enkidu

On a quest to make sense of things

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Hello.

My name is Seraphim and I'm trying to be less of an aggressive pile of trash. All I do is make people upset. I want to control my own emotions or at least not care as much. I don't care if I'm right or wrong, I just don't want to get caught up in any arguments anymore. I get that you start to get into tough situations if you want too much or if you have too many expectations, and I want to rid myself of any argumentative "drive." I don't want to be one of those PC losers that can't control their own unstable emotions, so in effect they start controlling everyone else's behavior.

 

As far as I know, Laozi was very laissez-faire and just hung out with his ox. I want to be calm and surrounded by ox friends. Being a white guy from a Christian family as well as a millennial, I was naturally drawn to Asian religions and the orient in general. Though I remained a Christian and don't plan on converting to anything else, I feel as though it would be beneficial for me to delve deeper into some stoic philosophy to overcome my combative nature. I took a few years of Chinese history in college and this further contributed to my interest in Tao and Buddhism. Though the political/historical aspect failed to make a lasting impression on me, I fell in love with China's tradition of asceticism, esotericism, folk beliefs, and the readiness of hundreds of Chinese men to abandon their homes and royal courts to continue their lives deep in the caves, mountains, and bamboo forests, engaged in spiritual pursuits and a very simple lifestyle.

 

I bought a couple of books from HPB the other day. One of them being the Tao Te Ching and the other Taking the Path of Zen by Robert Aitken. I've gone through the Tao Te Ching before, but it was a fairly quick and casual read with not much thought that was put into it. The latter I have yet to read and make sense of. Hopefully I can find help and interpretations of the material here.

Thank you.

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Hello, enkidu, and welcome.

 

Your membership is approved and we're happy you found your way to us. We look forward to accompanying you on some of the way that you still have to go.

 

Please take the time to read the post pinned at the top of this Welcome page and take a look at the forum Terms and Rules.   This covers all you need to know when getting started.

 

For the¬†first week¬†you will be restricted to¬†ten¬†posts per day but after that you can post as much as you like. Also, until you‚Äôve posted¬†fifteen¬†times in the forums, you‚Äôll be a ‚ÄúJunior Bum‚ÄĚ with somewhat restricted access and will be allowed only¬†two¬†private messages per day.

 

Good luck in your pursuits and best wishes to you,

 

Fa Xin and the TDB team

 

Welcome Seraphim,

 

Good to have you, thank you for the detailed and honest introduction.  We have threads where we interpret verses from the Dao De Jing, that might be a good place to start.  I hope the forum helps! :) Enjoy

 

You are welcome to jump right in to the ongoing discussions, revive an older thread, start a new thread of your own, or start a discussion in the "Newcomer Corner" sub-forum to expand on your introduction or ask general questions to help you get started.

 

May you enjoy your time here.

 

Fa Xin

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As a fellow argumentative person, I recently noticed that although I can be angry, I am actually very uncomfortable with being angry.  It's a strange thing, but it seems that I was taught always to be "good" and so when I am angry (or sad etc...) then I don't feel comfortable and try to pretend I am happy.   And then I get really angry.

Anyway it's a big mess.

What I have found interesting is to allow myself to be angry and to sit in meditation and really embody it, minus the "story".   Just to accept and feel the energy let it be there, and soak in it.  This feels honest, and integrative.  And I feel some power returning to me, and I do'n't feel so angry.

It's a strange thing, but true.

Likewise for all other emotions, I allow the to be and soak in them ... but without any story, just the bare feeling energy.

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On 6/15/2019 at 11:44 PM, rideforever said:

As a fellow argumentative person, I recently noticed that although I can be angry, I am actually very uncomfortable with being angry.  It's a strange thing, but it seems that I was taught always to be "good" and so when I am angry (or sad etc...) then I don't feel comfortable and try to pretend I am happy.   And then I get really angry.

Anyway it's a big mess.

