Gabriel Antonio

A Neverending Process Of Getting Back On Track

130 posts in this topic

I have kind of fallen off track over the past week. I was quite motivated to meditate for 4, 5 hours a day. But the last days I have barely meditated an hour a day, and I have also engaged in lower consciousness behaviors like watching TV, reading manga, watching random YouTube videos, and browsing the internet.


My motivation was very very low. When I woke up, I decided: "Ok, I am going to get back on track today." Immediately after waking up, I took a cold shower and after that I started my first meditation. This is my usual routine. I haven't done this in a while thought, and it was dry and boring; after all, I have been sucked into mindset of stimulation seeking. But in a way, it was very purifying. I felt as if my mind was getting into its natural state through purging lots of thoughts that came from my lack of awareness over the past few days.

I intended to meditate for 4 hours, but ended up meditating for 1 and a half hour today. Although this seems like a lot for most people, to me, it's definitely not enough to really feel that great boost of awareness. The effects of feeling higher consciousness are so clear, but at the same time are not tangible when we're lower consciousness. For example, I have been overeating over the last few months, but yesterday in particular I noticed how unaware I was while I was eating. Like I was putting food into my mouth totally on auto-pilot.

On the other hand, I am glad I have stopped guilting myself for engaging in unhealthy behaviors. I prefer to engage in unhealthy behaviors (even if I go unconscious) than guilting myself to not do it. I have given up the illusion of control, but I admit that I feel shitty when I go unconscious and numb. Still, I find that getting numb is not always negative, because sometimes the pain we carry is so strong that our mind and body simply needs a break. The trick is to remember to get back on track once the pain is alleviated.

Fortunately, I have just finished watching 3 or 4 of Leo's video, and I feel more motivated now. I feel like I should make a plan for the next week. Maybe take a cold shower after waking up and immediately meditating. That was exactly how I got motivated to meditate for 5, 6 hours a day. I started small, and then the desire to meditate more hours came organically.

I wish my meditations were more pleasant. Like 20% of them are "kind of nice," but the rest is a test of my patience to endure boredom and sometimes pain. Like, while I'm meditating, a part of me knows that "If I wasn't meditating, I would never be able to deal with those kinds of thoughts that are coming up without trying to escape by watching TV, playing video games, or anything that involves "doing." I have also noticed that the only times that I don't enjoy meditating is when I am not meditating. And, man, I love the feeling after I meditate for like 3 hours straight. Everything seems so much more real.

In essence, I was feeling shitty and without motivation but after watching about 4 of Leo's videos I managed to get some motivation. I keep forgetting how feeling demotivated is like my natural state. That's why watching those types of videos are so beneficial.

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My Favorite Actualized.org Video

I think that by far the video that's helped the most is "Awareness Alone is Curative." When I am in a good phase, I tend to become a perfectionist and get everything right. So if I am properly meditating, I end up wanting to fix all my problems, such as diet, wake up time, relationships, and so on. But what this video has showed is that healthy behaviors flourish when awareness is present, and more so unhealthy behaviors are only temporary. So what I try to do is be OK with feeling shitty after engaging in unhealthy behaviors.

Furthermore, unhealthy behaviors can also show me what I do not want in my life. If I only have light, I will soon become acclimated to it; thus, I will not appreciate it. For example, yesterday I was binge watching low consciousness YouTube videos. I kept thinking, "Why on Earth am I watching this crap? I don't even enjoy them." It was like eating a Big Mac. It looks fantastic before you start eating. As soon as I take the first bite, I begin questioning myself on what am I thinking. Instead of forcing myself to stop the behavior (which is a clear manipulation), I love the idea of becoming an observer, and trusting that it will auto-correct. So today it didn't even came to mind watching YouTube videos; instead, I thoroughly enjoyed meditating and watching high quality videos.

That's it for today =)

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Being Alone

I haven't had much social interactions over the past few days, and this may seem something scary for our culture. At least in mine, where we are told that we need to interact a lot in order to be happy. What I have found in myself is that most of the times when I miss someone is actually a desire to escape from myself. Like, I get bored with whom I am, so I want someone else to distract me.

I live with my mom, and she has been traveling over the past 3 days. It's so much easier to do self-actualization work without her being around. Even though she doesn't interfere a lot on my stuff, just the fact that I have to interact with her, a lot of times, makes me distracted. Like I could easily cut 90% of what I talk with her. She's coming back tomorrow, so my approach will be to get away and meditate and soon as I notice that I have "eaten the worm," that is, every time I get distracted.

An insight I had today is that "healthy things appear to be bad, but they're actually good; unhealthy things appear to be good, but they're actually bad." It's kind of hard to trust in being healthy.

 

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Today was a nice day. When I woke up, I was feeling lazy. As I was lying in my bed, I began browsing the internet with my phone. I was seeing very chimp stuff, like some humor posts on a blog. And then, I remembered how good it feels when I enter what I call horse mode, which is radical action mode. I got off of bed, jumped into a cold shower, and meditated.

My mom got back today, and I was very irritated by her presence. I kept thinking, “Everything was so smooth yesterday, why does she have to be here and annoy me with her presence?” I do sound like an ungrateful bastard, but that was the thought I was having. I seriously need to move. I don’t see myself working, but more like becoming a monk. I can live with very little, and all of the material things I have are merely a distraction. At the same time, I recognize I do like to get distracted, strategically. That is, after a lot of meditation, I like to give myself a break, such as watching TV, porn, or something low consciousness. What I have been noticing lately is that it is getting clearer and clearer that those distractions do not bring me any happiness. And, in fact, I have stopped anticipating them. You know that feeling of excitement you get before doing something you really like? Well, I haven’t been getting those before doing something low consciousness, but I do it anyway. And I think, over time, they will dissipate, and I’ll focus on what brings me true happiness.

My family ask me a lot about my future, and we as a society can’t accept well uncertainty. I don’t know my future, and it is not getting any clear. Common sense tells me that this is bad thing, but what if uncertainty is a good thing?

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I often fear of becoming a failure if I don’t try to control myself. I have a tendency of being a so to speak bum. For instance, I would be absent many times in school, I would get away sneakily from the responsibility of my chores as a kid, and I love having nothing to do the next day.

