Environmental trigger

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alfa
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Location: India

Environmental trigger

Post by alfa » Wed Mar 21, 2018 4:44 am

Friends,

This is regarding how something out there might trigger something inside of us.

Let's say I go out and see a guy getting out of a fancy car. This triggers the following: Ten years ago, I squandered an opportunity. If I had taken that opportunity, I would be the guy getting out of the fancy car.

This thought immediately leads to depression, self-pity, regret, etc.

You wrestle with these emotions, suffer a lot, but eventually they fade. Life goes on ... until another day some other event triggers the same set of negative emotions. You go through the same cycle.

How do you deal with this?

Do you allow this process to take place, or do you curb it right at the start?

How does mindfulness work here - is it about merely observing this process or actively suppressing the the very first thought (that is being triggered by the event/environment)?

I think a discussion on this might be fruitful.

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Sam Vara
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Location: Sussex, U.K.

Re: Environmental trigger

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Mar 21, 2018 7:41 am

alfa wrote:
Wed Mar 21, 2018 4:44 am
Friends,

This is regarding how something out there might trigger something inside of us.

Let's say I go out and see a guy getting out of a fancy car. This triggers the following: Ten years ago, I squandered an opportunity. If I had taken that opportunity, I would be the guy getting out of the fancy car.

This thought immediately leads to depression, self-pity, regret, etc.

You wrestle with these emotions, suffer a lot, but eventually they fade. Life goes on ... until another day some other event triggers the same set of negative emotions. You go through the same cycle.

How do you deal with this?

Do you allow this process to take place, or do you curb it right at the start?

How does mindfulness work here - is it about merely observing this process or actively suppressing the the very first thought (that is being triggered by the event/environment)?

I think a discussion on this might be fruitful.
Yes, good post. I think it is definitely advisable to stop this process, and to do it as soon as possible. As to the means of stopping it, I have been taught a combination of suppression and investigation. (First, note that having identified the problem, one has already gained a big advantage; I suspect many people don't even appreciate that it is their thinking that runs them into problems.) Suppression works, in that one can simply force oneself to think about something else - something more vivid and attention-grabbing. Noting or observing that it is happening is useful, because if one is being aware of the process, then one is not actively engaged in it; one is merely watchnig the fire, rather than feeding it with fuel, which is more wholesome.

The best solution, however, is to look carefully at the process to see what it is, and to see through it. We might need to do this at a later occasion. For example, we can look at the object of lust (that thing outside which triggers the process) in the light of impermanence, suffering, and no-self. The car is a good example: how do we feel about the car on the irst day we get it? A week later? When we are stuck in traffic? When it needs a big expensive repair? When it is old and shabby, etc?. We can also look at our state of mind when the external object triggered the process. Had we not been a bit bored and restless, would we even have noticed it? A man getting out of a car is just a man getting out of a car. Why is it that we sometimes see it one way, and sometimes another?

There are many suttas that I have found helpful in this. One is this:
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
which has lots of ideas;and another, though many think it applies mainly to meditation, is this one. I think it applies here, so I use it in such situations:
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

Saengnapha
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Re: Environmental trigger

Post by Saengnapha » Wed Mar 21, 2018 9:21 am

alfa wrote:
Wed Mar 21, 2018 4:44 am
How do you deal with this?
Do you allow this process to take place, or do you curb it right at the start?
How does mindfulness work here - is it about merely observing this process or actively suppressing the the very first thought (that is being triggered by the event/environment)?
A lot depends on you and what you really want to achieve and why you want to achieve it. Suppression is a temporary relief of stressful activity. As you probably know already, the return of habits of thinking are not touched via suppression. There has to be some kind of reasoning process that you engage in about your own state. What I mean by 'state' is how you look at and feel about 'yourself'. You have to get to know about what you call yourself and how it relates to experience. Experience and yourself go together. There is not one without the other. Getting to know this 'me' is essential as this is what is interacting with experience, often identifying itself with desires of various kinds. In a sense, you have to see that you are not your experience, you are the observer of it. When this separation takes place, you begin to view your body, feelings, and mind, the same way, you are the observer of all this. This is what leads you into mindfulness and wisdom.

