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How to Rethink Thoughts!

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posted on May, 28 2013 @ 11:26 PM
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There is something intensely comical about spiritual suffering. I don't mean the suffering that is physical. Physical suffering compared to spiritual suffering is on a slightly different scale. Spiritual suffering contains a caveat: you can rethink the way you experience your suffering. Suffering which is spiritual is removed from the concrete physical condition of your nerves firing electrical impulses to your brain, creating the unfortunate awareness of your body being on fire. There is no way around this degree of suffering. So long as you live in a body - and are not a monk for a living - you will experience the intense titillation of your nociceptors.

Spiritual suffering on the other hand has two recognizable sides. The first is the experience of the suffering i.e "it's horrible; I cant stand living like this; Why me?; What did I do to deserve this? ad infinitum. But there is another side to the thought which causes you suffering. In the case of spiritual illness, a person is oriented in a particular way to a particular thought. Along a continuum, he's far off into the "negative" zone, his brain releases GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid), the main inhibitory neurotransmitter. Modulating this GABA are an assortment of other biochemicals. So "feeling" this way, you concentrate on a negative thought. Let it be clear: the primary issue here is how you're feeling i.e emotional. But still, a person dealing with an obsession, phobia, anxiety, hypochondria etc, can't stop focusing on the thought - either because he REALLY BELIEVES the thought content, and hasn't figured out the etiological basis of it all, or, he knows, but doesn't have the self awareness and mental wherewithal to manage the situation (this comes with spiritual maturity).

When you're suffering in the thought content i.e. "I'm ugly!" "no one likes me!" " I'm weird!" "I'm fat" "My nose is malshaped!", this suffering is real, and it is wholly unfortunate that it occurs. But at the same time, with the awareness that the thought content is an illusion - a deception of the mind - that you only think this way because you've allowed your brain to become accustomed to functioning in this way, you begin to depersonalize the relationship between yourself and the problem. You put up a wall - the things this brain is thinking are irrational and unwarranted. Then, you go to the root of the problem: I'm thinking this way because I'm feeling this way. At this point, you can recruit your imagination. How do I want to feel? Look at another person. The natural and normal condition is to just feel good. On average, most people feel good, or at least have the ability to motion their mind towards good emotions, during conversation, etc. Every person around you is a template from which you can cull a mental model. You can extract from their mind a theory for behavior - they are thinking 'this way' in order to act 'that way'. From here, a simple decision occurs. I can do it. I can do it because I can sense - with emotions we don't cognitively "understand" how they work, we feel them. It is an affective awareness that is felt in the chest region, even though it is processed in our brain.

So just let yourself go in this direction. When you find yourself experiencing this state and look back on your earlier misery, it just strikes you as hilarious that you were so involved. That was the problem. You were "too tuned in". It's important to be in, of course, but you also need to be out. Living involves a foot on each side, living in two states simultaneously, or intermittently, depending on the context. In short, you take life too seriously when you're dealing with spiritual suffering.

I'd juts like to state, that yes, there are people with actual brain abormalities that cause them to experience an inordinate degree of spiritual stress. These people however, are physically ill, and so are part of that earlier category of physical suffering. Somatogenic suffering is something science and medicine is working towards healing. A spiritual malady - one with a psychogenic issue, has to find a psychogenic solution. And this can only come with self understanding.




posted on May, 29 2013 @ 01:32 AM
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reply to post by Astrocyte
 


Very nice post.

I also agree that many of the "I'm too fat, ugly, poor" type of issues can be solved by a person changing how they view themselves compared to others or how they view their own ability to transform their physical life.

However, what are your thoughts on existential depression?



edit on 29-5-2013 by MaryStillToe because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 29 2013 @ 03:55 AM
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reply to post by Astrocyte
 


Can you see yourself without a mirror? Carrying around an image of yourself in mind is the root cause of human suffering.
If you look at yourself directly without a mirror and find that what you are has no image you will be free.
edit on 29-5-2013 by Itisnowagain because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 29 2013 @ 04:17 AM
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reply to post by Astrocyte
 

Have you tried your own method? Because I can assure you from personal experience that it does not work.



posted on May, 29 2013 @ 04:28 AM
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Rethinking thoughts is still thinking - and thinking is dualistic - it can never make it's mind up. One minute it says good then next it says bad. Can you trust words to help you find the true answer?



posted on May, 29 2013 @ 07:07 AM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 


I wouldn't go so far as to say this is an entirely ineffective idea, man. Self-realization can often lead to less misery in one's own head. He never said that he had a means of entirely eradicating all "spiritual pain"; this is just food for thought.



posted on May, 29 2013 @ 09:26 AM
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reply to post by Captain Reynolds
 

Have you tried it?

