Spiritual Well-Being

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Bram
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Spiritual Well-Being

Post by Bram » Thu Sep 26, 2019 4:18 pm

What do you feel contributes to yours?

I asked a friend last night and he said: doing things that make other people feel good, reading, and creating something he's proud to share (he's an artist).

I asked a friend this morning and she said creativity.

With the physical it seems a bit clear: cardio, resistance training, nature, eating well, drinking water, etc.

But interested in what you all find works for your soul/spirit.
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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by Fat Cat » Thu Sep 26, 2019 6:30 pm

For me there's nothing like being out in natural areas, away from the built environment. That, reading a great deal of philosophic literature, and it may sound crazy, but listening to music. Not just any music, mind you, but that which elevates the senses, like so:



The thing they all have in common, for me, is to create a state of deep mental calm. Unharried and outside of time. You can't really access your highest psychic functions in a state of chronic allostatic load. One thing that people have become blind to is the stress-inducing, harassment architecture of the modern world.
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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by Sangoma » Thu Sep 26, 2019 10:03 pm

Buddhism. As the way to understand where all this mental anguish is coming from. Understanding leads to solutions. Happiness is the quality of the mind; change your mind - change your world.

Nature is definitely awesome. Everything created by men is a poor imitation of the Nature. Nature is where we belong.
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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by Bram » Fri Sep 27, 2019 12:11 am

Just to add a few more from people I asked today:

Good conversations
Interesting places
Water (being in it, being near it, drinking it)
Trying a new recipe that people enjoy
Nature
Balance (between work/play and all your various interests)
Yoga
Sleep

It's been surprising to hear the answers. A devout Catholic woman answered creativity, a dance teacher mentioned yoga....thanks for the thoughtful replies above :)
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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by Bram » Fri Sep 27, 2019 12:15 am

As for myself....

Friends - make me feel like my "self" is fully expressed
Family - make me feel more loving
Flow - gives a sense of joy. Specifically if I can weave one experience after another together: sunrise meditation, followed by surfing, followed by yoga, followed by reading, etc.
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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by Fat Cat » Fri Sep 27, 2019 12:37 am

When I think of spirituality, I think of it in terms of "the spirit of things" i.e., the essential qualities of a thing. For humans, the most essential qualities are those that arise from our biology, our fundamental characteristics. For that, things like being in nature, being with relatives, preparing food, etc. all share in that quality. When I answered your question, that's where I am coming from.

On the other hand, some people equate it more to a religious mindset which varies depending on the religious tradition. I would put things like meditation and yoga more in that category. "Spiritual" and "spirituality" are much abused terms. What do they mean to you?
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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by Bram » Fri Sep 27, 2019 3:02 am

Fat Cat wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 12:37 am
When I think of spirituality, I think of it in terms of "the spirit of things" i.e., the essential qualities of a thing. For humans, the most essential qualities are those that arise from our biology, our fundamental characteristics. For that, things like being in nature, being with relatives, preparing food, etc. all share in that quality. When I answered your question, that's where I am coming from.
I very much like this. Relating our biology to the need for nature and connection.
Fat Cat wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 12:37 am

On the other hand, some people equate it more to a religious mindset which varies depending on the religious tradition. I would put things like meditation and yoga more in that category. "Spiritual" and "spirituality" are much abused terms. What do they mean to you?
I suppose I was looking at it from a "mind, body, and soul" perspective. Mind would be reading and writing, learning, teaching, etc. Body would be food, exercise, sunshine. But the soul....I think it's very individual, though nature, creativity, and doing good for others seem to be common themes.

But I would fully assume that prayer, yoga, meditation, religious services, and so on, would fulfill both spiritual and soul work in a particular individual.

Spiritual/spirituality for me, if I'm attempting to define it, would be what ever brings joy. Laughter, helping someone, losing yourself to music, sometimes meditation, a great hug or sexual experience, deep conversation. I don't have a religion I subscribe to, but I love the idea of Taoism and Zen Buddhism with their emphasis on following the path of nature.

