View Full Version : Can you 'quiet your mind'?


davesf
03-09-14, 04:10 PM
I have achieved a startling milestone in my understanding and management of my ADD related symptoms. I have found a way to 'quiet my mind'.

I can now sit and listen to the world without my internal voice yammering away inside my head -- and in the process I now realize that it previously almost never quit talking.

Once I found a way to quiet my over-active internal dialog, I realized that my mind knows how to the things I had so much trouble doing, but the incessant dialog was getting in the way of letting it just "do them". I wasn't leaving the full trash or ignoring the unmade bed because I didn't know how to take the trash out or make the bed -- but because my mind was chanting so powerfully about the single-thing I was doing my mind couldn't *understand* the full trash or the unmade bed. It was a deceptive type of not-understanding, because I could "see" them, but somehow all the talking stopped my mind from doing what it is supposed to do -- understand their meaning and access the actions.

Before I try to say more, I have a question...

Is this something you struggle with?

If you sit and look at a tree, or listen to the sound of traffic, can you stop the sentences running through your head and just listen in silence? Or do the words keep coming, endlessly?

If you set out to do a task, like make the bed, can you just say "hey self, make the bed, you know how" and silently do it? Or is there an endless voice chattering through it, jumping between instructions like "pull that corner", and "don't forget we have to buy more orange juice"?

If you say with your internal voice, "okay, that's enough, stop talking and enjoy", does your internal voice stop? Or is it stuck in an endless loop that can't stop bringing words forth?

sarek
03-09-14, 06:13 PM
Yes, I can. I have learned it through gurdjieff's 4th way, which has similarities with mindfulness.

Fuzzy12
03-09-14, 09:14 PM
Yes, no, no, no.

Stimulants help.

So what's the solution?

Nicksgonefishin
03-09-14, 09:35 PM
Only on the riverbank.

spacytabs
03-10-14, 12:26 AM
Stimulants "quiet my mind."

acdc01
03-10-14, 09:23 AM
OP, can you share what you've found works for you?

I think most of us including myself suffer from this symptom and would benefit from anyone's thoughts on what worked for them.

Meds help for me but far from perfectly.

stef
03-10-14, 09:33 AM
Sometimes; but if I totally supress them it's worse...it's more like "channeling" everything. If I'm doing something at work like photocopying or scanning I have to keep repeating to myself what I'm doing or I get the papers mixed up.

davesf
03-10-14, 04:36 PM
Yes, I'm happy to share my techniques and thoughts. I know exactly when I quieted my mind, and how I did it. I've also been able to keep my mind quiet since then, and I have not taken medication in ~2 weeks -- though I think the medication helped me getting there.

This is going to be a long explanation, and I apologize for that. In the interest of giving the ADD audience something really quickly, I'll start by explaining the event where I quieted my mind.

I was ~24 days into Concerta, already having stepped the dose up, and it was no longer working. I was back to my ADD tuning-out-the-world state. By this time I realized that my emotions, calm, and attention were coming and going together. I also suspected emotional repression was deeply intertwined with my attention problems. During happy periods, I was able to practice mindfulness, opening my cognitive focus so I could do a task while simultaneously perceiving the world around me. For example, reading a book while hearing a conversation. When the calm and emotions left, so did my focus.

My mind-quieting event happened in the evening. I had just finished a frustrating conversation with my wife. Frankly, I'd felt trapped in it. I was factually needling apart everything she said, but all I wanted to do was stop us from talking. It was like I was a robot that couldn't stop myself from responding. Finally I managed, "I don't know how to stop this conversation." which was as close to an assertion as I could muster. I felt nothing, very disconnected, very much like my previously ADD life -- and after the bright moments of connected emotions from stimulants, it was unacceptably logically frustrating (though not emotional).

I resolved that I just didn't want to be like that anymore. I started trying to provoke myself, to have emotions. I had already been doing this in the days prior. The buddists say, when you have an emotion "let it be", don't chase it away, don't try to explain it, don't try to assign meaning to it. Which would be well and good if I had emotions, but normally I'm stuck in a logical spiral of thoughts that never let go enough for me to feel anything. So I started poking myself with the proverbial emotional fork. Anything that would make me feel anything. My late father, my son, my situation as a father. I'll explain my theory later, and just say that my goal was merely to make me feel something, to cry. I had some success days before, so I was doing the same thing. This time was the motherload. I touched something that made me cry, and instead of stopping it, in the words of the Buddhists I "invited it to stay". And stay it did, first I was crying, then I was moaning with hurt in my chest, then I was screaming into a pillow. I wasn't deciding what to do, I wasn't acting out a scenerio, this is just what happened when I stopped stopping myself.

My wife finally got worried about what was happening and and called out my name to stop me. My expert emotional repression tools took over and I stopped feeling in seconds. I was literally crying and screaming into the pillow one second, and standing beside the bed emotionless moments later. This was no surprise, as I'd been doing this since I was five years old. I also understand why she stopped me, but I wasn't done. I told her I had to get this toxic emotion out of me. I got in my car and drove to a safe place on the beach. I took out my phone, started looking at pictures and stirring up emotions. The more I cried, the more calm I felt, and the more calm I felt the more I started to see it that the place the crying was coming from was different than my logical voice. It was my inner hurt child, so I just kept encouraging him to let it out, that it would be okay. There in front of the waves I provoked and encouraged that other side of myself to cry on-and-off for a long time. I didn't try to explain it. I didn't try to stop it. I didn't try to figure out what it meant. I just let the toxic waves of hurt come out of me. That was when it happened -- the quiet mind. The feeling was so powerful and so relaxing that I remember in that moment feeling like I suddenly knew everything would be okay. I've mostly felt that way every since (though I still have LOTS to work on).

From that moment on, I've changed the entire way I talk to myself. Previously, I thought my logical voice "was" my mind, running my body like some kind of word-by-word robotic controller. Except it didn't work. I'd procrastinate, find myself avoiding things, and wonder why. I can now see this was all wrong. There is an emotional intuitive part of our minds which is actually really good at running our bodies and our lives -- but it has no "voice". It talks back with actions and feelings in our bodies. I had to get my logical self to let go of the puppet strings and start encouraging my emotional self; to let my logical self become my self-parent instead of my self-prision-guard. I stepped back and let my emotional self have "control". I actively try not to think much about the future, I just think about "now", and who I am. I try to trust that whatever the future brings I'll be myself in that moment too and figure it out. Even in the "now", I try to let go and say "you can do this", and as if by magic, my body just does it.

If you are a thiest and enjoy religion, you can think of it as letting G-d have control, like Carrie Underwood says, "let Jesus take the wheel". You can get similar emotional catharsis from confessional if you let yourself cry and be forgiven. I firmly believe now these techniques are one in the same. It's letting that emotional true self inside us do the living and the breathing. It's venting repressed toxic emotion without the rationalization or language of psychotherapy getting in the way. Is that emotional self G-d? Is it a one-ness shared by all of us? Is it the right side of our brain? I'm agnostic, so I don't profess to have the answer to that one. What I see is that the tools, techniques, and language used by religion, philosophy, self-care, and even martial-arts are actually the *same*. That people who believe in their inner self, who believe in G-d, who believe in Allah all believe in the same thing -- the voiceless source of feeling emotion and action inside us, whatever it is.

Not everyone is going to be in my situation of ADD because of severe emotional repression and anxiety. However, if you are, I suspect these same techniques will help you too. If that story didn't entirely fit together, don't worry, I have alot more to say on my technique and the topic in posts to come.

dvdnvwls
03-10-14, 04:56 PM
Dave: thank you for that description. I think it has a lot of value for many, if not most, of us; anxiety is well known to be a frequent companion for ADHD, and emotional repression, though not on the co-morbidity list, is a fact of life for many of us as well, due to the anxiety, due to the generally higher sensitivity, and probably other things as well.

The honesty and straightforwardness of your post made it easy to read, and seem short.

davesf
03-10-14, 05:33 PM
If you read my story, you can see my methods are inspired by Buddhist mindfulness. However, I do not use "dedicated sessions" of meditation or breathing exercises as I found them hard to do in my ADD state. Instead I practice the methods constantly, in every minute of the day.

I also developed a "mental model" of what I believe is happening in the mind, which is a bit different than what I've read out there in science and philosophy. This has greatly helped me understand the effects of my efforts, and improve my self-awareness.

In this post, I'm primarily going to talk about this big picture "mental model", but before I do I want to briefly list the three elements of my methods.


Learning to always -Breathe- (my "apnea" didn't stop during the day)
Relaxation and opening of "Cognitive Focus" (similar to mindfulness)
Emotional provocation and release (to get rid of mental anxiety)


There is no step-1-2-3. There is no beginning and no end. These elements are in an inter-dependent triangle of self-state control. Together, they control a startling "mode shift" of our minds between singular vs parallel thinking; between logic vs intuition; between thought vs being present; between simulating and predicting a path to a future goal -vs- keeping our perception open to see and understand the world as it is now.

When human brains are maximally motivated towards a future goal, we literally *do not see* the world as it is. We filter filter filter, removing anything predictable that is not relevant to the goal. This is a very self-deceptive form of filtering, because if interrupted or challenged we can look and "see" something un-predictable with our eyes. As a result, we don't realize or accept that our mind didn't see it before that moment.

In fact, this shift is so dramatic, I think it's a fair analogy to say that when we are maximally motivated towards a future goal, it's almost as if we are not seeing the world at all, but a "predicted simulation" of the world created in our minds. It's like we're living in The Matrix in our minds, occupied only by static and predictable things. We don't hear "unpredictable" things, because those things are out there in the real-world, not in our mental prediction simulation.

Do you feel startled or anxious when interrupted? Do you trip while walking? Bump into things while moving? Forget things while doing something else? Have trouble following directions? Have trouble doing two things at once? Have trouble listening to people, and understand what they are saying? -- I have had trouble with all of these things, and my startling realization is that the cause is not at all what I thought. These things happened because my Cognitive Focus was clamped down so tight my mind could literally only "see" and predict the singular thing I was doing. Everything else was filtered out -- or not present in my mental simulation -- whichever analogy you prefer.

For example, when I was on the computer, I would not see my wife open the office door. I would not hear her talk to me. Instead I would experience a startling jarring anxiety when she finally got my attention. It was if she had suddenly "appeared" there unexpectedly out of nowhere. I'd shift my focus to her, ask her to repeat herself, and still struggle to understand the meaning of her words. The truth is somehow stranger than fiction, that my focus was clamped down so tight, that she basically had "appeared" there out of nowhere. It was as if I was sleepwalking, and living in a narrowly focused dream. I don't even think my wife's interruption woke me up, I think it just created an anxious discontinuity in the dream "simulation".

During the brief period stimulants cleared my ADD "fog" I realized several remarkable things. First, I could sit on the computer and work while still hearing the world around me. I could also read while also hearing a conversation near me. This was startling, as this was not possible for me and I didn't realize it was possible for anyone. Second, I felt like the world was comparatively moving so much more slowly than it had before -- making many tasks suddenly super easy. Of course the world wasn't moving more slowly -- it was my perception which was moving more quickly. I was no longer 1/4 sleepwalking, I was fully awake. Third, I realized I was often often often holding my breath. All day long I would catch myself holding my breath during a thought. In fact, I like to say I was "micro sufficating" myself, as it reminds me how bad the habit is and how critical it is to stop it.

