Dropping Packets

Because of their unpleasant themes, I’ve found “random thoughts” to be a problem. But, is their subject-matter the actual problem, or does the problem come from my conscious-mind’s tendency to focus on trash? Is my conscious-mind behaving like someone scanning the Internet, regularly enticed by click-bait headlines, readily reading the garbage contained within?

Or perhaps my conscious-mind is just too thorough, actively reading every detail, performing due diligence to ascertain which content is worthwhile? But in sorting through the muck & mire, maybe the poor thing is overwhelmed? Either way, my conscious-mind is not able to handle the drama and dissatisfaction that constantly comes from “random thoughts”.

I’ve been experimenting in meditation (as I often do) by having my conscious-mind “drop all packets”. This is a network-firewall reference in which anything attempting to connect doesn’t get rejected, the requests are simply sent into a “black hole” – nothing gets analyzed and no errors are returned, packets are just dropped into nothingness.

In other words: eyes closed, thoughts off. There’s no good or bad thoughts to evaluate: not a single one is processed. It’s a brute-force approach – if input is overburdening the system, dump it all. This gives my conscious-mind a break from sorting and reviewing all the nastiness coming in from “random thoughts”.

So now if I’m going through daily life and I notice an uptick in resource utilization e.g. apprehension, frustration, irritation – I set my conscious-mind to “drop all packets”. Obviously there’s a hack-in-progress, so incoming requests can’t be trusted. Things tend to normalize soon after.

Side note: I’ve been noticing some very specific, targeted attacks lately. For example, as I sat down in my meditation corner this afternoon, I noticed my several-year-old plant crawling with tiny spider-like things. I ended-up tossing it in a trash bag. And about a foot away, tiny ant-like things were crawling up the wall. Huh!? I did not end up meditating. Just a funny coincidence I suppose….

New Year Knew Me

Greetings dear diary, this is my first entry of the new year (2022). I had a decent Christmas season by the way: we’re living in a nice place, we decorated, we gave and received some quality presents, we ate some treats, and I’m back to my woodworking hobby – all good stuff.

I’m also back to doing three 15-minute meditation sessions per day (morning, afternoon, and night). I stopped during the holidays and noticed the difference. I’m really trying to rein in my mind this time. I’m sick of its antics and want to truly subdue it.

I fully recognize how my experience of existence is affected by my focus. If I allow my consciousness to focus on wandering thoughts, I’m overwhelmed with the sensation of drama and dissatisfaction. Whereas when my consciousness is restrained from following random thoughts, I experience sensations of tranquility and contentment.

The cause-and-effect is that simple. In meditation, I’ve been witnessing this direct correlation over and over. When I allow my mind to wander, I end up agitated – every time. And when I stop my mind from wandering and following all of its silly stories, I’m serene and satisfied.

So dear diary, that’s where I’m at right now. I’m hammering away at this point until my mind gets the message. Even if I had the best external experience possible, I couldn’t enjoy it with a critical and chaotic mind running rampant. My path is clear: mental discipline or bust.

Guardian of Tranquility

I am a Guardian of Tranquility. I guard my awareness from a wandering mind. External circumstances don’t matter, it could be raining fire, but at all times I’m protecting the conscious mind from an onslaught of thought. With rampant thoughts, my mind is overcome by drama and dissatisfaction. Without rampant thoughts, my mind experiences tranquility and contentment.

There’s no place to hide. Because the mind is always present, I’m already found. Thoughts will continue to lure and tempt no matter my position, I can’t run. Even if I locked myself in a closet, my attention-seeking mind would fabricate some sort of boogeyman. My only option is standing guard against chaotic thoughts that seek to invade and obtain my awareness.

I don’t try to alter my external surroundings to facilitate calm. It can’t be done. An unfettered mind will twist ANY situation into a turbulent storm of down-pouring unpleasantness. The only refuge is an inner-state of cultivated serenity. Such a condition requires dedicated practice and unwavering vigilance. Through regular meditation, I monitor my mind and steer a steady course.

In other words, I’m not attempting to subdue the world, the goal is to subdue my mind and soften my reactions. I’m not shutting out the world, I’m shutting out my thoughts – keeping my consciousness clear of poisonous pondering – guarding against thoughts that tarnish whatever they touch. And the reason I commit to this endeavor, is to improve my experience of existence.

External Enemies

No matter the form they took, be it bullies or bills – external enemies weren’t my actual adversary. My true enemy is the one residing within: the tormenting thoughts that never cease. Extreme stress didn’t come from actual events, it came from the surrounding thoughts. It’s obvious now: no matter the situation, seemingly good or bad, my thoughts found a way to inflict pain and dissatisfaction. Got a gift? “What’s wrong with it!?” Got a deadline? “You’ll never finish in time!!”

