Thittato

My meditation journal

264 posts in this topic

Cycling

The same thing happens over and over again, and that is that I get into some kind of creative project for a short time, and then totally loose the energy I had on it. I have this phenomena in my life of cycling through various interests. Cycling is defined at dictionary.com as this:

  • a round of years or a recurring period of time, especially one in which certain events or phenomena repeat themselves in the same order and at the same intervals.
  • a sequence of changing states that, upon completion, produces a final state identical to the original one.
  • one of a succession of periodically recurring events.
  • a complete alteration in which a phenomenon attains a maximum and minimum value, returning to a final value equal to the original one.

So I started one journal here about my explorations of music, and another one about naturalistic drawing, but now I'm just going to commit to see this all in the light of meditaton, as that is arguably my most important interest.

It feels like I have these various sub-personalities that I alternate between, or that somehow if we compare this to computers, I alternate between various software / operating systems. One day I consider myself a musician, and everything is seen through the lens of how a musician would view his role and path in the world, another day I'm an aspiring visual artist and my whole value system revolves around that. And various other things.

From a meditative point of view I think I would just view all this as loosing myself in identifications or mental thoughts, as they are just mind, and not really presence. So I think I just have to re-affirm my commitment to meditation and the cultivation of presence and acceptance of where I am right now in my life, in stead of continuing to buy into fantasies like this. Nothing wrong with pursuing any of these activities mentioned, and I probably will continue with them just as before, but in order to not loose myself in the mental fantasies about them the part about re-affirming my commitment to meditation is now made.

Whenever I think something is my purpose and get really worked up about it, I always re-gain a moment of clarity when I sit down to meditate and re-discover that my deepest purpose in life is to keep my spiritual practice going.

Meditated for 45 min this morning, and the freshness it gives me is really what I need these days. Everything feels so right when I feel this freshness :-) Meditation is really a project of re-generating my own energy from the inside. I'm looking very much forward to write down my thoughts on the meditative process here.

Edited by Thittato

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Your statement pointed at  a deep core truth of the human condition according to the mystic Gurdjieff and many different articulations of it by others in the last 100 years.

Charles Tart is one. In case you're interested and have time I'll share a great article of his about this.

http://www.lawsofwisdom.com/course-overview/opening-statement/the-problem-of-the-subtle-sybil-effect/

It also connects with Charles Tart being one of the first pyschologists to experiment legally with dropping acid in an early academic study.

 

 

Edited by Zigzag Idiot

"To have a free mind is to be a universal heretic." - A.H. Almaas

"We have to bless the living crap out of everyone." - Matt Kahn

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4 hours ago, Zigzag Idiot said:

Your statement pointed at  a deep core truth of the human condition according to the mystic Gurdjieff and many different articulations of it by others in the last 100 years.

Charles Tart is one. In case you're interested and have time I'll share a great article of his about this.

http://www.lawsofwisdom.com/course-overview/opening-statement/the-problem-of-the-subtle-sybil-effect/

It also connects with Charles Tart being one of the first pyschologists to experiment legally with dropping acid in an early academic study.

 

 

 

Being VS. becoming

Thank you! :-) Great article and perfect to read right now!

I feel like I can own this phenomena more now, both by describing it the way I did, and it was a nice understanding to get from that article that this is pretty normal.

One of my favorite teachings from one of my meditation teachers is to always ask "what is my filter?" and then to objectify whatever lens one is looking at reality through at that particular moment. Even though I learned this years ago, I still periodically get very much caught up in whatever kind of lens / sub-personality I identify with at that moment, so I just need to continue to work on my commitment to meditation-practice.

These days I think I have much "stuckness" in my system, again, that I need to meditate upon in order for it to dissolve into "flow" again.

Typically what happens to me through these cycles is that I reach a point of burnout and then I yet again realize there is much suffering in life so I re-affirm my commitments to spiritual practice and meditation, and then, usually pretty quickly but not always, whatever kind of stuckness there was in my system is dissolved and I experience much more flow again, and then one of my much more extroverted sub-personalities tend to "hijack" this energy and use it on outer purposes and spiritual practice doesn't seem that important (although I usually maintain some sort of spiritual practice most of the time but it is different when it is commited from when my focus is constantly extroverted and looking for something outside of myself).