These observations all happened quickly while on stimulants, and so I felt like they were the second-coming-of-whartever. I thought my life was fixed. Sadly for me, the effects of the medication didn't last. Even after increasing the dose, only a couple weeks later I was back to my ADD state even while on them. They were doing almost nothing.

This is when I got really determined to figure out what was going on in my mind and fix it myself, instead of expecting the world outside to fix it. I formed a model, and started working using that model. So far the model is holding very true. I'm not the first person to use these pieces, but so far I haven't seen them put together in this way.

1) Cognitive Focus is a "lever" shifting between our emotional mind and our rational mind - and we can learn to control it directly. Scientists have shown that the more stressed and driven we are, the more narrow our thinking becomes. This is how we get stuck in spirals of thought where everything seems bad and we can't get out. Where we can't read a book, or listen to someone talking. Because our thinking is literally so narrow we can't think of anything outside that tunnel-thinking. The solution is to use calm, breathing, and expanding our perception to learn to open our cognitive focus and get out of narrow spirals of thought. When we use calm and mindfulness to get an overlapping emotional and rational mind, it's sometimes referred to as "wise mind".

2) Breathing is a primary controller of this stress level. The more we hold our breath, the more narrow and rational our thinking becomes. Which means holding our breath is a primary mechanism of repressing feelings, emotions, and actions. If we need to repress even more, our minds can secrete mucus to fill up the sinus and air canals, and consciously use habits like nose-picking to populate them with bacteria. The flip side of this is that if you want to percieve the world, start by just breathing.

3) Toxic emotional in our brains need to come out and be calmed. At the risk of digging too far into the science, I believe our minds are like a complex system of lakes. In the morning a lake is placid and calm. Throughout the day, it gets stirred up by wind and boats and has chaotic whitecaps. Our only placid morning is conception. After that we're storing our all our memories and experiences as waves in those lakes. If we have pain or trauma, somewhere in our minds there are chaotic and choppy waves. We can "hide" or repress them by increasing our stress-level and focusing elsewhere -- by narrowing our cognitive focus. The trouble is, the more we repress, the narrower our cognitive focus has to be to keep the chaos elsewhere contained. Soon we are a mess of anxiety that is trying to contain so much chaos it can't see anything. We also become volatile and unpredictable as chaotic waves spill over into our emotions and actions. That's where I was.

Do you see the interdependency? The more repressed chaotic emotion we are containing in our minds, the more narrow our cognitive focus becomes. A primary mechanism we use for this is pauses in our breath. The less we breathe, the less we feel, and the spiral towards an attentionless, emotionless, half sleepwalking life begins. Soon we have apnea day and night. We don't sleep properly. Sleep is a process to naturally and slowly calm the waves, but if that isn't happening, the waves are just getting more and more chaotic.

This mental model of mine is more complicated to explain properly than what I've covered above, and I'm trying to keep this as short as possible. I'm happy to elaborate on any questions about my story or my model.

Is this helping? What are folks interested to hear? My intended next step is to post a more practical explanation of the techniques I use on a daily basis, and their results so far.

davesf
03-10-14, 10:20 PM
I want to add a super-brief description of practical methods one can use to experience what I'm talking about. Anyone who has tried or experienced mindfulness has tried some of this. It's very important to *experience* it, because reading about it is not enough.

1) Actively widen cognitive focus. This needs to be done in a place with unpredictable visual and audio stimulus. Playing a song you have heard 100 times before will not work. It needs to be semi-random -- trees rustling, waves crashing, music you have never heard, or a clamoring crowd. This is because it needs to be something hard to *predict* to help us move to "perception". Our minds are capable of perceiving many things simultaneously, including reading while perceiving conversations and hearing sounds. However, in my narrowly focused ADD state, everything was tuned out but the singular chant of my own internal voice. My first attempts to widen cognitive focus happened while reading The Miracle of Mindfulness (http://www.amazon.com/Miracle-Mindfulness-Introduction-Practice-Meditation-ebook/dp/B009U9S6VM/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1394500256&sr=8-4&keywords=mindfulness+that), which I highly recommend. While reading the book, I tried to reach out, and hear the dishwasher, to hear a conversation near me. With the help of stimulants and a calm situation where I had let go of stress about the future, I was able to perceive my cognitive focus open. It wasn't an effortful thing, but a removal of effort. By relaxing, instead of my internal voice "reading" the words of the page to me, they were just flowing by my eyes and making sense. This is the same way I could understand bits of the conversation. I wasn't "repeating their words" with my own voice, as I had so often done. I was actually hearing them and the meaning. It also wasn't consistent, but more of a "throb". When I got a little too excited about it, or thought to much about it, my breath would pause, and I would "lose it".

I found it *very* hard to do this in my ADD state before I quieted my internal voice. I tried breathing exercises, but I was just chanting away the count of the breath in my head, and wasn't able to "let go". Stimulants temporarily helped, though I wasn't able to do it successfully until I did a bunch of emotional release.

2) Emotional Release. If the mind's voice is chanting away, my model says it is because of stress in the mind. Just like tires which are over-inflated, that extra-pressure needs to be relieved. Find a safe place, find something that makes you emotional, take stimulants if you have them, and find a way to emote. Thinking about topics you know are emotional. Looking at pictures. Journaling. Write a letter to yourself forgiving yourself for wronging people, or for them wronging you. When the emotion comes, don't stop it, don't explain it, just let it happen. Tell yourself it's okay to feel if that keeps you in the emotional place. Don't "act" or do something specific, just stop stopping yourself and let yourself do what you need.

3) Breathe. Force yourself to take ten to twenty big deep breaths when you wake up, preferably through the nose. Try to do it periodically throughout the day. Pay attention to how synchronized the breath is with activities. Try to desynchronize it and actively avoid pauses in the breath. Spend some time doing a solo "perception oriented" activity with no talking, no counting, no memorization, no categorization, and no organizing. Try to consistently breathe without pauses. I use juggling. Other good candidates are solo-handball, batting cages, solo-basketball. In addition to watching for pauses in the breath, work on opening cognitive focus.

4) Sleep. Start sleeping with some kind of quasi white-noise, as loud as you can handle. This can be a fan, or a smartphone white-noise machine. Try not to let it be too repetitive. Change the sound or the position of the source every several days. I've never had trouble falling asleep, since I was already basically sleepwalking anyhow, but I did have trouble getting myself into the bed at the right time. This is just discipline. Cut out any "addiction stimulants" for a month. My addiction was computer gaming, but you know yours if you have one. Just give it up for thirty days. Stimulants can help with this too. If you can't quickly fall asleep, try to get ahold of some kind of tranquilizer sleep aid -- and take as little as you can. I only had trouble during stimulant induced hypomania, and I took between 1/4 to 1/2 0.5mg Clonazepam.

5) Use "present" language. I try to avoid talking to myself unnecessarily now that my mind is quiet. Turns out it was mostly unnecessary chatter. I occasionally tell myself connecting and empowering things like, "that's your wife, you love her", "you're doing a really good job", and "this is a happy moment, you might want to smile". However, when I do think, and speak, I try to shift to present-perception-observation language -- avoiding past or future tense. Things like "It's good to hear your voice", instead of "we haven't talked in a long time"; or "I'm working on this now" instead of "I'm going to work on that later." This really helps me keep my cognitive focus open, staying present, instead of drifting off in thought. I formerly planned every conversation I had coming up to try to handle my ADD-attention problems. Now I try not to think about what I'm going to say before I say it. I just let the words come out. When I'm not talking, I listen.

6) Look for surprising detail, in everything. After I quieted my mind, I found it shockingly awesome how patiently I could be while listening to people. Then I started looking them in the eye. I quickly realized that many people are semi-ADD too, their eyes darting all over the place as they robotically repeat stories as sequences of pre-recorded sound-bites. I also started to notice not only their eye-color, but subtle variations in their eyes and faces. It's really interesting how much surprising and unique detail I can find in everything once I started looking for it. When I'm walking and talking to someone, I look around me, trying not to miss anything -- not a car, person, sign or activity. I try to notice people and what they are wearing. I think about what it means.

7) Make things mean something, by making them connected. I realize i was going about memory all wrong. I was trying to memorize facts, when I really should have been trying to connect them to things that mattered. It turns out that by *caring* about something, it becomes much easier to remember. When I hear a song, I try to hear it as if they are singing to me, or I'm singing to someone. I make it *mean* something. Likewise with a sign, or a person, or an observation.

There is alot there, and it's a little disjoint. I hope some of that was helpful or meaningful for someone. These techniques are really helping me. Though I admit they work much better after I quieted my mind. Try your best to quiet yours. If you can't, PM or post about what you tried and I'll offer any help I can. I sincerely hope something I've written here can help someone, because it's been such a dramatic improvement to my life I desperately want to find a way to share it with others.

Unmanagable
03-10-14, 11:21 PM
Can davesf's info be made into a sticky in the mindfulness section? It's like the cliff notes version of mindfulness and awareness, adhd style, and there's an amazing chance at a successful experience.

Thanks, davesf!!

sarek
03-11-14, 03:31 AM
Thank you Davesf, for this great info. My path is very similar to yours but I have not yet actively tried addressing the purely emotional aspects of this. My enneatype 9 leads to pretty much automatic instant suppression.

GeordieDave
03-11-14, 08:49 AM
Amazing information. Thank you

davesf
03-11-14, 01:34 PM
Thank you Davesf, for this great info. My path is very similar to yours but I have not yet actively tried addressing the purely emotional aspects of this. My enneatype 9 leads to pretty much automatic instant suppression.

I'm not versed in Enneagram, but from a quick look at enneagram-type-9 (http://www.enneagraminstitute.com/typenine.asp#.Ux9Fjolr738), I see many familiar themes. Any external threat of loss, withdrawl, or separation instantly triggers my full emotional suppression.

I encourage everyone to find a way to connect with and express trapped emotion in a safe way. However, I caution from attributing meaning to the way the emotions are expressed.

The actions, thoughts, and words which come out while releasing pent-up emotion may seem very specific, the meaning can often be hard to understand. IMO, the most specific those expressions are, the less accurate they become. For example, someone with a lifetime of trapped anger might lash out and hit someone, but they don't hit the people who gave them the anger to begin with, they hit the person standing in front of them when the anger comes.

I now look at that anger as a "wave" through time and space. Someone was angry, they expressed it and it "hit" someone else (via punches, words, whatever), that person trapped it, only to carry and later unleash it on someone else, and so on. My grandfather did it to my father, my father did it to me, and I was doing it to others. We can't just ignore or make the waves "disappear". We are merely guides for the waves. Our job is to accept them and transform them into something in alignment with our ideals, instead of letting them control us. That was a bit existential, but that's the way I see it.

Nicksgonefishin
03-11-14, 02:24 PM
Isn't the mind always quiet?

Deep down it is safe and secure. To try and calm the storm at the top would be frustrating.

IMO "Quieting the mind" as you call it is a matter of going to that place down deep. Whatever one calls it "The self" "the mind". Once you reach that place you can watch the activity of the top of the mind and the brain and then all the input from the external.

Dave has given beautiful directions on how to get there. Personally I like a good breathing meditation. It works for me.

Meditation with a rod in my turns it into something sublime.

GeordieDave
03-11-14, 02:32 PM
It's a great way in seeing it and it does make a lot of sense and I will be honest, I have released my anger on others (in a none physical way).

