Sunday, June 27, 2010

Ego Dilemma

  • I have a feverish temperature! :(   ...   :)
  • At some level of prosperity, overcoming life challenges becomes our main path to grow, and to feed our egos. A Zen mind, however, takes paths of least resistance, as water does, because it has nothing to prove. 
  • Today, after a few not-so-good hours, I embarked on a journey of least resistance :) Made a series of good decisions that fed into each other, I guess. At some point, I realized that something is different. Like driving in a dark alley with "NO ONE" around you, no one to prove your ego, to speed up or slow down, to show off, and then somehow nothing would matter much anymore. You just do what you do, even kind of lonely, so to speak.
  • To realize how deeply our ego is involved in our daily life, do the following simple experiment. Drive on a not-so-crowded highway at an exhilarating (but safe ;) speed, pass slower vehicles and enjoy your self. Then, at one point, once a slow car happens to be in front of you, resist the temptation and stay behind it, slow down. If you are like me, you feel something inside you just want to change lane and pass by the slow car ... 
  • I am not feeling well, bodily, seems that I am becoming sick a day before the big travel! :( .... :)
  • A quote from ``Women, Food, and God,'' by Geneen Roth:
`` Eighty hungry women are sitting in a circle with bowls of cold tomato vegetable soup; they are glowering at me, furious. It is lunchtime on the third day of the retreat. .... Although the retreat is going well and many people here have had life-changing insights, at this moment no one cares. ... They want to be left alone with their food, period. ... It is one thing to be conscious about food in the meditation hall, and another to be sitting in the dinning room, refraining from taking even one bite until the entire group has been served.'' (p. 1)
  •  This is my ego 'I' speaking, asking for attention, talking to people and giving insights, and getting more inflated by their appreciation of the depth I am offering, getting happy at peoples comments, citing my blog entries, yes, I am important, look at me, I am sick, give me your attention, feel bad so that I feel good, prolonging my hallucinations, here I go, having fever and having insights about life ... feeling threatened by inattention, hey you, why are you not listening to I, answering I, pitying I, loving I, why are you following your own lives, stop, stop, please, .... 
  • When everything is frightening, strange, around, the only way is to trust, that thing inside that will push you through, and those whom you know and the thing inside them.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

I am Ready

That was my thought when I woke up this morning :)

I am loosing my mind, part of it actually, the part that tells you what is right and wrong :)))) I have to listen carefully to my inner voice, or else ... lol

Friday, June 25, 2010

Winds of Change ?! ;)

I have had a number of new experiences since my last post, exactly when I went swimming after writing the post. I have explained it for a few people now, and I have realized that they are so unstructured and at the same time simplistic that there is little point in trying to write them here. OK, I will try :)
  1. I experienced the feeling that we can change our position from a victim to an observer, or even to a person of choice and responsibility.
  2. I experienced the feeling that once we let go of the mental attachments to a path, then a lot of new opportunities open up themselves for us.
  3. I experienced how important it is to have a passion in life, something to get up in the morning for the love of doing it.
Today, I felt something is changing. I went out  and chat with a friend (owner of a coffee shop) after quite some time, and then met different people. Ordinary contacts, but I felt that there could be a spirit beneath the most mundane interactions in life. I just feel something is changing ;)

Akira Kurosawa (It is wonderful to create; Supplements to Drunken Angel):
``A truly good movie is enjoyable, too. There is nothing complicated about it. A truly good movie is interesting and easy to understand."

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Random Comments :)

Two weeks ago, in street:
What do you think you are doing dumb motherfucker!!!!

Last week, at work:
You SUCK!!

Last night. at tennis:
Stop laughing, reza, you sound like a little hyena!


And, I go swim for while :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Simple Tests

