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  1. Phoenix's Journal

    21 May 2017, 7:30pm

    Today was different from the past week where I have felt anxious and restless, I felt calm and relaxed. Last night I didn't sleep all to well, I kept waking up and feeling agitated I think, and then the smoke detector periodically beeped through the late morning untill I got up and took the battery out, the battery must be getting flat.

    Last week I was trying to get to the bottom of why I am lacking in motivation, which I've been feeling to various degrees over the last however many years. I occasionally find a method that I think will fix me, and spend some time trying to get it to work. But something else comes along or the motivation to keep trying just disolves and then later on I find myself questioning why my motivation is gone all over again. The method is one I must have tried in the past because it comes from Adyashanti's teachings and I have been following them for many years now, it is essentially what he calles Meditative Inquiry. The method is to come to a mental space where you are holding creative tension or a sense of unresolvedness concerning a question such as 'what is life?' and stay there in that feeling until some insight arrives. The key to this method is not accepting an answer unless you feel that it is the absolute truth.

    So I've been trying all sorts of things over the years to find or restore my motivation, but here I am still. I've been struggling to keep up with my responsibilities and all the things that life demands. I sometimes feel ashamed and guilty and anxious that I am a burden or that I'm not giving what I feel is my all at work and yet I still dont have the motivation to take the necessary measures. It's quite a conundrum.

    Any way I pretty much broke down yesterday and the day before because I sat on the couch for days trying to hold this creative tension, I started off in reletively high spirits but couldn't stay in that space very easily by the end, so I was feeling a bit down, compounding that was some things I wanted to do but couldn't work myself up to do them. So Im feeling hopeless and restless at this point and I think I've sunk a bit deeper this time than I have in recent memory...

    Que a couple of days of task avoidance, just ended up floating through facebook and watching vids on youtube. I cant recall if I did much else, maybe a little. I was feeling at a loss, just what the hell am I supposed to do? I cant do anything else, Im done, Im going to be like this for the rest of my life. General negativity ensues.

    Which brings me to last night, I finished watching a long gameplay pretty late close up and just lay with kitty on the couch for a while, I dont have a clue, he is just sleeping. Its pretty uncomfortable trying to accomodate him on the couch so I wake him up and we potter off to bed. attempting to sleep but for some reason keep imagining what it would be like if i was hallucinating and couldnt differeniate between reality and my hallucinations, I kept waking up throughout the night and remember feeling fed up (not really agitated), still.

    Must have come to terms with the possibility that this may very well be my whole future overnight. feel like I've been here before though. spent the day pretty relaxed, it didnt feel wrong, I am the only one at the house for the next week so maybe that is a factor. fixed up the animals and washed and hung some of the pile of clothes that is in my bedroom without much fuss though, more than I've done over the past three days. also watered mum's plants.

    I felt pretty calm today, sat on the couch for most of it but felt good just looking around the room and sitting with my thoughts, didnt have a strong desire to be entertained and only cracked open my laptop to write this journal entry, the first, and to check if I had any messages.

    I wanted to start journaling a couple of weeks ago after being reintroduced to it by something I was reading, and tonight just felt like a nice place to start.

    I dont recall having reached this level of acceptance about my whole situation before, maybe it will stick around.

  2. Re: Phoenix's Journal

    22 May 2017, 6:00pm

    I had another nice day today, I didn't feel restless about lacking motivation, and still managed to do some things without any real pressure. I'm realising that getting bent out of shape about my spotty motivation was not helping the situation, I've noticed today, and previously, that I do have little bursts throughout the day where I have a bit of energy to get something done, I'm noticing as well that these moments can get drowned out if my mind is really busy or I don't take the time to relax or calm my thoughts.

