IGX "...overflowing with foulmouthed ignorance."

IGX "...overflowing with foulmouthed ignorance."
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2018 4:05 am 
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This is why a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. You are talking about the Four Noble Truths but haven't given it much thought.

The process of causality is eternal. This is the beginning of wisdom. It is what Lord Buddha refer to as idapaccayatā or, in reference to human lives, paṭiccasamuppāda in Pali. After the Lord Buddha's enlightenment, the first sutta that he taught was the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, wherein he expounded the Four Noble Truths. In it he clearly states what it is that he "awoke" to: that all things are conditional, yes, but that conditionality is the Eternal Truth. It was by examining the causal relationship that he developed the Four Noble Truths by applying it to human suffering, but it is equally applicable to all things in all places.

He who sees the Paṭiccasamuppāda sees the Dhamma;
He who sees the Dhamma sees the Paṭiccasamuppāda.

— Majjhima Nikaya 1.190

Contemplate this.
Fat Cat can you expand on this a little bit? Do you mean all things are interrelated is the basis for Buddhism?

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2018 6:00 pm 
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To say "all things are interrelated" is too banal to be worthy of much, but it's a starting point perhaps.

My post was in response to Sangoma's claim that there is "nothing permanent in this world" with superficial reference to the Buddha's teachings on the cause of suffering. Which is another meaningless contradiction, because it would mean that there is a permanent state of impermanence. On the contrary, there is a permanent state of things.

The true secret to "enlightenment" is cause-and-effect. It is the real Dhamma, the real God, the real Truth. It can be understood as the only real knowledge and at the same time the only foundation for knowledge of any kind, because what does it mean to know anything except to have understood the causes and the effects of a phenomenon? To have knowledge of medicine is to have knowledge of the causes of disease and how to effect a cure.

When you understand causality, you understand everything, insofar as understanding is possible. We started off talking about how to avoid certain mindsets in dealing with people. Then the conversation took a turn towards Buddhist concepts and meditation as an aid to avoiding these mindsets and maintaining a tranquil mind. But what is Buddhism? What is meditation? Mediation, in the Buddhist sense, is the development of concentration, and that once the mind is concentrated, there arises insight into the true nature of things. This insight is nothing but understanding that when A arises, B arises. While A persists, B persists. When A ceases, B ceases. That all things arise due to certain causes, that they persist while the causes persist, and they cease when the causes cease. This is the interdependent and co-arising nature of all things, and it is permanent and eternal.

This understanding is applicable to all things because it is the basic nature of all things. Buddha set his mind on solving the problem of human suffering, and his "enlightenment" consisted of nothing more than understanding the causes which create the effect of suffering: what does dukkha (dis-ease, distress, suffering) come from? Then he realized that it came from jāti (birth). Jāti (birth), what does birth come from? Birth comes from bhava (becoming). Becoming arises from upādāna (clinging). Clinging comes from taṇhā (craving, ignorant desire). Craving comes from the vedanā (feeling). Feeling comes from phassa (contact). Contact comes from the āyatana (the senses). The senses come from nāma-rūpa (name and form). Name and form comes from viññāṇa (consciousness). Consciousness comes from saṅkhāra (the power of concocting). The power of concocting comes from avijjā (ignorance).

You can use this same model to solve your own unwanted mental states or anything else. Or to understand the "why" of anything, and the "how" of how to change anything. Don't like something? Meditate on the causes, teasing out those which you have the power to affect, and alter them.

There's so much more to this but that's enough for now.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2018 1:21 am 
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To be frank, my remark was intended to be what you said, a superficial reference to Buddha's teachings - in the context of Bram's question - and not an attempt at scholarly discussion. Sure, he who gets the P gets the D and vice versa, but there are many intermediate steps to and tangents from, this understanding. As I said, eloquence is not my strong point, and the last thing I want is to get into an academic argument throwing around a bunch of Pali words.

Impermanence is a concept worthy enough to give it a thought, and as Bram is not practicing Buddhism of any kind I though I could just mention it for his interest and maybe contemplation. As you said, a good starting point.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2018 2:34 am 
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So Fat Cat, in the effort to simplify:

Meditate on the causes of my problems. And when I can affect those causes, work on those. Forget the rest.

Right?

And Sangoma, remember that they are impermanent?

----

As a sort-of meditator (a couple short sessions a week), I definitely have less problems the more I do it. In part because I'm less of an asshole and create less problems for myself.

----

What I have decided to do, for better or worse, is to try and concentrate on staying humble.

Arrogance and/or feeling like I'm being slighted or treated unfairly...that kind of shit feels like the originator of my issues. Worked on it today while surfing and actually surfed better, so there's that.

