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  #16  
Old 03-11-14, 02:24 PM
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Re: Can you 'quiet your mind'?

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.
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Old 03-11-14, 02:32 PM
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Re: Can you 'quiet your mind'?

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.
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Old 03-11-14, 03:10 PM
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Re: Can you 'quiet your mind'?

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.
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Old 03-11-14, 08:08 PM
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Re: Can you 'quiet your mind'?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeordieDave View Post
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.

Quote:
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)
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  #20  
Old 03-12-14, 03:54 AM
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Re: Can you 'quiet your mind'?

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.
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  #21  
Old 03-12-14, 05:14 AM
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Re: Can you 'quiet your mind'?

Ahhhh... You guys are like my buddahs!
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  #22  
Old 03-15-14, 02:11 AM
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Re: Can you 'quiet your mind'?

Quote:
Originally Posted by davesf View Post
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:


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.
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  #23  
Old 03-15-14, 02:20 AM
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Re: Can you 'quiet your mind'?

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Originally Posted by sarek View Post
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.
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  #24  
Old 03-15-14, 02:46 AM
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Re: Can you 'quiet your mind'?

Quote:
Originally Posted by davesf View Post
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
Quote:
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:


Quote:
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:


Quote:
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:
Quote:
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.


Quote:
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.
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Old 03-15-14, 03:50 AM
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Re: Can you 'quiet your mind'?

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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.
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Old 03-15-14, 05:29 AM
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Re: Can you 'quiet your mind'?

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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.
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Old 03-15-14, 10:59 AM
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Re: Can you 'quiet your mind'?

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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?
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Old 03-15-14, 01:43 PM
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Re: Can you 'quiet your mind'?

@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.

Quote:
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)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kunga Dorji View Post
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!
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How I quiet my mind

Last edited by davesf; 03-15-14 at 01:58 PM..
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Old 03-15-14, 06:53 PM
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Re: Can you 'quiet your mind'?

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Originally Posted by daveddd View Post
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.
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Old 03-15-14, 07:38 PM
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Re: Can you 'quiet your mind'?

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Originally Posted by davesf View Post
@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.


Quote:
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!)


Quote:
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".

Quote:
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.


Quote:
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
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