery.

If fact I want to encourage you to start where you are now. And not start with your childhood. Not start with the fear. They are there anyway. You will meet with them if you start with your own home, your own body.      Hmm. Maybe I should sit now myself, and see if it is not me who is afraid.


You ask:
"Is there any form of meditation that focuses on fear induction?"
That is very courageous.
But I wonder what kind of person you would be once you had gone through such a thing. The last thing that I would want is help you to become the kind of hero that some call a tyrant.
Maybe it would help you to do something to comfort people. Anything. Like working in the garden for elderly or disabled people who cannot do such a thing themselves any more. Sorry to sound like a preacher. [edit:    . . .    Oh oh. I will post this. And then I will search for my cushion.]
You do speak of a deep trust that you have in meditation. That is a great resource, and a good basis if you want to confront fear in meditation.

There might be a lot more to say, but I stop now.

Masauwu

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Re: How do you "accept" something, technically?
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2014, 09:33:17 PM »
After about a year of realizing that I am incompetent in confronting people (road rage, street bullying, abuse from my father) and "accepting" the fact, I still face terrible feelings (resistance) when at the verge of a confrontation.

I have very negative habits of mind when it comes to confronting people. When driving, it only takes a threatening gesture or move from another person to terrify me and put my heart on a course of 5  to 10 heart beats every second, which has made me very anti-social. Over time I have come to realize that the root of this problem lies in my past (childhood) experiences as I have been bullied, humiliated and undermined more times than I can remember.
Hi John,

    While i cannot offer you a solution, similarities between our problems (anger issues rooted in past experiences) made me offer a few thoughts. I think meditation can indeed help in the long run if you do it consistently, but trying to apply it as medicine to fix such problem has flaws: a) it makes the meditation driven by expectation which hinders progress a lot; b) you need a very long persistent and thorough practice to get the results you want. While meditation will slowly but surely improve your everyday experience on many levels, making it goal-oriented for therapeutic reasons is like trying to put out a fire with steam - you will get there eventually, but you would get there a lot easier and faster using water. From what i hear, CBT is a very good tool that can focus on dealing with specific problems like the ones you described.
The summer river:
although there is a bridge, my horse
goes through the water.

John Bruzi

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Re: How do you "accept" something, technically?
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2014, 06:46:31 AM »
Thank you all!

But Quardamon, do you question the fact that being exposed to fear in a controlled environment (in a gradual way) can definitely help overcome said fear? Why else does the military make men hard and releases a huge part of their fear of confrontation? Why else would a boxer like Geoff Thompson, who like myself has been scared and shook for most of his early days (he was even sexually abused!), become stronger (braver) by exposing himself to fighting and accumulate more and more "scary" experiences to the extent where he becomes a feared fighter himself? Isn't this how the self evolves?

If you think there is a more intelligent way of overcoming fear, please name it. You say I need to start from where I am now, not from my childhood and not from the emotion of fear. Please tell me how that can be implemented.

I mean, I am in a very difficult position; A big brother, an elder son and a university student who can't even fight back or swear back and has to swallow insults. Imagine what would happen if my family or friends (with whom I have a bad relationship anyway) find out about this? It would be the end of my social ego as I know it. This is why I am prepared to pack and leave in order not to be exposed as well as build myself from scratch without the burden of family and social ego on my shoulders.

And all this is because of a childhood. How can I ignore that childhood and start from where I am now? I have no point of balance to begin with. How can meditation help me?

John Bruzi

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Re: How do you "accept" something, technically?
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2014, 06:47:45 AM »
Masauwu, but CBT is against everything meditation stands for, isn't it?

Tobin

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Re: How do you "accept" something, technically?
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2014, 08:46:09 AM »
I recently listened to a number of Shinzen Young's dharma talks and he mentioned that we tend to exacerbate issues by not being mindful and present while (and before) they occur. He says that if we have problem 'A', 'B', and 'C' each with an emotional weighting of 10, that what we tend to perceive is the product of the 3, or 1000, when in reality, it should only be the sum, which is 30.

I think the more you train yourself to be mindfully present in daily life, the easier it will be to catch the rising of your fear and anxiety before they escalate to a problematic state. Don't expect this to be easy, but if you can remain present and mindful just as your thoughts begin to grip you, you will hopefully be able to rationally talk yourself out of escalation. And each time you do this, you'll be training your mind to break the patterns that you've spent your whole life building.

