shadow days

“This guy looks like he is up to no good,” Zimmerman said on the 911 tape.

Please tell me, what would be the innocent way to walk down the street with an iced tea and some Skittles? Hint: For black men, that’s a trick question.

-Eugene Robinson {source}

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These past few days have been crazy. I don’t know what’s going on so I can’t say. Hopefully I will have clarity soon.

I just wanted to blog about this great book I’m currently reading: The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom No, it isn’t a self help book. It is about the philosophy of this thing called happiness. I recommend it to psychology geeks as well as philosophy lovers. The author is a professor at the University of VA. I would love to take his psych class.

There is so much in this book and I’m only about 60% through. The author covers religion as it relates to life in general. At first I was thinking, “Oh NOEZ! not religion” but it only adds to the book. I follow Buddhism closely. And the one thing I have a big problem with is the whole non attachment thing. Am I really expected to live completely without attachments? Well the author pretty much agrees with me.

The major downer is the whole “You need people” thing. Huh? People? Don’t they suck? (me included). I get it but every time I read the numerous OBVIOUS studies on this, I think, well I should just kill myself. But I really like sports, music, current events (except vigilante events) and books. I can live for that. Then I will kill myself and prove all you people right.

Oops! Tangent. Where was I? The book. This review says it all:

The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, lamented St. Paul, and this engrossing scientific interpretation of traditional lore backs him up with hard data. Citing Plato, Buddha and modern brain science, psychologist Haidt notes the mind is like an “elephant” of automatic desires and impulses atop which conscious intention is an ineffectual “rider.” Haidt sifts Eastern and Western religious and philosophical traditions for other nuggets of wisdom to substantiate—and sometimes critique—with the findings of neurology and cognitive psychology. The Buddhist-Stoic injunction to cast off worldly attachments in pursuit of happiness, for example, is backed up by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s studies into pleasure. And Nietzsche’s contention that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger is considered against research into post-traumatic growth. An exponent of the “positive psychology” movement, Haidt also offers practical advice on finding happiness and meaning. Riches don’t matter much, he observes, but close relationships, quiet surroundings and short commutes help a lot, while meditation, cognitive psychotherapy and Prozac are equally valid remedies for constitutional unhappiness. Haidt sometimes seems reductionist, but his is an erudite, fluently written, stimulating reassessment of age-old issues.

Awesome, awesome book. I would think professors would assign this to their psych majors. It is a nice intro to psychology and philosophy.

My favorite passage so far is:

Buddhism and Stoicism teach that striving for external goods, or to make the world conform to your wishes, is always striving after wind. Happiness can only be found within, by breaking attachments to external things and cultivating an attitude of acceptance.

Yep, it can be a self help book too. 🙂 I can’t say enough about this book. I have “highlighted” many passages to keep. (It is a library book from the Kindle library).

I could be coherent if I weren’t so damn tired. Long day. Read the book!

Thou shall not worship

I have so many things I haven’t been blogging about it. I guess I should just begin at today instead of going back.

I had my first taste of eggnog. I don’t know if this is only a Christmas thing or Thanksgiving and Xmas but um, I like. That may be the only thing good about the holidays? Why do people act like you can only get it near this time of year? Surely that can’t be true, can it? Anyhow, I only had a very little since it was my mom’s. I may be buying my own bottle. 🙂

On a message board someone asked, “Why do you hate the holidays”? Most people said because of family obligations. God, I would hate that too. I don’t do any family stuff (besides exchanging gifts with the immediate family). I think the main reason why I dislike this time of year is the crowds. I can escape the mall crowds by not going to the mall but even the grocery store gets more crowded. Other than that I just put the holidays on IGNORE. Or at least I try. I really hate New Year’s too for different reasons. I won’t get into that now…

