Author Topic: Truth Hurts  (Read 3533 times)

tlandasedin

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Truth Hurts
« on: March 18, 2016, 10:58:20 PM »
Hi, ever since junior high I've been VERY introverted and keep to myself. I've always thought of myself as an introvert and have never looked into why. I feel very comfortable alone, but around other people, I can rarely ever make connections, so I just assumed I was different and never thought about expanding my horizons. I started doing Vipassana every day a few weeks ago due to my perception of life being extremely dull. I have noticed differences in my confidence and self worth especially when alone. However, the other day, I went to a free meditation class which had about seven people. As we were stretching before the session, everyone was talking, having fun, joking around, and overall just flowing very easily. It was like a beautiful dance. I tried to add to the conversation and think of witty and sarcastic remarks, but I just felt overwhelmed and frozen with no connection at all to anyone there. In the moment I realized that the reason I feel so comfortable alone is because I'm deathly afraid around other people.

I'm so afraid to hurt my ego and just be comfortable in my own skin. I've always known that I hate talking to people, but I've never realized that it was because I'm so rigid and afraid of insecurity. I've spent my whole life avoiding other people while retreating to the comfort zone of my thoughts and daydreams. It is as if meditation has glaringly allowed me to see the naked truth. My ego was drowning me and keeping me from expanding. Coming this understanding was very shocking to me. I spent the whole day thinking about it. I'm planning to force myself to approach and talk to random people so I can break out of my shell. Is this normal for meditation? I've always thought that meditation is about being blissful. Now I see also it as a tool to discover the ugly truth about yourself.

mdr

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Re: Truth Hurts
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2016, 08:03:23 AM »
Hi, ever since junior high I've been VERY introverted and keep to myself. I've always thought of myself as an introvert and have never looked into why. I feel very comfortable alone, but around other people, I can rarely ever make connections, so I just assumed I was different and never thought about expanding my horizons. I started doing Vipassana every day a few weeks ago due to my perception of life being extremely dull. I have noticed differences in my confidence and self worth especially when alone. However, the other day, I went to a free meditation class which had about seven people. As we were stretching before the session, everyone was talking, having fun, joking around, and overall just flowing very easily. It was like a beautiful dance. I tried to add to the conversation and think of witty and sarcastic remarks, but I just felt overwhelmed and frozen with no connection at all to anyone there. In the moment I realized that the reason I feel so comfortable alone is because I'm deathly afraid around other people.

I'm so afraid to hurt my ego and just be comfortable in my own skin. I've always known that I hate talking to people, but I've never realized that it was because I'm so rigid and afraid of insecurity. I've spent my whole life avoiding other people while retreating to the comfort zone of my thoughts and daydreams. It is as if meditation has glaringly allowed me to see the naked truth. My ego was drowning me and keeping me from expanding. Coming this understanding was very shocking to me. I spent the whole day thinking about it. I'm planning to force myself to approach and talk to random people so I can break out of my shell. Is this normal for meditation? I've always thought that meditation is about being blissful. Now I see also it as a tool to discover the ugly truth about yourself.

Tlandasedin... Goodness. Wiser and more experienced guys here will tell you (i hope) what is it exactly you are going through, but from common sense perspective:

1. there is no such thing as "truth". Since Socrates, philosophers are trying to arrive to a single definition of "truth", to no avail.
2. Vipassana is about accepting reality as it is. So, the "reality" (as that's a questionable concept too, if speaking outside the discourse of meditation) is you see yourself as an "introvert". Accept it. It's neither good nor bad, it is what it is.

I'd be among those other people - the bubbling ones. Sometimes i hate myself for that. I per one admire people who can stand at the side with dignity, without making fools of themselves (like i often do in my view.) I am also working on accepting that, that i am like that, extroverted and chatty, and that if i am accepting other people as they are, i shouldn't be beating my own self either  :angel:
 

Btw, when did you start meditating? I think it takes a while to arrive to the "bliss"  ;) Something else, please search the forum, there's Matthew's posts on difference between western definition of Ego and the eastern one, i really think it could be of help to read it.

Metta,
R.

Matthew

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Re: Truth Hurts
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2016, 12:19:59 PM »
Is the truth ugly or beautiful .. or does it not need descriptors? Seeing the truth allows you to make changes to your way of being .. and that changes the truth .. in this sense there is no ugliness. Truth is what it is. Mindfulness/awareness is liberating from the bonds and knots you are tied in, or tie yourself in - these all come from conditioned existence, the way you were raised, educated, your early life experiences. Yet transcending all the above is possible.

Meditation can be about bliss yet even this, if clung to, becomes "ugly"; manifesting as greed and craving for bliss which just feeds ego instead of seeing and cutting the roots of ego.

