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@genkaku Thanks for the really thoughtful reply. This fear of mine goes back to middle and high school. I was physically small and socially inept, and was in constant fear of being hassled, ridiculed and beaten up. The most effective way I found to deal with it was to turn invisible. By not talking to or making eye contact with anyone, I effectively vanished from the consciousness of my "peers". It worked really well, but also created a habit that I'm still struggling to break to this day.
Today I'm reasonably competent at dealing with individuals, but interacting in groups remains a challenge. At our last Dharma talk, one attendee was actually encouraging me to contribute to the discussion. It was very strange. But my ideas about the topic at hand (emptiness) are very vague and half formed, and I didn't feel confident about speaking up. In other words, I was afraid of looking stupid and getting ridiculed or reprimanded. Old habits die hard.
I'll keep on keeping on with the practice...
For a while, I’ve been following Ajahn Brahm’s meditation technique that he outlines here: . Essentially the idea is to relax the mind without forcing the mind to stillness. This is a mistake I had been making for quite a while, and the result is a sense of peace I’ve not gotten from meditation before.
But in spite of trying to let go, some frustration remains. It takes around 30 minutes for my mind to settle down some. At that point, I can sometimes try focusing on my breath or metta, and that usually works out well. What’s a bit frustrating is the really long time it takes for my mind to settle. And also, after it settles, boredom sometimes kicks in, making it harder to focus.
Any thoughts or suggestions? I’ve kind of plateaued with this, and am not quite sure where to go from here.
My resolution is the same this year as it is every year.
It is to not have a resolution. I always succeed brilliantly.
For a long time, video games were one of my chief coping mechanisms. When life became too overwhelming, or my social life too underwhelming, I would retreat into a video game. And it worked...sort of. For the time I was playing, I was utterly engrossed and forgot all my troubles and my depression (temporarily) vanished. But when I quit playing, all the old demons would spring up again. But it mostly kept me sane. Later I found meditation worked better for coping with depression and loneliness. Even though I don't play as much as I used to, gaming still fills a significant chunk of time for me.
I'm not sure what else to do with myself. As a hardened introvert, I find socializing to be quite stressful. TV is, for the most part, trash. I'm afraid to start watching a movie, because all too often I find myself halfway through a movie to realize it's junk, and then I've wasted an hour of my life. When I'm not playing games, I'm usually listening to music which isn't is as addictive, but isn't particularly fulfilling. Reading/listening/watching to gaming/tech news is my other hobby, which at least gives me fodder for discussion at work.
Unlike @karasti, I do identify as a gamer. Aside from the issue of what I'd do with myself if I quit gaming, there would be the loss of identity. My interest in IT came as an outgrowth as gaming, and as ridiculous as it sounds, I feel like I'd be losing a core part of my identity if I quit gaming.