What does spiritual and spirituality mean to you?
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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by Sangoma » Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:54 am

My spirit calms down when Fat Cat say he agrees with what I write. Even if I know he is lying.
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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by Turdacious » Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:24 pm

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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by Fat Cat » Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:36 pm

Sangoma wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:54 am
My spirit calms down when Fat Cat say he agrees with what I write. Even if I know he is lying.
White Buddhists are gay LARPers!
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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by nafod » Sat Sep 28, 2019 12:47 pm

What do you feel contributes to yours?
Accomplishments leading to satisfaction. For example:
- walking, hiking, rucking, biking up any steep thing where I hit my limit, and then just sitting by myself in the woods or on top of a rock and enjoying the sweat and exhaustion. It’s the best.
- building something that works. Did I mention my pizza oven? I build kayaks too. They are art.
- solving hard intellectual problems that consume thought and require some change in perspective to solve

The best ones are the ones only I know about. I am wary of the effect of any sort of “social acclaim” tied to things. Easy to be dependent on it, but what happens when it is gone, or turns? Be your own ship with an internal compass.
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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by SubClaw » Sat Sep 28, 2019 2:35 pm

Being alone in the wilderness is the only thing that “fixes” me spiritually.

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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by newguy » Sat Dec 28, 2019 2:48 am

I'm re-looking at this thread because I am working on what I am thinking about for the upcoming year. I believe deeply in reflection, pondering, and then looking that the time period ahead and figuring out where am i going next, what do I want to do.

This next year there is a going to be a deeper focus on this sense of "spirit." I've lost something there and I need to reconnect with my own soul. I don't know what that means exactly but I know it is true.

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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by motherjuggs&speed » Sat Dec 28, 2019 8:55 am

Avoiding bad people. This includes cutting people out of your life before they get a chance to really hurt you. None of the people who hurt me (in my adult life at least) came as a complete surprise. This can be hard to do if this person has a lot of really good qualities but for me the emotional harm far outweighs the benefits. This is true even when it's "only" a few times and the person is otherwise great. In most cases it isn't remotely close. If it isn't right just be done with them. Get gone. As a wise man here said, good people don't do shitty things.

Avoiding self harm, physical as well as emotional. Everything harmful does harm, it all adds up. It's worth going through your daily routine and asking which things you do cause harm or are more risky than is needed. This one can be hard to do when depressed or stressed. For me when in a bad place I either think "I have to do something to distract from this pain I already feel" or "fuck it, I'm already fucked up". Don't do like me -- it all adds up and it isn't linear. There are tipping points where once you cross them you might not ever be who you were.

In line with the above, avoiding bad media, and I include almost all media in this actually. This is especially true with movies or shows made in about the last 20 years or so. There are many horrors I never would have thought of in a jillion years that were suddenly injected into my brain. This is true even in places where I wouldn't expect it at all.

Pron is worth it's own entry. Is a given source/topic life-affirming or life denying? I know about scratching certain dark itches but this is really harmful. I say if it doesn't make you feel light inside then get rid of it. There are some pics of stunningly beautiful girls that make me happy that god made them, and then there's 90% where I feel shitty about myself and humanity.

As mentioned above, doing a good piece of work. I think it also should be important to you. Legitimately important, not like some random thing that old people do to keep from sitting around all day but something you really find meaningful. For me it's my essays (and stories when I feel up to it). What did nature (or evolution), mean for you to do?

Reading good spiritual matter but this can be tricky. I've known a lot of hippies. lefties, new agers, etc., and one thing many of them get wrong is a sort of marinating in things spiritual without actually doing anything. I've made this mistake many times. For example, at a time when my life and my mind were barely hanging on I went on a weeklong camping trip and read Zen in the Art of Archery again. It's a decent book to read once. After that I think it's self indulgence. I don't believe we can intentionally fool ourselves very much. You do know, or at least sense, when you're engaging in empty or shadow spiritual pursuits. For me, a trip into the woods on an afternoon was once exactly what the doctor ordered. Now it's escapism and fake connection. I mean I loved the forest once but now I need something different. I don't know what would fill that same need but it isn't the wilderness these days. I would suggest recognizing when something that once did it no longer does.

However when something does still do it, let it in and enjoy it but try to avoid overdoing it. I mean there are some films, songs, books, etc. that I think did do me good to take in many times but at some point it may become stagnating. I would also watch the mindset here. There is one song I loved immediately and have ever since but I think it actually worsened my suicidal depression. Whereas there is probably no such thing as too much Young Frankenstein or Slap Shot. How does it make you feel? As with people, trust your true feelings, they are smarter than "you" are.

