Author Topic: Unprogramming unhelpful beliefs  (Read 900 times)

Offline Samana Johann

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Re: Unprogramming unhelpful beliefs
« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2017, 10:00:21 am »
I was brought up as a christian, my father had an impact on me with his religion and i find myself now with certain beliefs that are more than unhelpful they downright lead me to suffering.

They are:

If it feels good it cant be ok and i should feel shame.

I dont deserve to feel good.



Placing shame and fear on the right place, Upasaka/ika Arkena, is the cause of feeling good and it's not a matter of "deserve" but of "earning" and having joy requires a lot of moral shame and fear but that does not come along with much burden if understood rightly, the cause of the prerequisite of the path to awakening: good conscious.

It's of course sometimes difficult to leave old believes and start to be ashamed of what should one be ashamed and to have no shame and joy of what is proper to rejoice. It often goes also against the grain of usuals in certain relationships and sociaty but when seeking relation with Noble Ones and people of integrity, one does not feel sorrow to leave behind others.

Most importand for everyone who does not like to fall upward and one of the three AN 3.40: Adhipateyya Sutta — Governing Principles

Its also good to understand appamadain this sense which is mostly wrong translated, since many have developed upekkha rather of what should be made first.

Don't be heedless! Still it's a soft translation and in the Origin countries simlpy "Don't be conscienceless!"


An essay by Bhikkhu Bodhi: The Guardians of the World


And here is a good talk on shame by Bhante Thanissaro: In the Eyes of the Wise - The Buddha’s Teachings on Honor & Shame

Much joy by exploring. Anumodana!
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Offline Rahul

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Re: Unprogramming unhelpful beliefs
« Reply #16 on: June 11, 2017, 07:57:16 pm »
Good luck with that.

Even if you succeed in transcending your conditioning, both good and bad, it still continues to function automatically in your body/mind. Without some deep insight/realization through meditation practice even such transcendence is difficult.

Traditionally in Buddhism the Noble Eightfold Path is recommended in order to condition good habits and drop bad ones, as a way to reduce suffering. The instance I gave in my earlier post is an example of developing the habit of "right speech."
The fact that one has to rely on conditioning, shows that the person is not living mindfully always. Getting over conditioning doesn't require any rigorous meditation. It requires living with mindfulness. Now one may argue that practicing anything, including being mindful, is a kind of mental conditioning. Practice is often conditioning, not always. When one begins practicing mindfulness, it may be a form of conditioning. But soon, mindfulness takes over the conditioning.

Conditioning is rightly compared to 'programming'. And programming means automation. Once a response to a situation has been 'hard-coded', the mind stops bothering about decision making in that situation and initializes the programmed response. This, precisely, is killing mindfulness. Thus, conditioning of any kind, be it good or bad, is not recommended.

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: Unprogramming unhelpful beliefs
« Reply #17 on: June 12, 2017, 01:08:21 am »
Getting over conditioning doesn't require any rigorous meditation. It requires living with mindfulness.

My experience is that I am more mindful with a regular meditation practice.

Offline Rahul

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Re: Unprogramming unhelpful beliefs
« Reply #18 on: June 12, 2017, 01:42:41 am »
Getting over conditioning doesn't require any rigorous meditation. It requires living with mindfulness.

My experience is that I am more mindful with a regular meditation practice.

Mindfulness is subtle form of meditation. Just like warming up exercises, advisably, should precede heavy exercises. Being mindful will increase one's capacity of concentration and will make meditation more effective. Of course, one who does heavy exercises (meditation) would find warming up activities (mindfulness) easier...
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Offline zafrogzen

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Re: Unprogramming unhelpful beliefs
« Reply #19 on: June 12, 2017, 10:26:48 am »
When first learning to drive a car we had to consciously think about each action, but once we’ve practiced enough, driving becomes automatic and effortless. That’s because driving and all the actions it entails is a conditioned habit.

The part of our brain that makes conscious decisions, while obviously vital, is just a sliver of our overall mental activity. Our brains and bodies come equipped with a good deal of built-in pre-programing for the control of basic bodily functions, such a breathing and digestion. But most of our functions and abilities are learned and programed into our brains by repetition, until they’ve become automatic and unconscious. A simple act such as walking across the room, which we can do without thinking about it, requires so many rapid, sophisticated calculations, that we’d be frozen in place, unable to move, if we had to consciously decide every action we took.

