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redshift

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I stopped consuming any spiritual stuff because it made me more depressed than happy.

Interesting, curious what was making you depressed? I thought you were finding this stuff life changing (eg: Michael Singer's works etc) ?
 

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts, @Bigguns50 and @SteveO .

Interesting, curious what was making you depressed? I thought you were finding this stuff life changing (eg: Michael Singer's works etc) ?

At first it was great because it taught me to pay more attention to my automatic reactions (like, a trigger = instant anger; I learned to see it and stop it before it intensified).

But the deeper I got into it, the more it depressed me. Then I also realized that a lot of spiritual stuff is based on the teachings of—excuse me for this judgment—idiots (or charlatans) from the past. Singer is a huge fan of Yogananda. The guy talked in his autobiography about some ridiculous, pseudo-scientific stuff. A lot of the spiritual "masters" from the past (and modern ones as well) seem to belong to this category as well. Of course, little science existed then so it was common to make up stuff. But still, from the modern perspective, a lot of spirituality is based on nothing else but lies and/or hallucinations of uneducated ancient people who didn't know any better.

As for specific teachings, all this talk about not needing anything outside made me apathetic. If you shouldn't rely on anything from the outside to feel good, then why have any goals or do anything in life? Just sit and meditate all day long and hope that your bet will pay off when you transition into "nirvana."

I felt guilty when things on the outside made me feel good because it meant I was buying into the "mind" instead of being the "real me." Singer would say that if surfing makes you feel good, then surfing is your crutch because you should feel good all the time just existing. If you "use it" to make you feel good, you're being manipulative.

When I felt bad, Singer's solution was to stop feeling bad. As he likes to say, you "choose" to feel bad. This kind of downplaying inner turmoil is extremely dangerous for people with mental health issues. Sometimes it's not your "mind" at all but a physical issue. Singer would say that it's a "disturbance" of your energy but it is not. It's a sickness cured by science, not by telling yourself you aren't your mind.

I started feeling like a person with a dissociative identity disorder. The mind was "bad," the "high self" was good. I couldn't have any opinions because it was the bad mind, not the real me. I couldn't complain because it was the bad mind. I couldn't have any preferences because it was the bad mind. A true spiritual person doesn't have any of it. They're perfectly neutral all the time, and to me it doesn't sound like a life, it sounds like resignation. In essence, it promotes complete passivity in life and that's depressing.

Also, the world during the time of the Buddha (another big inspiration for Singer) was a terrible place. Asceticism was very popular because it was a coping mechanism to deal with a hopeless life most people had back then in India.

They didn't believe in the afterlife so they had no hope like many poor religious people can have today. They believed in reincarnation and thought that they were destined to a life of suffering, sickness and despair and destined to repeat this cycle over and over again (Episode #09 of Philosophize This).

No wonder resignation appealed to them. They had zero power over their lives. No social mobility. No opportunities to not go hungry. No opportunities to not get killed in a war or die of a horrible hygiene-related disease. Telling oneself that everything was neutral was for many the only way to stay sane.

Learning more about philosophy made me realize how all these major spiritual teachings were influenced by the state of the world when they were created. But the fact that they're old doesn't make them true or relevant today. Relinquishing the horrible life filled with hunger and despair in India perhaps made sense. Today, the world is very different and we actually have some power over our lives.

Perhaps I'm not at the right stage of life, or perhaps I just can't get past my conditioning, or perhaps this "spiritual" talk doesn't really have to be true for everyone. Either way, I'm now learning how to be more instinctive about my own life philosophy. I don't think it's a good idea to blindly follow one teacher. I was once banned for a few days from Michael Singer's group on Facebook because I dared to mention Naval's words. I'm extremely allergic to cults and sects. When people have this level of blind following, it's time to run away.

I don't want to live a life where I tolerate everything I get in life, where I don't seek new experiences because ultimately that's "feeding your mind", where I'm not allowed to have an opinion because an opinion is only your conditioning and not the real "you," etc.

I could write more about it but these are the first reasons that come to my mind why it stopped working for me and made things worse.
 

Black_Dragon43

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts, @Bigguns50 and @SteveO .



