Category Archives: Meditation

The Final Three Steps of Wisdom

RL: Wisdom = (something like this):

  1. Accurate pattern observance and formation.
  2. Accurate pattern recognition.
  3. Accurate hypothesis creation.
  4. Accurate hypothesis testing.
  5. Accurate generalization (tentative conclusion) formation.
  6. Accurate understanding of the underlying nature of existence.
  7. Acceptance of the reality of existence based on making peace with life’s underlying nature.
  8. Proper application of all of this wisdom-knowledge to the day to day business of life and especially human relations.

Steve: I think 1-5 is more the processes involved in gaining wisdom rather than what wisdom itself is.

RL: I think those were supposed to be steps actually. Step 1, Step 2, etc.

Steve: Ah makes sense. My bad.

I really like 6 and 7. I think 6 gets to the essential point about the nature of existence. Plus I wouldn’t have thought of it, but I guess there is wisdom in acceptance. 6, 7 and 8 are a bit like the Buddhist view, meditation and action.

The problem is that just understanding the underlying nature of existence is not enough.

Suppose you figure out life completely, but instead of being enlightened, you become bitter and decide that it all sucks or the downside outweighs the good. And that is a perfectly logical conclusion to make based on an understanding of the nature of existence. It makes complete sense to think that life blows or that the down outweighs the good. It’s not an erroneous belief at all. Nor is it a correct one.

And even if you thought it was wrong, there would be no way to prove it was either true or false because philosophical statements are generally outside of the realm of science. In other words, everything in philosophy is just a bunch of opinions. We can’t write some mathematical proof on the board that proves that Nietzsche or Wittgenstein or Spinoza were right. Nor can we prove they were wrong. All of that stuff is pretty much a matter of opinion.

But rationally speaking, concluding that life blows and the bad outweighs the good – let’s face it – it’s not exactly adaptive. It’s not a view that is going to lead to a happier and easier existence, which ought to be one of the goals of life and is actually a form of wisdom itself.

So instead, we have:

6. Figure out life and understand the true nature of existence, the good, the bad and the ugly. This can be thought of as possibly Transcendental Wisdom.

7. Hopefully without making too many value judgements, just simply accept the reality of existence – the good, the bad and the ugly aspects of it all – and simply accept them in toto as “this is the way things are, and there’s nothing to be done,” and  accept that life is full of sadness, pain, etc., but it doesn’t get you down because you realize that that’s just the way life is. In fact, the Buddhists say, “All of life is sadness,” or “All of life is suffering,” depending on the translation you prefer, and that’s not necessarily a false statement.

But in Buddhism you simply accept that as an unalterable aspect of reality, and you accept it and make some sort of a peace with life instead of spending your whole existence warring at life for being what it is, which after all, doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Now that you understand the full nature of existence and you have swallowed hard, bit the bullet and made whatever peace with it that you can, now you can stop fighting. You can stop fighting against life for being what it is. You can stop raging at other humans for doing what they do because that’s what they do, and there isn’t a lot of hope of changing them, and it’s not even relevant if they can change or not. You can stop hating people for acting like people, for being people.

Do you hate your cat for acting like a cat, for being a cat? Of course not. Nor do you expect it to act entirely rational? No, because after all, it’s just a cat, and cats just do what they do and don’t have a lot of control over themselves. If you accept your cat for being cat, why hate women? Why hate men? Misogynists hate women for acting like women, for doing what women do. Misandrists hate men for being men, for doing the things that men do. This second step could be called many things, but perhaps it is best summed up as Peaceful Acceptance of the True Nature of Life or possibly Meditative Wisdom.

8. Armed with all of your acquired knowledge, wisdom and whatever intelligence you have, you know go out into the world applying your understanding of the underlying nature of life and even better, your acceptance of that for what it is and your peace with it. You apply this synthesis of

  • wisdom
  • transcendental knowledge
  • peace

to the world around you and most importantly to the humans in it. Hopefully, doing that, you will try to make the most correct, rational and adaptive decisions possible to whatever events you may encounter in life. This final step can be thought of as Wisdom in Action.