In good news, the lady who placed the $125 Avon order, ordered again ($98 this time!). And she plans to order again. It is good news because I thought I really fucked up. I think she just really likes Avon and can’t find another rep. That’s the spirit. I guess I’m just thankful that her order is covering costs. She helps me not lose money when ordering brochures.
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On Monday my coworker invited me to church (AGAIN). I used the football excuse last time so this time I just went. It was on a Friday night. And most Fridays nights I just do homework and laundry so I don’t feel like I’m losing too much time. But this is so inauthentic (and uh, I missed a really cool Veteran’s Day college Bball game). I feel this conflict within me but am I really losing anything? I felt resentful afterwards as I was walking to the parking lot. This is partly due to me messing up by leaving my cell phone at home. So when I got to the church we couldn’t meet up! UGH. I thought about leaving early several times. But I was in the middle of the row and even though others did it, I didn’t feel comfortable making people get up.

Christianity and what I believe do have things in common, of course. BUT THERE IS A HUGE DIFFERENCE. Um, I don’t believe in worshiping a god. Yep, that is kinda huge. No one will ever be able to convert me because I just don’t believe in that little part of Christianity. I listen to the sermons and 90% of it is about worshiping so WTF am I doing there?

Generally Buddhism does not believe in a personal God or a divine being, it does not have worship, praying to, or praising of a divine being (although some sects do.) It offers no form of redemption, forgiveness, no heavenly hope, or a final judgment to those practicing its system. Buddhism is a moral philosophy, an ethical way to live for the here and now of this world to gain the ultimate state. It has more in common with humanism and atheism than its original religion Hinduism it separated from. But Buddhism is not atheism just because they don’t believe in a personal God. It is more like pantheism, there is a impersonal force the void which is the ultimate.

source
If we ever did something outside the church, I think I am ready to tell her that I don’t believe in worshiping a god. I will use Buddhism as my belief system (which is true…but I’m not a practicing Buddhist). I don’t want to bring it up at work because then everyone will hear. When I rarely talk at work it feels like public speaking because everyone can hear what you say. Recently we had to move our desks closer to one another. GAG. That is actually causing me a lot of grief right now but that is a whole ‘nother entry.

Anyway, I think I feel okay with saying, “I just don’t believe in worshiping a god”. I just need a chance to say it…She did say long ago that she did not want to offend me. SIGH. I’m not offended. I watch Christian programs from time to time. It’s not like there are a ton of eastern religious stuff on where I live. But it is different to go out of one’s way to go to a church when one does not believe.

I did listen to the sermon and once again I got the same message: I SHOULD QUIT MY JOB. haha. I always seem to get that message. Too bad I have nothing (skills, people etc.) to fall back on. Bummer. That will not be happening. Plus I’m hoping I will be working from home soon. Patience. Just hang on. This is hard. Struggling. lol.

The whole thing was really socially awkward. I was sitting by myself in a church. I took a beta blocker before to calm my nerves and I did notice that I was able to relax my face more but as soon as a person looked at me, I would tense up. Sigh.

I have a ton to do today. Gotta go.

nothing left to lose

I wish I would just die. What is the point of living? What is the point of living without being happy? I’ve been asking these questions since…forever. I know no one is happy all the time.

Sorry. I just think it is really dumb to live unhappily. Yes that means I’m being mega dumb. But give me points for trying to kill myself and I have tried to make my life better but being neurotic and having social anxiety and other maladies doesn’t help. At all.

I hear people say they are willing to die for freedom in Egypt*. I ask, “Hmmm, why? If you are dead, how are you going to know if you are dying for freedom? Don’t you want to enjoy the freedom? And do you really believe that a new regime = freedom?” But at least they stand for something. And why not die for what they think will happen. Perhaps their actions will help a future generation. I’m not that optimistic so….

*Of course this happens in every country.

Buddhism answers my questions. Sort of.

It is natural for the immature to harm others.
Getting angry with them is like resenting a fire for burning.