Another thing I've been thinking alot about lately is that I don't groove on meditation teachers the same way I used to do, because even though all they say is still as relevant today as it has always been - it is embarrassing to say but I have heard it all before, so that is something I'm missing - finding some youtube teacher or podcast or something to get a kick out of, but perhaps better, these days, is just to write down in my own words how I try to implement these teachings in my own life, and perhaps at some point, when I feel I have gotten a good enough foothold in the territory of presence, then I can articulate my own unique approach to the process of becoming conscious.

And that's exactly how it hasn't felt lately - that I have been conscious - it has more felt like I have been in some kind of trance. The trance of becoming. Becoming this or that.

It is funny though, so instead of feeding on some kind of mental fantasy about reality, it is so much better when I can just get nutrition out of simple beingness itself. That is so much more aligned.

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Mini-retreat

So I meditated for 3 hours yesterday, and 2,5 hours so far today. Having like a little mini-retreat here before I go to the christmas party with my family. Already I can feel my energy has really been renewed, and it feels like these worst burnout symptoms I've been experiencing lately are on its way back. Forget what I said yesterday about not being inspired by reading / listening to meditation teachers anymore. Today I'm reading a book from the famous meditation master Ajahn Chah (1918-1992) from Thailand. Here is a picture of him. It always makes me smile when I see this picture :-)

Ajahn Chah_UK_01.jpg

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The dynamics of my mind

Been meditating pretty regularly for 17 years now, but still I get very much caught up in identifications and fantasies about what I want to become. Part of the challenge for me is that I'm a bit bipolar, bipolar light you can say, so very often I get high and very inspired as well, and then I forget all about the challenges of life. I even use my meditation as a way to get high. I think it still boils down to commitment. That I haven't been absolutely totally committed to presence. That I still like to escape into my mind and fantasies. Not that this has to be some kind of military discipline either, I think it has to be a very kind and gentle discipline in order for it to work, but still a discipline.

I'm just going to write down all my challenges here in my attempt to implement this in my life.

For instance today, I've been meditating 45 minutes so far, but now I still feel lonely and a little bit depressed, whereas yesterday, after 3 hours of meditating, I felt like a spiritual warrior again and everything seemed so easy about this. So now I experience disappointment for being at another place which isn't as pleasant as yesterday.

For me meditation is going into and embracing and accepting the feelings I'm experiencing. Also embracing the resistance towards what I'm feeling. I'm going to meditate for 45 minutes more here, and then probably I'll have to work with both loneliness, disappointment and resistance towards these feelings.

Also there is this really good thing that happens when I can fully acknowledge and own something that I've been resisting. That's when it transforms. I think shame is a big part of this dynamic, because there are so many difficult feelings that is embarrassing and shameful to my self-image to admit that I'm feeling, so I will rather try to hide it from myself than to fully acknowledge it.

That's where the "chronic panic and chasing" I have been living in and that I'm still strongly influenced by comes in - chasing around in desperation for external solutions to my internal pain.

So yeah, basically I think I have arrived at a point in life where it is really time to just give up. And I mean to give up in a positive sense. To just give up all trying and this and that and to just surrender to my life as it is. I feel all escape strategies have been employed to such a degree now that they fall short on their own ridiculousness.

Edited by Thittato

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My pain-body

So I meditated for 45 more minutes, and this time I could get a very direct sense of my pain-body, as Eckhart Tolle would call it. It feels like a conglomeration of frustrations, bitterness, harshness, judgementalism, sorrow, grief, anger, cynicism and bitterness, that sits in my face, very much in my forehead, and down into my chest, from here it probably spreads out a little bit to my arms and out everywhere, but it is centered around my face and my chest. The whole thing feels kind of dead and life-less. Like some kind of dark, hard, unfriendly and nasty thing. It is not always there, of course, and when it is not there, I feel expansion, love, kindness, joy, etc. But today it is there. I'm going to do one more 45 min session to explore it even further. The meditation I do is vipassana from the Mahasi Sayadaw tradition (a burmese meditation master), and it is basically just about getting a sense of how my whole experience is changing and vibrating all the time. When there is flow and expansion my whole being tends to dissolve into light, strength, energy and vibrations, but today, when my pain-body is more present, my experience feels much harder and contracted, but even still vipassana is about seeing how even this hardness and contractedness still has a vibratory quality to it, even how subtle it might be, it is about tuning into the flowing aspect that even stuckness has.