I am oversimplifying this and just trying to give you a general overview of this process. How interested you are in this, only you can know. It must become the only thing you are truly interested in if you want to get to the bottom of all this, otherwise, you will get distracted over and over and over again and probably give up the whole endeavor.

santa100
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Re: Environmental trigger

Post by santa100 » Wed Mar 21, 2018 2:10 pm

alfa wrote:Let's say I go out and see a guy getting out of a fancy car. This triggers the following: Ten years ago, I squandered an opportunity. If I had taken that opportunity, I would be the guy getting out of the fancy car.

This thought immediately leads to depression, self-pity, regret, etc.
Cultivating insight into the Three Characteristics of conditioned existence could help. The reason for depression, self-pity, regret, etc. to arise is because one automatically assumes that the guy with the fancy car is happier with his shiny toy. While it's undeniable that there's some initial elation at first, the law of the 3 Characteristics dictates that it will not last. In fact there're quite a lot of headaches accompanying any luxury pleasure: one has to spend much more money to maintain it, has to worry about it getting stolen, getting some tiny scratch or dent, etc. And eventually, as time goes by, the item will no longer be as beautiful and wonderful in his eyes as at the beginning. So evidently, a simple glimpse into the inherent nature of conditioned existence would automatically help one a lot in solving the many issues in life.

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altar
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Location: Great Barrington, MA

Re: Environmental trigger

Post by altar » Wed Mar 21, 2018 3:33 pm

i can sympathize.

i never had money issues so i have never envied the rich.

but i have made social mistakes in the past.
and frequently my mind returns to that moment. what if i had gone along with something instead of not?
and it is an ongoing thing.
at the moment my mind is fluid concerning such things. i let my mind go to them if thats what it wants but if it turns away i let it turn away.
is it because we do not know what is advantageous to ourselves that we dwell on the past?

Saengnapha
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Re: Environmental trigger

Post by Saengnapha » Wed Mar 21, 2018 3:47 pm

altar wrote:
Wed Mar 21, 2018 3:33 pm
i can sympathize.

i never had money issues so i have never envied the rich.

but i have made social mistakes in the past.
and frequently my mind returns to that moment. what if i had gone along with something instead of not?
and it is an ongoing thing.
at the moment my mind is fluid concerning such things. i let my mind go to them if thats what it wants but if it turns away i let it turn away.
is it because we do not know what is advantageous to ourselves that we dwell on the past?
Yes.

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altar
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Re: Environmental trigger

Post by altar » Wed Mar 21, 2018 3:49 pm

or is it because we feel the opportunity is still somewhere out there?

alfa
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Re: Environmental trigger

Post by alfa » Wed Mar 21, 2018 5:14 pm

altar wrote:
Wed Mar 21, 2018 3:33 pm
i can sympathize.

i never had money issues so i have never envied the rich.

but i have made social mistakes in the past.
and frequently my mind returns to that moment. what if i had gone along with something instead of not?
and it is an ongoing thing.
at the moment my mind is fluid concerning such things. i let my mind go to them if thats what it wants but if it turns away i let it turn away.
is it because we do not know what is advantageous to ourselves that we dwell on the past?
You met the girl of your dreams. But you did NOT pursue her and instead believed that someone better might come along. Now that a few years have passed, you regret not grabbing the opportunity (and the girl). Right? You keep wallowing in regret. The missed opportunity keeps you awake at night. Right?

binocular
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Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: Environmental trigger

Post by binocular » Wed Mar 21, 2018 6:27 pm

alfa wrote:
Wed Mar 21, 2018 4:44 am
This is regarding how something out there might trigger something inside of us.

Let's say I go out and see a guy getting out of a fancy car. This triggers the following: Ten years ago, I squandered an opportunity. If I had taken that opportunity, I would be the guy getting out of the fancy car.

This thought immediately leads to depression, self-pity, regret, etc.

You wrestle with these emotions, suffer a lot, but eventually they fade. Life goes on ... until another day some other event triggers the same set of negative emotions. You go through the same cycle.

How do you deal with this?
By taking active steps to prevent this from happening again in the future.

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Sam Vara
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Location: Sussex, U.K.

Re: Environmental trigger

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Mar 21, 2018 7:19 pm

binocular wrote:
Wed Mar 21, 2018 6:27 pm

By taking active steps to prevent this from happening again in the future.
:goodpost:

I like this:
“I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost... I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place.
But, it isn't my fault.
It still takes me a long time to get out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in. It's a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault. I get out immediately.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

I walk down another street.”

