Thursday, 17 September 2020

No more fasting

She is unable to defend herself. There is no reasoning with him. This turn of events is very confusing for her. She cannot understand why the love of her life has suddenly turned on her. She does not understand where the perfect person she fell in love with went. She thought he loved her and now he doesn't even seem to like her. Everything has changed. She is miserable. We'll never be able to fix our economic, social, and political climates to entirely eliminate conflict and uncertainty, not to mention our everyday interpersonal challenges. And that's okay, because fear isn't bad; Something might go wrong! It's what we do with that signal that matters. We can use our fear of the effects of climate change to motivate us to develop solutions, or we can allow it to make us feel overwhelmed and hopeless and do nothing as a result. Sometimes fear is a critical warning to help us survive true danger, but most of the time what we feel is anxiety related to everyday concerns about money, jobs, and relationships. We allow anxiety--everyday fear--to hold us back by blocking us from our true feelings. The longer we hold on to fears, the more they ferment until eventually they become toxic. I am sitting cross-legged on the floor of a cold basement room in the monastery with twenty or so other monks. I've been at the ashram for only a couple months. In 2015, Zomorodi, host of WNYC's popular podcast and radio show Note to Self, led twenty thousand listeners to sign on to the Bored and Brilliant Project, an experiment to help them unplug from their devices, get bored, and jumpstart their creativity. Mind-wandering allows us to do some of our most original thinking and problem solving.

Dr Jonathan Smallwood, professor of cognitive neuroscience and an expert in mind-wandering at the University of York, explains it like this: In a very deep way, there's a close link between originality and creativity and the spontaneous thoughts we generate when our minds are idle. I'd often let my mind wander in grade school, reading articles from beneath my desk or staring out the window thinking about other things. Mary has a problem paying attention, my fourth grade teacher had written on a report card that still reflected all As and Bs. I continued my daydreaming through high school and into college, mostly about the man I was dating who would soon become my husband. David always seemed surprised when I'd hand him a letter or note I wrote during particularly boring lectures. Weren't you even listening? He never understood how a girl who lived so much inside her head could function so well out of it. Years later, when I shared how I'd often silently narrate my own life (Mary tentatively reached for the door handle, unsure what she would discover on the other side), I was astonished to discover he'd never even heard of such a thing. By doing so, you guarantee yourself that you will experience only those learning experiences and growing lessons that stem from your having chosen the life you want and not something else. You are here for a reason, and whatever happens to you happens for a reason. Embrace it. YOU WILL CATCH MORE FLIES WITH HONEY THAN WITH VINEGAR Develop the attitude of gratitude and your life will never be the same. How does it make you feel when someone goes out of their way and says thank you for something you did or said to them? If your self-image and self-esteem is strong and healthy, it makes you feel great. If it isn't, it makes you feel uncomfortable, and you show that discomfort by downplaying and minimizing those things that caused others to be thankful to you. But wherever you travel to and whomever you meet, you'll find that one of the strongest needs of any human is the need to feel needed, wanted and appreciated. And if you can help make them feel that way, you'll have more friends, joyous experiences and happiness than you can shake a stick at. But she will not give up on him or the relationship. If there is a way to get things back to the way they used to be, she is determined to find it.

She tries to be more understanding with the narcissist's erratic moods, but the narcissist sees her compassion as weakness and uses it against her. Fearful of losing his supply, he may occasionally play along with her efforts. To keep her on the hook, he convinces her that everything will work out. He feeds her just enough crumbs of praise and attention to get her trust him. Once she lets down her guard he attacks again. Every interaction she has with him seems to provoke his irrational fits of anger, and she does not know why. Craving the love she felt so strongly before and trying to get the relationship back to its original state, the victim works harder and harder to please him. She tries everything but is unsuccessful at every turn. Gauranga Das has just discussed the scene in the Gita when Arjuna, the hero, is overcome by fear. It turns out that Arjuna's fear makes him pause instead of charging directly into battle. He's devastated that so many people he loves will die that day. The fear and anguish lead him to question his actions for the first time. Doing so provokes him into a long conversation about human morals, spirituality, and how life works according to Krishna, who is his charioteer. When Gauranga Das concludes his lecture, he asks us to close our eyes, then directs us to relive a fear from our past: not just imagine it but feel it in our bodies--all the sights, sounds, and smells of that experience. He tells us that it's important that we not choose something minor, such as a first day at school or learning to swim (unless those experiences were truly terrifying), but something significant. He wants us to uncover, accept, and create a new relationship with our deepest fears. We start joking around--someone makes fun of my overreaction to a snakeskin I came across on one of our walks. Gauranga Das acknowledges our antics with a knowing nod. I'd thought everyone did that to some degree. I remain a world-class daydreamer, some of my best ideas coming to me when I'm not trying too hard to bring them forth.

Positive constructive daydreaming was a revolutionary idea when Yale psychologist Jerome L. Singer began groundbreaking research on the topic in the 1950s. In a 2013 paper, Ode to Positive Constructive Daydreaming, coauthors Scott Barry Kaufman and Rebecca L. McMillan review Singer's contributions to the research, looking at other supporting documents. They note that some people spend as much as 50 percent of their waking time daydreaming. Jonathan Schooler, another pioneer in the study of daydreaming, discovered that people who daydream score higher on creativity tests. That's not to say that all daydreaming is created equal. The mind-wandering, daydreaming state that is most conducive to creativity is the kind that happens when you are mowing the lawn, in the shower, or taking a walk. People want you to praise them and love them for who they are and what they do. We all have that need, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with it. And we develop the ability and desire to praise others when we embrace the attitude of gratitude in ourselves and in our lives. Be thankful for everything that has, is and ever will happen in your life. For every one of those things has made you who and what you are. Kind words of gratitude are like honey that is sweet to hear and even sweeter to taste. For you will win more people to get behind you and your dreams if you will only show them kindness and gratitude for everything they do for you. One of the most powerful lessons my mother instilled in me was to always say thank you for anything anybody does for me. I can't even begin to tell you how many doors to success in life have been opened to me as a result of the kindness that I showed to other people. The same can and will happen for you too. Fearful of provoking his sudden frightful rage, she begins walking on eggshells around him. She is a perpetual nervous wreck.

This is exactly the state of mind the narcissist wants her to be in. As the third phase of gaslighting begins, the narcissist is tiring of his victim's weakness and the gross inferiority he believes she has to him. The well of narcissistic supply is drying up and she is becoming more and more useless to him. He is considering moving on to a fresh victim who is chock full of narcissistic supply. She may have an inkling that he is slipping away, but defaults to denial. The belief that she loves him and somewhere deep inside he must still love her keeps her stuck. She holds on for dear life. A shell of her former self, she loses all joy and vibrancy. If you want to do this activity properly, he says, you have to push beyond the part of your mind that's making fun of it. That's a defense mechanism keeping you from really dealing with the issue, and that's what we do with fear. We distract ourselves from it, Gauranga Das says. You need to go past that place. The laughter fades, and I can almost feel everyone's spine straighten along with my own. I close my eyes and my mind quiets down, but I still don't expect much. I'm not scared of anything. Not really, I think. Then, as I drop further and further into meditation, past the noise and chatter of my brain, I ask myself, What am I really scared of? Flickers of truth begin to appear. It's the kind that author Brenda Ueland describes in her article If You Want to Write: A article about Art, Independence and Spirit. It is the dreamy idleness that children have, an idleness when you walk alone for a long, long time, or take a long, dreamy time at dressing, or lie in bed at night and thoughts come and go, or dig in a garden, or drive a car for many hours alone, or play the piano, or sew, or paint ALONE.

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