Right Effort (Thought,Word and Action(Behavior)

I like Lynn?s quote about someone who stopped drinking when the conditions of his life fell faster than he could lower his standards. (Someday I?ll learn how you guys highlight something someone else said.) I see it as we?re only able to give up a particular illusion of what a desire promises, when we?ve gone so far we just can?t pursue that desire anymore. We totally give up, let go, so that it no longer finds a hold in us. If I remember right, that was what happened with the Buddha. It wasn?t that he no longer had desires, but they found no place to grab a hold of him.

About not looking out the window, I see that everything I need is within myself. When I?m out searching for security, chasing after the illusion of security inherent in desires, it?s because I?m feeling scared, etc. The expansiveness of the void can feel intimidating to a frail little human dot in the universe. But by sinking into myself, especially through mindful attentiveness, things are more centered, more grounded. Then I?m not following empty by-paths.

With Carl?s metaphor of a windowless, closed room, it?s the same as hammering things to a point, where there?s no room for another person?s viewpoints, or even their human failings. When I?m stuck on a desire, then I?m closed to other perspectives.

I see this topic as a level playing field with everyone, as every person I know has something they turn to when they are feeling insecure and overwhelmed. Alcohol, drugs, TV, food, sex, etc. Even work (as in workaholic), even ideas (I think a certain viewpoint is ?the? truth, which makes me feel strong and secure, until the bubble bursts). But I find that life continually shows me, sometimes gently, sometimes not, that I don?t have the answers, that the only thing I can ?hold onto? is actually letting go.


  • edited December 1969
    Does anyone else out there have problems acting impulsively? That is one of my main problems that has to be corrected. I get into situations where the thought(idea) turns into a word(s) into action so quickly that I regret later for what I did. I reflect on my actions later, but I still tend to have this bad habit. It is as if the mind immediately attaches to the thought before I can stop it, it winds up an action. Any suggestions? I know the solution is in the 12 steps we have been discussing, and in the Tao Te Ching. Suggestions is still what I need. Thank you.
    Cheers :lol:
  • edited December 1969
    Hi Allandone! I've enjoyed your posts. I got a good laugh when I read your question. Who do I know that doesn't act impulsively? FOr me, it depends on the situation and where I am emotionally. I know people that act more than others. When I want immediate relief from the tension of not having what I want I tend to act in a way or say something without giving it time and then have to pay for it. I'm graced when I can stop myself and ask "What's best for this situation?" "You know where this is going, you're looking for immediate results and it doesn't work".

    Being comfortable with the unknown is not my forte. If I see that it's just emotions leading me but there is some wiggIe room, I can STOP. I try to STOP and listen to my breathing. I do that until the desire has gotten a little fainter and then proceed. It helps. Also when I'm rushing around or feeling overwhelmed I tend to be more rash. If I go and lie down for 5 or 10 minutes and listen to my breathing it can put me in a better place and the chances of approaching the situation more sanely are increased. Sometimes I take a walk around the block.

    That's my suggestion. STOP, breath until you feel relaxed. I do see that having felt the pain of impulsiive actions so much helps me to take it more seriously. I think the fact that you are asking means it's going to get better. I think our intuition knows what to do.
  • edited December 1969
    [cite] Allandnone:[/cite]Does anyone else out there have problems acting impulsively?

    Ha! As you posted this some days ago and have received no replies, I guess you are all alone in this problem... well, except for me... me and TaoCow.

    Some thoughts I had last night loosely apply to this universal problem we all have. Of course, some of us are more innately impulsive than others, by NATURE! And that aspect of one's nature will also be a source of some of the joys in life. That goes for all of us. For me, I'm extremely 'mindly' (for lack of a better word). The resulting observations I experience swing both ways, painful and pleasurable.

    OK, now let's get practical:

    First, are your standards too high? Is your ideal un-human? Are you trying to walk on water? This is one of the greatest errors we make as I see it. We conjure up a criteria for how an evolved species such as ourselves should be, and then hold ourselves to that standard. Thus, ensues a futile life long battle with ourselves and each other. Not that this battle ends when we die. We just pass it on to the next generation. It's crazy.

    Next, what do you really want? I would guess that your mind is drifting away from mindfulness as the myriad mundane moments of life flow by. You're taking the moment for granted... and wham, something happens and your first line of defense, emotional reaction kicks in. The only way you can intercede with such instantaneous events is to be 'ready'. It's like when you're playing ball. You stand there with your hands ready and your eyes on the ball, and you catch it when it comes your way. But now a pretty girl passes by and your eye (mind-emotion) relaxes to follow her,... and the ball hits you in the head. Do you really want to catch the ball, or relax and 'follow' the pretty girl?