It’s really hard to trust myself that “everything is gonna be alright.” But who says it so? Maybe things can be catastrophic. The Universe does not owe me anything. Anyway, I got a low vibe today.. but I am happy that I meditated for an hour. Despite my laziness, I always have some energy to meditate at least once.

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Today was a lazy day (as usual). Actually, I slept only 1 hour. I took care of my disabled uncle this morning. It was pretty easy. At first, I was reluctant. “Why do I have to do this??” But then, when I was actually helping him, it felt really good. In one moment in particular he felt while he was trying to walk (he is slowly reganing the ability to walk). When I was helping him get up, he was not making any effort, so I was the one who made him go up. To me, this represents when someone really falls in life and someone uses his or her strength to make the person stand up again. It was really beautiful and rewarding.

Another thing: effort is overrated. When things have to happen, they will happen. For example, I was lazy almost throughout the day. I could’ve forced myself to take action, but I didn’t. I was almost not meditating today. But then, when I was about to fall asleep, a force made me take a cold shower and meditate. It all happened effortlessly. I think I am learning to trust in my innate goodness and trust that if I am acting negatively, it is because that’s what it should be happening.

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Notes 10-13-2016

Don't try so hard, but at least try
Intention of the day: time activities while establishing an intention

I woke up very late. After I was up, I was thinking of meditating, but I didn't. Instead, I had lunch. My grandma is currently living with me, and she told me she's worried about the time I wake up (lol). I remained very numb and unconscious almost throughout the day. I kept seeing TV shows. In a way, it feels nice to slack off, to do nothing productive because it takes the pressure (of always having something to do) out of my shoulder (even if it's simply meditation).

Over the past few days, I have had a lot of energy in the late night. I only meditated at 1:23 am. My desire to meditate was something like 30%, so I used a feature of an app called Insight Timer called Interval Bells. Instead of meditating for 1 hour without knowing how much time had passed, I set a bell for every 10 minutes. I followed Leo's advice of "serious negotiation" to prevent homeostasis from taking over the situation I am in.

After meditating, I rearranged some notes I have on the walls of my room. I put a drawing I made called "Ray of Hope and Will," which helps me to remember how good it feels to take action, to get a little bit uncomfortable. I also put a paper that I wrote, "On your worst days, just show up." It's a very liberating idea. Just showing up... My actual performance doesn't really matter. I feel like things we're really good at, we don't need to force ourselves to be better than we are.

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17-10-16

Cycles, contrast, and 8-80.

I enjoy taking deep breaths in-between activities. For example, before starting to write here, I took a deep breath. This helps to clear my mind a little bit; the effect is similar to the one I have with meditation but on a smaller scale. So, to me, taking a deep breath is a express meditation. Sometimes when I am about to engage in unhealthy habits, I take 3 deep breaths, and sometimes they save me. The consequences of what I am about to do become clear. Sometimes I pull it off, sometimes I don't. But at least I do it with more awareness. I also like to set an intention before doing something new. But, again, this is just when I am out of time. My favorite thing to do is to have a 1-hour sitting and then coming up with an intention. This way, the intention becomes much more powerful because the meditation helps to slow down my monkey chatter.

Over the past few days I binged watched Masterchef. Sometimes I would fool myself by thinking, "Oh... I'm learning a lot of cool stuff, like cooking tips." But that's mainly bullshit because I'm vegan, and they use meat in almost every plate. In a way, this was "bad"; this was "my dark side"; this was "my shadow." It is rather important to have contrast. I had forgotten how I feel when I unhealthy things that I have stopped doing months or years ago. The best word I came up with was shitty. I also remembered an insight that I had a few days ago: Unhealthy things look good, but they're actually bad. Healthy things look bad, but they're actually good. I know this is a generalization. In fact, I would also add that to determine whether a habit is healthy or unhealthy is the degree of vital energy that it generates. If it depletes your energy, then it is an unhealthy habit. If it boosts your energy, then it is a healthy habit.

After this "dark" moment, today I felt and acted differently. I didn't have to force myself into not engaging in watching TV or eating a lot. It just didn't make sense to do those kinds of things. While I was binge watching Masterchef, I was mainly lying down not mindful at all about my posture. The way that felt the most comfortable was the way to go. As a consequence, I woke up feeling "broken." I remembered a friend of mine who's 20. He has a horrible posture and also watches lots and lots of TV. I remembered when I used to hang out with him that the toxicity of his place was almost unbearable--a very low vibe. And what I had previously judged, now I was doing the exact same thing. He also complained a lot about pain. I was feelin' like him!

Luckily, my body is very nice with him. It heals itself very quickly. I was so grateful today. I was having a lot of pain, and just the fact that I have "picked myself up" from unconsciousness and started to be more mindful of my posture, the pain slowly became weaker and weaker. Right now, it is 1 am, and I feel 70% better. I know, however, that this will not be in the case for the rest of my life. Sometimes I feel very bad by the way I treat my body. For example, I have been eating a lot lately (as opposed to one year ago, where I would joyfully "starve myself"). Although I hate that I'm doing that, I understand that contrast is what makes us learn. As Thich Nhat Hanh says, "We can only know happiness when we remember our times of suffering!" Anyway, I had an insight after eating a lot. My body stops functioning well when I eat a lot. Similarly, if I overwork, for example, I will stop functioning well. That's why I am aiming for a simple lifestyle.

In essence, over the last few days, I numbed myself. I started to chase after my desires with no limits. I saw a lot of pornography, ate a lot, didn't do any physical exercises--I barely got out of bed. Maybe this is a needed contrast. I did a 1 and a half hour meditation today, and I sort of got back from where I left, which is a slightly neurotic, judgemental, and perfectionist state of my mind. Now that I have spent some days without worrying about meditation (I did at least 30 minutes a day, though), I kind of feel more confident that I can meditate from an natural and organic motivation without brute forcing myself. I'm trying to be more kind, but I also don't want to slack off. But I doubt that I will ever stop meditating.

My grandma woke me up today. She said something that really woke me up. "You are dominated by sleep." I find it amazing how some people have strong communication skills. Like this really touched me. I was in a mode, where the greatest joy of the day was to sleep. And my desire was for it to last a lot. I slept just a few hours today. At first, I was very pissed. But I became used to being awaken, and I felt very motivated to be here, doing slowly and mindful movements. I fear that I am always on different poles. In Portuguese we say "8 or 80." But I think that's we learn.