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Filed under Buddhism, Disciplines, Meditation, Metaphysics, Philosophy, Psychology, Religion

Four Stages of Love and Personal Development

You will often see in mythology various things centered around the number four – four of this, four of that, four times four, etc.

Carl Jung states that the nucleus of the Psyche or Self works as a fourfold structure. We will looks at this structure first as it relates to personal development and then as it relates to love.

Four Levels of the Psyche

Psyche Level 1: Purely instinctive and biological relations – man as an animal, the Id.

Psyche Level 2: Romantic or aesthetic pleasure, the appreciation of beauty and the higher senses.

Psyche Level 3: The spiritual level, man as a spiritual animal, the appreciation of the ineffable or indeterminate.

Psyche Level 4: A super-wisdom transcending even the most holy and pure. This is something like the state of satori that the Zen monks talk about. It can also be seen in higher states of consciousness by Indian yogis accessed via yoga and whatnot. This may refer to what Nietzsche was talking about when he discussed the Ubermensch, the man who has transcended all base and earthly passions and has risen above it all.

I am thinking that most people in the West never reach Psyche Level 4 in their lives.

Now we will look at the same structure as it refers to love:

Four Levels of Love

Love Level 1: Sexual love. Pure sex and animalism, sex without love, a biological and primitive yet enjoyable act.

Love Level 2: Romantic love. A step above pure sexual love in that it rises above to the level of romance and passion to where one actually feels an almost religious-like devotion to the other person. However, this is still considered to be “tainted” somewhat by base and primitive passion, as there is usually still quite a bit of animalistic sexual passion here.

Love Level 3: Spiritual love. Here we see love at one of its highest levels – the love of God or the spiritual realm. This rises above even romantic love; it is more all-encompassing, and it is not even grounded on the Earth or in one other person as romantic love is. It can extend to the love of many or all and to love beyond the simple Earthly plane.

Love Level 4: Love raised to its highest level, even beyond spiritual love. Here we are dealing with a type of “Love” or “Passion” that may better be termed something like “Wisdom” that transcends even the most holy and pure spiritual love. In this sense, “wisdom” is the ultimate form of love or passion.

As with Psyche Level 4, I believe that most people in the West never reach Love Level 4 in their lives.

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Filed under Culture, Disciplines, Meditation, Metaphysics, Philosophy, Psychology, Sex, The Unconscious, Yoga

Real or Fake?

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Filed under Asia, Disciplines, Indonesia, Meditation, Regional, SE Asia, Weirdness

Run of the Mind – Book Review

Repost from the old site.

I received this book, Run of the Mind, by Vijendra Rao, to review and frankly, I was not expecting much. Many of the writers I read on the net are ok, but many are also flawed in some way or another. Plus, I am hard to please as far as writing goes, being a severe critic, especially of my own work, the result of which is a chronic case of writer’s block.

So, I was expecting no more than a mediocre to average text. When I received some advance reviews of this book, raving about a “literary genius” and “the voice of the new India” and “a great writer”, I was still cynical. I figured these were friends of the authors who were engaging in the usual hyperbole, and I don’t like hyperbole in book reviews.

But when I started dipping into this book, I was just stunned. This was some really fine writing here! As I turned the pages, I was often dazzled by his style and a glimpse into a brilliant and wise mind at work. Various influences come to mind, including Milan Kundera. At his best, Rao can actually be compared with Kundera.

There was something else here, metaphysical wisdom, the wisdom of the ages, the wisdom of the India. We here in the West can get awfully arrogant. But when it comes down to it, people are the same everywhere.

And when it comes to the really important questions in life, the philosophical questions about morality, the meaning of life, death, the timeless truths of the human experience, all of our Western science has really taught us very little. For centuries, Christianity was actually a block on the study of the deepest questions of our existence.

But in the East, where Buddhism and Hinduism encouraged spiritual exploration rather than thwarting it, I think humanity has progressed further on the metaphysical wisdom scale. As modern science tests out such Eastern mysteries as yoga and meditation, we are learning that these funny folks with dots on their heads and thousands of Gods have really been onto something all of these centuries.

