Are You Living For Temporary Relief From Your Mind? (Part 2)

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Now that we have discussed how mental habits/addictions can have a tight grip on your life, I want to explain how you can free yourself from them for good.

Different forms of addiction have different aspects to them, but they all share one common core principle which is habit. Drug addictions have additional physical and biochemical aspects to them and mental/psychological addictions have additional security/identity aspects to them. If you were to give up a drug like heroin, you would experiences a lot more physical suffering and if you were to give up your ego, you would experience a loss of (false) identity.

You simply or not so simply as the case may be, have to give them up. You have to give up your ego and all of the mental patterns and cycles that you get a false sense of security from, just the same as you would have to give up drugs. We all know how you would give up drugs; you would have to stop taking them. It’s easy to know this as people are fully aware that they are taking them and they are also aware of how this is feeding their addiction and causing them to suffer. This doesn't mean it is easy to stop.

Unfortunately when it comes to mental addictions, people are mostly unaware of their presence in them. They often mistake their ego for who they are and would defend it. They would also deny without any thought or introspection, the possibility of even having egocentric mental patterns and habits running their lives. This happens because of a lack of awareness. The ego and these mental addictions cause vast amounts of suffering and conflict in people’s lives and if you want true inner-peace and freedom, you must be open to any possibility and willing to uncover parts of yourself that you don’t like. Anything you uncover that you don’t like about yourself isn't actually you; it would more than likely be a part of your ego that has formed through unconscious living. The uncovering of these patterns is the beginning of the end for them.

You must first work on expanding your awareness which allows you to see your mind as a separate entity to you and then with time you will become aware of its habitual patterns and how it goes about seeking temporary relief from what is basically itself.

You must then give them all up, which essentially means, stop feeding the habits. Drug habits are sustained through the consumption of the drug. Mental habits are sustained through feeding them with your focus/attention or by continuing acts such as gossiping that is feeding your ego, so to give them up; you have to cease fueling them through these methods. The cessation of any form of habit/addiction is going to cause uneasiness and fear to arise. Don’t fuel these feelings either with your attention. You have to allow whatever arises to arise freely while abstaining from focusing or putting your attention on it. These deeply ingrained patterns which were possibly a big part of your life will take time to lessen in intensity and fade away so you have to allow for that. You must ride this phase out just the same as someone experiencing withdrawal symptoms from drugs.

Familiarize yourself with the difference between awareness and attention. Awareness is the key to their dissipation and the unveiling of your true self.

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Beautiful thoughts! I found you in the MAP disord and decided to come check you out! I have some ideas I'd like to share about your post.

"The cessation of any form of habit/addiction is going to cause uneasiness and fear to arise. Don’t fuel these feelings either with your attention. You have to allow whatever arises to arise freely while abstaining from focusing or putting your attention on it."

"You can't 'do' a 'Don't"

I believe that all addictions stem from unmet needs attempting to be met by something that acts as a replacement. This is true from a biochemical addiction standpoint as it is in our physical actions. So, to say "don't do drugs" is literally the most ineffective strategy to prevent utilizing harmful substances, as it brings attention and awareness to what you "don't" want opposed to what it is that you're seeking (clarity of mind, drug-free, etc). So, it's a much more effective strategy (I believe) to instead focus on the positive outcome you're seeking. If you're wanting happiness, don't focus on not having bad thoughts, focus on having happy thoughts etc...

Also, just for fun, I believe the notion of 'giving up the ego' or 'killing the ego' stems from the ego, as another form of separating the whole being that we are and causing us to reject aspects of ourselves. Trying to 'kill the ego' is, in my opinion, an egotistical endeavour ;)

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I see what you are saying about the ego but I wouldn't consider the ego a part of ourselves. The ego that i refer to is a structure that has formed overtime to cover up our insecurities. What exactly would your definition of ego be in this context?

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I look at our spiritual body as being infinite, the 'true us' so to speak, the being behind the ego. I see the ego as a fraction of this infinity, a lens through which we relate to our world. This ego has many fractions and different "faces" for different forms of relating, all various aspects of the whole being in which we are. My goal is to expand a singular ego into being more whole (a quest that may or may not ever end), not to reject or kill various aspects of myself but to embrace and expand upon all aspects or 'egos'.

"The ego that i refer to is a structure that has formed overtime to cover up our insecurities. "

I would just call this biases, different words for different purposes. In which case I would wholly agree with you then on trying to rid us of biases :)

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Ya i think we are on the same wavelength, just a different way of explaining it.

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Perfect! Different ways of explaining things are how we see a larger whole :) Thanks for sharing!

