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Spontaneity

KeromeKerome Love, love is mysteryThe Continent Veteran

Has anyone else had a difficulty with spontaneity arising from Buddhism? I find that the processes of studying the lore of the Buddha, and of meditation too, kind of moves me away from spontaneity. I just noticed this today, but I’ve been aware in silence without expressing my spontaneity.

But things like absorbing a sutra or an hours meditation on the cushion seem to make me very restful, which I think is a property that a lot of Buddhists have in common. So I was wondering about how others experience this, do you find that your impulsiveness is reduced and that your spontaneity is quietened?

Comments

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Yes, I agree. I find more and more that I tend to plan my spontaneity with pinpoint accuracy and meticulous precision and forethought...😁

    If I am spontaneous, I find I am less mindful....

    personBunkslobsterVastmind
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    That’s very similar @fosdick, creativity and spontaneity are closely related.

    I’m having some trouble at the moment with writing longer pieces, my mind seems dampened and incapable of much original thought.

    So can you encourage spontaneity in your mind? I think to a certain extent you can, because often when you get a first impulse to do things your mind puts on the brakes by considering alternatives. Often one of those countering arguments is “let’s not do it because it would be tiring”, if you were to just ignore that one counter you’d find yourself a lot more spontaneous and energetic (Note this is just me talking to myself B) )

  • Never do anything without emoting. Without empathy, without creativity, love and Buddha Mind. And incidentally mindless mind-foolity ...

    And don't expect to be perfectly spontaneous, creative and Buddha all in one ounce-ment of Being.

    In other words. Create. o:)

    Yours in the Dharama-Rama 🦞

    VastmindKerome
  • FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountains Alaska, USA Veteran

    Well put, @lobster

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    Hmm. For a while I tried going along with everything that my environment suggested to me, just saying “yes” to things, but for some reason I am finding that difficult, I feel largely empty today. I seem to need a reason to actually do anything. Its a problem I have had a few times the last week...

  • FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountains Alaska, USA Veteran

    I have the same problem from time to time. For me, the answer seems to be to stop viewing it as a problem and go take a nap.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited November 2019

    @Kerome said:
    Hmm. For a while I tried going along with everything that my environment suggested to me, just saying “yes” to things, but for some reason I am finding that difficult, I feel largely empty today. I seem to need a reason to actually do anything. Its a problem I have had a few times the last week...

    Hmm this reminds me of the Yes Man book and movie...

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @Shoshin said:
    Hmm this reminds me of the Yes Man book and movie...

    That was my inspiration! I thought it was a really good thing to try, because you get on this whole positive roll and you often do a few things that you wouldn’t otherwise do. But you need to bring enough energy to it, that is true.

    I seem to be in a low-energy spin, I was exploring some rather peculiar places on the internet, I was looking for a forum on mysticism and came across this place called the Shroomery, all about mushroom growing, with a side order of spirituality and mysticism.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    You may find this review of "The Dice Man" book of interest...A roll of the dice became a popular thing back in the 70s & 80s...

    Back in the early 80s a German friend gave me a dice with no numbers, just basic safe options like sleep eat drink walk play etc etc printed on it...It was a fun thing to do....

    I guess one could partake in a roll of the dice with each number representing an wholesome activity if one is lost for things to do...

    Meditation or contemplation ( on a specific thing) are a couple of good options for the roll :)

    Hmm perhaps Roll of the Dice would be a interesting topic to start....What six wholesome activities would you choose?

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    edited November 2019

    Recently I was leading an outdoor session for my local Buddhist group, and I suggested we have lunch somewhere else.
    Radical! 😆

    federicalobster
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    Has anyone else had a difficulty with spontaneity arising from Buddhism? I find that the processes of studying the lore of the Buddha, and of meditation too, kind of moves me away from spontaneity. I just noticed this today, but I’ve been aware in silence without expressing my spontaneity.