Do you know any techniques on how "to accept them and transform them into something in alignment with our ideals, instead of letting them control us.".

I'm becoming more aware of my emotions, which is a step forward to learn how to control them.

Thanks.

m1sanch
03-11-14, 03:10 PM
Now being on medication it doesn't happen so often now but before yea all the time. I would always have some thought in my head. It is interesting about you deceptive truth. I consistently see messes but never clean them. It may be rooted in what you described. I have been so stress that I had told my mind to be quiet. I think my actual words was SHUT UP. However that day my brain didn't listen and I almost wanted to break down and cry since it seemed nothing was working or even caring about me.

davesf
03-11-14, 08:08 PM
Do you know any techniques on how "to accept (emotions) and transform them into something in alignment with our ideals, instead of letting them control us.".

Yes, I think about this in terms of two main "levers"....

First, there are reaction time pauses between external stimulus, our rising emotion, and our habitual action. These may be long or short, but the more important fact is that our "rate of perception" is actually *variable*. For example, we do not see the world at 30 frames-per-second, we see it faster or slower based on our attention state and breathing. In order to perceive the pauses, we need to calm and open our cognitive focus (aka, "become mindful") so we can increase our rate and precision of perception. Once we do this, it's easier to see the external stimulus, rising emotion, and habitual action as separate things unfolding. Then it's easier to change them.

Second, the calmer we are, the more overlap there is between stimulus, emotion, response, rationality, and choice. If we are calm enough and keep ourselves "present", we see ourselves execute a response, without "losing time" or our rationality as that response occurs. For example, it's a very common experience for me to find myself in the midst of a bad habit without remembering the initiation of that habit. If we are self-aware enough, in that moment we can decide to stop the reaction, and choose a different path. When it's our emotions taking control, there is a training called DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) which teaches techniques for recognizing emotions and redirecting them.

I have been so stress that I had told my mind to be quiet. I think my actual words was SHUT UP. However that day my brain didn't listen and I almost wanted to break down and cry since it seemed nothing was working or even caring about me.

I have tried something similar. I think my self-dialog went something like "stop. stop. stop talking. stop...." it didn't work. The words just kept coming. Now I think I see why.

I like to think of myself as being two "selves".. my emotional self, which triggers emotions, actions, and even thoughts but has no voice, and my rational linguistic "parent" self which I currently think of as "me". If I'm bubbling over with emotion, words, or feelings, it's my emotional self bubbling over with stress and anxiety. It's been contained too long. I need to get into a safe situation and "let go", letting my emotional self express some of that bubbling over emotion. Sometimes I literally talk to my emotional self with words, like "what are you feeling? what do you want to say? it's going to be okay." Sometimes I just play piano, or walk along the beach. Something which allows me to remove the pressure to contain and control myself and my emotions. (see my story above)

sarek
03-12-14, 03:54 AM
The central secret to this method is that you are not fighting the thought or emotion. That is dualism. Fighting will feed more energy into the system and make it worse.

Instead, you merely observe. It is essential to do so without any judgement and without any notions of right and wrong. The feeling is what it is, and there are no good or bad feelings.

GeordieDave
03-12-14, 05:14 AM
Ahhhh... You guys are like my buddahs!

Kunga Dorji
03-15-14, 02:11 AM
I have achieved a startling milestone in my understanding and management of my ADD related symptoms. I have found a way to 'quiet my mind'.

I can now sit and listen to the world without my internal voice yammering away inside my head -- and in the process I now realize that it previously almost never quit talking.

Once I found a way to quiet my over-active internal dialog, I realized that my mind knows how to the things I had so much trouble doing, but the incessant dialog was getting in the way of letting it just "do them". I wasn't leaving the full trash or ignoring the unmade bed because I didn't know how to take the trash out or make the bed -- but because my mind was chanting so powerfully about the single-thing I was doing my mind couldn't *understand* the full trash or the unmade bed. It was a deceptive type of not-understanding, because I could "see" them, but somehow all the talking stopped my mind from doing what it is supposed to do -- understand their meaning and access the actions.

Before I try to say more, I have a question...

Is this something you struggle with?

If you sit and look at a tree, or listen to the sound of traffic, can you stop the sentences running through your head and just listen in silence? Or do the words keep coming, endlessly?

If you set out to do a task, like make the bed, can you just say "hey self, make the bed, you know how" and silently do it? Or is there an endless voice chattering through it, jumping between instructions like "pull that corner", and "don't forget we have to buy more orange juice"?

If you say with your internal voice, "okay, that's enough, stop talking and enjoy", does your internal voice stop? Or is it stuck in an endless loop that can't stop bringing words forth?

Isnt it nice when that eternal rattling on just stops? even for a few minutes!

I love my teacher's take on this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogH3KAge6zw

Well worth watching both parts.
Too funny.

The trick is-- if you struggle to quiet your mind-- it is self defeating.

I remember quite early on when being treated with Dex I would just drop into these still still states quite accidentally.
I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

The rhythm meditation workshop I talked about a few weeks ago has left me amazingly still- maybe 70% of the time -even as typing this. I have had a few episodes of biing overwhelmed by challenges- but ultimately surfed right on out the other end. Things do seem to be going in the right direction.

Kunga Dorji
03-15-14, 02:20 AM
The central secret to this method is that you are not fighting the thought or emotion. That is dualism. Fighting will feed more energy into the system and make it worse.

Instead, you merely observe. It is essential to do so without any judgement and without any notions of right and wrong. The feeling is what it is, and there are no good or bad feelings.

It is pretty hard to leap right on to that level though Sarek.
I am becoming more and more aware of the enormous benefit of breath mindfulness_

Simply put - one observes the sensation of the breath (at the nostrils, or even right through the body) and every time a thought comes up- just decide not to follow it and go back to observing the breath.
So- you are NOT trying not to think about the intrusive thought, you are electing to feel the breath instead.

That is inherently relaxing when you have got the hang of it.

Now thoughts tend to keep on reemerging in our brains because of habit. If a thought has been thought frequently, recently and with intensity it is likely to pp into our heads when meditating. Say we follow that thought - whether it is an exciting plan or a threatening worry- we then trigger a sympathetic response and all the adrenaline etc locks our attention onto that.

To move right out of spirituality and into basic behavioural psychology- when a thought repeatedly arises during meditation and one successfully disengages- one remains relaxed. Before too long classical conditioning kicks in and that thought is now associated with being relaxed. The funny thing is that when one does come to deal with the issue one remains relaxed and clear minded. One naturally handles the challenge more easily. After a while that habit becomes so rewarding that it generalises.

Then you are really in business.

Kunga Dorji
03-15-14, 02:46 AM
Yes, I think about this in terms of two main "levers"....

First, there are reaction time pauses between external stimulus, our rising emotion, and our habitual action. These may be long or short, but the more important fact is that our "rate of perception" is actually *variable*. For example, we do not see the world at 30 frames-per-second, we see it faster or slower based on our attention state and breathing. In order to perceive the pauses, we need to calm and open our cognitive focus (aka, "become mindful") so we can increase our rate and precision of perception. Once we do this, it's easier to see the external stimulus, rising emotion, and habitual action as separate things unfolding. Then it's easier to change them.

Now this is where it gets interesting. The following quote comes from Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience 12 Ocober 2012
"How Quantum brain biology can rescue conscious free will"- available for free via a Google search

Consciousness has also been seen as discrete events in psychology, e.g., “specious present, the short duration of which we are immediately and incessantly sensible” (though James was vague about duration, and also described a continual “stream of consciousness”). The “perceptual moment” theory of Stroud1956, described consciousness as a series of discrete events, like sequential frames of a movie [modern film and video present 24–72 frames/s, 24–72 cycles/s, i.e., Hertz (“Hz”)]. Periodicities for perception and reaction times are in the range of 20–50 ms, i.e., gamma synchrony EEG (30–90 Hz). Slower periods, e.g., 4–7 Hz theta frequency, with nested gamma waves may correspond with saccades and visual gestalts Woolf and Hameroff, 2001; Van Rullen and Koch, 2003.
Support for consciousness as sequences of discrete events is also found in Buddhism, trained meditators describing distinct “flickerings” in their experience of pure undifferentiated awareness (Tart, 1995, pers. communication). Buddhist texts portray consciousness as “momentary collections of mental phenomena,” and as “distinct, unconnected and impermanent moments which perish as soon as they arise.” Buddhist writings even quantify the frequency of conscious moments. For example the Sarvaastivaadins von Rospatt, 1995, described 6,480,000 “moments” in 24 h (an average of one “moment” per 13.3 ms, 75 Hz), and some Chinese Buddhism as one “thought” per 20 ms (50 Hz), both in gamma synchrony range.

Long-range gamma synchrony in the brain is the best measurable NCC (Neural correlate of consciousness).
In surgical patients undergoing general anesthesia, gamma synchrony between frontal and posterior cortex is the specific marker which disappears with loss of con- sciousness and returns upon awakening John and Prichep, 2005


So - back to your comments:



Second, the calmer we are, the more overlap there is between stimulus, emotion, response, rationality, and choice. If we are calm enough and keep ourselves "present", we see ourselves execute a response, without "losing time" or our rationality as that response occurs.


Again from the same source:



Hameroff, 2006. In what may be considered enhanced or optimized levels of consciousness, high frequency (more than 80 Hz) phase coherent gamma synchrony was found spanning cortical regions in meditating Tibetan monks, at the highest amplitude ever recorded Lutz et al., 2004. Faster rates of conscious moments may correlate with subjective perception of slower time flow, e.g., as in a car accident, or altered state. But what are conscious moments?Shimony1993 recognized that Whitehead’s occasions were compatible with quantum state reductions, or “collapses of the wave function.” Several lines of evidence suggest consciousness could be identified with sequences of quantum state reductions. What exactly are quantum state reductions?

The car accident moment is a really extraordinary phenomenon. It has happened to me twice in the context of car accidents, and many times since- often while jamming. Sometimes it lasts for days.



I suspect that many states labelled as hypomania are genuine irruptions into this healthy slowed down time state. I have learned when I am in that state to NOT let on to others just how much faster my thoughts are moving compared to them-- it just confuses them. I have also learned to NOT get overly ambitious and to focus more on understanding and sustaining and stablising the state. I hope it will become the new normal for me.



Now the bottom line is that time exists only relative to the observer.
Without a conscious observer the Schredinger wave equation applies to the whole universe and time collapses the universe into a frozen state.
That observation is heading rapidly towards a scientific proof of God (or whatever else you choose to call that phenomenon- as any verbal formula is a form of idolatory).


Back to you:

For example, it's a very common experience for me to find myself in the midst of a bad habit without remembering the initiation of that habit. If we are self-aware enough, in that moment we can decide to stop the reaction, and choose a different path. When it's our emotions taking control, there is a training called DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) which teaches techniques for recognizing emotions and redirecting them.

As does Tantric Buddhism,and no doubt many other paths that are not my area of expertise.



I have tried something similar. I think my self-dialog went something like "stop. stop. stop talking. stop...." it didn't work. The words just kept coming. Now I think I see why.

