#320 Attributes of our ego Sun June 28 -20

        Attributes of our ego:

Our subconscious ego has zillion of way to express itself non-stop.

The following attributes vary in frequency, prevalence and degree for each of us.

Severe narcissism, paranoid, sociopath and even psychopathic behaviors are among the extreme forms requesting therapy.

Here is the list in non-specific order. Few of them will sound familiar.

   Having poor insight

   Judging, accusing, gossiping and complaining.

   Needing to be right, to appear important, wanted and indispensible.

   Taking things, statements, and events personally.

   Need have “enemies”.

   Applying negative labels to people & situations

   Making yourself right and the others wrong through futile mental or verbal complaints.

   Expecting recognition for something you did and getting angry or upset if you don’t get it.

   Trying to get attention in whatever situations.

   Creating and maintaining a self-image made of: guilt, resentment, anger, blame and complain.

    Feeling being the victim of this and that.

   Giving your opinion when nobody is asking for.

    Being always concerned with how people judge you.

  Trying to always make a positive impression on others through various tools such as education,

     possessions, good look, socio-professional status, achievements, etc…

  Referring to “important people”  for ego booster.

   Triggering an ego storm through anger, jealousy, and threat against someone or something.

What to do?

Not much since our “ I, me, myself and mine” are vital to survive.

The key is to prevent its detrimental impacts.

The moment you become aware of your hidden ego and what he is doing negatively it is, strictly speaking, no longer the ego, but just an old, conditioned mind-pattern and mind-set that you are observing in a mindful way.

Observing implies awareness and ego implies unawareness because hidden.  

Therefore, awareness and ego cannot coexist.

Print this list and score each trait from N/A, 0 to 5. 

The highest score, the bigger the ego is.

Thank you all. arnaud

#319: Zen mindfulness: an antidote to A.D.H.D. June 21 20

                         Zen mindfulness: the antidote to A.D.H.D.

/Canadian Here are the latest ADHD stats from the CDC & American Psychological Association.

1) Attention span:

        Young: around 5 to 7min. (because, most of the time they are under guided supervision).

        Adult:   around 3 to 4 min.

        Adult dog :45 sec. (adult)

        Goldfish: 7 sec.

        Over the last 15 years, attention span has dropped by around 30%, especially among adults.

        Reasons?: multitasking, distractions, overthinking and search for instant results.

        Talking produces around 120 words/min. A 3min. speech has around 360 words.

        After 3 min., the attention span of the audience drops by around 30% /min.

        Therefore, you will probably talk to yourself if your speech is more than 6min.

2) Hyperactivity:

        Means doing many things at the same time or changing activity very quickly w/o significant outcome. Multitasking, a form of ASDHD is a growing cause of anxiety and burnout.


As far Zen is concerned, learning to pay attention in a mindful way is a vital skill to practice in order to achieve serenity.  

The word attention, in Zen teaching, has nothing to do with concentration or straining that we are trying to do during our various activities at home or at work.

Attention, in its Zen meaning, means having the mental openness of a young child that is an open but still concentrated mind.

An open mind is paying attention with non-analytic, non-judgmental, non-decisional and without tension. This is mindfulness at its best.

Zen Master Suzuki calls it “Beginner mind” in his book with the same title.

A young child mind is not yet dominated by beliefs, ideas, opinion, expectations, judgment, analysis and decisions.

a Her/his mental openness is like a mirror reflecting things as they are, sort of simple pure concentrated awareness without a wandering mind. It is the opposite to the conceptual, dualistic, and gateway mind of an adult, trapping us in a constant fictional world full of ongoing thoughts.

Practicing mental openness is freeing us from this mental cage that our education, beliefs, and experiences are creating.

How to practice it?

We talk about it zillions of time.

.Stop the schizophrenic space/times between body and mind

Bring your wandering mind to the present moment, where your body is and what it is doing.

Is it boring? Probably yes for most of the time, but just do it.

Your attention becomes 100% and you are not anymore hyperactive nor multitasking.

Thank you

#318 About “Self Hypnosis” June 14 -20

        “Self-hypnosis”

Hypnosis:

Mental state associating relaxation focused attention, reduced peripheral sensorial awareness, and an enhanced capacity to respond to verbal suggestions or commands.

During hypnotherapy, the patient remains fully conscious, awake, cooperative, and cooperative.

Therefore, hypnosis is neither a mind control nor a brainwashing tool.

Around 20% of the population is resistant to hypnosis.

Used for centuries, it is a recognized and accepted therapy by the Canadian & American Medical Association as long as it is under the control of a certified health professional.

Hypnotherapy is frequently recommended for anxiety, phobias, addictions, sexual dysfunctions, guilt prolonged grieving, procrastination, depression and poor self-image.

Zen perspective:

Psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung ( student of Freud) knew Zen philosophy very well, was practicing meditation, and recommended it to his patients.

