View Full Version : Buddhist philosophy about impermanence and addiction

June 23rd, 2007, 06:44 PM
I am reading Comfortable with uncertainty, by the Buddhist nun Pema Chodron, and finding it very enlightening.

Consider this:

We expect that what is always in the process of change should be graspable and predictable. Because we mistake what is impermanent to be permanent, we suffer.
We look for happiness in all the wrong places. The Buddha called this habit mistaking suffering for happiness. We become habituated to reaching for something to ease the edginess of the moment. We become less and less able to reside with even the most fleeting uneasiness or discomfort. What begins as a slight shift of energy -- a minor tightening in our stomach-- a vague indefinable feeling that something bad is about to happn-- escalates into addiction.This is our way of trying to make life predictable. Because we mistake what always will bring us suffering to be what we think will bring happiness, we remain stuck in the repetitious habit of escalating our dissatisfaction.

I recommend this author for anyone who is drinking to relieve negative feelings.

Any thoughts on this?

June 23rd, 2007, 08:42 PM
This is great Nancy, thanks for sharing. I was thinking just a couple hours ago about digging out my Pema book "When things fall apart"- helped me out immensely a few years ago. This message of yours is an affirmation that I must do it!

This quote resonates so deeply it is almost disturbing... I can't comment specifically jsut now...

June 24th, 2007, 05:16 PM
yep, I've had a spell of buddhist reading. One of my favourites is "Being Peace". I don't remember much from it but I think just the name says a lot. I also have a friend who is going through a terrible time with his relationship now and said "When Things Fall Apart" has been a great help to him. Been thinking I should get a copy...
Trivia: Did you know Uma Thurman's father is maybe the foremost Bhuddism scholar/expert in the U.S. (or maybe the Western world?)?

June 24th, 2007, 05:22 PM
beatle;154868 wrote: yep, I've had a spell of buddhist reading. One of my favourites is "Being Peace". I don't remember much from it but I think just the name says a lot. I also have a friend who is going through a terrible time with his relationship now and said "When Things Fall Apart" has been a great help to him. Been thinking I should get a copy...
Trivia: Did you know Uma Thurman's father is maybe the foremost Bhuddism scholar/expert in the U.S. (or maybe the Western world?)?
what is his name?

June 24th, 2007, 06:08 PM

June 25th, 2007, 11:31 AM
Hmm. what is his name? Well,

1) The one who wrote the essays in "Being Peace" is a monk by the name of Thich Nhat Hanh

2) The friend going through a terrible relationship problem is Jonathan (don't think I need to say more)

3) Uma Thurman's father is Robert Thurman. I should have mentioned he is a leading authority on TIBETAN Buddhism.

June 25th, 2007, 04:37 PM
That sounds very interesting. I will have to find that book. Thanks!

July 30th, 2007, 01:31 AM
nancy;154445 wrote: We look for happiness in all the wrong places.

Any thoughts on this?
I have a lot of thoughts about this.

As I am new and this is a huge forum with lots to go over, I don't know if anyone has already posted this article. Also, it's big, so I don't think I should post it in its entirety, even though I very much want to.

When I read this piece, I thought "YES! Finally, a voice of reason enters the fray!!!" I've emailed it to numerous people and printed it off for my daughter too, because I've heard her express way too many references to "being happy" in the last few years for my comfort level. I want her to use all that intelligence she has to its fullest extent - I recognize that her good looks have helped her to avoid the really hard thinking. She's smart as hell, but the "good" things that have come her way have allowed her to be somewhat lazy with her analyzing capabilities.

If this post is not a repeat of something anyone else has posted, or isn't already something everyone knows, I hope it brings help. If so, my apologies for the repeat.

Happy? How do you know? And does it really matter? (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070622.whappycover0623/BNStory/lifeMain/?query=)

?As I was being treated for breast cancer I was assaulted by the message that my illness was going to be a great experience,? she said in a phone interview from her home in New Rochelle, N.Y. ?Be cheerful, I was told. And it made me sick. It was infantilizing. Here was the most serious disease of my life, and I was being encouraged to buy a teddy bear.?

July 30th, 2007, 02:08 AM
The main reason this article had such an impact on me was because I can never forget how some members of my extended family treated an uncle who was just not able to get over the death of his only son.

"Go mow the lawn, or something - you'll feel better" was their version of a solution to his depression.

I never told them what I thought of this attitude. I moved instead.

Now, 30 years later, I have been finding myself extremely motivated to point out the flaws in their logic. Pretty sure I've been making some enemies in the process to boot.