    I spent more of today than yesterday doing tasks and it didn't feel overwhelming, I fixed up the animals in the morning like I always do then cooked breakfast, I added a feature to the journaling program I am building and using, to output the contents of the journal so that I could post the entry I wrote last night online. The program is in the early stages but it's functional, well the important bits are. I even went for a walk, all the sitting recently has made my muscles sore so I thought I should get the blood pumping before I have a stroke or something from being so sedentry, and that was nice. Also did a few more loads of washing, cleaned up the dog poops on the deck and then fixed up the animals again this evening. I'm not doing everything that I think to do but I am just happy to be getting some things done without much fuss. Between all that I took the liberty of sitting about and relaxing without feeling like I was going to get caught out for being so lazy. During this time was when I'd suddenly think of something that needed doing and I'd sit with it for a bit then I'd be up and at it, it was magical but something I've experienced infrequently in the past.

    Something that I experience often but have been paying more attention to today and yesterday, is a sudden feeling of needing something, well that is pretty broad but I mentioned it in yesterdays journal entry as a feeling of wanting to be entertained, and that can take the form of watching a video from a favorite youtuber or movie, or just browsing the web reading about things that interest me. Potentialy anything that is not what I'm currently doing, and this feeling is stronger when I'm having a rough time, I think psychology calls it task avoidance behavior. I don't think seeking entertainment is inherently wrong but I do have a pattern of spending large amounts of time doing these things that essentially amount to nothing, but hey, I feel it's a coping strategy for a seemingly dysfunctional way of functioning in life. The reason I bring this up is because I noticed today and yesterday that the feeling wasn't as strong and I could sit there with it and it would sort of, pass on. I was sitting at the time and sure it's not the most exiting thing, was relaxing though, I get the feeling to check on the post I made online not half an hour before even though I was almost certain no one would have looked at it yet, I'm not sure why these moments are so enticing, maybe it's a dopamine thing, or is it seratonin? Anyway I guess it is a promising thing that they didn't have such a hold on me. And I resisted the temptations even though I'm not sure they represent a threat to my two day peace or not What is so wrong about the current moment that I have to stop and do something else anyway? When does accepting the current moment become non-acceptance of the next, I cant really get my head around that.

    One of the reasons that I am aware of for wanting to stay away from letting loose on the internet: social media, entertainment platforms and such is because I can start to get a bit fancifull, is that a word? Maybe it's the wrong word. I mean that my fantisies can get away from me and take on a bit of a life of there own, and perhaps It's related to what I mentioned before about not feeling the best and almost certainly related to my sense of purposelesness (okay that's for sure not a word) though that sense has largely diminished as I've gotten more comfortable with the idea, it does flare up from time to time. These fantasies, while nice, and... orienting, don't last long and can send me a bit off course. I'd like to keep things simple right now, without the ping ponging between the fantasy of the week.

    I've been cooking more food for myself too which is a plus.
    Last edited by PhoenixAndTheAbyss; 26th May 2017 at 12:05 AM.

  3. Re: Phoenix's Journal

    23 May 2017, 8:45pm

    My mind was pretty busy today, I felt less relaxed and I think because the last couple of days have been pretty good my expectations were getting a little high. There were a few times when I thought to do something and the energy just wasn't there, and it elicits a sort of automatic response from me where I struggle for a bit against that block or like an emptyness where I'd expect to find some sort of drive. When that happens repeatedly that struggle adds up and I start to feel noticably stressed. I pretty much woke up and started 'struggling' with getting out of bed and getting the day started, so I tried to reach out to that space I've been in for the last couple of days, just closed my eyes again, tried to relax, my attention turned to the sounds I could hear and the feeling of laying in bed, the cat purring on the bed. When I opened my eyes I noticed the way the morning light shone into the room and for a moment the struggle was gone, I layed there for a few more moments and then thought about getting up and I could have sworn I felt a hint of hesitation but I was already pushing myself up and then I was off, getting dressed and out to the kitchen to put the kettle on. I wasn't able to really reconnect with that feeling for the rest of the day, I got tripped up in my thoughts about the whole thing. I struggled a little throughout the day, not a lot but enough to feel different from yesterday and certainly the day before that.

