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Owlet

Owlet Evicts the Devil King

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Owlet Evicts the Devil King!!!

 

Dramatic, right?! Ok, a little context... I practice Nichiren Buddhism and the Devil King is not really a devil or a king, he (or she!) doesn't even exist. He's an analogy for your innermost doubts. He is the little voice in your head telling you you're not good enough/nobody likes you/you will never succeed in life/santa isn't real/your nose is trying to undermine you/etc etc. He's very specific :'D And he's sneaky too, he doesn't knock and appear on your front doorstep. You'll go to answer the door and no one's there. Then you go back inside and he's on your couch, watching TV. The cheek of it!

 

So, as I was trying to work out what this challenge would be about, I realised that part of the problem was old mate Devil King has taken up residency in my head and is undermining every positive action I try to take. I am currently on leave from work to rest up and recover from an intense year or so, as well as give myself the time and space to have a really good think about what I want to do with my life for the foreseeable future. Should be a dreamy time, right? But I've been feeling a bit meh and still have no idea what I want to do as far as work/career is concerned. After talking to a friend and fellow member, I realised - despite what I've been telling people and even myself - I have a deep seated belief that a) there isn't any job out there that I would enjoy and find fulfilling and b) it is not even possible for me to be happy (beyond momentary joy, that is) It interests me that I have been practicing this Buddhism for years now and its stated purpose is to bring absolute happiness to each person and while I agree with and believe all the teachings, somehow I still have tiny voice telling me that it works for other people but not me. Intellectually I believe it, but my emotions are holding out (but of course).

 

My friend also reminded me of the importance of thoughts and what we are, perhaps subconsciously, telling ourselves. In the Buddhist concept of cause and effect, all causes begin as thoughts, followed by words and then actions. So even if you are saying one thing, if you are thinking another then results will be mixed. Accordingly, if I chant with a stated intent but my heart isn't in it or I don't truly believe it then I won't succeed. It reminded me of conversations that have been happening on other peoples' threads (Fleaball, Severine?) about affirmations. Namely, that you don't chose an affirmation you already believe: choose one you want to believe and then say it until you do believe it. In the same way, I will use chanting to banish my doubts. 

 

Now, how to tackle it and how to turn it into a challenge...

 

Chanting:

  • Chant at least once every day. While I'm on break, chant at least 90 minutes a day. I want to get in at least one really long chant too. And it needs to be heartfelt, energised, focused chanting. None of this daydreaming business.
  • Come up with some very specific goals/phrases to counter the doubts. (these will be said in my head, not aloud since I'll already be chanting Nam Myho Renge Kyo)
  • Use visualisation to help banish the doubts - eg shooting the doubt with an arrow to explode it, or paddling a kayak through the doubts, cutting through them and leaving them behind.

 

And some more general goals...

 

Sleep:

  • Lights out by 11:30pm.
  • Up and about by 7:30am during break, 7am once work starts back.

 

Food & Fitness:

  • Cut out bread and other carb-heavy foods. 
  • Move every day.
  • do physio exercises 3x per week.

 

Ok, I think that's me. Week one is already nearly over but I can say I've adhered to most of these goals except the physio one so I will rectify that today.

 

Thanks for reading, have a kitten!

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8 minutes ago, NeverThatBored said:

Yesss. Kick that devil king the heck OUT. 

 

I love how last challenge was the cat takeover, and this challenge is the I-was-inspired-by-that-convo-on-flea's-thread takeover.

For everyone except Flea =P I noticed that too and it's hilarious. Go team. 

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Just now, fleaball said:

For everyone except Flea =P I noticed that too and it's hilarious. Go team. 

Hey, I be exception too. :P

 

Also, I fully support evicting the Devil King, he seems like an uninvited and unwanted guest. Be gone, Devil King!

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Yeaaah following!

 

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Visualization is a great way of rewiring ze brain. Maybe I should include more of it in my days, too...

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The Devil King has been evicted multiple times and he still keeps finding a way to sneak back in! He's a determined one, that's for sure. Now that I have identified the doubts he is putting in my mind though I am finding it easier to separate myself from them and dismiss them as doubts rather than facts. I find I am most confident and positive when I am chanting and that the feeling lingers for a while afterwards, but it is necessary to keep returning to the chanting to fortify my resolve. I wrote down some specific goals/phrases to combat the doubts and am saying them to myself throughout the day, whenever it occurs to me. 

 

Yesterday I was very tired - I think the cold I picked up last weekend is still very active and trying to hold me back. I forced myself to do my physio exercises though because I didn't want to let myself down on day 1! I went to bed early for once and woke up early so I've had time for an hour long chant and a leisurely breakfast this morning. Now to do some painting and then this afternoon I am going to the Kitten Inn with my flatmate to cuddle ALL THE KITTIES heck yeah. 