But I really don't want to be doing this right now, because I have spent so much time on other people that I am now myself in need of assistance.

I've turned into a hermit. And that's just fine with me right now. But I still feel a need to share helpful information, and so I do. Yet I can think of nothing I'd like better at this moment than to be cuddled and appreciated on a couch.

But, one step at a time.

August 1st, 2007, 03:26 PM
Nancy, thank you...I've not read this before. Calysta, be careful being a hermit...people like me tend to get stuck that way a long time if not carefull...it's another comfort factor that I overused in my not-so-distant past. not that you will...just my two cents.

August 1st, 2007, 11:44 PM
My apologies, I should also have thanked you Nancy, before diving in with my own comments.

I've always been a heavy reader, on and off as time allowed, because learning is about my favourite thing to do, and when I first crawled into my shell 6+ years ago, I gave myself permission to have one such extended reading period. Impermanence has never been an issue, I suppose because I've never known anything but change...? But I'm very interested in the "happiness" part - I certainly think too many people look for it in all the wrong places. I also believe that a significant number of people think their happiness lies in rigidity - folks who have their worlds all neatly sewn up and don't like anything rocking the boat, in spite of the fact that growth would be the result. Then there's others for whom the cultural speed and entitlement are factors - "I want what I want when I want it, and I "deserve" that."

Thank you for your concern Determinator. I've never been a very "social" person, but had to behave as though I was due to work, family, etc. I learned how to handle being in crowds, and even how to manage groups, but never liked it. LOL my mother tells me, and I have vague memories of it, that I used to sneak out of my own birthday parties when I was little - she'd find me, where else? In my room, reading. So when my daughter grew up enough to leave home, and things and problems, both mine and others', had gotten to be too much for me to cope with, I shut the world out. Doing so allowed me to continue helping family members who needed lots of help at that time - I couldn't have carried on the way I had been because at that point I was also facing a lot of my own problems all at once - illness-wise, work-wise, relationship-wise. It cost me dearly $$-wise (and I didn't have it to spend, so it's going to take time to climb out of that pit), but not only did I feel I had no option, I actively very much enjoyed stopping the world and getting off, not to mention getting the world off my shoulders. I had longed for some solitude for such a long time that it has been a most welcome respite.

But you are quite right that it's not a state of being I should endeavour to maintain for the rest of my life or anything like that. I do have the odd visit with a few people I am close to, and am slowly getting a bit more cheerful in general as time goes by. And it might be hard to tell from my writing, but one thing I've never lost, except for that dark period after I first went into hiding, is my sense of humour. I am SO glad I have one tucked in between all the seriousness! :)

August 2nd, 2007, 04:42 AM
I totally agree Calysta,

The relentless pursuit of happiness is the SOURCE of unhappiness in the world!

The Buddha knew this 2500 years ago - it is exactly why he formulated the 4 noble truths.

These people that are "pushing" happiness are not doing anyone any favours - except of course themselves, as they collect the takings from another "life coaching" seminar!


August 2nd, 2007, 05:10 AM
Bang on Satori

I actually feel that the current rush to happiness has actually hindered me - I can't stand it, yet I am surrounded by it daily. I don't have the TV on, but if I want to pick up a carton of milk on the way to a jobsite, I have to stick my hand through a door that has a pastie of some babe in a bikini staring at me.

Since when do I have to look at male masturbation material when I just want to buy some milk? I have nothing against people taking care of their needs (and in fact enjoy that in private), but why am I being subjected to this one-sided version of what "brings happiness", which is as fake as can be, when I only want to buy some milk?

And that's been bugging the hell oughtta me. The shallow happiness-seeking is now more dominant than everything else.

Well, at least where I live. And from listening to the conversations the kids have had, most of them buy into it.

It puts me right off coming out of my shell.

August 2nd, 2007, 05:26 AM
And as long as I'm on this topic, I'd also like to say that I have a limited understanding of people who idolize others - I don't really understand how that can happen, especially when those others are comprised of people whose only concern is their own "happiness" - never mind those who brainwash them in the 1st place.

August 2nd, 2007, 05:57 AM
Perhaps I am just paranoid - but I get flashes of Orwell's 1984 now and then.

The developed world at least (and the USA is MUCH worse than Europe /UK) is living in a mostly manufactured, falsely happy, optimistic dream world.
This is pushed all the time by the media - and I get the idea that governments are happy to let it happen (or is it policy!) as it keeps "joe average" happy and content.
If most folks woke up to what is really going on in the world / around them - governments would have a much harder job.

BTW - The reporting of the news in general in the USA is much less truthful than in the UK - a much more optimistic version is depicted in the USA. Not sure what it is like with you.