Becoming mindful of our conditioning doesn't mean to get rid of it -- not possible or even desirable. It means changing harmful mental habits into more beneficial ways of functioning -- which can only come about when we have stepped back enough to see clearly what is going on here. Mindfulness is a result of samadhi and insight, not the other way around. Trying to be "unattached" without that experience is futile.
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline Rahul

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Re: Unprogramming unhelpful beliefs
« Reply #20 on: June 12, 2017, 08:39:33 pm »
When first learning to drive a car we had to consciously think about each action, but once we’ve practiced enough, driving becomes automatic and effortless. That’s because driving and all the actions it entails is a conditioned habit.

The part of our brain that makes conscious decisions, while obviously vital, is just a sliver of our overall mental activity. Our brains and bodies come equipped with a good deal of built-in pre-programing for the control of basic bodily functions, such a breathing and digestion. But most of our functions and abilities are learned and programed into our brains by repetition, until they’ve become automatic and unconscious. A simple act such as walking across the room, which we can do without thinking about it, requires so many rapid, sophisticated calculations, that we’d be frozen in place, unable to move, if we had to consciously decide every action we took.

Becoming mindful of our conditioning doesn't mean to get rid of it -- not possible or even desirable. It means changing harmful mental habits into more beneficial ways of functioning -- which can only come about when we have stepped back enough to see clearly what is going on here. Mindfulness is a result of samadhi and insight, not the other way around. Trying to be "unattached" without that experience is futile.

If your mind can do something automatically, you can of course do it while you are fully aware - mindful - of it. How did you reach this level of automation in the first place, when there was no automation to begin with? Of course you consciously learned how to walk across a room with many objects lying around, of course you consciously learned how to drive a car. Did you get frozen when you were practicing/learning these skills? If not, how can one be frozen now, after learning those skills to the level of automation?

Automation is a strategy of your mind to split the attention. While driving car effortlessly, your mind is in auto-pilot mode, meaning that it allocates minimal processing power to the act of driving, and with the remaining power it drifts away into other directions - thinking of work, coffee, last vacation... blah blah blah... THIS precisely is scattering of mind. THIS precisely dilutes your ability to focus and concentrate. THIS precisely is the reason why meditation is so difficult for many.

By consciously being in the moment, i.e. being mindful, you are training your mind to focus on the thing at hand and not wander around in different directions. This is groundwork that helps you later to strengthen your focus and achieve meditative states easier.

You may refer to walking meditation's purpose. The person walks and pays attention to each movement of the feet, or each sensation in the feet. They override the automation and consciously feel either each sensation or each movement. This is the very first exercise Buddha prescribed to newcomers to develop mindfulness. Because it helps in attaining meditative statues such as samadhi. Not the other way around.

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: Unprogramming unhelpful beliefs
« Reply #21 on: June 13, 2017, 01:27:06 am »
Mindfulness is subtle form of meditation.

Or vice versa?   :wink1:

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: Unprogramming unhelpful beliefs
« Reply #22 on: June 13, 2017, 01:30:19 am »
Mindfulness is a result of samadhi and insight, not the other way around.

I think it's more like samadhi and insight are a result of mindfulness. 

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: Unprogramming unhelpful beliefs
« Reply #23 on: June 13, 2017, 01:06:44 pm »
Ha, ha. Are you sure it isn't Mindlessness instead? That looks more like samadhi (no thought) to me.

Quote
"If you don’t understand the path as it meets your eyes,
How can you know the way as you walk?

I humbly say to those who study the mystery,
Don’t waste time."

Shitou
« Last Edit: June 13, 2017, 01:11:51 pm by zafrogzen »
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline Rahul

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Re: Unprogramming unhelpful beliefs
« Reply #24 on: June 13, 2017, 09:40:24 pm »
Ha, ha. Are you sure it isn't Mindlessness instead? That looks more like samadhi (no thought) to me.

Quote
"If you don’t understand the path as it meets your eyes,
How can you know the way as you walk?

I humbly say to those who study the mystery,
Don’t waste time."

Shitou

Humility, fellow traveler, humility!

It seems that you take mindfulness to be synonymous with having thoughts. How does 'mindlessness' lead to samadhi? Do you imply that mindlessness = absence of thoughts?