Dr. Amen defines "ANTs (Automatic Negative Thoughts)" as products of brain's tendency to think negatively. I think of ANTs as "extreme" thoughts (as opposed to moderate thoughts). Examples:
  • I know "X" will happen to me,
  • I am sure I cannot do "Y",
  • I always do "Z" and then regret it,
  • Person "X" thinks "Y" about me,
  • If I do "X" then person "X" will be hurt,
  • Person "X" wants to do "Y" to me,
Test: Keep a record of your extreme thoughts in a day and notice your mood. Extreme thoughts, in my experience, are closely associated with either depression (when they are extreme and negative) or manic-depression (when they swing from one extreme to the other).
This way you can easily measure your mood objectively.
If the frequency of ANTs within a day is very high for you, then you want to be more mindful of your mental health! :)
A lot of times, you can fight ANTs by, first being aware of them (especially when you feel nervous, depressed, or hyper!), and second, by simple reasoning. Examples are below.
If, even after some practice and mindfulness, you cannot control ANTs, then you HAVE to seek help. You may be seriously depressed.
Note that, in my experience, you may be conditioned to ENJOY the ANTs!!!! In such cases, your mind is ADDICTED to ANTs.
HYPOTHESIS (mine :) I think depression (and maybe other mental health issues) may have an addiction component.
Examples of ANTs and their moderate responses:
  1. Oh, shit, that paper is rejected, I am totally fucked up, there is no way I can finish my PhD.     No, you do NOT know for sure that you cannot finish. There is a chance that you may not, but there is a probability that you may. Things are NOT out of your control.
  2. Well, I do not have any friend, that fucking "X" is not a friend either. S/He is always thinking about her/himself.      No, you have some friends, some closer, some not very close. Some care for you, some not as much. "X" may not be a close friend, but still may care about you to a limited extent. People mostly think about themselves, and "X" too, but they sometimes help others too. If you can communicate what you want, you may get it!
  3. I never do research in the right way. I am too stupid. I never learn.   Well, you are learning. You may not be a fast learner, but you are not probably the worst either. How fast you learn depends on your preferences and priorities and time you spend!
  4. Fucking unbelievable, I know s/he is thinking I am a stupid jerk. Fuck you anyway, who cares about you!   You do NOT know for sure what s/he thinks, s/he may not really know that either! How many times you REALLY/CLEARLY know what you think and want? You also care about her/him, that is why you are thinking all these in the first place. You have to respect your self and her/him at the same time!
  5. I am going to not show up on time, but this will teach him/her a lesson.    You may or may not be on time. If you are not, it is not clear that s/he will be on time either. Moreover, you cannot know for sure the effect on him/her, and ultimately you do not know how you will feel exactly once you hurt him/her!
  6. I know I am so ill I am going to die, and then all these assholes will miss me!    You are not really that ill, and there is only a small chance that you die, and even then you never know how people will feel, and finally, if/how it would affect you after death :) It is more realistic to communicate what you want/need and be ready to accept rejection from some of them!!!
  7. I know I will play awful, and everyone will hate me.    You do not know for sure, and you do not know what people think, and even whether they care about the game at all. Some may hate you, some may feel that you did your job. It is not out of your control anyway!
I am sure you can come up with your own examples. If you care, please share your examples in comments! I assure you if you look for them genuinely, it will be a lot of fun catching them. It is harder, though, to refute them ;)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Healthy Sexuality, Self-Nurturing, Moderation

From Maureen Canning book, ``Lust, Anger, Love'':


``Healthy sexuality is 10 percent about our genitals, while the remaining 90 percent is about our life force, our creativity, and our passion. This energy taps into the core of who we are. ... Our sexuality comes from the depth of our being, ... Examining and integrating our healthy sexual selves from this perspective results in much more than just `mind-blowing sex'. It provides a spectrum of possibilities, a transformation of the whole self.'' (p. 216)

``Male resistance to self-nurturing [e.g., stimulating senses by lighting incense or scented candles] is a universal pattern.
....
Being sensitive, nurturing, or sensuous with yourself is not about threatening your sexual orientation or masculinity; it is about being in touch with your body and learning to pleasure it in nongenital ways. ....
In our addiction, we learned to fill our shame core from outside: how much sex we scored, how many secrets we could get away with, ... how great we looked, how much attention we could solicit. ...
In recovery, we learn to fill ourselves from the inside out. This is done through the art pf self-nurturing and self-care. Each time we honor ourselves by listening or supportively reacting to our internal cues, we are healing the shame core. This is the foundation of sexual health.
....
As trauma survivors, we learned to disconnect not only from our feelings, but from our bodies. ... Coming back to our bodies, or being present, can feel awkward or uncomfortable. It can also generate a great deal of fear: the fear of the unknown, the fear of triggered memories, or actual physical discomfort or pain.
This is why recovery is a process, a gradual building of self-attunement and awareness. We allow ourselves to build on each step to avoid overwhelming or flooding our system with too much change, confusion, or information.
We learn to live in the moderation of recovery, as opposed to the extremes of addiction.'' (pp 220-222)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lessons

My body has been learning a lot about balance in life especially from my swimming practices.
I have learned that to gain balance it is important to be relaxed.

In my meditations I realized that to stay relaxed it is important to keep a sense of humor.

One thing my body realized while swimming today was that having a focused core (hara, tanden) helps my balance.

So it seems that relaxation has to be around a stable core. And at the same time, the focus on core has to be with a sense of humor!

What is the core of my life --- what should be my point of focus?
How can I keep my sense of humor at the same time that I keep my focus on the core?