This is something all of us struggle with and I wish you the best on your journey.

Regards,
Tobin
Regards,
Tobin

Re: How do you "accept" something, technically?
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2014, 12:28:29 PM »
Hi john,

First you have to make a strong determination of not to hurt yourself no matter what... Now this has to be at your surface mind all the time... As soon as your mind digs something bad from past you have tell yourself wow wow wait mind I don't want to get hurt... Like this solve your past and then work on present..
Do this million times if needed... Sooner or later it will become habitual.

Masauwu

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Re: How do you "accept" something, technically?
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2014, 02:48:09 PM »
Masauwu, but CBT is against everything meditation stands for, isn't it?
Not at all, there's even cooperation between them as seen in MBCT.

I think the more you train yourself to be mindfully present in daily life, the easier it will be to catch the rising of your fear and anxiety before they escalate to a problematic state. Don't expect this to be easy, but if you can remain present and mindful just as your thoughts begin to grip you, you will hopefully be able to rationally talk yourself out of escalation. And each time you do this, you'll be training your mind to break the patterns that you've spent your whole life building.
This advice is priceless. In life situations that are usually charged with anxiety you can apply your regular meditation instructions, keeping focus on the breath, noting distracting feelings and thoughts as they arise and returning to the breath. As you extend mindfulness from the meditation sitting into your daily life it becomes easier to cope with whatever happens; resting attention on the breath keeps most of the random mental chatter from escalating and maintaining mindfulness allows you to see stressful feelings and thoughts as impermanent external objects, slowly eroding their impact on your mental state.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2014, 03:03:25 PM by Masauwu »
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Matthew

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Re: How do you "accept" something, technically?
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2014, 06:26:59 PM »
Hi John,

From personal experience I can say that trying to induce emotions does not honour those emotions or allow their free-flow in the way I suspect you are seeking to release yourself from them. What has worked for me is to work constantly in establishing calm concentration practice. Grounding the mind in this the emotional states that bind you will be shown greater and greater acceptance and clarity, and as you ground yourself they will reveal themselves and their roots as and when your mind is stable, accepting and ready to deal with them.

Kind regards,

Matthew
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Dharmic Tui

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Re: How do you "accept" something, technically?
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2014, 07:09:43 PM »
And all this is because of a childhood. How can I ignore that childhood and start from where I am now?
Because although your past conditions who you are today, it is the past. Genetically you are the same person you were when you were 5, 10, 15, 20 years old, but mentally and emotionally you are someone different now. You can't "fix" the past, it's an event that has already transpired, you're only able to effect the here and now and how you deal with it.

Your past can be like shit on your boot, you can trample it round the place with you, or you can wipe it on the mat and leave it at the door. Others here have provided some wise advise to help get you there.

Matthew

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Re: How do you "accept" something, technically?
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2014, 09:15:36 PM »
Your past can be like shit on your boot, you can trample it round the place with you, or you can wipe it on the mat and leave it at the door.

There is a vast difference between dragging your past mistakes/regrets around with you and recovering from childhood trauma. Childhood trauma induces differences in neurotransmitter activity, cortisol and adrenal systems, and even changes in brain structure, for example reduced size of amygdala and the corpus collosum.

Childhood trauma can be recovered from but it is far more complex than "leaving it at the door".
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Dharmic Tui

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Re: How do you "accept" something, technically?
« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2014, 04:10:32 AM »
So does addressing the past repair such physiological damage? I wouldn't think so.

Matthew

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Re: How do you "accept" something, technically?
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2014, 05:23:52 AM »
So does addressing the past repair such physiological damage? I wouldn't think so.

Yes it can. Certain things won't return fully to normal but brain plasticity allows those to be worked around, especially if the neurotransmitter and endocrine systems can be brought back to normal ranges.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2014, 05:26:06 AM by Matthew »
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Quardamon

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Re: How do you "accept" something, technically?
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2014, 06:25:17 AM »
At this moment in time, I will just give a shot reaction to this:
But Quardamon, do you question the fact that being exposed to fear in a controlled environment (in a gradual way) can definitely help overcome said fear?

I do not question that fact.
I just try to build in more control into this 'controlled environment'. So I am glad that others kick in and give their view. Preperation is an important part of building a controlled environment.

I need to go to my work now.

