Spiritual Well-Being

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motherjuggs&speed
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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by motherjuggs&speed » Thu Jan 02, 2020 2:14 am

The problem is even worse than just having few reliable guides. Many of the big ideas in this space are infused with wishful thinking, self indulgence, and a pronounced leftist/pacifist/quietist bias, combined with a huge dose of narcissistic self absorption and overlove of reflection and contemplation. Take the example of MT -- she was always a fraud and anyone who cared to look could see that, as Hitchens did. But she peddled the kind of shtick that people can't get enough of. Likewise the Dalai Lama, who has done jack for Tibet and contributed nothing to real philosophy while taking pics with whatever Hollywood celebs will pay the most to be ordained an enlightened one.

Maybe Genghis Khan was actually correct about what is best in life. Maybe a reasonably correct philosophy doesn't look like what we think it does. My personal view is that David Benetar is the last philosopher we'll ever need. But people at least have to ask better questions.

This doesn't fit anywhere but I think it's relevant: Maslow never intended what became known as his hierarchy of needs to be a pyramid that one moves up in a static way. I was looking for a recent-ish interview I read where it was explained that the pyramid gained traction simply due to Maslow's sudden popularity as a guru to industry. Since he needed money and management types were the only ones giving him any love, he was disinclined to say "hold up fellas, this isn't exactly what I meant" and risk getting thrown off the gravy train. Not to mention the lack of theoretical foundation supporting the HON. How many of our ideas are like this? Bill Wilson's idea that people have to hit rock bottom came when he was recruiting inpatients for Frank Buchman's Oxford Group, which any sane person would dismiss. Since the only ones willing to listen were people so far down they were incapable of good judgement, he concluded that only people who have hit rock bottom are willing to change. It was never true but people repeat it since they've heard it repeated. How many people kept going with drugs when they should have stopped sooner, since they felt like they needed to reach some rock bottom? How many ideas remain with us that have no real foundation? And how many have had harmful consequences?

My current view is that we are probably better off focusing on avoiding the things that we know are bad, but I feel like people are too quick to dismiss things that depart from Bliss Ninny canon as being "bad". Anger, jealousy, sadness, even depression -- not necessarily pleasant things to feel, but then life isn't Joya's Fun School. Quietism is a real danger, one I have succumbed to my whole life. We should not act like "it's all part of Buddha's divine plan, it's all okay". It isn't all okay. Sometimes, Butch, we're pretty fuckin far from okay.
Last edited by motherjuggs&speed on Thu Jan 02, 2020 8:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

motherjuggs&speed
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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by motherjuggs&speed » Thu Jan 02, 2020 8:52 am

Why do people who want to be moral do harmful things?

One reason is that they don't actually reason things out or do the math. Sending stuff to poor countries seems noble but it destroys local industries since businesses can't compete with free. When this is pointed out to people they lash out: "oh, so you think we should let people starve, you <fill in the blank epithet>". Which is another error, thinking too emotionally. Note I say too emotionally as I think trying to be completely devoid of emotion is another error.

Another reason why the road to hell is paved with good intentions is that people justify things. "Of course we have to lock people up for drugs because otherwise people will do drugs and drugs are bad". Yes, drugs can do harm. How about the harm of incarceration? "Oh, we have to do that because <reasons>". Justification allows bad things, in fact I think it's a prime mover of bad things. I justify like it's my job and it's a major reason for my failings, both to myself and to others: "I'm so stressed/tired/busy and besides I'm crazy anyway". And every day the bad things continue. So I would add Don't Justify Things, either your own failings or those of other people: "he's kind of crazy". No he's not, he's just evil.

We also have the seductive lure of fuzzies and signalling. Since people can get such satisfaction from these things, they often substitute for useful action: 'look everybody, I adopted an orphan from China so I gave at the office of good deeds so I'm off the hook now for any other harms I do or contribute to".

Don't be so sure you're a good person. The evil that men do is not only what they directly do but what they contribute to or even just allow.

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Dunn
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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by Dunn » Thu Jan 02, 2020 2:52 pm

Things for my own spiritual well-being:

-time spent outdoors in the woods
-mindfulness meditation/thinking
-meaningful time spent with family
-practicing thankfulness

Things to work on this year:
-practicing kindness


Kindness is kind of a big one for me, since I feel like I’ve become rather callous and jaded over the last decade. I don’t want that to be my norm.

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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by nafod » Thu Jan 02, 2020 3:13 pm

Worth revisiting some ideas from Constructive Living
“Haven’t you found that the feeling of confidence came after you were successful at a task or a job and not before? Then why are so many current approaches to life and therapy aiming to produce confidence first so that the clients can succeed at something? They have it backwards. . . Aim for a constantly happy, anxiety-free life and you won’t get it. Focus your attention on your feelings a lot and you end up miserable. Think of the people you know with the most satisfying, enviable lives. Do they ruminate about their emotions all day long? My guess is that they don’t. Now consider the people you know who appear to be most miserable. Do they spend long periods of time dwelling on their feelings? I’ll bet they do.”