Appreciate the thoughts and conversation :)

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2018 9:29 am 
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That may work. I think this would come under the bracket of morality training in a Buddhist context. You can reflect on life lessons on a gross level and see how actions and thoughts generate certain effects. You could couple this with a classic Therevadan meditation; concentrate on the breath at either the nose or abdomen. Develop concentration first of all until you're hitting the jhanic states and then start balancing concentration with insight; Deeply examine and experience the nature of the breath and see how it - like every other thing - is made up of a shit-load of other 'not-breath' sensations that are transient but inter-connected in the cause and effect way eluded to above. See how none of them have any independent or permanent existence or identity and none of them are 'you'. Also, none of them provide a lasting satisfaction.

Then realise that the insights you have into the microscopic nature of the breath apply to every part of existence.

The just repeat this a lot. Experience bits of bliss, then experience crashing lows, (dark night of the soul) then ride it out and pop out the other side a wiser person.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2018 5:20 pm 
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Thanks Odin :)

Can you go into more detail on the jhanic states for the lay people aka me?

My small experiential knowledge of meditation notes that the breath will change due to certain thoughts and emotions, and just steadying the breath (regardless of other thoughts) when meditating does a lot to chill everything out.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2018 7:02 pm 
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sure no problem. Rather than my amateurish description though I'll point towards some solid resources, starting here:

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/dharma ... Meditation

That site's like the IGX of dharma practice. Worth wasting a few hours on!

I then highly recommend Daniel Ingram's Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha (free download available) and Kalusa's 'The Mind Illuminated'. Totally straight talking description of the whole process of awakening from a Buddhist perspective. Mahasi Sayadaw's Manual of Insight is another decent resource but is an older and less accessible to a modern westerner.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2018 8:57 pm 
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So Fat Cat, in the effort to simplify:

Meditate on the causes of my problems. And when I can affect those causes, work on those. Forget the rest.
If you wish to interpret what I said in the most narrow way possible, sure. I personally don't care at all about Buddhism, meditation, or cultivating needlessly passive mental states. Sitting around worrying about how I hurt other people is for the birds, and personally, there are plenty of things worth getting mad about. A man without the capacity for anger is insipid. Emotions should be trained, not negated.

What I was telling you is the Truth, with a capital "T", of how you can get what you said you want in this thread, but on a broader level, the only way to understand or accomplish anything at all in life. Causality is the fabric of the universe, and when you attune yourself to it, you can control mental states, behavior, matter, etc.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2018 9:17 pm 
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If you wish to interpret what I said in the most narrow way possible, sure. I personally don't care at all about Buddhism, meditation, or cultivating needlessly passive mental states. Sitting around worrying about how I hurt other people is for the birds, and personally, there are plenty of things worth getting mad about. A man without the capacity for anger is insipid. Emotions should be trained, not negated.

What I was telling you is the Truth, with a capital "T", of how you can get what you said you want in this thread, but on a broader level, the only way to understand or accomplish anything at all in life. Causality is the fabric of the universe, and when you attune yourself to it, you can control mental states, behavior, matter, etc.
Thanks for the food for thought.

A realization early on from meditating was that "being nice" was a bunch of bullshit. Not thinking about it ending up making me an overall nicer person, but it came from a genuine place as opposed to doing it to avoid conflict, try to get people to like me, etc.

And anger can definitely be good. Focuses you and drives you. At the same time, I realize that there tends to be a large amount of useless anger I self-generate.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2018 9:18 pm 
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Appreciate the link and books suggestions Odin :)

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2018 9:32 pm 
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At the same time, I realize that there tends to be a large amount of useless anger I self-generate.
This is true and why I believe in training the emotions, so that they can be used skillfully, as opposed to classifying certain types of emotions as "bad" and trying negate them.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 6:16 am 
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So Fat Cat, in the effort to simplify:

Meditate on the causes of my problems. And when I can affect those causes, work on those. Forget the rest.

Right?

And Sangoma, remember that they are impermanent?

----

As a sort-of meditator (a couple short sessions a week), I definitely have less problems the more I do it. In part because I'm less of an asshole and create less problems for myself.

----

What I have decided to do, for better or worse, is to try and concentrate on staying humble.

Arrogance and/or feeling like I'm being slighted or treated unfairly...that kind of shit feels like the originator of my issues. Worked on it today while surfing and actually surfed better, so there's that.

