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  #31  
Old 03-16-14, 01:02 AM
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Re: Can you 'quiet your mind'?

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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.

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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.

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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).

Quote:
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.

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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.
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  #32  
Old 03-16-14, 01:06 AM
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Re: Can you 'quiet your mind'?

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.
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Old 03-16-14, 01:08 AM
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Re: Can you 'quiet your mind'?

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Originally Posted by Fraser_0762 View Post
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.
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  #34  
Old 03-16-14, 01:18 AM
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Re: Can you 'quiet your mind'?

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Originally Posted by daveddd View Post
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.
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  #35  
Old 03-16-14, 01:46 PM
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Re: Can you 'quiet your mind'?

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)
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Old 03-16-14, 04:16 PM
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Re: Can you 'quiet your mind'?

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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:



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.
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  #37  
Old 03-16-14, 04:54 PM
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Re: Can you 'quiet your mind'?

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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? 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.
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  #38  
Old 03-16-14, 05:07 PM
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Re: Can you 'quiet your mind'?

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)

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.
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  #39  
Old 03-16-14, 05:41 PM
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Re: Can you 'quiet your mind'?

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Originally Posted by Kunga Dorji View Post
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...schore&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
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Old 03-16-14, 11:49 PM
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Re: Can you 'quiet your mind'?

Quite a few interesting comments here- and I may be able to shed some light on some of them:

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Originally Posted by davesf View Post
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.

[quote]
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.

Quote:
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!

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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

Quote:
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".

Quote:
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

Quote:
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

Quote:
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
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  #41  
Old 03-19-14, 01:30 PM
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Re: Can you 'quiet your mind'?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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  #42  
Old 03-23-14, 07:19 PM
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Re: Can you 'quiet your mind'?

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!
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Old 03-24-14, 01:31 AM
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Re: Can you 'quiet your mind'?

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Originally Posted by DistractedLemur View Post
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. 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.

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...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."

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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.
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  #44  
Old 03-27-14, 07:36 PM
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Re: Can you 'quiet your mind'?

'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?
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Old 03-28-14, 10:46 AM
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Re: Can you 'quiet your mind'?

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Originally Posted by DistractedLemur View Post
'ADHD behaviour is like a feedback loop.'

This is so making sense to me.
Yes. exactly.

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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.
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