It's good, even essential, to feel connected and valued. I have no idea how to do this one but I can say losing the little bit of this that I had (or thought I did) has hurt a lot. If you have this and it doesn't hurt you, make sure you keep it. Make the effort to keep it. There is a guy I know, a relative of a friend, who I was nearly close with. I mean we got along great, we were simpatico right away, all I had to do was keep calling him. I didn't, for no reason at all, I just didn't. Don't do like me -- if there is something good make sure you develop and keep it.

Peace and quiet. And a certain amount of solitude. I suspect the need for solitude varies greatly among people but we all need way more peace and quiet.

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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by newguy » Sat Dec 28, 2019 8:22 pm

MJS -

That's a lot of good food for thought. I'm going to be thinking and reflecting on it for awhile.

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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by Sangoma » Sun Dec 29, 2019 2:02 am

Books are strange things. Book shelves in shops are bursting with "spiritual" titles - mindfulness, quasi Buddhist wisdom, Happiness for Dummies and what not. Dalai Lama, Deepak Chopra, Thich Nhat Hanh and whoever else. You can buy wisdom retail or wholesale, 20% off for orders $50 and over. Yet the most profound wisdom and guidance (fuck, I hate using words "spiritual" or "mindfulness") I happened to come across in books that are not meant to deliver it. One example - The Mansion by William Faulkner. I can't explain it, and it is a difficult read. Yet I keep coming back to it from time to time and keep getting hit by insights. I guess all classics do that to at least some extent, but some more than others. Leo Tolstoy and his War and Peace is another example. Obviously the list is going to be different for everyone.
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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by motherjuggs&speed » Sun Dec 29, 2019 5:57 am

I think it's related to how much went into the book. I can maybe explain what I mean by looking at knowledge from other domains. I think by far the most real life wisdom that's handed down from martial arts comes from boxing. Because bullshit is more costly and less useful. And that type of illusion-demolishing reality spills over. I've read all or nearly all of George Plimpton's participatory journalism books, and his best by far is Shadow Box. Because he got in the ring with Archie Moore. That experience cut through a lot of his usual ironic detachment. I think this applies for many self-help or pop psychology writers. When I see such a book i look at the author's CV. If it's by a practicing clinician I keep reading. Otherwise I prepare to bounce at the first sign of fluffery which usually doesn't take long.

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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by motherjuggs&speed » Mon Dec 30, 2019 2:13 pm

One thing I'm worried about in this space is that we don't know what "good" spiritual life looks like. Here's what I mean: In chess we now have hyper strong engines which play way better than the World Champion. When we run a game through Stockfish 10, we see that the historical players we hold in high regard actually did play really well. Not perfectly of course but we haven't all been crazy to think that Capablanca was great. In sports we know, through analytics, that some players were as great as we thought, in their time at least (Ruth, Mantle) some others weren't quite as good as their reputation and fame (Koufax), and some others, well, what were the old timers thinking (Pie Traynor). But in some domains we don't have objective evidence or clear standards. Even when there is clear evidence people still engage in all manner of deception but without it, how do we determine truth, or at least better quality?
Last edited by motherjuggs&speed on Mon Dec 30, 2019 3:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by motherjuggs&speed » Mon Dec 30, 2019 2:31 pm

I would add to my list above "getting good sleep". Obviously poor sleep impairs cognition enormously but for our purposes here we should look at the other ways insufficient sleep affects us. The amygdala becomes hyperactive and the areas of the brain which regulate emotion don't work as well as they should. So we can become more angry than we should be. We can also overreact in the opposite direction. For example I know how I am when I'm too tired or stressed which usually leads me to under-respond. This leads to greater stress and anger later, as well as causing injustice, in that I let people get away with things that they shouldn't get away with.

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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by Hanglow Joe » Mon Dec 30, 2019 6:25 pm

What has helped me spiritually is renaissance with Catholicism. Not the man made rules or the archaic teachings. Doing the rosary every day has helped me a great deal. It takes about 12-15 minutes and I can do it in the car in total silence if I squeezed for time.

I also feel great when I'm not drinking for a 2 weeks plus. But it is the holiday season and that has taken a back seat :drinkers:

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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by Bram » Mon Dec 30, 2019 8:34 pm

motherjuggs&speed wrote:
Mon Dec 30, 2019 2:13 pm
One thing I'm worried about in this space is that we don't know what "good" spiritual life looks like. Even when there is clear evidence people still engage in all manner of deception but without it, how do we determine truth, or at least better quality?
I'd imagine kindness and purpose are a reasonable place to start in looking at a "good spiritual life."

