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  #1  
Old 14-02-2015, 06:27 PM
Lumen Lumen is offline
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Having trouble on my path because of habits.

Hello everyone.

I made this post because I am looking for some advice on my spiritual journey. It might help if I give a little background so here goes.

I started learning about spirituality about 6 months ago mainly because I had major anxiety and I had a massive panic attack that literally made me bed ridden until about a month ago, so I started changing my lifestyle and getting into meditating and working on the mind etc.

Since then I think I have had a few pretty powerful experiences although I don't know whether they are completely legitimate or if I'm just being a bit crazy lol.

I watched some videos on youtube about the universe and it's illusory nature and about the mind and it's also illusory nature and I started feeling like my whole perception of reality was shifting such that "normal life" was some concept and that I started feeling like life itself, as opposed to a person trying to figure out what I was supposed to do.

From then on I've been watching spiritual teachers on youtube and trying to develop a better understanding of all things spiritual (while managing my anxiety and trying to keep my brain calm because it is really edgy at the minute and has been for ages, although it's gradually getting better) and I have hit a few roadblocks along the way, which I think are down to habits.

In the past year I have stopped smoking cannabis, drinking alcohol, watching porn, masturbating, eating junk food, watching TV and movies, listening to 90% of music genres and now I am on day 2 of quitting my favourite past time, playing video games.

More specifically, playing first person shooter video games like battlefield, which for those of you who don't know is essentially an online virtual warzone lol.

I stopped doing all these things because I felt like they are getting in the way of my spirituality and happiness.

I will elaborate below.

I quit smoking weed because it is what made my anxiety worse and gave me the huge panic attack that left me bed ridden. After stopping for a few months (around about now) I realised how much it was affecting me negatively. My cognition has improved, my mood has improved and I feel like I am generally more content overall without it.

I quit drinking alcohol because it caused me a lot of issues socially and also played a role in my anxiety disorder. I was a little bit of an alcoholic at one stage because I would drink often and drink before certain situations that made me nervous like formal occasions and things like that. Maybe I wasn't an alcoholic, problem drinker is probably more accurate. Anyway I gave that up because of those reasons and the fact I just really started despising it's effects and the problems it caused me etc.

I stopped watching porn because I found out it is sort of a form of addiction and can mess with your mind. Like it desensitizes you to sex and it creates a cycle of getting adjusted to the current porn your watching so you have to watch crazier and crazier porn to get a kick and that leads to problems. Plus I know that pleasure isn't happiness and porn is just a trap leading me astray from love and happiness by tricking me into being a slave to my ego. Something like that lol

I stopped masturbating completely because I read about addictions and dopamine and it said that if you keep giving yourself dopamine surges, like taking drugs, drinking often, sex etc that it down regulates and even destroys your brains dopamine receptors and this means that you struggle to feel good when you aren't high or something because the normal amount of dopamine your brain releases doesn't register in a messed up dopamine receptor system. And on top of that you use all your brains supply of dopamine when you do stuff that releases it really quickly like smoke a joint of jerk off etc.

It also messes with male testosterone and makes people demotivated etc (because it isn't real sex and the brain knows it! lol)

This is part of the reason I stopped junk food too. The dopamine thing and as well it is bad for me and I prefer eating good food because it helps with anxiety and generally I just feel better mentally and physically.

I stopped watching TV because I heard it's bad for the brain. Neuroscientists say that modern life is bad for the brain because most of the activities we do are "excess noise". What they mean is that when we watch TV our brain is processing so much rubbish that our brain doesn't care about, that it burns our brain out. Think of a normal human who lives in nature like a few hundred years ago and the amount of processing their brain has to do vs someone in the modern age who is watching some TV program or movie that is bombarding the brain with all sorts of stuff at high speed. Basically it isn't good for the brain.

Also, I find TV to be a bit of a mind control thing, not saying I believe in like secret societies or whatever but for me it filters reality and makes us believe life is a certain way which it isn't and overall it's just a thing that really makes my ego have more of a grip in my mind which I don't like.

It's also bad for the brain in that it turns off our prefrontal cortex which is used for regulating mood and decision making etc and it targets our amygdala which is for emotions and stuff and that's how the TV producers get a reaction from people. So if you watch a scary movie your primal responses are being stimulated and that isn't good because of neuroplasticity, which means that the more you use a part of your brain the stronger the neural pathways become and then you end up sort of living with that change more prevalent in your life.