I like to think of myself as being two "selves".. my emotional self, which triggers emotions, actions, and even thoughts but has no voice, and my rational linguistic "parent" self which I currently think of as "me". If I'm bubbling over with emotion, words, or feelings, it's my emotional self bubbling over with stress and anxiety. It's been contained too long. I need to get into a safe situation and "let go", letting my emotional self express some of that bubbling over emotion. Sometimes I literally talk to my emotional self with words, like "what are you feeling? what do you want to say? it's going to be okay." Sometimes I just play piano, or walk along the beach. Something which allows me to remove the pressure to contain and control myself and my emotions. (see my story above)

All in all very interesting - as is the rest of this thread. We are rapidly drawing to the same point- and our explanations are getting clearer and clearer.

I suspect (seriously) that the event that some are calling "The Singularity" is just around the corner. Virtually all of the formerly esoteric knowledge of all the mystical traditions is now freely available on the net, and is tying in with the leading edge of scientific thought. Very very interesting- and exciting.

We are very lucky to be part of this evolution and we should take time to appreciate it. Treating it with a spacious awareness will hasten its arising.

Kunga Dorji
03-15-14, 03:50 AM
Not everyone is going to be in my situation of ADD because of severe emotional repression and anxiety. However, if you are, I suspect these same techniques will help you too. If that story didn't entirely fit together, don't worry, I have alot more to say on my technique and the topic in posts to come.

Far more than you might believe.:)

Kunga Dorji
03-15-14, 05:29 AM
Far more than you might believe.:)

To amplify- severe anxiety and emotional repression-- VERY big parts of ADHD in most cases I would think- judging by what I have seen anyhow- and what I have seen in myself.

daveddd
03-15-14, 10:59 AM
To amplify- severe anxiety and emotional repression-- VERY big parts of ADHD in most cases I would think- judging by what I have seen anyhow- and what I have seen in myself.

i pretty sure thats how its going to play out, seems to be going that way

mindfulness has helped me uncover and regulate several emotions including anxiety

shame is still the problem though

i can't get past the somatic state without repressing it , so its become my default affect

any advice dave or kunga?

davesf
03-15-14, 01:43 PM
@Kunga - You and I are asking many of the same questions, all the way to the singularity. Later I will share something I wrote in my journal last week. I think you'll appreciate it.

I suspect that many states labelled as hypomania are genuine irruptions into this healthy slowed down time state. I have learned when I am in that state to NOT let on to others just how much faster my thoughts are moving compared to them-- it just confuses them. I have also learned to NOT get overly ambitious and to focus more on understanding and sustaining and stabilizing the state. I hope it will become the new normal for me.

I recently experienced a 6-day event doctors termed a "medication-induced hypomania", which felt like perception was sped up and it was very easy to access "meaning" in the world. I remembered peoples names easily (normally very hard for me), it was easy to associate grand meaning with songs or things people said, food tasted incredible, it was easier to see wondrous detail in everything, and I could feel my body almost continuously. That said, my internal voice was quiet, and I was very calm so I wouldn't describe it as having "faster thoughts" exactly. It was a bit too much to understand all at once.

One of my goals is to find a calmer path towards this state without any medication. Practicing my "sound based opening of perception" every minute of every day has certainly increased my speed of perception compared to my old norm - dramatically reducing social anxiety. (see below for more description of how I do this)

It is pretty hard to leap right (to observing emotions) though Sarek.
I am becoming more and more aware of the enormous benefit of breath mindfulness_

Simply put - one observes the sensation of the breath (at the nostrils, or even right through the body) and every time a thought comes up- just decide not to follow it and go back to observing the breath.
So- you are NOT trying not to think about the intrusive thought, you are electing to feel the breath instead.

I want to articulate something that may have been too implicit in my original posts. One of the reasons I found and explained my path is that I personally find classical breath exercises did *not* bring me relaxed mindfulness. I believe this is because breath observation is too easy to do with focused controlled linear thought instead of relaxed openness. I can focus on my breath and keep my thoughts there, but they are merely counting and commanding it. No matter what I did, the internal dialog was still "running it", linearly focused and chanting away commands about my breath. (in, out, 1, 2, 3, diaphram, chest, nostrils.. the inner voice chanting never stopped)

I find it dramatically easier to reach mindfulness through simultaneous perception of many moving and unpredictable stimuli - especially sounds.

I put myself in a situation with many simultaneous and unpredictable sounds - unfamiliar music, birds, traffic, clamor, anything unpredictable. I can be just sitting, or doing any task (reading, typing on the computer, breath concentration).

..then, I try to relax and open to hear the external sounds. First one, then two, then all of them. Then I think about my loved ones, the ground, the sky, and try to keep hearing the sounds. Right now while I'm writing this, I'm keeping my mind open to hear music, the music lyrics, a dog chewing a bone, a pet bird, birds outside, and a nearby conversation. As long as I remain calm and breathe evenly, I can type this, while simultaneously hearing most of the sounds, understanding the lyrics, and most of the conversation. When I take it a bit further, I can feel the hair on my arms, and hear low background ring/hiss in my ears. For me, that hiss in my ears is a sign that I'm in relaxed open perception.

I hope that explanation made sense, and I hope that someone who has trouble finding mindfulness gives it a try. Please report if you do!

Kunga Dorji
03-15-14, 06:53 PM
i pretty sure thats how its going to play out, seems to be going that way

mindfulness has helped me uncover and regulate several emotions including anxiety

shame is still the problem though

i can't get past the somatic state without repressing it , so its become my default affect

any advice dave or kunga?

Shame is a difficult one. Alan Schore talks a lot about the use of shaming in the "practicing phase" of toddlerhood.
Shame is a very powerful emotion and must be used sparingly- if a child is doing something very dangerous and he is wilfully resisting then it might be necessary to shame him to make him learn a live saving lesson.
Shame also serves a valuable social purpose in some circumstances in adult life. In a dangerous situation like a fight or being on trial in a criminal case the submissiveness displayed in shame behaviour might be life saving.

Now I could be wrong here - but I think there are two significant cultural issues here.
1) The Judeo-Christian model of "Original Sin" is very much shame driven- and it hangs on way too long- as Jesus work in the New Testament was meant to overwrite and replace that. (The reason it persists is that when Constantine seized control of Christianity, and murdered all the gnostics he could find, he turned Christianity into a religion of state control-- so the role of shame was resurrected from the grave).
2) From what I can see the US is a very shame driven culture. Evrything I see on popular reality shows or anything covering the training of Military recruits shows enormous aggression, enormous imprinting of dominance-submission. Honestly I recoil in horror at some of the movie depictions of Military recruit training. (And I laugh every time I think of John Belushi dealing with that cadet officer in Animal House).Maybe this is why the US is pretty much the world capital of ADHD?

Dealing with shame requires some cognitive work.
I would direct your attention to Marshall Rosenberg's Non Violent Communication (NVC) model.

Rosenberg really emphasises forgiveness.
He tells us to remember that "everyone is actually doing the best that they can at the time with the cognitive and emotional resources available to them at the time.

I think that is true.
I can't ever think of a time when I willfully hurt anyone just for fun.
I have been more forceful than I would like many times-- and you can see lots of examples of that if you dig back far enough into my history on ADDforums. It is all there in black and white.
(On being forceful- even Zen masters have been known to throw stupid aspirants down flights of stairs for their own good!)

Now if you really embrace this NVC model you will see that you need not feel shame over anything provided that you resolve to inspect the distressing event closely, ask yourself what went wrong and when (it could have been that you had neglected to feed yourself and your blood sugar was on the low side- and that happened hours before the event), and then devise a strategy to avoid a repetition.

Shame really messes with our heads and brings us down. It makes us dysfunctional and makes us more likely to re-offend.

The way to act skilfully and kindly in the world really depends on being awake and calm.

If you want to do this- it is helpful to regard shame as a dysfunctional self indulgence. If you want to do good and be kind- be kind to yourself first and forgive yourself, so that you can be clearer and calmer-- and your true inner nature will manifest unobstructed-- to the benefit of all sentient beings.

Kunga Dorji
03-15-14, 07:38 PM
@Kunga - You and I are asking many of the same questions, all the way to the singularity. Later I will share something I wrote in my journal last week. I think you'll appreciate it.

I will look forward to that.



I recently experienced a 6-day event doctors termed a "medication-induced hypomania", which felt like perception was sped up and it was very easy to access "meaning" in the world. I remembered peoples names easily (normally very hard for me), it was easy to associate grand meaning with songs or things people said, food tasted incredible, it was easier to see wondrous detail in everything, and I could feel my body almost continuously. That said, my internal voice was quiet, and I was very calm so I wouldn't describe it as having "faster thoughts" exactly. It was a bit too much to understand all at once.

The first time this happened to me I was finishing my first year as a doctor. I had had 2 years of unrelenting sciatica, and a traumatic relationship break up. Then on night duty- I found myself unable to sleep- I got 8 hours sleep in 2 weeks. Not good- but being a dutiful apprentice doctor I battled on rather than let my co-workers down.
Then I had this car accident (hit very hard from behind after I had successfully braked to avoid an idiot in front of me). Time just slowed right down- I remember before I knew what had happened looking in amazement as the ashtray dislodged from the dashboard and flew backwards through the car.
I distinctly remember thinking "now that's something you don't see every day!
Anyhow- I entered that state and stayed in it for weeks. It was lovely at first as I went on holidays. I saw everything so clearly. I saw so deeply into the meanings of lyrics. I remember being profoundly affected by some of the Beatles more psychedelic stuff.
But there were problems- because I saw more deeply I could see where other people were wrong (most of the time).
I knew what people would say even before they had said more than a word or two. At the time I thought that was just extremely good inference, but given the quantum stuff I am looking at now, I believe it was genuine pre-cognition. This is obviously a bold statement- but there is evidence to support this in some of theresearch around heart ratevariability training- and the paper I referenced above does present a plausible model for such a thing.
In the end I just got really bloody irritated at everyone else slowness and stupidity. I also foolishly believe I had the physical capacity to act on every good thought I had. I became exhausted and was eventually labelled hypomanic and stuck on some really unpleasant medications to shut me up and slow me down. Part of the problem with this statewas I knewthat it was healthy, and I did not know how to sustain it or how to get back there at will. I clung to it and that was the beginning of the end.

The same sequence happened a year later - again brought on by sleep deprivation while doing night duty.(Pity my doctor did not think to forbid me doing night duty). That event lasted 6 weeks- and in a peculiar piece of synchronicity was terminated instantaneously by another car accident- in which I narrowly escaped being killed by a bookcase that blew off the back of an oncoming truck. (My mother woke up in hospital 30km away, aware that something had happened to me. As an aside she has a very significant trauma history that probably explains her unusual abilities).

I have had many lesser episodes of the same since- while skiing or while attempting to play lead guitar. Three weeks ago though I was triggered back into this state while doing an intensive 3 day rhythm meditation workshop.

This time it is different. I feel no urge to overload myself and do everything all at once. I am relaxing with it and it is stabilising. I find myself having difficulty at times with ensuring I do not run overtime with appointments as my work is very complex. I also have found myself a little more vulnerable to being affected by other people's emotional energy. However, it has got to the point where the solutions to these problems present themselves as soon as I perceive the pattern.

I have been seeing a psychoanalyst for 2 years now. He is a very intelligent man- I have finally met a doctor who is my equal. He was very troubled by the natural speed of my thought and for a long while believed that I did have an element of bipolar. However, he, and my medicating psychiatrist have both now decided that the diagnosis of bipolar was always wrong.

I really am very suspicious that the rapid thinking of mania/hypomania is a spontaneous eruption into a higher state of being-- but that it is contaminated by being overdriven, anxious, fearful of losing touch with it and getting sleep deprived and starved. (Last time it happened I lost 10kg in 14 days. No weight loss this time _worse luck!)



One of my goals is to find a calmer path towards this state without any medication.

Good plan- but I am still using it sparingly.
Sometimes I wake up foggy and with lots of muscle pain. Then having a hot shower, 15 mg of dex and doing qi gong does wonders. There is no sense in an all or nothing approach- thats "neurotupical thinking".


Practicing my "sound based opening of perception" every minute of every day has certainly increased my speed of perception compared to my old norm - dramatically reducing social anxiety. (see below for more description of how I do this)

I want to articulate something that may have been too implicit in my original posts. One of the reasons I found and explained my path is that I personally find classical breath exercises did *not* bring me relaxed mindfulness. I believe this is because breath observation is too easy to do with focused controlled linear thought instead of relaxed openness. I can focus on my breath and keep my thoughts there, but they are merely counting and commanding it. No matter what I did, the internal dialog was still "running it", linearly focused and chanting away commands about my breath. (in, out, 1, 2, 3, diaphram, chest, nostrils.. the inner voice chanting never stopped)

What I have found is that focussing on the sensation and NOT counting is vital. My teacher stresses that all the effort is on the inbreath, and we breathe in to any stiff or painful areas, and on the outbreath, while emaining upright just let go of all muscular effort and breathethe thoughts out witha sigh of relief. He then recommends just waiting for the next breath- sit there quietly and see if another will come along. One usually will!
However the big barriers to breath mindfulness are unrecognised muscle tension and (in my opinion) unstable balance.Watching some of my patients who struggle- they are always really tight or wobbly.
Learning to really centre yourself (may need open eyes) and to do the exercise without forcing anything are vital.



I find it dramatically easier to reach mindfulness through simultaneous perception of many moving and unpredictable stimuli - especially sounds.


I put myself in a situation with many simultaneous and unpredictable sounds - unfamiliar music, birds, traffic, clamor, anything unpredictable. I can be just sitting, or doing any task (reading, typing on the computer, breath concentration).

..then, I try to relax and open to hear the external sounds. First one, then two, then all of them. Then I think about my loved ones, the ground, the sky, and try to keep hearing the sounds. Right now while I'm writing this, I'm keeping my mind open to hear music, the music lyrics, a dog chewing a bone, a pet bird, birds outside, and a nearby conversation. As long as I remain calm and breathe evenly, I can type this, while simultaneously hearing most of the sounds, understanding the lyrics, and most of the conversation. When I take it a bit further, I can feel the hair on my arms, and hear low background ring/hiss in my ears. For me, that hiss in my ears is a sign that I'm in relaxed open perception.

I hope that explanation made sense, and I hope that someone who has trouble finding mindfulness gives it a try. Please report if you do!

[/quote]
It makes a great deal of sense.
An interesting approach- but totally valid- well described in Tibetan literature.
Any sensory modality, including sensing our thoughts ad they come and go, is a legitimate approach.
With sound, rhythm works well for me- especially hard rock.
re the hiss in my ears- it usually happens when my neck is out of alignment.
A good marker for me is being able to hear my own heartbeat.

The basic sound approach is a common one- but what you are doing would be regarded as incredibly advanced. (Again consistent with ADHD/Old Souls)

Another useful tip is to immobilise the eyes. Look only straight ahead without focussing on any one object.

I hope you will give me your permission to share this post with some of my mindfulness practitioner colleagues. It is first class.
Andrew

davesf
03-16-14, 01:02 AM
What I have found is that focussing on the sensation and NOT counting is vital.

That would be nice if I had been able to do that. Before the events I described, I had no way to get my internal voice to stop talking. No matter what I did, another word would come. The most I could do was "stretch out" words to slow the occurance of the next word.

With sound, rhythm works well for me- especially hard rock.

That is interesting. I find the more random/unpredictable/unfamiliar the sound the better. Waves crashing, birds chirping, wind in the trees, or unfamiliar music with less rhythmic composition. I suspect this is because the linear brain and narrow cognitive focus is involved with future prediction and goal seeking. When things become predictable, my mind jumps to the task and starts trying to narrow focus and predict one stimulus, ignoring the others in the process. I suspect this is why eastern temples employ monks to randomly ring bells.

A good marker for me is being able to hear my own heartbeat.

Agreed. During my "hypomania" it was fairly easy to open enough to hear my heartbeat in my right ear. Right now, after two weeks without any medication, I can't easily open enough to hear a heartbeat (at least not within 30 seconds or so, maybe if I meditated longer I could).

The basic sound approach is a common one- but what you are doing would be regarded as incredibly advanced. (Again consistent with ADHD/Old Souls)

If this is very hard for others to do, it may have been easier "find" because I was hypomanic when I was doing these exercises for the first time. I suspect finding cognitive focus control is a bit like learning to wiggle our noses, and having all that extra dopamine may have made it easier for me.

However, I hope this is not the case. I hope it's merely because I have a clearer mental model of what is going on. Cognitive Focus is a very specific mechanism in the mind. It shifts between two different thinking modes. By understanding these two modes in more detail, we can actively avoid thoughts which shift our mind towards the narrow-focused linear prediction mode.

For example, try this quick way to interrupt a meditative state... Ask yourself a spatial mapping or future prediction question. In order to answer it, our minds narrow cognitive focus, which shuts out the open perception. The corollary, is that if we wish to stay in the open-state, we need to talk to ourselves using language without time or place. In a sense, we can only talk to the open-mind with buddhist like detachment for a *reason* -- because doing otherwise actually takes us away from the open-mind.

I hope you will give me your permission to share this post with some of my mindfulness practitioner colleagues. It is first class.
Andrew

Yes, of course. I posted this out in the public Internet so it may be shared with any who find it. I hope others find it interesting.

Fraser_0762
03-16-14, 01:06 AM
I can quiet my mind for a short period of time, but it seems to require a lot of effort to do so. It doesn't take long for all the thoughts to come creeping back in again, 1 by 1.

davesf
03-16-14, 01:08 AM
I can quiet my mind for a short period of time, but it seems to require a lot of effort to do so. It doesn't take long for all the thoughts to come creeping back in again, 1 by 1.

How long is a short period of time?

Have you tried the emotional release technique I wrote about?

I find opening and quieting my mind is a sort of "anti-effort" kind of effort. It's an intentful type of non-effort relaxation state.

davesf
03-16-14, 01:18 AM
shame is still the problem though

i can't get past the somatic state without repressing it , so its become my default affect

any advice dave or kunga?

By somatic-state, do you mean when you feel the emotion and your body? If so, I'm curious why you suggest getting "past" it, since that is the desired state. Once we feel the emotion, and our bodies, the goal is to remember that the feeling is not casually related to the habitual action trying to rise in us. Just stop the action and let the "somatic-state" feeling stay. Sit with it. Enjoy it for what it is, one-ness with our body. Afterall, it is actually your own body that you are feeling, not something else. Invite the state to stay and observe it. Just breathe.

If you can stay there and avoid reaction, it helps disconnect the habitual pre-programmed reaction from the emotion and trigger -- which is all we desire. We can't stop the "feeling" itself from rising, and we wouldn't want to anyhow, since it is real -- it just has no direct meaning -- it must be mindfully interpreted.

That said, I fully understand the strong repression reaction. It happens to me with shame or emotional threat, primarily abandonment. I have not yet figured out how to stop it, but that is my primary goal so I'll keep you posted. My next attempt is going to be to "talk my emotional-self out of the repression" when it happens.

To do so, I need to figure out what real truth I can offer my emotional-self about abandonment. Perhaps something like.. "do not fear her abandonment. she can not remove the love we offer, and we do not demand the love she grants."?? I'll have to think on it some more.

daveddd
03-16-14, 01:46 PM
by somatic

i meant as soon as i feel the intense physical jolt of shame, its repressed and i can't stay with it

i think thats why its become my default posture (head down, gaze aversion , feeling small)

Kunga Dorji
03-16-14, 04:16 PM
by somatic

i meant as soon as i feel the intense physical jolt of shame, its repressed and i can't stay with it

i think thats why its become my default posture (head down, gaze aversion , feeling small)

That default posture is actually impairing your alertness and confidence, and screwing up your neurohormonal status:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmR2A9TnIso

Something similar was my default posture- but that arose primarily from the scoliosis secondary to the birth injury to my upper neck.

I have a sort of overall policy to adopt 2 basic default postures:
the sitting posture of the Buddha and the walking posture of a healthy hunter gatherer.

davesf
03-16-14, 04:54 PM
by somatic

i meant as soon as i feel the intense physical jolt of shame, its repressed and i can't stay with it

I think I understand. This is my current theory, and my current solution...

That "intense physical jolt of shame" is actually not what we think it is. It's actually just an intense physical jolt of feeling our bodies that comes from "being present". The stress/repression/dissociation which is triggered shuts down physical sensation because our brain was taught long ago that more pain is coming (either physical or emotional pain). It wants to avoid that pain, so it dissociates. This is the same thing as when we freeze up before being hit, colliding, or falling.

Further, the social anxiety does not (IMO) come from the shame trigger but from the repression. It comes from the fact that the *speed* and *scope* of our perception of external stimuli is intimately tied to how present we are. If "normal" present and aware behavior is 40hz, then a repressed state might be 10hz, and a hypomanic or meditation state might be 60-80hz. Which means when the shame trigger happens, and our mind goes into repression-mode, the speed and scope of perception drops -- this makes it very hard to interact socially, because it feels like the world is moving too fast - we're struggling to keep up and understand what is going on.

My first key to overcoming this is realizing that it's not necessary to fix the shame trigger to increase our perception speed and scope. The two are only tangentially related. We can learn to become "present" and open our repression *at*will*.

I've been working very hard on mindfulness/relaxation techniques to willfully open perception at any time. (see the techniques in this thread) When my perception is open and I'm relaxed, perception is faster and easier so it's comfortable to hold eye contact, pay attention, notice details, and keep my mind quiet enough to listen.

Does it make my triggers go away?? -> absolutely not. I still have them. However, I can see my triggers were a smaller problem than the repression forcing me not only to dissociate -- but also to *stay* dissociated. Even when the trigger is gone, I was still stressed, anxious, dissociated.. with a narrow focus and slow perception. Buried in my tunnel world. Hiding from being "present".

Staying "present" also helps me see my triggers better. Even when they happen, and I can't stop them, I generally *see* them happen now. This makes it easier to notice the repression/dissociation, take a break, and bring myself back to "present" before I try to take any action.