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Good thoughts!

it is complicated in the things you explain because of two different sides but in one container of selfish lust of frugality of this problem need handling seriousness and very strong ties if not ????????? regards know from me

Hello!!!
Welcome to steemit.com I am @palmidrummer . Steemit community has the power to change our life if we simply upvote and follow each other. I joined steemit for a cause of helping my students.
Please follow and upvote me ( @palmidrummer )and I will do the same for you.
Thankyou, and please chek me previous post

Does addiction really stem from the ego? I don't really see the connection and I would say that many addictions or bad habits take hold because of other type of rewards, not just egocentric ones.

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My interpretation of what @conditionedminds is saying. I apologize if I am out of line or have misinterpreted.
@conditionedminds is not saying that addictions in general stem from ego but that specifically mental addictions stem from ego. For instance, fears often stem from ego which make them a form of mental addiction. If I say, "I am afraid of needles," then I am identifying with my fear and reinforcing its existence. My fear is a part of my identity which means that I have already concluded that in every situation that I am to receive a needle, I will be afraid. This is actually absurd when you think about it. How do I know that I will be afraid in a future moment? Well, because my mindset is in a future that does not exist holding on to an idea that I am attached to and that is a part of my identity. On the other hand, if I were about to receive a needle and were to say "I am experiencing fear in this moment." Then I am living in the moment and am not really identifying my "self" with that fear response. Furthermore, I would not continue to reinforce the concept of a fear being a part of "who I am." So what @conditionedminds is saying is that in order to break our addiction to this type of mindset we need to interrupt our habitual way of thinking by being aware. If we are aware of our ego then we can actually stop the identification of "self" with it simply by being in the moment.

As an example: Now that I am aware that I identify with my fear I can interrupt that identification before it takes place. I will no longer tell others or my self (via my internal dialogue) that I am afraid of needles. Eventually my identification with my fear will dissolve because I am no longer reinforcing its existence and I am no longer living in a future that does not exist. I am living in the moment.

Hopefully that made sense.

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@conditionedminds is not saying that addictions in general stem from ego but that specifically mental addictions stem from ego.

There isn't any real difference and I know he was talking about mental addictions and I disagree that they all stem from the ego. Some might, but surely many don't.

Your example with fear is not a very good one as phobias do not really come from your identity or ego, but are an irrational response from a pretty basic level that is not really rooted in identity or ego at all. Usually addictions are a hijacking of our reward systems by some form of stimulus and getting that pleasure again is often a really basic desire that exists independent of the ego and being cognicent of your ego and living in the moment is not really going to curb it.

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The principle of charity is attempting to understand the authors statements and considering their best form of interpretation. When the author uses terms like "all," I am sure they are making generalized statements to keep the post short. I doubt that they believe that every case can be explained by the ego and I am sure that we can all agree that many things are probably at work here.

I do not agree that physical addictions are the same as what we are referring to here, which is habitual thought processes that stem from the ego. I considered the comparison between physical and mental addictions to be an analogy personally (charity). Physical addiction involve very specific brain processes like the dopamine reward cycle, the release of endorphin's and things of that nature. Ego driven thought patterns involve the internal dialogue creating identity.

You do not like my example because it seems that you did not attempt to understand what was said. When it comes to fear there are three main things at work (generalizing - there may be more). Firstly, there is a bodily response: adrenaline, increased heart beat, changes in breathing etc. This response occurs to protect the organism so they can act quickly in the situation at hand. The second thing at play is the interpretation and labeling of the experience which occurs as a backward rationalization (IE I experienced fear in that moment). The third thing is the identification with the fear, "I am afraid of needles." The fear becomes a part of our identity. "I am" = identity.
There is no logical reason to ever say "I am afraid" unless we are conveying who we are. If a bear is chasing us through the woods I doubt we would be thinking "I am afraid of this bear right now." Instead we would just react in the moment, then interpret the body response through backwards rationalization, and then possibly identify with our interpretation.

This is getting too long to rehash the concept of living in the future and living in the moment, but the statement "I am afraid of needles" doesn't relate to a fear response in the moment, it relates to ego identification.

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The principle of charity is attempting to understand the authors statements and considering their best form of interpretation.

That's such a beautiful concept! :) I'll keep that in mind in the future. Still, I think the point of communication is understanding what the author meant and in platforms like Steemit where interaction is quite common, I guess it's always worth asking. But yeah, asking might have been a better way to go instead of starting with expressing disagreement.

Ego driven thought patterns involve the internal dialogue creating identity.

Aren't they likely to involve brain chemistry, too? They probably do, don't they?

This is getting too long to rehash the concept of living in the future and living in the moment, but the statement "I am afraid of needles" doesn't relate to a fear response in the moment, it relates to ego identification.

It doesn't mean your ego is feeding the fear though and it doesn't mean getting rid of the fear by acknowledging the ego component is likely to work as the ego is not the root cause of the fear. Same goes for addiction.