The usual term in brain science is "use it or lose it" which is referring to use your brain by exercising it or it will diminish but I seen another neuroscientist talking about enlightenment and he said one of the keys is to reverse that statement, so instead of "use it or lose it", he said "don't use it and lose it". I.e don't use your anger, fear etc and it will slowly degrade and everything in your brain will be wired for positivity. Something like that lol. The video on youtube was called "3. enlightenment and the self, how the brain changes" and was done by a guy with glasses and long hair in case anyone wants to check it out.

And thats the reason why I quit games too. Playing a virtual warzone doesn't sound very spiritual does it? lol It makes me angry all the time when I lose at games and it keeps me on edge like it is designed to and I even found it was getting in the way of me meditating because I would get cravings to play it and also it would waste time I could spend getting better at reading books and learning about spirituality.

So, here is the problem. After cutting all that stuff out in a relatively short space of time, it has made my brain feel like it's a bit dead lol

My current lifestyle is roughly as follows:

I get up, eat, meditate, read books, watch spiritual videos on youtube, spend time with family, go get some fresh air and be outside, then come back in, have my dinner, read some more books, meditate some more, watch some more youtube videos then read some more, meditate and then go to bed.

Throughout this whole process I am just fighting the urge to put porn on, play battlefield, eat some greasy pizza and sometimes the thought of being high crossed my mind even though I'm scared stiff by weed nowadays because of what it did to me lol.

I just feel like there is no joy or bliss and I am doing all this work to become spiritual and kick habits etc and I am wondering if it is even worth it sometimes?

I mean, I love learning about this kind of stuff and the revelations I have had make me feel like I am being guided or something, by someone or something and I have always felt like I have some higher purpose, although I don't know much about that stuff and it's all got a bit messy tbh lol

I don't want to give in to my desires because I feel like maybe if I stay away from them as long as possible and take the pain my brain might adjust or do something to make me feel less dull and a bit more happy? Like get my dopamine system back to what it was like as a kid when I didn't do anything really and was always happy, you know?

Thanks for reading and any help is greatly appreciated. Peace
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  #2  
Old 14-02-2015, 08:36 PM
Swami Chihuahuananda Swami Chihuahuananda is offline
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The thing is, you don't become spiritual by avoiding the things you percieve as capable of making you not-spiritual. That being said, when those things are so enthralling that they do indeed appear to be preventing you from being spiritual, you might have to stop them in order to focus better on your spirituality.

But the things themselves are not the problem ; you're the problem . You are currently vulnerable to being stopped by those things , so there's a pretty obvious decision : avoid certain things in your life, and fill them up with more positive spiritually supportive things. There's a saying in AA : "fake it till you make it" . Believe me, I completely get it about all those things (except the gaming , but it's simply another addictive distraction if you let it be) , because I was a drunk and a druggie for years after I got into spirituality. There was an epic battle for my soul that the evil forces were winning easily , until I was 31.

I don't have a magic formula for changing yourself; you just have to keep at it and try and understand that it isn't about some imaginary future blissful state . You have to find ways of making and seeing progress, and appreciating what you have now, because as someone very wise has said , you already are as spiritual as anyone ever can be , because you truly ARE Spirit. It really is about perspective , because perspective can change in an instant , and insight can too . But this is a process, and every process in this spacetime realm takes time . At some point you get filled up with Spirit more than with the world ; however that happens , and that's when it's easy to let go of things . You lose the attachment to things , because your connection to Spirit is stronger than the pull of those things. You can enjoy things in life because you're not obsessive or compulsive about them. You just do them within the context of a spiritual life, and there's no huge drama
about thinking you're being bad , or not spiritual . I understand this may not happen easily or quickly; it sure was a torture to me for years until something extremely radical happened (but that's another story, already told) .

So find ways of making progress, and appreciate the progress, and be supportive of yourself for the steps you take . You're working your way up out of the deep, dark tunnel , and the only way to go is up , so take heart ;
this is what we're made for
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  #3  
Old 14-02-2015, 09:52 PM
Lumen Lumen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swami Chihuahuananda
The thing is, you don't become spiritual by avoiding the things you percieve as capable of making you not-spiritual. That being said, when those things are so enthralling that they do indeed appear to be preventing you from being spiritual, you might have to stop them in order to focus better on your spirituality.