It's crazy how things and concerns I thought were important a month ago, today I couldn't care less. For example, socializing. I was feeling lonely and needy but now I'm good.

Phases... Cycles...

 

seasons.png

Edited by Gabriel Antonio
forgot to add date and title
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My Cannabis Experience

Yesterday I smoke cannabis for the first time in 8 months. It was a very pleasant experience, because cannabis helps me to generate mindfulness energy. I think it is quite crazy how unaware and full of addiction my natural me has. Everything I do is with very little consciousness. What became clear to me while I was high is that meditation is the key to calming my body and mind. But on the other hand, it takes a lot of work and discipline to be mindful during the day. Well, maybe it doesn't take a lot of work when we're naturally mindful. A child or an animals doesn't seem to make effort to be in reality.

In my case, I feel like I'm training a puppy. It's almost like a never ending process of coming back to what is real. I know that this will get easier with time, but here in the beginning it's Hard. It's like living life in hard mode. Although it's super challenging, it's extra rewarding. But, anyway, I don't think I can pull it off being mindful while I'm not under the effect of cannabis. It'll take a lot of work to get to the same point. At the same time, I do see that healthy behaviors can be a catalyst for naturally increasing my awareness. Some habits include journaling, meditating, mindful jogging, cold showers, high consciousness TV programs, fasting, and waking up early.

I find it extra hard to be mindful while living with persons who are not high consciousness and who exhibit unhealthy emotional states. I feel trapped. I want to move away from my house, but I don't know where to go. I don't think I have the guts of becoming a monk. Maybe where I am is where I ought to be. Maybe I have lessons to learn where I am. Maybe the spiritual path encompasses knowing how to interact with others with awareness. It is a challenge.

I don't like how needy I am for pleasant feelings. When I see a joyful thought arising, I immediately want to grasp it. But if I grasp, I destroy it. Just like physically grasping a piece of cake, for example. Grasping destroys.

But should I be resistant to my urges for grasping? A voice in my head says, "Aw... this takes so much emotional labor from my part. I rather just be lazy." Maybe it's not about being lazy or diligent. It's more about exploring both poles so that I can find the middle way. It is highly unhealthy to try being extra diligent because it often leads to self-sabotage. But if I let go of my need to be disciplined, wouldn't I vulnerable to laziness?

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Perfect balance between practice and real life

When my meditation practice is really strong, I feel the urge of expanding the practice to the rest of my life. Problem is, I become very perfectionist. Every little thing I do without high awareness is a big source of guilt. "I'm doing it so perfectly. I can't screw things up!" But this thought is in itself a catalyst for self sabotaging behaviors. Since I am unsatisfied with my performance, I nitpick everything to prove that I'm not doing things well. On the other hand, a part of me knows that I need to do things mindfully to really get the juice, so to speak. When I do things slowly, my mind becomes calmer. When my mind is calm, I can see things more accurately; whatever I do becomes more valuable, as if the action was coming from my highest self.

I think it's a good idea to be selfish sometimes. In my case, I try to please everybody around me. This is an attempt to be altruistic; after all, don't they say that we ought to be selfless? This, however, can create a partition within myself. A part of me wants to resist being selfish, while the other tells me that if I were to be 100% conscious, being selfish is the best route. Oftentimes I feel like people will say certain things, but rarely do I get them right.

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Crazy Meditation Sitting

Today was a nice day. I woke up at 3:13 am. I took a nice and refreshing cold shower, and then I meditated for 1 hour outdoors alongside with my 18-year-old cat. I, then, slept again at about 5:00 am. I had three crazy dreams. One was sexual, the other one was violent, and the other one was guiltful. I feel like all of them represent a part of myself. Those dreams are an expression from my unconscious mind; they are a way for those repressed emotions to go out of my body.

I had a very profound meditation sitting. I was meditating like usual, but then I became aware of my heart beating fast. A lot of thoughts bubbling in my head. It felt like a panic attack. I was on the verge of freaking out when I decided to dive deep into the present regardless of the type of emotion--either good or bad. I focused on a fixed point, and I felt like the Buddha when that "evil" spirit was testing him out. My immediate reaction was to become mindful of my breathing. I usually don't like to focus on my breath, but at this moment the only thing I could think of was what Leo said in his 5-meo-dmt video when he himself was having a panic attack. Breath.... my guardian.

After some minutes, I remembered Leo's video "How to Deal With Strong Negative Emotions." I then tried to become a super conductor. I felt like a spiritual master. I was merging in with reality. Suddenly it became clear my thought patterns, my beliefs, and my egoic desires. I noticed how being selfish yields suffering, while being of service to others yields wellness. I constantly thought, "What if I am not able to put up with a thought or feeling?" At this moment, I came up with a phrase, "This is also OK." I was heavily influenced by Leo's videos. I understood that everything he says are merely beliefs, but those beliefs are somehow closer to reality itself.

I felt nice, grounded, and at peace.

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A Change in Strategy -- From Do Nothing to Affirmation

I had a major breakthrough insight two days ago. As I was meditating, a panic attack started to kick in. My heart was beating fast, my thoughts were racing. The antidote: repeat "This is okay too." over and over again. Surrendering to the experience was the only to come out of that safely. When I embodied this sentence, "This is also okay," I began to see how resistant I am to reality, to the present moment.

I have also had a major behavior shift. Instead of guilting myself, my motivation comes from a place deeper, almost like love. It has no brute force. Instead, this motivation is soft, powerful, and effortless.


At the same time, I have become a bit neurotic about repeating the affirmation ("This is also OK") throughout the day. So I have decided to change my 1-hour Do Nothing meditation habit to a 1-hour affirmation one. I will try this for a full month (until 11-20), and I am looking forward to seeing the results!

20161021_203101.jpg

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After The Ecstasy, The Laundry

There is a book called "After The Ecstasy, The Laundry." Whenever a have a profound consciousness experience, I need time to integrate the insights into my life. During my meditative experience, I gained two major insights. The first one, acceptance brings about the improvement we are seeking. The second one, hard work is the source of true joy. Now that I am back to "normal," I feel like babystepping is the way to go.