Have you tried mindfulness techniques? Either breathing concentration, or the technique I described in this post (http://www.addforums.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1627208&postcount=28)? If not, I recommend you carve out a couple hours and try them. If they don't work, post or PM and I'll do anything I can to help.

sarek
03-16-14, 05:07 PM
Currently i am using a wide variety of mindfulness techniques to create the awareness wedge:

Breath

Split attention (breath plus 'sightless gaze' or 'soundless hearing' which mean non focused total spectrum sensory awareness)

posture control(also look at the Alexander technique (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_technique))

Habit breaking. (use the left hand for the right, sit in different chairs than you are used to, dont order your customary dish)

Balance exercises

Mindful action. This is for instance attempting to more smoothly drive my car, or to noiselessly do daily activities.

daveddd
03-16-14, 05:41 PM
Shame is a difficult one. Alan Schore talks a lot about the use of shaming in the "practicing phase" of toddlerhood.
Shame is a very powerful emotion and must be used sparingly- if a child is doing something very dangerous and he is wilfully resisting then it might be necessary to shame him to make him learn a live saving lesson.
Shame also serves a valuable social purpose in some circumstances in adult life. In a dangerous situation like a fight or being on trial in a criminal case the submissiveness displayed in shame behaviour might be life saving.

Now I could be wrong here - but I think there are two significant cultural issues here.
1) The Judeo-Christian model of "Original Sin" is very much shame driven- and it hangs on way too long- as Jesus work in the New Testament was meant to overwrite and replace that. (The reason it persists is that when Constantine seized control of Christianity, and murdered all the gnostics he could find, he turned Christianity into a religion of state control-- so the role of shame was resurrected from the grave).
2) From what I can see the US is a very shame driven culture. Evrything I see on popular reality shows or anything covering the training of Military recruits shows enormous aggression, enormous imprinting of dominance-submission. Honestly I recoil in horror at some of the movie depictions of Military recruit training. (And I laugh every time I think of John Belushi dealing with that cadet officer in Animal House).Maybe this is why the US is pretty much the world capital of ADHD?

Dealing with shame requires some cognitive work.
I would direct your attention to Marshall Rosenberg's Non Violent Communication (NVC) model.

Rosenberg really emphasises forgiveness.
He tells us to remember that "everyone is actually doing the best that they can at the time with the cognitive and emotional resources available to them at the time.

I think that is true.
I can't ever think of a time when I willfully hurt anyone just for fun.
I have been more forceful than I would like many times-- and you can see lots of examples of that if you dig back far enough into my history on ADDforums. It is all there in black and white.
(On being forceful- even Zen masters have been known to throw stupid aspirants down flights of stairs for their own good!)

Now if you really embrace this NVC model you will see that you need not feel shame over anything provided that you resolve to inspect the distressing event closely, ask yourself what went wrong and when (it could have been that you had neglected to feed yourself and your blood sugar was on the low side- and that happened hours before the event), and then devise a strategy to avoid a repetition.

Shame really messes with our heads and brings us down. It makes us dysfunctional and makes us more likely to re-offend.

The way to act skilfully and kindly in the world really depends on being awake and calm.

If you want to do this- it is helpful to regard shame as a dysfunctional self indulgence. If you want to do good and be kind- be kind to yourself first and forgive yourself, so that you can be clearer and calmer-- and your true inner nature will manifest unobstructed-- to the benefit of all sentient beings.


http://books.google.com/books?id=6bs_dW8lq0oC&pg=PT622&dq=shame+alexithymia+allan+schore&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ehkmU_ymGKGr2QX5sYCADQ&ved=0CC8Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=shame%20alexithymia%20allan%20schore&f=false


here schore mentions how shame can cause alexthymia (repression)

his knowledge appears much higher than most, and much more accurate than "medical syndrome" models of mental illness

Kunga Dorji
03-16-14, 11:49 PM
Quite a few interesting comments here- and I may be able to shed some light on some of them:

If you read my story, you can see my methods are inspired by Buddhist mindfulness. However, I do not use "dedicated sessions" of meditation or breathing exercises as I found them hard to do in my ADD state. Instead I practice the methods constantly, in every minute of the day.

This moment to moment mindfulness is the key to breaking the back of ADHD- in fact it is the opposite of ADHD behaviour.


I also developed a "mental model" of what I believe is happening in the mind, which is a bit different than what I've read out there in science and philosophy. This has greatly helped me understand the effects of my efforts, and improve my self-awareness.

In this post, I'm primarily going to talk about this big picture "mental model", but before I do I want to briefly list the three elements of my methods.


Learning to always -Breathe- (my "apnea" didn't stop during the day)
Relaxation and opening of "Cognitive Focus" (similar to mindfulness)
Emotional provocation and release (to get rid of mental anxiety)


There is no step-1-2-3. There is no beginning and no end. These elements are in an inter-dependent triangle of self-state control.
[quote]
Very well put.
Reductionist scientific thought is very linear. That is helpful in terms of defining problems at a particular part of the system- but often something is lost in the translation when it comes to actioning these. In truth- we need to think of problems like ADHD and self regulation as a series of feedback loops.

I particularly like the naturopathic model which considers the triad of emotional, biochemical and biomechanical factors that feed back on each other in any human. (See the link to Amy Cuddy- Power Posing - on You Tube, that I posted elsewhere).

Much of what you are proposing is an action oriented variant of mindfulness- and the emotional provocation and release technique is similar to imaginary exposure exercises that we use in formal mindfulness based psychotherapies.
The only caveat I would raise is that the emotional provocation really needs to be done with some degree of confidence that you can settle yourself afterwards- there is a risk of re-traumatising ourselves.

[quote]
Together, they control a startling "mode shift" of our minds between singular vs parallel thinking; between logic vs intuition; between thought vs being present; between simulating and predicting a path to a future goal -vs- keeping our perception open to see and understand the world as it is now.

When human brains are maximally motivated towards a future goal, we literally *do not see* the world as it is. We filter filter filter, removing anything predictable that is not relevant to the goal. This is a very self-deceptive form of filtering, because if interrupted or challenged we can look and "see" something un-predictable with our eyes. As a result, we don't realize or accept that our mind didn't see it before that moment.

Well put- it is possible to work a path that creates moment to moment awareness as the goal. Much of the formal system of mindfulness in Buddhism is designed to get around this paradox.


In fact, this shift is so dramatic, I think it's a fair analogy to say that when we are maximally motivated towards a future goal, it's almost as if we are not seeing the world at all, but a "predicted simulation" of the world created in our minds. It's like we're living in The Matrix in our minds, occupied only by static and predictable things. We don't hear "unpredictable" things, because those things are out there in the real-world, not in our mental prediction simulation.

Again well put- but you need to be aware that even in real time we live in a simulation- in that we have no direct knowledge of the outside world at all.
The neurology of this is well dealt with in Antonio Damasio's book "Self Comes to Mind"
as an entertaining aside:
"Matter" is an inference we draw from the hologram that our brain generates of all sensory input. Strictly speaking- "matter" is a construct of Mind!


Do you feel startled or anxious when interrupted? Do you trip while walking? Bump into things while moving? Forget things while doing something else? Have trouble following directions? Have trouble doing two things at once? Have trouble listening to people, and understand what they are saying? -- I have had trouble with all of these things, and my startling realization is that the cause is not at all what I thought. These things happened because my Cognitive Focus was clamped down so tight my mind could literally only "see" and predict the singular thing I was doing. Everything else was filtered out -- or not present in my mental simulation -- whichever analogy you prefer.

Now in my case I have identified the cause of this set of problems and have virtually remedied it- about 3 weeks ago.
The issue was one of distorted proprioceptive information being fed into one side of my brain-- but the distortions were generated by spinal issues.
I had noticed for some time that occasionally I could be abruptly and unexpectedly coordinated- but have struggled for years to pin down what brought those episodes on.
However it caused issues both with balance (and associated stress response which makes sitting mindfulness very hard), with unstable eye tracking and direct overload of working memory- hence being unable to hold 2 thoughts in mind at once. It really has gone now- leaving me with just a few orthopedic issues- which I can handle.


For example, when I was on the computer, I would not see my wife open the office door. I would not hear her talk to me. Instead I would experience a startling jarring anxiety when she finally got my attention. It was if she had suddenly "appeared" there unexpectedly out of nowhere. I'd shift my focus to her, ask her to repeat herself, and still struggle to understand the meaning of her words. The truth is somehow stranger than fiction, that my focus was clamped down so tight, that she basically had "appeared" there out of nowhere. It was as if I was sleepwalking, and living in a narrowly focused dream. I don't even think my wife's interruption woke me up, I think it just created an anxious discontinuity in the dream "simulation".

In his analysis of the impact of balance issues on concentration the psychiatrist Howard Levinson emphasises that this sort of hyperfocus is one learned adaptation to unstable balance. In effect fixing the gaze helps stabilise attention- a fact well known to meditation teachers and hypnotherapists. However- that comes at a cost- as you illustrate so lucidly.


During the brief period stimulants cleared my ADD "fog" I realized several remarkable things. First, I could sit on the computer and work while still hearing the world around me. I could also read while also hearing a conversation near me. This was startling, as this was not possible for me and I didn't realize it was possible for anyone. Second, I felt like the world was comparatively moving so much more slowly than it had before -- making many tasks suddenly super easy. Of course the world wasn't moving more slowly -- it was my perception which was moving more quickly. I was no longer 1/4 sleepwalking, I was fully awake.
-- I hope so- we need more people to awaken fully :)


Third, I realized I was often often often holding my breath. All day long I would catch myself holding my breath during a thought. In fact, I like to say I was "micro sufficating" myself, as it reminds me how bad the habit is and how critical it is to stop it.

This is really common in ADHD and in other situations- most scripts of instructions for progressive muscle relaxation keep repeating the instrction to "continue breathing".


These observations all happened quickly while on stimulants, and so I felt like they were the second-coming-of-whartever.

They are identical to descriptions of satori


I thought my life was fixed. Sadly for me, the effects of the medication didn't last. Even after increasing the dose, only a couple weeks later I was back to my ADD state even while on them. They were doing almost nothing.

Been there - done that :(


This is when I got really determined to figure out what was going on in my mind and fix it myself, instead of expecting the world outside to fix it. I formed a model, and started working using that model. So far the model is holding very true. I'm not the first person to use these pieces, but so far I haven't seen them put together in this way.

1) Cognitive Focus is a "lever" shifting between our emotional mind and our rational mind - and we can learn to control it directly. Scientists have shown that the more stressed and driven we are, the more narrow our thinking becomes. This is how we get stuck in spirals of thought where everything seems bad and we can't get out. Where we can't read a book, or listen to someone talking. Because our thinking is literally so narrow we can't think of anything outside that tunnel-thinking. The solution is to use calm, breathing, and expanding our perception to learn to open our cognitive focus and get out of narrow spirals of thought. When we use calm and mindfulness to get an overlapping emotional and rational mind, it's sometimes referred to as "wise mind".

2) Breathing is a primary controller of this stress level. The more we hold our breath, the more narrow and rational our thinking becomes. Which means holding our breath is a primary mechanism of repressing feelings, emotions, and actions. If we need to repress even more, our minds can secrete mucus to fill up the sinus and air canals, and consciously use habits like nose-picking to populate them with bacteria. The flip side of this is that if you want to percieve the world, start by just breathing.

3) Toxic emotional in our brains need to come out and be calmed. At the risk of digging too far into the science, I believe our minds are like a complex system of lakes. In the morning a lake is placid and calm. Throughout the day, it gets stirred up by wind and boats and has chaotic whitecaps. Our only placid morning is conception. After that we're storing our all our memories and experiences as waves in those lakes. If we have pain or trauma, somewhere in our minds there are chaotic and choppy waves. We can "hide" or repress them by increasing our stress-level and focusing elsewhere -- by narrowing our cognitive focus. The trouble is, the more we repress, the narrower our cognitive focus has to be to keep the chaos elsewhere contained. Soon we are a mess of anxiety that is trying to contain so much chaos it can't see anything. We also become volatile and unpredictable as chaotic waves spill over into our emotions and actions. That's where I was.