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Meditation, social attractiveness and independence

I was out dancing yesterday at a club with DJ's and I could really see that my social attractiveness was at its peak and people were flocking around me, which is kind of funny since I've been retreating back home for some weeks now just sleeping, meditating and taking time off from my job, but I think all this meditation that I have been doing have been really contributing to a positive vibe that people was attracted to at this club. I feel when I have my meditation as my top most priority I can really be my most authentic, joyful, positive, genuine, caring, innocent, fun and kind self. I don't have to try to be anything, because simply being myself is enough. With all the other sub-personalities I go into it is like I'm trying to become something. With the meditation I rather just let go of everything and just celebrate life as it is right now instead.

As mentioned before I was a buddhist monk for two years, which ended by me going back to normal life in the spring of 2009, almost 10 years ago now. I did a lot of dating and was in two relationships quickly after each other when I got back home, and some dating on and off after that, but it seems like I have this natural pull towards celibacy and monkhood if I don't do something very actively to get involved in dating. Like it dosen't happen by default for me. I have to make an active choice. Anyways, it has been a while since I've been getting laid now, and I've sort of been ashamed by it, and that hasn't exactly helped with my attractiveness, but there was something about realizing just pretty innocently and gently that I've returned back to monk-mode that took this shame away. Like I have this pattern of just seeking towards being in my own space and not getting involved beyond friendship with women.

I would really like to be involved with someone eventually, but I think this is really my chance to finally be happy independently of anyone else this time. When I became a monk it was out of fear of women, and when I went into the dating scene quite heavily after that it was out of desperation and not wanting to miss out, but this time I think I can finally be satisfied, relaxed and happy with who I am, so no need to rush anything. All this crazy and desperate stuff we humans do out of fear.

Anyways, even though I don't want to become a monk again, I'm really inspired by that period in my life again, like I have a new respect and admiration for that choice, and I think there has been a lot of pretty cool people throughout the ages that have joined monastic orders. I was ordained in the forest tradition from Thailand, and I'm just like really thinking much more positively about this tradition again, seeking inspiration again from all these different teachers that has come out of this tradition. Pretty cool to have meditation as your occupation, which is what a meditation monk is having. Respect for that.

Edited by Thittato

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Boredom

Meditated for 45 min this morning. Still a bit tired, but I don't feel burned out. Noticing a bit boredom and anti-climax. Feels like the drama of this is over for this time, I mean the drama of being overwhelmed with suffering and  then having to mobilize this "spiritual warrior" attitude. I think part of me enjoys this drama, because my life has been a reflection of those types of cycles for so long. Still it would have been nice to get a more normal life. I think boredom is the key to that. I have to be willing to look deeper into the sensations of boredom. Boredom probably triggers a lot of escapism in me.

Pretty amazing though, that when I feel totally burned out, I can do a mini-retreat of meditating 3 hours per day for 3 days and then I feel almost back to normal again. I don't think most people have this effective tool available. But then again, I had to cultivate this amazing tool because I had some pretty huge imbalances to begin with, and these patterns have continued to influence my life to a pretty huge degree. Sometimes I can seem like the wisest and most balanced person ever, only to look like a complete mess the next day. So this is what I want to balance out so that I can live a balanced and meditative life every day :-)

Edited by Thittato

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Cultivation of new skillful mental, emotional and social habits

Another reason why I wanted to start this journal is because I have just ended 3 years of therapy, and even though for the first 2 years I felt I was getting great benefits, I think for the last year it actually made me worse going in this form of therapy. This particular school of therapy has a very one-sided focus on "releasing emotions," and I think this made me addicted to my therapist and seeking this process of releasing emotions over and over, in something that seemed like a never-ending cycle. It also made me problem-focused instead of solution-focused because there was always some problems building up that I would go to my therapist to get released, instead of me rather re-conditioning myself to think more positively about the situation. How to think like a winner is the question? Instead of thinking like someone who has a huge problem and cannot handle life without professional help. So while this therapy was great in terms of releasing emotions, and surely I needed a lot of that, what I need now is more mental / cognitive training in how to think and act in a more solution-focused way and not just being stuck in a never-ending cycle of releasing emotions. Of course I need to continue to release emotions, but that is something that I'm good at and that I know how to do with my meditation-practice. Buddhist meditation has always also had a lot of focus on cultivating new skillful mental and emotional habits, and this part has been quite overlooked by me as I have been "wallowing in my stuff."