As one who believes in the superiority of the West, I found this book a humbling experience. Even most Leftists are ethnocentric. Reading Run of the Mind and seeing how the Indians have done an end-run around the scientific West in terms of wisdom and gleaning the meaning of the timeless essences of the human experience was a challenge to my Western ethnocentrism.

I came away with a new-found respect for India, a much-maligned society that combines, paradoxically, outrageous poverty and oppression with the wisdom of ages.

Rao is an Indian journalist from Mysore, a large city in the state of Karnataka, in the South of India. He is a Hindu and a bit of an Indian nationalist, though not of the Hindu ultranationalist type. He is a Brahmin, but is not a casteist.

In this book, we see the injured pride typical of Indian and Chinese and Arab nationalists, the pride of what were once the greatest cultures on Earth, since surpassed by the West.

High-caste Hindu nationalists like Rao tend to be hostile to British colonialism, but that feeling is not universal amongst Indians. The Brahmins were insulted when the British told them their culture was backwards and demanded that they change it.

On the other hand, lower-caste Indians and especially Dalits often think colonialism as the best thing that ever happened to India, for it directly attacked the caste system as cruel, backwards and uncivilized. As you can see, hostility towards British colonialism is not universal at all amongst Indians.

Rao’s book is a series of essays he wrote for Indian papers that he worked. Given the often-dazzling prose, it is amazing that he often banged these out in the hour or two before work at the office in the morning.

Although gourmets of fine writing like me can appreciate this book as merely an exercise in great writing, most non-Indians are likely to find this book alienating. The subject of most essays is situated in modern Indian society, with references to Indian politicians, actors, musicians, authors and Hindu Gods. If you don’t know these topics, you lack a frame of reference.

The subjects of a number of these essays are located specifically within modern-day Mysore and Karnataka. For these reasons, I feel that this book will be of most interest to Indians, especially Indian expats in the US and Britain, and in particular those from Southern India, especially those from Karnataka and Mysore.

On the other hand, anyone who appreciates metaphysical and philosophical wisdom and wonderful prose may also want to dip into this delightful book, as one savors and admires a glass of fine wine.

Rao, like many great writers, is not an easy writer at all. Hemingway he is not. Quite a few times, I found myself having to reread sentences to figure out what he was trying to say. Those who enjoy stimulating their minds with mental puzzles will appreciate the workout, others may just be frustrated and put the book down in exasperation. Depends how one likes one’s prose.

Run of the Mind is unfortunately available only as an e-book at the moment, but it is still an affordable $12. Rao’s work is as good as, and often better than, many authors crowding the shelves of our American chain bookstores. This author deserves to be bound, published and on a shelf. Interested publishers and agents may contact Rao via me through the email address on this blog.

The Run of the Mind e-book can be purchased here, at White Cottage Publishing, for the moment.

The best way to give you a feel for this book is to excerpt some wondrous tidbits from it, reprinted below:

*****

The more the ego is sought to be dressed with the robes of exclusivity, the more naked it stands.

*****

Why does wisdom elude us? Just when we have felt we are ascending, we slide. It is a tempting need of the soul to fly free of the body that has got habituated to harlotry. All of us are accustomed to hosting such transient nobility as our mind’s guest.

It is he in whose mind nobility has found a permanent home that gets through the life’s examinations. Is it any wonder than that the number of candidates succeeding in this tedious examination is so few? The examination is undoubtedly tough, but it is an examination where we are allowed to be accompanied by the guide.

*****

Belief in the mortality of doctors is a sure way of gaining freedom from the fear of death. In this state of fearlessness, love of life sustains the will to transit into non-life.

*****

The rat race for power has wiped out the ideological distinctions of our political parties and reduced their leaders to one mangled mass of unidentifiable bodies without life, soul or character. … the need felt in secular circles (of intellectuals, not politicians) for propagating secularism has the similar potential to reduce India to a land of cultural zombies, uniform in their lack of distinctness.

*****

Mysteries appear most enchanting when not disrobed of the shroud of non-inquisitiveness. Probing quest of the senses and the mind divests phenomena of their element of mystery and parades them shamelessly as naked facts, insipid shreds of information and commonplace knowledge.

*****

Greed kicks reason out of its habitat.