Today, as opposed to meditating, I did an 1-hour affirmation. "This is OK too" is the phrase that I used. Why did I choose it? This phrase helped me endure a strong determination sitting (with a special bonus: a panic attack). Everything that was coming up--strong negative emotions and negative thoughts--was smoothed by this affirmation. Despite being just a thought, it helped me tap into my awareness muscle.

After my panic attack was over and I was confident to continue with my day, I stood up from the chair I was sitting feeling refreshed and more present that I have been in months. I saw how out of touch with reality I am; how I try to manipulate reality to fit my little world views and desires. But at the moment... I had surrendered.

This past few days, I am kind of different. Instead of thinking, "How can I improve my situation right now?", I am affirming, "This is OK too." I have noticed that I have a feeling of doubt permeating most of my moves. I feel stuck because I feel I can never show true quality due to my inner critic. Although I sometimes I think that I am being spontaneous, I am actually just speeding things up as an attempt to shut down my inner critic. But it is still there. Doubtful, fearful, and judgemental--these are the three words to define this inner voice.

I am trying to reprogram my subconscious mind by repeating the little mantra I came up with. I didn't feel the power of this mantra today though; it was weak and not giving the result I was expecting, which is to get shit done. Yesterday was incredible. For example, I was seeing some mess in my place, and I didn't moralize (e.g., "I should clean up the closet"); I accepted it. And when I accepted, I tapped into a natural desire to clean and organize stuff that I had been putting it off for months. Today, however, I kind of lost that drive. I didn't feel as shitty as I felt 5 or 6 days ago, but I certainly went to that side of the spectrum--laziness. My old habits haunting me. I probably watched 6 hours of TV today. I was supposed to meet up with a friend to play with some children and also I was planning to see my dad. Instead, as I mentioned, I watched TV throughout the day (I wanted time to pass quickly so I could get sleepy and sleep a lot) and I ate a lot of things. You see, it felt really nice to be healthy for the last two days. But today... pure unhealthiness.

The good part is that I had glimpses of spontaneous acceptance. At one point while I was watching TV, I began reciting, "This is OK too." This gave me a sense of calm. It's just that I overdo stuff sometimes. This prevents me from comforting myself by saying, "Oh, what I'm doing is healthy." Maybe I am lost in an ideal. I wonder what are all these unhealthy behaviors trying to communicate to me. Well, I am grateful that I experienced such a blissful state of awareness--it certainly is a great motivator to continue my journey!

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THREE STRATEGIC MOVES (10-26-2016)

These three insights came to me after I heard Leo's intuition video. I know that maybe not all of these moves are the "right" ones, but I feel something's about to happen. 

1. MEDITATE MORE
This is the most no-brainer move.

Today I meditated for 4 hours, and I felt meditation gave me a direction. I was practicing Do Nothing, so I allowed myself to get into plan mode, that is, I started thinking what my next set of actions would be after I was done meditating. Although this is not meditative per se (and probably a bad habit), I found it helpful to guide me through my day. Whenever I felt overwhelmed, I ran into my meditation cushion and stayed there for 1 hour. It did wonders! Reduced anxiety & increased intuition.

My intention is to meditate for 3 hours and do the Affirmation thing for 1 hour for the next week (till next Wed). I'll see how that goes. I will document this in this journal.


2. STOP TAKING MEDICATION
First thing: I don't know why on Earth was I prescribed with an antidepressant. I have been taking it over the past 8 months, and I never understood why I was taking it. My parents insisted me to go to a psychiatrist (I had an emotional breakdown as I was living in another country). I hate how just the fact that you're going through an imperfect moment is a reason for the psychiatrist to prescribe medication. I don't like how I have been feeling with it. I should probably cut it not so abruptly. My intuition, however, tells me to throw it all away. I really don't know if I'll take it today. I don't know how I am going to tell my folks about this. I don't fancy lying to them. This is the hard part of living with your parents. You have to explain yourself to them. I feel very stuck living with them. Sometimes I feel the urge to make a counterintuitive move. After I am able to convince my ego, I also have an extra layer: my family. I do admit that most of the arguments I have with them occur in my head. I texted my psychiatrist today. I will probably see her message and decide after I read it.

 

3. USE CANNABIS AGAIN
As I recorded here, I used cannabis last week. I was afraid something bad would happen (namely paranoia). But what happened was total body awareness. This is yet another counterintuitive move. People so frequently associate cannabis with laziness & a way to run away from problems. But it does the opposite to me. First, it gets my butt moving because the consequences of bad habits become clear. Second, if I have something to resolve, I have two options: surrender and be transformed; or resist and suffer.
I will make sure I get a high quality cannabis. I plan to use it about once or twice a week. It's like therapy to me.

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WHAT IF WE ARE THE TOXIC PEOPLE?

What if there was no toxic people? What if the toxicity we see in other people is only a projection of the toxicity within ourselves? Is it possible to see a murderer with eyes of compassion?

 

JUDGING MOM DURING MEDITATION

My mom's been neurotic today. She has been going through a lot. I judged her a lot during my meditation. Normally I would guilt myself. "I shouldn't do this!!" But I allowed my mind to go into any direction it wanted. It actually felt good after the meditation because it was as if that negativity was taken away from my body.


MY THREE STRATEGIC MOVES
I am super happy with the three decisions I took yesterday. I don't know how they are going to turn out, but at least the first one (meditate more) has been wonderful so far. I want to get used to being ok with pain. I feel very purified.

No matter what I did meditation is always available to heal me.

 

URGE TO MEDITATE ALL THE TIME
Every time I started to meditate hard, I feel the urge to meditate all the time. I even get a paranoid and neurotic about that. I think, "Why am I wasting my energy doing x, if I could be meditating and actually generating energy?" For example, a part of me thinks that writing this journal is a sneaky way to procrastinate meditation; it's as if the ultimate truth will only be revealed during meditation, and everything else is a distraction.

