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Since everything originates in the mind, this being the root cause of all experience,
whether good or bad, it is first of all necessary to work with your own mind, not to let it stray and lose yourself in its wandering. Cut the unnecessary build-up of complexity and fabrications which invite confusion in the mind. Nip the problem in the bud, so to speak.
Allow yourself to relax and feel some spaciousness, letting mind be to settle naturally.
Your body should be still, speech silent, and breathing as it is, freely flowing. Here, there is a sense of letting go, unfolding, letting be.
What does this state of relaxation feel like? You should be like someone after a really hard day's work, exhausted and peacefully satisfied, mind contented to rest. Something settles at gut level, and feeling it resting in your gut you begin to experience a lightness. It is as if you are melting.
The mind is so unpredictable that there's no limit to the fantastic and subtle creation which arise, its moods, and where it will lead you. But you might also experience a muddy, semi-conscious drifting state, like having a hood over your head - a kind of dreamy dullness. This is a manner of stillness, namely stagnation, a blurred, mindless blindness.
And how do you get out of this state? Alert yourself, straighten your back, breathe the stale air out of your lungs, and direct your awareness into clear space in order to bring about freshness. If you remain in this stagnant state you will not evolve, so when this setback arises clear it again and again. It is important to develop watchfulness, to stay sensitively alert.
So, the lucid awareness of meditation is the recognition of both stillness and change, and
the quiet clarity of peacefully remaining in our basic intelligence. Practice this, for only by actually doing it does one experience the fruition or begin to change.
I thought this was really cool. Does anyone know where Pali would be? I found sanskrit.
I didn't grow up very interested in religion. For me at the age of 9 it was football as my thing that excited me. But some some cousins and aunts and uncles had religious beliefs. I felt a bit left out when my parents joined a church actually at the requests of my brother who wanted to explore what he I imagine his friends talked about. Maybe some time I'll hear more about those times from my brothers and parents perspective. For me it felt a very strange vibe and it was a liberal church that was once a Baptist church. So for me the beliefs part of the church I don't remember much. But that's probably because it was long ago and I probably only went until freshman year of high school. But I remember some rough times feeling social problems with a group of kids I saw once a week. I feel like I'm talking to my therapist haha!
So somewhere along there I heard about eastern thought and religions and had a terrible problem develop with school and even my ability to make sense of the world to the point where I had to be hospitalized. Buddhism somehow fit with that even though I haven't really met many Buddhists face to face and nothing puzzling there as in 'are they really buddhist'. I mean I haven't offline had other Buddhist friends I could compare their experience.
I heard a one liner "it's a key to a lock that doesn't exist any longer"... Kind of strange
Refugee I didn't intend to put words in your mouth that you were saying all mental illnesses result in loss of empathy or non-development of empathy. I was just making my own statement and words to the effect that in general mental illness and empathy are not mutually exclusive. I think a reader could understand what you said but it wouldn't have been terrible writing labor to say "in my experience many mentally ill are not empathic". You didn't do anything wrong or say anything wrong I just posted to share my thoughts and experience.
Also I'll add that your experience in a psych ward might not have been as a patient but rather as staff or family. That itself would give us a different body of experiences that affect our perspective.
I challenge anyone, anywhere to cough up sound statistical data indicating measurably higher rates of crime in atheists while controlling for confounding factors such as socioeconomic status, educational attainment, and mental illness.
For we are concerned ultimately with acts, are we not?
No such evidence exists: turns out that atheists are about as "moral" as anyone else. The perception of atheists as inherently immoral is based on cultural norms, not objective truth. In societies where people grow up in conditions where they equate morality to religious belief, they develop cognitive biases wherein they incorrectly conflate religiosity and morality.
Human morality is founded on the one ability that -- barring brain damage or mental illness -- we all possess: empathy.
I will just say mental illness and empathy are not mutually exclusive. And I've spent time in a psych ward as a patient. It does affect it though. Some of my co-patients were so affected they were non-verbal so I couldn't say if in their thoughts they were empathetic. From a Buddhist point of view even without empathy the four immeasurable can potentially arise anywhere. Kindness, Compassion, Sympathetic Joy (Mudita), and Equinimity. I think sometimes people are hurt by a mentally ill person and then they correlate the two.