If any of you have Netflix, I recommend the episode with Jeong Kwan, she's a Buddhist nun chef, and she seems fulfilled. I'm not suggesting meditating 3 hours a day and living in a nunnery, but she does seem exceptionally happy and peaceful with her choices in life:

Be careful with your words, for someone will agree with them. Be careful of your conduct, for someone will imitate it.

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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by Fat Cat » Mon Dec 30, 2019 9:31 pm

I'll live in a nunnery.
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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by Sangoma » Mon Dec 30, 2019 9:45 pm

Fat Cat wrote:
Mon Dec 30, 2019 9:31 pm
I'll live in a nunnery.
Too much work. Imagine dealing with all that PMS for starters.
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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by newguy » Tue Dec 31, 2019 5:32 pm

Bram wrote:
Mon Dec 30, 2019 8:34 pm
motherjuggs&speed wrote:
Mon Dec 30, 2019 2:13 pm
One thing I'm worried about in this space is that we don't know what "good" spiritual life looks like. Even when there is clear evidence people still engage in all manner of deception but without it, how do we determine truth, or at least better quality?
I'd imagine kindness and purpose are a reasonable place to start in looking at a "good spiritual life."

If any of you have Netflix, I recommend the episode with Jeong Kwan, she's a Buddhist nun chef, and she seems fulfilled. I'm not suggesting meditating 3 hours a day and living in a nunnery, but she does seem exceptionally happy and peaceful with her choices in life:

And here lies a problem.....I don't know Jeong Kwan. I've never met her. You don't know here either. In fact, all we have is a highly edited snippet of her life. We don't know who edited it. We don't know what story they wanted to tell. Did they go in with an open mind? Did they have a preset agenda (yes they had a preset agenda).

Let's say we went into this nunnery and wanted to tell a different story. The absolute insanity of removing yourself from the world to serve a fantasy. And we filmed for a few days. Could we edit her life to tell our story? Maybe...Maybe not? Who knows.....

She seems happy. Maybe she is a fucking lunatic. She seems fulfilled. Maybe she is miserable. Who knows?

It reminds me of when the whatevers of Mother Teresa were released by her spiritual advisor and suddenly this saint looked like a person who deeply struggled and suffered with her choices. She didn't seem like this happy old lady helping the poor. She came off as a miserable old woman who regretted the path she took. And both can be true....

Same thing with Alan Watts. I read Alan Watts in my teens and twenties. He was a big influence on my thinking. Then the internet came out, I read about his life, and realized he was probably a miserable fucked up person. So what did this say about his writing? Maybe it was all bullshit.

I saw that with the Catholic saints.

Looking at Zen...another major influence on my thinking...you read about some of the zen priests, the famous ones...and it turns out they were drunk assholes all with the same fucking problems we have. They drank too much. They constantly fought over stupid bullshit. They ran in fear when soldiers came to take the temple.....

So what does any of it matter? Because it does matter.

It is a question that has been asked since we have been asking questions. What is a good life? What is my good life? What do I need to do to be able to sleep at night?

It also goes to something that Mama Jugg said.....how do we measure these things? How do we know? I think that matters a lot when we look to people to guide our own life and thinking....wait....the road you take has led you what? Do I want that? What life do I really want?

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Re: Spiritual Well-Being

Post by Bram » Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:41 pm

newguy wrote:
Tue Dec 31, 2019 5:32 pm

It is a question that has been asked since we have been asking questions. What is a good life? What is my good life? What do I need to do to be able to sleep at night?

It also goes to something that Mama Jugg said.....how do we measure these things? How do we know? I think that matters a lot when we look to people to guide our own life and thinking....wait....the road you take has led you what? Do I want that? What life do I really want?
Well, if you have Netflix I recommend watching the episode. All I could find from Netflix was that clip.

And I did offer:

kindness and purpose are a reasonable place to start in looking at a "good spiritual life."

----

If you're being kind to other people, spiritually I'd say you're better off than being an asshole.

If you have purpose, you're better off than aimlessly surviving.

I also like the quote "I don't take advice from people I wouldn't trade places with." If someone miserable is telling me how to be happy, or fat is telling me how to lose weight, or poor telling me how to be rich....their advice may not be worth much.
Be careful with your words, for someone will agree with them. Be careful of your conduct, for someone will imitate it.

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