“…give up the ephemeral task of working on yourself and realign your life toward getting done what . . .needs doing. In other words we advise you to focus more on purposeful behavior. Let the feelings take care of themselves. What I think you will find is that when you get good at doing what needs doing in your life, the feelings stop giving you such trouble. And even if your feelings become troublesome, when you are involved in constructive activity, they remain in perspective. Feelings cease to be the whole show.” (David Reynolds, Constructive Living)
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motherjuggs&speed
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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by motherjuggs&speed » Thu Jan 02, 2020 3:32 pm

^^^Yes, this too, very much so. I had an epiphany bomb on New Year's Eve in 2016. I didn't do the practical stuff and the last three years have sucked hard.

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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by odin » Sat Jan 04, 2020 6:58 pm

I think most first world westerners could use a harder edged approach to their spiritual welfare. I think most could use a reminder of the inevitability of their death and a reminder of their total insignificance. Also a pointer towards how little ‘they’ did to get where they are in life. In terms of practices and activities, given the compromises most have to make in life and the lack of willpower and commitment people have just going for a walk each morning is as good as it can get.
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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by Beer Jew » Sun Jan 05, 2020 12:49 pm

I’m interested in this thread.

I quite like Bram’s description of flow. I find that hard to achieve and have done for the past two or three years, largely due to;

- Having a kid. Spare time before they go to sleep doesn’t exist.
- Addiction to screens. My attention span has been massively impacted.
- general angst about not being “productive”.

I would say the final point above is the biggest contributor to my general lack of spiritual well-being. Constant low level anxiety about money, our future, why I’m not working every hour to create a second income, bills, my dreams slowly fading away etc. This impacts ability to be “in the moment” when spending time with family, when spending time on my own etc.

Curious as to how others have dealt with this.

Increasingly I’m thinking part of the answer is to get rid of the iPhone and swap for a “dumb” phone. Lowering expectations about life seems to help generally.

I don’t think I’ll achieve proper “flow” until my kid(s) are grown.

The last time I recall that real flow feeling was on holiday.

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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by newguy » Mon Jan 06, 2020 5:33 am

Beer Jew wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 12:49 pm
I’m interested in this thread.

I quite like Bram’s description of flow. I find that hard to achieve and have done for the past two or three years, largely due to;

- Having a kid. Spare time before they go to sleep doesn’t exist.
- Addiction to screens. My attention span has been massively impacted.
- general angst about not being “productive”.

I would say the final point above is the biggest contributor to my general lack of spiritual well-being. Constant low level anxiety about money, our future, why I’m not working every hour to create a second income, bills, my dreams slowly fading away etc. This impacts ability to be “in the moment” when spending time with family, when spending time on my own etc.

Curious as to how others have dealt with this.

Increasingly I’m thinking part of the answer is to get rid of the iPhone and swap for a “dumb” phone. Lowering expectations about life seems to help generally.

I don’t think I’ll achieve proper “flow” until my kid(s) are grown.

The last time I recall that real flow feeling was on holiday.
Welcome to life......lol......

Nothing is perfect....but having a child is it's own flow. Watching TV and laughing at stupid cartoons. Getting lost in just kicking a ball back and forth. Reading a story. Coloring . Spending a couple of hours playing chutes and ladders....

Flow is not just in active/sporting areas. Are you married? Or with your child's mother? Taking a walk with her and your kid.....

Some of my most present moments in life were being at the park pushing my now much older child in the swing. Changing the diapers and then having the kid fall asleep on me.....

Even that sense of worry and anxiety is an opportunity to be in the moment.

You have to always watch your mindset. You have to guard against the idea of "dreams" dying. Dreams might change. But they don't die. Maybe you are not going to code the next twitter app. Maybe you are too old to become a youtube star. But maybe your dream now is being debt free. That is kick ass dream and goal. Maybe the dream is to get back to lifting. I don't know what you are looking at.

Try to never see your child as roadblock. or your family. No one says they do. No one admits they do. (Or rarely.) but we all do. It's always there. That's another mindset to guard against. Everything right now you do with your child, one day it is over. If you haven't, one day you will change that diaper for the last time. You will pick them up for the last time. Read them a story for the last time. Try to cultivate a sense of cherishing these moments.

Not to sound preachy or anything. lol....

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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by Fat Cat » Mon Jan 06, 2020 5:54 pm

motherjuggs&speed wrote:
Thu Jan 02, 2020 8:52 am
Why do people who want to be moral do harmful things?