    You say, "the mind immediately attaches... before I can stop... winds up an action." It is my sense that thought follows action. Thus we act, or feel, and then almost instantly reflect on the action or feeling. This resultant thought either augments the action / emotion or tries to counter-act it, as it seem you are attempting. It helps to understand that the action / emotion comes first. These are like the ball being thrown your mind's way. To have ANY influence over this situation you must desire it more than anything. As our good book puts it: [chref=64]Therefore the sage desires not to desire[/chref]. This idea of "desire not to desire" comes down to watching each mundane moment to moment of our life. This being more important than any passing desire of the moment... 'the pretty girl' as it were.

    Now, this is all very well in theory. But, we aren't living a theory. We are flesh and blood animals. What you have here is a 'ball game' where we are expecting ourselves to catch every ball never looking at that pretty girl. We can make machines do that because machines don't feel. So, we'll agree to allow ourselves some leeway, right? But, how much should we allow. This question presumes we have free will to determine such a thing in the first place.

    Well, I've carried on enough. I?m not even going to go back over it and check for mistakes. I shall go drink tea now and give my old mind a rest. :?
  • edited December 1969
    Thank you TaoCow and Carl, your comments have been vary helpful. Carl I especially like your linkage to Tao Te Ching and other past comments. After reflecting somewhat on both of your comments, there appears to be a Causal Loop that will illustrate how these key variables like Belief, Emotions, Thoughts etc. influence each other. For example, if Emotions increase that links to thinking, which also increases and links back to Emotions which increases even more etc. So what I have is a reinforcing loop. This type of loop builds up quickly. It is so fast we are not able to stop it. So what I think you two are saying is we need a strategy to break this loop before it even gets started. The Belief variable adds fuel to the fire!

    As time goes on with our Dialogue, I am going to try to build these Causal Loops. The above example illustrates the interaction of three variables. Nature in my humble opinion, because I really do not know what is going on, appears to be a complex interaction of Reinforcing and Balancing Loops etc. We are part of this dynamic process. The more we understand the structure of the process, the more we understand what to do to obtain our peace and joy. This sounds like the trip Buddha has already taken!

    We appear to have chaos working to order and back to chaos. But, how do we make these observations practical so that everyone may have peace and joy in there lives. My selfish interest is to teach my teenage students early in life of how to have peace and joy no matter how dysfunctional their parents are etc. Pretty idealist I know, but that is what drives me right now! Or as you would say , where my emotional investment is right now.

    It is interesting Carl that you stressed Emotion as a driving force, there are beliefs out there that Emotional is just another form of thinking and logic going on, more intense than normal reasoning. Emotion just illustrates more intence reasoning. I guess that is what they are saying? What is your definition of Emotion? My definition tends towards subjectivity and unpredicable linking to people and events. For example, if someone is Emotionally centered how they process infomation is by lateral linking, unpredictable linking, to events and people, feelings. If someone is Menatlly centered they process inormation logically, linearly. No emotion is involved in how they process.

    Well back to the real world. Perhaps the two of you and others out there in the internet world have a list of key variables that you think or feel are part of this dynamic process called life and death. Please share them and how you think they are connected.
    Peace and Joy 8)
  • edited December 1969
    Just a quick thought. Emotions seem to me to be physical sensations in the body acompanied by thought, or not. In my experience, emotions can arise without thought: a hormone imbalance can cause a 'mood' and then the mind struggles to ascribe a reason for the mood. Emotions and thought are cross-feeding.

    I've found the best way to deal with emotions is to treat them like little children who demand attention. Give them the attention they require and they calm down. Resist them, pull away from them and they get louder. My friend Dave says "What you resist persists." I've found that's true.

    Are emotions who we are? I don't think so. I don't know who we are...there's nobody home!
  • edited December 1969
    My selfish interest is to teach my teenage students early in life of how to have peace and joy no matter how dysfunctional their parents are

    Your interest doesn't sound selfish at all! Just the opposite. Have you thought about Alanon or Alateen? Those groups are experts at teaching people how to be happy in dysfunctional settings and there is a lot of wisdom there. Very practical, down-to-earth ideas that teenagers could put to use, in my humble opinion.
  • edited December 1969
    I will look into these organizations. School is done in about two weeks that will give me time to prepare for next year. Thank you for your suggestions.
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