 

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Kittens were cuddled! We singled out the sleepy ones and hogged them the whole time, so great. Many purrs were had. 

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And now for a week 1 update (yeah I know, I only just started...)

 

Chanting:

  • Chant at least once every day. While I'm on break, chant at least 90 minutes a day. Good! Every day since I set this goal. 60 mins the day before
  • Come up with some very specific goals/phrases to counter the doubts. (these will be said in my head, not aloud since I'll already be chanting Nam Myho Renge Kyo) Done
  • Use visualisation to help banish the doubts - eg shooting the doubt with an arrow to explode it, or paddling a kayak through the doubts, cutting through them and leaving them behind. Done

 

Sleep:

  • Lights out by 11:30pm. Done
  • Up and about by 7:30am during break, 7am once work starts back. Done except this morning, slept in. But hey, it's sunday and I'm sick.

 

Food & Fitness:

  • Cut out bread and other carb-heavy foods. Mostly good. Slipped up on friday and had bread at lunch. Been having porridge for breakfast but not too worried about that. 
  • Move every day. Totally forgot yesterday and have yet to move today... I should do my physio exercises but I'll be impressed if that happens given the limited time left. 
  • do physio exercises 3x per week. Done once since set goal.

So it turns out I have a pretty nasty cold. I barely achieved anything on friday, I was so tired and blocked up. Saturday was better although I still didn't get much done. Today I finally got some painting done and met up with a fellow Buddhist to chat and encourage each other. Chanting was difficult as my voice kept cutting out but I persevered. Feeling positive :) 

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Kittensssssss *-*

 

sorry you're sick. Sending healing vibes. Also I'm pretty sure cat's purr at a healing frequency so you might just have to go back. 

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The sickness is still raging but I can at least talk again now - I totally lost my voice for a couple of days, much to the amusement of my flatmates. I've also been away from home for a few days, visiting mum and catching up with some friends so most of my goals have suffered somewhat. Food options at home seem to centre around bread a lot of the time and there wasn't much I could do about that. It's been difficult to find time (and my voice) to chant but I've managed at least a bit each day. Minimal movement, variable bedtimes and sleep ins most mornings... It'll be good to get home and get back on track! I definitely felt a dip in my emotions with chanting less so I'm looking forward to getting back into that. 

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Week 2 wrap up:

 

Chanting:

  • Chant at least once every day. While I'm on break, chant at least 90 minutes a day. Good. Chanted every day (less for a few days while I was travelling but still good.

Sleep:

  • Lights out by 11:30pm. Done, I think? Can't actually remember oops
  • Up and about by 7:30am during break, 7am once work starts back. I think I was mostly awake by 7:30 but not always up.

Food & Fitness:

  • Cut out bread and other carb-heavy foods. Mostly good. Lots of bread while visiting family but better since then.
  • Move every day. So-so. I keep forgetting this goal. 
  • do physio exercises 3x per week. Done -  only twice but giving myself a pass due to travel and sickness.

Pretty good week all in all. I started it off very sick and struggled to do much of anything, but I still managed a bunch of chanting and actually my mood was really great. I didn't mind so much that I was sick, it was just annoying not being able to socialise much, especially when I lost my voice! Sleeping has been pretty good. I have been going to bed at a reasonable hour and naturally waking up sometime between 7:30-8:30. I was more focused on getting enough sleep while I was sick so didn't push myself to wake up early. Other goals all improved once I was back from visiting family and could get back to my routine. 

 

My mood has been a little up and down the last few days - I think as I get closer to the end of my break (only 1 day left :() I've been beating myself up a bit over not achieving more with my time off and just generally not looking forward to going back to work. I felt very low last night so this morning I challenged myself to chant for 3 hours :D After that I did some painting and then went for a lovely walk at sunset. Feeling much better now, phew. I think I will follow the same pattern tomorrow and make my last day of holiday really good. 

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2 hours ago, Owlet said:

My mood has been a little up and down the last few days - I think as I get closer to the end of my break (only 1 day left :() I've been beating myself up a bit over not achieving more with my time off and just generally not looking forward to going back to work.

 

Ughhhhh I so know this feel. It sucks.

 

2 hours ago, Owlet said:

I felt very low last night so this morning I challenged myself to chant for 3 hours :D

 

That's amazing! Such a big chunk of time!

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On 5/8/2017 at 10:58 PM, NeverThatBored said:

That's amazing! Such a big chunk of time!

I know right! I did it again on tuesday too! Time goes much faster when I know I'm going to be there for a while... much faster than 30 minutes, weirdly. It was really good tbh - I've often shied away from spending so long 'just sitting on my ass achieving nothing'. But actually, I think I achieved far more with my remaining hours than I would've if I'd just staggered out of bed and not improved my mental state. 

