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compulsive vs constructive actions

Published onMar 24, 2019
compulsive vs constructive actions

—————————————-Table of Contents—————————————-

@Feb 11: my Practice for the course

@Feb 13: Experiencing Physical & Mental Actions

@Feb 14: I would be unstoppable, if I could just get started!

@Feb 17: I don't seek a person, I seek a quality

@Feb 19: ‘, but it was worth it! ?’

@Feb 26: Is awareness discrete or continuous?

@March 5: My mental pendulum

@Mar 7: Drive and Motivation

@Mar 15: Rules of Happiness

@Mar 20: What emotion does one cycle of this thought produce?

@Mar 23: Disconnected thoughts around Connection:
-Games I don't play, games I play
-who am I writing this journal for??
-Converting an experience to a learning experience
-Less is more with caffeine
-More tic-talk

@Apr 1: Everyday is April Fool’s Day for my mind, and I am the fool ….

@Feb 11, 2019 --my Practice for the course --

The theme that I want to focus on for the course is of ‘doing compulsive actions’ vs ‘taking constructive actions’.

All Possible Actions = Compulsive Actions + Constructive Actions + Inaction (Doing Absolutely Nothing)

  • Compulsive actions: Acting due to forces of mostly invisible compulsions (stemming from learned habit patterns, acquired wants and desires…). If, life is what I make of it, then most construction or making happening currently is a form of 'compulsive construction', which is chaotic and often lacking will and deep thought. I want to shift this towards 'constructive construction', which is willful and mindful.

Living compulsively for me is like being on auto-pilot, not really concerned with where my actions are leading me towards.

  • "Doing nothing" has definetly an element of 'Doing', it is a conscious choice. Whereas 'doing nothing' on the other hand means we are living in auto-pilot mode ~ under some compulsion.

    Doing ‘nothing’ vs ‘doing nothing’ == Awareness vs Laziness

  • Constructive actions come from driving manually, choosing my actions based on where I 'really' want to be heading.

This does mean that I have started to have an idea about what I want to be making of my life, what values I want to be flourishing, and which ones to weed out and deamplify.
A few days back I got re-exposed to a phrase* that I always have had a natural proclivity towards - especially during my undergrad - 'wanting nothing', and thus not feeling truly motivated towards many things. This "wanting nothing" took the form of being lazy, just doing enough to get by, having major issue with "getting started". And to make matters worse I took a class during my final year of undergrad which focused on "Existentialism". Thankfully after undergrad, I was very fortunate to get exposed to the big ideas in Indian philosophy around Yoga during the two month long residential program at Sivananda Ashram in the Yoga Vedanta Forest Academy. These ideas have played a big part in me now having some semblance of understanding of what values I want to be growing in and guides me towards actions that I want to be taking more of to affect my plane of values.

*that phrase was - "Nothing to do, nowhere to go", that I heard from a friend who practiced Zen meditation.

@Feb 13: Experiencing Physical & Mental Actions

Due to external, environmental influences, I experience some feelings, desires. Some are weak and some strong. The strength of the feeling to act in response to a desire (good/bad, likes/dislikes), in a particular manner, depends on how deep my habit pattern for that behavior is. For example, biological needs like hunger and what I crave to eat at a given moment, or others like checking my phone for notifications, acting out on certain triggers ...

I feel almost a magnetic pull by certain desires to drive me into acting towards them. I see these actions on both physical and mental levels. The physical action also starts as a thought. Some of them are so instinctive that it's hard to notice the initiating thought. It is even harder to notice the thought that starts a mental action (like imagining a scenario).

Today, I observed the above cycle and waited for the desire to subside or be replaced by another. I did not act physically. I stopped the movie that my imagination had just started. Then, I got a thought about writing my journal for the day.

@Feb 14: I would be unstoppable, if I could just get started!

I stumbled upon the above fridge magnet that my mom had gotten for me when I was preparing for entrance examinations for my undergrad.

Then and now, problems with getting started has been my constant companion.