I am no conspiracy theorist BTW - just someone who feels more comfortable with reality rather than fantasy.

Sadness / unhappiness/ sickness/ death - as well as happiness / exatacy / joy is what we must experience as part and parcel of being human - what is wrong with just accepting this?

I don't get this whole "celebrity" thing either - what the hell did most of these people REALLY do to deserve the attention adulation they receive??:confused: I mean - they are just ordinary people - they go to the bathroom for a cr*p just like the rest of us??? (sorry!)
Most of them just seem to be famous for - er - being famous?????

Anyway - enough of my ranting.

take care


August 2nd, 2007, 06:41 AM
Calysta, I read that article you sent about happiness. It was a good read. I think it does seem really unfair and inappropriate to push happiness on cancer patients.

I think the US is a very consumer driven culture so if we want happiness, they serve it up. Just like they serve up super size meals or shallow news if that is what the masses want and regardless of health or what is good for us (Unlike Satori, I don't think there is a conspiracy here, just response to market demand and what sells well. The US mainstream TV news is pretty silly but we have an excellent,quality public news broadcasing system that isn't driven by market factors. Also we have good newspapers and mags).

The reality as Satori said, is that life is very mixed. And not acknowledging that or placing negative judgements on the bad experiences, seems very unhealthy and I think that could fuel addiction.

I think that from what I read in Buddhism, we place a lot of judgements on negative feelings, which makes a negative feeling twice as bad. If we accepted them, we could live with them more easily. I think it is bad to block feelings off or to always be seeking a quick fix.

Having said all that, I think it is good to watch out for unrealistically negative feelings. I have written about this before: identifying cognitive distortions. They hold you back too.

Calysta, hope you are not too cut off. I think we are social beings and need connections.

August 2nd, 2007, 04:56 PM
Hi everyone.
This is some good food for thought here!
I DO think we are all spoiled in comparsion to how things were 100 years ago. And more un-happy!
We have machines to do most of our work ....dish washers, clothes washer, dryers, canopeners , electric not even manual....it goes on and on......
I watched a tv show last night about "stolen" I-pods!!! A whole hour show! Serious business....I guess!
Has ANYBODY noticed we work less but have less time to do the things that REALLY matter?

"As Steve Salerno, the author of Sham: How the Self-Help Movement Made America Helpless, told me in an interview, ?I once asked my father if he was happy, and you know what he said? ?A man doesn't have time to ask himself that question.' ?
How times have changed. In the past, Ms. Hecht explains, people thought it was quite normal ?to feel bad a lot of the time, and to break out and celebrate occasionally.? Now, we expect, and are expected to be, happy all the time ? a state of being as arbitrary and wrong-headed as many of the ways we go about attempting to create it." Interesting ......

Thank you for this discussion!
I spent most of today making tomato-basil soup and canning it!
We grew all the ingredients!
I don't even have to have a can opener to open the jars....a penny will do the trick when the time comes to eat it.
Thank God for "retirement"!! We're working harder than ever and yes...there may not always be "happiness", but there is "Joy"and "Peace"!

As a wise Doc said to me several years ago...."it's ok to cry sometimes"
I do and I will...I hope until the day I die.....
Sometimes its the only thing to do...then get up and get busy!
:h Nancy

August 3rd, 2007, 02:55 AM
satori;173048 wrote: Perhaps I am just paranoid - but I get flashes of Orwell's 1984 now and then.I don't think you're paranoid at all. From what you've said, I think you hit the nail on the head.

The developed world at least (and the USA is MUCH worse than Europe /UK) is living in a mostly manufactured, falsely happy, optimistic dream world.Yes, and I thank you more than you will ever know for acknowledging it.

I am so sick to death of the current manufactured "culture" that I think I may have an obsession against it. Whenever I, or others, bring this topic up, nasty names are thrown around in abundance. Those of us who object must be "cold/frigid/low-self-esteem/lesbian/ugly.

I beg to differ. I'm just a woman with a working brain.

All that stuff about self-esteem really had me going for a while. But I realize that the reality is that my self esteem is so strong that I can't put up with this surface crap. Reconciling it with everything I see around me shouldn't even BE a challenge.

BTW - The reporting of the news in general in the USA is much less truthful than in the UK - a much more optimistic version is depicted in the USA. Not sure what it is like with you.Same. We are subjected to all of it, and the weaker minds buy into it the same as the media wants them to there. It only takes just enough sound-bytes to move the masses, who, inevitably, get dumber and more compliant all the time.

I really miss living in Europe.