He realized very quickly the similitude between zazen that is Zen meditation and hypnosis. Indeed, mindfulness meditation is an induced mental state associating relaxation, focusing attention on breathing, and reduced peripheral sensorial awareness therefore very similar to hypnosis.

However, the only difference is the absence of external from a therapist.

We estimate that our brain/mind produces around 100,000 thoughts every day.

A very tiny proportion of them is decisional, meaning useful in our day-to-day life.

But the immense majority of them are just a constant background sound, sort of inner voice that I call self-talk.

We are spending a huge amount of time chatting to ourselves rather than talking to others.

This self-talk is, in fact, a form of self-hypnosis focusing on past events, future expectations, self-analysis, judgment, emotions, etc.

However and contrary to hypnotherapy, our self-talk that is self-hypnosis has no therapeutic value what so ever.

On the contrary, it is often detrimental, inducing more negative feelings more than positives ones.

Finally:

To awaken or enlightenment is to be free from this self-talk or self-hypnosis because its content, coming from our mind is, by definition, fictional and not necessarily true.

Thank you

#317 The detachment conundrum by Roque June 7 20

                                                The Detachment conundrum

Of all the Zen teachings and ideas, detachment is one of the hardest ones for me to grasp.

Our daughter was born 3 weeks premature, came home weighing a little over 5lbs. As she could not get enough to eat, she cried constantly for the first three months of her life. We watched her grow, and become an independent woman with a keen talent for storytelling which serves her very well as a budding journalist. You are probably wondering where this is going. Well …. she called us on Friday in tears after breaking up with her boyfriend of two years, her heartbreaking in pieces, wanting someone to just listen and offer some reassurance. Reassurance – that someday, she would find someone who really loves her and treats her as she wants to be treated. ….A very reasonable expectation we thought.

Is it truly possible to be detached at these events? To be an observer, a mirror, …. and listen to her words, be a witness to pain without judgment or emotion? To be more detached, to be emotionally aloof?

Now……. is this what Detachment really means?

Eastern philosophies look at detachment from slightly different angles, often calling it non-attachment (which I prefer), but they all agree that it is a condition in which a person overcomes their attachment to desire for things, people or concepts of the world and thus attains a heightened perspective. Concepts of the world: such as money, power, status, feelings of control, feelings of permanence, “the pursuit of constant happiness” (or better – aversion to pain and sadness), a desire to see things as we want them to be and not as they are.

Attachment to desire and things feeds the ego, many of us become attached to our work, and our sense of value is linked to our social status, to the clothing we wear, to having the latest i-phone and, let’s not forget about driving the latest ……. German-engineered SUV.

Attachment also feeds the illusion we are in control, that if we stay on top of these things – nothing bad will happen to us, instead of recognizing that we are in fact a lot more fragile than we might want to believe. Some of these attachments can lead to addictions of many types; we become workaholics, narcissistic egomaniacs, controlling freaks, dependent on alcohol and drugs, even totally self-absorbed and unaware of our impact on others and our planet.

I think this is the type of attachment that Zen philosophy refers to. The unhealthy type. The type that sooner or later leads to a lot more suffering, to an empty, meaningless and lonely state.

In Hinduism, attachment is viewed as the main obstacle towards a serene and fulfilled life, leading to continuous worries and restlessness produced by desire and personal ambitions. The retired president of Uruguay was recently asked, what would you be doing if you had the billions that Bill Gates has, he replied: “I would be worried about who is trying to steal it from me”. The accumulation and value assigned to material things inevitably lead to perpetual worrying about losing them.

Another translation for detachment is “renunciation”, in this sense the meaning is directed to a sense of “giving up the world and leading a holy life” or “freedom from lust, craving, and desires”. In Zen detachment is also linked to the concept of no-thought, meaning that one must be separated (detached) from one’s own thoughts and opinions in detail as to not be harmed mentally and emotionally by them.

A Buddhist writing states: “One who performs his duty without attachment, surrendering the results unto the Supreme Lord, is unaffected by sinful action, as the lotus is untouched by muddy water.”

The Zen symbol of detachment is the lotus flower rising above the muddy waters.

I think it is impossible not to be attached to your children or your aging mother or your Zen Master, but be mindful of why you are doing it, question whether the act is selfless or if you are trying to control or escape some aspect of your life. Moreover, one must accept the realities of life and to recognize that, with attachment, always comes some level of suffering, and this is not necessarily a bad thing.

How do we let go of attachment? We cannot. Don’t even try.

Attachment to things may drop away by itself when we no longer seek to find ourselves in them.

#316 An incomprehensible statement June 3 2020

A cynical said that, by far, the first cause of death is Life since Life has, by definition, an100% mortality rate in which unexpected events such as accidents+ illnesses+ war+ disasters represent only a very, very tiny proportion.

​#1 ​So:​

Maybe ​finding ​the secret of Life is to die** before death in order to realize that there is, in fact, no death per se since no one can die twice.

​#2​​ Then:​

If there is no death, then life is eternal.

​#3 But:

If Life is eternal, how ​can one find its secret by dying?