    I was also seeking more distractions today, and I wasn't sure how to handle these moments. The struggle I had getting out of bed and the way it disolved so quick left me with some questions, and I was thinking that the relaxing and accepting of the moment was what helped, that when my attention was focused on other things I wasn't focused on the struggle, maybe? But the whole acceptance thing was tripping me up, like, what does it mean to accept the current moment? I've had meditations in the past where the aim was to abide in the moment, and a lot of the time I'd be focused on accepting the moment so much that it turned into a form of non-acceptance in a way where my thoughts took crowded out the moment itself. So I was running with the idea that my thoughts about wether I should allow myself to be distracted or entertained were the thing causing the struggle, and I thought I'd do a bit of an experiment and just let myself do these things and see how it turned out, the short of it is I ended up spending a large portion of the day watching gameplay vids and some other things, but mostly the former. It's not lost on me that yesterday I said I'd try to not do just that, oh well, new days new challenges. Perhaps it was wishfull thinking but I was hoping that if I accepted that this was how I felt and that it was what I was motivated to do, then I could let it happen and that would satisfy that need for a distraction. I did stop watching, but only because the sun was going down and it was time to put the rugs on the horses and feed them, which is harder to do in the dark. So not a success but I'm not going to call the general approach a failure yet either, I don't think the proof is there yet.

    I think a reason why I had busier thoughts and a harder time staying collected is because I realised yesterday afternoon that I'll be going back to work sooner than I previousy thought, which makes me a little concerned because if im honest a part of me doesn't think that I'm ready. Which adds a sense of urgency to that familiar struggling. I'm also relived too because money has been tight since I used up my savings after loosing work during the first quarter of this year, it'll be nice actually. I'm anxious but also excited. And worst case I'll just stumble along like I have done in the past. It would just be nice to have more enjoyable days than hard ones. Anyway I'm going to try and cross that bridge when I get there and chill out in the mean time. Also relieved due to not having to look for a new job, which has been nothing short of impossible and involved a lot of procrastination and therefore stress and anxiety.

    Beyond all that I didn't do a whole lot more than the basics today. I definately must go shopping soon.

    Slept pretty good too last night, that walk did me some good, not going to bed on an empty stomach probably also helped too. Didn't manage a walk today though.

  4. Re: Phoenix's Journal

    24 May 2017, 6:09pm

    I feel like I was less tuned in to myself today, there was noticeably less thinking going on compared to the previous few days, and I found myself wondering if I'd have much to write about at the end of it. I remind myself that journaling like I intend to do is not just about trying to remember the frozen tidbits that I come up with during the course of a day and hopefully remembering them accurately. It's a process of discovery too, with the aim to give a voice to, or connect with the aspects of my self I'm less conscious of, to put it metaphorically. So not just remembering but listening and pondering too just as it happens through out the day, without judgement.

    I felt quite ordinary today, I think I'm back down from the state I was in off the back of last weekend, It is hump day after all. I didn't really know what to do with myself and the impulse in these situations seems to be to find something to do. I found myself refreshing webpages repeatedly to no avail, I looked in the usual places for something to watch but there was nothing recent. So I needed something to do but there was nothing to do, I've experienced this countless times, and it's times like these that I find I am more susceptable to engaging in mindless consumption, or alternately I head out in search of some orientation. I found some things to read but after a while enough was enough and I put my computer away to sit on the lounge and be with myself for a while. Not long had passed when I remembered again that I needed to go shopping, I hesitated but then got up anyway and got ready to leave. I'm not sure what the source of the hesitation is though I do experience it often.

    I went for a walk this evening too around dusk when I finished sorting the animals out and I'm happy about that. I should look at taking the dogs with me next time I go as well.

