Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Shame and Having Fun

I went to a Phish concert last night. I have not been to one in a while and it was a wonderful, peak type of experience. I thought a lot about how fear infects my life on all levels and how I hold against feeling it. But also I notice that today I am feeling a little down. This often (if not all the time) happens after I enjoy myself in that way. I have been preprogrammed to punish myself for having a good time. This is shame at work.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

What Does Meditation Do? (Part II)

In my last post entitled "What Does Meditation Do?" I said that the primary purpose of meditation is to quiet the mind. I take that back. There are many things that meditation does and they all fit together into one experience and break down into many. Another thing that meditation does is that it brings awareness to how the mind functions. When you meditate you are observing your mind. You put yourself above your mind instead of unconsciously existing within it.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Urge To Create Systems

I am writing about my thoughts and I am aware of the urge to formulate a system that ties all these thoughts together. Perhaps an over arching system is there to be discovered. But I must also be aware that any system is possibly illusory. Although systems are helpful in terms of conceptualizing how groups of concepts fit together, it is possible to become a slave to the system whereby the system becomes more important than the concepts. Any system should be flexible. I would never want to discard a valid concept because it does not fit into a system.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Two Minds Of Meditation

Sometimes it seems like there are two minds while I am meditating. There is the mind that sneaks in and gets me to think about random things. There is also the "larger" mind that observes this "little" mind of distractions. I tend to associate the "larger" mind with the true self, the soul, that part of the self that exists below or beyond the programing of the little mind. I say programing because it is an accumulation of code amassed throughout the lifetime. It seems this code's primary purpose is protection on a macro (i.e., species) level. I've spoken about this in other posts. But also protection on a micro (i.e., individual level). This is how shame develops. The larger mind observes this happening but often falls asleep and the little mind becomes the only mind. When this happens the self becomes absorbed into the little mind. That becomes the only reality.

What Is The Story Of The Garden Of Eden About?

As with all literature, the Book of Genesis is open to interpretation. Literature that has stood the test of time (e.g., the Bible) must speak to people across generations at a very core level. Genesis, especially the parts about Adam and Eve speak of Man's alienation from God. And if you look at God (at least in part) as your inner most, true self, then the story of Adam is a story about how man has alienated himself from himself. This alienation comes chiefly from shame. Shame is the feeling that the self must hide because it is deserving of punishment or ridicule. It is the belief that there is something wrong with the self and therefore the self must either hide literally, or hide figuratively by pretending to be something other than itself. Over time, this pretended self begins to feel like the real self and the real self is forgotten. In Genesis, Adam ate of the tree of Knowledge. When he did this his eyes were opened and he was ashamed. He then sewed fig leaves together to hide his nakedness (i.e., his true self). God (his true self) came to look for him and Adam hid.

Note: some of the ideas in this passage are taken from a fantastic book called "Healing the Shame that Binds You" by John Bradshaw. Anyone who feels that too much shame is a problem in their lives should absolutely read this book. Here is a link:

My Religion

I was raised in the Roman Catholic tradition and still regularly attend services. I cannot say that I believe 100% of the dogma but I get meaning from the ritual, literature, and a lot of the teachings. As I said in an earlier post I tend to interpret the readings and sermons from the perspective that God or perhaps a piece of God resides in each of us and this is our inner most self or soul. So on Ash Wednesday when they talk about the "Father who sees in secret" - I hear this as my true self. I don't rule out the separate entity looking down on me. I think the two forms can exist at the same time.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Why Shouldn't I Compare Myself To Others?

Any comparison you make between yourself and someone else will always be false because no two people had the same experience growing up. Therefore, the mental programings (i.e., the minds) of different people will always react differently to the same situations based upon their past experiences. As such it makes no logical sense to feel bad about yourself based on a comparison between yourself and another person. This is just the mind trying to protect you albeit in a dysfunctional manner. This is protection on a macro or species level. Jealousy begets competition which weeds out the weak and increases the overall chance that the species will survive.

As such, the next time you notice yourself comparing yourself to another person, acknowledge this is what is happening then say your meaningful word internally and move on.