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4 minutes ago, anshino23 said:

Very interesting, thank you. I'll have to contemplate this for a bit.

 

I find the Daoist take on 'psychology' absolutely fascinating. It's a shame it's been dumbed down so much by the popular Daoist teachers.

 

 

 

6 minutes ago, anshino23 said:

If I'm understanding it correctly, the five spirits (Shen, Hun, Yi, Po, Zhi) comprise the acquired self, and if the five movements of these spirits were ever to become fully harmonised, they would reconverge, and the Yuan Shen would unify - leading to Wu, the Awakening. Is that your understanding too?

 

Yes and no :)

 

There's more to it than that - but as a simple mental model, yes that matches.

 

Though the harmonisation of the five lights is not the cause... The hamonisation starts another process that  transforms the function of the 5 spirits into the De. This in essence is the 'purest' one can become as a human - think sages and saints... but it's not considered enlightenment.

 

Some traditions (actually most, I believe) bypass all of that and shoot straight for the Yuan Shen and awakening - much quicker, but leaves a ton of 'unfinished business'... some are able to simply drop all of that at a certain stage and progress to enlightenment - but if they don't manage it in one lifetime it can backfire badly (think dodgy sex-crazed gurus).

 

 

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1 minute ago, liminal_luke said:

I´ve heard mention of a positive kind of high-functioning fearlessness that some people develop as a result of spiritual practice.  Is it possible to act "as if" afraid -- to run from the falling branch, to avoid touching the hot burner -- without actually feeling fear as most of us know it?

 

Well I've had a recent transformation in respect to fear... though it's the kind of flinch response type of fear that's completely gone. Fear, as bigger overarching thing still exists - for example I can certainly muster up fear of - say losing a loved one. But no more jumpiness or sudden reflexive panic.

 

I've already managed to burn myself several times... Didn't close my eyes as a branch smashed into my face during a bike ride... Almost started a fight unintentionally...

 

Not many positives to be honest... though I imagine it would be useful for martial arts or certain sports... and it's nice to not feel suddenly panicked.

 

It's apparently the result of having fully opened a certain channel - not transforming of the function of the Zhi (sadly)

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33 minutes ago, liminal_luke said:

 

I´m interested in staying alive and if a situation-commensurate degree of fear will help me with this goal I´m all for it.  Still, I have heard mention of a positive kind of high-functioning fearlessness that some people develop as a result of spiritual practice.  Is it possible to act "as if" afraid -- to run from the falling branch, to avoid touching the hot burner -- without actually feeling fear as most of us know it?

I think it’s important to discern between “reflexive reactions” to potential threatening situations that may cause physical harm to the compulsive fear complex that results in unhealthy analysis-paralysis or chronic depression due to fear. 
 

Let me narrate two situations in my own experience. One was from several years ago, when I was cut off by a rude driver and I was still given to road rage. I chased the guy to a stop sign and pulled up next to him and glared angrily. He got out of the car and came up to my door, speaking in an Eastern European accent, threatening to beat me up and “keek my azz” :) 

My momentary reaction of anger (triggered by fear caused by the dangerous driving), faded away and I realized if I got down and had it out with the guy, I’d probably hurt him. He might hurt me, but we’d end up embroiled in legal action. So I rolled my window down, looked him in the eye and told him, “if I wanted to, I could beat the snot out of you, but I’m letting it go as I don’t want to go to prison afterwards.” 
And I drove away...the guy was left standing, mouth agape. The road rage was a combination of my reaction to being almost run off the road and then compulsive fear/ego kicked in to seek retribution. At the point of escalation, my wisdom mind took over and saw me through what could easily have become a sticky situation. 
 

Several years later, I was driving with my family to a friend’s home and we got hit by a blizzard. As I drove off the freeway to take a sharp exit to my friend’s home, the road, slippery with the snow resulted in my car spinning out of control. I was probably going at around 35 mph at that point. I relaxed, and let go of any desire to force any outcome, the car spun around 360 degrees and came to rest at the foot of the exit. I got back on the road and drove to my destination. Neither did my heart beat fast, nor did I stiffen up in fear to avoid the situation. I simply relaxed into the thing, and strangely enough, time slowed down, what must’ve happened in a few seconds seemed like several minutes. 
 

I do believe that once realization occurs, the compulsive fearfulness simply dissipates. We might still react to a dangerous situation, but there is no adrenal rush and everything slows down as the wisdom mind takes over. 
 