Why do I get so angry when they taunt/bait me? WHY? Well I guess I can answer that. It is because I feel as though I’m being punished for being a quiet, socially anxious, shy, loner. THAT IS ALL I AM — TO THEM. WHY SHOULD I BE PUNISHED FOR THAT? Dude, I have (and many others) have lost jobs over this shit. How can someone not be depressed when 89.5% of the world is against. Okay it is more like 98%.

I’M MAD AT YOU FOR TREATING ME LIKE THIS.

This does not mean that one should never take action against aggression or injustice! Instead, one should try to develop an inner calmness and insight to deal with these situations in an appropriate way. We all know that anger and aggression give rise to anger and aggression. One could say that there are three ways to get rid of anger: kill the opponent, kill yourself or kill the anger – which one makes most sense to you?

I’m the scapegoat. Can someone who has been in my situation (most likely a loner) tell me how to get through day to day? Please be neurotic too. Thanks.

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.

The destructive effects of hatred are very visible, very obvious and immediate. For example, when a strong or forceful thought of hatred arises, at that very instant it overwhelms one totally and destroys one’s peace and presence of mind. When that hateful thought is harboured inside, it makes one feel tense and uptight, and can cause loss of appetite, leading to loss of sleep, and so forth.

yes, yes, yes. now get into my mind and cure it. :/

Of course I’m not just angry. Today I was. Thank god I wasn’t PMSing today. It would have been worse. Every thought, feeling, & action would have been exaggerated. I would probably be thinking of quitting my job. I would be thinking extreme thoughts.

I shall post about my sadness another day. My cat wants to annoy me bond.

(all the quotes are buddhists quotes. Some straight from the the Buddha).

OK, It’s Alright with Me

Woohoo! I’m at home on a Saturday watching college football. No overtime today since I had a day off this week. In the past that would not have stopped me. I still would have worked overtime for regular pay. But now with office politics involved…I have to force myself to work OT. I am going to school in January. And I need money for possible car and house repairs. I’m in severe denial about repairs at the moment.

But I shouldn’t be home enjoying football. I have errands to run. I have almost no food in the fridge (that’s the norm). I have to go to the library. And my dad is coming tomorrow. *&%# I swear, I sooo don’t need anything extra going on but no one cares about how I FEEL so…whatever.

I was scanning a book by the Dalai Lama last night. One thing he said really resonated with me. I was about to accept that I hate JNx. LOL. Just accept it right? Anyway so I did. I wrote about how I hated her in my paper journal. Then I came across what the DL had to say:

Focusing on someone so much is like meditating on them.

Yuck! I don’t want to meditate on her. So hating her is out. Haha. People in love do it with their SO. It’s not just hatred. Anyhow being angry at someone can just be a habit. I try to be aware but with work stuff it is hard. JNx is doing stuff – daily so when it comes to her, I can’t just say “That’s in the past”. Because she does it every day. Sometimes it may be only a couple of times a day (heh) and sometimes it is once an hour.

I’m working through all this. All I know is that I no longer will have her in my mind long enough to hate her.

From this moment onwards
Until I attain enlightment
I shall not harbor harmful thoughts,
Anger, avarice, or envy.

-Shantideva

I’m not a Buddhist but I’m so grateful for this um, practice (?) for saving me. I had another bad Friday. Now I’m working on impermanence and as of last night NOT meditating on anyone.

————
I ordered two of my books for school last night! I was so OCD about it. I’m not exaggerating. I was and am still worried that I brought the wrong books. I must have checked 10 times and I’m still unsure. I brought them used (even though new was just $10 more) so it’s not like I will be able to return them if I find out in 4 weeks, I ordered the wrong books. Eventually I just had to click purchase.

Anyone who thinks textbooks are expensive just needs to buy them at Amazon. Even the new books are always cheaper than the school bookstore. I brought two books for $80. I used to pay that much for one book when I was at the university (back in 2001 – heh). I really hope no one is wasting money by buying them for more from the college. Trust me, new or used: It is cheaper at Amazon!