One reason is that they don't actually reason things out or do the math. Sending stuff to poor countries seems noble but it destroys local industries since businesses can't compete with free. When this is pointed out to people they lash out: "oh, so you think we should let people starve, you <fill in the blank epithet>". Which is another error, thinking too emotionally. Note I say too emotionally as I think trying to be completely devoid of emotion is another error.

Another reason why the road to hell is paved with good intentions is that people justify things. "Of course we have to lock people up for drugs because otherwise people will do drugs and drugs are bad". Yes, drugs can do harm. How about the harm of incarceration? "Oh, we have to do that because <reasons>". Justification allows bad things, in fact I think it's a prime mover of bad things. I justify like it's my job and it's a major reason for my failings, both to myself and to others: "I'm so stressed/tired/busy and besides I'm crazy anyway". And every day the bad things continue. So I would add Don't Justify Things, either your own failings or those of other people: "he's kind of crazy". No he's not, he's just evil.

We also have the seductive lure of fuzzies and signalling. Since people can get such satisfaction from these things, they often substitute for useful action: 'look everybody, I adopted an orphan from China so I gave at the office of good deeds so I'm off the hook now for any other harms I do or contribute to".

Don't be so sure you're a good person. The evil that men do is not only what they directly do but what they contribute to or even just allow.
Morals are for cows. Morality is, for most, just a comforting blanket of warm feelings about oneself, a way to mollify that gnawing anxiety that whispers remembrances of death. Even when moralfags are well-intentioned they fuck it up. Food and vaccines for the Third World have created a population crisis which threatens to destroy the very environment upon which we all depend. Drug laws have created a prison population larger than many countries. Better to let go completely from the desire to be "good" or avoid "bad" because its third grade level thinking at best. A farmer doesn't cultivate good or bad plants, he cultivates specimens which are desirable for their health, strength, and beauty.
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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by odin » Mon Jan 06, 2020 7:42 pm

Sri Fat Cat is 100% correct. Morality so subjective and so changeable that you may as well save yourself the anxiety of worrying about being 'good'.
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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by nafod » Mon Jan 06, 2020 8:09 pm

odin wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 7:42 pm
Sri Fat Cat is 100% correct. Morality so subjective and so changeable that you may as well save yourself the anxiety of worrying about being 'good'.
That's the kind of moral relativism that allows me to lie, cheat, and steal guilt-free. I'm OK - you're OK.
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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by Fat Cat » Mon Jan 06, 2020 8:37 pm

"Moral relativism" is a meaningless term. There's no objective standard for morals because they reflect societal mores. What is admirable in one society--say, blowing oneself up for the Emperor or Allah--is considered abhorrent in another. Also, guilt is for plebs. Enjoy it if you like.
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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by Sangoma » Mon Jan 06, 2020 9:15 pm

You think so? I tend to think morality is universal. Details may vary, and opposing sides see the story and reasoning differently, but the principles are the same. Self sacrifice for a worthy cause is one of the most common themes in every culture.
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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by Fat Cat » Mon Jan 06, 2020 9:28 pm

Sangoma wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 9:15 pm
You think so? I tend to think morality is universal. Details may vary, and opposing sides see the story and reasoning differently, but the principles are the same. Self sacrifice for a worthy cause is one of the most common themes in every culture.
I just gave you an example of how its not. This may be a linguistic thing, but in English the very word "moral" is derived from "more" meaning, "the essential or characteristic customs and conventions of a community." The implication is that mores can and do vary from community to community, and these can be ethnic, economic, religious, or other communities. That's why you can say something like "bourgeois morality" or "Hindu morality". So no, it's not all the same.
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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by newguy » Mon Jan 06, 2020 9:42 pm

Sangoma wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 9:15 pm
You think so? I tend to think morality is universal. Details may vary, and opposing sides see the story and reasoning differently, but the principles are the same. Self sacrifice for a worthy cause is one of the most common themes in every culture.
The concept of morality is probably universal. Every culture seems to have a sense of what is "right" and what is "wrong." But like the wise feline has said, how this plays out is both wildly different and subtly different.

But what this doesn't equate to is "well if there is no universal standard then I can do whatever I want can't I?"

Yes and no. First, you can always do whatever you want....but there IS a standard of right and wrong. It is just defined by that particular culture at that particular time. Your behavior will be rewarded and punished by your cultures current laws and social norms.

And here is another thing....we are products of our culture. We are raised in it. We are imprinted by it from birth. Our entire world is set up to teach as at a very deep level what our society finds good and what it finds bad. And as humans, most of us are wired to want to fit it. We want to be good. We want to be liked. We want to be successful. It is going to be in most of our nature to try and fit in with our culture to an extent.