    But things like absorbing a sutra or an hours meditation on the cushion seem to make me very restful, which I think is a property that a lot of Buddhists have in common. So I was wondering about how others experience this, do you find that your impulsiveness is reduced and that your spontaneity is quietened?

    From what I gather being spontaneous is when one does what first comes to mind... before one's emotions start to talk one out of doing it..

    In other words emotions AKA energy in motion have a habit of throwing a spanner in the works...bringing things to a halt so to speak...and two of the main spanner in the works culprits are the terrible twin emotions of Doubt & Fear...the guardians and protectors of ( or one could say inflators of) this sense of self importance...

  • The path of Buddhism seems like this to me. If one works hard, at some point, the monkey will let go of the banana and the hand can be pulled out of the trap spontaneously.

    Good post.
    We have to use this capacity for right concentration but eventually let the hand release what it feels is the prize ...👐🏼 🤜🏽👋🏽🤛🏽👐🏼

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited November 2019

    @Kerome said:
    Has anyone else had a difficulty with spontaneity arising from Buddhism? I find that the processes of studying the lore of the Buddha, and of meditation too, kind of moves me away from spontaneity. I just noticed this today, but I’ve been aware in silence without expressing my spontaneity.

    But things like absorbing a sutra or an hours meditation on the cushion seem to make me very restful, which I think is a property that a lot of Buddhists have in common. So I was wondering about how others experience this, do you find that your impulsiveness is reduced and that your spontaneity is quietened?

    I've been working with this for some time now. Though it is good to tame our impulses, I would leave my spontaneity unscathed.

    I've noticed it's sort of tied into the articulation of thought. How the initial thought gets articulated in words through habit, the same mechanism seems to be at play during actions.

    At first, to be more mindful of my actions I had to be more thoughtful about the consequences but some actions are hindered by thinking. Or at least hindered by the speed it takes to put our thought into words.

    When a painter is in the "zone" there is no thinking behind every brush stroke but there is still mindful action. An athlete catching a ball will be distracted by thinking about catching the ball if they waste time using words in their head.

    It's like we learn to be more thoughtful with our actions because of circumstance but then when our morality becomes 2nd nature, we let the thinking go. The path of least resistance takes practice to recognize.

    Personally I am trying to find the balance between resisting impulse and the art of wu wei.

    Kind of a mix of Buddhist and Taoist discipline but if it works for Zen, yadda, yadda, yadda.

    "Empty your mind. Be formless-shapeless like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; you put water in a bottle it becomes the bottle; put it in a teacup, it becomes the teacup. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water my friends."

    --Bruce Lee

    Kerome
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @David said:
    I've been working with this for some time now. Though it is good to tame our impulses, I would leave my spontaneity unscathed.

    I had the same impulse. My initial thought was that a lot of Buddhism is mind training, and so you get the mind to audit and adjust your initial actions, and by doing so you put a brake on your spontaneity. To my mind this does not feel like a good way to proceed, it shows that there is still an immaturity in your initial actions.

    I've noticed it's sort of tied into the articulation of thought. How the initial thought gets articulated in words through habit, the same mechanism seems to be at play during actions.

    At first, to be more mindful of my actions I had to be more thoughtful about the consequences but some actions are hindered by thinking. Or at least hindered by the speed it takes to put our thought into words.

    Yes, but there is even the thinking before speaking, and sometimes you even have an entire dialogue in your head before you do something that you think is right.

    When a painter is in the "zone" there is no thinking behind every brush stroke but there is still mindful action. An athlete catching a ball will be distracted by thinking about catching the ball if they waste time using words in their head.

    It's like we learn to be more thoughtful with our actions because of circumstance but then when our morality becomes 2nd nature, we let the thinking go. The path of least resistance takes practice to recognize.

    Personally I am trying to find the balance between resisting impulse and the art of wu wei.

    That’s exactly so. More thoughtful is not the answer, instead we should try to bring realisation to our deeper selves. With impulse it is different, often it is a question where does it come from, and that means it needs to be mindfully examined, is it rooted in the three poisons. When you can identify where an impulse comes from, often it vanishes.