Another thing I think this therapy was really poor at was that the therapist was always taking my side in the conflicts that happened in my life, and this they did in order to make you feel valued and confirmed for who you are and for your experience, but I think in a more balanced approach you also have to observe your behavior from the outside and being willing to adjust in order to get more flow in social situations. One cannot always just seek validation for ones own perspective, and this is something that adds up to this therapy-addiction, when you have someone there who is always on your side no matter what, it creates a place that to begin with is very safe and comfortable, but eventually it gets too comfortable for growth to continue.

Like one thing that I have been getting feedback on is that I have been too intense for my friends lately, so instead of insisting on being who I am, how can I rather perhaps breathe a little bit more, chill down, calibrate better and add more space to our interactions? I have a lot of positive energy in social situations, but how can I better calibrate the use of this energy? I think it is much better to think in this way instead of just insisting on being who I am and seeking validation for my perspective. At one point I was very into dating and pickup and getting inspired from so-called pickup artists and dating coaches, and while they now have a lot of focus on being yourself and being authentic, they also have a lot of focus on how to vibe better / calibrate better in social interactions. That is a focus that I will bring back again.

Hmmmm.... This journaling is the perfect tool for continuing this buddhist meditation-training that I started with all those years ago :-)

Edited by Thittato

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Snowboarding as a tool for meditation and flow states

Gosh! I've had a really really amazing day today with snowboarding together with some really nice friends. This is totally something I'm going to do more of this winter. We're already planning on doing a new trip combining snowboarding with micro-dosing on magic mushrooms. First time snowboarding in 5 years, and before that it was 10 years since. I turned 35 yesterday, and I used to snowboard a lot in my teens, but stopped after that. Seems like many of my friends, and myself included, has already started telling ourselves that we are starting to get old and that life is kind of over. Pretty sad to start to tell yourself shit like this. Anyways, my snowboarding was better then ever. When I was younger I had so much fear in my body, I was afraid of everything, and didn't have any knowledge of how skills were developed, so I just jumped into stuff with a lot of fear and goofiness, but now I'm much more conscious of how skills develop, especially with this journaling that helps me getting this meta-conceptualization of everything in my life, so now I even want to re-visit my extreme-sport chapter, and give that a solid upgrade.

Anyways, it made me realize I'm really fucking glad I'm quitting therapy and this therapist education. I'm just going to have fun and be happy now. This is the kind of stuff that I love to do. And also, I think my whole interest in meditation and selv-development boils down to my interest in flow states. I'm a junkie for flow states, and I think all people who reach a level of actualization experience much more flow states then the average person. So now, the way I see it, even snowboarding becomes a tool for my meditation practice.

And also, I don't feel guilty for quitting this therapy education. I'm still going to help people through being a social worker in this psychiatric hospital that I'm working in, and also I'm going to continue to cultivate my meditation, and perhaps at some point I can share my knowledge about meditation with others, but I don't think my vocation in life is as a psychotherapist. And for me to share my gifts with the world it is important that I am as happy as I can possibly be, and meditation is really my deepest purpose, so I'm going to prove to myself that I can really live an awesome, fun and cool life and still be highly dedicated to meditation and spiritual practice, and in that way contribute with love to this world.