Do you see the interdependency? The more repressed chaotic emotion we are containing in our minds, the more narrow our cognitive focus becomes. A primary mechanism we use for this is pauses in our breath. The less we breathe, the less we feel, and the spiral towards an attentionless, emotionless, half sleepwalking life begins. Soon we have apnea day and night. We don't sleep properly. Sleep is a process to naturally and slowly calm the waves, but if that isn't happening, the waves are just getting more and more chaotic.

This mental model of mine is more complicated to explain properly than what I've covered above, and I'm trying to keep this as short as possible. I'm happy to elaborate on any questions about my story or my model.

Is this helping? What are folks interested to hear? My intended next step is to post a more practical explanation of the techniques I use on a daily basis, and their results so far.

Most illuminating- and the emphasis on "interdependancy" is vitally important. Keep it coming :)

davesf
03-19-14, 01:30 PM
Much of what you are proposing is an action oriented variant of mindfulness- and the emotional provocation and release technique is similar to imaginary exposure exercises that we use in formal mindfulness based psychotherapies.

I like that term "action oriented". I couldn't passively relax into that place people are searching for, so I found "active" ways to move towards it. Trapped mental stress and anxiety was in the way, so I tried to "actively" remove it.

Today I think I would benefit from formal mindfulness therapy and imaginary exposure. However, I wonder if it would have worked on me before my medication-assisted emotional release. I was pretty oblivious to suggestion, marketing, hypnotism, my wife, kids, therapist, etc. -- pretty much a wall of distrust. I also previously found it very uncomfortable to do yoga because my mind kept chattering. I suspect that tunnel was a self-induced state of stress to narrow cognitive focus and hide from emotions. Regardless of the cause, those in a similar state may be hard to reach.

The only caveat I would raise is that the emotional provocation really needs to be done with some degree of confidence that you can settle yourself afterwards- there is a risk of re-traumatizing ourselves.


I can see this risk. What does "settling" imply exactly? Over what time-frame?

I settled well that evening and slept well. However, it was in the following days that I had my trip through alleged hypomania. My theory is that I was blocking out the medication, so when I stopped the block, the dopamine came like a flood. They also tell me it's not great to cold-turkey off Concerta, which I ended up doing, not realizing it could be a contributing factor. Alternatively, I may have naturally built up a surplus of both brain chemicals as part of my "stress", when I let the negative chemicals burn away, I may have been left with a surplus of positive chemicals. I'll never know for sure what happened.

Again well put- but you need to be aware that even in real time we live in a simulation- in that we have no direct knowledge of the outside world at all. The neurology of this is well dealt with in Antonio Damasio's book "Self Comes to Mind" as an entertaining aside: "Matter" is an inference we draw from the hologram that our brain generates of all sensory input. Strictly speaking- "matter" is a construct of Mind!

Agreed. There is so much imprecision in these pesky words! :) While I feel "more awake" and "more real time", I can also see I'm not operating at the limit, nor is it clear what the limit is exactly.

The deep rabbit hole about matter is whether the physical laws of the universe have a fixed structure, or if matter is resonant information waves made stable by something other than rules -- aka, our collective inner conciousness (aka, the one-ness of all things), one or many supervisor conciousnesses (aka, gods), or the simulation system it runs on. The intersection of science and theology.

They are identical to descriptions of satori

Which begs the questions... is satori/kensho another word for hypomania? is satori a hypomania which we don't let control us? Is it something entirely different? Which did I experience?

Do you have any (non-medication) recommendations about how I might go about seeking "daig-tettei" -- a deeper and more consistent experience?

I work on moment-to-moment mindfulness all day long. I periodically take time to meditate and 'defocus' while watching a moving scene -- a moving tree or a leg or arm works well (to percieve the normally imperceptible muscle twitches). I'm also starting to study the art and philosophy of Jeet Kune Do.

I also did some searching and found reference to Zen Koans, though I find linguistics very quickly recruit my linear-thought, so I'm not sure about that route.

DistractedLemur
03-23-14, 07:19 PM
Really interesting reading.

Sitting quiet and still and meditating sounds like a punishment to me but I'm a little shocked recently to rediscover how much washing dishes in the evenings calms me. This is certainly healthier because the other thing that quiets and calms my mind is speed.

The perception of time thing is interesting, I've often wondered why I can be already laughing when everyone else is waiting for the punchline or saying "That's a great idea!" when the other person has got as far as "What if we...?". And there's the accident thing of course.

I was watching something about motorcycle racers at the Isle of Man TT a while back. It's this race, each rider alone against the clock on 200mph superbikes around closed mountain roads and village streets. Insanely fast, insanely dangerous as there are trees, walls, houses mere feet away. Mistakes can be fatal.
The riders had this really strange way of talking about it; one was talking about 'calibrating your brain to the speed' and how you had to make sure you were fully stopped before putting a foot down and stepping off the bike as you could easily think you were doing 5mph until you realise the speedo is still showing 70mph. Another was talking about the fear and nerves in the queue to start but when the flag drops 'everything just falls away and your mind goes down into madness'. I'm pretty sure there was someone who said that they wouldn't really remember the race, they couldn't describe it, just that it was 'like flying'.

I'm wondering if they are altering their perception in a controlled way similar to those meditating monks. It's certainly beyond normal, the on-board video had me wanting to hide behind the sofa! :eek:

davesf
03-24-14, 01:31 AM
Sitting quiet and still and meditating sounds like a punishment to me

I would have said the same thing before I quieted my mind. I'm not going to say it was easy, but I will say that going from my previously unending frantic internal chaos to a quiet-mind was so amazing, so peaceful, so empowering, and so confidence inspiring -- that I feel like the world went from "frustrating and confusing" to "beautiful and transparent" with the flip of a switch. I *literally* went from being the guy with social anxiety and distraction, who didn't look people in the eye and never remembered eye-color -- to the guy who can talk to anyone, confidently maintain eye-contact, and often notices subtle amazing variation in eyes and everything. More than worth the effort.

If you need some morale support or convincing, you might consider reading the book 10% happier (http://www.amazon.com/10%25-Happier-Self-Help-Actually-Works---ebook/dp/B00FJ376CS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1395638832&sr=8-1&keywords=10%25+happier). It's a fun autobiographical book by a famous TV news host "skeptic" as he stumbles on the benefits of meditation and mindfulness through a circuitous route.

...but I'm a little shocked recently to rediscover how much washing dishes in the evenings calms me.

Without mindfulness, repetitive tasks calm us because mechanical, robotic, and repetitive tasks overpower and shut down the emotional brain. This can be done with eating, smoking, drinking, even arguing... though cleaning dishes at least has a positive outcome. However, this is just temporary repression.

Try washing the dishes mindfully... without any repetitive action or "instruction" thoughts. Treat each dish as if it is the only dish. Give it 110% of your attention, as if it is the only thing on the planet. Let yourself clean it at a calm pace, with neither hurry or delay. Make deliberate effort to avoid any repetitive movement or "instructive" thoughts. While doing it, try to be simultaneously aware of your body, your surroundings, and sounds.

At first, doing this properly will require doing it more slowly. There may also be many interruptive thoughts, and a tendency to "drift" back to repetition. Observe the thoughts without prejudice, and just return to washing the dish, by thinking something present and timeless, like "I am washing this dish". If there are too many "instructive thoughts" explaining how to wash the dish, observe them, and try to instead merely tell yourself the truth - "i know how to wash the dish."

The perception of time thing is interesting, I've often wondered why I can be already laughing when everyone else is waiting for the punchline or saying "That's a great idea!" when the other person has got as far as "What if we...?". And there's the accident thing of course.

Yes. Our minds quite literally "simulate" forward in time, and can live and make decisions seconds in the future. However, when living in that future, places, surprises, and interruptions create a frustrating discontinuity. It is also largely devoid of feeling, emotion, meaning, and connection. If you think you are stuck there, I highly recommend you do everything you can to find the present moment. It turns out "now" is all we ever really have.

DistractedLemur
03-27-14, 07:36 PM
'ADHD behaviour is like a feedback loop.'

This is so making sense to me.

Do you guys think ADHD is caused by a deficit of working memory? Or is the problem that working memory is full of junk?

davesf
03-28-14, 10:46 AM
'ADHD behaviour is like a feedback loop.'

This is so making sense to me.

Yes. exactly.

Do you guys think ADHD is caused by a deficit of working memory? Or is the problem that working memory is full of junk?

I don't think there is a deficit, I think there is a mis-use of the mind.. which I think is closer to your "full of junk" analogy. There also may be a developmental or genetic difference which makes it easier for us to mis-use the mind.

As an analogy, "attention" is like a camera-zoom-lens. We can focus in tightly and linearly, or expand focus to see things broadly and associatively. Most people have an automatic "zoom lens", which just picks the right zoom for the action at hand. Somehow we ended up with manual zoom lenses, which have benefits over automatic ones -- but if we don't learn to use it, we end up zoomed at the wrong level at the wrong time and can't think properly.

An important realization for me has been to see that it isn't as simple as just "inability to reach the ideal state of focus". There is no universally ideal state of focus. It's an "inability to adjust the zoom of my thinking to the situation".. Some situations are easiest with wide-focus, while others are easiest with narrow linear focus.

More literally, I see a mental-mistake that causes me to habitually mis-use cognitive focus... causing me to try to force everything through linear-logical thinking (ADD/PI) when I should be switching gears and using intuitive thinking. Those with ADHD-impulsivity may be on the opposite side, stuck doing everything with emotional reactions without rationality.

The good news is, we can learn to find balance and control our focus transmission. Mindfulness techniques and meditation were a great window into this for me. Those who are stuck in the logical like me, I highly encourage focusing on non-linguistic, non-repetitive, non-predictable perception. Those who are stuck in the emotional, I highly encourage practice with structure, repetition, and linear thought.

sarek
03-28-14, 02:53 PM
I can vouch for the truth of what davesf is saying. I am one of those who tends to focus on logic and who lives in the head far too much. Only by differentiating into the heart and body could I make real progress. I had to learn my feelings.

mirandatoritess
03-28-14, 05:46 PM
if you are talking about the internal monologue in my head then no

DistractedLemur
03-28-14, 06:51 PM
For about 10 or 12 seconds today I experienced total 'now-ness'. The wind, the leaves... it was like watching the world passing by in HD.

Also something strange is happening with my imagination, images are coming to me from a place of calm I had forgotten. I snoozed and half dreamed a whole story in the form of a manga style comic. That has *never* happened before. (I don't even read comics.)
Kinda wished I could draw.

Finally managed a social situation without excess stress or anxiety, just returning to remaining present.

This is dramatic!

davesf
03-29-14, 04:24 AM
@DistractedLimur - That is so AWESOME! Thanks for sharing your experiences. I hope to one day get enough of my "junk out of the way" to have the type of mental imagery experience you described.

Can you share more about how you got there? What techniques did you try? What worked for you? What did it feel like at first? What messages resonated and helped the most?

if you are talking about the internal monologue in my head then no

@mirandatoritess - My message to you is that it *IS* possible to quiet that internal monologue in your head, and doing so is a HUGE improvement. I posted how I did it in this thread, however, everyone has to find their own path to doing it. Mindfulness meditation and emotional release seem to be important elements. I read a book called "10% happier" where someone found this using mindfulness during an silent meditation retreat.