― Portia Nelson, There's a Hole in My Sidewalk: The Romance of Self-Discovery
(Providing it isn't taken too literally!)

binocular
Posts: 5447
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: Environmental trigger

Post by binocular » Wed Mar 21, 2018 7:33 pm

binocular wrote:
Wed Mar 21, 2018 6:27 pm
By taking active steps to prevent this from happening again in the future.
And by this I mean taking your notebook dedicated for making plans and thinking about things, figuring out what the problem is, making a plan how to solve it, and then figuring out what the individual actions should be, and writing those actions into your calendar/planner that you review every day, and then doing those actions.

rightviewftw
Posts: 1563
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2018 8:50 pm

Re: Environmental trigger

Post by rightviewftw » Fri Mar 23, 2018 9:22 pm

alfa wrote:
Wed Mar 21, 2018 4:44 am
How do you deal with this?

Do you allow this process to take place, or do you curb it right at the start?

How does mindfulness work here - is it about merely observing this process or actively suppressing the the very first thought (that is being triggered by the event/environment)?
This is the teaching you should study imho;
“‘The eighteen kinds of mental exploration should be understood.’ So it was said. And with reference to what was this said?

“On seeing a form with the eye, one explores a form productive of joy, one explores a form productive of grief, one explores a form productive of equanimity. On hearing a sound with the ear…On smelling an odor with the nose…On tasting a flavor with the tongue…On touching a tangible with the body…On cognizing a mind-object with the mind, one explores a mind-object productive of joy, one explores a mind-object productive of grief, one explores a mind-object productive of equanimity. Thus there are six kinds of exploration with joy, six kinds of exploration with grief, and six kinds of exploration with equanimity. So it was with reference to this that it was said: ‘The eighteen kinds of mental exploration should be understood.’

9. “‘The thirty-six positions of beings should be understood.’ So it was said. And with reference to what was this said? There are six kinds of joy based on the household life and six kinds of joy based on renunciation. There are six kinds of grief based on the household life and six kinds of grief based on renunciation. There are six kinds of equanimity based on the household life and six kinds of equanimity based on renunciation.

10. “Herein, what are the six kinds of joy based on the household life? When one regards as a gain the gain of forms cognizable by the eye that are wished for, desired, agreeable, gratifying, and associated with worldliness – or when one recalls what was formerly obtained that has passed, ceased, and changed – joy arises. Such joy as this is called joy based on the household life.

“When one regards as a gain the gain of sounds cognizable by the ear…the gain of odors cognizable by the nose…the gain of flavors cognizable by the tongue…the gain of tangibles cognizable by the body…the gain of mind-objects cognizable by the mind that are wished for, desired, agreeable, gratifying, and associated with worldliness – or when one recalls what was formerly obtained that has passed, ceased, and changed – joy arises. Such joy as this is called joy based on the household life. These are the six kinds of joy based on the household life.

11. “Herein, what are the six kinds of joy based on renunciation? When, by knowing the impermanence, change, fading away, and cessation of forms, one sees as it actually is with proper wisdom that forms both formerly and now are all impermanent, suffering, and subject to change, joy arises. Such joy as this is called joy based on renunciation.

“When, by knowing the impermanence, change, fading away, and cessation of sounds…of odors…of flavors…of tangibles…of mind-objects, one sees as it actually is with proper wisdom that mind-objects both formerly and now are all impermanent, suffering, and subject to change, joy arises. Such joy as this is called joy based on renunciation. These are the six kinds of joy based on renunciation.

12. “Herein, what are the six kinds of grief based on the household life? When one regards as a non-gain the non-gain of forms cognizable by the eye that are wished for, desired, agreeable, gratifying, and associated with worldliness – or when one recalls what was formerly not obtained that has passed, ceased, and changed – grief arises. Such grief as this is called grief based on the household life.

“When one regards as a non-gain the non-gain of sounds cognizable by the ear…the non-gain of odors cognizable by the nose…the non-gain of flavors cognizable by the tongue…the non-gain of tangibles cognizable by the body…the non-gain of mind-objects cognizable by the mind that are wished for, desired, agreeable, gratifying, and associated with worldliness – or when one recalls what was formerly not obtained that has passed, ceased, and changed – grief arises. Such grief as this is called grief based on the household life. These are the six kinds of grief based on the household life.