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Flow states and extreme sports

45 min of meditation this morning. I could see my mind processing thoughts and feelings related to my relationship towards extreme sports. Even though I was a very awkward, goofy, introverted, shy, and afraid person growing up, I was always very much into all kinds of sports, doing my best to keep my head above water, but not having any sense of mastery in learning skills so I didn't know how to systematically improve, but instead just stumbling my way through the different things I tried to learn myself. I was especially into BMX biking, rollerblading, snowboarding, mountain climbing and a little bit of skateboarding, and I had my heros in these sports that I looked up to, especially within snowboarding. There was just something about these guys that I really admired. They looked so chill and cool and it seemed so much like they were just simply enjoying what they were doing. The whole thing came with a lifestyle that just simply looked really fascinating. But I considered myself on the outside of this, and eventually moved on to the spiritual scene where there was a lot of others seekers looking to heal within themselves the same suffering I was also deeply entrenched in. Still, fascination with extreme sports never went away, and now I can much better see the link to spirituality and meditation, and I think it boils down to extreme sports deep connection with flow states. I've read lately that the new trend in extreme sports is micro-dosing on psychedelics, and that makes a lot of sense. Also with a much better understanding of how skills develop now, I'm going to do some more snowboarding this winter, and I'm really looking forward to learn some new simple tricks and get a little bit more a sense of flow and mastery around this.

Another thing that is starting to catch on, is that I've been looking more into Leo's teachings. Didn't know much about him before I joined this forum, I only joined because I liked what he wrote about keeping a journal here, but now I'm starting to see that he has a lot of other really cool stuff, so it was probably a meaning behind by I joined here.

Edited by Thittato

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Meditation as a continuous process of surrender and letting go.

Gosh, I'm so inspired by the connection that I see between extreme sports, creativity, psychedelics (microdosing) and meditation. What else is there to say? This is the perfect mix!

It seems like the better integrated that my mind becomes, the more connections like this I'm able to make. Instead of my life and interests being fragmented and compartmentalized in all kinds of directions, and it feels like my life is just a bunch of opposing forces pulling in all kinds of contradictory directions, things starts to unite, become integrated, and reach a higher level of complexity.

This doesn't necessarily mean that snowboarding will now be my new direction in life, but it seems like his process of integration and seeing connections where I didn't see them before happens more and more in all areas of my life.

This just happened with my interest in Chess as well. Suddenly things just started to converge around this interest, and I gained a new level of understanding and skill.

And these first journals I had here about creativity as well. My understanding of my own creative process increased tremendously.

The problems seems to happen when I try to force this process in a particular direction, instead of just accepting the natural flow of it.

So that is why this is now a meditation-journal, and not a music or drawing journal, and why I'm not going to turn it into a snowboarding journal, either. I'm primarily a meditator, so all these tings are integrated back into my meditation practice.

Just a few days ago my mind was flooded with images of me as a monastic in all kinds of monastic communities around the globe, and now, the images in my mind are scenarios with me and fun friends on all kinds of snowfilled mountaintops around the globe. I don't see the problem in this as long as I don't identify / latch on too much to these scenarios (which I can easily do).

What is the lesson here? I think it is that I shouldn't try to solidify the flow. When I have a good grove on something, I so easily become attached to that particular state and I want to be there permanently but of course life is not like that, so then there is a lot of pain when I become attached to it but is forced to let it go. And this again is the ultimate lesson in meditation - to let go.

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What exactly is flow?

So a friend challenged me today to describe more accurately what exactly do I mean by flow? Flow is kind of an abstract term. So we discussed closer what does this actually mean?

I started with saying that it is a sense of aliveness. Feeling present here and now in ones own life as it is. It also feels like ones life here as it is is just right and fine the way it is, and that one is moving in a meaningful direction. A sense of purpose. A sense of doing things right. Having enough energy to actually enjoy life, and not just struggling to get by. Some kind of synchronicity with the way things are.

When in this state everything feels like nutrition. Even the boring, mundane stuff. There is a sense of renewal in everything. Grandma is not just the old and predictable woman that always says the same things. It is actually possible to invest in the interaction with her. Things are not just politeness and established patterns, but there is aliveness and connection in everything. It comes back to a word that I mentioned earlier. Flourishing. It feels like life is flourishing. And mastery, there is a sense of mastery, even in the process of feeling uncertain about something but with a confident knowing that that is part of the process.

One of my meditation teachers used to say that this is the ultimate state that we are seeking in our spiritual quest. Don't know if he is right, but a continued sense of flow certainly seems connected to happiness and meaning.