The OP is essentially suggesting that one can think one's way out of 'obsession, phobia, anxiety, hypochondria'. Let the mind only grasp that it is malfunctioning and it can make allowances for the malfunction and return to normal operation.

While it is true that one cannot start dealing with a psychological problem until one is aware of it, that is really only the first small step in developing an effective way of dealing with mental illness. The first step along a long, hard road. For that is what obsession, phobia, anxiety and hypochondria are – mental illnesses.

People who suffer from depression are often irritated by well-meaning friends who tell them their depression would cease if they would only stop thinking negatively. This unfortunate advice is based on the assumption that negative thoughts bring on dark moods. This is the exact opposite of what really happens: it is the black mood that brings on the negative thoughts.

I suppose the OP is trying to be helpful, but I don't think he or she has tested out this method before recommending it.


edit on 29/5/13 by Astyanax because: some light editing was needed.



posted on May, 29 2013 @ 09:40 AM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
People who suffer from depression are often angered by well-meaning friends who tell them their depression would cease if they would only stop thinking negatively. This unfortunate advice is based on the assumption that negative thoughts bring on dark moods. This is the exact opposite of what really happens: it is the black mood that brings on the negative thoughts.

Still, I suppose the OP is trying to be helpful.

I totally agree.
If they have never been there looking into that huge black hole they would not understand. Cheer up and smile is not the answer, in fact it isolates them even more because they feel unaccepted. There really is nowhere left to turn in the end. They have to hide away and not let the pain spill out on their friends or family.

The trick is to not believe what the thoughts say. Those thoughts are echos of things you have heard about yourself and the world. Those thoughts and ideas appear and they make you believe things about yourself and about others. Let the thoughts come but just watch them. The one watching silently will not judge or condemn what it is listening to but it will be smarter, quietly putting space around all that arises as content. It is the space that is peaceful - the words and thoughts are just noise appearing.
edit on 29-5-2013 by Itisnowagain because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 29 2013 @ 11:31 AM
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reply to post by Astrocyte
 


What fresh breath of air to find somebody else with the clarity that you present in this post. Quite interestingly as of late my thoughts have been focused on finding more opinions that are of similar perspective and strangely enough your hypothesis validates that question. Thoughts are so powerfull in all aspects of life, the litrally govern our sense of being at every level of functioning within this physical reality. I think it's safe to say with a clear observation on the patterns of our planet that the vast majority do not have a healthy mindset and such a condition whether it be of spiritual significance is a contagious prospect.

Mimetic theory

This might gain some more understanding of our condition to follow certain patterns by way of thought and how it influences people around us.

Either way I see nothing more than self empowerment and believe to eradicate this dilemma. O for one speak of experience and I know how detrimental negative thought can be. One seems so habitually perplexed with whats wrong that you forget to see what's right. Clouded in repetitive patterns of defeatist obligations towards the outcome of daily life if you will.

The secret is acknowledging the problem (getting rid of denial) and making an active attempt to alter it.
Just as any other habit it takes time to get rid of negative thinking but the great thing is habits can be used for both beneficial and detrimental aspects of ones existence.

Therefore with persistence and perseverance you can achieve an habitual way of positive thought patterns. All you need is a well balanced lifestyle, coupled with healthy eating and regular exercise and the road will be much smoother. Might I add that when a curve ball comes after reaching that positive though pattern process it is much easier to deal with it and get over it as you don't revel in the problem fro too long.



posted on May, 29 2013 @ 02:03 PM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 





Have you tried your own method? Because I can assure you from personal experience that it does not work.


Of course, why do you think I started this thread?

The key, I've found, is to depersonalize. itsnowagain put it succinctly: don't walk around with an image of yourself in mind.

On the other hand, I've found that certain types of personalities, people who have been "hardened" into a personality type - who've spent a lot of time reflecting on themselves and through that process have begun to see themselves increasingly in only one way - such people tend to deny that this is possible. They're unnecessarily negative about things, and perhaps, they have to look deeper into themselves to figure out why that is.

Again, there are certain intractable types of mental illness that don't seemingly respond to cognitive therapy. For people with this type of issue, medication is necessary. But even then, some of these people don't even respond to medications, or even electroschock or deep brain stimulation.



posted on May, 29 2013 @ 02:04 PM
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reply to post by Itisnowagain
 





Rethinking thoughts is still thinking - and thinking is dualistic - it can never make it's mind up. One minute it says good then next it says bad. Can you trust words to help you find the true answer?


You're getting to philosophical about it.