    I do wonder why it is that I lack motivation, as a matter of fact that is the question I was attempting to get some insight into last week, because I may be able to accept that it's not always there when I need it, hopefully now in a calmer way, but it can still cause me some grief when it flares up at inconvenient times, and it is a barrier to moving out of my comfort zone while working or in general. Is it caused by a lack of direction? orientation? sense of purpose? All those in themselves are messy subjects that I've tried to get a handle on in the past. One of the reasons I've chased some form of awakening or enlightenment for so many years is because I thought it could give me the answers to these questions. But I don't think I want everyting that I've heard it entails, I've been stuck for a while and my curiosity about life has seemingly vanished. I'm not sure what I really want or where I want to go in life. Perhaps that is why I've been stuck spinning my wheels for so long in the same place. A commonly expressed consequence of the process of awakening that I've heard of is that a person becomes no longer motivated by the things that the old self once was. But I have to declare my inexperience with these things, and I'm not saying that that this is a thing or that I'm anysort of 'awakened', I do wonder though. Sometimes I feel like knowing things is a bit of a burden, like I don't really know how to use any of the 'spiritual' teachings and tidbits that I've learnt or if they are useful at all, and I've come to doubt and second guess myself when ever I try to apply them in my life. But what if my motivation is the result of something a little less wibbly-wobbly and there is something I can do to remedy the situation, what can possibly account for the lack of sustained motivation? I was thinking whilst on my brisk evening walk of a question, Do I lead my life or am I lead by it? This begs the question of how much control I have over my life. Am I this me that is hard to define but is still a whole and hearty me, or alternately the seemingly whole phantom illusion of a self that exists in the wake of life itself? I cautiously state that it is just a matter of perspective, and perhaps one both leads and is lead by life in that sense. These are all questions that I don't have true answers for but if my life is the Titanic then I'm just someone trying to move my deck-chair into the sun to enjoy the cruise a little more while it lasts, and by jove I'm going to endevor to use up the whole bottle of sunscreen if I can.

  5. Re: Phoenix's Journal

    25 May 2017, 7:27pm

    I was woken up by someone arriving at the house this morning, more specifically by the dogs, pulled out mid dream so was pretty groggy. I jumped up to see who it was pulling up in their car but I couldn't tell and raced to put some clothes on. I was out in the hallway pulling on my boots when I thought that it could be the meter reader and waited in the gloom until I heard the meter box open, so I rolled back into bed with my clothes on and checked the time, it was around 9am which is later than I'm up usually, but I didn't go to bed till 3am-ish. The person who checked the energy meter drove off and I layed in bed for a little longer before getting up for a cup of tea.

    The only thing I did today besides the usual was tiding up the kitchen I'd say it's about 50% done, I'll try do the rest of it tomorrow. No walk but I ate alright. I have been having rolled oats for the first meal of the day and that has kept me satisfied pretty well, butter chicken for lunch and a chunky canned soup for dinner. It has been a concern of mine for the last few months that I havn't been eating as healthy or as often as I should.

    Journaling I feel has made it easier to keep better tabs on the things I'm thinking about, sort of like putting a bookmark in for the next day and it's helping with forming more complete explanations and arguments about them.

    I found myself pondering on a couple of things today, and I think I'm getting a better picture about my struggle with motivation. Firstly I'm coming to recognise that it's a bit more complex than just lacking motivation, and I have thought previously that it is a bit of a simplification. It's been hard for me to really get into the subtleties and nuance that make up my unique experiences around it ansd understand them, but I think if I keep trying little by little, I might get there eventually.

    I can identify two general states that I spend alot of my time in so far. One, and probably the one I would call 'normal' for me, is captured by days like today and yesterday where I would say in general I lack orientation. That isn't to say that there aren't things I'd like to accomplish but that there isn't strong motivation to get them done and not a whole lot of pressure to do so. Despite that I will usually plug away at something if the mood strikes me. I am also likely to engage in novelty seeking behavior. The other state is one where I begin to ask questions like, "Where is my motivation?", etc. And is where I am feeling the pressure because I'm not keeping up or I didn't do something that I needed to do and seemingly lack the motivation to do it still. It is easy to say I lack motivation and then cry why, but behind the simplification there seems to be deeper reasons why I act the way I do. For instance in the second state I can feel an amplified sense of resistance that I think may be present at a less noticable level in the first. Where does this resistance come from? I dont know yet.