August 3rd, 2007, 03:04 AM
Whoa, and I just realized how open my last comment would leave me.

But that's how I feel.

August 3rd, 2007, 03:49 AM
Here's an article that should make every Canadian think (hopefully, really really hard).

Anyone wonder why this country's productivity is as low as it is?

Union Strangleholds - I'm completely fed up.

And I know it doesn't appear to be "on-topic" but it is. What is it that allows people to think that they should be allowed to pierce tires and indimidate people in their homes?!?

Get the union thuggery out of the public service, and perhaps we would have a chance to discuss things rationally?

I don't really believe that's possible, though. And the entitlement factor is huge.


Take away unions' loaded gun
Philip Hochstein
Financial Post
Published: Thursday, August 02, 2007

Here in British Columbia's Lower Mainland, we've begun to endure a CUPE strike that may mean a summer without garbage collection, animal control, sewer work and many other essential municipal services. And this is only part of much broader labour strife that threatens to engulf Alberta as well.

With the country's two most dynamic economies under the pall of major labour disruptions, it's important to understand that it isn't like this in the rest of the world.

For example, the British Office for National Statistics released data in 2006 showing that Canada endures 10 times the number of strike days per 1,000 workers when compared to the average for countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation.

Great Britain itself with twice the population of Canada lost less than 160,000 workdays to strikes in 2005 compared with more than four million in Canada. On a per-capita basis, that means we are subject to 50 times more strike days than the country where trade unionism was born.

Unions and governments in Canada and BC have somehow constructed a framework of apologism for labour radicalism that says it is acceptable for taxpayers to be subjected to unsanitary living conditions in this case--but also withdrawal of education and health services in others -- to give bargaining leverage to unions.

In other developed countries -- including perceived left-leaning Western European nations -- unions are not given legislative loaded guns to hold at the heads of their citizens, as they are in Canada.

Consider that Canada is one of the only countries in the free world that forces union membership on workers who want to practise certain professions like teaching. In most other countries, governments have decided that it is a basic human right to allow employees to choose whether or not to belong to a union.

Amazingly, in B.C. last year barely an eye blinked when the B.C. Teachers Federation attempted to blacklist four teachers who refused to participate in its illegal strike. What more damning evidence can there be that a system needs reform than a union disciplining its members for refusing to break the law?

It strains memory to recall a year where a public-sector union didn't threaten to, or actually did, withdraw some of the services fundamental to our well-being. Surely our elected officials owe us more security than that.
Nations throughout the world have declared that the well-being of their citizenry outweighs the narrow self-interest of the labour movement, and have taken the steps necessary to remove some of the weapons labour uses to advance its agenda.

If the will is there, our governments could employ a range of tools to reassert the pre-eminence of citizens' needs, including broadening essential-service designations, allowing for workers to opt out of unions that misrepresent them, allowing for replacement workers during strikes, and/or allowing for private competition in traditional union monopolies.

Our major trading partners and competitors across the globe have already made the reforms that built platforms for true labour peace. Not transient peace at any cost, as seems to be the case here, but a more sustainable labour peace based on respecting the rights of unions to bargain within a larger context of the social contract between citizens and their governments. It is time we demand the same of all our elected officials.


I'm so fed up with this kind of shit, you wouldn't believe. And in my eyes, at least, it goes right along with the topic of this coversation.

Nancy - I really question the notion that the media gives us what we want. The question of whether they give us what 'we' want rather than being the driving force behind what we 'decide we want' is an age-old question. Here is an article for you to peruse that may allow you to see the media in a different light -

Sexism and Sexuality in Advertising (http://www.personal.kent.edu/~glhanson/readings/advertising/womeninads.htm)

Have to go to to bed now - thank you both for your comments.

August 3rd, 2007, 07:43 AM

I think the media panders to and stirs up our lower instincts. This is also true in Europe. The US is not alone in this. The UK for example has quality broadsheets and but a lot of very trashy tabloids that sell a lot better. And the celebrity news is hot there. The UK does have the quality BBC, though this is publicly funded. the US public TV has quality news but not enough of it. We do have some good newspapers in select cities, but not enough.

Sure the media can also generate those lower instincts but i think our lazy side already exists. I think quality,serious news does not sell as well.

It's like eating healthy vegetables. People are drawn to the sugary items instead.
I just read a boook about food that suggests we need to think with our heads and not our instincts/stomachs because our instincts will guide us to the wrong choices, food that elevates endorphins, exciting us, and will make us overeat and get fat!!! sugar! The food industry panders to this.