I had this exact same experience in August and September, which were months that I was meditating hardcore (4-6 hours a day). Well, I have established the goal of meditating for 4 hours. If I complete this, I am good for the day. I have a difficulty of consistency. Let me explain this: at one time, I was shooting for 6 hours every day. It became quite stressful to complete. I was constantly thinking, "How many hours I've got left? 4? OMG!" After some weeks, I backslided and meditated for like 30 minutes.

On the other hand, maybe that's how's it's supposed to be done. That is, an obese person needs to work real hard (and it will likely be painful) so there's a good weight loss. Likewise, I need to get into "horse mode" and go crazy meditating. I plan to become a monk in the next 5 years. Maybe I am being neurotic. If I had consistently meditated for 2 hours (instead of fluctuating from 6,5 hours to 30 minutes a day), I would be much better off.  

CANNABIS AS A MOTIVATOR
I will get some cannabis in about a month. I am excited. I want to be in a healthy state of mind when I get it so that I can benefit from using this herb. If my mind is full of garbage, then the experience will be weak. Also, chances are, I will want to overdo it. Instead, I want to use it therapeutically. I clearly remember my past experiences with it. If I use it too frequently, the experience gets lower and lower significance. In a way, I am thinking, "I'm going to work my ass off so that I can profit the most."

 

FEAR OF GETTING DEPRESSED
I haven't taken the antidepressant for two days. I feel good, and I don't regret stop using it so far. It was making me sleepy and craving for food. Of course it is hard to tell that these two conditions stem from the antidepressant itself, or if it's simply me. What I do know is that I have been feeling so depressed ever since I started using it in a way that I hadn't felt before. I probably should have dropped the dosage step by step. But I feel I have finally heard what my intuition is telling me ever since I started using this medicine: it's not doing any good for me.

What is likely to happen is a fear of being depressed due to not taking the antidepressant. I mean, I was feeling hella depressed just the last week, and I was taking it according to what my psychiatrist told me. So it doesn't count that much if I backslide the next few days, but I doubt I will. I fear that I will start to overanalyze what I feel, when in fact the feelings can be quite the same as the ones prior to stop taking the medicine.

 

PAIN IN MY CHEST
Today I've felt a pain in my chest that I became conscious of prior to taking the antidepressant. While I was using it, I came up with the belief that the antidepressant was reducing the pain. But, again, I am being biased here. I have felt this pain lots and lots of times, but now that I am not using the antidepressant, I become very conscientious about the pain.

This pain comes during meditation. I think it happens because when I meditate I fix my posture, so it takes time for my body to get used to what is right (as opposed to a sloppy position).


COOL INSIGHTS DURING MEDITATION
I love how my intuition talks to me during meditation. It is not me who come up with some crazy ass ideas as to what to do during the day; they simply appear to me. As I mentioned yesterday, I know this is probably a bad habit (planning during meditation), but Shikatanza is all about letting go of control, right? So why would planning be a problem if that's what my mind feels like doing? As long as I'm sitting and still, I think I'm good.

I have noticed that the more I meditated, the harder it became. Like the last two hours was extra uncomfortable. But in a way I feel I would have gone on a walk with my mom (which was the highlight of my day) if I hadn't dealt with that discomfort. I really like what I said before: be ok with pain. Pain can be scary, but when we open ourselves to it, it transforms us. I fear sometimes of not being strong enough, but I feel good habits protect me from this fear, as I understand that I don't have to get all today.

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10-28-2016

THE VOID
As I was meditating today, the void kind of became clear to me. I was with monkey chatter, and all of a sudden I thought, "I think so much because I want to avoid this." And then I felt a deep emptiness inside of me, an emptiness which I try to fill with activities--healthy or unhealthy ones. 

THE INTELLIGENCE OF ANIMALS 
Animals don't worry a lot. They are very pure, so they sleep a lot, eat a lot, and basically do whatever they want. 

Before falling I sleep yesterday, I was thinking, "Should or shouldn't I exert control?" In the case of animals, there is clear no control. They act out of instinct. Sometimes this can be negative; if I put a lot of food for my dog, he will eat everything at once and he can likely throw up. Likewise, if I feel the urge of following my so-called natural desire and I drink a lot of alcohol, I can get intoxicated. On the other hand, I don't know exactly how to cope with urges and cravings. Maybe the best thing to do is just to meditate. I love Suzuki Roshi's analogy between meditating and baking a bread. In the beginning of the session, the bread is raw, but after 1 hour, it cooks. It's hard to be mindful when I am in a low consciousness state of mind. Meditation seems like the worst thing ever, but in reality it can be a savior. How so? Let's say I have an urge to drink. If I am able to sit quietly for 1 hour, the craving might still be in me, but at least I will do more consciously. Sometimes I forget that mental states are very impermanent. I can feel angry. And two hours afterwards, I can feel blissful. I am not taking mental states nor thoughts so seriously. If my mind wants to judge, I let it judge. If it wants to go into fantasy land, I let it go there. I have gotten so used to guilting myself and prohibiting myself from doing what comes to mind that my actions have become distorted; that is, I do things that I wouldn't have done had I followed my natural instincts the first place. 

I often forget that I am an animal. 

RELAXING THE BODY 
I have noticed that I hold a lot of tension in my jaw, my abdomen, and my chest. During my day-to-day, I don't even try to relax them, because chances are, I'll get neurotic about it. What I am doing instead is relaxing them during meditation. I find that this is a much softer and more pleasant way to relax my body. As a bonus, I naturally start to relax my body in my day-to-day. When I am overthinking something, it's probably time to have some formal practice. For example, one time I was trying to meditate 24/7, but in fact I wasn't meditating with focus. Then, I decided to meditate for 1 hour every single day. Sometimes structure can help. Likewise, if I dedicate a specific time for relaxing the body, then I won't have to worry about it during the day. 

Edited by Gabriel Antonio
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10-29-2016

SITTING ON THE GRASS
When I meditate sitting on the grass, I can feel the Earth's energy permeating my body. I feel I am becoming a force of nature once again.

Sometimes it is hard to find a good spot to sit. I usually try to find a little slope so that my knees are below my hips. Sometimes there are plants that have little thorns. Yesterday I started to remove some of those plants in the spot I was sitting. I began wondering, "Are these plants suffering? Or are they just like the human hair?, which you can twist and there's no pain." In one moment, I felt a little guilty from what I doing. Then, I remembered iago's Zen poem. When a leaf falls into the soil, it becomes the soil. Likewise, the plant I removed will become the soil once again.