Appreciate the thoughts and conversation :)
Bram, meditation is an exercise in attention. Most known being breathing meditation - you know it, of course, where you bring your attention to the air moving in and out of your nostrils. Your mind drifts away, you notice it and bring the attention back to it. This allows to calm (sort of) the mind, get rid of the myriads of thoughts that usually swarm inside our heads. As the result the mind stays more attentive during the day. Moreover, long term effect of meditation is a different perception of reality, where you begin seeing case and effect more clearly, as well as impermanence etc. That's apparently was the Buddha's path. Though who knows.

Meditating "on something" is a contradiction of sorts, as when you do that there is no attention as such, but a lot of contemplation. Which can develop into a full blown fantasy. Tibetan Buddhists (the branch, in my opinion most deviated from the original ideas), for example, meditate on emptiness, compassion and what not. But then how can you picture emptiness? The only way is to create some picture of it in your mind, which is bound to be artificial, and develop your "understanding" of it. Doesn't make much sense to me.

I don't mean to sound condescending, but you mentioned couple of things that made me cringe. Repeating "impermanence" one hundred times while stuck in traffic may help relaxation (even though you could repeat "induction" or "crystallisation" with the same effect), but I don't think it changes your way of looking at things. What would is a big topic for discussion.

One really big Buddhist concept is the idea of being one and the same with everything else. The same way the waves in the surf are part of the ocean. You are not separate from the person next to you, Fat Cat, me, the house across the road etc. Thinking about the world radically changes the idea of compassion: when you get the "oneness" you will be hurting about the person's misfortune with the same intensity as you will about your own. His pain - your own.

One Russian author I cherish a lot once said: the best advise to the youth he can give - work on your full lotus position, it will be very, very useful later. Implying being able to sit Zazen, of course. Try find that in the self-help books! Another thing he said in one of his books - chasing happiness for yourself is similar to the arrow of a compass to point at itself. The easiest way to find happiness is to give it to someone else. One caveat - you cannot be choosy, you have to be doing it to everyone.

Anyway, this is a very rudimentary expression of some great ideas. There are many ways to sing the proverbial cat, and Buddhism is only one of them.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 12:13 pm 
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Anger. Big topic in Buddhist masters' Dharma talks. They recommend trying this: when you get angry, instead of trying to calm yourself down bring your attention to the actual sense of anger. Wherever it is: your chest, abdomen, feel your heart pounding, fingers trembling etc. The result of this practice is you eventually understand that anger is simply a reaction of your body to something. In other words, you are not your anger, if it makes any sense. Eventually you can get angry without getting upset. Sort of showing your anger to your kid when necessary without being caught in the physiology of the reaction.

This approach - get there instead of run away from it - is more typical for the Eastern cultures. In Ayurveda, for instance, when you feel pain they advise to put all of your attention to it. Pain a signal to the body that something is not right, so if you bring your attention to it it's likely to heal faster. The approach is diametrically opposite to the Western style: imagine something nice, such as the beach you like, a cool forest, in other words distract yourself from pain.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 12:34 pm 
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I personally don't care at all about Buddhism, meditation, or cultivating needlessly passive mental states. Sitting around worrying about how I hurt other people is for the birds, and personally, there are plenty of things worth getting mad about. A man without the capacity for anger is insipid. Emotions should be trained, not negated.
If anything, Buddhism is not about cultivating passive mental states. To the contrary, it cultivates the attentive mind, fully engaged in the present moment. Lack of anger is the reflection of strength of this kind of mind, not lack of flavour. I don't think there is anybody without the capacity of getting angry. Quite the opposite, strong mind doesn't get angry because it has superior understanding of what's happening, circumstantially and in his own mind.

Some people have this idea that meditation is sort of evidence that the main aspect of Buddhism is removing themselves from the world and retreating into a meditative mental state, pleasant and disengaged. Meditation is just an exercise in mindfulness, attention. With time it spills into everyday life. Contrary to what a lot of people think meditation is boring. Knees hurt, nothing happens, banal thoughts swarm inside your head, the clock has frozen, you are bored to death. But then you catch glimpses of stillness, gaps between thoughts, when thoughts cease to exist. That's when you get insights into the nature of reality, your mind and pretty much everything else.

