Saturday, 17 October 2020

Do I have insomnia or want to sleep a lot?

James was so interested in transcendence that he inhaled nitrous oxide--laughing gas--on several occasions to stimulate the mystical consciousness. Though a meticulous scientist and philosophical pragmatist, even James admitted feeling the strongest emotion he had ever had under the influence of the drug. Some time later, he described his experience to an audience in Edinburgh. One conclusion, he said, was forced upon my mind at that time, and my impression of its truth has ever since remained unshaken. It is that our normal waking consciousness, rational consciousness as we call it, is but one special type of consciousness, whilst all about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens, there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different. No account of the universe in its totality can be final which leaves these other forms of consciousness quite disregarded. In his masterpiece The Varieties of Religious Experience, James argues that mystical experiences share four qualities. First, they are passive. Though we can do certain activities to increase the likelihood that we will have a mystical experience--like meditating, fasting, or taking mind-altering drugs--the mystical feeling seems to descend as some sort of external force. The mystic, writes James, feels as if he were grasped and held by a superior power. It matches your eyes beautifully. It was the truth. I very much wanted her to have it and her eyes were the same shade of blue. The woman beamed, accepted the hat, and said what seemed to be a genuinely appreciative Thank you! I smiled and walked on. Suddenly, an image, I want to call it a vision, flashed before my eyes. It was the image of a very large, partially open door. The door seemed to symbolize the understanding that every single time we walk through fear, we (as souls) not only come out the other side better, we come out freer, more fearless, and somehow more alive. The mind had become clearer. I was now aware of a greater expanse of space inside and out.

The real difference between a common important relationship and the stable sentimental relationship with the partner of a codependent person lies in the quantity. That is to say, the dynamics are the same ones but with the partner, they are more intense. Losing a partner, in the definitive sense with separation like divorce, but also in a more partial form (therefore, feeling that our partner does not seek our support or our closeness) is very difficult to manage for us, the codependents. It opens our most painful wound: the wound of abandonment and loneliness. In order to avoid any kind of departure from stable romantic relations, we are eager to accept very high prices. If then our partner turns out to be a manipulative person, then a person who has started the relationship perfectly aware of our codependent nature, the possible scenarios can be frankly lacerating. A severely manipulative partner will be able to achieve enormous power over our behaviors and emotions, increasing his or her level of needing more and more in everything that concerns attention, pretensions, time and energy, or even economic resources if necessary. A fundamental aspect of the codependent behavior is predictability. We respect basic and repetitive principles around which we organize our relationships with others. The higher the manipulative talent of the codependent's partner, the higher the knowledge of our behavior patterns and therefore the tactics that must be used to dominate us, at least as long as we still have energy, resources, or possibly money to give our partner. I recently learned about a group of women and girls who have named themselves GEM (and all the girls are gems! A story of the power we possess when people work together recently brought me to tears. CBS Evening News covered a human chain made up of thirty people who were rescuing five beachgoers from a riptide in Bloomington Point Beach, P. The five swimmers were enjoying the afternoon in the water when suddenly the rip yanked their footing our from under them and pulled them quickly and without warning into deep water. The swimmers could have drowned, but bystanders linked their arms, formed a long line, and after nearly an hour, managed to pull every one of them to safety. Strangers and friends pulled together, connected arm by arm, and found the strength to rescue all those people. Imagine a world where this loving, thoughtful, intuitive, innovative, and powerful force was used to solve all of our problems. Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you'll find one at the end of your arm . As you grow older you will discover that you have two hands. One for helping yourself, the other for helping others.