Cheers.

something

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Re: How do you "accept" something, technically?
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2014, 11:10:29 AM »
Maybe there is a differance between physiological and psychological past. As Matthew said, I also believe that it is possible for the brain to calm the whole system down again, recover and restructure itself. I guess the thing with the past is often missundestood: many people think that you should look on certain things, which (maybe) happened to your life and that you have to go back into that time. I think there is a failure in this view: sublinimal it indicates the motivation to get rid of your problems, to get rid of the "real" past, which is happening now to you. If you want to get through a childhood trauma, you dont have to seek for it - it is always already there. To seek for it, proper means, that you are are turning away from it and following a construct of thougts, which tell you that you should do this to overcome the trauma, which actually just wants to prevent you to see the pain relating to the trauma by this "structure".

And I also think that psychoanalysis is pretty often missundestood in this context (like Quardamon wrote):
the intention of pyschoanalysis is to get out of these unconcious patterns of thinking, which you are identified with, and which prevent you from unconscious contents or the unconscious (where also the trauma or pain is placed). It is just the theoretical background, that the problems or traumata, you have, reveal to the past (and in many cases to your parents), which I guess is evident. But they dont say that you have to go back in the past, to go through them. The most importent aspect in psychoanalysis is, as I understand it, that the problems show up in the the relationship to the therapist (the past is present) and that you can go with the therapist through them - talking about things of the past can be apart of it, but doesnt have to.

(Sorry for bad English ;))
« Last Edit: May 02, 2014, 11:14:55 AM by something »

Quardamon

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Re: How do you "accept" something, technically?
« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2014, 12:31:38 PM »
Thank you for mentioning more.

I have no point of balance to begin with.
That is a very adequate reaction. I will take some time and meditate to digest that.

It is obvious, that if you are the one who is bullied, it will bring a certain balance if you get strong and fast. That would bring an equilibrium in forces.

What I hope for you is that you can train the power and the skill to give a safe place to the part of you that is not even interested in fighting. You once said of yourself here on the forum: "I am quite a sentimental person and enjoy music, art, spirituality and that sort of stuff".

So, with your remark that you have no point of balance to start with, you indicate where you are now. I get water in my eyes when I try to sense into that. It feels like that is where strength and sensitivity both are present. To be clear: I do not feel weak with this water in my eyes - I feel strong and careful. Careful to name exactly what is going on. Careful to keep looking.
To keep looking is a skill that is trained in meditation.

OK. I will shut up now, and sit on my cushion for a while.

Quardamon

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Re: How do you "accept" something, technically?
« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2014, 06:05:24 PM »
OK. I just read a small part in a book - a book by a war veteran who became a zen monk. Claude Anshin Thomas. In the part I read, he mentions peace workers in a war zone. He observes that these workers do not ask: "How can we help?", but have their own agendas, their own idea of what peace should be,    . . .   
And he continues:
"    . . .    and they tried to impose them [their own idea of peace - Q.] on the situation. This is not peace work but, rather, peace imperialism. In my experience this is another form of war. I realized that the activists really wanted peace; the were dedicating their lives to it. But they had no idea what peace was, only their own theoretical concepts, and they did not have any tools to help them learn. They did not know how to breathe. [Remember, he is a Zen monk - Q.] No one had ever invited them to look at their own suffering, and therefore their peace activism became an extension of their suffering."
"For me it was important to speak simply and authentically with people in this war zone and to realize there is nothing I can do to stop this war or any other. I can only stop the war that is within me and help others to look inside themselves."
End of quote.

So. I will be a bit more modest.
You asked in your first post in this thread:
Is there any form of meditation that focuses on fear induction?
The simple answer is: Yes, there is. Search the internet on Tsultrim Allione and her book Feeding Your Demons.


Dharmic Tui

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Re: How do you "accept" something, technically?
« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2014, 09:01:28 PM »

Yes it can. Certain things won't return fully to normal but brain plasticity allows those to be worked around, especially if the neurotransmitter and endocrine systems can be brought back to normal ranges.
I'm confused as to how engaging in memories of past traumas is more beneficial to recovery than getting some mental distance from them. Im close with several people who have been subjected to trauma (abuse) as children and the ones who spend time engaging with their memories seem significantly worse off than those who don't.

Matthew

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Re: How do you "accept" something, technically?
« Reply #18 on: May 02, 2014, 10:03:55 PM »
DT,

"Sati" or Mindfulness is synonymous with "remembering".