Regarding self-esteem, there is a genuine need to improve self-esteem and ease the clinical illness of depression in some people. A lot of women have trouble with this. But you still should be able to be true to yourself Calysta, if you are pessimistic about what you see out there in the world so be it. I think pessimism is a different thing from clinical depression/lack of self-esteem. I hope you can channel your energy somehow so it doesn't feel so frustrating.

your post made me realize that the only features I see about Iraq nowadays on TV are about domestic issues (treatment of returning vets, congress etc).

August 3rd, 2007, 07:47 AM
Oh, I forgot to include this article that pertains to advertising in the consumer culture - it holds a slightly different viewpoint from the other piece I linked to -

Why I Hate Beauty, by Michael Levine (http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/index.php?term=pto-20010701-000023&print=1)

August 3rd, 2007, 07:53 AM
Thanks for your post just now Nancy - some good points there. I'm working on channelling my energy towards positive stuff. Being a generally serious person though, it's just a really uphill battle some days. :-)

Oh, I should probably also provide some context for my rantings - I recently ended a relationship I had thought had some real potential for the last year-and-a-half over his perceived notions about beauty - for the longest time he never mentioned anything, and then he started posting pics of Playboy-type bunnies and making drool-type comments. Worse yet, he started making comments along the lines of how "men ogle - get over it." This was an otherwise highly intelligent guy. Furthermore, he's rather seriously disabled, which I had been prepared to deal with. At my stage in life, it made me more angry than hurt.

August 3rd, 2007, 07:58 PM
Ah, so you are feeling bitter about this guy. It's hard to find the right person. and these dealbreaker things come up and are disappointing...

Thanks for the story on beauty. I don't have time to read now but will take a look later (bookmarked it) as it looks interesting.

August 3rd, 2007, 08:05 PM
Calysta treat the thoughts outside of your head just like the ones on the inside. When you're being mindful you can observe each one and let it move on. Attaching yourself to things that cause you discomfort by reacting with anger only does you a disservice. Being aware of the problem is a wonderful thing in and of itself, not owning it would be the best course of action. (Though that is much easier said than done! :H )

August 10th, 2007, 09:13 AM
I'm bumping this thread because I really enjoyed reading through it. It's funny. This morning, I woke up thinking, "Happiness is only a by-product of something else. We only feel it because we are pursuing something less fleeting and more tangible."

September 5th, 2007, 06:14 AM
Just came across this so wanted to bump it up again. There is so much to read through, and I have been thinking about how we are deliberately being distracted from what is important, or what is going on in the world, by the celebrity news, the pursuit of the perfect body, botox, riches and pursuit of possessions, always leaving us wanting, Something!! In the US we have the most corupt stuff going on now and fear mongers keeping us in a war with no good end. The media helps keep the masses distracted from the real issues we should be dealing with. I'll read more of the articles later, too... bookmarking this, good stuff. Suz

meditation mama
September 5th, 2007, 06:40 AM
Back to Pema.. She is absolutely one of my favorite teachers in the world. I HIGHLY recomment getting the AUDIO "Getting Unstuck". I think I may have it on MP3 somewhere.. I can link over for all you techies.. I'll look.. It is really a good one. Pema knows a bit about buddhism and addiction.. Love her..Thanks, Nancy!


Finding My Self
September 5th, 2007, 11:31 AM
Wow! 'Happiness is coming across a meaty, interesting, intelligent post'!!! (Except that all the posts on the whole are great and intelligent and certainly loving. But 'hair down stuff' is needed as well to balance out our minds I think!)

Really enjoying reading this and love (it's summed my whole situation up in 14 words for me) the first quote....'A fleeting shift in energy - a minor tightening in the stomach - leads to addiction'... soooh true and isn't that just crazy when you look at it?!? Well, it is to me and I think I need to post it up...inside my eyeballs actually! I will look out for Pema and the audio sounds great MM - IF I am anywhere near being a techie which I doubt!!!

Yes, what is it actually that fascinates people about reading that x, y or z went shopping in blue trousers etc etc etc....?? :confused: 'Fame' used to have substance, skill, strength and character...how'd it go so wrong? I mean, it hasn't but it isn't what's wanted now seemingly - except I do!!!

Looking forwards to reading the articles and good to hear the views...aposite I think as the devil feeds idle minds and we can't be idle reading all this meaty stuff!!!

Finding x (I know it's serious but I'm addicted to !'s and I know why...nerves (!)) :H

September 5th, 2007, 09:03 PM
"Getting Unstuck" audio also helped me a lot.