Meditation can be about "living in truthfulness" - and this, I am discovering, is what sets you free: not "The Truth" ... which is as flexible as a Barbie yoga teacher doll but "Living in truthfulness" .. being constantly present and aware of that which is happening in the inner and outer worlds, facing oneself and the world fearlessly, naked, exposed, without a mask, without a need to do or be anything except that which you naturally are: aware, awake, compassionate, loving, giving ...

You'll get there through practice. Things will quicken for you when you realise corporeally that meditation is not what you think it is.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

tlandasedin

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Re: Truth Hurts
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2016, 02:47:28 AM »
Mdr, I understand your points. I started a few weeks ago an hour each day. Yesterday i watched my breath for 30 minutes, then visualized for 30 min talking to super fine women. They are who I struggle talking to the most. At around the 45 minute mark i started getting really pleasant feelings in my body. At the 60 minute mark i bursted out laughing for 10 minutes straight. I felt like i was on drugs but with clear awareness which lasted all day. It was very nice but im remaining detached from the experience.

Matthew I think see what you mean too. So if i accept myself totally with no judgements then I set myself free. I like how you say living in truthfullness. I'm learning to be totally aware, transparent, and honest with myself.

Suited4Battle

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Re: Truth Hurts
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2016, 03:25:01 AM »
I can definitely relate to what you're feeling. I've always been an introvert and would have similar experiences of not feeling comfortable around other people a lot of the time, ESP in large groups. I do have several friends that I love and feel very comfortable spending time with. I always said that I love people but can only relate to just a very small % of the population. There's been so many times where I had casual friendships that fade bec of my non participation/effort in maintaining the relationship. I used to think that this was a character flaw or unhealthy. I would force myself to go to certain events just to "be social" and the majority of the time I would not enjoy myself and couldn't wait to get home so I could relax n be by myself.

I thought meditation and yoga, along with other avenues towards self improvement/actualization would "make me more social" or "more able to tolerate my work environment" or "less annoyed/angered by people I deem annoying/legitimate causes of anger". It has been the opposite for the most part.

Now I'm realizing that meditation has made me more aware of who I really am at this particular moment, right now. I used to think meditation would be a magic cure for things I thought were wrong with me. I thought it would facilitate a peaceful nature, make me become less irritable and angry.
Now I think it's helping me realize who I am with less judgement and labels. It's def creating space, a spacious awareness and instead of being blindly and completely consumed by certain thought patterns n emotions, I now feel less attached to these thoughts n emotions and I can acknowledge them without fully integrating and being consumed by them.
I'm becoming less judgemental of my thoughts n emotions, both positive and negative(this labelling is obv indicative that I still have a long way to go n that's fine).

I think it's interesting that the OP mentions starting to notice changes in his confidence and self worth levels ESP when alone. But then going to a group meditation class made him feel bad bec he didn't feel he vibed with the other members(I'd be willing to bet that u felt that a lot more than the other ppl did ESP bec u made some witty comments/put forth effort) and realized he liked being alone bec he was so afraid/insecure to be around ppl. I'm not sure forcing yourself to be more social is the best solution, although it may be, but for me when I noticed similar patterns n tried to force myself to be social, it usually didn't work out well. I think it's good to realize u naturally tend to be less social and if its close then maybe go with the less comfortable/safe decision of socializing but if u really don't then just be with and honor that.

I thought meditation would make me more tolerable of my circumstances and now I think it's making me more aware of what circumstances I'm comfortable in and is giving me confidence to trust that and to trust the universe that if I put forth a good effort with good intentions n stay true to myself, things will be ok. 

I listen to dharma talks n I really love when the monks/teachers say how they have issues of anger, doubt, thinking too much, etc bec it makes me feel better about my own challenges and that it's very normal. One monk was talking about an intense experience at a retreat where he was outside of the retreat center, it was freezing n everyone inside seemed to be enjoying a talk but he was extremely irritated n angered n just couldn't be around other ppl at that moment, despite it being freezing outside, he even said he imagined a missile destroying the entire center!

When someone asked Ajahn Brahm how they could maintain equanimity in such a chaotic modern world, he said something to the affect of, "I don't know, that's why I became a monk."