I have been seeing that it is easier 'getting started' when I meditate, but when I don't it becomes harder 'getting started' with meditation itself .... and I go back to dependence on copious caffeine ....

@Feb 17: I don't seek a person, I seek a quality

I don't seek a person I seek a quality. Eg: the quality of calm - a person or a place whose presence/way of being transforms me into that. Warmth, unconditional love as associated with motherly nature, often leads me to feeling calm and quiet, so do some experiences. Also hearing "everything will be/is okay" once in a while helps, hugging (tightly! ideally for long) my mother always helps ….

Often, I find my Tourette's to be an external manifestation of internal restlessness. It's like a sensor. I so cherish those people and moments that are able to affect it in positive ways, or so I would like to think - the unromantic truth is having the key in my own hand.

@Feb 19: ‘but it was worth it! ?’

am I expecting too little from Life, so much searching, so much yearning, so much compulsive living for a fleeting experience which can only be justified by ", but it was worth it!" … if at all …

Reading this made me smile-

"All this is beautiful to hear, but it is so beautiful that you may not be able to put it into practice". - Swami Krishnanda

@Feb 26: Is awareness discrete or continuous?

→ To me it is discrete (1,0) in the moment & continuous over time.

I am either aware or not aware at any given moment. To be semi-aware is talking about a big chunk of time. Eg: A sample sequence of being semi-aware over an hour would look like:

[1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0,……… 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 0]

<—————————— one hour ——————————->

At any given moment I find myself in any of these 6 possible states:

  • Thinking about the past: If doing in a constructive manner then I am in a state of Reflection. If drowning in thoughts about the past (almost compulsively) - it is a form of Rumination.

At any given moment, how am I engaging with thoughts about the future, past or present? Constructively? or Compulsively?

  • Thinking about the future: If done in a constructive manner then it is Planning or Visioning (something I need to do more of!). If done compulsively or when in unaware auto-pilot mode >> it leads to Day-dreaming, (I often find amusing myself by day dreaming).

  • Present: If I am viewing the present compulsively (with filters) then I am engaging in some form of bias/being judgemental - and not seeing what is real. If I am engaging with the present contructively - I am for once in the real … peaceful, contended …..

    @Mar 5: My mental pendulum

    • While doing the 20 minute meditation session in class, I found myself becoming more centered, like a slowing pendulum.

      Meditation is the process of becoming centered.

@Mar 7: Drive and Motivation

It is easy, convinient for me to spend all my time doing very random things like checking the news, looking for random things, floating around in thoughts, just having a lot of inertia and insane levels of procrastination, and then falling into this cycle over and over again, and then questioning myself if I even have any strong motivations, or identify myself as lazy or as not driven enough. The not driven part is although so contrary as I can be very driven at times especially when it comes to doing something directly for others.

This reminded me about a reading around the topic of motivation, which discusses the 4 natural interests of every child, namely:
1. Construction (building, making) ;
2. Curiosity (inquiry into nature of things);
3. Connection (relatedness) ;
4. Communication (through artistic expression)

I realized that my intrinsic motivation has always stemmed from my desire to connect deeply. As a child I had tremendous interest in conversation with one and all, I would ask a lot of questions - it was based on both a curiosity about the other and a way to feel connected with them. My interest in construction and creation was more of a mental kind, imagining vivid stories with objects around me ~ imaginative play.

I am certainly finding that meditating even briefly helps me widen the gap between a random thought/urge and doing it. This is the way I can choose constructive actions over compulsive thoughtless doing.

@Mar 15: Rules of Happiness

The below thought was inspired thanks to an article my brother shared, want to keep reminding myself of this every so often:

My mind has set some rules about what things, people, experiences, outcomes will be termed as happy, fun and worth seeking and others as generating irritation, stress and then it seeks, avoids, replays or invents possible scenarios in keeping with those rules. And what if I told it - no this rule does not matter, its bogus ….. what if my happiness lies not in these particular outcomes but in stilling my mind, having mental control, in being calm and peaceful and investing in those aspects!