You have to think in order to correct your thinking. The paradox is - your new way of thinking draws you away from over thinking. The problem isn't thinking persay, but over-thinking.



posted on May, 29 2013 @ 02:34 PM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 





The OP is essentially suggesting that one can think one's way out of 'obsession, phobia, anxiety, hypochondria'. Let the mind only grasp that it is malfunctioning and it can make allowances for the malfunction and return to normal operation.


You should check out the research by UCLA neuropsychiatrist Jeffrey Schwartz, Rick Hanson and others. It has been definitively shown that the brain which reflects upon itself can upend "hardwired" limbic system circuitry.

And yes, I don't mean to toot my own horn, but I'm an ongoing living testament to this. I never said it was easy - and it doesn't come easily either. One has to be willing to put in the effort to make progress. But eventually, one experience builds into another, and before you know it, a year has passed and you've spent a large time of that year feeling good - not obsessing, speaking comfortably with other people, sleeping fine, etc.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, if you belong to that philosophical camp that denies free will, you've sort of shot yourself in the foot with that dogmatic supposition. Since I've reserved judgement on that question, and instead 'whimsically' decided to believe that I have the power to help myself - to lessen anxiety levels by rethinking what is happening in my own head , for example: the thought "I'm not likeable" will draw me into a feeling that supports insecure states. Once I become aware of that thought, I relax, and orient myself towards feelings of openness, calmness, in short, just feeling good. This release in mind leads to a release in body. The body isn't so tense any more, and therefore, emotions can fly in and out, the self can feel more liberated and joyous.




For that is what obsession, phobia, anxiety and hypochondria are – mental illnesses.


Those mental illnesses are in a different category from schizophrenia. Once schizophrenic, odds are, always schizophrenic. The others - mental compulsions of one sort or another, all of which grow from a substrate of anxiety, are different. True, most people who deal with anxiety probably inherited it from their parents. In my own case, my mother passed on her "monkey mind" to me, my sister and my brother. But how did these genes become "hardwired" for anxiety? Experience. Experience changes brain chemistry, which changes brain circuitry, which impresses subtle changes in gene expression. Therefore, etiologically speaking, experience is the source of the genetic predisposition to anxiety..

Not all things are rooted in biology or environment - although this is a basic staple of the materialists philosophy. If that were the case, how do you explain the many spiritual schools which have provided solace to countless millions throughout history? This solace was self-generated - chosen - countering biological and environmental stressors. Only a free will motioning its thought from what biology or environment would predict can explain this situation.

The self DOES possess the wherewithal (in the dorsolateral and ventramedial cortices, in particular) to direct it's own thinking away from conditioned neural pathways. The more this becomes exercised, the more the brain begins to function along the new circuitry. And that's the thing. One cannot maintain constant 'self direction' in this manner. Most of the time were operating on cruise control, relying on circuitry that has been etched out from earlier experiences. So instead of me claiming an ability to completely liberate yourself rom the force of habit, the Mind merely inclines itself in new directions. Once those directions become more frequent, the mind can loosen it's interference and switch to automatic.




This is the exact opposite of what really happens: it is the black mood that brings on the negative thoughts.


It can work both ways. If you're feeling good and that "certain" thought enters your mind, you will be dragged back into a depressive state. Conversely, if you're feeling like # and you simply cannot feel good, at a very subtle level, there's a self dialogue occurring which supports this feeling state.

I'm by no means saying it's easy. In some ways, I consider myself fortunate that I have dealt mostly with anxiety and not deep depression (which my mom went through). I know depressive states of that sort are mind-bogglingly powerful, and it is totally understandable that people who say "think positively" would irritate you. Sometimes you just want them to recognize your situation, and not tease you with hopes of "positivity".

Nevertheless, I can't honestly say that what they're telling you is not done with the best of intentions, or perhaps, is actually what you need to hear. Negativity will only drag you further into recesses of depression, whereas positivity - when it is accepted as a good thing - can help.
edit on 29-5-2013 by Astrocyte because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 29 2013 @ 02:49 PM
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Think and speak positive and you will feel positive.

PNL, auto-hypnosis, just think it and speak it positive, the good feelings will come.



posted on May, 29 2013 @ 02:53 PM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
reply to post by Captain Reynolds
 

Have you tried it?

The OP is essentially suggesting that one can think one's way out of 'obsession, phobia, anxiety, hypochondria'. Let the mind only grasp that it is malfunctioning and it can make allowances for the malfunction and return to normal operation.

While it is true that one cannot start dealing with a psychological problem until one is aware of it, that is really only the first small step in developing an effective way of dealing with mental illness. The first step along a long, hard road. For that is what obsession, phobia, anxiety and hypochondria are – mental illnesses.