*****

Mangoes don’t seem to smile any more. Or, do they? They pluck the fruits and incubate them. Why young mangoes, even children hasten to maturity prematurely these days. They are plucked from their childhood and subjected to treatments with a view on the yield.

*****

Absence of commercial activity means not only innocence and longer life, but also no knowledge or need for arithmetic. Where there is no arithmetic, there is no counting. No counting results in birthdays not being kept track of. Where there are no birthdays, there are no annual reminders of the wear and tear of life. The time one gains by merging with nature is both relative and absolute.

*****

Time, like light, exists as both wave and particles. We don’t feel that the person who borrowed money from us has done us justice in returning the amount in installments, whereas his timely repayment in one large chunk – just the way he borrowed it from us – gives us immense satisfaction.

This is the difference between living in a city and living on the countryside. Time, broken into so many fractions over the day, and over a life span, does not mean the same when spent in a village in its undivided whole.

*****

LIFE, the eternal journey through space and time, also seems a race against them. Much of man’s inability to be elsewhere when he wants to be, and his sheer mortality, are both absolute limits that space and time place on his existence.

*****

Man, in turning the middleman in celestial transactions, has put a spoke in the water cycle’s wheel.

*****

Knowledge is the veil of the ignorant.

*****

The torch that the heart holds out to light memory lane is not bright enough to illuminate the path. It is like an arduous drive in insufficient light through an unpaved way on a moonless night.

*****

Sorrow has lost its intensity. The mind pathetically attempts to relive those intense moments. Like the woefully futile effort of the lover to maximise the benefit of coition; like the banal attempt of an incomplete soul to reap a higher quality of meditative yield.

*****

How we crave for solitude and when solitude is granted, we take liberties with ourselves! We drop our guard and shed all inhibitions. We become our true selves. When we are alone we have nobody before whom to guard our image.

The heavy payload of sin is launched on to the space vehicle of solitude and with the power of our greed as the fuel, is dispatched on to another orbit, outside our mind. But, the guilt is all the time circling around us like the satellite propelled by the negative energy that we keep emitting all through our lives. Thievery is a very private act. Solitude is its only accomplice.

*****

Modern existence has left us with malnourished sorrow, a peculiar state characterised by a sense of latent incapacity for feeling. It is not happiness alone that we always feel is not enough; the shallowness of our experience of sorrow leaves us unfulfilled as well.

*****

New Year resolves are marked by a pronounced denial of warranty. The dead weight of the discarded resolutions is lighter only than the guilt that their discarding induces. Drinks are gulped less in celebration of ushering in the New Year than in downing the guilt associated with the celebration of nothingness which, every preceding year, to most of us, would mean.

*****

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Some Good Yoga and Meditation Techniques for OCD, Anxiety and General Peace of Mind

Kundalini yoga works great for OCD and for just anxiety in general. I believe it works for other anxiety disorders, but I’m not sure it’s been documented well.

The following Kundalini yoga technique has been documented well for OCD. I doubt if it’s all that useful if you don’t have the illness.

Kundalini Yoga Therapy for OCD

1. Sit up very straight and tall.
2. Try to clear your mind.
3. Hold right nostril shut with a finger.
4. Breathe in slowly through left nostril for 15 seconds. All the way in, as deep as you can go. Fill your lungs completely to where they feel as if they will pop.
5. Hold breath for 15 seconds. No inhalation!
6. Release breath slowly for 30 seconds, continuing to hold right nostril shut. No inhalation! Release breath completely to where your lungs are utterly empty and you are almost starving for breath.
or:
7. Release breath slowly for 15 seconds, continuing to hold right nostril shut.
8. Then hold breath after exhalation for 15 seconds, continuing to hold right nostril shut. This one is difficult because you’re basically out of breath for 15 seconds.

Repeat.

Good idea to do it for up to 30 minutes a day if you can. I wish there was something to add to it, but I can’t think of any. Notice that each breath takes a full one minute and that you are breathing in and out through only one nostril. Our average breath lasts only maybe 5 seconds or so. So you are breathing 20 times slower than you normally do.