But the things themselves are not the problem ; you're the problem . You are currently vulnerable to being stopped by those things , so there's a pretty obvious decision : avoid certain things in your life, and fill them up with more positive spiritually supportive things. There's a saying in AA : "fake it till you make it" . Believe me, I completely get it about all those things (except the gaming , but it's simply another addictive distraction if you let it be) , because I was a drunk and a druggie for years after I got into spirituality. There was an epic battle for my soul that the evil forces were winning easily , until I was 31.

I don't have a magic formula for changing yourself; you just have to keep at it and try and understand that it isn't about some imaginary future blissful state . You have to find ways of making and seeing progress, and appreciating what you have now, because as someone very wise has said , you already are as spiritual as anyone ever can be , because you truly ARE Spirit. It really is about perspective , because perspective can change in an instant , and insight can too . But this is a process, and every process in this spacetime realm takes time . At some point you get filled up with Spirit more than with the world ; however that happens , and that's when it's easy to let go of things . You lose the attachment to things , because your connection to Spirit is stronger than the pull of those things. You can enjoy things in life because you're not obsessive or compulsive about them. You just do them within the context of a spiritual life, and there's no huge drama
about thinking you're being bad , or not spiritual . I understand this may not happen easily or quickly; it sure was a torture to me for years until something extremely radical happened (but that's another story, already told) .

So find ways of making progress, and appreciate the progress, and be supportive of yourself for the steps you take . You're working your way up out of the deep, dark tunnel , and the only way to go is up , so take heart ;
this is what we're made for

Thanks for taking the time to respond. I greatly appreciate it.

I don't feel like those things are stopping me from being spiritual and I don't feel bad about doing them, it's just that I feel like they have an adverse affect on my brain, which prevents me from being as peaceful and still as I can be. At least that is what I am theorizing.

I totally get what you mean about being filled with spirit more than the world. I have experienced that quite a lot but sometimes it disappears a bit and then comes back so yea, I get how those things start to become secondary to your being and you aren't pulled to them as much, but it just feels like when I am "being" and totally letting go of everything, all attachment, desire etc, I just feel empty and dull lol It isn't like that all the time though, sometimes I feel really calm and peaceful and a bit wise but a lot of the time not so much.

I am blaming this on my brain because it has been conditioned to a certain lifestyle full of stimulation, so I am asking if people think that it will go back to normal if I just stay at peace as much as I can and maybe my spiritual existence will become a bit more blissful?

Thanks
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Old 14-02-2015, 10:33 PM
Swami Chihuahuananda Swami Chihuahuananda is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lumen
Thanks for taking the time to respond. I greatly appreciate it.

I don't feel like those things are stopping me from being spiritual and I don't feel bad about doing them, it's just that I feel like they have an adverse affect on my brain, which prevents me from being as peaceful and still as I can be. At least that is what I am theorizing.

I totally get what you mean about being filled with spirit more than the world. I have experienced that quite a lot but sometimes it disappears a bit and then comes back so yea, I get how those things start to become secondary to your being and you aren't pulled to them as much, but it just feels like when I am "being" and totally letting go of everything, all attachment, desire etc, I just feel empty and dull lol It isn't like that all the time though, sometimes I feel really calm and peaceful and a bit wise but a lot of the time not so much.

I am blaming this on my brain because it has been conditioned to a certain lifestyle full of stimulation, so I am asking if people think that it will go back to normal if I just stay at peace as much as I can and maybe my spiritual existence will become a bit more blissful?

Thanks


Okay, that makes sense . Basically , your brain is addicted to external stimulus (to simplify it down to one point) , activity... intensity . That's what Mrs. Chi and I used to talk about a lot ; people are addicted to intensity , and so the things in life that bring intensity are what they reach for . Even self -destructive things; sometimes especially self destructive things, because those can be very, very intense.

So you know that you have choices; you're not hopelessly addicted like I was for a long time , and so then you can decide where to put your attention. Where your attention and effort go, there you plant the seeds that will grow (into spiritual intensity, if you choose ) , and yes, I'd say that's a really good way of letting your brain return to whatever normal is . The good thing about spiritual intensity is that it's also peaceful and calming a lot of the time (but not always ! ) . The rowdy mind needs reconditioning, reprogramming , and it needs to be reminded and repurposed . It doesn't run the show ; it just thinks it does , so we give it a new job : " shut up and listen , and do what you can actually do , and that is not to control the whole world around you" .

