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Reinvention of self

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Reinvention of self

Postby EternalReturn » Wed Sep 09, 2015 4:21 pm

This thread should have happened in the School, but then I really thought about it. I don't think I am competent to teach this, I need to read whole lot more books, gain whole lot of experience and for starters practice what I preach. I happen to know what I'm supposed to do - what I should do to live more fully - but choose not to, or fight it a lot only to be broken by a harsh lesson that seemed unacceptable until it presented itself as a fact.But there is a way that I felt as good, the bliss into which I was drawn and gentle control over myself which happened to be the result of practice, thought, and active search. Something happened that I'm unable to describe, yet it is very different. As I have changed, so the world changed also. And that is the first realization I want to share with you.

It is an advice I got on this very forum and it is summed up in one very mundane question which happens to linger in one's own mind (in different forms and deegrees) during the times of personal crisis. But it is not unrelenting; it must be repeated over and over consciously for it to have an effect. "Who am I?" - it is the point of no return if thought about often. It will invoke many great things in a person, the most important being self awareness. I cannot stress out how important this step is. And it will not be easy - how hard will it be depends on the person. You will get to know different aspects of yourself, ones you haven't even thought about, ones that will scare the crap out of you, one that will make you worry or make you depressed. To water it down, you will see your virtues and vices and here's where it gets interesting.

While we can all agree that virtues should be cultivated, learnt and developed there is only one-dimensional approach to vices. It is mainly derived from culture that surrounds you, values of your family, cultural and material capital that you or your close ones have. There is also school, community and global society that happens to grow fast these days. There are mechanisms that are made on purpose to correct your behavior, to make you learn new stuff, to reflect and find yourself in the surrounding world. It all can be described as a game which requires certain characters and certain rules to be played. The problem is that the rules are not universal and almost endless - the big problem is that they are projections of people who are making them. People are prone to mistakes, and they will continue to do so. It is of utmost importance to be able to see through these illusions.

The rules must be constantly thought about, never holding an stict opinion – this is dogmatic position. Only by reconsidering what you know you can get a glimpse of that what is not changing – the truth. This is very important because of two reasons: a) other people project themselves in ways that are wrong, dangerous, evil and destructive, and b) you project yourself in ways which are wrong, dangerous, evil and destructive. Most importantly, it seems as a good thing. There is no mistake.

Most important tool which one has against this is the reason. Question everything – the old saying goes. There are many pitfalls, traps and confusion that a man can fall into. But in our ratio-centric culture today we tend to forget the other important tool. Our feelings and senses. This is the lesson many of us learn the hard way. There must be harmony between the three and there will be a way to live and be better.
Always be on the hunt for these kind of behavior that is not good and don't fall for the sofisms of today. I was a victim of one: „to be good means to be pacifist“. This is an example of what is wrong. Even if I was a subject to abuse I would not fight back and by not fighting back I would prolong my suffering. Today I would not call this goodness but cowardice. There are many behaviors that sound right but they are not. Another example would be people pleasing. It is good from the perspective of society but one can go mad trying to get along with all the people. One can lose good friends and himself in the process. Or I should mention a lot of the „animal lovers“ which are actively fighting for the rights of animals by spreading hate about humans.

Be open for experience and try to explore the other variant, other solutions and perspectives. Be aware of every position whether it came from sensing, emotion or mind and pay close attention to intuition. To listen to all is to be able to find a good course of action. But there will be mistakes, naturally.

To be effectively able to see all those things, practice meditation. It will put you into a different mode of conciousness where you are in position of the watcher of yourself. It is also called the present moment. If it is needed in the heat of the moment, it can be invoked by concentrating on your senses – hear the things around you, be aware that you exist, that something is happening, that everything moves. Be aware of the constant movement in yourself and all around you.

This is how you deal with vices. And the easy part of the job. Next post will be about the virtues and how to achieve them, develop them and how to become aware of them.
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Re: Reinvention of self

Postby Desecrated » Wed Sep 09, 2015 10:47 pm

I would really recommend to read some standard western philosophy. This book was pretty popular when I was in college and it's good introduction to the whole "who am I" question.

"Sophie's World (Norwegian: Sofies verden) is a 1991 novel by Norwegian writer Jostein Gaarder. It follows the events of Sophie Amundsen, a teenage girl living in Norway, and Alberto Knox, a middle-aged philosopher who introduces her to philosophical thinking and the history of philosophy."
Beginners Book List
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Re: Reinvention of self

Postby EternalReturn » Thu Sep 10, 2015 6:54 am

I agree this is fantastic book [wink]
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Re: Reinvention of self

Postby findingtruth » Thu Sep 10, 2015 12:37 pm

Really glad I read this post this morning. There was a lot of overwhelming emotion as I've been in the middle of this process for a long time. My problem is that as much as I know how I want to live my life, there's still this impenetrable mist that I can't see through. An invisible barrier that won't let me discover me.