Kundalini Yoga Therapy for Anxiety

1. Sit up very straight and tall.
2. Try to clear your mind.
3. Hold right nostril shut with a finger.
4. Breathe in slowly through left nostril for 15 seconds. All the way in, as deep as you can go. Fill your lungs completely to where they feel as if they will pop.
5. Hold breath for 15 seconds. No inhalation! Continue to hold right nostril shut.
6. Switch finger to left nostril and now hold left nostril shut. Release breath slowly from the right nostril for 30 seconds, continuing to hold left nostril shut. No inhalation! Release breath completely to where your lungs are utterly empty and you are almost starving for breath.
or:
7. Release breath slowly for 15 seconds, continuing to hold left nostril shut.
8. Then hold breath after exhalation for 15 seconds, continuing to hold left nostril shut. This one is difficult because you’re basically out of breath for 15 seconds.

This is one is basically 30 seconds in with the left nostril, then 30 seconds out with the right nostril. This should work well for anyone who wants to calm down or mellow out. You don’t need to have a diagnosed anxiety disorder.

There are some other parts of this therapy dealing with some weird concept called “chakras,” which I don’t understand, but I don’t think you need to deal with your “chakras” for this therapy to work.

You can also do meditation. I prefer what I call Zen meditation. I have no idea if I am doing this correctly or not, but this is how I do it.

You can do this any time, but I often do it at night before I go to sleep while lying in bed. It’s often said that you have to sit up straight to do this, but I don’t think that is necessary.

Simply try to clear your mind of all things except for one thing. I use, “Om,” but you can use any mantra you like. “Om” is a mantra. You just try to fill your mind with “Om,” the thought of Om spreading out across your mind and consciousness and blottiong out all other things. You will find that other thoughts are constantly trying to invade your mind. There is probably no good reason to think about any of these thoughts at this time. So just try to dismiss them or push them towards the outside of your mind so they are smaller. Imagine that your thoughts are like a gigantic sunrise or sunset spreading across your entire mind from top to bottom and left to right. All of this should simply be “Om,” possibly lit up in some bright color or scenery. The other thoughts, as they come in, just push them to the periphery of this brilliant OM sunrise, to where they are smaller and less prominent. Just keep on moving away from them.

Your mind will resist this on various levels. My mind is furious and insists that it has many important things to think about! Why waste time thinking about “Om” when I could be thinking of this or that (what or what?) and solving this or that problem (what or what problem?) or learning this or that? I figure that’s all nonsense. Most of my thinking seems to be a complete waste of time. I would call it mental masturbation, except that jerking off is a lot of fun. Most of my thinking is just stupid and pointless. It may as well not even be there.

You learn nothing by thinking. You only gain knowledge via observation and input. With no input, there is no learning. By thinking, you can work with stuff you already know to try to make more sense of it, but you learn nothing at all. Sure, you can go over memories by thinking, but those memories will be there whether you think about them or not.

Summary is that most thinking, at least the kind I do, is not only a waste of time. It’s actually harmful. Meditation is just about shutting off your mind your mind for a bit.

I have found it very helpful for OCD. It also works great for concentration. When I meditate while listening to talk radio broadcasts, I follow the broadcast a lot better because my mind wanders less. Anyone could benefit from this. You don’t need to have an anxiety disorder diagnosis.

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Filed under Anxiety Disorders, Buddhism, Disciplines, Meditation, Mental Illness, OCD, Philosophy, Psychology, Psychopathology, Psychotherapy, Religion, Yoga, Zen

Some Cognitive-Behavioral Techniques For OCD Patients and People in General

I have OCD, but I don’t talk about it much on here because no one wants to hear about it, understandably. If you want to know what it is, check out Wikipedia. I am a “pure O” obsessional. That is, I have no compulsions. Instead, my mind just goes around in idiotic circles a lot of the time, and I worry about all sorts of stupid shit. I also spend a lot of time trying not to think about various things, or trying to stop unwanted thoughts that keep popping into my head.

Personally, I have found that cognitive techniques don’t work very well unless I am good and medicated on a good OCD drug. I take an SSRI called Lexapro, but there are many others out there. In general, you need an SSRI. SSRI’s sort of suck, but so does OCD! Pick your poison. If x dose does not work, you may need to go higher.