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I just think in a forum like this (social media platform) we need to be generous toward other's ideas and allow for things like generalizations and such since that is how people talk casually. These articles aren't primary research articles meant for peer reviewed journals where precise language is required.

Aren't they likely to involve brain chemistry, too? They probably do, don't they?

I think there is always going to be brain chemistry taking place. Neurons fire when we are thinking and neurotransmitters are released constantly when our brains are active. However, when we refer to the ego in this context, we are basically referring to ones internal dialogue - the ongoing conversation with our "self." Aside from knowing that neurons within our brain are firing, I do not think that we can identify a very specific brain process like those that are known to be involved in physical addictions. So I think we should simply consider the ego as a type of thinking.

Regarding your second statement. I want to clarify that I am not denouncing the bodily sensation that is associated with fear. I am pointing out how the concept of fear can become a part of ones identity. Individuals certainly have a fear response in a moment of danger, but other individuals identify with their fears and they become a part of who they are. So ego doesn't feed the fear (the actual body sensation or body response), it feeds the identification of "self" with the concept of fear. Saying "I am afraid of snakes" is not a fear response it is an identity, just like saying I am "leaky20" is an identity.

I think we are getting muddled here because we are comparing physical dimensions (IE. the fear response and physical addictions) to mental dimensions (the ego and thought processes). The two cannot really be compared cohesively, but they were never meant to be compared in this way. The bodily sensation associated with fear is irrelevant to what I am saying about the ego and physical addictions was originally meant to be an analogy to describe habitual thinking patterns.

Anyway, you seem to like to discuss things which is what I am all about so I'm going to follow you lol.

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sounds like you are a good candidate for @steemdeepthink

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ok I will check that out. thanks!

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Apologies, i was unaware of this conversation taking place as it didnt pop up in my replies. @leaky20 we are definitely on the same wave length when it comes to identifying with the mind and what it poduces. You interpreted the post exactly as it was meant.

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That's no problem
Yes I agree. It appears that we think alike :)
Followed

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Have you read part 1? Being addicted to feeding your ego is only one form of addiction, not the only. Drug addictions could start as one tries to block out feelings of unworthiness or as they try to fit in with their peers. Feelings of unworthiness are deluded in nature and are caused by unconscious beliefs that people have about themselves. They are learnt; people are not born with them. My aim is to help people become aware of these unconscious beliefs and see through their deluded nature.

The mental addictions that stem from the ego are ones such as gossiping that I mentioned to make oneself feel better. The cessation of this habit would allow for the insecurites that it was repressing to come up causing suffering. That is what makes it an addiction.

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If you meant some mental addictions instead of all mental addictions stem from ego, then I have indeed misunderstood you.

You may or may not be right, depending on how one interprets your article. I can only say that, in general, I dislike attempts to cure mental illness that are of the "blaming the victim" variety. You don't see that happening much when it comes to physical ailments, but it's common when it comes to "mental" ailments (that are equally physical). I'm more in line with Rieki's approach: do other things, change your routine, pick up a new hobby, eat well, exercise, find out the sources of unhappiness in your life, and take pills if you need to, hopefully temporarily. And meditation, as you've described it, might help too.

The above would apply to drugs and similar types of addiction. From the first part of this article I understand you're also talking about addictions of the "habits of thinking" type. Certainly (self)awareness, γνώθι σαυτόν, would go a long way toward curing those conditions, as well as just a general interest in learning new things about the outside world, that might pull our mind out of the rut.

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I wouldnt consider anything that I write about to be a mental illness, and I also wouldnt blame the person per see. It is the ignorance of our minds that we are born into that causes most if not all mental suffering. My aim is to build awareness on this issue and help educate and free people from this suffering. The addictions that i refer to are unconscious mental ones such as feeding your ego, feeding of egos makes people feel good and covers up their insecurites. If they were to stop; this would expose their insecurites causing them to suffer. That is what makes it an unconscious addiction. They would be unaware of this pattern in them yet it is influencing their lives. If they become aware, they can free themselves of the pattern (addiction) and also of the underlying insecurites that caused the pattern to develop in the first place.

I did also mention drug addictions as an example of how we can block out undesirable thoughts and feelings an as a comparison to other types of addictions but the main area that i focused on was unconscious mental addictions.

Also you mentioned finding out the source of unhappiness in ones life, that is exactly my aim. I personally belive that the source of unhappiness in ones life stems from the mind and their conditioning and awareness of this is what can set you free from it.

Thanks for the comment!

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It is the ignorance of our minds that we are born into that causes most if not all mental suffering.