I couldn’t buy all my books because some teachers haven’t said what book they are using. Besides I don’t know if I’m taking 3 classes or 4. It sorta depends on what happens with any repair stuff.

Oh well, it is cool in my house. I can hear the wind blowing outside. Yeah, I really want to go out today. Am I the only person who doesn’t go out when it is cold (57 degrees – haha) unless it is necessary?

exploring Buddhism: 1st truth

So I was supposed to be exploring Buddhism in this blog last month. I’ll start now. May is usually my favorite month but this month will be one of the busiest. New York is one thing. The most stressful will be preparing m bedroom for a certain person who will come in early June. I’m still not happy  about this but I can’t let it take away any possible future joy. (going to see John Mayer in concert in July!!! – he is on my top 3 to see in concert list. How exciting. And I somehow got awesome seats online with a dial up connection. It pays to only order ONE ticket, I guess. woohoo!) I have to turn my storage room into a livable room. There are so many other issues too. It just sucks.

I’m starting school in late May. Trying to sell next week (no rain please). Work stuff. ::sigh:: etc. Too much. My stomach is now upset after typing this. This is why I can’t even *think* about it. I just want to crawl up and die or hibernate or runaway……..

———–

Buddhism. The first noble truth is really simple and I don’t have much to add to it:

What is the First Noble Truth?

The first truth is that life is suffering i.e., life includes pain, getting old, disease, and ultimately death. We also endure psychological suffering like loneliness frustration, fear, embarrassment, disappointment and anger. This is an irrefutable fact that cannot be denied. It is realistic rather than pessimistic because pessimism is expecting things to be bad. lnstead, Buddhism explains how suffering can be avoided and how we can be truly happy.

source

Um, I agree. This is what drew me to Buddhism. It is just the truth (for me). Of course the tough part is avoiding suffering. That will be explored more later with the other truths. It involves letting go. This quote further explains sufferring:

Suffering is a big word in Buddhist thought. It is a key term and it should be thoroughly understood. The Pali word is dukkha, and it does not just mean the agony of the body. It means that deep subtle sense of unsatisfactoriness which is a part of every mind moment and which results directly from the mental treadmill. The essence of life is suffering, said the Buddha. At first glance this seems exceedingly morbid and pessimistic. It even seems untrue. After all, there are plenty of times when we are happy. Aren’t there. No, there are not. It just seems that way. Take any moment when you feel really fulfilled and examine it closely. Down under the joy, you will find that subtle, all-pervasive undercurrent of tension, that no matter how great this moment is, it is going to end. No matter how much you just gained, you are either going to lose some of it or spend the rest of your days guarding what you have got and scheming how to get more. And in the end, you are going to die. In the end, you lose everything. It is all transitory.

-Henepola Gunaratana

So there really isn’t happiness. I don’t even know what that  word means. I’m just glad I’m not trying to attain it. One less thing to worry about.

Now I’m in survival mode. Get up. Go to work. Try not to have a nervous breakdown. Repeat. But I have other stuff going on too. A lot of things I should be doing are not happening.

Crisis mode. survival mode. This week will be a tough test.

Btw, I’m not a Buddhist.

scarred

And doesn’t that sound familiar? Doesn’t that hit too close to home?
Doesn’t that make you shiver; the way things could have gone?
And doesn’t it feel peculiar when everyone wants a little more?
And so that I do remember to never go that far,
Could you leave me with a scar?
Could you leave me with a scar?

-Missy Higgins

I’m depressed. At least I know why and it isn’t the restless/wtf is wrong with me depression. Both suck. I just like to have a reason. I still dream of death but I know I will keep moving (since my mom is alive).