Another Zen teacher which I don't remember the name of used to say that the questions isn't if we are stuck, but where we are stuck. Meaning, as I interpret it, that life is a continuous process of dissolving deeper and deeper levels of stuckness.

I've noticed that I love so much to write about my own process that perhaps at some point when I have collected and sorted through my own thoughts enough here, and when I feel that I've reached a sufficient level of "un-stuckness," that perhaps I can make something more out of this.

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Microdosing

Then the chance to microdose on LSD came around yesterday on New Years Eve. That was pretty awesome. I can only summarize it with saying that that is probably everything that I've been looking for when it comes to psychedelics. Somehow I was very greedy for extreme experiences as a younger psychonaut, but clearly lower doses are much more conducive to what I seek to get out of it. Seems like it is much less demanding to integrate the experience, as it is so close to what daily life is like anways, just with an added subtle psychedelic component. When I was younger I took pride in making this extreme jump from daily life to being blown out in cosmos, and then to smoothly return back to daily life again. But it wasn't so smooth. It always was quite demanding to go in for landing again. But this was a much smoother experience, giving me exactly what I was seeking without the demanding side-effects.

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Posted (edited)

The paradox of directionless direction, the pathless path, etc.

So today again, all these kicks I keep on having are gone, and I'm left with emptiness. But a little bit more content emptiness this time. I've meditated for 45 min today so far, and I will do another 45 min session after I'm done writing this.

Sometimes I feel utterly directionless in life, but then I land back on my primary direction being the path of meditation, and that is a pretty clear direction. Somehow, though, it is a bit of a vulnerable direction, because its results are primarily internal and difficult to measure.

Perhaps that is part of the explanation why I get these pretty intense kicks on for instance snowboard, or art, or whatever. Especially when my mind has been filled up with the energy I get from meditation, then this energy is easily hijacked by some more material pursuit that gives more tangible results.

Again, not that there is anything wrong with having hobbies. I guess that is pretty healthy. But it seems like this path that I have chosen, that I have to keep choosing it every day, or you could even say, every moment. Perhaps that's what commitment is.

So I'm touching upon a paradox again and again. Somehow I often feel like I'm a person that is utterly directionless in life, but then on the other hand I'm very dedicated to this path, so whenever this feeling of directionlessness pops up I just got to keep remembering to approach that feeling with meditation, ie, to embrace it and wish it welcome. My internal response to my experience of directionlessness is my path.

Edited by Thittato

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Posted (edited)

Being present in my life-situation as it is.

So if I'm left with just directionlessness and presence, what are the simple realities of my life here in this physical form?

Well, I need money in order to survive, and I have a job that I most of the time enjoy that gives me these money. So why don't I obsess more about my job instead of art, music, chess, snowboarding, meditation, etc?

In the light of this way of looking at it, when I start to obsess about all these other things, they just seem like some sort of escapism. Well, not meditation, because the cultivation of presence is something I can still work on while I'm at my job. So my job doesn't stand in the way for my highest purpose. Of course if my highest purpose was to become an artist, then spending all that time at my job would have been a problem, but with my kind of highest purpose I'm pretty privileged because I can work on it under any circumstance, so whatever kind of life circumstances I find myself in, I just have to consider them my monastery for working on my meditation practice.

Working as social worker in a psychiatric hospital, it is almost like I'm being some kind of modern "Aghori Yogi," ie, a yogi who dwells in a charnel ground to observe very directly the suffering and disintegration of health that is part of life.

So anyways, I feel l need to ground myself more in my work-situation. Daydreaming about being a full-time snowboarder when I'm at the age of 35, it feels like I refuse to grow up.

But being enthusiastic about all these types of activities is very good in my job-situation, because sometimes I can use these activities to build relationships with the patients I'm working with, bonding with them over a game of chess, over drawing together, or jamming on the guitar together. So when I consider my enthusiasm for classical hobby-activities in the light of their usefulness in my work-situation, they are certainly a boon. But when I start to daydream about going full-time with these activities, well, then I'm reducing the quality of my meditation-practice, and it probably also reduces the level of satisfaction I get out of my job.