Is there a difference between meditating indoors and outdoors? As I sit in my room, I feel very humanized, very logical. As I sit on the grass, I feel more connected to nature & my intuition. A few months back, I used to loathe being indoors. I wanted to live in nature 24/7. Currently, I recognize that our house can be a temple.

I feel some pain when I meditate cross legged very consistently.

THE POWER OF FOCUS

When I don't plan out my day, I feel like walking in the dark. It's as if I was playing darts, but the room was dark.

When I have a multitude of options, I lose focus. When I lose focus, my mind easily gives in to distractions. When I am distracted, I go off track. For example, I planned my day in my mind for yesterday. I had focus. I noticed how conversations are a distraction. I felt an urge to talk even though I had nothing to say; I wasn't starting a conversation because of a noble intention but simply to fill my mind. However, since I was focused, I remembered what I had planned to do next. And I moved on. It's just like a magnifying glass. Sun alone can't burn an ant, but if you use a magnifying glass the poor little ant will burn.


THE BEAUTY OF ELDERS
I feel very grateful that my grandma is living with me.

I like the contrast between older people and babies. They are in opposite poles, yet they look alike. My grandma is getting smaller and smaller physically. She has become delicate. She walks very slowly, just like a baby or a Buddha. (One day I was mentally flexible. I was about to go to the market. Instead of rushing, I went with her, and I walked in the same speed as her. It made me remember about a NLP concept called Rapport. When you copy someone, you become like him or her. I felt peaceful.)

I like to observe expression signs. If a person has smiled a lot during his/er lifetime, there will likely be some sings in the corner of his/er eyes. If a person has been worried a lot, there will likely be two little straws in between the eyebrows. The body registers life.

STRATEGIZING
I think that strategizing is a better word than planning. Planning is usually mindless monkey chatter, whereas strategizing feels more professional as if I was a general.

Lately, I have been planning what to do in my day during meditation. This is against what I have been taught. One of my meditation teachers used to say, "You can even talk to the planning mind. Say it, 'I'll think about that after my 20-minute meditation is over. Right now let me focus on my breath." Therefore, I felt guilty about planning during meditation.

But planning has yielded such cool results. I feel more focused, joyful, and disciplined (in a healthy way). What I am currently doing in meditation might not even be so-called real meditation, but I don't care. What I truly care is, as my Yoga teacher says, experimentation. I am tired of listening to specialists and trying to follow their advice blindly. If I dare to question them, I begin thinking, "Oh, but they have studied a lot. They must know what they're talking about." Instead, I want to become my own leader. Being ok with mistakes because when I make a mistake, I gain experience which  couldn't have otherwise gotten from listening to somebody else. As iago said in a post, you can't steal an insight from somebody else.  my mistake, my experience.

UNHEALTHY BEHAVIORS IN ORDER TO BE HEALTHY
Trying to be healthy can lead to a neurotic path. Two paths to go by: Brutal discipline or Nice discipline.

You slacked off. In the last few weeks, you have done it all. TV, porn, junk food--you name it! "Now it is time for a new me. My ideal version." Everything's going well when you... want something unhealthy. "Oh my God! If I do this, my frequency will go down. I can't live that way! No! No! I will resist! I will do my best to get through today. Probably tomorrow, I won't have this ugly desire." You wake up tomorrow, and you don't have it. "Oh, good! See? Everything's impermanent." But that desire was only supressed. It will haunt you later.

The alternative: You begin changing some habits. Instead of being a painful process, this time is rather easy. "Where did my cravings go? Have I 'educated' my inner horse?" A thought of an unhealthy habit you have dropped bubbles in your mind. You decide to fall off track consciously. For example, I saw a video of a "vegan" girl who said she ate some ice cream because she wanted to avoid binge eating. So sometimes a little drop of unhealthiness can be healthy. The question is how long will it take for you to go back on track?
Guided Meditation by Myself
 
I was meditating as usual. Monkey chatter was going crazy. I felt dazed & confused as to what to do next. It had been a tough day. I was on the verge of entering a state of paralysis, a state of lack of energy due to crazy amounts of guilt. Why guilt? For some reason, I was really paranoid that my lower self was about to dominate me. Luckily I have been doing a lot of consciousness work lately, so I was able to drag my ass onto the meditation cushion, even though I was heavily resisting it.

In the first half an hour, I was barely hanging in there. What am I talking about? My mind was wild, and I was counting the minutes in my head for the end of the sitting.

Suddenly a very wise voice inside of me started to guide me, as if there was a Zen master inside my head (maybe myself in 40 years of practice). It didn't talk to me; it only gave mental notes (e.g., notice your judgements, notice how your mind is rushing, notice the planning mind), all of which were exactly what I needed to ground myself in the present. The Voice stayed for about 40 minutes when it vanished. Then, it was as if my lower self had come back. But with more awareness and a little bit more grounded.   

DON'T BE AFRAID OF EVIL
Resistance makes stronger. "I will not watch TV, I will not be lazy, I will not allow myself to feel guilty, I will not judge myself, I will not get lost again."

What if we become our dark side? What if we fear our dark side will run our lives? What if there's no energy even to get out of bed? What if the first thought that comes to mind in the day is "Shit, another day..."? I have been there several times, especially this year. I remember a psychologist professor telling that when we face a series of bad days, usually good days are about to happen. We learn through contrast. A great quote from a friend: "You have to be in the sun to know the value of the shadow."

Can we be ok with doing apparently boring activities that clearly gives us a boost of energy? Healthy habits protect us. But I admit: sometimes I hate darkness. I hate feeling shitty. But that's a part of who I am.

"If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"  

 

Edited by Gabriel Antonio
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10-30-2016

WAKING UP EARLY AND TAKING A NAP
Getting a little sleep deprivation gives me a boost of energy. Plus, a nap in the afternoon makes me feel refreshed.

Do I use an alarm clock? No. I simply set an intention prior to sleeping: "I want to sleep for x hours" and I repeat that three times. This way I can wake up in a more organic way. It works great for me.