    One question that dealing with any sort of 'lack of motivation' prompts is one about control. Do I have as much control over myself as I'd like to believe I do? I might try a simple exercise to determine this, I stick out my hand, now I raise it upward, now I decide to lower it again. I can't see why I shouldn't conclude that it was I who was in control there. So it confuses things when I can't do something seemingly simple as getting out of bed in the morning. If I pay close attention I may notice that there is a sense of hesitation when I try again. Where did that come from? I thought I knew myself before I tried to get out of bed that morning.

    If I define myself as that which I have control over(body, mind, etc.), then this development is near irreconcilable what am I to conclude? If I'm honest then I can only conclude that that definition doesn't describe the truth. What definition of myself is closer to the truth? Who am I? With these questions in mind I might try the exercise from earlier. I stick out my hand, this time I decide to lower my hand first, now I decide to raise it. Was I in control? Wait, was it really me who decided to lower my hand? After all I don't recall deciding against moving my hand in any of the other directions. Was it as if by impulse? Perhaps there is more to me than I currently realise. How do I reconcile this, do I try to expand the definition of myself to include these anomalies, where do I draw the line? is everything me? or am I nothing? Is there any way to ever know?

    It's a bit mind bending to think that how I define myself may be a matter of perspective. It's hard to think that I have control over the decisions I make when viewed from a systems perspective and the best I can describe the sense of myself at this perspective is as swirling energy of cause and effect, but this sense is not mature and hard to conceptualise, and may not represent the truth any better than that individual sense of me. Yet here I am also typing away at the keyboard, living this life, trying to find answers to questions that matter to me on a personal level. As I was thinking about this today I felt energised by the thought that I can exist on both levels that I can still attempt to change my life, and also be the happening where the sense of me is just a part. I suspect that some of the 'troubles' that I've had with motivation is because I've been trying to be something that I'm not, at least maybe not yet. I'm thinking that while I have been chasing some sort of awakening to solve or trancend my problems I've been denying that I'm still very human and an ignorant one at that,and that practical solutions to my issues are of just as much worth seeking out.
    Last edited by PhoenixAndTheAbyss; 26th May 2017 at 12:04 AM.

  6. Re: Phoenix's Journal

    26 May 2017, 7:51pm

    I've been wondering how I am going to go about the business of getting to know myself better. Early today I recalled a presentation I watched at the begining of last year I think, that was about a topic which actually goes by two names, HRV Training and Cardiac Coherence. HRV Training is the more academic term, and refers to a practice that most of us would call simply, a breathing exercise. What I find intriguing is that this area of scientific study is concerned with understanding one particular method that anyone can do to bring about physiological changes in the body-mind. But what I recalled was the way that the presenter Dr. Alan Watkins drew up an abstract hierarchy of the body-mind, from the physiological to behavioral level. It was the first time that I'd seen a complete representation like that when I first watched the presentation, and I thought it was the bee's knees, and upon watching it again today, I still do. I think it might be a useful framework to use in understanding myself better.

    I was doing the breathing exercise last year but I think I stopped because it wasn't a magic cure-all for the issues I was dealing with, not that it was a conscious decision but I probably gravitated to other things that looked more promising. Which is confusing because I remember responding positively on the first try. Re-watching the presentation I note that he mentions the exercise only brings you half way to changing your behavior. It's purpose is to open up a space where it is possible to do so, but there is more to do to take it all the way, which unfortunately isn't explained in the presentation.