Another great thing about my job is that it is a very social job. Sometimes it feels like I'm just paid to show up there and be social. Of course that is a simplification, but there is some truth to it, and I really enjoy to work on getting better at socializing, so that is certainly something that I can obsess more about which will also benefit my performance at my job.

Edited by Thittato

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Posted (edited)

Being a therapist

Working night-shift this whole weekend. Felt really good to back at work. I worked only 3 shifts in december because of this burnout, but now I feel ready again to give this job my fullest. Also it feels really good that I dropped out from this psychotherapist education that was just simply too much. I'm having some grief going on as I have to let go of my identity as an aspiring psychotherapist, but to fill that lack I will rather re-invest my identity-building into my job as a social worker. I'm a licensed social-worker, so that should be enough, and really this extra education has created more confusion for me than I think I will have now as of having a more simple and stripped down identity, and still, I can put my pride and my love and my care for other people into doing a good job as a social worker, and all the stuff I learned from this psychotherapist education, I can put into my role as a social worker. I still do a lot of therapy in my job, although not as formally and structured as a psychotherapist would do, but I get really close relationships with people in extremly demanding situations. Tonight, for instance, I had to spend the whole night sitting next to the bed of young guy who is suicidal because of a psychotic depression he is in, trying my best to comfort him. I must have been crazy to not consider myself worthy of the title therapist. My job-title is actually "milieu therapist." But there is soooooo much I can improve on her. Like tonight, but of course being careful with the boundaries, I think I should have sat down on his bed when he sat up on started crying. I should have laid my arm around his shoulder, and told him that he was safe here and that we would take good care of him. Of course I told him these things, but I think in these situations if you do it right and carefully, people actually need physical support along with comforting words. So anyways, now that I'm no longer burned-out and overwhelmed because of way too much therapy-focus in my life, I think I can actually be a much better therapist.

Also, I just visited my mom briefly, and she has been a little stressed out lately, and even though she is very inspired by this mindfulness-teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, she has never done much formal meditation and hasn't quite seen the usefulness of it, but today I spoke passionately to her about the usefulness of meditation, and demonstrated a few tricks, and she actually said that that was what she needed to do now. So she is going to start with 10 min per day for a little while and see how things develop. That was also really, really good. To share with her some passion for meditation. I don't need this added gestalt psychotherapist stuff to be a complete person living my purpose. I'm already living my purpose, and buddhist meditation is primarily my path and my deepest purpose, so it is more powerful when I give directly from my deepest purpose, instead of thinking I need 2,5 years of more education of something that isn't really my primary path, before I can start to share.

Now I do want to point out, that besides my job as a therapist, I don't want to take on the role of a spiritual teacher in any way what-so-ever, because I still got ALOT of unfinished business to deal with myself, but I think it is OK to share a few tricks with friends and family, as long as it is in the context of stress-reduction.

Edited by Thittato

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Presence and flow in my work-situation

Woah! That must have been some of the best three nights of working night-shift I've ever had. And the leader of our crew was so satisfied with my performance. I think journaling really helped me bring my focus over to the meaningful and interesting part of this job, instead of just the challenges. Of course when I've been away for a while I come back with renewed focus and enthusiasm, but I thought that would have rather made me rusty, but instead I had a really great sense of mastery. The months before I got burned out I didn't enjoy my job very much, except for a few cases when I worked with some patients that I had really good chemistry with, but most of the time I was really slacking off and had a guilty conscience because of this. There is also something about when I start to daydream about all the other things I would rather do than being at my job that really takes the quality out of what I'm doing. When I have the right spirit about my job, nothing is more fulfilling. So I will use this journaling also to help increase my level of enjoyment in my work, because that is so related to meditation and presence.

Who needs to dream about being somewhere else if they can experience fulfillment right where they are?

I think it is really fun and meaningful to help someone going through a crisis. How can I make this person in such a vulnerable situation feel safe and supported?

This patient I was working with had a really hard time sleeping, and woke up a lot of times being very anxious, so I had to sit by his bed the whole night and comfort him. I experimented a bit with just sitting on the floor. It seemed like the most casual and relaxed way I could appear in his room, instead of looming over him in a chair above the level of his bed. Also, when he was sleeping, sitting on the floor meant that I had the perfect position for meditating while nothing else was happening, so that was also a really cool way to integrate meditation into my work-situation.