The other thing I notice is that the tendency to play out “if this, then that” kind of scenarios in anticipation of danger (which often doesn’t exist), simply disappears. 

Edited by dwai
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45 minutes ago, liminal_luke said:

 

I´m interested in staying alive and if a situation-commensurate degree of fear will help me with this goal I´m all for it.  Still, I have heard mention of a positive kind of high-functioning fearlessness that some people develop as a result of spiritual practice.  Is it possible to act "as if" afraid -- to run from the falling branch, to avoid touching the hot burner -- without actually feeling fear as most of us know it?

 

Well, having spent many years practicing exclusively things that aim to refine and sharpen one's feeling competence, I'm not a fan of "not feeling" in any context.  Rather, the goal is not feeling excessively/erroneously/inadequately/in response to repressed old feelings brought out of hiding by current triggers and mistaken for current.  What I think is the real (and desirable) "high-functioning fearlessness" is a state of expanded consciousness where unnecessary fear simply does not arise, and the necessary kind is not saddled by all the bulk of earlier repressed fears jumping on the bandwagon.  A good practice helps in this respect.  Sometimes a little, sometimes tremendously.

 

To refer to taiji sparring experience again, it can, e.g., minimize or eliminate fear of physical aggression.  You are not likely to fear a big, strong opponent if you don't feel helpless at all, and not feeling helpless, feeling competent and "together" instead and deciding with inner calm how to handle him, is a state that doesn't allow fear to arise.  Or take fear of public speaking or public performance -- how can someone who doesn't rely in her self-worth on "what others think of me" be as fearful as even some world-famous performers are who throw up before the performance because they are terrified every time?  Setting up one's spiritual (for lack of a better word) inner independence from social "success" would definitely be the cure for that.  On the other end of the spectrum there's shameless people who don't care what others think simply because they don't care for others at all, don't perceive them as live feeling human beings, and can be "fearless" in their loss of social graces because of that, because of not feeling, of not having the foggiest what empathy is, no cognizance of actually having impact on others' feelings.  Unfeeling people tend to be oblivious to the feelings of others -- and cruel as a practical outcome.

 

The unfeeling kind of "spiritual" is not my cup of tea.  The fine-tuned, appropriate, precise, competent kind of feeling is.

 

Oh, and "pretending" to be afraid when you're not is a useful self-defense method in some situations.  Sun Tzu has some sound advice in that matter.  When strong, appear weak, etc..  

Edited by Taomeow
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I don't know if this is really on topic but these stories caused me to remember one of my own road rage stories. One time I was driving down the road minding my own, and this guy pulls up next to me and decides that we wants to communicate with sign language. So I look over and he is giving me the bird and yelling something that I can't make out as both of our windows are up, and for what ever reason it just seemed like this was part of this cosmic joke and I couldn't help myself but started to get this huge grin on my face because the situation just seemed hilarious. I guess he was not expecting this, and suddenly he had the most unusual expression on his face and then just sort of drove off.

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50 minutes ago, freeform said:

but if they don't manage it in one lifetime it can backfire badly (think dodgy sex-crazed gurus).


This is pretty interesting and strange. Could you expand on this a little more? Is it like... more Qi = more potential for the acquired mind/defilements to get out of control? Or is there more/something else?

I have heard it from Buddhist teachers that those who develop concentration to a high degree but later neglect virtue face a great danger. Is this a similar idea? Wouldn't this be an erroneous way to practice then?

I have also heard Damo say, I'm pretty sure, you can't go really deep into Alchemy without virtue/strong moral compass. But he also said that this can break down I think... Maybe I misunderstood though.

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11 minutes ago, dmattwads said:

I don't know if this is really on topic but these stories caused me to remember one of my own road rage stories. One time I was driving down the road minding my own, and this guy pulls up next to me and decides that we wants to communicate with sign language. So I look over and he is giving me the bird and yelling something that I can't make out as both of our windows are up, and for what ever reason it just seemed like this was part of this cosmic joke and I couldn't help myself but started to get this huge grin on my face because the situation just seemed hilarious. I guess he was not expecting this, and suddenly he had the most unusual expression on his face and then just sort of drove off.

From my point of view,  fear has to be talked about in context, people telling their stories. Stories about what make us feel the symptoms of fear.

Edited by Sketch
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9 minutes ago, Piyadasi said:



I have heard it from Buddhist teachers that those who develop concentration to a high degree but later neglect virtue face a great danger. Is this a similar idea? Wouldn't this be an erroneous way to practice then?
 

