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Suffering and spirituality 2

Discussion in 'Spirituality and ME/CFS' started by Nielk, Aug 27, 2011.

  1. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    I did read Toni Bernard's book, but did not find it helpful. I have elaborated as to the reasons why on the first Suffering and Spirituality thread, so I won't go into all that again. (I promise!)

    From what I have heard so far, (on the audio cast I previously posted), I like Tara Brach's work better. I think she has a much better understanding of inner process, and really gets it how to work with pain and illness. This probably has something to do with the fact that she is a trained Ph.D. psychotherapist, as well as a meditation teacher. (Toni Bernard was a lawyer.)

    Tara Brach has a video library that you can check out and listen to here: http://tarabrach.com/video.html
     
  2. Sallysblooms

    Sallysblooms P.O.T.S. now SO MUCH BETTER!

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    We just got home from church. It is 9-11. The songs, hymns, prayers and sermon were all about suffereing and HOPE. It was amazing and just what I needed on this sad day. :hug:

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Nielk

    Nielk

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    Does all this mean that we create most of our suffering? If we could just quiet down our brains and not exaggerate what is really happening, we would feel less pain?
    I am trying to understand.
    It's human nature to get upset when we are not well. Especially when we feel pain. At that point, we have a few options in front of us. We can
    1- Try to medicate the pain away.
    2- Live with it but minimize it's impact by accepting it and not resisting it.
    3- Complain about it. scream out or cry and therefore release the anger about it.
    4- Go on a forum where others understand your pain and thereby make you feel better because you feel understood.
    5- Try to find a meaning in the suffering and thereby minimize the pain because it's meaningful.
    6- Concentrate on other people's pain by helping them and therefore taking the attention away from your own pain.
    7- If you are religious - believe that your pain is elevating or refining your soul.
    8- If you are religious - believe that everything is pre-ordained by God and therefore good.
    9- Pray to a higher spirit or God.
    10-Meditate the pain away.
     
  4. Sallysblooms

    Sallysblooms P.O.T.S. now SO MUCH BETTER!

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    Suffering is part of living here on earth. We all deal with it in different ways, the best we can. Everyone suffers on earth and for me, there will be no suffering in heaven.
     
  5. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    In my experience my "mind" and my brain are two different things, which is sometimes challenging for me (with this neuro-immune disease) to remember. My brain, as a flesh and blood organ in my body, is just doing its best to help me survive and get through each day in the least painful way possible. My mind, on the other hand, programmed by beliefs that I picked up from my family, my education, and my culture, is a much more complicated (and sometimes definitely troublesome) entity.

    INVESTIGATING my mind (that is always my favorite word to use when I talk about inner process) helps me see how and where my mind MIGHT BE creating suffering in my life. I think we all have pain, that is a given, and those of us with ME have *A LOT* more than most people. But it's also true that how much pain we have is not in direct proportion to how much suffering we have. A great deal of the "suffering"--in my life, as I have experienced it--comes from my mind telling me useless and often very false information, that feeds my anxiety, my worry, and my fear, and leaves me in a much worse state than the one I started with, which was that of just plain old ordinary pain.

    As I wrote before, it's very hard to describe this kind of thing in words. But once you have the experience of it, that speaks louder than any words possibly can, and it really can be very eye opening.
     
  6. jenbooks

    jenbooks Guest

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    Suffering

    Let's put it this way. A cow doesn't sit in the pasture and worry about her inner moo. (old joke).

    Have you ever had a pet, dog or cat, that grew old and sick? It suffered. But it didn't lie awake at night wondering why it suffered, why others didn't suffer, and worry itself even sicker imagining all the bad things that could happen as a result of the suffering...or if the suffering got worse...

    It seems pretty clear--if you read Toni's essay, she elaborates this buddhist concept very clearly.

    There is dukkha (discomfort).