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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by Fat Cat » Mon Jan 06, 2020 10:15 pm

I'm willing to bet that the ones arguing for universal moral principles are also prone to left wing politics, which at its core is the subtle clairvoyance of knowing what's good for other people and then shoving it down their throats.
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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by nafod » Mon Jan 06, 2020 10:33 pm

Fat Cat wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 10:15 pm
I'm willing to bet that the ones arguing for universal moral principles are also prone to left wing politics...
???

I’ve always thought of left wingers as apologists for the rest of the world, arguing that each culture was unique and good, just mis-understood in its own way.
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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by Fat Cat » Mon Jan 06, 2020 10:45 pm

nafod wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 10:33 pm
Fat Cat wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 10:15 pm
I'm willing to bet that the ones arguing for universal moral principles are also prone to left wing politics...
???

I’ve always thought of left wingers as apologists for the rest of the world, arguing that each culture was unique and good, just mis-understood in its own way.
Yes, I think that's fair except that there is one culture--Western culture ("X")--which they demonize and abhor. That which is "X" is evil, that which is "not X" is to be celebrated, no matter the cost. In this instance, "not X" becomes the universal truth and moral north star.
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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by newguy » Mon Jan 06, 2020 11:16 pm

Fat Cat wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 10:45 pm
nafod wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 10:33 pm
Fat Cat wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 10:15 pm
I'm willing to bet that the ones arguing for universal moral principles are also prone to left wing politics...
???

I’ve always thought of left wingers as apologists for the rest of the world, arguing that each culture was unique and good, just mis-understood in its own way.
Yes, I think that's fair except that there is one culture--Western culture ("X")--which they demonize and abhor. That which is "X" is evil, that which is "not X" is to be celebrated, no matter the cost. In this instance, "not X" becomes the universal truth and moral north star.
But is there any group that doesn't do this? Isn't this ingrained into the very fabric of "groupness"?

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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by Fat Cat » Mon Jan 06, 2020 11:21 pm

To some extent, yes. However, in this case they have turned natural in-group preference inside out which is not conducive to any sense of well-being, spiritual or otherwise. It's a sort of guilt-ridden self hate.
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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by Alfred_E._Neuman » Mon Jan 06, 2020 11:38 pm

Fat Cat wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 11:21 pm
It's a sort of guilt-ridden self hate.
Get out of my head!!!!
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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by syaigh » Tue Jan 07, 2020 2:09 am

Be kind. Enjoy your life. (That's an active verb) Be kind. Have hard conversations with your kids and make sure they know you love them.
Miss Piggy wrote:Never eat more than you can lift.

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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by nafod » Tue Jan 07, 2020 3:42 pm

Bram wrote:
Mon Dec 30, 2019 8:34 pm
If any of you have Netflix, I recommend the episode with Jeong Kwan, she's a Buddhist nun chef, and she seems fulfilled. I'm not suggesting meditating 3 hours a day and living in a nunnery, but she does seem exceptionally happy and peaceful with her choices in life:

Watched it last night. Good episode (I've watched a lot of the Chef's Table episodes).
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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by Fat Cat » Tue Jan 07, 2020 10:05 pm

syaigh wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 2:09 am
Be kind. Enjoy your life. (That's an active verb) Be kind. Have hard conversations with your kids and make sure they know you love them.
I dunno, "be kind" on one level is great, but if we're discussing hard talks with kids, and particularly with reference to spirituality, I think teaching kids that there are times to not be kind is also appropriate. Kids today are so bombarded with over-socializing messages about bullying, racism, sexism, inclusivity, etc. that I don't think "be kind" is a new message for them. That's all they hear. To me, more kids today need the message that some things are worth standing up for and even fighting over. To frame it in this present discussion of spiritual well being, a person who can never feel anger, indignation, or the will to act violently has an insipid spirit, listless and weak.
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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by Bram » Wed Jan 08, 2020 1:32 am

Fat Cat wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 10:05 pm

I dunno, "be kind" on one level is great, but if we're discussing hard talks with kids, and particularly with reference to spirituality, I think teaching kids that there are times to not be kind is also appropriate. Kids today are so bombarded with over-socializing messages about bullying, racism, sexism, inclusivity, etc. that I don't think "be kind" is a new message for them. That's all they hear. To me, more kids today need the message that some things are worth standing up for and even fighting over. To frame it in this present discussion of spiritual well being, a person who can never feel anger, indignation, or the will to act violently has an insipid spirit, listless and weak.
Kindness is important as is standing up for yourself, or standing up for others.

As a surfer in San Diego I've had negative run-in's with all sorts of people, I've chosen the kind route 99% of the time and the angry route 1% of the time and both have been effective. Maybe it should have been 95/5 or 90/10, but kindness as a general rule has made my life in the water pretty easy. Knowing when to pull the "no more bullshit" card is an art that I could be quicker on, but yeah any personal tips?

----

Glad you enjoyed it Nafod! I liked the Niki Nakayama episode as well.
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