Recently I've begun developing better habits (i.e. eating healthier, constant meditation, exercise) and it's helped relax me but not see me. I just started these habits literally a couple days ago so I'm sure I still have a while before the mist starts to clear. Anyway, good post and I'm going to see if I can get my hands on that book Desecrated mentioned.
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Re: Reinvention of self

Postby EternalReturn » Thu Sep 10, 2015 6:31 pm

I have a feeling that I should clarify some things mentioned in the first post. The „sofisms of today“ are really hard problem if one is not conscious of these. But to be concious of them one needs to be introduced to one interesting principle from Kybalion, namely the Principle of Polarity:

Everything "is" and "isn't" at the same time, all truths are but half truths and every truth is half false, there are two sides to everything, opposites are identical in nature, yet different in degree, extremes meet, and all paradoxes may be reconciled.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Kybalion

„Opposites are identical in nature, yet different in degree“ – this is the most powerful piece of wisdom anyone living and dead can give to a person. When one thinks of vices and virtues as a universal bad/good, abstractions that derive the behavior of human beings, he can fall into a trap easily. And we do, pretty much the whole time. It is not nice to point out someone's mistakes, yet without criticism there is no progress. Pride is a thing that must be removed if one wants to live more fully, yet it feels good when you do something that matters. We should be more giving to others yet it is bad when we don't have. We should agree with others more, yet we must learn to say no.
Yet again, reason comes to save the day, the wisdom from Kybalion can be used to make these situations clear. Should you punch this guy who insulted you? Should you boast with your skills if you are clearly superior in some way? Should you apologise if you unintentionally hurt someone with your words? There will be socially acceptable „no“ to every question. But is it so? There is no context, so how can one be sure that the „no“ is the true answer? So let's make this more interesting, shall we? Is it good to be honest? Is it good to help people? Is it good to give to one who doesn't have? Is it good to save a life?
Morality has always been the murky water and some of the questions can be easily answered by using hardcore logic Kant way. If everyone steals there would happen an absurd interchaning of goods which will bring benefit to no one, so we can logically deduce that stealing is wrong. But what about more complex questions like the ones before? Can there be an universal answer?

I say no. It is context dependable and by that „opposites are identical in nature“. A Vice of today can be the Virtue of tommorow and vice versa. We can agree that some things are wrong, and some right but why would someone help a man if he's for example not willing to change his ways but only using whatever is given to him? He is poor and in need of help, but when help arrives he won't do jack shit and just waits for someone to do something for him? To abandon a person in need is not a good thing, but what about this case? Or going for a more radical example going by the name „kill or be killed“ can make anyone uneasy but totaly perplex a person if a „kill“ is put into an „universal bad“ box. There are some serious implications and what-ifs in this case.

I believe that the virtue is not only pointed to the world around us but also in the world in us. To be truly good, one must not forget himself in the process. But there is a danger also – there is a danger of becoming self centered, but there is a way out of it too.

In these kinds of situations one must always be conscious of his decisions. There is a movement that can be broken at the central point:
Desire -> Intent -> Will
Or if I may translate it on a more mundane and modern way:

Idea -> Decision -> Action
The idea is the desired course of the action in a situation. It can be bad, it can be good which, as it was said before, depends on the context. If the context allows for the desire to be put into action, decide and do. If not, remember the Principle of Polarity, and change the degree of the desire then do it. Remember that you are in control of the said desire, it is your idea. If it becomes overwhelming remember to be in the Now. Sometimes it will not be possible to make a right choice and that is okay.

Most important step in this process is to be able to fully grasp and accept your decision, whatever it is, and the consequences of your actions. Train yourself on small things to accept it because there is no worse trauma than guilt and it is a hindrance like no else. It is as it is, and that is the best you could do in that circumstance. If you listen to yourself, to your senses, emotions, reason and intuition everything will be just fine. If you do not, you will learn an invaluable lesson which will just kickstart you further down the road of self realization. But learn from your mistakes and you will see that everything is the way it has to be. And it is the way to develop virtue.


I feel I have made my point here concerning the „sofisms of today“ in the focus on the world around us. I have quite deliberately hidden the main theme of this post as it was promised last time. Next time the focus will be on the person itself, it's inner world and outward projections.
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