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Posted by: ab ( )
Date: September 13, 2017 11:48AM

I teach weekly psychology classes as a volunteer at a max security prison here in Alabama. Prisoners yearn for freedom. I tell them that internal freedom trumps freedom from prison. My prison class members and my college student class members are much the same – lost in identification with their thoughts and perceptions – both believing they need something more to be at peace with the moment.

From Tolle -

“Most people spend their entire life imprisoned within the confines of their own thoughts. They never go beyond a narrow, mind-made, personalized sense of self that is conditioned by the past…

The stream of thinking has enormous momentum that can easily drag you along with it. Every thought pretends that it matters so much. It wants to draw your attention in completely…

The human mind, in its desire to know, understand, and control, mistakes its opinions and viewpoints for the truth. It says: this is how it is. You have to be larger than thought to realize that however you interpret "your life" or someone else's life or behavior, however you judge any situation, it is no more than a viewpoint, one of many possible perspectives. It is no more than a bundle of thoughts. But reality is one unified whole, in which all things are interwoven, where nothing exists in and by itself. Thinking fragments reality - it cuts it up into conceptual bits and pieces…

Dogmas - religious, political, scientific - arise out of the erroneous belief that thought can encapsulate reality or the truth. Dogmas are collective conceptual prisons. And the strange thing is that people love their prison cells because they give them a sense of security and a false sense of "I know."

Nothing has inflicted more suffering on humanity than its dogmas. It is true that every dogma crumbles sooner or later, because reality will eventually disclose its falseness; however, unless the basic delusion of it is seen for what it is, it will be replaced by others.

What is this basic delusion? Identification with thought.”
--Eckhart Tolle

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Posted by: paintingnotlogged ( )
Date: September 13, 2017 12:10PM

you know what, this sounds sort of like when Marie Antoinette stated when the peasants were starving "then ket tgem eat cake!"

its not very sensative / realistic to posit this when peoples human needs are not met, or in situational constraints in constant real risk of not having their human needs met

many a metaphysical moment may surely be had on the journey homeless during humanitys greatest savergy to survive

while it is probable that perhaps a monk or aesthetic /sp/ who chose that life, took a vow of poverty may explore inner constraints and release of ego states in search of religious ecstacy or expand human capacity. for humanity food matters thus money and housing matter just to be. even a monastic has their essential housing needs and base food even a blanket met at a monastary with certainty unlike folks in america without jobs, there is no sure future. a friend whose a nun has food housing stipend to pay all her bills beyond her service jobs pay anywhere she works all her life/ this is a secure safe hold to explore within.

you are asking very much of those imprisoned. perhaps some safe select few may be capable to totally dissociate from realitys harsh limits savage human tribal food and seating / needs & privelige rationing heiarchical violent tribal physical social prison physical imment threat to life security and serenity to think of ego needs
---- how did you manage that! is this a class or therapy? or a calling to lifes monastary (spiritual master to the student found in prison: you choose a hard school, and what have you learned in this lifetime)

does the tribal hiarchy behind bars hold some select few established tribal members securely in a secure safe hold sufficient and establish tangible safety so they can do this kind of work? thatd be beautiful. awful awesome and beautiful. almost unimaginable in those circumstances. so do you have that kind of access where you can that kind of work or just suggest its possibility?

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Posted by: ab ( )
Date: September 13, 2017 12:30PM

One individual in the prison class yesterday was able to elegantly express a deep sadness that he has been able to get in touch with over the weeks of the class through the journaling I have them do. I told him how good it was to be able to contact this sadness and that if he could hold the feeling with lots of love and compassion (not repress the feeling!) than a healing process could began to occur.

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Posted by: tremor ( )
Date: September 14, 2017 12:39AM

ab, my dogmas do keep me safe. I don't believe there's a powerful spirit or an afterlife, unless it's something like human thoughts becoming pure energy, and that is only a wisp of a fantasia. I don't fall prey to false hope, nor imagine those who harmed me suffering in a hell. That keeps me from vengeance.

I studied (on my own) for years about criminal behavior, because I had too much compassion for my predators. I had to learn that I deserved my anger, I deserved a justice I never received. I had to move through the muck and slime, filthy shame, aching pain for all that had been taken from me. I wept tears of bitter sorrow for the children I always wanted but could never have, now the grandchildren lost to the brutality visited upon me. If I stay there too long, it is a yawning, bottomless nothing, where there should be a cycle of love, of life. When I'm there, if I look in the mirror, I see a monster staring back at me.

My dogmas are only thought; they tell me I can recognize and avoid those who display this or that "bad" behavior, and I know that thoughts are not weapons, but I still wear them on my face, in my eyes. When my hackles raise, I am like the quiet German Shepherd in the corner, ready to defend my turf to the death.

My body healed in a partial fashion, I lack certain organs and my bones fray on the ends, but I am stout of spirit and heart, and know I would die for one weaker than I, because I have visited that place, and have considered the price of not going back, should needs be. My thoughts have brought me to a place where I am worthy of such a defence, and I will act on my own behalf.