I am not going to think about these questions, and won't try to intellectualize them (beyond writing this post :)
I am sure that the answers will emerge during my daily practice of life :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Alone

Sima left today, arriving there tomorrow afternoon. I will join her in two weeks.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Trauma

I am reading the Maureen Canning book, ``Lust, Anger, Love''. Here is an interesting quote
``Trauma is a profound experience that affects all aspects of our lives. In his book, Waking the Tiger, Peter Levine describes trauma's impact and the possibilities it solicits:
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Trauma is a fact of life. It does not, however, have to be a life sentence. Not only can trauma be healed but also, with appropriate guidance and support, it can be transformative.  `Trauma has the potential to be one of the most significant forces for psychological, social, and spiritual awakening and evolution. How we handle trauma (as individuals, communities, and societies) greatly influences the quality of our lives. It ultimately affects how or even whether we will survive as a species.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
'' (p. 88)
 And here is a Q & A (thanks to dear Shadi): Question: Since you mentioned trauma, I have a question that has occupied my mind for a while. What is the best way to treat trauma, especially if it is related to childhood? (I mean other than medications for symptoms like anxiety or depression) Do you know a practical and accessible reference for someone like me with no training in psychology, etc     Answer:
 Here are a sum of different therapies used to address trauma. one thing I have to be clear about is that trauma never goes away but rather one learns to make sense of it/live with it. so there is trauma therapy with three stages of stabilizing and managing client's reaction (physical symptoms mostly) processing the momeries of/related to trauma and finally re learning/re connecting with life. this a classic approach and commonly uses by psychotherapists. there is ITT, Intensive Trauma Therapy. I have not practiced it but I have started reading about it. You can google it and see what you think of it. Now, EMDR is gaining more and more attention. I personally cant relate to it but I have seen it work for many pp. read about it and see what your level of comfort is. it stands for Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. the other one EMT. Emotionally Focused Therapy. ... I have seen therapsits using Logotherapy and Adlerian/Individual Psychology to address trauma as well. I am biased when it comes to these two as I am certified in them! well, not only that but I do believe in the philosy behind them. I find them very close to my Zen/Buddhist beliefs. You will be lucky if you can find a therapist who does Eclectic therapy. Meaning you and her/him create a plan on what approaches work for you and your situation and the therapist will use a number of approaches to work with you. But again, that therapist better be damn good in her job as it can get really confusing for the client if not done professionally.

Friday, June 11, 2010

World Cup

After many years of separation, and even contempt, for football I watched the first two matches of the world cup, on and off, today. At some point, I suddenly realized the beauty of the game. The ultimate sense of physical and mental balance in the movements of individual players and in the team flow in the field. It was an amazing observation.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ney Nava

Among the saddest pieces of Iranian music, at least to us who grew up in sixties, with LOTS and LOTS of memories attached to this strong piece, being played on TV and radio on many occasions!

Sometimes you have a sadness that fills up your chest and expands with the music, moves to the hidden parts of your life, your memories, and starts shredding something in there and you enjoy the pain as it goes through your veins and pulls every piece of your soul apart ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2v9glBnLwCg&feature=related



PS 1. Today was a REALLY shitty day! :( ... things are a little better now :)

PS 2. Another "Nay Nawa", unrelated to the first but sad as hell ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbZ4WUXr2-E&feature=related

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Triviality of Living ?! :)

The vital part of life is how we live it, the act of living, what we do.
Not what we think, not an abstract concept, like love, God, religion, science, Zen, mindfulness, or any other concept in the realm of mind.
I have a feeling, based on many trial and errors and learning the hard way, that if you keep this order right you are almost there :) Of course, I am not there ...

I have to find a way to get this right, so I am going to try saying it again and again until I hit the right note :))

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Awe! - or ZANJEMOURE :)

I am left in Awe,
totally amazed,
by the strength, persistence,
and aggressiveness of my depression.

After so many years of treatments,
after recent successes with medications,
after changing many aspects of my life,
and learning new ways and skills.

Still when the winds of depression start blowing,
they easily gather strength,
and become a devastating storm.

It turns everything over,
pulling out all trees of my endeavor,
one by one.

Just like a boy,
wild, rude, and negligent,
that ruins everything around him,
simply for the enjoyment.

And I simply stand here,
watching the cruelty in awe ....

Learned Helplessness

From Ellen J. Langer (1989) "Mindfulness"

 "Learned helplessness was originally demonstrated in rats. When placed in ice water, they have no difficulty swimming around for forty to sixty hours. However, if, instead of being put immediately into the water, the rats are held until they stop struggling, something very different happens. Instead of swimming, these rats give up immediately and drown." Langer (1989) p. 64
Isn't this totally mind blowing?!

Zen Master!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5cdN2G7OMc&feature=related


Body Intelligence

As Lucy reflected on her outrageous behavior of the night before, the memory only served to draw her upward, like a flower toward the sun...