People who suffer from depression are often irritated by well-meaning friends who tell them their depression would cease if they would only stop thinking negatively. This unfortunate advice is based on the assumption that negative thoughts bring on dark moods. This is the exact opposite of what really happens: it is the black mood that brings on the negative thoughts.

I suppose the OP is trying to be helpful, but I don't think he or she has tested out this method before recommending it.


edit on 29/5/13 by Astyanax because: some light editing was needed.



If you feel bad, think positive like: the bad feelings will make me stronger, wiser, a man needs adversity to grow, these are positive thoughts which will create positive feelings.

Use your conscious mind to program your unconscious mind.



posted on May, 29 2013 @ 02:59 PM
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Also, don't forget about the importance of nutrition and physical activity to feeling good. These too are in your control. Fish (omega 3's) berries, beets, kale, sweet potato etc all help neurological functioning. Weight training, jogging, sports, all increase serotonin levels.



posted on May, 29 2013 @ 08:00 PM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
reply to post by Astrocyte
 

Have you tried your own method? Because I can assure you from personal experience that it does not work.


Worked for me. Its just basically recognizing your own bad thoughts and try to train yourself to think different if i understand it correct. And no its not as easy as it might sound and theres more to it than just that.

And exercising is indeed very helpfull, i think its way better than any anti-depressive, food, meditation or visit to a shrink. (which are frauds in my opinion)
edit on 29-5-2013 by whatsup86 because: (no reason given)

edit on 29-5-2013 by whatsup86 because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 29 2013 @ 11:45 PM
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reply to post by Astrocyte
 


Originally posted by Astyanax
Have you tried your own method? Because I can assure you from personal experience that it does not work.


Originally posted by Astrocyte
Of course, why do you think I started this thread?

If your response above is truthful, I urge you to alert the medical profession right away. It appears that over a century of research into the aetiology and treatment of mental illness, as well as the testimony of sufferers, is misguided and wrong. We can cure ourselves of mental illness merely by thinking ourselves better.

If the medical profession proves unreceptive, you might consider writing a self-help book. It will probably sell well; there are plenty of desperate people out there looking for relief – or even the hope of relief – from the misery of mental illness.

I have said my piece in this thread and do not propose to argue further.



posted on May, 30 2013 @ 01:30 AM
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I agree with this completely. Very insightful. Very correct.



posted on May, 30 2013 @ 03:41 AM
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That was a good essay, well thought-out! Accurate as well. A lot of people on ATS are starting to write great stuff these days. I guess I should add - so you know, cognitive behavioral therapy is just as, or even more, effective than medicines for people suffering all kinds of disorders.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is completely recognized and even encouraged by insurance companies. It is basically similar to what you are talking about. When I was doing cognitive behavioral therapy for OCD, for example, I would do things like self-hypnosis in order to expose myself to intense OCD for a short period of time and then relax.

Another therapy for OCD was purposely exposing myself to something that would trigger it, get anxious, and stop myself from acting on it. Right now, I am mixing cognitive behavioral therapy with choice theory.
edit on 30-5-2013 by darkbake because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 30 2013 @ 04:08 AM
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Originally posted by Astrocyte
When you find yourself experiencing this state and look back on your earlier misery, it just strikes you as hilarious that you were so involved.


Haha... amen brother. I followed your every word, and having recently reached the place you speak of, I can't help but smile. What this individual has said is entirely true. However, the process of getting there is as complex as the universe. The path I followed to get here is very different from the path you did, and anyone else etc.

And therein lies the problem when it comes to discourse on spirituality. People are so used to being hand-fed solutions, that when you tell them that this time it's on them - they just plain get pissed off at you. Humans are a fascinating species indeed.

But I wouldn't have it any other way


Peace homies/homegirls
& keep up the excellent introspection Astrocyte. Every personal insight is a step forward for all of humanity.


P.S. - I've "suffered" from depersonalization disorder since I was 16 (I'm 23 now). Long story short - after about three or four years of feeling like a victim, I now feel blessed. Because it's so much easier to experience the world from "source" consciousness without the complications of a strong ego. It took me a long time to "embrace" my condition... and now I'd be a liar if I called it suffering. In fact, I quite enjoy my experience of reality now that I understand it better. Life is all a matter of perspective. What we fail to realize, is that "perspective" is a construct of our own creation! That's where our divine freedom lies.


PPS. - I've also suffered physically from nerve damage in my back for over 2 years now that's practically crippled me lol. I can't work, I can't exercise without pain, I can't play guitar anymore without pain, I live in pain 24/7. But I've developed such a strong connection to my spiritual experience of life that I completely forgot to even mention it here when I wrote this, despite the pain I went through typing it! So hey, it works for me. That much I know.



edit on 30/5/2013 by TheAnarchist because: ~



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