"Your heart lies where your treasure is!" - H.Prather

@Mar 20: What emotion does one cycle of this thought produce?

I catch myself swimming in thoughts/scenarios (espl when doing repetitive tasks like washing dishes, doing yoga (asanas) in the morning). I am either replaying past events, trying to think how it could have been even better! or trying to invent scenarios for the future to amuse myself!

The above is mostly a harmless automatic thing that the mind engages in, often for self-amusement. But every thought/scenario has an associated emotion that it generates. From past experience, I now take caution when some thought/scenario produces a negative emotion, especially if it converts into a cyclic thought and then with each cycle that negative feeling starts multiplying! ….. With age I have grown much better at handling such scenarios by either knowing that they are temporary; by changing my surrounding; by turning to faith in a higher being and asking them to help me with it and take care of it or by calling my mother and telling her to ask god to take care of it (which always works as she has a much closer and quicker connection :)

@Mar 23: Disconnected thoughts around Connection

A random sequence of disconnected incidences and thoughts, roughly around, the topic of connection.

@Games I don’t play, games I play

"The games of money, romance, respect, influence, even games of idleness and isolation, all offer a trophy that begins to tarnish the moment we claim it." -Prather

-Amongst the many games of the world, I am lucky to not have a pull towards them and live with content (almost foolish content). But there are some experiences that I still do seek out. I do see the futility of it in brief moments but ….. With regards to the games of money, name, fame, influence, power, etc. I live assuming I have all the money, all the name, all the fame in the world (another way of saying, I am not pulled by them) …… I think I should add 'the feeling of deep connection' to that list, it comes and goes currently.

-I have been wanting to go visit the zoo and the aquarium for so long, as being there with the animals I have the freedom to really look at them for as long as I want, their simpleness, innocence* ..... I cherish those moments - when although in midst of strangers (who don't pay attention to me), I get to just be deeply mesmerized by my surroundings ....
*although not the intention but it is selfish in a way - they are in a cage ….

@who am i writing this journal for??
is the goal connection again?

-I am not very mature when it comes to self-control, aur mujhe iska bhalibhanti aabhaas hai (and I know that about me). I make up for it by consciously designing my environment to make it work for me. I know without those self imposed locks I am prone to extremes in everything, although lately I feel I am catching up on maturity! :) …… I am hopeful I will transition from self-control to Self-control, as I grow in my practice and experience.

@Converting an experience to a learning experience
-I remember my mother used to tell me that unlike my brother I made the same mistake many times to learn from it - i think it was because of acting without stopping for reflection (issues with momentum, issue with brakes). I recently realized how the act of 'reflection' plays the role of digestive fire that converts an experience into a 'learning' experience.

@Less is more with caffeine
-I realized that i need just a few sips of caffeine to get me started - drinking an entire cup is not needed and often detrimental as it worsens my tics very soon. This will be a very helpful thing for me going forward. I do see a sea of change in me, my mental state with and without caffeine.

@Coming alive
-My friend told me as they were watching me during the day breaker dance event - that I either dance with full force, really into it or just move very slightly ..... I find this to be true in my daily life currently as well. Some things, some interactions make me light up and come alive, otherwise I am blank ..... little bit of caffeine and a good reading always works, a good movie with good writing and acting always works, the thought and act of eating bfast always works too!

@More tic-talk
-My internal sense of comfort and tics is like a quantifiable measurement tool about how I feel about being with a person, situations, environments, groups etc. - although it is a function with other variables too ....

-My brother msged me after seeing the Hindi movie 'October', that the protagonist reminded him of me strongly - it felt so nice to know that he knows me deeply (a deeper and simpler representation of me) …… the outermost representation of a person being the top of an inverted cone and the deepest being the tip of it….

-Question to ask Tenzin: Role of devotion and faith in all of this? I find that as my strength …..

@Apr 1: Everyday is April Fool’s Day for my mind, and I am the fool …..

Katie Lewis:

Great point :) I like all of your visualizations and insights

Manuj Dhariwal: