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Spiritual Pragmatism and CFS

Discussion in 'Spirituality and ME/CFS' started by Wayne, Aug 15, 2010.

  1. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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    Ashland, Oregon
    Hi All,

    By nature, I would consider myself a pragmatist. I was born (1952) and raised in the upper mid-west (USA) of German heritage, which would probably largely account for this natural bent of mine. I once had an employer refer to me as one of the sanest people shed ever met. (I wasnt sure at the time whether that was a compliment or not.) :)

    Which brings me to the topic of this thread. I consider myself to have a certain pragmatism toward spiritual topics and spirituality as well. I had a hard time accepting (on faith) the Christian religion of my youth, and so looked elsewhere. As I grew into early adulthood. I explored many eastern religions and philosophies, and tried different meditation techniques. I also explored most new-age philosophies that came along. All of these orientations were, in general, unsatisfactory to me. Prayer, meditation, power of suggestion, etc. left me feeling that none were an optimal way for me to live my life.

    Singing HU

    I eventually came across a simple spiritual technique that struck a chord with me like no other had. This technique is the singing of a spiritual mantra that always leaves me with a feeling of lightness and calm. Unlike prayer, which I interpret as talking to (and perhaps asking) God for certain things, Singing HU is more like listening to God, or Spirit, or the Universe.

    As Ive traversed my health journey of ME/CFS, with its accompanying exhaustion, discombobulation, etc., Ive found that Singing HU almost always leaves me with a feeling of vitality. So often as I finish up a 20-minute contemplation session focused around singing HU, an inner sense of harmony, lightness, calm and vitality allows me to have a certain amount of functionality that I would not otherwise have. From a pragmatic perspective, it means immediate benefits, something I believe were all looking for.

    Links to Information on Singing HU

    Im going to post some links here for anybody who might be interested in exploring this technique for themselves. Some of the links will have references to Eckankar, which is the spiritual path I follow. Eckankar always stresses that the HU technique is a spiritual gift that is available to all people of all religions; its to be used to enhance ones own spiritual path or religion.

    1) Eckankar: Miracles in Your Life (3-minute Youtube Video - Introduction to Singing HU)

    2) Spiritual Freedom and Singing HU (2-minute Youtube Video)

    3) HU A Love Song to God - Eckankar Youth (5 1/2 minute Youtube video)

    Singing HU has been a central feature of my spiritual life for the past 30 years or so. I wanted to share it here in case others may find value in it as well.

    Best to All, Wayne
  2. Sunday

    Sunday Senior Member

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    Thanks for sharing this, Wayne, as well as all the other thoughtful info you put out there. And as far as being sane, well, don't take this the wrong way, but you also strike me as eminently sane. ;)

    I had the same experience with the Christianity I was raised in - I liked the things it investigated, but I'm just not a monotheist and I never got the died-for-your-sins thing. I respect people for whom it works, but it doesn't work well for me - and like you, I'm a pragmatist.
    Wayne likes this.
  3. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    I have also taken bites out of many spiritual traditions, and spit out most before swallowing. :Retro tongue::Retro tongue::Retro smile:

    What I have found to be most useful to my own spiritual/emotional sanity is not resisting what is. So easy to say, and so challenging to do! By this I don't mean just passively giving in and submitting to being a victim of my circumstances, but rather being willing to be fully present with whatever is happening and whatever I am FEELING about it. Because I am rather passionate and have such strong feelings about things, I often hit a wall of just not wanting to feel what I do. I don't want to feel angry about this and that, or depressed, or anxious... but inevitably I do feel these feelings anyway, whether I want to or not. And when I fight those feelings with my resistance to them, I make them HUGELY worse. "That which you resist, will (definitely) persist."