Actually, I'm not still and calm very often ; it's just not how I am , and I accept that . Finding out what you're really like as an individual, and accepting that , goes a long way towards peace of mind , contentment , hapiness, etc., if not actual contemplative silence. But I'm good with the way I am. There is an eternity for contemplative silence, if I should so choose.... which I probably won't , the way it's going
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Old 14-02-2015, 10:47 PM
Lumen Lumen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swami Chihuahuananda
Okay, that makes sense . Basically , your brain is addicted to external stimulus (to simplify it down to one point) , activity... intensity . That's what Mrs. Chi and I used to talk about a lot ; people are addicted to intensity , and so the things in life that bring intensity are what they reach for . Even self -destructive things; sometimes especially self destructive things, because those can be very, very intense.

So you know that you have choices; you're not hopelessly addicted like I was for a long time , and so then you can decide where to put your attention. Where your attention and effort go, there you plant the seeds that will grow (into spiritual intensity ) , and yes, I'd say that's a really good way of letting your brain return to whatever normal is . The good thing about spiritual intensity is that it's also peaceful and calming a lot of the time (but not always ! ) .

Actually, I'm not still and calm very often ; it's just not how I am , and I accept that . Finding out what you're really like as an individual, and accepting that , goes a long way towards peace of mind , contentment , hapiness, etc., if not actual contemplative silence. But I'm good with the way I am. There is an eternity for contemplative silence, if I should so choose.... which I probably won't , the way it's going

Yes, that is a very good point about self acceptance going a long way towards happiness. I completely agree.

It also reminds me of a chapter of a book called "The Book of Secrets" by Deepak Chopra where he talks about the full self needing to be exposed so that you can bring the Universal intelligence within to your inner flaws and by using such attention you can fix the issues and become more whole as a being.

Just thought that would be interesting to add to this conversation :)

I'm glad you are happy within yourself, sometimes I struggle to let go of my conceptualized self you know because I feel like if I let go I might return to what I deem to be bad habits since they are so deeply engraved in my conditioning, but I guess since they have never stained my being, if I am in that place I will be able to see clearly what is not right for me.

Do you think my brain will stop craving things? I'm kind of thinking about the more minor addictions like food and games like I would cigarettes for example.

I know that when I smoked I used to love the feeling, crave cigarettes and be annoyed and angry if I had to go any reasonable amount of time without being able to smoke one. But when I quit, I had intense cravings for a while and wondered how the heck I was going to never smoke again and then eventually with abstinence the cravings went away totally and I wondered why I even smoked in the first place.

So I am looking at gaming, for example, like that. I actually crave to play a game of battlefield and fantasize about it and imagine myself flying a fighter jet in it and winning air to air battles! lol

But I know that it is bad for my attention, my emotional system and it makes me angry all the time and actually releases adrenaline when I am in the intensity of the virtual combat, so I don't want to play it again but it is pulling me in like cigarettes used to lol

The same goes for food. Sometimes I want to eat for the fun of it but I know that is another desire and addiction that makes me crave and I know craving is one of the aspects of suffering so I want it to stop eventually and I am just hoping that it will, you see?
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Old 15-02-2015, 03:20 AM
Swami Chihuahuananda Swami Chihuahuananda is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lumen
Yes, that is a very good point about self acceptance going a long way towards happiness. I completely agree.

It also reminds me of a chapter of a book called "The Book of Secrets" by Deepak Chopra where he talks about the full self needing to be exposed so that you can bring the Universal intelligence within to your inner flaws and by using such attention you can fix the issues and become more whole as a being.

Just thought that would be interesting to add to this conversation :)

I'm glad you are happy within yourself, sometimes I struggle to let go of my conceptualized self you know because I feel like if I let go I might return to what I deem to be bad habits since they are so deeply engraved in my conditioning, but I guess since they have never stained my being, if I am in that place I will be able to see clearly what is not right for me.

Do you think my brain will stop craving things? I'm kind of thinking about the more minor addictions like food and games like I would cigarettes for example.

I know that when I smoked I used to love the feeling, crave cigarettes and be annoyed and angry if I had to go any reasonable amount of time without being able to smoke one. But when I quit, I had intense cravings for a while and wondered how the heck I was going to never smoke again and then eventually with abstinence the cravings went away totally and I wondered why I even smoked in the first place.

So I am looking at gaming, for example, like that. I actually crave to play a game of battlefield and fantasize about it and imagine myself flying a fighter jet in it and winning air to air battles! lol

But I know that it is bad for my attention, my emotional system and it makes me angry all the time and actually releases adrenaline when I am in the intensity of the virtual combat, so I don't want to play it again but it is pulling me in like cigarettes used to lol

The same goes for food. Sometimes I want to eat for the fun of it but I know that is another desire and addiction that makes me crave and I know craving is one of the aspects of suffering so I want it to stop eventually and I am just hoping that it will, you see?