Waking up really early--before 6 am--brings a sense of freshness. Waking up before the sun rises and meditate outdoors as the sun rises is poetic; there's an inherent beauty about the transition of night to day.  

The other advantage of not sleeping a lot is that I can take a nap in the afternoon. I'm not a big fan of afternoons. I prefer the poles: morning or evening. And the feeling of a good one and a half hour nap is awesome (cheers to Master Kame). It gives me another boost of energy.

HOW I FELT WHEN I WAKE UP TODAY
I'd had two weird dreams. One of which was a nightmare; the other one was really long. Woke up at about 6:30. Although I was in a good mood, I went through my little morning routine. Cold shower + meditation.

I have learned that I shouldn't take my emotional states nor my thoughts too seriously when I wake up. For example, today I was ruminating about last night. How I felt "aturdido" (I don't know the word in English). I was worrying that this would continue today.  But then after a good hour of meditation... BAM! Purity in my heart. A purity that gives me drive. When my heart is impure, I tend to not want it to get clean. But when it is clean, aw... freshness!! aliveness!!

I cleaned the kitchen, my bathroom, and also my backyard. And I cooked. Then I went to the park to do some more meditation.

Now, it is 1:51 pm. It's kind of crazy how time flew by. But I am grateful that I had this awesome energy that guided me through the morning.

LEO'S NEW VIDEO (PROJECTING)
Are you seeing people the way they are?

That little exercise of seeing him (Leo) the way he is without judgment was very eye-opening. I realized that doing that exercise is a great way to develop empathy, understanding. Why? If we listen to a person with our ego as a shield, we will not evolve. The content will have to pass layers and layers before coming to us. I noticed that when I listen to Leo, my ego wants him to say things that confirm what I am already doing; if anything contradicts my current lifestyle--e.g, "not going to college is a big strategic blunder", "not seeing doctors is a big strategic blunder"--I become defensive and a defense mechanism takes place. This mechanism criticizes Leo (or any self help teacher), and I thinks things like, "This is bullshit!" I do this so that I don't take responsibility for broadening my horizons. Deep down, I have always found strange some of my reactions to some specific things that I hear. I get so defensive that this completely closes the door for that activity to ever take place. I might not like in my mind, but it can be good.

I also agree that with family members, we project the most. I have a tendency to assume what other people are like, what they think. This illusion becomes so real to me. It's hard to stop doing that. For example, I have known my folks for my entire life, and I already have a constructed view of them. This way it is hard to see them for what they truly are. I think a good way to start seeing who they truly are is by practicing the exercise of listening to them as if I was themselves. I noticed that I can either listen to a person through my perspective, through my own ego; or imagining as if I were him/er.

THE INNOCENCE OF CHILDREN
I often go to a park, where there are loads of children, to meditate. "Is he resting?", "Who is he waiting for?" These are some of the questions they ask their parents. Chances are, it's the first time they are coming into contact with meditation. And it's through me. That's kind of cool to think.

Today a girl walked by me and started to observe me. It's nice to be seen by a kid because they are mindful. In essence, they are not judging, they are simply seeing. She stood there for about 20 seconds. I laughed a little, and I closed my eyes because I was kind of shy.

Some parents tell their children, "Quiet! That guy over there is meditating." Well, when I meditate in park, I don't really mind noises. I am trying to incorporate as part of the practice, as part of accepting reality as it is.

There have been two occasions in which a child says "Hi" to me. It's so pure. There are not doing that because of social norm, but simply because they feel like it.

I get very sad when I hear parents scolding their children. What if parents were more open to see their children for what they are?

Some parents are, in an inspiring way, very energetic. Some talk to the children as if they themselves were children. I was listening to a mom talk to her little daughter today. I tried to listen to the daughter as if I was her. In my mind, there was a blank. There were no thoughts, but simply a mindful attempt to understand what is going on. What a park is, what a tree is, what walking on a cloudy and cold day feels like. After a few seconds, I judged that as being "boring.

THE POWER OF DISCIPLINE
There are two types of discipline: harsh and enjoyable.

Let's talk about harsh discipline.

When I was 12, I changed school to a much harder one. I didn't like studying, but at times I would get into "force mode", and try to have a perfect study day. I would plan hour by hour what I would do. This kind of feels claustrophobic. It never worked.

Another example: In May this year, I had a project of coming up with 20 things to do and accomplishing at least 18 of them. In the first few days, I worked really hard. It was gratifying. On one specific day, I had a burst of energy. I created two lists and accomplished everything. I felt very powerful and alive. I was able to force myself into doing all things, but one specific day I completely crashed. I had woken up at 6 am and worked hard all day. There was a party I was going to at night. I was hella tired, but I decided, "No! I must go!" So I took a cold shower. But unlike most times, it didn't boost my energy to the point of motivating me to go to the party. That was the moment I crashed completely. I lied in the bed and asked my mom for a foot massage. I was feeling really guilty about not going to the party. I was thinking, "It will be worthy! You can do it!" And all that lame positive thinking mentality. But I gave up. It had been the first time in weeks that I rested. The other days, I went to bed thinking of the next day in a very anxious and neurotic way.

The enjoyable way is what I am doing right now. I installed one habit: meditation. This habit alone has changed the frequency of my life. I'm naturally wanting to be more healthy, to wake up early, to exercise. I don't have to nitpick. "Oh, I overslept today! Shit! Everything will fall apart!" No, as long as I am meditating, I am good. Now, if I don't meditate, then I am screwed. Some weeks ago, I wasn't taking meditation seriously and I had a huge emotional breakdown. Never had I felt so low on energy and depressed.

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SELF-INTRODUCTION
I am Gabriel. I am 20. I am from Brazil. I lived in the US for 1 and a half year as a college student. I decided to go back because I was not enjoying the experience. I only went there to please my folks and to keep up with "what I am supposed to do" (i.e., going to college).

I went to my first self development lecture when I was 12. The idea of learning new things on how to improve myself was very inspiring. I have always been more mature--both physically and mentally--than people my age. I was by far the youngest in every lecture. Crazy thing: I was very shy among my classmates, but with the people who were in the lectures, I was completely outgoing.

I have been considered shy since I was 10. I fought with that until recently when I stopped worrying about it, and when I realized that most of my shyness stemmed from a desire to fit society's expectations.