Brad Warner mentioned this experiment. They hooked up people to the electro-encephalography machines. Every several seconds there is a beep going off. EEG reflects some sort of response to the beep, a small spike. In ordinary people this spike disappears after a few minutes. In monks experienced in meditation they never go away. IN other words, their minds experience reality as close as is possible for a human mind.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 5:41 pm 
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Jesus dude, write a book. So many words...
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when you get angry, instead of trying to calm yourself down bring your attention to the actual sense of anger. Wherever it is: your chest, abdomen, feel your heart pounding, fingers trembling etc. The result of this practice is you eventually understand that anger is simply a reaction of your body to something. In other words, you are not your anger, if it makes any sense. Eventually you can get angry without getting upset. Sort of showing your anger to your kid when necessary without being caught in the physiology of the reaction.
Anyway, this above is an example of what I was talking about. By examining the cause-and-effect of stimuli and your reaction to it--physical, emotional, psychological--you can train it and use it constructively. The broader point is that you can use this same process on anything: personal relations, skill development, strategy, spirituality.
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This approach - get there instead of run away from it - is more typical for the Eastern cultures.
Total fallacy having lived my entire life in an 80%+ Asian society. Asians are literally the least self aware people imaginable.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 10:16 pm 
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I don't mean to sound condescending, but you mentioned couple of things that made me cringe. Repeating "impermanence" one hundred times while stuck in traffic may help relaxation (even though you could repeat "induction" or "crystallisation" with the same effect), but I don't think it changes your way of looking at things. What would is a big topic for discussion.
I should clarify, as there is a misunderstanding here. I meditate while repeating the word "impermanence" - on the out breath, on the in breath, on both breaths, at whatever cadence I feel like (have tried all 4 versions). It seems to imbed a sense of the impermanent nature of things, at least for a while (a week or so after one session).
Quote:

One really big Buddhist concept is the idea of being one and the same with everything else. The same way the waves in the surf are part of the ocean. You are not separate from the person next to you, Fat Cat, me, the house across the road etc. Thinking about the world radically changes the idea of compassion: when you get the "oneness" you will be hurting about the person's misfortune with the same intensity as you will about your own. His pain - your own.
Haha, not an easy task by any means :)
Quote:

One Russian author I cherish a lot once said: the best advise to the youth he can give - work on your full lotus position, it will be very, very useful later. Implying being able to sit Zazen, of course. Try find that in the self-help books! Another thing he said in one of his books - chasing happiness for yourself is similar to the arrow of a compass to point at itself. The easiest way to find happiness is to give it to someone else. One caveat - you cannot be choosy, you have to be doing it to everyone.

Anyway, this is a very rudimentary expression of some great ideas. There are many ways to sing the proverbial cat, and Buddhism is only one of them.
Sorry to get things out of order, was trying to respond to each item. I can sit in full-lotus, but almost never do. It does seem to make meditation deeper. And I've heard that about happiness, there's a quote I like:

"Happiness is like a butterfly. The more you chase it, the more it eludes you. But if you turn your attention to the things, it will sit quietly on your shoulder." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Quote:

Bram, meditation is an exercise in attention. Most known being breathing meditation - you know it, of course, where you bring your attention to the air moving in and out of your nostrils. Your mind drifts away, you notice it and bring the attention back to it. This allows to calm (sort of) the mind, get rid of the myriads of thoughts that usually swarm inside our heads. As the result the mind stays more attentive during the day. Moreover, long term effect of meditation is a different perception of reality, where you begin seeing case and effect more clearly, as well as impermanence etc. That's apparently was the Buddha's path. Though who knows.

Meditating "on something" is a contradiction of sorts, as when you do that there is no attention as such, but a lot of contemplation. Which can develop into a full blown fantasy. Tibetan Buddhists (the branch, in my opinion most deviated from the original ideas), for example, meditate on emptiness, compassion and what not. But then how can you picture emptiness? The only way is to create some picture of it in your mind, which is bound to be artificial, and develop your "understanding" of it. Doesn't make much sense to me.
I would have to disagree on a few of your points. I don't know about meditating on emptiness, but I've read the procedure for doing such things and it seems reasonable. As for compassion....if you just focus on kind thoughts towards yourself and others (google "metta" or compassion meditation for an outline), that definitely works.

For example, you can think "Bram is a cunt" and see how it makes you feel, or you can think "I hope Bram has a good day" - I don't think you have to be super clued in to see one adds anger and one feels good.

Agree with the rest :)

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 11:28 pm 
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Anger. Big topic in Buddhist masters' Dharma talks. They recommend trying this: when you get angry, instead of trying to calm yourself down bring your attention to the actual sense of anger. Wherever it is: your chest, abdomen, feel your heart pounding, fingers trembling etc. The result of this practice is you eventually understand that anger is simply a reaction of your body to something. In other words, you are not your anger, if it makes any sense. Eventually you can get angry without getting upset. Sort of showing your anger to your kid when necessary without being caught in the physiology of the reaction.

This approach - get there instead of run away from it - is more typical for the Eastern cultures. In Ayurveda, for instance, when you feel pain they advise to put all of your attention to it. Pain a signal to the body that something is not right, so if you bring your attention to it it's likely to heal faster. The approach is diametrically opposite to the Western style: imagine something nice, such as the beach you like, a cool forest, in other words distract yourself from pain.
Maybe I feel that is treating the symptoms and not the cause.