What I have found interesting is to allow myself to be angry and to sit in meditation and really embody it, minus the "story".   Just to accept and feel the energy let it be there, and soak in it.  This feels honest, and integrative.  And I feel some power returning to me, and I do'n't feel so angry.

It's a strange thing, but true.

Likewise for all other emotions, I allow the to be and soak in them ... but without any story, just the bare feeling energy.

By story I assume you mean that which got you angry in the first place? Are you saying that you try to allow anger to circulate without focusing too much on the cause of said anger? Usually when I am upset with something, I begin to replay the negative situation in my head over and over again. I end up dwelling on it all day instead of just acknowledging it and letting go. This only makes me feel worse in the long-run and makes me lash out on my fiancée and loved ones. I heard the idea of "not fighting against your inner wolf" from gnostics like Gurdjieff, but I never understood what that could lead to. He mentioned that if your anger or dark side doesn't manifest one way, it will manifest another since it needs a way to leave your system once it builds up; if someone doesn't fight or yell, then they turn to alcohol, drugs, self-destructive behavior, etc.

 

But how do I avoid that altogether? I'm sure it can't just be one of two choices; either battle it out or take to the bottle. I don't want any anger to manifest, I want to suppress it or crowd it out of my head because if it's in there and I allow it to fester then I only end up feeling worse. I want to be like the "cliff against which the waves continually break; but it stands firm and tames the fury of the water around it," as Marcus Aurelius described it. How do I begin "integrating" the negative energy instead of trying to dispel it?

Edited by enkidu
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2 hours ago, enkidu said:

it will manifest another since it needs a way to leave your system once it builds up; if someone doesn't fight or yell, then they turn to alcohol, drugs, self-destructive behavior, etc.

 

Yes it will.   

The thing is that going round and round in your head whilst seething ... it's actually a kind of loop, a kind of avoidance.   It is not actually the correct experience of anger, it's caught in a loop.

This is what I do, I relax deeply and do a body scan, in fact I do the first 10 mins of an exercise called "The Morning Sitting", on youtube, but any body scan is good.   That one is particulalrly good.

Then I am relaxed, and feeling my body.

Then I just wait and see what I feel, some gently feeling of betrayal in my left arm perhaps.

Sometimes there are several feelings, but I choose one, that I can feel easily,.

Then I go into it, I try to stretch it so that I pull it from my left arm into the chest and further, so that I can feel it fully.   I try to move my body in to.   Not forcing but going further in.

Then I relax and I let it flow inside me, I am not observing it, I am being angry.

Then there are words in the head "fighting with people words" or pictures, but I try to put these aside as they distract me, and just feel the angry feeling, the energy feeling and let flow, let it flow through my neural network, through my through, so that it works through.

It needs to work through.

Not too forced, not too light.

For about 5 minutes.

Then I relax.   Sometimes it is confusing so I relax, return to the body.

Then I choose another feeling that arises, or I recall a bad feeling from the past when I was sad, ashamed, when somebody died, or rejected me.

And I choose one of the feelings, and I go into it again, slowly ... but to let flow through.

Sometimes there are happy and angry feelings together.   It is confusing, but I choose one.

Sometimes the happy feeling turns out to be a fake-happy feeling, like trying to convince myself.

And let it flow through.

Let myself be angry, sad, mad, bad ... whatever, be happy.

And so on.

It is very good technique.

It gets easier, at the beginning it is more difficult, but just go slow.

If you can take a particular feeling, stretch it over as much of the body as it will go ... and let it work right through you, into the blood, raining inside, raining the feelings.

Not too much, not too little.

Then rest.

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Hi Enkidu,  this quest of yours, to abandon a combative nature, is very difficult.  We all have attachments to things, the mind works that way and it's unavoidable.  This attachment to things naturally makes people combative.  Men have more testosterone, some more than others, and some are warriors.  There's nothing wrong with having a warrior mentality + testosterone because it's natural.  The problem is finding a useful outlet, or shall we say, something noble worth defending.