Second, they are transient. The mystical experience rarely lasts more than a few hours, and is often much shorter than that. The characteristic feeling of depth and importance--or of the divine, as the case may be--flows into and out of the person. James suggests that the next two characteristics are particularly important. Mystical states, he points out, are ineffable. It is difficult if not impossible to capture the subjective feeling in words and fully do it justice. It follows from this, James writes, that its quality must be directly experienced; Finally, they are noetic--that is, they impart knowledge and wisdom. They are states of insight into depths of truth unplumbed by the discursive intellect, as James writes: They are illuminations, revelations, full of significance and importance, all inarticulate though they remain; The meaning we derive from the experience stays with us, often for our entire lives. I had the sense that this was true for everyone when they went through the door of fear. Approaching a barbed-wire fence, the mind feared physical pain or injury from the possibility of the barbs piercing my flesh. So, using my body weight, I pressed the center of each palm as hard as I could directly into its very own barb. The mind feared judgment from people passing by. I lingered and smiled happily, looking at a couple walking on a path just next to me. They smiled back. My smile grew wider. When I had finished, I looked at my palms. There were no punctures. Inspecting the barbs closely, I saw that they had rusted over.

Our Boundaries Are Not Clear (at all. We may have difficulty to perceive the boundaries between ourselves and the others. In the codependent relationship, the concept of boundaries is confused and ambiguous. When we accept that we are happy about the joy of others, we are sad for the unhappiness of others, and we are worried about the problems of others, we use our energies for others to receive attention, recognition, and security in return. Well, at that very moment we are accepting that the boundaries between us and the others are not only unclear, but they must not be clear at all. In fact, according to the codependent logic, the boundaries between ourselves and others seem to be counterproductive. Establishing a clear boundary where we finish and start would undermine almost all the behaviors of codependents. Setting boundaries means putting an interference in the perception of other people's feelings, their emotions, and, not less important, their intentions. Losing contact with the important intentions of others prevents us from perceiving beforehand their intention to abandon us. In the same way, boundaries would prevent us from enjoying all those positive aspects that we saw very well in others, but we cannot see in ourselves. My friend Maureen was ready to retire, but didn't want to stop working. She wanted to do work that mattered, that made a difference, so she started an organization called Our Journey. Asking friends and family to give what they could, she raised enough money to travel to and live in South Africa for a year while working in an orphanage with babies with AIDS or HIV. Most of the little ones are without parents, and most are without hope. Maureen provides both parenting and optimism to those precious children. Her online journal connects her to friends and supporters, helping to keep us on our journey together. I don't think you ever stop giving. I really don't. I think it's an ongoing process. And it's not just about being able to write a check.

During transcendent states, two remarkable things happen. According to psychologist David Yaden of the University of Pennsylvania, an expert on transcendence, first, our sense of self washes away along with all of its petty concerns and desires. We then feel deeply connected to other people and everything else that exists in the world. The result is that our anxieties about existence and death evaporate, and life finally seems, for a moment, to make sense--which leaves us with a sense of peace and well-being. In recent years, scientists have begun to study the emotional response to mystery, which they refer to as awe. We feel awe when we perceive something so grand and vast that we cannot comprehend it, like a magnificent vista, an exquisite piece of music, an act of extraordinary generosity, or the divine. As the eighteenth-century philosopher Adam Smith wrote, awe occurs when something quite new and singular is presented and memory cannot, from all its stores, cast up any image that nearly resembles this strange appearance. In other words, awe challenges the mental models that we use to make sense of the world. Our mind must then update those models to accommodate what we have just experienced. This helps explain why encounters with mystery and transcendence are so transformative--they change the way we understand the universe and our place in it. Another victory! One after the other, I observed the fears and put them to the test. A quiet fear of being bitten by bugs lay just underneath a slight annoyance of bugs biting me. I stood still, arms wide open, allowing a swarm of what felt like hundreds of tiny bugs to bite my exposed skin. The fear of inconveniencing others was addressed by my lying down on the hot sand at the entrance of a desert labyrinth. The fear of appearing crazy was treated by tromping through desert brush in the presence of others. Getting scraped up, bleeding, looking like a fool--whatever fear came to mind, literally, whatever fear came from the mind, I did it. Each time, I became freer. It seemed that the fears were coming to mind more and more slowly. The silent, in-between space--where there were no offerings from the mind--was exquisite, perfect.

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