Those stupid, pestering thoughts. Vermin of the mind, running around spreading disease as they consume anything of value. What stops vermin is filling gaps, setting traps, and deploying predators. Don’t give “thoughts” space to roam free. Set the bait and watch as they emerge to nibble – notice the paths they take and the ways they react. Be the predator that pounces – in quiet meditation consume each thought as prey, one after another, powerless to your prowess.

I feel no sorrow for these “thoughts” that tricked me into believing I was surrounded by enemies on all sides. They hid in the shadows of the mind, accusing everything of malevolence, making me believe “thoughts” were my only refuge in a world of external evil. “Come, lose yourself in thought, we’re the only experience you need. Reject all that you see, trust in us as your source of nourishment.” What a fool I was, believing every word.

Thoughts are a fairytale, they reveal no truth – how could they? Thoughts reside in the mind, like a reclusive shut-in that complains of a world he only assumes exists. Assertive repetition makes him sound convincing, but his claims are pure fantasy. The formula is simple: is it a thought? Then it’s not true. Is it a thought? Then it’s a work of fiction. Is it a thought? Then it’s useless drivel – feel free to ignore. It’s a mistake to believe that thoughts represent truth.

Following Along

Do not follow the wandering mind.

Images and ideas pop into awareness like lures on a fishing hook. Take a bite and be whisked away, up through the surface and into an intense adventure. To experience tranquility, ignore the invitation.

But boredom must be avoided! So snap at every temptation! Intensity increases and anxiety accumulates! Eventually the condition becomes uncomfortable. Let go, detach – don’t follow.

The mind paints pictures and presents them into awareness, that’s what it does. Whether focus remains on those pictures, that’s what consciousness decides – that’s free-will at work.

The speed at which this unfocusing takes place is improved through practice. Meditation is one such exercise. Dedicate and apply effort towards unfocusing on thoughts. Lead by focusing on awareness.

Ignoring Problems

I was upset with the uncertainty of my living arrangements, so I ignored everything external and meditated for a couple months. Then all of a sudden I was presented with a new place to live and began wheeling boxes into a truck a couple days later – then I lost myself in the physicality of the process for a few weeks. Now, after finishing with the boxes, and moving into a “cozier” place, I feel more at ease.

My point is this: ignoring the problem worked. But the caveat is this: ignoring the problem was a full-time project. I meditated three times per day, I constantly wrestled my mind away from problem-related thoughts, and I stopped myself from trying to “fix” the problem via external means (which required me to maintain a faith in the dreamlike-nature of reality).

I suppose on the outside, it would look like I was depressed, just a guy sitting around all day not doing much. But on the inside, I was waging war against my mind. Instead of listening to all the antagonizing and pessimistic thoughts my mind could conjure, I fought back, whack-a-mole-ing every one down as it popped up. Then, like clouds clearing after a large and lingering storm, it was over.

But Rich, won’t ignoring a problem cause it to fester on the inside, eventually rupturing into an unmanageable mess? Not in my experience. From what I’ve seen, the problem just fades away and the original condition is replaced with something better. But like I said, the problem must be completely ignored in every way and at all times – which is not an easy task to accomplish.

Moved Again

Dear diary, it’s November 21, 2021. I recently moved. It was an in-town move, so not too tough. I moved a lot of stuff with a rental truck and a two-wheeled tilting hand-truck, but had movers for the furniture.

A little over three years ago, we showed-up one day after driving over a thousand miles – we needed a place to stay. Our prayers were answered when we found ourselves living in a 2-story top-floor condo. Financially, I only expected to live there for less than two years. Yet, we lasted over three. I’m not sure why, but we randomly received some checks in the mail. We seem to come into enough money to scrape by when needed.

Then all of a sudden, the owners of the condo (I was renting) wanted to sell. It was an investment-property that didn’t pan-out and they wanted to cut their losses. I barely have enough money to rent, let alone buy, so purchasing wasn’t an option – therefore, I started packing. We ended up staying another four months.

A guy bought it and said we could probably stay until the middle of next year. But very soon afterwards, he re-listed the property for sale. And soon after that, he told us we had to be out by the end of this year. Your classic “kicked out for the holidays” tale.

To be fair, I didn’t mind leaving – I had a significant portion of my stuff packed anyway. It was a nice place and I would’ve considered buying it if I had the resources, but I’m fine with something different. The new place is a bit smaller though, so fitting stuff in has been the real challenge. The entire dining room was packed with boxes for over a week – but it’s almost empty (closets and cabinets are full though).

Well, that’s what’s been going on dear diary: dealing with a limbo-like living situation, unsure about where to live and what would happen. I was quite dissatisfied. So what could I do when all I saw were external problems? Turn inward. “When surrounded by darkness, should you not seek a light?”

I meditated a lot. Three times per day, about twenty minutes each – morning, afternoon, evening. I wrestled my mind, trying to remain calm. Then one day my wife came home and said she toured a condo for rent – and here we are. It’s nice enough, not as spacious, but it gets the job done and probably fits our family better for now.