    I have found the same thing to be true with symptoms. When I resist and fight my fatigue or some of my weird neuro symptoms, the struggle to MAKE THEM go away depletes me even more. Whereas when I let myself be with the symptoms and notice them, without reacting to them (as in hating them, being really pissed off that I have them again, etc.), or going into complete identification with them, I find a sense of freedom from them and often even a lifting of their intensity. It's really a weird thing to experience. It has impressed upon me the simple fact that I cannot change reality, but I can definitely have an effect on it with how I react to it.

    In observing myself over the years through meditation, psychotherapy, contemplation, I have come up against this monster of unwillingness to be where I am and to feel what I feel, over and over again. The most pragmatic tool that I have used to work my way through that resistance has been art and creative expression. I find that allowing myself to be exactly where I am, and to express in color or music or even film what I am feeling in that moment really helps me move through it. There is such relief and catharsis for me in the act of painting especially. It gives me a feeling of enormous validation and freedom and even joy. I can honestly say that ART is my personal savior. I highly recommend it. :cool::Retro smile::Retro smile:
  4. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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    Hi Sunday, thanks much for your note. Because of the way you put, I'm now feeling pretty good about being "eminently sane". :Retro smile: In fact, I'll probably chuckle a little bit every time I think about it from here on out. Thanks!

    Warmly, Wayne
  5. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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    Ashland, Oregon
    Creative Expression

    Hey Dreambirdie,

    Thanks for your thoughts. Your comment about "spitting out most before swallowing" reminded me of one of my axioms while I was doing a lot of spiritual searching, which went something like, "It's fine to go searching for your own spiritual path; best to keep you hand on your wallet in the process however! "

    Thanks for sharing this. The way you've describe this above (and also in the past), always piques my interest, and starts me thinking about what I might do creatively to get some similar results. My latest idea is to start picking away on a guitar a bit (I played a little in the past), and see if I can "strum" some greater harmonies into my life. Harmony is good! :Retro smile:

    Warmly, Wayne
  6. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    Accepting What IS

    Hi Wayne--

    I have tried chanting the HU, and it has been helpful at times, especially when I feel overwhelmed by an external stressor, or by a reaction to someone who I feel emotionally attacked by. It sort of helps me shake off the bad vibes and my own over-reaction to them.

    However, I have not found chanting or meditation or any other spiritual techniques to be very helpful at all for moving me out of deep despair, or intense anger, or knee-knocking anxiety. I think that the reason that they haven't worked for me is due to the simple fact that I can't change my emotional state, if I don't fully accept exactly where I am. :eek::confused::confused: This is a paradoxical and very uncomfortable quandary, that I have wrestled with a lot.

    I do not enjoy being in despair, or feeling really pissed off, or being so anxious that I feel I will implode. But if I engage myself in trying to make those feelings go away, with whatever technique I think will serve that purpose, then it becomes a case of fear fighting fear, and that just spins me around in circles. Again... THAT WHICH WE RESIST WILL PERSIST.

    It's only when I am willing (and that is the key word) to accept and feel whatever it is that I do feel, that I find a true relief from it. It is an amazing and truly weird phenomena... I always forget and have to re-remember how powerful that state of acceptance and willingness is.

    In my case, art (by which I mean ALL creative expression) is what usually helps me get me to the place of self-acceptance most fluidly. That's mainly because I give myself full permission to feel exactly as I do, and to express exactly what I feel in that moment. No feeling is judged as "wrong" or "bad." Anger, happiness, anxiety, peace, fury, tenderness, despair... they are all "on the same page" here... just different colors, shades, hues of the human experience. And there is no "right" way to express any of them. Every kind of expression from howling to whimpering, from big bold blasts of color smeared onto a canvas, to little gentle wisps with a teeny brush are equally accepted. No expectations of brilliance or beauty or harmony are allowed. All that is just mind interference, ego judgement and fear of the unknown.

    The best part is the deep relief that comes from accepting whatever is. It is such a bitch how much we are programmed to think we must resist how we feel, and CHANGE ourselves, in order to be "okay" when the real truth is that all we have to do is really BE WITH ourselves, and that there is nothing wrong with us after all.

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