« Last Edit: March 20, 2016, 04:18:54 AM by Suited4Battle »

tlandasedin

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Re: Truth Hurts
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2016, 04:17:01 AM »
Suited thank you for sharing! Fun read. I feel exactly how you described. I do have close friends who i can talk to for hours, but Im just so closed off to strangers.  I am comfortable alone but I've realized that my comfort zone is actually a self made prison. I say this because I do want to connect with people and be able to express myself 100 percent in any social situation, but I'm subconciously so afraid to because I care what people think. The only way to breakthrough I feel is to face my fears head on while at the same time allowing myself to feel totally afraid in social situations.

mdr

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Re: Truth Hurts
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2016, 06:12:04 AM »
Mdr, I understand your points. I started a few weeks ago an hour each day. Yesterday i watched my breath for 30 minutes, then visualized for 30 min talking to super fine women. They are who I struggle talking to the most. At around the 45 minute mark i started getting really pleasant feelings in my body. At the 60 minute mark i bursted out laughing for 10 minutes straight. I felt like i was on drugs but with clear awareness which lasted all day. It was very nice but im remaining detached from the experience.

Matthew I think see what you mean too. So if i accept myself totally with no judgements then I set myself free. I like how you say living in truthfullness. I'm learning to be totally aware, transparent, and honest with myself.

Tlandesedin, thank you for sharing your experience. In a good way, i am amazed at how very similar (identical) is the ego tripping, no matter the starting point/ premise  ;D Once again, periodically, i am going through the same agony because of my own basic nature which seems to be very pushy, among other things  :'( I really, but really always wanted to be that calm, dignified person, who at the side waits for the any given situation to resolve itself without mine jumping in and starting to manipulate it. Alas, it doesn't happen. It's like some kind of compulsion. Ten days ago, i had heart attack. It happened at a friend's BDay. She drove me to ER. There was a huge queue. Obviously, no one goes to ER because it's a fun thing to do. I bet other people there had very serious symptoms too. No one tried to jump the queue. Except me, of course. First i sat there, like everyone else. But then (again, it's like a compulsion) i stood up and announced: I am dying. Would you mind letting me go first? Of course they did. I was dying for real, my vital functions stopped couple of minutes after that. But i wasn't the only one. I seriously felt my higher  self being totally ashamed of what i am doing... :'(
What i mean is, given that we met on the path, we started at the same point, no matter whether that point is extroverted/ introverted or whatsoever. Whatever it is, it made us sit and meditate and that's what matters  :-*

Matthew

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Re: Truth Hurts
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2016, 08:03:28 PM »
...
Matthew I think see what you mean too. So if i accept myself totally with no judgements then I set myself free. I like how you say living in truthfullness. I'm learning to be totally aware, transparent, and honest with myself.

Yes .. however, look at the difference between Buddhist concept of ego and Western psychological concept. as in here:

Quote from: Matthew
One of the things that may be very confusing for you is that the Buddhist ego is a totally different beast to the ego of western psychological theories. I know not many people stick strictly to Freud's schema of Ego, Super-ego and Id these days but a lot of it is still around those core ideas.

In Buddhism ego encompasses subconscious and conscious processes. The five Skandhas (heaps of habits) make up the ego, the false self identified both consciously and subconsciously as "I, me and mine".

It's very different to any concept of ego in Western psychology as far as I know.


So you have a deep rabbit-hole of habit to delve into ...
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

tlandasedin

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Re: Truth Hurts
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2016, 06:28:19 AM »
Mdr, Holy crap how has recovery been? Honestly I can understand the compulsion because it's a means of survival... I would have panicked in your situation if I had to wait. Agreed it's interesting how different yet similar our issues are. I'm so glad I came across meditation. Before discovering it I was walking a depressing, dull and lonely path. I used cannabis daily for years to escape my thoughts and emotions, but that made things so much worse. However, I quit a couple months ago because I was so sick of escaping my problems just to have them reappear a couple hours later. I feel so much more alive since starting meditation, but I can feel my old self wanting me to relapse because it's so familiar and habitual. Anyways I'm just rambling now.

Matthew thanks for the distinction between the two. So ego is identification or attachment to any of these five Skhandas? This is a very deep subject that I'll have to look more into. Dr. Joe Dispenza says that we are no body, no one, no thing, in no place, and in no time . We are just pure awareness. Other people I've come across say that we are all manifestations of the same source consciousness, so we are in essence one. I'm curious to what you think about that.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2016, 06:41:42 AM by tlandasedin »

mdr

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Re: Truth Hurts
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2016, 03:31:40 PM »
Mdr, Holy crap how has recovery been?

Thank you, tlandasedin  :) I am fine, except that the meds make me very sleepy  ::)

Honestly I can understand the compulsion because it's a means of survival... I would have panicked in your situation if I had to wait. Agreed it's interesting how different yet similar our issues are. I'm so glad I came across meditation. Before discovering it I was walking a depressing, dull and lonely path. I used cannabis daily for years to escape my thoughts and emotions, but that made things so much worse. However, I quit a couple months ago because I was so sick of escaping my problems just to have them reappear a couple hours later. I feel so much more alive since starting meditation, but I can feel my old self wanting me to relapse because it's so familiar and habitual. Anyways I'm just rambling now.