Unprocessed childhood trauma is a strong conditioning factor. If left in the subconscious or repressed it stands in the way of developing Sati. When the right conditions of stable mind and concentration are developed (in a relaxed, not forced manner) it allows memories to surface into the conscious mind ready to be emotionally processed.

The emotional processing of such memories that the child was incapable of (hence their repression or dissociation) can then take place in the stable adult mind. This way the individual is freed from the conditioning of those memories for good. Left suppressed or dissociated they will always condition the individual and stand in the way of real freedom.

A simple example from experience: I always had a phobia of spiders. I recalled an incident that happened when I was approximately ten or eleven months old. It was a spring morning and I was in the large pram in the back garden of the house where we lived until I was eight years old. I remember the spring sunshine and looking up at the back wall of the house from inside the pram.

Two of my brothers came up to the sides of the pram and one of them placed a large spider on me. I remember writhing around as it crawled on me and I remember my brothers laughing. When I had recalled all of this, my horror and fear, I no longer suffered a phobia. It was gone completely.

A friend kept Tarantula spiders at the time and whenever I visited I had to call in advance to be sure they were in their tanks (one could remove the lid). I would call before I rang the bell to ask if they were secured and had bricks on top of the tanks. After remembering this trauma (one of the milder ones from my childhood) I went to my friends house, walked into the living room, took the lid off the tank and let the tarantula climb onto my hand and up my arm, played with it for a while and then put it back in it's home.

This is the power of remembering and emotionally processing past trauma.

Your friends who are "significantly worse off" may either have not fully processed the trauma or have deeper layers of trauma that stand in the way of freedom and happiness. Lingering or staying in the memories will make them become a burden. Fully inhabiting them, recalling the unprocessed emotional content and processing it does the opposite. Many people find it hard to fully face trauma - they often lack the stability and peace of mind to do so, however this can be developed through good Mindfulness practice.

Matthew

PS

Back to the original issue:

John,

This is the key for you I suspect:

Quote
The emotional processing of such memories that the child was incapable of (hence their repression or dissociation) can then take place in the stable adult mind. This way the individual is freed from the conditioning of those memories for good. Left suppressed or dissociated they will always condition the individual and stand in the way of real freedom.

It's all about establishing calm/Shamatha and concentration(Samadhi) which will free space in your mind to face and process the unprocessed emotional content of the trauma. Sometimes the process can be painful but also deeply soothing.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2014, 11:50:14 PM by Matthew »
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Talking Ape

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Re: How do you "accept" something, technically?
« Reply #19 on: May 05, 2014, 05:19:11 AM »
John--Your post suggests that you want something that you think you don't have, i.e., the ability to a respond in a certain way to what's happening. Also, you think "fear induction" will help you. You also seem to be concerned about a "social ego" and "swallowing insults," etc. I guess that means you worry what other people think.

Of course, in addition to general mindfulness and meditation, there's always psychiatric counseling, to which others have alluded. Meanwhile, it may help to remember that everyone, including you, is just believing and acting on their thoughts from moment to moment. Obviously, we can't control what anyone else thinks. We can't even control the thoughts that arise in our own minds. But it's possible to better understand the beliefs you have about a "you" that lead you to think and act in certain ways. Once you start pinpointing what those beliefs are, you're better able to appreciate the suffering they cause. You can then start to effectively question whether the beliefs you have about yourself and other people are true (hint--often they're not).

If that interests you, search the web for Byron Katie and her "four questions." Also, if you're facing actual physical threats or have self-defense concerns you might want to look into Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and "Gracie Combatives" in particular. The Gracie approach emphasizes intelligent avoidance, nonviolence, and confidence building.

contentsoul

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THE BEST MEDITATION PRACTICE
« Reply #20 on: May 19, 2014, 02:54:58 AM »
Let go of the idea/egoic concept that you must confront people in a certain manner like there is a standard criteria that must be met. You can do this by just seeing/observing your feelings and consequent thoughts the next time you have to confront someone. After doing so, don't drag the mind (whose one of the unskilful functions is to run sniffing after things like a dog anyway) to judging the thoughts and your condition at that time as a whole. Only you will realize what happens after you keep doing this. I will only guarantee that you'll laugh at this problem later once the realization comes.

John Bruzi

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Re: How do you "accept" something, technically?
« Reply #21 on: July 26, 2014, 03:08:47 PM »
Thank you all. Sorry for the delay.