Well, it's very liberating when you see, or get to the place where you know that none of 'that stuff' can keep you from being your full spiritual self in this life . Then 'that stuff' isn't your enemy , it's stuff you like to do, so you can do it , and it won't interfere . It'll be badass spiritual you kicking butt in games (my wife is into Far Cry 4 right now , and she's playing it a lot ! ) .

The whole thing being that life becomes within a spiritual context and framework, not spirituality crammed into a life-on-Earth context . That switcheroo is the key
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Old 15-02-2015, 02:12 PM
Lumen Lumen is offline
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Okay, thanks for your input, much appreciated.

Others replies still welcome :)
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Old 15-02-2015, 03:21 PM
Thunder Bow Thunder Bow is offline
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I suggest seeing a therapist to help you through all this. It is very hard to do it all on your own, and outside insights will help guide you. Early childhood experiences and your growing up, all fit into all what you posted. Those feelings and experiences have to be looked at and understood by you.
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Old 15-02-2015, 03:56 PM
Miss Hepburn Miss Hepburn is offline
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Hi Lumen and welcome here!

My opinion...
For anyone it is a huge deal to give up all the things you did!
All at once cold turkey? You are a better person than me.

How about once a week having greasy pizza?
And the next week one beer.

Am I bad for saying this, I dunno....but even in Weight Watchers or other programs
like that they say one day a week ...eat whatever...
it calms the mind and it's cravings to know it will get ice cream on Sat.

And, btw, I think you are amazing.
God loves you alot to have made this turn around for you, imo!
What a complete 180.

And as encouragement...all those things that brought you distraction or happiness...
are all temporary things...it is better to aim for that Thing that lasts forever...and it is worth it.

It is a different more refined 'high'...like the delicate pleasure of smelling a
rose on a beautiful morning outside...
compared to the rush of online war games or porn...they are different...
so it will take some time
for your appreciation of little things to satisfy your heart and mind.

Also, I do think finding an interest takes your mind off these 'distractions'...ha, I don't know why,
but I just got an image of Clint Eastwood, he mean anything to you? Anyway...
What does he do in his spare time?
He creates...he accomplishes..he digs into his passion...he gets lost
in his work, ya know?

Just my 2 cents.

Take care
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"Prepare yourself for the coming astral journey of death by riding daily in a balloon of divine perception.

Through delusion you are perceiving yourself as a bundle of flesh and bones...Meditate unceasingly,
that you quickly behold yourself as the Infinite Essence" ~~Lahiri Mahasaya, the guru of Yogananda's guru.


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Old 15-02-2015, 04:30 PM
jayemem jayemem is offline
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I can really relate to the challenges you described Lumen. I've really only started to consider and focus on spirituality since September of last year when I began practicing Reiki (it was the best decision I've ever made). I struggled with keeping my attention away from video games and porn because I had already quit partying (drinking and some drug misuse) and like you, felt a void and need for some kind of stimuli. I would meditate at times, but I continually felt I wasn't doing it as much as I wanted to or should, since I was often choosing to do other things (like play World of Tanks for example). Stopping all the things that I felt was leading me astray was difficult, abstinence is not easy! In my opinion, giving in (call it relapse) to those things can be used as a learning tool and not something to be ashamed of or considered a failure. And just as Swami said, you will be able to find a balance between playing those games and not compromising how you feel spiritually (should you decide playing video games is something you'd like to continue doing).
I too felt like the feeling of spirit disappeared. It wasn't a very nice feeling, and it resulted in me wondering if I'd ever feel it again and if its presence was gone because I wasn't focusing on what I should have been.
Just always remind yourself, until you just know, that spirit is always within you and with you no matter what you do. You are spirit and you have the light and energy of God and the universe within you because that is who we are.
You most definitely are being guided, and you have been all along. Swami said some amazing stuff, especially:
Quote:
The whole thing being that life becomes within a spiritual context and framework, not spirituality crammed into a life-on-Earth context . That switcheroo is the key
Perfection!

If you haven't already, I would encourage you to check out reiki. It's pretty amazing and it might help you feel less brain dead lol (sorry if that comes across a facetious) Keep up your search and on this path, seems like you're doing awesome and you'll find contentment, happiness and fulfillment soon enough!
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