At first it was great because it taught me to pay more attention to my automatic reactions (like, a trigger = instant anger; I learned to see it and stop it before it intensified).

But the deeper I got into it, the more it depressed me. Then I also realized that a lot of spiritual stuff is based on the teachings of—excuse me for this judgment—idiots (or charlatans) from the past. Singer is a huge fan of Yogananda. The guy talked in his autobiography about some ridiculous, pseudo-scientific stuff. A lot of the spiritual "masters" from the past (and modern ones as well) seem to belong to this category as well. Of course, little science existed then so it was common to make up stuff. But still, from the modern perspective, a lot of spirituality is based on nothing else but lies and/or hallucinations of uneducated ancient people who didn't know any better.

As for specific teachings, all this talk about not needing anything outside made me apathetic. If you shouldn't rely on anything from the outside to feel good, then why have any goals or do anything in life? Just sit and meditate all day long and hope that your bet will pay off when you transition into "nirvana."

I felt guilty when things on the outside made me feel good because it meant I was buying into the "mind" instead of being the "real me." Singer would say that if surfing makes you feel good, then surfing is your crutch because you should feel good all the time just existing. If you "use it" to make you feel good, you're being manipulative.

When I felt bad, Singer's solution was to stop feeling bad. As he likes to say, you "choose" to feel bad. This kind of downplaying inner turmoil is extremely dangerous for people with mental health issues. Sometimes it's not your "mind" at all but a physical issue. Singer would say that it's a "disturbance" of your energy but it is not. It's a sickness cured by science, not by telling yourself you aren't your mind.

I started feeling like a person with a dissociative identity disorder. The mind was "bad," the "high self" was good. I couldn't have any opinions because it was the bad mind, not the real me. I couldn't complain because it was the bad mind. I couldn't have any preferences because it was the bad mind. A true spiritual person doesn't have any of it. They're perfectly neutral all the time, and to me it doesn't sound like a life, it sounds like resignation. In essence, it promotes complete passivity in life and that's depressing.

Also, the world during the time of the Buddha (another big inspiration for Singer) was a terrible place. Asceticism was very popular because it was a coping mechanism to deal with a hopeless life most people had back then in India.

They didn't believe in the afterlife so they had no hope like many poor religious people can have today. They believed in reincarnation and thought that they were destined to a life of suffering, sickness and despair and destined to repeat this cycle over and over again (Episode #09 of Philosophize This).

No wonder resignation appealed to them. They had zero power over their lives. No social mobility. No opportunities to not go hungry. No opportunities to not get killed in a war or die of a horrible hygiene-related disease. Telling oneself that everything was neutral was for many the only way to stay sane.

Learning more about philosophy made me realize how all these major spiritual teachings were influenced by the state of the world when they were created. But the fact that they're old doesn't make them true or relevant today. Relinquishing the horrible life filled with hunger and despair in India perhaps made sense. Today, the world is very different and we actually have some power over our lives.

Perhaps I'm not at the right stage of life, or perhaps I just can't get past my conditioning, or perhaps this "spiritual" talk doesn't really have to be true for everyone. Either way, I'm now learning how to be more instinctive about my own life philosophy. I don't think it's a good idea to blindly follow one teacher. I was once banned for a few days from Michael Singer's group on Facebook because I dared to mention Naval's words. I'm extremely allergic to cults and sects. When people have this level of blind following, it's time to run away.

I don't want to live a life where I tolerate everything I get in life, where I don't seek new experiences because ultimately that's "feeding your mind", where I'm not allowed to have an opinion because an opinion is only your conditioning and not the real "you," etc.

I could write more about it but these are the first reasons that come to my mind why it stopped working for me and made things worse.
This is interesting @MTF. I came to a similar conclusion when I stopped meditating, BUT I don’t go as far as you do. Yes, mindfulness CAN lead you towards passivity, which is the trap that is always there. All your goals and so on can seem meaningless.

However, there is ONE thing that I learned from mindfulness that was tremendously helpful for my mental health. It was the first time that I was able to control anxiety - and namely acceptance of your feelings, not trying to fight them or get rid of them. Mindfulness basically is precisely that - you face up to your feelings, whatever they are, and sit with them… you stop trying to fight them. And the result is that no matter how bad they are, you never feel overwhelmed. For me it was life-saving.