DistractedLemur
04-18-14, 04:04 PM
@DistractedLimur - That is so AWESOME! Thanks for sharing your experiences. I hope to one day get enough of my "junk out of the way" to have the type of mental imagery experience you described.

Can you share more about how you got there? What techniques did you try? What worked for you? What did it feel like at first? What messages resonated and helped the most?


Hey, no new breakthroughs to report I'm afraid but I'm still working to develop better habits.

I don't even remember who said what, I've taken inspiration from here and there.

Someone posted about being 'literally absent minded', that resonated with me a lot. After trying to be more self-aware for a week or two it really shocked me how often I go on little mental trips and also how often I think of doing something but don't act.

Someone said something like 'your brain is like a dog, it's stupid, you need to train it'. I really like that and I really think it makes sense. I feel like there's a higher consciousness piggy-backing on top of the monkey brain/body organism it inhabits. This accounts for a lot! :D

I'm trying hard to keep bringing myself back to the present every time I catch myself wandering. l take a deep breath and sort of make myself inhabit my senses. I also try to push myself from thought to action more quickly when I think of doing things. I hope that getting into the habit of doing things with little things will have a bigger effect later on.

If I'm getting anxious before a social scenario I remind myself how it makes no sense to have an anxiety response to a situation with no danger, return to being present, focus on a little deep breathing and reset my body language. I've watched Amy Cuddy she's great. Also Dog Whisperer. :rolleyes:

During social stuff I'll check my body language and reset it every so often, and keep bringing myself back to being present. When you do that and take a deep breath and just pause a second to look around the room it's funny how you notice all the other people looking a bit awkward or nervous, then you see the other people who look confident and think 'Hey, I'm doing body language like that!'.

Another thing that stood out was drogheda's Double-Loop Thinking post where you go back over the thought you had and turn it around. For example I had a day where I was really frustrated and thought 'I'm going to punch that wall', but instead I took a second and thought 'I'm going to take some frustration out doing push-ups'. So then I did a load of push-ups (trying to do them mindfully) and felt awful and like I wanted to throw up but then later was slightly proud of myself for doing push-ups.

It's still pretty noisy in here but I feel like these are good things.

Kunga Dorji
04-19-14, 09:17 AM
I like that term "action oriented". I couldn't passively relax into that place people are searching for, so I found "active" ways to move towards it. Trapped mental stress and anxiety was in the way, so I tried to "actively" remove it.

Today I think I would benefit from formal mindfulness therapy and imaginary exposure. However, I wonder if it would have worked on me before my medication-assisted emotional release. I was pretty oblivious to suggestion, marketing, hypnotism, my wife, kids, therapist, etc. -- pretty much a wall of distrust. I also previously found it very uncomfortable to do yoga because my mind kept chattering. I suspect that tunnel was a self-induced state of stress to narrow cognitive focus and hide from emotions. Regardless of the cause, those in a similar state may be hard to reach.



I can see this risk. What does "settling" imply exactly? Over what time-frame?

I settled well that evening and slept well. However, it was in the following days that I had my trip through alleged hypomania. My theory is that I was blocking out the medication, so when I stopped the block, the dopamine came like a flood. They also tell me it's not great to cold-turkey off Concerta, which I ended up doing, not realizing it could be a contributing factor. Alternatively, I may have naturally built up a surplus of both brain chemicals as part of my "stress", when I let the negative chemicals burn away, I may have been left with a surplus of positive chemicals. I'll never know for sure what happened.



Agreed. There is so much imprecision in these pesky words! :) While I feel "more awake" and "more real time", I can also see I'm not operating at the limit, nor is it clear what the limit is exactly.

The deep rabbit hole about matter is whether the physical laws of the universe have a fixed structure, or if matter is resonant information waves made stable by something other than rules -- aka, our collective inner conciousness (aka, the one-ness of all things), one or many supervisor conciousnesses (aka, gods), or the simulation system it runs on. The intersection of science and theology.



Which begs the questions... is satori/kensho another word for hypomania? is satori a hypomania which we don't let control us? Is it something entirely different? Which did I experience?

Do you have any (non-medication) recommendations about how I might go about seeking "daig-tettei" -- a deeper and more consistent experience?

I work on moment-to-moment mindfulness all day long. I periodically take time to meditate and 'defocus' while watching a moving scene -- a moving tree or a leg or arm works well (to percieve the normally imperceptible muscle twitches). I'm also starting to study the art and philosophy of Jeet Kune Do.

I also did some searching and found reference to Zen Koans, though I find linguistics very quickly recruit my linear-thought, so I'm not sure about that route.

Koans are meant to do that-- and then to infuriate the logical mind by giving it an unresolvable problem.

davesf
04-19-14, 01:35 PM
I also did some searching and found reference to Zen Koans, though I find linguistics very quickly recruit my linear-thought, so I'm not sure about that route.
Koans are meant to do that-- and then to infuriate the logical mind by giving it an unresolvable problem.

YES! I have now experienced the joyful "feeling" of Zen Koans. It's really remarkable.

The unsolvable non-sensical puzzle of randomness can somehow force the logical system to let go. I've "felt" the results. It's odd though that Koan books tend to come with a bunch of analysis which simply satisfies my logical mind and shuts down the whole process. I now just ignore that and read and enjoy the Koan itself.

This seems to work similarly to tools improv performers use to "warm up" their emotional minds and come to relaxed presence. For example, by looking around a room, pointing at an object, and saying a random word which is not the object. It's creating non-sensical random input which relaxes the logical mind - or something.

lmg2474
08-13-14, 06:05 PM
Meditation has exponentially helped me with quieting my mind, even if just for a little while. It took a while for me to really grasp since I'm so used to the incessantly scattered thoughts bouncing off the walls of my mind.

Embarrassingly enough, it took a lot of practice before even getting to the point of momentary inner silence. But once I experienced it, it was so profoundly liberating that I've been dedicated to daily meditation every day since then. From the moment I wake up I'm bombarded with a million random thoughts all begging for my attention at once so it's extremely euphoric to be able to escape from the utter madness every once in a while.

I think meditation and other forms of turning off the mind can be immensely beneficial for ADDers. Personally, however, I've found that it unfortunately doesn't help to alleviate any of the symptoms of ADD when I'm not meditating. It has had other unrelated benefits which I'm grateful for, but when it comes to ADD I sort of compare it to medication: it works while being used, but does nothing to help when not being used. In other words, it doesn't have any long-term benefits for me. But to at least have those 30 minutes of total silence twice a day is something to be happy about.

I also love lucid dreaming (and dreaming in general), since the parts of the brain that facilitate ADD are turned off so to speak. That's also very liberating. My most creative sparks happen during both meditation and dreaming.

So even though it's a pain in the *** for ADDers to actually learn, quieting the mind is tremendously powerful. Especially for people with ADD. The tranquility that I experience is incomparable and its rarity makes it that much more treasured.

I highly suggest that everyone with ADD really make a commitment to learn some form of quieting the mind. Yes, I know, actually following through with a commitment (yikes) is an extremely difficult process but I promise it will be well worth it.

MarriKimmi
06-11-15, 04:01 PM
If you are hyperfocusing at things you like? Pets make me relax and stop thinking like a tornado. I just watch them, and enjoy them :)

http://www.addforums.com/forums/picture.php?albumid=1613&pictureid=12205

Headroom
06-11-15, 05:20 PM
For about 10 or 12 seconds today I experienced total 'now-ness'. The wind, the leaves... it was like watching the world passing by in HD.

Also something strange is happening with my imagination, images are coming to me from a place of calm I had forgotten. I snoozed and half dreamed a whole story in the form of a manga style comic. That has *never* happened before. (I don't even read comics.)
Kinda wished I could draw.

Finally managed a social situation without excess stress or anxiety, just returning to remaining present.

This is dramatic!

Interesting. Years of practicing mindfulness resulted no thoughts running through my head unless I was making a purposeful effort to think about something or drunk a lot by myself. With the exception of when I was provoked - in which case I had agonizing thoughts which years of meditation were powerless against. I realized how much I missed the associative self-dialogue, when it started again when I began to take bupropion after a long break. :)

As for break-throughs - when not taking medication that worked, I had them occasionally perhaps once every couple of years - typically in the evening around 6PM when it was light or a few times when I had very little sleep.

Kunga Dorji
06-11-15, 05:31 PM
Finally, yes, I can quiet my mind any time I want to.
The final barrier proved to be a tendency to dehydration-- once I understood that and the effect it was having on cerebral perfusion I gained the ability to quiet my mind any time I want.
The only time it is tricky now is just as I drift off to sleep.
In Buddhist teaching this is meant to be quite hard- but once you value that silence it is possible to find it and feed it.
Start in meditation by simply observing your thoughts and watching for the spaces between them- they get bigger as you pay more attention to them.

BioLiberate
10-20-15, 02:02 PM
10 minutes of absolute silence (I'm not talking about you sitting somewhere and being quite) can help your bran recover as much as an entire night's sleep.

You'll have a difficult time doing almost anything until you practice.

Gilthranon
10-20-15, 06:06 PM
Nah my mind never goes silent. Even when it feels like it does, I cannot not think.

burger
10-20-15, 07:02 PM
I can meditate these days but I still think nearly constantly but it's slowed down a bit. I think I have altered my mind a noticeable amount but I still have a ways to go.

Kunga Dorji
10-26-15, 04:08 AM
I can meditate these days but I still think nearly constantly but it's slowed down a bit. I think I have altered my mind a noticeable amount but I still have a ways to go.

If, every now and then, you can watch your mind and see the endless parade of "blah blah blah" be interrupted with a pause: " Blah- blah- space- blah"-- then--- watch this space.

Everything any of us needs to know is contained within the "space" between the "blahs".

Once you have seen one space between the "blahs", then you are open to a new world.

Mind you- being open to that world, and dwelling in it are 2 different subjects, even though they are filed in the same category.

aeon
10-26-15, 04:26 AM
No, yes, yes, yes.

And I am even better with those things when I am medicated.

Because all things are possible with amphetamines. :p

OK, seriously now...yes, I can quiet my mind. But in those times I am not
quieting it, it runs free with a mix of word salad, music, and static. Very
not quiet, I must say.

Meds help with that...the word salad and static go away, and I am left with music.

Thatís quite OK with me. ;)


Cheers,
Ian

Kunga Dorji
10-26-15, 05:49 AM
The simple point is that "quieting the mind" ain't that hard.
A thought comes up- and you go back to noticing the feeling on the back of the right middle finger.
You don't give the thought the acknowledgement that it is worth attending to-- and the thought realises is is unimportant, and it goes away.
(Apologies for the anthropormorphisms :))

Ann Grin
08-02-16, 03:14 PM
I can just for a few minutes. It's not so easy as it seems)

Gerty88
09-17-16, 09:44 AM
Frankly this is a very interesting topic.
I know for a fact that a lot of the noise in my head is due to issues davefs described. I just cant shake the idea that i have trouble processing these issies because of constant internal distractions, no matter how much i try to focus on them. Maybe its a habit of lifelong emotional supression or its just an adhd mind.

I wonder what happened to davefs though, if he managed to stay off meds and relatively adhd symptom free.