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Recovery and Rehabilitation

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The neurotic mind: how to better deal with it?

John often gives talks connected to SDA saying it will reduce the period of recovery. In reference to mental problems. I found that directly struggling with one's inner problems leads to the continuation of the disease. Likewise just letting the neurosis be and giving up by ''making friends'' with ones affliction, also leads to many years craziness because of the sheer exhaustion that pulling around a heavy load creates. So, what can one do to solve the eternal problem of living with the disease while the meds work or running away from the whole gig, which by experience one clearly sees neither action doesn't work!

On the flip side... The mechanical nature of SDA watching the breath leaves me with a subtle feeling of restlessness, perhaps because there is an element of time in relation to the cure? Of course ''time is a illusion'' we tell our mind in order to live in the world.

Final question:

How does one overcome the remaining disturbances (Japanese soldiers) that are endlessly dancing around in the darkness while the process of healing takes place? Is there anything else one can do to close the curtain on this show, one more 'final bomb' that can be dropped to flush these sneaky enemies into the open, so one can make the final peace treaty?

I suppose the answer is obvious to one who has crossed this line? Implementation seems complicated until the fear completely goes away. It's my experience to be constantly attacked by the mind late at night when the guards are sleeping.

Isn't there some kind of trip wire one can install that will automatically go off if the safe zone gets breached?

If you had taken on the practice of SDA as you promised in our last phone call, you would know exactly what to do. From what you said here, it is clear that you have not done that yet.

John, let's be clear. I have practiced SDA for some time now. I still continue to do so in the manner you prescribe (but without number counting). My comments are not a matter of failure to understand nor lack of practice. The problem I feel is more about the mechanical nature of SDA. I am tired of all these mechanical dry processes (spiritual or non spiritual) which involve number counting; do this do that etc. Which to me are a bit like mantra repetition and praying to some idea in the head about 'God'. Otherwise, I have stayed the course. I have attended talks for years where you repeat this point over and over. This is why I am hanging back from going to the meetings. I get it about having control over the attention in its connection to suffering. No need to review it again, as I can always play back instructions on youtube, but thanks.

Hey Roger .Something else I have been having a lot of success with lately is actively practicing loving Life. In some of John's videos he talks about how much he loves and appreciates Life itself. Also, he points out how the one thing we, as humans, have control over is our attention. So I have chosen to place my attention on actively loving Life. What I have found that the SDA exercise does is to help me strengthen what I choose to put my attention on. So I would suggest, for the next few days, try to actively love Life as much as possible all throughout your day and night just as you go about your daily activities. See if this doesn't help you feel better.. I mean, what do you have to lose? Wishing you the best, Lex

Hi Roger,

Self-Directed Attention is not about struggling with any neurosis nor is it about letting the problems be.

By not giving these issues your attention when you do SDA you will over time weaken the power these kind of thoughts have and they will vanish. They feed off the energy you give them by attending to them.

I do the SDA exercise whenever I feel overwhelmed by certain thoughts although I will say that these thoughts have become less and less problematic until now they are just wisps of cloud briefly dimming the sunlight and then they are gone. They really have no impact on my life at all.

This is the direct result of doing the SDA over time. Problem thoughts are simply not a problem anymore. You could try doing SDA whenever you feel overwhelmed but make sure you are doing it exactly as John instructs. Personally I found that doing SDA for brief periods throughout the day to be more helpful than sitting for long periods but that's just me. I would follow John's advice on this though.

I hope his has been helpful.

Yup, I second Antony's view on this. My relationship to the practice, how I feel or think about it, is of no consequence to its results.

The actual doing should prove this to you with practice and repeated everyday application.

I mean going to the breath with determination, every time - rather than feeding doubts or any of the other mischiefs of the mind.

The feelings of restlessness and thoughts of complaint etc. are normal I think, but are actually of no consequence. It is merely a thought about a thought (or a feeling about a thought) that John and Carla promises safely can be ignored. To do so is very sound advice in my opinion, and probably is the closing of the curtain that you are after. But you have to grind it to get there, or at least thats what I had to do.

Good luck, and the best to you Roger.

Hi Roger,

If you are experiencing frustration with the SDA I would recommend leaving it for a while. Lay back. Take it easy. Changes are happening and driving yourself nuts with SDA won't speed anything up. I agree with Ljazz on this. Enjoy for a while. You seem to be pushing too hard for something to happen. Let it happen and it will.

Sorry you are still struggling, Roger. It can simply take awhile. That has been my experience. One thing that pulled me through was to look for small changes and think about how different my life is pre and post looking. No matter how bad it got it was never worse than before the act of looking and there were many things that improved. I have kept a journal during this time which I find helpful to go back and look at how I used to be and realize that many changes took place without my noticing. Many changes. I still have days where I feel nothing has changed, my latest symptom is to feel flat emotionally, not bad, not great just kind of blah, like I can't get excited about anything. I can get depressed about this or mildly annoyed, but then the next moment I am throwing myself into something I really like and get all involved in a new curiosity or pursuit. Any more, if I feel nothing has changed, all I have to do is think about the hell I was living in every day before the looking. It takes a split second for me to realize so much has changed even though I may not be where I want to be at any given moment. The mind is a tricky thing and needs to be held accountable sometimes.

So, I would suggest writing it out. Think of all the positive changes that have happened. Think of all the things you are grateful for. Write them down. Share them with us, I'd love to hear them.

Thank you for this thread. Really timely along with John's latest podcast "The worry monster".

Life has been very challenging lately and I seem to blubber all the time and have forgotten painful memories suddenly pop into my mind. The not paying attention mentioned above and in the podcast seems to be a must. I admit to finding it difficult - the more I try to ignore the more I seem to give thought attention. In the day it is fairly easy to distract thoughts. During the night is pretty tough. I feel motivated to keep up the SDA from your comments. Thank you.

"I have practiced SDA for some time now. I still continue to do so in the manner you prescribe (but without number counting)."

Hi Roger, actually the number counting, although it may seem dry and mechanical, is the vital part of SDA, otherwise we're just watching our breath. Counting helps us to catch ourselves when the thought drifts, and brings us back to the beginning to start again. It helps keep us focused, because we're trying to reach 10 without sliding into a lot of mind distractions. Seems to me there's not much point to it without the counting.

Katielooking

Thank you for this thread. Really timely along with John's latest podcast "The worry monster".

Life has been very challenging lately and I seem to blubber all the time and have forgotten painful memories suddenly pop into my mind. The not paying attention mentioned above and in the podcast seems to be a must. I admit to finding it difficult - the more I try to ignore the more I seem to give thought attention. In the day it is fairly easy to distract thoughts. During the night is pretty tough. I feel motivated to keep up the SDA from your comments. Thank you.

If what John says in 'The worry monster' is really true for everyone, than that would be an amazing freedom. To not to be able to pay attention to even the most traumatizing memories that cause us the most suffering seems incredible to say the least. I think I may actually already be doing this to some degree. Even though my decisions to take certain actions based on past memories has not changed, the feelings of suffering that these memories have caused in the past, do seem to be less..I do notice I am able to pay less attention to them for longer periods of time. As you say, during times where we may be alone, sober, and quiet, like certain nights, etc. are when they are the most likely to bother us.

 

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