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Cognitive restructuring

So when I was into Gestalt-therapy, we used to look down on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, saying that they ignored the body and the feelings, and perhaps they do, I don't know because I don't know much about it, but I think the focus in gestalt-therapy on releasing emotions stored as trauma in the body can become too one-sided, and one term from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that has really intrigued me lately is Cognitive Restructuring, ie, learning better and more skillful ways to think about various situations.  I do think there is usually a lot of feelings that need to be released, but I also think this can become a never-ending loop of releasing upon releasing, and I think one can become pretty fragile by continuously doing this and out of this fragile state I think there can often seem to be much more feelings that need to be released than what is actually the case. I think Cognitive Restructuring can be really great in reducing unnecessary worry and ruminating, and perhaps that is a much better way to build resilience, at least I think both approaches are needed.

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Self-love

So that Gestalt-therapy school wouldn't let me quit without having to pay for this semester, because I have signed the contract for the whole year, and it is pretty expensive, so after much back and forth, I decided to just finish this year after all. But I'm changing to another therapist, because after 2,5 years with the same therapist I feel that our relationship has really stagnated and we're not getting any further in my process together. But that will make it more fun to finish this last half a year. The education is 4 years in total, but I'm only going to finish this 2nd year. The first two years are primarily about ones own process, both as an individual and as a member of the group, while the two last years are about training to become a therapist. It will look better on my CV to have completed two years of gestalt-therapy self-development, and then I can refer to it in my job as a social worker as a successful chapter of my life and something that I'm proud of and something that I'm inspired by in my work as a social worker. And if I ever decide to go back to this study I can just start immediately in the 3rd class, instead of having to do the 2nd year over again. Seems like when I decided to quit, and I really told the school that I was quitting and I was pretty mad at my therapist, something inside of my died. There was a letting go of everything this school has been to me, both good and bad, and also to my identity as an inspiring therapist, and now, this weekend is the first start-up after the Holidays, and guess what, it is more fun than ever to be there. I was a "process junkie" before, really craving really intense and dramatic processes in the group, but so far this weekend it has just been so fun and enjoyable being together with the people. I've been going at this so intensely before, holy moses how much self-therapy exercises I did at home, and I have waaaaay above the requirement of hours of individual therapy with my therapist (I started seeing him 1,5 year before the education started). Also I've already practiced trying to do gestalt sessions for friends and family, I've probably testet out the techniques in 15 people already, and got damn how much I idealized this school and this was like the coolest thing ever, until it flipped to the opposite side, and I couldn't stand it any longer, which is my typical pattern. Anyways, perhaps a lot of that fixation died out, and now it is just much more enjoyable to be there.

Now, of course, part of the story is that whenever I feel good in life, I think that I'm done with all processes and that now I can just continue with living a fun and cool life, and that I'm done with suffering. So that is a trap I fall into, over and over, so, well, guess you could say I'm an optimist at least. But still, I feel done with therapy, like at least for me personally, I wouldn't pay to go see a therapist at this point in my life what-so-ever, if it wasn't for the fact that I'm bound to this contract for another half a year. But lets just say that that will be a very thorough way to smooth this process out. I'm not quitting abruptly but I smooth it out over 6 months. And it looks good on my CV, and it has been very useful in my job. So now I can just lean back, and enjoy, and I've already done so much work, more then anyone else in that, technically speaking, but I haven't been very chill. I've been in a crazy rush. So everything actually fits in with probably the best thing for my process right now is just to lean back and tell myself I'm good enough already. No need to strive to get anywhere else than right here, right now.

Funny enough, that is what I just told myself about my guitar, my drumming (I play the djembe), my drawings, my snowboarding, my chess-playing, and my meditation as well. I'm good enough already. I'm at a level that I'm satisfied with and that is matching my aspirations for having these fun and cool ingredients in an integrated and well-balanced life. So thanks to journaling I think all these activities are now starting to get integrated. And I think I'm actually starting to get firmly established in genuine self-love.

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