    I'm not inclined to think that there is only one way to solve a problem or come to an understanding anyway. I've noticed in the past that time and patience and mulling it over are often all I needed to figure something out, and an element of waiting is involved perhaps indicating yet again that there is more going on behind the scenes than I am aware of, even in my own mind. Earlier this year for a little while I began practicing logic problems in an attempt to increase my skills in this area and I tried to also pay attention to how I was solving them. What I noticed was that the process could be described as learning to understand the problem rather than the answer, defining it well enough in my mind such that the answer sort of presented itself. It's almost as if inside we have very capable problem solving biological systems that only take well defined input, and learning to produce that input is the real skill? Just speculation of course.

    Today I went for a walk, practiced the breathing exercise and went for a bigger shop. I didn't have lunch and succumbed to the allure of Tim Tams and Pizza Shapes while shopping, haha. No regrets!! Did some more washing, but still have to finish cleaning the kitchen.

    Not overly concerned about my motivation, I don't really have a problem unless I have a problem it seems, not a new understanding but one I tend to forget.

    Overall another good day.

  7. Re: Phoenix's Journal

    29 May 2017, 10:15pm

    I'm tired but feel like I should do a little journaling to put down some thoughts from today.

    I've been still wondering about how I'm going to go about getting an understanding of some of my behaviors that don't serve me well, and how I am going to make changes for the better. The assumption is that I do certain things due to reasons I'm not/not entirely sure of that make my life more difficult than it needs to be. The challenge is in starting with almost no idea of how I'm going to come to any understanding of them or how to make the changes I need to.

    Tentativley I am thinking that I can use what I've got in the way of self-awareness and try to listen more deeply to the sensations, emotions, feelings, and thoughts that arise in my body-mind to get a better sense of myself. I started off today with a breathing exercise, 5 seconds in, 5 out, no hold, for 10 minutes, then sat in meditation, listening to what was happening within myself. I did this twice today sitting in meditation for aprox. 40 minutes each time. Nothing ground breaking to report, although I procrastinated starting the second session. I don't know if it's possible to accurately remember the root cause of a certain behavior after the fact, so I imagine that opening up my awareness will become useful 'in the moment' only after I get a bit more in-tune with myself.

    As for making changes I don't really have anything besides the hope that once I am aware of the true causes of some of my behavior, seeing it from a wiser more experienced view will be all I need to decide what to do. Past that point I think it's just going to be a matter of staying disciplined until it sticks.

    To be honest I feel a bit like I'm up a creek with out a paddle.

    Anyway, this weekend just gone I went out with friends on the Sat, I had a really good time and then spent most of Sunday out of action, felt pretty dodgy all morning and early afternoon. So I didn't get a lot done at home but got a tone of exercise on the dance floor the night before.

    As for today, besides looking after the animals I went for a walk, and that's about it.

  8. Re: Phoenix's Journal

    30 May 2017, 10:45pm

    I must have been bitten by the procrastination bug because today was the least motivated I have felt in a couple of weeks. Days like today I get to the end and wonder where the day went, I can't recall most of what I did to the effect that I wonder if I was even conscious for most of it. I just looked at interesting things on the web and finished it off with watching 8 episodes of a show I was just introduced to by a youtube vid. I can't help but feel that something is bugging me and this is how I'm dealing with it, but I dont know. By some grace some part of me still wants to journal even at this hour.

    Nothing done besides looking after the animals and making dinner. Kitchen is a real mess at the moment, too. And a huge white-tip tried to devour me as I was sitting on the couch minding my own business, that was probably the quickest I have moved today, scratch that, all week.

  9. Re: Phoenix's Journal

    11 Nov 2017, 12:20am

    Hi, welcome to the future. Did you notice it is now November, not May? That was quick.

    Life has continued to unfold and I've managed to stay afloat. It's hardly possible to capture everything that has been happening, especially the subtle and forgotten states of mind long gone, but here are the broad strokes. I've been supporting myself and have been generally content, I think.

