Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Possibly Back on Track

I was able to get in some reading last night. I know I wasn't very specific about how I've been feeling in my post yesterday, but it's really just the same old crap that everyone goes through, just feeling bored with life and totally overwhelmed with it at the same time. "What is it all for?" type thoughts and feeling like I'm stuck in the movie Groundhog Day. It's nothing new, but it's really annoying and I fall right back into those negative thinking patterns surprisingly fast. The whole point of this project is to phase those thought patterns out and lead a more effective and connected life, so here I am, still a work in progress.

Progress definitely took place yesterday when in spite of being at work until 1:30am, I carved out a little time for myself to do some Buddhist reading. I've also been taking all the little chores I've been meaning to do in my house and breaking them up into little manageable pieces. The only rule is that I have to do at least one thing a night, no matter how late it is. It helps me feel like I'm I still in control of life even when I'm really busy.

We'll see how tomorrow goes, but I'm hoping to get myself back to a regular meditation schedule in the next couple of weeks.

I'd also like to start seriously assessing some key factors about my chosen lifestyle. I've been feeling bored/discontent about some things, but I'm tired of only considering major life decisions in the moment (usually when things aren't going well), as more of a fantasy than an actual thought out plan. I'd like to give myself a period of time and weigh everything when it's not brought about by any particular frustration. That's it for now.


Monday, June 20, 2011

I've Hit a Wall

I'm just not feeling life lately people. And for the first time all year I've gotten completely out of the habit of meditating to the point where I totally forget about even thinking about meditating. It's not working for me. I fee like crap, I'm lethargic, I'm questioning the meaning of everything and concluding that everything is pointless and dumb and dumb and stupid. I am the emotional equivalent of a 10 year old right now.

What am I going to do about it? Not sure yet. I don't want to stop this project, so I need to get back on the wagon and I need to do it quickly because my mother is coming into town on Thursday and staying at my house, which means I'll get no personal time for three days straight. The pressure to be mentally recovered by Thursday isn't helping, so we're not going to think about that...

Starting small, goal for tonight is, do some Buddhist study, i.e. read a book, online article, podcast, meditation, SOMETHING.

I'll check in tomorrow.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Bad Bad Buddhist

I have been a pretty terrible buddhist the past two weeks. I have mediated about two times. I also lost my iPhone and I got way more upset about it than I should have. The ownership of that iPhone was way too mixed from the beginning due to the pressures I received from work to "be more available" and how uncomfortable I felt carrying around something that was worth so much money. Also, realizing how attached to this device I had become was really sad.

Why I didn't get insurance on it (it's only $10 a month), I'm not too sure. It probably had something to do with the fact that I ordered it in the middle of the night (the second it went on sale) and therefore wasn't thinking too clearly. Also, I am cheap and was buying something I couldn't really afford.

Anywho, I left it in a cab and the GPS tracked it to the drop off point of the passenger after me. Considering I haven't heard from her, I'm guessing she's decided she's going to keep it. Replacing it will cost me more than double what I paid for it originally, so yeah, we're going to wait on that. The thing is, now I no longer have an iPod or a camera, as I got rid of both items when I purchased the iPhone...

Good times. I need to meditate.

P.S. I realize this is no actual tragedy, which makes me wasting so much time fretting over it all the more annoying. I'll work on that. But for the record, I'm really grateful that everyone I know and love is currently safe and healthy.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Naturally Optimistic?

Happy June everyone!

Wanted to check in and share my thoughts on an interesting article I read yesterday that sort of ties in with this blog. The article was taken from a book called The Optismism Bias  which argues that studies of the brain and human behavior conclude humans are hardwired to be irrationally optimistic.

The article brings up examples, such as the fact that 50% of marriages fail, yet people believe their's will succeed and it points out that most people believe their future will be better than things are currently. According the the author, there is a portion of our brain that has evolved to make us think this way. The theory is that humans needed to believe they could accomplish things in order actually go out and try to make progress. We need to believe the future will be better, we need to believe we can achieve greatness. Wouldn't this just be living in a fantasyland and not actually living? 

Sharot briefly touches on the fantasyland question in the article (perhaps more in the book) by saying, "knowledge is key I believe knowledge is key. We are not born with an innate understanding of our biases. The brain's illusions have to be identified by careful scientific observation and controlled experiments and then communicated to the rest of us. Once we are made aware of our optimistic illusions, we can act to protect ourselves."

Sharot ultimately ends by saying, "It is possible, then, to strike a balance, to believe we will stay healthy, but get medical insurance anyway; to be certain the sun will shine, but grab an umbrella on our way out — just in case. "

I like what is said about the importance of observation and how its better to be aware of our biases, but
 what does all this imply about being mindful and living in the moment? Are we biologically incapable of doing so? Are we hardwired to constantly consider the future, all the things we're going to do, all the people we're going to be?

I'd like to think not. And I think many people have proven this isn't true. However, I think this article points out that our culture is still largely designed this way because the idea of "living in the moment" never even comes up in the article.

I may have mentioned this before, but life as a person who is learning to think differently than the majority, can be incredibly challenging. I feel simultaneously intrigued yet annoyed by the points made. I think it's an interesting article, but it doesn't address mindfulness, so I feel it's incomplete. 

I've felt this way about many things since taking on buddhist beliefs. Has anyone else had a similar experience? 

P.S. If you read the article, be sure to check out the comments sections. People's reactions are perhaps more interesting than the article itself.