 

This is very interesting as I have often wondered what karma someone makes that causes them to become an Asura, but to me this would seem to be one way to do so.

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53 minutes ago, freeform said:

 it's the kind of flinch response type of fear that's completely gone.

There's a few ways to get deflinchified. Shotguns and shooting in general go a long way.

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Just now, Sketch said:

There's a few ways to get deflinchified. Shotguns and shooting in general go a long way.

 

Yeah I suppose after someone gets shot with a shotgun they are not going to flinch very much after that.... jk lol

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Just now, dmattwads said:

 

Yeah I suppose after someone gets shot with a shotgun they are not going to flinch very much after that.... jk lol

I was thinking more of shooting at Clay pigeons. The other might create more of a post traumatic stress situation. 

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Just now, Sketch said:

I was thinking more of shooting at Clay pigeons. The other might create more of a post traumatic stress situation. 

 

I knew what you meant, I couldn't help making a joke :D

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1 minute ago, dmattwads said:

 

I knew what you meant, I couldn't help making a joke :D

In the face of fear, even presented as a concept,  gallows humor is to be expected. 

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Just now, Sketch said:

 

In the face of fear, even presented as a concept,  gallows humor is to be expected. 

 

Long ago I was in the military, there seems to be lots of that sort of humor there. I guess it helps one to cope with people trying to kill you.

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You might ask what is to not be afraid?

As a young man my grandfather worked with a number of First World War veterans and therefore heard some pretty horrible stories.

He was in conversation with one of these men and made some remark about the difficulty of coping with extreme fear. The man told him that he had gone through the whole war as a front line soldier but had never really felt true fear. He "just got on with it".

 

He told how he returned home, without a scratch, and resumed work. One day he was walking through a long unlit rail tunnel, when he tripped over what turned out to be a sack of vegetables. He said that he was there in the dark and was suddenly back between the trenches and the sack was a body. He said that he was too scared to move for some time literally paralyzed with fear. When he could move he ran, just kept running until he could go no more. So whatever fear is, it is not necessarily a passing moment.

Edited by rocala
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18 minutes ago, rocala said:

You might ask what is to not be afraid?

 

Hi rocala,

 

Some say...

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Others say...

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- Anand

 

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1 hour ago, rocala said:

So whatever fear is, it is not necessarily a passing moment.


Yeah, sometimes it gets what I would call “stuck.”

 

Which brings us back to the book Liminal mentioned, and “repressed old feelings brought out by current triggers..” mentioned by TM.

 

When we were children, our house was hit by a tornado. We had all been in the living room watching the purple lightning dancing across an oddly green tinted sky. The winds were strong, and the trees were bending. Then everything went still. I went still too, as we heard what sounded like a hundred ghost trains barreling towards us. And then the most terrifying thing in my young life happened - my dad said, “run!” The basement door wouldn’t open due to back pressure until the dining room wall blew out - debris flying everywhere. And as I sat on the top stair leading the rest of the way to what would have been considered safety if the threat hadn’t already roared past us, I let out one of those blood curdling screams normally reserved for horror movies. I sat there shaking rather violently for what could have been a rather long time, only nodding my head yes or no in response to my father’s questions, until our grandmother arrived to bring us to her house for the night.

 

Having read the book Liminal suggested, I must say my father was rather brilliant in allowing my shakes to play out, and in providing the openness for me to find my own way through the terror and fear. My next younger sister, for whatever reasons, did not go through the same process of expression and feeling and continued to experience very strong fear reactions to even reports of storms moving into the area. Even when we were adults I would receive phone calls at work, and feel compelled to leave to simply go sit with her, and provide the reassurance of “other” she ended up feeling dependent on.

 

Even though I looked the more traumatized sitting on that step, she was the one who ended up carrying the unexpressed trauma for years. We’re in our 40’s now, and she eventually found her way through what got “stuck” that night.

Edited by ilumairen
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Not flinching to a sudden loud sound, say unseen dog bark, means I'm doing something right.  

 

I think one of the fruits of practice is we react less w/ fear and anxiety than we used to.  Though for me, it comes and goes.  

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2 minutes ago, thelerner said:

Not flinching to a sudden loud sound, say unseen dog bark, means I'm doing something right.  

 

I think one of the fruits of practice is we react less w/ fear and anxiety than we used to.  Though for me, it comes and goes.  