 

So, how do you get it under control?  Well you don't really, completely, but it becomes possible to weather the storm with inner peace ... most of the time.

 

The only thing that really helps stop a combative nature, which I am very familiar with, is to just get real sick of it.  Realize it is a waste of energy (in most cases).  Just say "fuck it"  No fucks given.

 

The requirement for progress is meditation.  No-mind, non thinking meditation plus a big giant dose of self honesty.  Without self honesty there's no hope of progress.  Then after some decades of meditation you get what's called clarity, which helps.

 

Wait, I just got a brilliant idea!  It's an age old, time tested cure for combative nature, castration.  Simple.

Edited by Starjumper
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Letting such emotions be and settle is good but after that.. thought is energy, a good hard work out helps.  Gets out the knots in the body and mind.  It hard but we feed our fires, our dark thoughts chase themselves like a dog after its tail.  Distraction and moving on to something productive can also help.   Throw your mind elsewhere.. when possible. 

Edited by thelerner
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On 6/16/2019 at 12:44 AM, rideforever said:

What I have found interesting is to allow myself to be angry and to sit in meditation and really embody it, minus the "story".   Just to accept and feel the energy let it be there, and soak in it.  This feels honest, and integrative.  And I feel some power returning to me, and I do'n't feel so angry.

It's a strange thing, but true.

Likewise for all other emotions, I allow the to be and soak in them ... but without any story, just the bare feeling energy.

 

Rideforever, this is "golden" imo.

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12 hours ago, enkidu said:

By story I assume you mean that which got you angry in the first place? Are you saying that you try to allow anger to circulate without focusing too much on the cause of said anger? Usually when I am upset with something, I begin to replay the negative situation in my head over and over again. I end up dwelling on it all day instead of just acknowledging it and letting go.

 

Here's a post/practice to check out,...

https://www.thedaobums.com/topic/40548-neutral-witness-preliminary-foundation-practice/

 

And wow, such helpful ideas in this thread... really great to see everyone adding their own wisdom.

Edited by Fa Xin
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20 hours ago, rideforever said:

 

Yes it will.   

The thing is that going round and round in your head whilst seething ... it's actually a kind of loop, a kind of avoidance.   It is not actually the correct experience of anger, it's caught in a loop.

This is what I do, I relax deeply and do a body scan, in fact I do the first 10 mins of an exercise called "The Morning Sitting", on youtube, but any body scan is good.   That one is particulalrly good.

Then I am relaxed, and feeling my body.

Then I just wait and see what I feel, some gently feeling of betrayal in my left arm perhaps.

Sometimes there are several feelings, but I choose one, that I can feel easily,.

Then I go into it, I try to stretch it so that I pull it from my left arm into the chest and further, so that I can feel it fully.   I try to move my body in to.   Not forcing but going further in.

Then I relax and I let it flow inside me, I am not observing it, I am being angry.

Then there are words in the head "fighting with people words" or pictures, but I try to put these aside as they distract me, and just feel the angry feeling, the energy feeling and let flow, let it flow through my neural network, through my through, so that it works through.

It needs to work through.

Not too forced, not too light.

For about 5 minutes.

Then I relax.   Sometimes it is confusing so I relax, return to the body.

Then I choose another feeling that arises, or I recall a bad feeling from the past when I was sad, ashamed, when somebody died, or rejected me.

And I choose one of the feelings, and I go into it again, slowly ... but to let flow through.

Sometimes there are happy and angry feelings together.   It is confusing, but I choose one.

Sometimes the happy feeling turns out to be a fake-happy feeling, like trying to convince myself.

And let it flow through.

Let myself be angry, sad, mad, bad ... whatever, be happy.

And so on.

It is very good technique.

It gets easier, at the beginning it is more difficult, but just go slow.