I am not into partying nor clubbing. Never was. I hated when I had a party during my high school years. All I wanted was a free weekend.

Sometimes I am perfectionist, but I am improving a lot in overcoming that.

I enjoy cleaning because it helps to clean my mind.

I live with my mom and I have kind of been avoiding my dad because he's been putting a lot of pressure for me to go back to college asap. He says, "Time is passing." But I will not fall into the trap of doing things out of fear once again. I already did that, and it only hurt me.

I don't see myself working for someone. I give Portuguese classes through Skype. Every time I give a class, I feel a boost of energy afterwards.

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10-31-2016

THE POWER OF A FREE MIND

In meditation I fully allow my mind to go to any direction it wants. When there is no manipulation due to fear, the mind knows how to cleanse itself thoroughly. No need to do anything in specific but be physically still. The mind will do the job.

In meditation, I have started to embrace fantasyland. For example, just my last sitting (I was very agitated; I’d just gotten back from a toxic environment), I thought of killing my cat, punching my grandma, and shooting my mom in the head. I was afraid while this was happening. “What if I really do this?” Well, this phenomenon has a name: purging. When I  understood what was happening, a sense of joy took place—similar to taking a good shit—I even became to curious to see what images would pop in my head.

I have noticed that there’s a distinction between ego and the mind. The ego is our sense of identity, while the mind is the images, sounds, and sensations that happen spontaneously. The ego can be identified with the mind, or see it as a separate entity.

TENSED BREATH = TENSED MIND

There’s a clear correlation between the quality of my breath and the quality of my state of mind. I had this insight during a meditation sitting. I paid attention when negative thoughts popped up. Immediately after I’d spot one of them, I turned my attention to my breathing, and it was tensed. Not only that, but there was also a specific tension in my body. This is the proof of the interconnection between mind, body, and breath.

If I have a shallow breathing, it is no use trying to deepen my breath. Breathing deeply while tense is more unpleasant than shallow breathing. The best way to correct breathing is by sitting in an upright position for a long period of time (60 minutes is fine; 120 minutes is ideal). After this time is over, I let go of paying attention to my posture. If I try to stay in an upright position always, it creates neurosis.

Healing our breath is a gateway for greater vitality, which we can’t entertain while in a low state of energy.

THE BEAUTY OF A 5-YEAR-OLD CALLED LEO

I went to a part of town that has a very clogged energy. You know those places you go that bring forth the worst part of you? Anxiety, fear, and aversion were kicking in while I was there.

When I was about to arrive home, I remembered a boy named Leo. Surprisingly enough, I had been listening on the bus to “Becoming a Spiritual Seeker” by… Leo… (off topic: While I was listening to that episode, I remembered how I used to feel months ago. I was in a shitty state of consciousness, but listening to Leo gave me hope.) Anyway, when I was about to arrive home, that kid came to mind. And to me he represents beauty. Which is one of my passions in life. As a friend said, “We all forget all of our beauties, so bless your gifts and bless your beauties.” 

Where did I met the 5-year-old Leo? I used to work at a preschool. He had long hair and he used to put his hair in his mouth. The teachers used to scold him for doing that. But his mom was so laid back that she admitted, “Oh, he probably does that, because I do the same thing.”  The teachers looked at the mother with a face of judgement. His mom didn’t even noticed the judgement, as if she had the innocence of a child. This innocence, I believe, will be a catalyst for bringing up a beautiful boy.

He usually didn’t talk much, and he was my favorite among the children. I remember one day he got a short haircut. When I looked at him, I didn’t recognize him at first. And then, I said, “Leo!!!” And he automatically understood that I had noticed his haircut. He gave a happy smile.

I wonder how’s he doing now. I hope his mom will succeed in not allowing society to fuck him up. She probably will, because she has kindness. And kindness overcomes fear and hatred. “Hatred never ceases by hatred but by love alone is healed.”

BITTER FEELINGS

I was feeling a lot bitter feelings in the beginning of year. I had thought I was going nuts, or figuring out the truth. I had moments of extreme clarity, but when that clarity faded away, I was left with bitter feelings, which were affecting my body. I was feeling pain all over my body. This was happening while I was living in the US.

I moved back to Brazil. It was a horrible. The first thing I said when I arrived to my old house was, “I don’t belong here.” A fight had begun. I was wounded. I had constant bitter feelings for about 4 months. There’s no healing without a fever, right? But every time I remember how I felt some days make me think, “What if this happens to me again? What if all those nasty feelings come again? What if I become lost in darkness? What if I start developing addictions to avoid feeling those emotions?” I think in the beginning, I was trying to face everything, but I didn’t have techniques. So I numbed myself for a few months until I started to develop my biggest protection: meditation. I am very sensitive, so being part of the world for a long period without retreating to myself (at least for about 4 hours a day) makes me lose focus, makes me fearful, makes me feel paralyzed, makes me feel self-conscious, makes me judge myself harshly. I am grateful that I have been developing some good habits to prevent my ass from bouncing. I am grateful that I have found actualized.org because I have learned techniques that make me feel good, and not lost in suffering.

INDUCING VOMIT (*** very personal)

Yesterday I overate. I’d had one of the most productive and healthy days this year. During my last meditation sitting, I decided, “Well, it’s 8 pm, so I will set no intentions for the rest of the day. If I want to jerk off, I will. If I want to stay up till 3:30 am, I will. If I want to eat, I will.” In essence, no strategy.

I had the idea of watching TV while eating. I began to eat uncontrollably. I was not even aware how much I was eating. It was copious amounts of food. When I was completely full, I felt sick. My natural reaction was to induce vomit. As Shrek says, “Better out than in”

I feared, “I shouldn’t do this!!! This is what bulimic people do!! I will only solve a problem by creating another one. What if this becomes a habit??” I then remembered that my intention was to do whatever I felt like it. And at that moment, I felt like inducing vomit. And I did it.

It didn’t feel good to “fix” things through doing something like that. But it was necessary in my opinion. In my mind, I didn’t deserve to feel so full and dirty. The unpleasant feeling went down from 9 to 7. It was a counterintuitive move that I would have never done if I didn’t trust myself, if I had strict rules, if I was overtaken by Fear.

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