 

I think as I continue to practice I fear the outside world very little, but my own mind becomes more scary.

 

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"fear is the mind killer", which  I believe is a line in a Dune novel.

 

Panic is fear run wild,  meaning less survival chances compared to fear with some measure of reasoning.

For instance in a potential drowning situation one could remember to try a body float method instead of

failing at the water.   Btw,  I knew a guy who could not swim and thus was afraid of being water over his

head in depth.  I told him to just use the very easily  done  dead-man's float if that happened and he said,

"that's what I'll be a, dead man floating"....:rolleyes: ;)

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upon seeing death die, fear can longer arise.

 

and something about rhino's having no place to stick their horn....

Edited by old3bob

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Practice helps .  When I was young and used to karate tournament , I would not  feel  fear , but a type of nervousness that would  cause a tremble in my lead leg  , even if I switched sides .  Damn annoying  !

 

That didnt go away until after I did some aikido training  ( nothing like any aikido I did later , this was the 'old school ' type of aikido ) . They got me to stand there and came in screaming into attack with a live katana and stopped  just before contact  with the top of my forehead .  I was to keep concentrating on my hara , no matter what . Eventually it worked .   I was able to generate a calm , non aggressive , but competent and fearless demeanour .  It helped immensely in my hospital work with troublesome out of it patients ... mostly it only took my presence, or my look to 'sort things out ' . Actually, sometimes , in such situations, nurses would specifically ask for me , even if it was not in my ward allocation .

 

  Last year I waded into a crazy situation; a guy was getting a beating in the middle of the main highway, at the main intersection (out on the coast at the local 'little city' ) .  It was a 5 way intersection and all the traffic was at a standstill. I pulled over got out and told them to stop it .  The aggressor  had the other on the ground, beating him, his GF screaming , everyone in shock watching ! The aggressor turned on me and I gave him my  ( as a Japanese friend describes it ) ' angry smiling'  . His expression immediately changed from aggression to being unsure , and he bolted to his car and took off .

 

It wasnt until I went back to my car that I thought " What the hell am I doing  !  I am too old for this , got a metal hip , arthritis , etc etc . It could have gone bad .... real life altercation is nothing like 'training' (though it helps of course )  .   Not so much fear , but a good dose of caution would be good to cultivate for me now .  

 

 

 

.... or alternatively, just .........

 

 

 

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57 minutes ago, Nungali said:

 

It wasnt until I went back to my car that I thought " What the hell am I doing  !  I am too old for this , got a metal hip , arthritis , etc etc . It could have gone bad .... real life altercation is nothing like 'training' (though it helps of course )  .   Not so much fear , but a good dose of caution would be good to cultivate for me now .  

 


I have had a few of those, “what was I thinking?” moments..

 

One of which involved me drinking too much and crashing at a male friend’s house, only to have his ex girlfriend (with her child in her arms) show up and start kicking the door at O’ holy hang over a.m. I actually heard the door crack from the force of the kicks before he finally answered it, and I briefly went back to sleep - only to be awoken by her saying something about cutting his heart out. I mumbled a resigned “aww shit” to myself as I got up, and wandered into the kitchen where she had her infant (which wasn’t his) on her hip, and a butcher knife in her other hand. 
 

What did I do? 

 

I said, “not in front of the baby,” and held my hands out to take her.. the baby leaned towards me, mom handed her over, and we went into the living room.. leaving angry/crazy ex with the knife and him to work out whatever the hell madness they were working on.

 

Eventually they wandered together into the living room where me and the kid were chilling on the couch, and she had a long chat with me about all the things that were bothering her.
 

Yeah, he wasn’t real happy with me leaving her with the knife and all.. but it worked out.

 

Regarding situations like this, I used to tell people I wasn’t smart enough to be afraid.. much easier than trying to explain..

Edited by ilumairen
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21 minutes ago, ilumairen said:

 

Regarding situations like this, I used to tell people I wasn’t smart enough to be afraid.. much easier than trying to explain..

 

I generally think that the only way to really know someone is in real life, that online interactions are a distant second best.  Then again, maybe not: there´s no way the Bums would buy a line like the above.  

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some tangents people might want to kick around:

 

fear of the unknown

"what you fear shall come upon you"

a leap of faith greater than the fear to do so

"Fear not"

dare devils risking death to feel alive

"nothing to fear but fear itself"

"the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom"

malice and greed are linked to fear

stop feeding your fear

 

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