If you can take a particular feeling, stretch it over as much of the body as it will go ... and let it work right through you, into the blood, raining inside, raining the feelings.

Not too much, not too little.

Then rest.

That sounds self-provoked. Do you employ the same methods when you become angry throughout the course of the day? Does deliberately invoking anger every morning make it easier for you to react less emphatically to frustrating situations when they arise spontaneously?

 

Thank you for all the answers, they are interesting.

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The first practice I recommend is mindfulness. Learn to notice your emotions as they arise. That's hard, because often the emotion (especially fear or anger) already "has" you and it's not easy to be mindful once your emotions are already running the show. When you notice the emotion, it's common to judge it. For example, you may be happy, so you tell yourself "I'm happy, isn't that good", or you may be angry, so you tell yourself "I'm angry, that's not good - I'm not a good person." When that happens STOP IT! Judging your emotions creates a feedback loop that reinforces whatever emotion you are feeling. Whether good or bad that will ultimately lead to imbalance and become a source of pain for you. Instead of judgement just allow yourself to feel what you are feeling. Feeling is fine, but mind your actions. Emotions are like entities: they want to jump from person to person so don't let them. You may need to honestly tell whomever you are with that you are feeling overly stimulated, and politely withdraw for a few minutes to sit with your emotions. After a few minutes, when you feel some balance, you can explain what you were feeling and talk about it.

 

This is a technique that I use. It works but it takes practice. You'll make mistakes. That's normal. That's OK, just be kind to yourself and try to forgive yourself when you fall short.

Edited by Lost in Translation
duplicate word
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1 hour ago, enkidu said:

That sounds self-provoked.

 

I find this to be excellent for re-integrating fragments of myself.

After a week of doing this, muddling through, I noticed that I have started to smile at people with my whole top lip so that all my upper teeth are visible.   Something I never did before.

It has a deep effect; but it is also not so easy to do.

People are mindful, they suppress, they encourage etc... that's all easy peasy.   But those are either re-conditioning yourself with attitudes about your emotions. or developing a maintenance awareness or control on your emotions.   

All of which is a fake wake to deal with yourself.

If you are repeatedly aggressive towards people what does it mean ?
It means that there are orphans parts of your emotional body that you are not in contact with, they are dissociated from you, and the solution is re-integration which might mean feeling the underlying pain (anger protects pain), or actually embodying the anger rather than sneering at people, actually feeling it insideyou.

Edited by rideforever
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There's one way that helps some.  It's so common and obvious we neglect it, but that is the common brush down at the end of all tai chi forms and most chi kung forms  (at least ones that don't do just the brush down :rolleyes: )

 

It's an energetic brush down, push down from throat level to belly and you can also breath out with the "hahhhh" sound, the heart sound, while you brush down.  Best not to raise your hands above neck level, and you can fold your hands over your lower belly.  Make sure to use belly breathing and not chest breathing.

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I used to struggle with anger issues, but no longer do. If you want to retain your Christian faith then I suggest you read some books written by Neil T. Anderson: 'Victory Over The Darkness', 'The Bondage Breaker', and 'Getting Anger Under Control'. These books helped me immensely on a spiritual level. I could tell you a real story of transformation (but now is not the time).

 

Here is a phrase to consider:

Anger is your REACTION to an unmet GOAL.

 

So, when you find yourself in a situation ask yourself - what's my goal here? Is it a goal that I should even have? Does my reaction serve my best interest? Is my reaction helpful to others? I think if you pause to ask yourself these things you'll soon calm down and realize it's not worth getting worked up over.

 

Ultimately, though, your not going to "think" your way out of this. You're going to have to "feel". To do this you'll need to change your subconscious. I've used Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) to replay events in my life to change the way I feel about them. This will help to alter your automatic, emotional reaction to situations.

 

Recently I started doing seated meditation using the book 'The Mind Illuminated' as my guide. I'm feeling a real difference and as an added bonus I sleep less.

Edited by escott
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