    There is dukkha dukkha (the discomfort you create over the discomfort. You do have some choice, not complete, because we're all human, but you do have some. Whatever works to lessen that dukkha--all the ways to deal with it you mentioned, or just to see it clearly for what it is. One way I fix things when I worry is to find alternate solutions, so I don't have to be sooooo worried)

    Then there is sankhara dukkha--the thoughts you have. I described a typical example. Do you think those thoughts did me any real good?

    I'm not sure what's unclear about it. It takes practice and nobody is great at it, but it helps even if we can see it. Even if the brain still chatters, we at least know that it's the brain chattering, making more dukkha.
     
  7. jenbooks

    jenbooks Guest

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    Books...

    I did not read all of that thread, so did not see your post.

    I was on her FB friends (5000 or so....lol...) for a while. She was endlessly promoting her book, in fact had friended me and most others to promote it, which is fair, but annoying, finally I unfriended.

    What made me basically ignore the book, was seeing the postings and the Psychology Today blogging. It's always soooooo positive. I want to know the rag and bone shop (Yeats) of your suffering. I'm sure she had a lot of black times. She will briefly explain it but then go on to educate us how to live with and appreciate our lives. Ten things we can do from bed was a blog posting, with the assumption I guess that you're gonna be in bed for quite a long while....nobody said, research how to get better. So I said it. Research how to get better!!
     
  8. Nielk

    Nielk

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    I think we need to differentiate between pure physical pain and mental anguish. I understand that they feed on each other. I don't think that they are related as far as cause and effect but each one can manipulate the other in either direction.
    Dreambirdie,

    When you are talking about your mind and the fact that when you investigate it, you find that there is much unnecessary stress that feeds the pain. I can see that. Stress definitely has an adverse effect on our health. It is also true that a lot of stress is cause by some false concept or misunderstanding of information. We tend to exaggerate things in our mind and it can grow out of proportion. Keeping the mind in check and not dwelling on negative thoughts will alleviate stress which in turn will alleviate the physical pain. By letting go; you mean letting go of this "fake" stress will diminish the pain. I get that.
    Where does the acceptance come in? If you accept the pain just as what it is - physical pain, it will lessen the severity? I don't see a choice here whether to accept or not. It is here - it can't be denied. By accepting it, do you mean welcoming it?
    If I say to myself "ok, I have this terrible headache - I am not fighting it, I will welcome it - the pain will abate?
     
  9. Nielk

    Nielk

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    I believe you Sallysbloom. With your warm heart and your strong faith and kind nature, you will reap the benefits in heaven! (after a nice long life here):hug:
     
  10. Sallysblooms

    Sallysblooms P.O.T.S. now SO MUCH BETTER!

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    Very sweet to say Neilk. In my family, my mom says, "It is what is its." We always do all we can to change what we can and then deal with problems. I have seen my grandparents be strong through so much. My G. mother cared for quite a few ill relatives during her life with such strength and then dealt with her illness with strength and even style. Always enjoyed looking nice and never complained. I love to dress and look nice but I can't say I never complain, ha. I have a lot to try to live up to but I do try. I am not special, everyone has problems.
     
  11. Nielk

    Nielk

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    You obviously have great genes and most importantly great role models.
    It's funny; my husbands favorite saying is "we are where we are", meaning you can't go back and relive your life, you can only take it from this point and go forth. I tend to look back a lot and sometimes regret things and he keeps me in check.
     
    Sallysblooms likes this.
  12. madietodd

    madietodd Senior Member

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    I had horrendous headaches after a botched epidural, that the pain meds couldn't touch. I would lay down in a dark quiet place, get completely still, to try to sit underneath the pain. I can't describe it any other way. The pain is real, and huge, and isn't going away. But I can still breathe deeply, focus on making my body heavy so it sinks and loosens, and try to create spaciousness in and around the pain. I don't let my mind run away with any kind of thoughts at all; I keep it still, and I breathe whatever feels helpful: gentleness, softness, spaciousness, kindness....