My thoughts are neither faultless nor omniscient; I know that, but they are my only weapons. As I age, I'm aware that I am entering that group of favored prey for young and insecure predators, and it (forgive, please) really chaps my ass that those for whom I once had the greatest compassion are now those most likely to harm me.

Are my thoughts a prison? Most certainly, but I consider them to be necessary bars, for all concerned.

I thank you for visiting here; one of your posts was one of my first reads here, and you helped me to gain insight, a lure all its own. For me, every drop counts.

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Posted by: ab ( )
Date: September 14, 2017 09:10AM

My heart goes out to you as I hear of the trauma you experienced. Sometimes things happen that can overwhelm our ability accept and digest, leaving a deep mental scar. Have you heard this song? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDTph7mer3I
Society is so inept at knowing who should be in prison and for how long. The following is from http://www.alternet.org/drugs/tragedy-whitney-houston-and-her-daughter-surprising-factors-can-make-people-4600-percent-more
“A person who experienced any six or more of the categories” of childhood trauma, Dr Felitti tells me, “was 4600 percent more likely to become an IV [injecting] drug user later in life than a person who experienced none of them.” (2) He adds: “I remember the epidemologists at the CDC told me those were numbers a magnitude of which they see once in a career. You read the latest cancer scare of the week in the newspaper and something causes an increase of 30 percent in breast or prostate cancer and everybody goes nuts – and here, we’re talking 4600 percent.”
But why would this be? Further research by the British psychoanalyst Dr Sue Gerhardt advances an explanation. (4) When you were a baby, what happened when you were upset? If your mother soothed and reassured you, in time, you will have learned to soothe and reassure yourself. If, however, your mother responded to your pain by being hostile or angry or distressed – as chaotic addicts like Whitney Houston often do – you will not have learned to regulate your own feelings. You would then be much more likely to need to seek external soothing – and nothing stuns internal grief quite like chemicals, for a while.
Today, we have a criminal justice system that takes people who are addicted because they endured trauma, and we traumatize them more. We routinely put them in prison cells with no support, and where rape is a running punch-line in the popular culture. Dr Gabor Mate, one of the leading experts on this question, told me: “If I had to design a system that was intended to keep people addicted, I’d design exactly the system that we have right now.”

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Posted by: tremor ( )
Date: September 15, 2017 09:31AM

It's not that I have twisted my former compassion into contempt. I have had to neglect it as a means of survival. Even as a small child being abused, I could "see" and sense the pain of the abuser, more than I "worried" for myself. I've fought that impulse my entire adult life, until I learned "a little" about sociopaths and psychopaths, which I differentiate from addiction, though I know there are no such clear boundaries in humans.

My father experienced trauma as a child and youth, and meted it out to all members of the family he created. My mother experienced much the same, was not overtly violent, but stopped showing affection to her children when they began speaking. My father was a "secret" drinker, and a "legal" drug-seeker, and would swallow those until they were gone.

Maybe the reason I'm alive is that he self-monitored his addictions. It was like he behaved about TV. He would buy the best model available, then 3 - 6 months later, give it away, because all he did was watch TV and go to work. He would get a narcotic prescription, have it refilled several times, then stop for a while. Then later, do the same, my entire childhood. The violent, destructive rages, threats to kill the family, commit suicide, beatings - I could never attach a pattern to that, but could always feel it coming.

I don't know what brain anomalies caused it, but my reaction to fear was to "ignore" it. My mother used me to "calm him down," because I could walk into the middle of it, and talk to him in a normal voice, "talk him down." I don't think it was a "special" ability, rather, an extreme survival reaction - a shutting down of emotion. That suppressed fear commanded that I consider his feelings before my own,

That is the worst beast that followed me into adulthood, and it was (is) a danger to me. I had real love for my father, and I'm sure I don't have to say how that played out in adulthood, because it was entirely predictable.

I'm the second of four kids, m,f,f,f. 1 & 3 are dead of addiction, and 4 is on that path, though not as intensively, because she missed much of her childhood in a phenobarb and dilantin induced haze (car accident, grand mal six mos. later).

I don't know why or how I escaped, the self-math is too complex, but I know that the lack of fear made room for an unnatural empathy.

Leonard Cohen - I had heard the song before, but had never applied the prism, the one that breaks the obvious bright light into its many colors. So much more is there. Thank you.

I had never heard of the 4600% risk factor, and that's astonishing. I can see other survivors of SA, like they are wearing suits of armor, for a lot of years, having lost and regained my own, more than once. For me, losing the armor means exposing the empathy, the latter a thing beyond my hungry control, and that is the greater danger. Having written this, maybe I am not unique in that, which is good to think. We survivors fear not what may be done to us, but what we may allow to be done to us.

See what I mean about your posts? Maybe my bars can crack a little.

Anyway, I have long viewed addiction as an illness rather than a crime, and that the way the US fails to address mental illness can only leave me to believe that our lawmakers are heavily financially vested in "crime prevention," and the profits thereof. What "we" do to and with addicts and/or mentally ill people makes no sense, so I am left to follow the money. Lawmakers commit the greater crimes, and they're crimes against humanity.

Thanks again for - being you.

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