    I picked up some extra work bartending which turned into a job switch because the previous bar I was working at closed it's doors and it was as quick and painless as I could have hoped for. I have been enjoying the change of workplace, I'm working with more people and more people my age, some I've known previously, it's been good fun. More people working here means I can actually work casually, that, along with a reduction in my duties has relieved a good deal of stress, I've been realising. I constantly felt like I had to take it up a notch at my previous job which had different requirements, which on reflection I'm not yet suited for. I knew there were going to be challenges going in, things that I hadn't done before, things that I knew were going to be difficult. By all accounts I did fine, but the daily struggle was real and I felt like I was unable to find a sure footing the entire time I was there, It was a great experience otherwise.

    I have been spending more time with friends and family which I feel has had a positive impact on my general mood, despite my continuing issues with motivation/depression.

    All in all I'm greatful to be in a stable situation at the moment.

  10. Re: Phoenix's Journal

    29 Dec 2017, 9:27pm

    The theme of the last four days since xmas has been all about resistance. I have been becoming more aware of the role resistance has been playing in my life.

    The rise in the resistance I've been feeling is noticable against the backdrop of the last couple of months where I have felt generally content and comfortable with the way things have been moving. For the last week or so, though, I have felt very slightly off-kilter. On Boxing Day too, resistance was present when I was needed to do some yard work, and it took wo days to work up to doing some wipper-snipping. That sort of resistance, I haven't felt for a while, I think because I have been working and not doing much else, or getting lost in a hobby or some other distraction, that I haven't really felt put upon by my circumstances.

    The interesting thing though, is that I feel equiped to deal with how I'm feeling now. The last six-ish months I've felt small incremental changes in my outlook and in my responses to life's happenings, and while I can't exactly remeber how I got to this point, there are a few things that stick out as having helped. In no particular order, I serendipituously stumbled on the work of Gary Webber on Youtube and subsequently his blog and book on, started a meditation practice in November after reclaiming a room from mess, it became a nice quiet place for sitting. Before-hand I was meditating infrequently and through practice found a very stripped down meditation that was helping with stress and anxiety. That is actually all I can remember currently. Everything else that has happened I feel has been as a result of these things. Garry Webbers writting on self-inquiry was particularly helpful for me but I no doubt picked up other tidbits that have been working for me. Meditation has been great in allowing me to deal with a lot of anxiety and offered me the chance to respond to life from a less reactionary more balanced and thoughtful perspective, as a result I have felt more secure in my relationships with others, and have managed to maintain some sense of emotional stability and personal fulfilment.

    My past experience with self-inquiry has been a bit hit-and-miss and I dont think I ever understood what it was trying to convey until now but if I have a good understanding now, then it is the easiest thing ever. Firstly you don't have to be anything other than a regular person or have anything other than some patience maybe if you dont already have it, because the process is super ordinary. In actual fact, if you have ever tried to solve a problem in your life you have done the sister to self-inquiry which is simply 'inquiry'. With self-inquiry though the problem is you This is a false dichotomy but helps to give an idea of what sort of 'problems' we are dealing with. Self-inquiry describes a process of questioning(your brain is forced to condider the question), revolving around the things we attach to ourselves, to produce insight about those things. It's possible, like I did, to get hung up on the whole insight part. If I have it right, there is nothing tinky-woo about the nature of insight, because self-inquiry is just like regular inquiry/problem solving/thinking about stuff. It's easy to get caught up in assuming that insight is appearing out of thin air or from some other dimension, I think, because of our black-box like nature, which is just like saying that we don't in general have the ability to peek under the covers of our own existence to see all of the spectacular biological machinery at work. But that is okay because we have the ability to ask for information or for a problem to be solved by those inaccessable parts of ourselves and have it return into our conciousness as if by magic! 1 + 1 = ?

    Experience with solving those logic problems I mentioned earlier in the year and of recent self-inquiry has shown to me the parallels between regular problem solving and self-inquiry and supports the idea that they are the same thing the only difference being the object of inquiry.