I am so glad you did! I'm rooting for you & sending Metta  :)

Matthew

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Re: Truth Hurts
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2016, 11:41:03 AM »
mdr, I missed your close encounter related above and hope you are recovering into wellness x
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Cachina

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Re: Truth Hurts
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2016, 12:35:40 PM »
Hi tlandasedin,
for many years I have been thinking that something is wrong with me because I am a quiet person and I need a lot of time on my own. This was before I became familiar with introverted and extroverted behaviour styles and their qualities. When I found out about this I was very reliefed: This is the world of the extroverts, their qualities are socially more accepted and/or simply more present (because they are so loud). This does not mean that it is wrong to be introverted, it can mean that we are not seen and appreciated enough. I have very extroverted friends and I think they like me because of my calm way of being. As they can hardly find tranquility inside themselves they look for it in the outside world. This world needs both, introverted and extroverted persons. We can well complement one another.

So practice brought you to the "base line" of your way of experiencing and behaving - to what is behind everything and in your case it is anxiety or fear. I would like to share my personal "unpleasant truth". It seems that I am discovering the "base" of my being. I am not so much struggling with fear (even though it is in dead an issue), for me it is mostly the feeling that life is so inconvenient. I find unpleasant aspects in every experience, even it is slidly unpleasant and lasts only for a short moment. Maybe this is an aspect of what the Buddha referred to as "dukkha"?

Despite my introversion I used to be quite an active person with a lot of hobbies and activities, who always had new plans. For quite a while I thought I could use meditation techniques to be in a constant blissful state. I thought meditation could be ultimatly satisfying, more than all my other activities. Very wrong. Some months ago I stopped running after that bliss and chasing new experiences, because I found it so exausting. Even though I haven't really turned into a "couch potatoe" I am much more passive now and I am struggling to accept that there is not as much going on in my life as before. 

I don't know yet what is happening to me at the moment. Am I trying to avoid life's inconveniences and am I hiding? Or is this the time of just watching and noticing my way of experiencing? And does this prevent me from having as many activities as I used to have? Should I force myself (as you wrote)? I feel I have been forcing and challenging myself enough. I don't know.

Frightful

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Re: Truth Hurts
« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2016, 08:14:05 PM »
@Cachina: "For quite a while I thought I could use meditation techniques to be in a constant blissful state. I thought meditation could be ultimatly satisfying, more than all my other activities. Very wrong.....I don't know yet what is happening to me at the moment. Am I trying to avoid life's inconveniences and am I hiding? Or is this the time of just watching and noticing my way of experiencing? And does this prevent me from having as many activities as I used to have? Should I force myself (as you wrote)? I feel I have been forcing and challenging myself enough. I don't know."

If you are like many of us being raised in a culture where you "must know" who you are and where you are going at all times, then "I don't know" comes as a bit of a shock to us.  But so far, the fact that meditation has brought me to a similar place is, even if a bit perplexing, nevertheless better than the falsehood that I "knew where I was going".

1) "Am I trying to avoid life's inconveniences and am I hiding?"

Possibly,.....but sometimes it seems we have to re-calibrate what it means to be engaged in life's inconveniences.  Sometimes the culture is telling you, in its own unhealthy way, that you *must* be involved or else you are a "bad" or cowardly person.  Occasionally such backing away is an indicator of this unhealthy messaging and is suggesting to you that you may need to resolve within yourself what your priorities are in the face of such inconveniences.

Thus, 2) "Or is this the time of just watching and noticing my way of experiencing?"  could be correct.  And since you are learning along with many of us that the main effect of meditation is not bliss, but awareness, perhaps more authentic priorities within you are finally coming to the fore whereas before they lay somewhat dormant or buried.  Which leads to

3)" And does this prevent me from having as many activities as I used to have? Should I force myself (as you wrote)?"

Activities can be good....but they can also provide distraction and be done simply because you may have learned somewhere "I must have as many activities as possible...".  I think if you stay with the mediation, the increased awareness that results may allow you to determine which activities are important priorities for you and among those that you keep, what level of involvement seems to provide you with the best emotional and spiritual health.  It may come slowly, but be more sure-footed as you approach that place in your life.

mdr

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Re: Truth Hurts
« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2016, 05:59:43 PM »
mdr, I missed your close encounter related above and hope you are recovering into wellness x

Thank you so much, Matthew!  Situations like mine could turn out to be a blessing in disguise, never ever have i meditated so diligently and conscientiously!  :D Thank you once again, my friend.   :)

 

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