September 6th, 2007, 03:52 PM
Hi all, yes very meaty stuff FMF, I found Getting Unstuck in the itunes store for 7.95 American. That is so very untechie I know. Thank you for the recommendation and info MM.

September 12th, 2007, 05:56 AM
Thanks so much for posting this quote. I have read and cogitated on it for a long while and there's so much in it, very profound. When Things Fall Apart was with me during my first stint in detox, so it also got me through some hard times, and offered great hope. I very much feel that the Buddhist teachings are a great anchor for me - so feel free to post more about your current reading ... I for one would enjoy it.

I guess I've never thought about drinking as a way of making things more predictable before. Yet that's just what happens. That six-pack of cider I kept pouring into myself on a daily basis for most of last year was nothing if not predictable. And the bourbon, and the wine before that. And the outcome is too after you've done it a few times.

Lots to think on,

September 12th, 2007, 05:24 PM
The media pushes artificial happiness or a twisted idea of what happiness should be.
when you see an ad or a commercial on TV or a hollywood movie which to me is also pure advertising your first gut emotion is envy.
Envy will make anyone crave like crazy. That is what keeps capitalism alive.
I think that modern society is confusing achievement of the unattainable for happiness.
hence all the depression and unhappiness

This post is very inspiring

September 12th, 2007, 07:27 PM
i agree with you trixie. And have you seen the big-seller the Secret? I watched the DVD. What a scam.

I think this fits with a capitalistic society very well (though I am no socialist). If you think about it, it also fits with addiction, the idea that we can never get enough, we should have all we want and we should be happy and comfortable all the time. It fits with obesity too, which is a big problem in this country.

Kyna: The book I quoted doesn't have a lot on addiction. I think that quote was pulled from one of her other books. But it does talk a lot generally about gaining the ability to be at home with uncomfortable feelings with ourselves. I think a lot of our problems stem from the fact that we can't deal with feelings adequately. Also, the book suggests that we can find connectedness in not running away from these things because in facing them, we become at one with all the other people in the world who are suffering.

As for the initial quote, you might also want to check out what I wrote about Craig Nakken's book, Addictive Personality. I wrote an old thread about it, maybe in the What We are Reading section of this website. He wrote about seeking predictable responses through addictive behaviors. Unlike people, substances are always there for us and give us relief in the same way every time. This appeals to those of us who may feel let down in our relationships, hurt or disappointed in unreliable people. I know from my own experience, the effect is magnified if you have low self esteem and are relying on that external validation, only to be hurt and to react with excessive sensitivity.

But the relief from substances or excessive behaviors is temporary and not real like what you would get from a human contact. I think this seeking of something predictable also fits with the proverbial hole in the soul common to alcoholics. I think if we understand that relationships are by their very nature changing and impermanent, we might be less likely to drown ourselves in a destructive substances.

September 13th, 2007, 11:13 AM
I've also been listening to Pema Chodron on my ipod. I came across this great article she wrote "How to Work with Addictions" here's the link.
Pema Ch?dr?n (http://www.shambhala.org/teachers/pema/addictions.php)
Shambhala - Vision, Lineage, Meditation, Community (http://www.shambhala.org) is a great site.

September 14th, 2007, 09:37 AM
Hi Nancy and thanks for starting this thread. As I`m beginning to feel my life is truly far better without the booze, I realize that I have a heck of a lot of work to do on my inner-self.........basically, I`m searching for an inner calm.......some sort of ability to really chill and allow all of life`s crap to simply wash over me.

Satori, thanks for posting your link to basic Buddhist meditation. Am at a loss though, as I don`t know the first thing about meditating, I really need to read the instructions as to what I`m supposed to do from the screen, which is proving somewhat difficult with my eyes either closed, or focussed on a particular spot a few feet in front of me.lol

Could anyone recommend a meditation CD to make things a little easier?.........would prefer to purchase a "tried and tested" one, rather than just pick one up at random, because it sports a pretty cover!!! lol

Much appreciated,

Starlight Impress x

September 14th, 2007, 10:44 AM

I wrote a long set of posts last year on an alternative you may wish to consider.

Heres the link:

http://www.mywayout.org/community/f60/brain-waves-booze-another-tool-you-consider-5793.html (http://www.mywayout.org/community/f60/brain-waves-booze-another-tool-you-consider-5793.html)

This works for me quite well, and I still use it regularly to "chill out".

As to Nancy's sentiments, I've often said, when you get above a certain level of physical comfort, is it really the purpose of our lives to ruthlessly acquire more material goods and political power? The vast majority of the human race seems to be tuned into that very thinking. More and more, is never enough. Keeping up with the Jones'. The never ending game of one-upmanship. Rich men passing through eyes of needles, and so on.