As a person with no metaphysical beliefs (atheist, skeptic, materialist) I find it rather peculiar that ignorance just happens to be associated with suffering (and, I assume, knowledge to be associated with happiness or at least contentment or at least non-suffering). I would like to see people search for truth without being guided by pleasure and pain. So for instance, would the Buddhist be saying the exact same things without suffering to guide his beliefs? My philosophy of suspicion makes me suspect that there's a strain of hedonism running underneath Buddhist doctrine, and it makes the Buddhist trace all suffering back to some broken erroneous view of the world, because he so hates pain, that there's no way he can trace it to truth, he has to make pain a result of delusion, just like a person in love with his wife tries to explain away all indications of infidelity. My more pragmatic feeling says that knowledge could easily lead to suffering, or ignorance to bliss. In fact, my experience, and perhaps Western tradition, says that that's how things are most of the time! But, in general, I would say the two simply have nothing to do with each other.

I personally belive that the source of unhappiness in ones life stems from the mind and their conditioning and awareness of this is what can set you free from it.

Buddhists emphasize this internal source of suffering. Our Western tradition often emphasizes external sources of suffering. Both bring negative results if taken to an extreme. Buddhism, taken to an extreme, makes you complacent, unwilling to fight for your rights like feminists, for democracy, for the vote, for the 8-hour workday, etc.: everything if your own fault, you simply have to change the way you think. The Western tendency to blame everything on others also brings obvious detriments. I guess each instance has to be judged individually. But I'm generally all for a slimming down of the ego, that's for sure!

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I dont associate general ignorance with suffering, I associate ignorance towards the workings of the mind and our emotions with suffering. Ignorance is bliss, I couldnt agree more. Ignorance of suffering would certainly be bliss but what about the people that are suffering from things like depression and anxiety? They are not ignorant to suffering but are ignorant to how emotions are supposed to work, what they are for and how focusing on certain thoughts and feelings causes them to become habitual. Just like muscle memory, we have mind memory too.

I am not buddhist nor do I practice buddhism. The release of emotions causes a balance in our being. If someone had an imbalance of anger in them, they would be more than willing to fight for their rights. They would probably be out throwing petrol bombs and rioting. Being complacent is on the other side of the spectrum, it is also an imbalance that could be caused by blocking out your anger or being thought that feeling anger is wrong. If you experienced anger in a balaned manner, you wouldnt get taken over by it and become unconscious to it. You would feel it as a result of something that you dont think is right and consciously decide the most appropriate form of action to take.

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it makes the Buddhist trace all suffering back to some broken erroneous view of the world, because he so hates pain, that there's no way he can trace it to truth, he has to make pain a result of delusion, just like a person in love with his wife tries to explain away all indications of infidelity.

I can very much relate to this view of Buddhism. I've often had similar thoughts, however, having practiced vipassana (a form of meditation) I can say that the principles of buddhism have been very helpful to my mental wellbeing over the years.. the whole idea is to observe, not to blame oneself for the suffering. By observing sensations as they are not clinging or resisting, it allows the mind \ hearts healing process to go on as it should. Which can also assist quite a bit in transitioning from addicted states. Just observe, just observe :)/

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Exactly, we must allow ourselves to heal as opposed to getting involved in the goings on of the mind.

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True. I myself meditate (just 10 min a day, before bed!), and I love many aspects of Buddhism: basically all the aspects I see as philosophical rather than religious.

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well, as is the case with religions. it very quickly diverted from the practices that Gautama taught, because they were too hard :-D

Here is my take on it based upon my understanding of qabalah. There are three pillars in the tree of live in which the 10 spheres are organized. Middle Pillar is the pillar of equilibrium. Right side is related to "force" and the left side is related to form. so all of "god" and reality is divided between force form and equilibrium. without getting too much deeper than that, because it would require a lot of text and time, qabalists work with the positive and negative forces(in a polarity sort of way, masculin feminine ect) to work their way up back to the all, while learning how to master those forces. While buddhism as taught by gautema is a middle pillar religion where the intention is to work directly back to the divine without stopping about to play with the forces so much.

I hope that wasn't too general to make some sense of. I will have to blog about it sometime when I get around to it for easy reference.

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Yeah that's too airy for me. I practically need a definition for every single word you used! :P

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Ikr it's one of my interests that I need to write about in order to learn it enough to be conversant

The first article I wrote on steemit was about addiction. I learned from www.yourbrainonporn.com that addiction in general works the same way wherever it is found. The addictive behavior gives us a massive rush of dopamine. This in turn causes our brain to eliminate dopamine receptors. Hence the diminishing returns, and need for more to "get off".

One great way to get a dopamine boost, and increase your dopamine receptor density is through exercise. When recovering from addiction, exercise seems to be one of the best methods of increasing the amount of dopamine receptors, which increases our "base level" ability to feel good.

There are a lot of great links in the post below, if you care to check it out.

For me, steemit has been a great outlet for overcoming addiction, because it's a healthy way for me to get those bursts of dopamine, as I continue to develop myself as a writer. <3

@inquiringtimes - The Root of Addiction

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Thanks for sharing, il give it a look!