I guess I can clarify a bit?

Dumb anger is what I'm looking to avoid. Angry about stupid shit that doesn't mean anything and doesn't do anything but take away from my experience because I'm an ass, or I can't focus on my activity.

Good anger is what I'm looking to keep. Anger that focuses me and makes me try harder and work harder.

The way my mind is currently wired, I experience an unnecessary amount of dumb anger. Meditation is an approach to deal with it, but I can't help but think that if my mind looked at things differently I wouldn't have to figure out how to deal with the dumb anger. Get rid of the cause and get rid of the symptom. Versus leave the cause alone and treat the symptoms.

Somewhere in the realm of not wanting things, being humble, staying positive, dropping useless thoughts.....somewhere around there seems to lay the answer.

But I dunno.

As for your meditation technique - I've done that before and it's a good one.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2018 11:35 pm 
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Just couple of quick points. "Deep" meditation is another misconception of the West. The mysterious "meditative state" or trance if you will is unnecessary and is not the goal of meditation. As I said, it is an exercise in attention and presence. I have overuse issue with the word mindfulness, but this is another correct term. As I mentioned earlier, most meditation teachers will tell you that how you feel between meditations is more important than how you feel during.

As far as anger is concerned - in this case the symptom is the disease. What do you mean by good anger? And how do you draw the line? Anger is nothing else but the result of many neurophysiological relays clicking in a certain way. You don't even need something to happen to get angry - you can do it all inside your head! When you get to understand your own anger you will be "cured" of it.
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For example, you can think "Bram is a cunt" and see how it makes you feel, or you can think "I hope Bram has a good day" - I don't think you have to be super clued in to see one adds anger and one feels good.
For me both are artificial. And if you give me a reason to think you're a cunt I will probably say it once and then likely recall that Internet conversations don't deserve too much emotional energy, move on and forget about it. Repeating it one hundred times - I don't see a point.

Lots of words in quotes, because most of mind concepts are very poorly expressed in words.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2018 3:23 am 
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As far as anger is concerned - in this case the symptom is the disease. What do you mean by good anger? And how do you draw the line? Anger is nothing else but the result of many neurophysiological relays clicking in a certain way. You don't even need something to happen to get angry - you can do it all inside your head! When you get to understand your own anger you will be "cured" of it.
Quote:
For example, you can think "Bram is a cunt" and see how it makes you feel, or you can think "I hope Bram has a good day" - I don't think you have to be super clued in to see one adds anger and one feels good.
For me both are artificial. And if you give me a reason to think you're a cunt I will probably say it once and then likely recall that Internet conversations don't deserve too much emotional energy, move on and forget about it. Repeating it one hundred times - I don't see a point.
For an example of "good anger":

I was surfing at a wave that is dangerous, there were a number of people out and they weren't sharing the waves. After waiting my turn, then getting cut off a number of times, I got angry, paddled very hard with a lot of focus and made an extremely difficult wave.

If I had just dismissed my anger, or rationalized it or defused it then I would have ignored the advantage of extra focus and energy.

This goes for fear and many other emotions. There is good fear that keeps you safe, and bad fear that keeps you stuck.

For an interesting look at this, there is a book called "The Art of Fear" by a former extreme skier which talks about the downsides of denying emotions.

---

For the second part, you are confusing two different things.

In Compassion meditation, you think nice thoughts about yourself and others - may you be happy, may you be healthy, etc.

Here's a small study on the benefits of it:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3176989/

In the other, separate, meditation I mentioned, you would repeat "impermanence."

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2018 1:28 am 
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anger
It makes a ton of sense to look at anger as an internal response to a loss of control. What is more empowering that a big blob of anger? Raawwrrr....

Once perceived that way, you can tackle the control-loss thing. If you have no control in the first place, and no way to get it, you are doing stupid anger. If there is something you can do about it, the anger can get you off of top dead center and moving.

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Don’t believe everything you think.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 1:04 am 
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Quote:
Quote:
anger
It makes a ton of sense to look at anger as an internal response to a loss of control. What is more empowering that a big blob of anger? Raawwrrr....

Once perceived that way, you can tackle the control-loss thing. If you have no control in the first place, and no way to get it, you are doing stupid anger. If there is something you can do about it, the anger can get you off of top dead center and moving.
Hmm, that does sound reasonable. And a good check-in to ditch the futile nonsense of raging out.

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"Believe strongly that the world is on your side if you keep true to what is best in you." - Master Carlos Gracie


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