September 14th, 2007, 02:14 PM
Thanks for your reply.......the link in your post leads to such a wealth of information. Being the typical "arty-farty" type, I recall looking at some of your earlier posts a while back and feeling I didn`t possess the required analytical skills to allow me to relate to, or grasp the scientific content of some of your posts........I was still drinking back then and had very little patience.........just wanted someone/thing to "fix " me. I no longer feel out of my depth or in any way overwhelmed by the scientific aspect of those posts now and find I actually understand what you`re getting at. Previously, I wasn`t even aware of there being several different types of brain waves........was most ignorant of what is, after all, my own head!!.......and since quitting the booze, I`ve now concluded that......... rather a f***** up head it is too!!! lol

Having quit the drink relatively recently, I really only now appreciate that quitting is very much only the beginning, and that I need to heal myself in every respect........guess I have my work cut out for me.Your machine interests me a great deal and I intend to do a lot more reading up on this as time allows......as you say, if rapidly flashing lights can provoke a seizure in an epileptic, then obviously these machines effectively alter the brain waves and can allow us to reach the relaxed state of mind I so covet. Am amazed to understand how one`s state of mind can be improved in this way, without having to resort to meds.

Starlight Impress x

Finding My Self
September 14th, 2007, 03:37 PM
I can't pick anyone out here coz I am soooooooh grateful to everyone for links, posts and quotations that have been put in 'Favourites', cut and pasted, printed and stuck up and saved to the poota...

Just lovely stuff - thanks.

I know - done loads of The Secret stuff coz at least being positive and imaging what you want instead of what you don't want makes sense to me...but that was 15 years ago to the present and I'm still nearly bankrupt, un-married, still renting a house not owning (like one does in the UK! Not being that greedy!) and my Mum, being the most neggy, miserable, worried, thinking of nothing but disasters bod, is rich, still married, having holidays and still alive at 82!!!
So, hmmmm! Not sure myself about this old secret!!! And I certainly don't like the greed aspect of it. Going to go on thinking positive though - just better all round. And go on reading and 'allowing' the things Eastern to sink in...

Thanks again everyone....great thread. One day I'll post with rather better use of the English language than I have here! Apologies.

Love FMF x

Justin Time
September 25th, 2007, 10:31 AM

Pema Chodron is great. I have read several other of her books but had not seen what you posted here. Great quote- thanks for putting it here.

I recommend any of her books. Highly readable and bring some complex Buddhist concepts to simple terms modern people can grasp.

Finding My Self
September 25th, 2007, 12:25 PM
Hey Justin - welcome!!! Yup, I love Pema's words esp on this....

Good luck to you...see you 'on the boards' !

Love FMFxx

looking for peace
June 25th, 2012, 07:41 AM
Nancy, I really love your post. I had to bump it up because I feel I really need that message pounded into me. I printed it out and keeping it nearby. We have to remember that alcohol does the exact opposite of what we have been conditioned to believe it does. It doesn't bring happiness, it brings misery. It doesn't give us relief, it causes the problem that we need relief from. I can especially relate to the part about having to relieve even the slightest discomfort. Giving into an urge as soon as there's an energy shift. I like how Pema Chdron encourage us to stay with it, not to try to jump out of the frying pan as soon as it get a little hot. I need to go back through some of my Pema Chodron posts. Thanks.

June 26th, 2012, 02:32 AM
What we think of as "happiness" and the authentic Buddhist understanding of happiness are pretty different. I did a 5 week retreat last summer with one of the Dalai Lama's close friends, who has been an interpreter for him for decades. He said, "The Dalai Lama wakes up every morning with the full realization that he has utterly failed in his effort to free his people from the oppression of the Chinese. Yet he remains the most compassionate and happy person I've ever been with."

Matthieu Ricard, another close friend of the Dalai Lama's, has been dubbed "the world's happiest man," based on the way he has, literally, developed the "well-being" structures of his brain through meditation, as seen via fMRI imaging. He's not particularly delighted with that title, and makes the point whenever he can that "happiness" has nothing to do with any external conditions. It is a state of being that can be intentionally cultivated.

Pema's lovely. Thich Nhat Hahn is lovely. There has been a group of scientists and teachers working with and around the Dalai Lama for 25 years. He, and they, have published some a-mazing material about HOW to cultivate well-being. Mind & Life Institute Building a scientific understanding of the mind to reduce suffering and promote well-being (http://www.MindandLife.org) is a great place to find out the amazing extent to which THIS Dalai Lama is committed to bringing western scientific scrutiny and validation to Buddhist understanding and practices. Mind-blowing stuff about the "neuroplasticity" of the brain. Sharon Begley wrote a great book about these efforts: "Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain."