And yeah, nowadays I’m someone who doesnt meditate and I often warn people about the dangers of meditation: you CAN indeed fall into passivity and nonreaction to life.

Just curious, which authors/books do you find yourself returning to for mental health nowadays?
 

MTF

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However, there is ONE thing that I learned from mindfulness that was tremendously helpful for my mental health. It was the first time that I was able to control anxiety - and namely acceptance of your feelings, not trying to fight them or get rid of them. Mindfulness basically is precisely that - you face up to your feelings, whatever they are, and sit with them… you stop trying to fight them. And the result is that no matter how bad they are, you never feel overwhelmed. For me it was life-saving.

Yep, that's sort of what I'm getting out of it as well which is why I keep meditating.

As a side note, I have a strange relationship with it and I'm not sure if it's going to be a lifelong habit or not. On some days I consider it an annoying chore while on some days I'm more neutral. I pretty much never look forward to it. But after a session I often (not always) feel at least a little bit lighter.

I don't necessarily think it's anything spiritual. It's just that you're hitting pause on life and letting your brain rest while being awake. So far, nothing, not even the deepest meditation, matched the level of euphoria I had during or after some of my most memorable surfing sessions. If I lived by the ocean with great surfing I think I'd be much less likely to continue meditating.

Right now, living where I live, open water swimming in a lake sometimes gives me the same level of deep presence and elation but it's never as intense as surfing. So maybe meditation is touted as the best spiritual tool just because it's the one available to everyone. But it doesn't mean that it's the best one for everyone.

Just curious, which authors/books do you find yourself returning to for mental health nowadays?

None. I got extremely tired of self-help books and similar stuff and read little non-fiction these days. I tend to listen too much to people I follow and I'd rather learn how to trust myself more now.
 

Bigguns50

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So far, nothing, not even the deepest meditation, matched the level of euphoria I had during or after some of my most memorable surfing sessions.
Outstanding! You know some would consider this meditation. Meditation has a very broad "definition". Good for you. Chase this.
tend to listen too much to people I follow and I'd rather learn how to trust myself more now.
YES!
 

redshift

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts, @Bigguns50 and @SteveO .



At first it was great because it taught me to pay more attention to my automatic reactions (like, a trigger = instant anger; I learned to see it and stop it before it intensified).

But the deeper I got into it, the more it depressed me. Then I also realized that a lot of spiritual stuff is based on the teachings of—excuse me for this judgment—idiots (or charlatans) from the past. Singer is a huge fan of Yogananda. The guy talked in his autobiography about some ridiculous, pseudo-scientific stuff. A lot of the spiritual "masters" from the past (and modern ones as well) seem to belong to this category as well. Of course, little science existed then so it was common to make up stuff. But still, from the modern perspective, a lot of spirituality is based on nothing else but lies and/or hallucinations of uneducated ancient people who didn't know any better.

As for specific teachings, all this talk about not needing anything outside made me apathetic. If you shouldn't rely on anything from the outside to feel good, then why have any goals or do anything in life? Just sit and meditate all day long and hope that your bet will pay off when you transition into "nirvana."

I felt guilty when things on the outside made me feel good because it meant I was buying into the "mind" instead of being the "real me." Singer would say that if surfing makes you feel good, then surfing is your crutch because you should feel good all the time just existing. If you "use it" to make you feel good, you're being manipulative.

When I felt bad, Singer's solution was to stop feeling bad. As he likes to say, you "choose" to feel bad. This kind of downplaying inner turmoil is extremely dangerous for people with mental health issues. Sometimes it's not your "mind" at all but a physical issue. Singer would say that it's a "disturbance" of your energy but it is not. It's a sickness cured by science, not by telling yourself you aren't your mind.

I started feeling like a person with a dissociative identity disorder. The mind was "bad," the "high self" was good. I couldn't have any opinions because it was the bad mind, not the real me. I couldn't complain because it was the bad mind. I couldn't have any preferences because it was the bad mind. A true spiritual person doesn't have any of it. They're perfectly neutral all the time, and to me it doesn't sound like a life, it sounds like resignation. In essence, it promotes complete passivity in life and that's depressing.

Also, the world during the time of the Buddha (another big inspiration for Singer) was a terrible place. Asceticism was very popular because it was a coping mechanism to deal with a hopeless life most people had back then in India.

They didn't believe in the afterlife so they had no hope like many poor religious people can have today. They believed in reincarnation and thought that they were destined to a life of suffering, sickness and despair and destined to repeat this cycle over and over again (Episode #09 of Philosophize This).

No wonder resignation appealed to them. They had zero power over their lives. No social mobility. No opportunities to not go hungry. No opportunities to not get killed in a war or die of a horrible hygiene-related disease. Telling oneself that everything was neutral was for many the only way to stay sane.

Learning more about philosophy made me realize how all these major spiritual teachings were influenced by the state of the world when they were created. But the fact that they're old doesn't make them true or relevant today. Relinquishing the horrible life filled with hunger and despair in India perhaps made sense. Today, the world is very different and we actually have some power over our lives.

Perhaps I'm not at the right stage of life, or perhaps I just can't get past my conditioning, or perhaps this "spiritual" talk doesn't really have to be true for everyone. Either way, I'm now learning how to be more instinctive about my own life philosophy. I don't think it's a good idea to blindly follow one teacher. I was once banned for a few days from Michael Singer's group on Facebook because I dared to mention Naval's words. I'm extremely allergic to cults and sects. When people have this level of blind following, it's time to run away.

I don't want to live a life where I tolerate everything I get in life, where I don't seek new experiences because ultimately that's "feeding your mind", where I'm not allowed to have an opinion because an opinion is only your conditioning and not the real "you," etc.

I could write more about it but these are the first reasons that come to my mind why it stopped working for me and made things worse.

Interesting, Yes, there's a lot of misinformation and snake oil like claims in this field (dating back to ancient times as well), but its no different than all the money chasing / guru b.s going on in the business world. In both areas its easy to fall into the wrong rabbit whole and then doubt the entire concept, eg: someone who was deep into pyramid schemes and scammed by the gurus would think "entrepreneurship" is b.s without even truly understanding what they are talking about. The key as you mentioned is to learn to trust and think for yourself and not get inadvertently sucked into some rabbit hole.

I like to keep things simple and not overanalyse things to much, if I come across some hippy B.S, I just let it go and move on. Generally the spiritual books I've read so far have all been very valuable, but I don't take in everything verbatim. Even with Michael Singer's stuff, I read his books and course and got immense value out of a lot of the teachings, but don't take everything too literally. I don't think the idea of giving up on goals or fun stuff ever crossed my mind, his teachings (and others) have just made the whole process even more enjoyable. I'm pretty sure he's also mentioned many times that this type of thinking is completely missing the point and the goal is NOT to just sit in a cave and meditate all day. The man built a billion dollar business after all. Overall, mindfulness training is teaching me how to enjoy life more and be more focused on what truly matters, rather than turn into a lifeless blob.

As far as the facebook group, I'm not on FB as its a waste of time, but just looked up the group - looks like its just some random b.s group created by some follower of his who clearly doesn't understand the teachings. It even has a bunch of rules as to how to behave in the group and which teachers you can quote (hence probably why you got banned lol). No different than someone from here starting a "fastlane" FB group and peddling money chasing strategies or their idea of what fastlane is supposed to be.
 

MTF

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Day 257 for me and I'm about to give it up. Meditation has turned into an annoying chore for me that makes me detest my mornings.

The number one reason why I'm still doing it is because of that long streak and the sunk cost fallacy. I feel like a prisoner to the habit, thinking that if I now stop I'll unravel because of the purported benefits it offers me (which I stopped noticing a long time ago).
 

MTF

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As far as the facebook group, I'm not on FB as its a waste of time, but just looked up the group - looks like its just some random b.s group created by some follower of his who clearly doesn't understand the teachings. It even has a bunch of rules as to how to behave in the group and which teachers you can quote (hence probably why you got banned lol). No different than someone from here starting a "fastlane" FB group and peddling money chasing strategies or their idea of what fastlane is supposed to be.

LOL just got kicked out from that group today because I dared mention my negative experience with the teachings. If that isn't a sect-like behavior I don't know what it is. It's so funny how they constantly preach to "relax and release" yet can't tolerate a (polite) comment I posted in response to a person struggling with a similar problem to mine.
 

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LOL just got kicked out from that group today because I dared mention my negative experience with the teachings. If that isn't a sect-like behavior I don't know what it is. It's so funny how they constantly preach to "relax and release" yet can't tolerate a (polite) comment I posted in response to a person struggling with a similar problem to mine.
Cults are like that. Ironic, given the “meditation” part of it all.
 

BAUCE

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Day 257 for me and I'm about to give it up. Meditation has turned into an annoying chore for me that makes me detest my mornings.

The number one reason why I'm still doing it is because of that long streak and the sunk cost fallacy. I feel like a prisoner to the habit, thinking that if I now stop I'll unravel because of the purported benefits it offers me (which I stopped noticing a long time ago).
I just finished 60 days because of this thread and I think overall I feel better mentally. I did notice however, that I've become less productive during this time. I can't say for certain that there was correlation.

Thank you for mentioning the sunk cost fallacy. This kind of thinking often takes over for a creature of habit like myself. I stopped at day 60 for the full hour and have been doing mixed sessions between 10 minutes and 30 minutes. I find 10 minutes to be pretty useless so I'll probably try a week or two of 30 minute sessions to see how I feel.
 

MTF

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I just finished 60 days because of this thread and I think overall I feel better mentally. I did notice however, that I've become less productive during this time. I can't say for certain that there was correlation.

Congratulations for sticking to your word and doing it for the entire 60 days. Good luck finding your own routine. I think it's very important to figure out what personally helps you the most instead of blindly following what people say is "a must" for your mental health.
 

samuraijack

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just echoing what others have said...

I've found being mindful throughout the day whenever I can is more important and practical than a meditation session.

Might be just feeling my breath, feeling the wind on my skin, or the concrete under my feet for a few seconds can usually bring me into presence
 

MTF

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just echoing what others have said...

I've found being mindful throughout the day whenever I can is more important and practical than a meditation session.

Might be just feeling my breath, feeling the wind on my skin, or the concrete under my feet for a few seconds can usually bring me into presence

Yep, I agree with that.

And from my experience, some of the most beautiful moments in my life were being present out in nature, for example watching beautiful peeling waves while sitting on a surfboard or something as simple as just sitting on the porch looking at the sunset with family/friends.
 

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Yep, I agree with that.

And from my experience, some of the most beautiful moments in my life were being present out in nature, for example watching beautiful peeling waves while sitting on a surfboard or something as simple as just sitting on the porch looking at the sunset with family/friends.
Isn’t it amazing how it’s often the free things, the things we take for granted that give us that feeling?

Just this Friday night… My kid was having a fever and couldn’t sleep. I held her in my arms tried and tried to get her to sleep on her own, until 2 am - she’s always wake up and cry. I realized that for her to feel better, I have let her sleep on me (this way she doesn’t cry). It was a trying moment of a few hours of “meditation” while she slept on my shoulder and I was sitting on the couch in the dark - being in the moment. And it reminded me of the day she was born, same exhaustion and joy. One of the most beautiful moments of my life.

Most definitely not your traditional meditation! Yet I felt zen, joy and love.

PS my kid is back to 100% now, all good.
 

Mainstream7

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This is the single best practice to get a healthier mind and spirit, which results in better decisions.
Really grateful for this thread.
 

Mainstream7

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It's important to note the studies that have been done on the effect of meditation:

I believe the struggle with meditation is when you stay in beta state, so the experience is very poor.
The goal then is to go into alpha state.
 

Mainstream7

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Observed benefits of meditation:

Awareness of negative/toxic thoughts
Noticing subtleties in the environment
Awareness of repressed emotions
Feeling energies of people and environment
Reduced body reactions to misophonia
Awareness of truth

I don't believe meditation makes one depressive. I believe it makes you aware of your current emotions, and thus your current state. It could also make you aware of things that make you happy.
 

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