13. “Herein, what are the six kinds of grief based on renunciation? When, by knowing the impermanence, change, fading away, and cessation of forms, one sees as it actually is with proper wisdom that forms both formerly and now are all impermanent, suffering, and subject to change, one generates a longing for the supreme liberations thus: ‘When shall I enter upon and abide in that base that the noble ones now enter upon and abide in?’ In one who generates thus a longing for the supreme liberations, grief arises with that longing as condition. Such grief as this is called grief based on renunciation.

“When, by knowing the impermanence, change, fading away, and cessation of sounds…of odors…of flavors…of tangibles…of mind-objects, one sees as it actually is with proper wisdom that mind-objects both formerly and now are all impermanent, suffering, and subject to change, one generates a longing for the supreme liberations thus: ‘When shall I enter upon and abide in that base that the noble ones now enter upon and abide in?’ In one who generates thus a longing for the supreme liberations, grief arises with that longing as condition. Such grief as this is called grief based on renunciation. These are the six kinds of grief based on renunciation.

14. “Herein, what are the six kinds of equanimity based on the household life? On seeing a form with the eye, equanimity arises in a foolish infatuated ordinary person, in an untaught ordinary person who has not conquered his limitations or conquered the results [of action] and who is blind to danger. Such equanimity as this does not transcend the form; that is why it is called equanimity based on the household life.

“On hearing a sound with the ear…On smelling an odor with the nose…On tasting a flavor with the tongue…On touching a tangible with the body…On cognizing a mind-object with the mind, equanimity arises in a foolish infatuated ordinary person, in an untaught ordinary person who has not conquered his limitations or conquered the results [of action] and who is blind to danger. Such equanimity as this does not transcend the mind-object; that is why it is called equanimity based on the household life. These are the six kinds of equanimity based on the household life.

15. “Herein, what are the six kinds of equanimity based on renunciation? When, by knowing the impermanence, change, fading away, and cessation of forms, one sees as it actually is with proper wisdom that forms both formerly and now are all impermanent, suffering, and subject to change, equanimity arises. Such equanimity as this transcends the form; that is why it is called equanimity based on renunciation.

“When, by knowing the impermanence, change, fading away, and cessation of sounds…of odors…of flavors…of tangibles…of mind-objects, one sees as it actually is with proper wisdom that mind-objects both formerly and now are all impermanent, suffering, and subject to change, equanimity arises. Such equanimity as this transcends the mind-object; that is why it is called equanimity based on renunciation. These are the six kinds of equanimity based on renunciation.

“So it was with reference to this that it was said: ‘The thirty-six positions of beings should be understood.’

16. “‘Therein, by depending on this, abandon that.’ So it was said. And with reference to what was this said?

“Here, bhikkhus, by depending and relying on the six kinds of joy based on renunciation, abandon and surmount the six kinds of joy based on the household life. It is thus they are abandoned; it is thus they are surmounted. By depending and relying on the six kinds of grief based on renunciation, abandon and surmount the six kinds of grief based on the household life. It is thus they are abandoned; it is thus they are surmounted. By depending and relying on the six kinds of equanimity based on renunciation, abandon and surmount the six kinds of equanimity based on the household life. It is thus they are abandoned; it is thus they are surmounted.

17. “There is, bhikkhus, equanimity that is diversified, based on diversity; and there is equanimity that is unified, based on unity.

18. “And what, bhikkhus, is equanimity that is diversified, based on diversity? There is equanimity regarding forms, sounds, odors, flavors, and tangibles. This, bhikkhus, is equanimity that is diversified, based on diversity.

19. “And what, bhikkhus, is equanimity that is unified, based on unity? There is equanimity regarding the base of infinite space, the base of infinite consciousness, the base of nothingness, and the base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception. This, bhikkhus, is equanimity that is unified, based on unity.

20. “Here, bhikkhus, by depending and relying on equanimity that is unified, based on unity, abandon and surmount equanimity that is diversified, based on diversity. It is thus this is abandoned; it is thus this is surmounted.

“Bhikkhus, by depending and relying on non-identification, abandon and surmount equanimity that is unified, based on unity. It is thus this is abandoned; it is thus this is surmounted.

“So it was in reference to this that it was said: ‘Therein, by depending on this, abandon, that.’
http://www.yellowrobe.com/component/con ... -base.html
But i do not like the translation "36 positions of beings" i much prefer "36 states of beings" or "36 states [of attachment]"

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