    The people I find the most beautiful are spontaneous, heart-centred and compassionate people, with a lightness of movement and energy to them. Sometimes they are monastics, and sometimes they are sannyasins. But I find myself so weighed down by thoughts and sleepiness that I can’t categorise myself as a “being of light energy”. I am more in the Bodhidharma space, of staring for years at the cave wall while slowly making progress.

    David
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    Thoughts along this line keep coming back to me... during this winter I have been spending a lot of time on my bed, I have been reading a lot, but I find it doesn’t give me inspiration to do things. I suspect the book reading is just flooding my internal landscape with stuff.

    Is there a limit to the amount of things one should try and cram into the brain? Is it just an answer to the craving for stimulation by the mind? Does it just turn into “word mush” eventually?

    You can keep looking for new concepts and new insights forever, but is it just borrowed knowledge that accumulates in the memory and obscures the light of your originality and spontaneity?

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Reading without doing is like going to a restaurant and just reading the menu, expecting to feel filled and well-fed.
    Don't say; Do. Volunteer, get out and about, socialise, practice.
    All that writing is just another way of word-processing.

    person
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think The Void Veteran

    Maybe you just need to get up and around some more. Being sedentary isn't very good for us, it affects our mental well being as well as physical.

    They recommend if you're sitting or laying down that for every hour you should get up for at least 5 minutes and move around. I like to do small cleaning or organizing projects. You could just get up and read while walking too.

    In the past when I've had very slow winters and been at home with nothing to do I would join a gym and spend an hour there as well as do an hour of yoga at home.

    Kerome
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Being alone with one's thoughts can for some be a blessing, after awhile they may begin to see thought for what it really is....just a thought..

    For others it can be a nightmare, they become embroiled in thought...First believing and then becoming what they think..caught up in (what could be seen as ) the never ending cycle of thought patterns...ups & downs...A mind charmed by its own thoughts....

    "The Devil (AKA Mara) finds work/mischief for idle hands minds to do,

    lobster
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    It seems to me that we live in modern caves with modern conveniences, but it is not so different from Bodhidharma spending his nine years looking at a cave wall. We listen to dhamma talks or other spiritual discourses via a tablet or a pc, and this is a form of conditioning. Next to that we meditate some, and this allows us some insight into our deeper selves.

    You cannot entirely get away from conditioning, the minds of modern people are full of it from childhood. There are of course ways you can mitigate its effects, through catharsis and insight you can bring things to the fore and clear the channels for a flow of thought and emotion.

    I came across an Osho discourse in which he talks about being spontaneous in the deeper levels of one’s being, I thought he made a lot of sense. He talked about speaking without speaking, unplanned, just allowing existence to manifest in the present moment.

  • Well said @Shoshin

    The dharma conditioning or pattern alignment/stream entrant is a skilful means towards our need to have a peace/calm to develop clarity from ...

    We are as @Kerome mentions, socialised/conditioned/karmically misaligned.

    Spontaneity is not freedom to 'do what thou wilt' [Crowley drivel thinking] but freedom to choose the higher nature of our being ...
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thelema

    Dharma practice straightens us out, it may not cure a damaged ego. 🤪 Do we need sanity before a saint and normality before crazy wisdom?

    person
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    Yes indeed. Our socialised selves go through all kinds of hoops’n’loops in order to follow a few of our impulses. You are in a supermarket and hear a nice piece of music and you feel you want to dance, but the most that happens is a little toe tapping. Instead you have to seek out a dance venue in order to be in an accepted place to dance... that is how our socialisation keeps our spontaneity in check.

    Damaged people may find unhealthy impulses arising, these come not truly from the core of ourselves but from childhood trauma. I think we do need sanity before we start working on ourselves to free our spontaneity.

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    We do seem to find rehearsed and choreographed spontaneity charming, see also many tv shows especially with studio audiences.

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