    I'm not ignoring the pain, but I'm also not engaging with it in the usual way. I'm loosening and softening all around it, and keeping the experience as fluid as possible.

    I'm sorry if these words don't help. This is what it feels like to me.

    Madie
     
  13. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    Lucky you! And I swear I won't say any more about it.


    I bought the book quite a while ago, but there wasn't much that I liked about it. I agree with you, that her angle is often overly positive. And as I mentioned before I think that that is greatly influenced by the fact she was a lawyer, and not a therapist. Lawyers are good strategists and problem solvers, they assess and solve problems using their knowledge of laws and precedents. That's extraverted thinking, says my Jungian training. However, most extraverts, even those who have studied Buddhism for a number of years, do not have a good grasp of how to facilitate and work with inner process, which is messy, non-linear, not rational--by the "mind's" definition, and often dark, with a lot more questions than answers. There are no laws in the underworld of the psyche. You have to be willing to dive in without a to-do list, and NOT know anything. Then you will possibly be able to find out.
     
  14. Nielk

    Nielk

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    Madie,

    These words do help! What you are describing is kind of meditating, relaxing, loosening up.
    I have to try this since so many of you seem to say that it works.
    I am going to try my best.
    I have a hard time letting go totally. I seem to hold the worries of the world on my shoulders.
    It's funny because people who know me pretty well think that I am so easy going and calm. This is because I keep it all inside. I have to learn how to let go. It is not doing any good on my shoulders!!!
     
  15. Sallysblooms

    Sallysblooms P.O.T.S. now SO MUCH BETTER!

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    True, Neilk, I am blessed with a strong family for sure. That saying is a lot like my Mom's for sure. We all need loved ones to keep us in check. I sure know that.
     
  16. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    Hey madietod-- this has some similarities to my own process.

    Not ignoring or suppressing the pain, and not engaging or amplifying it. That's a big part of it.

    And I also do my best to observe and INVESTIGATE where exactly the pain is, how it feels, what reactions are coming up about it and what my mind is telling me that is feeding it. Sometimes I get very useful imagery that serves as a guide.

    Thanks for your input on this.
     
  17. Ember

    Ember Senior Member

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    Gangaji talked about having stopped the war in the meeting she featured this morning. I forgot to listen until I read your post. The point where I tuned in, part way through the last interview, felt to me almost like a direct response: surrender.

    I saw Gangaji last Tuesday, not having seen her in person before. She said what she always says and what ME says to me too. Stop.

    Now I see that Gangaji posts her featured video as a download, so I'll post it here: http://wwgvs.s3.amazonaws.com/welcome.html
     
  18. madietodd

    madietodd Senior Member

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    Depends how big the pain is, right? With the huge ones, it's all I can do to not to get lost in it. But yes, with lesser pain, exploration of the location and qualities of the pain can actually help hold my attention, and focus the relaxation precisely where it's needed.

    Madie
     
  19. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    Yup, that's true. I agree.
     
  20. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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    A Couple of Truisms About the Mind ?

    These two descriptions came to mind as I was reading some of these more recent posts. Thought it might be some food for thought for some. Might also make others chuckle a bit. Works both ways for me.

    I recently had a doctor visit where our conversation got off track and he started referencing the mind of God. I tossed out the proposition that perhaps God doesnt have a mind. He didnt seem to want to entertain the possibility, so I pretty quickly changed the subject. It seemed however that God having a mind is part of his Christian religion, which made me curious whether this concept is universally accepted in Christianity.

    Anyway, I personally dont believe God has a mind (doesnt need one). I believe we only have a mind (which I also believe is different than our brain) at this juncture in our spiritual journey, and that someday we will no longer need it. In the mean time, it can be a very useful servant, but a bad master, in that it can limit the perceptions of ourselves as Soul if allowed to its own devices. I guess the trick is learn how to not let this happen. And it seems everybody has to learn which way works best for themselves.

    Best, Wayne
     

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