Dan Rather did a series of interviews and talks with a number of people who are making phenomenal break-throughs in medicine and psychiatry utilizing Buddhist-based knowledge (including a talk with the Dalai Lama): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FkXtz72hjDI[/video]]Dan Rather Reports - Mind Science (Part 1 of 6) - YouTube (http://[video=youtube_share;FkXtz72hjDI) for part 1. You can find the remaining 6 from there, I think.

A lot of the books that are published with the Dalai Lama as the author are actually conversations and discussions with these scientists. Amazon carries them: Amazon.com: The Mind's Own Physician: A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama on the Healing Power of Meditation (9781572249684): Jon Kabat-Zinn PhD, Richard Davidson PhD: Books (http://www.amazon.com/The-Minds-Own-Physician-Scientific/dp/1572249684/ref=sr_1_17?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1340695370&sr=1-17&keywords=dali+lama+books;) Amazon.com: Destructive Emotions: A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama (9780553381054): Daniel Goleman: Books (http://www.amazon.com/Destructive-Emotions-Scientific-Dialogue-Dalai/dp/0553381059/ref=sr_1_26?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1340693493&sr=1-26&keywords=dali+lama+books)

Robert Thurman is a very close friend of the Dalai Lama and an eminent scholar. You can find a little talk he did on TED, as well as a much more interesting one by Matthieu Ricard, "The Habits of Happiness:" http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/matthieu_ricard_on_the_habits_of_happiness.ht

The deal is, as I'm sure you guys know . . . this isn't just "feel good" stuff. It's forthright information about rigorous practice, and transformation from the inside out. Thoughts themselves can be completely addictive!! I'm so grateful to be living in a time when this knowledge . . . through the Dalai Lama and so many amazing and authentic teachers, is available.

June 27th, 2012, 09:42 PM
revived buddhist thread!

Great to see this old thread revived! It was written at a time when I was first discovering how Buddhist philosophy could help with psych problems. I've come a long way since then and still see the enormous value of being able to tolerate things. It's not just tolerating though, it's also about the way you view your thoughts. I read in a Jon Kabat-Zinn book that when you are depressed your thinking is highly inaccurate What a relief!

Negative thinking/depression/anxiety is a very big driver for addiction in some people and it isn't any excuse. Who wouldn't want to escape that? So how do you get to the point where you ignore that inaccurate thinking? There is literature about meditation to change this pattern. What if you can't tolerate meditation? Just letting the new philosophy into your life will help and in combination with psychotherapy could tip you over the edge toward mental health. Another part of Buddhist thinking that helped me in the past was extending love to yourself and others. The self part was hardest.

I hope to check out the links in the most recent posts.

I think it's important to get a female point of view on these issues. I recently reread some literature from Jean Kirkpatrick's Women For Sobriety program and it was so different from AA. It was focused on believing in yourself, building yourself, building self-esteem. It was so different from AA's analysis of character defects and admitting powerlessness. I am not an expert but I think that examining character defects would be more appropriate for a problem with egotism. And I think women drink for different reasons, often low self-esteem. Examining character defects is what got us into a mess.

Cheers again to Roberta Jewell and My Way Out.

June 27th, 2012, 10:27 PM
How wonderful to find this thread here at MWO!

I have practiced Nichiren Buddhism for 17 years. It is based on The Lotus Sutra considered the highest teaching of shakyamuni gautama buddha. The focus is on our doing our personal Human Revolution and AL certainly got in the way of that a lot! But AL for me really helped bury what in Buddhism is called our Fundamental darkness or the personal karma which stops you from doing your Human Revolution: Achieving your highest potential or your mission in this lifetime...Looking at myself has been very hard for me especially the deeper I go..And of course life gets in there, Devils of the sixth Heaven...Hate those!
(these are forces which get in the way of my practice...AL anyone?)

I love the discussion on Happiness. So many poeple think it's an idle pursuit even though it's in our constitution (and it was a great movie!) But there are 2 types: Relative happiness (that's the looking for love in all the wrong places one :) ) and then Absolute happiness. That's the indestructable happiness you referenced about the Dalai Lama. One of my oldest Budhha buddies said it best: As Buddhists we still have a lot of problems in our lives, we're just happier about them!

Anyway, Thanks for continuing this thread.


September 9th, 2012, 04:51 PM
bump for Kimberley

for Kimberley