Matthew. Your "solution" makes much sense to me and it is the one I always think of, I mean processing past trauma with mindfulness (and yet some seem to disagree, as if past trauma can just go away if left alone). My problem, however, isn't simple enough to be classed as a phobia (of, say, spiders, heights...whatever); it is a problem of identity and ego, of the very thing I am made from. I have been "modeled" this way for over two decades thanks to my environment, and change sounds like a HUGE enterprise today!

John Bruzi

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Re: How do you "accept" something, technically?
« Reply #22 on: July 26, 2014, 03:09:52 PM »
Quardamon. You make an interesting point:

"What I hope for you is that you can train the power and the skill to give a safe place to the part of you that is not even interested in fighting. You once said of yourself here on the forum: "I am quite a sentimental person and enjoy music, art, spirituality and that sort of stuff". "

Why do you think that would help me though? To be honest with you, that part of me is strong indeed, but doesn't survive beyond my private, spiritual moments (which I enjoy). As soon as I am outside my safe zone, everything "enjoyable" and "good" about me betrays me in a nasty way, and, well, there I am!

This is exactly what I hate about myself. Sometimes I would think that my problem would be addressed if I were to be exposed, with some help from teachers, masters and friends, to extreme situations and social violence, that I would actually overcome my weakness and adapt (typical way of confronting fear). This, however, would take friends and teachers, something which I don't have, in part because I actually enjoy loneliness but in whole because I avoid social relationships and actually need to push a few people away to stay that way, because I don't want to be exposed to anyone.

To go it alone sounds more difficult, but is the only choice I have. This is why I will return to meditation although the "immediate" effects of the practice aren't too enjoyable. Everything about me simply doubles; my fear, anxiety, embarrassment, and shyness (well, not sure shyness is the word, but I get so annoyingly over-reactive when I'm watching TV, movies, all that).

All in all I have come to the conclusion that my childhood (psychological) growth has been inhibited by a number of factors, including a terrible father, bad school environment, bullying, not having fun like I should have. A child still lives within me that, in extreme cases, is scared like a child, sometimes embraced like a child and God knows what would happen if it went outside and faced the world like it should.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2014, 05:50:18 PM by John Bruzi »

Quardamon

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Re: How do you "accept" something, technically?
« Reply #23 on: July 28, 2014, 10:12:52 PM »
Let me give a short exposé before I answer your question.

There is the situation, that an individual that progresses on the path and has a strong set of resources: He can concentrate well, relax well, has a healthy body, can study, etc.
There is a different situation, that an individual can foresee that the difficulties ahead on the path are very strong, in comparison to one's own skills and resources.

In the first case, it is healthy to accept the hindrances and quietly and patiently go on.
In the latter case, the thing to be accepted is not so much the hindrance itself. The thing to be accepted, is that there are things that we cannot do, and should not do.

Quardamon. You make an interesting point:
"What I hope for you is that you can train the power and the skill to give a safe place to the part of you that is not even interested in fighting. You once said of yourself here on the forum: "I am quite a sentimental person and enjoy music, art, spirituality and that sort of stuff". "
Why do you think that would help me though?
My concern is, that your will to be exposed to "extreme situations and social violence", is in itself a form of violence.
I am concerned about that, because I have the picture that you are used to the situation that if there is violence, you are the victim.    . . .    I also can imagine, that if there is violence, you would be a violent victor.
What I would hope for you, is that you can see the violence and still be in your own power. Like seeing a shed that burns down, when it is far too late to rescue anything. There is a kind of power and beauty in it.

It is beautiful that you can sit in meditation, even when your fear, anxiety, embarrassment, and shyness double. That is a training in concentration and power. Maybe also a training in surrender to the situation - that could be. (Accepting a situation works magical - I do not know how.)
But the bow cannot always stand bent, lest it slackens or breaks.
To give a safe place and joy to an inner child certainly gives a greater versatility. A much broader vision.


You know something - you speak of "overcoming your weakness". I wonder how many skills you have that are in this so-called weakness. I mean: Maybe this word "weakness" is a judgement. Someone who stands being bullied is strong, but is called "weak".
If a girl has to defend herself against six boys at the same time, she is called "weak". But being called so is part of the bullying. In fact none of the six "strong boys" would dare to change places with her.

Well I will leave it at this. Will sit on my cushion now, and go to sleep.

 

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