Mindfulness doesn't mean focusing on a thought. Mindfulness is about being aware. It could be about being aware of thoughts, or physical sensations, or the absence of thoughts and sensations, or being aware of serenity of the mind. Samadhi is precisely single pointed focus on subject of meditation. And subject of meditation could be a thought. For your information, first jhana of Buddhism is about focusing on a thought, with applied and sustained thought being an element of the first jhana. And yes, when you achieve fist jhana, you are in a state of samadhi, and during that state of samadhi you are focusing on a thought! You may want to refer to Buddhist Jhanas and definition of samadhi.

Mindfulness, thus, is milder form of concentration, and hence it does help in stronger form of concentration = samadhi. But conversely, samadhi does help improve mindfulness, too. Of course if you can exercise with 15 kg dumbbells, you can do so even better with 5 kg ones. Logically though, one should practice mindfulness to facilitate achieve samadhi.

Offline Pixie

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Re: Unprogramming unhelpful beliefs
« Reply #25 on: June 13, 2017, 11:33:16 pm »
Quote from: Rahul
You may refer to walking meditation's purpose.

For anyone who's interested, Ajahn Sucitto provides some instructions for walking meditation from page 37 of this little meditation book:

https://forestsangha.org/teachings/books/meditation-a-way-of-awakening?language=English


"This is the very first exercise Buddha prescribed to newcomers to develop mindfulness"


Could you provide a sutta reference for that, please Rahul ?


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« Last Edit: June 14, 2017, 12:35:13 am by Pixie »
May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.
May they all be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
May they never be deprived of true happiness devoid of any suffering.
May they abide in great impartiality, free from attachment to loved ones and aversion to others.

Offline Pixie

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Re: Unprogramming unhelpful beliefs
« Reply #26 on: June 14, 2017, 12:40:30 am »
Regarding sati (mindfulness) , this is a 5 minute video of Ajahn Jayasaro talking about mindfulness, and also mindfulness and clear comprehension (sati sampajanna).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpCy9Tb73gw



_/|\_





May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.
May they all be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
May they never be deprived of true happiness devoid of any suffering.
May they abide in great impartiality, free from attachment to loved ones and aversion to others.

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: Unprogramming unhelpful beliefs
« Reply #27 on: June 14, 2017, 01:11:54 am »
Ha, ha. Are you sure it isn't Mindlessness instead? That looks more like samadhi (no thought) to me.


I was looking at it practically, so for example mindfulness of breathing leads to calm ( samatha ), while mindfulness of transience leads to insight ( vipassana ). 

What definition of samadhi are you using?

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn35/sn35.099.than.html
« Last Edit: June 14, 2017, 01:28:42 am by Spiny Norman »

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: Unprogramming unhelpful beliefs
« Reply #28 on: June 14, 2017, 08:32:13 am »
Quote
What definition of Samadhi are you using?
My own, based on my humble meditative experience. No thoughts, no concepts, no objects of concentration, no images, no intentions, no mental modifications, no discrimination and no separation.

Mindfulness implies being mindful OF something, while mindlessness (Samadhi) is pure and open --  without any object or intention, yet everything is accomplished and resolved. My point was that unless one has some experience of the insight that can arise out of Samadhi, genuine mindfulness and nonattachment is not really possible. It’s a matter of finding the horse that pulls the cart, not the other way around. In order to move, you hit the horse, not the cart.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2017, 09:09:10 am by zafrogzen »
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline Rahul

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Re: Unprogramming unhelpful beliefs
« Reply #29 on: June 14, 2017, 09:22:39 pm »
Quote
What definition of Samadhi are you using?
My own, based on my humble meditative experience. No thoughts, no concepts, no objects of concentration, no images, no intentions, no mental modifications, no discrimination and no separation.

Mindfulness implies being mindful OF something, while mindlessness (Samadhi) is pure and open --  without any object or intention, yet everything is accomplished and resolved. My point was that unless one has some experience of the insight that can arise out of Samadhi, genuine mindfulness and nonattachment is not really possible. It’s a matter of finding the horse that pulls the cart, not the other way around. In order to move, you hit the horse, not the cart.
One can always make one's definitions. But that is not suitable for a general discussion where people have a common terminology and their meaning in their mind while discussing.

Insights do not only arise while in deep meditation. Insights also arise during contemplation and deep thinking. Thus, mindfulness is possible before attaining samadhi ever. Samadhi may not have object of concentration, but it still has concentration or focus - theme-less focus. What you call mindfulness is mild focus on something, samadhi is strong focus, with or without a theme/object. There is varying degree of focus in both.

 


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