I did get a lot accomplished at home today. Leaving work before 5 (or @ a lil after 6) makes a huge difference when it comes to traffic. I got home @ 5:15, drank some caffeine and got my clothing organized. yay! I just have to keep it up. I still need to throw more clothes away. But I always think, “hmmm, I could sleep in this”. I also finally put my cat food in the glass container. No more cat food bags sitting around. (exciting entry!) Now I need another glass container for the stray’s cat food. That’s another $15 but it must be done.

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Work. They know I had an emotional breakdown on Friday. Everyone knows…even the lady who used to order Avon from me, no longer orders. (she does not work in my department). That is a little relief because I don’t have to buy brochures 2x a month. I will buy 1x a month & save $$ and trees. However, part of me is hurt and rejected. Just a little.

I’m so lost when it comes to people. That is probably where most of the depression is coming from. I don’t want to delve deep in my paper journal because I don’t wanna cry over this shit again.

I wanted to blog about how I know I’m fucked up. I’ve been studying Buddhism for 5+ years. Of course I know I played my part in all this. I would have to be delusional to think that I’m just being slammed for NO reason.

FEAR is the cause of 75% of the mess that is my life. Fear is translated into anger. Example: I’m scared of people. So every silent message I send is a ‘hate’ sign. (There is only love or hate). That is why I get into these situations. Karma.

Why am I working on my social anxiety? Because social anxiety is ALL FEAR ALL THE TIME. I also think I have some autistic issues.

My point is that I’m very aware of the cycle. My coworkers think I’m not. And how would they know? There is one huge thing that bugs me about them. They keep saying, “I could deal with this.” or some version of that. OF COURSE YOU COULD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You don’t have:

  1. ZERO social support
  2. social anxiety
  3. depression (hopefully if they have it right now, they mask it well).

I could go on. But those are the major things…especially the first two. When you handle your problems all by yourselff because you have NO FRIENDS, call me back babe. Until then STFU about “I’ve dealt with stuff harder than this”.

please! the nerve…………

you blues

Hit the bottom and bounce back up.
The lowest low is only a beginning.
These are the words many people said to me.
But in a crowd you lose humanity.
Scared of the future that comes from the past.
When I think back I see that this could never last.

-you blues by Juliana Hatfield

I wanted to bitch and complain…and I just might. I wanted to talk about how my cat doesn’t get along with other cats and how I don’t judge her for it. Then I woke up, cleared my brain and I realized that my cat wasn’t a human being but still!

How about I just do the ending? Here goes:

When I have a bad experience around a group of people, I don’t want to be around them. Them = groups of people. This is why I’m never going to get a business off the ground because I’m always thinking, “I’m soooooo done with people.” Why would I want to go to a church filled with people after being around them for 40+ hours?? At this point I am still going to church in two weeks but I’m not looking forward to it. Cuz I’m done!

My life is a record on repeat. I’m sick of other people saying I don’t make them comfortable. ROFL. Welcome to my life. Sorry, you have to catch me on a good day for me to feel bad for you. Haha.

I have to go into my little story: I tried breathing and it backfired. Why can everyone else breathe but me? *whine* I just want to breathe! Why is everything I do misinterpreted? EVERYTHING! No, I will not try to make you feel comfortable by being, uh normal?? WTF is wrong with “them”? Do they seriously think I’m going out of my way to be ME? (tense, neurotic etc.)

::frustration::

Just let me breathe. Please. I’m done! DONE!

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Tiger Woods & Buddhism: It was always said that Tiger had such good concentration because his father would throw chairs while he was playing golf. Now I’m wondering if he is/was just a really good at meditation. I’m selfishly glad that he mentioned that he moved away from Buddhism during the last few (uh-huh) years. Tiger is so private and a control freak (takes one to know one) that he will probably never mention this tidbit again. I’m just really curious…and jealous.

I rarely hear any Westerns say “I’m Buddhist.” I assume it is common in the East. Most Westerns say, “I’m studying Buddhism”, right? If I can achieve Buddhism, I can do anything!

Gotta go. My cat is getting impatient and I have to go to the library. Then pancakes! woohoo. 😉