Strangled Entanglement

I’ve heard stories of people awakening to new perspectives after episodes of severe depression. Afterwards, they go on to tell of a silence. A certain voice is no longer present. Their minds are clear. They’re now at peace.

I think I’ve heard that particular inner-voice many times. In fact, it won’t shut up. It’s so pervasive and infectious that it incorporates itself into everything I think or do. It’s like a computer-virus, ceaselessly executing its code within my system, bogging down my resources with its buggy behavior.

So that seems to be a fact: there’s an inner-voice – parasitic perhaps, demonic maybe – that resides within the mind. But it also seems like there’s a possibility it can be silenced. But how? What’s the mechanism that must be applied?

Is it severe depression? Shutting down the body to such a degree that the voice gets bored and leaves? (or however it works). Maybe it’s simpler than that. I think creating a hostile environment could be part of the solution though.

To those ends, I’ve tried a lot of meditation in which I’ve purposefully worked towards unfocusing on my thoughts. I think it helped, but it’s a lot of effort and can be a real struggle. And if there’s a particularly invasive thought, then it can be near impossible to unfocus.

So I was sitting there trying to meditate one night. And I could readily see that my thoughts were the true cause of my discomfort and discontentment. No matter my external circumstances, these thoughts just piled on, constantly shoving insults in my face, and always inventing new ways of introducing distress.

I was getting frustrated with these invasive thoughts. They were an enemy, my abuser, actively attacking me from the inside. Slap after slap and then I snapped. I spiritually strangled the thoughts. I imagined a set of bluish energy-based hands grasping my bluish energy-based neck and I squeezed the life from those thoughts.

My mind got quiet. I sat there in silence for a bit. When you turn-off the TV, you’re left staring at a blank screen. Um, now what? Did I break something? Am I okay with this? Well, it’s better than the alternative. But how long will it last?

Basically, I went from passive-unfocusing to active-silencing and it worked. What years of meditation couldn’t do, a few seconds of assertiveness could. I suppose it’s like rebuking a demon: “Get back devil!” It didn’t last, but now I know such a space exists and can be reached. “If it bleeds, we can kill it.”

Managing Tantrums

I see that you’re upset. You’re frustrated. You’re frustrated because you want self-sustaining purchasing-power but you only have “just enough” money that comes in at an unpredictable rate. You really want to buy things like a dependable place to live and some tools (woodworking, fitness, and electronic). But it appears you’ll have to move soon and you won’t have a place to put anything. It appears that you don’t have enough money to purchase a dependable place to live or the tools you want. I know you really want enough money to purchase a dependable place to live and the tools you want. I’m sorry you can’t have those things right now, would you like to watch Season 2 of “One-Punch Man” on Hulu instead?

I’ve been monitoring the situation – the last few days have been fine. I should note that I’ve been meditating 3 times per day (morning, afternoon, night). I expect to be glowing from a serene state of enlightenment any minute now. Before clearing my mind of thoughts, I specifically have this thought:

I expect my thoughts and experiences to be comprised of playful anticipation, whimsical delight, lighthearted amusement, genuine appreciation, and an overall sense of satisfaction.

I’m telling my mind what I expect from it. It’s a big-boy now – can’t be having tantrums all the time.

I suppose I shouldn’t blame the juvenile aspects of my mind though. Personally, I’d like to have extreme stability so I can contemplate higher-minded stuff. I’m too low on the “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs” pyramid, it’s throwing me off. I’m not interested in the basics, gimme self-actualization and transcendence!

No offense, but you can’t put a guy that’s moved beyond physical reality into a situation that challenges his physical circumstances. I can’t invest in the premise. It’s like serving steak to a vegan – are you implying he’s just being fussy?

If life-experiences are like a food-serving conveyer-belt, I guess I’ll keep distracting myself until something better comes along – like brownies.

Going Home

Sitting down for meditation is like placing a bucket full of sloshing water on the floor and waiting until the ripples settle. In other words, you should expect some initial turbulence, some resistance to the calm. But after awhile the tiny waves diminish – unless disturbed by your own hand. Therefore, one must resist the temptation to stir the pot.

Don’t follow thoughts, keep focus on the breath, see the mottled formlessness within closed eyes. Remind yourself of the infinite absolute: “OM”. Say it silently as exhaling. Imagine you’re going home (‘ome), drifting through space, to the origin of all. Step back from physical existence, reset your perspective by visiting a realm of pure potential.

Meditation is the practice of mental discipline. When a thought remains in focus, remind yourself that no thought is more important than the practice of mental discipline – then unfocus from that thought. Something else to consider: meditation is a concentrated form of what should be occurring throughout the day. Actively apply the product of this practice while living within life’s physical form.

When practiced regularly, meditation should improve the everyday experience. It does so by increasing awareness of all those swirling thoughts within the mind. It’s these thoughts that cause so many problems, thus they must be pruned. Meditation enhances the ability to focus and unfocus attention on these thoughts – so when thoughts arise, they can be dismissed. With a clearer, more focused mind, life gets better.