    My most recent and perhaps first success to date using self-inquiry took place in the weeks leading up to christmas this year where I found myself amongst people I'd just met the same night, I was tending the bar for their company christmas party and halfway throught the night they started doing karaoke... TO BE CONTINUED

    30 Dec 2017, 12:28am

    There was about 8 of them singing out of the 15 that stayed past dinner, having a great time, they do karaoke every christmas party apparently, I hadn't seen a group so comfortable with each other previously, it created a nice atmosphere to be near. Though it wasn't long until one of them asked if I'd like to do a song. My immediate response was to say 'No thanks', I felt very nervous about the idea of getting up in front of everyone and singing a song I probably only knew half of the lyrics to (can't remember lyrics to save my life), and left it at that. But it was a pretty quiet night behind the bar, and I was quite conscious of the nervousness I had just felt at the prospect of singing karaoke, so I found myself thinking about it. I thought about actually getting up and singing a song but was met with a feeling of resistance and at some point I thought to myself that it would be a good opportunity to practice some self-inquiry with the aim of alleviating my anxiety enough to get up there and sing a song, plus they were all having a good time, it made me feel like joining in. I tried a few variations on questions but settled on something like "Do I need to be anxious about singing karaoke tonight?". I kept testing that resistance and asking the question in the same vein as if I were solving a problem, with deep consideration. Now, it's hard to convey everything that I was doing or experiencing, but I think it's important to convey that there is some element of discovery involved in the process, discovering the question that feels right, mulling everything over, it's not precise. You may, and are allowed to have thoughts, that is your mind at work, you will be recollecting things and making connections. It is when you have noticed that you are off-track thinking of something irrelevant, or just lost your train of thought that you should come back to the question, it is a point of focus, not a magic incantation, there is work to be done and you are telling your brain that this is important enough to spend energy on everytime you refocus your efforts.

    I noticed a relaxed feeling start to appear during the process of self-inquiry punctuated by short sharp feelings of resistance as I tested and asked and let simmer. I was asked again by another person if I would like to have a go singing and I found my response was less certain this time "Uhhhh nah, no thank you, I'm alright.". At some point I started to think about what song I'd do and imagining what it would be like to sing it, and actually found myself enjoying doing it, in my head. I thought about how the group would smile at my attempt at a high note, and felt that they were encouraging me. This was spontaneous, I was feeling relaxed and happy, but still a little nervous. It was time to begin shutting down the bar, when someone asked a third time if I really wouldn't like to get up there and have a go, and I said "Yeah, I probably should." The next minute I had picked out a song(didn't have the one I was thinking of, so I settled on a christmas carol) and the mic was in my hand, the song came on, and I started singing. Felt like magic and it was good fun too, although I wasn't enirely comfortable I still enjoyed it. After the song was done I declined to do another song and quickly gave the microphone to someone else, but still left with a smile and victory firmly in hand.

    Here I am now four days after xmas, and I feel ready to tackle the biggest source of unhappieness that has been a part of my life for the majority of the last decade, the generalised resistance I feel to so many of the things that life throws at me. I've come to realise that I have spent so many years trying to get away from everything. Hindsight is a beautiful thing. I isolated myself for years after I dropped out of school, tried to think as little as possible, fantasised about living as a hermit in the aussie bush, self-suficient, away from everything and everyone, the ultimate escape. It wasn't for five years until the stakes became too high to continue that life and I finnally got some professional help and started the slow climb to where I am now.

    The last four days have seen some serious self-inquiry, two to three hours a day combined with continued practice throughout the day. I have found a question for now which is, "Can I let go of all resistance?", "Can I allow myself to let go of all resistance?" and I had a little yes last night, on par with the times I have spontaneously let go in the past, I felt a little giddy thinking that I could just let go of it, that I didn't need it anymore, imagining what life would be like without it, it's hard to know. When we were all trying to decide in school what to do in life, I had such a hard time choosing what role I would play, I don't think I ever thought I would end up here, or that my path would look like this.

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