Non-SSRI antidepressants, Lithium and Depakote, and antipsychotics are generally useless for OCD. I don’t think anti-anxiety drugs like Ativan and the Valium type benzodiazepines work very well either.

Many if not most psychiatrists and psychologists do not understand this illness very well. I have a number of patients who I work with online, and they are always getting misdiagnosed by docs. Typically misdiagnoses are anxiety and depression, or simply no diagnosis at all.

Many times they are given 3-4 different drugs all at once. Psych drugs are very nasty, and you need to be on the minimum number of drugs. The trend of polypharmacy so in vogue by psychiatrists nowadays is downright sick and almost evil. Furthermore, it’s stupid and pointless. These guys are nothing more than pill-pushers anymore, and it’s the more the merrier with them.

Many psychiatrists have a poor understanding of drug interactions. I have had to warn a number of patients of drug interactions due to the drugs that their moron doctors put them on. I really don’t understand why these docs are so stupid about this stuff.

You really need to be very aggressive with psychiatrists and psychologists. If you don’t like them, just pull up your tent and move along. Be assertive to the point of demanding with them, and don’t back down. Don’t treat them like they are Gods. I’m a horrible patient, but at least I know what I’m doing. You understand your body, and you understand your illness. Don’t let some silly clinician misdiagnose you on the grounds that “they are the experts and you are not.”

Read up on your illness, and read up on your meds. One fascinating thing about OCD patients is that most of them are intelligent, often highly intelligent. The illness seems to be directly related to intelligence. One interesting finding via MRI on OCD patients is that they have more brain cells and more connections than non-patients. Upshot is as we might expect. They think too much.

Anafranil remains the gold standard for OCD drugs, but it’s pretty nasty. It’s an old, dirty drug with lots of side effects. Nevertheless, nothing helped me like Anafranil. I could not have gotten my Master’s Degree without it.

Second line are the other SSRI’s which all seem to be about as good as each other.

It seems like cognitive stuff doesn’t work until you are on the drugs. Otherwise you’re too crazy with OCD to utilize cognitive stuff.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is the therapy of choice, and there is much material online about this. I’m not going to bother going on about it.

However, I will say that it’s a good idea to confront the thing that you fear. In my case, there were a variety of situations that I feared, all revolving around a common fear, that, honestly, is ludicrous (And that I will not discuss.). I conquered the fear at at least one level by simply throwing myself into the situations that set off the fear (or the obsessive thoughts really).

I plunged into the deep end of the pool so to speak. For a while there, the thoughts just poured into my brain like a river so I could barely even think straight. The general tendency in situations like this is to run, to get out of there.

But the truth is, “You cannot run from your fears.” If you run from them, you will never get over them. Avoidance makes OCD worse. So you just throw yourself into the feared situation, and stay there while your mind is being overrun by horrible thoughts. Don’t leave, just stay and let the thoughts “flood” into your mind. I call this technique “flooding.” After a while, you simply get sick and tired of being anxious, and the anxiety starts to go down.

Your mind realizes it can’t run away from the feared object, so it just accommodates itself to the feared situation and learns to get used to it. This is how all of us overcame all of our fears in childhood and hopefully even in adulthood. You can’t stay anxious forever. After a while, the brain says, “I give up. Fuck it. We’re gonna stay here and handle this.” In behavioral terms, this is called “extinction.” The fear is “extinguished” through prolonged exposure.

If you get good and stabilized, there are some Kundalini Yoga* techniques you can do. One is alternate nostril breathing. Hold down one nostril and breathe through the other. First breathe through the left nostril and then breathe out through the right. Inhale as slowly as possible and exhale as slowly as possible. Cycles should be on the order of 45 seconds to 1 minute if you can. This is ok for OCD, but it’s mostly an anxiety reducer that works well for anyone.

A specific one for OCD is left-nostril breathing. Hold the right nostril down and breathe in and out through the left nostril. Once again, cycles should be on the order of 45 seconds to 1 minute if you can do it.

Another thing you can do is meditation. This works well if you are already pretty stabilized and want to get better. Focus your mind on one particular spot and just stay there. Think “nothing,” “nada”, “ommmm,” or whatever you want. Try to empty out your mind as much as possible from your obsessions.

If an obsession comes, mark it as an “irrelevant thought,” and just move back to your focus. This method enables you to keep most of the irrelevant thoughts (obsessions) out of your head. This method is best described as cognitive shifting. Research has shown that in OCD there is reduced ability to engage in cognitive shifting due to reduced activity of inhibitory activity in the frontal lobe. OCD patients are like a skipping record.

Instead of thinking “nothing”, you will only be thinking of important things or things you need to think about. It’s also very peaceful and helps you to think loving thoughts.

Most obsessions are pretty much “irrelevant thoughts.” I have one woman who worries about thinking racist thoughts or thinking bad thoughts about others (She’s nice and not a racist). A man and a woman I know worry that they are child molesters (They are not.). One man worries he might be in love with a little girl (He isn’t). I have a guy who worries that he hates people or that he feels superior to people (He doesn’t really hate people or feel superior to them).

They often try to overcome their thoughts with thought compulsions. The woman tries to think good things about minorities and nice thoughts about people instead, but then OCD pops up and contradicts her with racist stuff and nasty cracks about fat people, ugly people, etc.

I told her that really, it doesn’t matter if someone is fat or ugly or geeky or Black or Hispanic, and it doesn’t matter what she thinks of minorities, geeks, fatties or uglies. Who cares? The best way is to just avoid the issue altogether. Don’t think about how the person looks and don’t think about their race. Just focus on “ommmm” and keep that stuff out.

I told the guy that it doesn’t matter whether or not he’s in love with the little girl. He can’t think about this without turning into a rat on a wheel in his mind, so the only solution is to not think of those thoughts. Thoughts that send you onto the rat wheel are automatically “irrelevant thoughts” because you will never accomplish anything on the thought rat wheel. So best not to even go towards those thoughts at all.

With the people worried they are child molesters, I tell them that there is no way to think themselves to a solution of this issue. They just go round and round endlessly: “Maybe I’m a child molester. No I’m not. Yes I am. How do I know I’m not a child molester? I’m terrified I’m a child molester.” You can’t think your way to a right answer here! Best to just avoid the question altogether.

For the guy who worries he hates people or feels superior to them, I said it doesn’t matter whether he hates people or not or whether he feels superior to them or not. But since he can’t think about this stuff without going round and round in circles forever, I said to just avoid the subjects altogether and just think, “ommmm.” He does this and finds he’s nice to most people and doesn’t feel superior to most people either. In other words, meditation allows his true feeling to come out.

You can actually meditate anywhere. I meditate in supermarkets, driving down the street (You have to be a bit careful here), at coffeeshops, and the doctor’s office, etc. If you get good at it, most people will greet you with a smile and will give off good vibes towards you. There are some dangers with meditation, but I’m not really worried about them too much.

In conjunction with meditation, I would recommend studying Zen Buddhism. I studied it for many years, and for a while, I got very, very good at it. The ultimate book ever written on Zen is An Introduction to Zen Buddhism by D.T. Suzuki.

One thing that Zen teaches you is to only think about whatever you need to think about. There’s no need to think about 1000 things at once. When you clear your mind, you will only think of necessary or important things, and extraneous or irrelevant thoughts will become infrequent.

The person living in Zen simply lives his life with a clear mind and few thoughts. He doesn’t analyze his behavior. He just lives and acts naturally. He accepts his true feelings as they come to him. Once you start endlessly analyzing all of your thoughts and feelings, you’re on the road to nowhere. Just live and act naturally and don’t analyze. If you’re sweeping the floor, think about sweeping the floor. If you’re washing the dishes, think about washing the dishes.

These techniques work not only for OCD patients, but for anyone else as well. Meditation, Zen and yoga are great for anyone. Try them out!

*There are supposedly some risks with Kundalini, but I am not worried about them. I’ve been doing Kundalini for years, and nothing bad has happened yet. Sometimes it’s a bit weird though. You can get transported back in time to “previous selves” and “previous eras.” You have to be able to handle stuff like that.

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Filed under Buddhism, CBT, Disciplines, Meditation, OCD, Psychology, Psychotherapy, Vanity, Yoga, Zen