 

This morning was not so successful - first day back at work today so I got up early to chant but I think it was too early. Or rather I didn't get to sleep early enough last night. I felt pretty off all day but still managed a walk at lunchtime. Hopefully tomorrow is easier.

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Wow I am struggling with work. Mainly in terms of energy - I have felt so seedy since I've been back at work. I really need to crack this early bedtime thing :/ I just never feel tired at bedtime ugh. I've been managing to get up at 7 and I've switched my morning routine a little which seems to be working better. Rather than getting up and chanting straight away, I've been showering etc and then chanting, so I am at least partially awake. I find I get more out of the chanting this way, although it's still not nearly as powerful as wehn I was on break and was able to sleep a bit longer and have breakfast and coffee before starting. Work in progress I guess...

 

Fun event at 3:30am last night... smoke alarm went off, I think because the battery was running flat. It took ages to fix though because it's too high up to reach even with a chair. Flatmate finally remembered there's a ladder in the basement and got it sorted but by that stage I was wide awake. Needless to say waking p this morning was hard. I got all the way to work and realised I forgot to take my pill too, derp. And the other day I took 2 in one day because I wasn't thinking... I hate to think what that did to my hormones. Wonder if that's contributing to my feeling off...

 

We had a 1 hour training thing yesterday that turned into 2 hours (of course) and made me feel like I'm just really not suited to this job. I mean, I'm pretty sure everyone was struggling to a certain degree but perhaps not as much as me? Regardless, there must be other jobs out there that I would be better suited to. Feels so inefficient to bust a gut trying to master this job when it's not a good match. Ugh. Bring on the weekend. 

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Sorry you've been dealing with this lack of energy-illness-work trouble. I hope you're feeling better and more rested now.

How do you manage to spend 3 hours of your time chanting? I'm trying to go up from 10 to 15 minutes of meditation and I'm finding it hard enough.

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18 hours ago, zenLara said:

Sorry you've been dealing with this lack of energy-illness-work trouble. I hope you're feeling better and more rested now.

How do you manage to spend 3 hours of your time chanting? I'm trying to go up from 10 to 15 minutes of meditation and I'm finding it hard enough.

I couldn't sleep again last night, so I'm still not really feeling very rested lol. Oh well.

 

 

Practice makes it easier? I started out with much shorter stints. But also, I find meditation harder than chanting - something to do with trying to empty the mind. Chanting is more about focusing on something, like a positive determination, than trying to empty the mind. Maybe I should practice emptying my mind though, that'd be really handy when I'm trying to sleep :/ 

 

 

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Week 3 wrap up:

 

Chanting:

  • Chant at least once every day. While I'm on break, chant at least 90 minutes a day.  Pretty good, I think I feel behind a little on the weekend.

Sleep:

  • Lights out by 11:30pm. Mostly good
  • Up and about by 7:30am during break, 7am once work starts back. Good except on weekend

Food & Fitness:

  • Cut out bread and other carb-heavy foods. Good
  • Move every day. Good at start of week then not so good
  • do physio exercises 3x per week. Can't remember, I think I only did it once oops. 

Not too shabby for week 3. Going back to work is definitely cramping my style. Both friday night and sunday night I had a lot of trouble falling asleep, not quite sure what's going on there. Stupid brain. I'm sure more exercise would help, and being super disciplined about going to bed on time/not using technology late at night, but beyond that, ughh. 

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On 4/27/2017 at 5:26 PM, Owlet said:

Dramatic, right?! Ok, a little context... I practice Nichiren Buddhism and the Devil King is not really a devil or a king, he (or she!) doesn't even exist. He's an analogy for your innermost doubts. He is the little voice in your head telling you you're not good enough/nobody likes you/you will never succeed in life/santa isn't real/your nose is trying to undermine you/etc etc. He's very specific :'D And he's sneaky too, he doesn't knock and appear on your front doorstep. You'll go to answer the door and no one's there. Then you go back inside and he's on your couch, watching TV. The cheek of it!

 

This description was absolutely delightful and it made me smile. The Devil King sounds like the same as what I call Brain Weasels. I think personifying (or weaselifying) the doubts makes them easier to grapple with and fight. Plus it makes it a little funnier which makes me feel stronger somehow.

 

Your goals are wonderful and I'm glad the chanting has been going so well. Sorry about the job feeling off but, in a sense it's better for it to feel off enough to bother you than ever-so-slightly off in a way that's easier to ignore. At least this way you won't be as tempted to settle there long term. Discomfort is an agent for change, right? And once you've made more headway against the devil king and his campaign of misinformation about your career prospects, you'll have motivation and confidence to take steps to get the better job that is out there waiting to be discovered (or created).

 

On 4/27/2017 at 5:26 PM, Owlet said:

Accordingly, if I chant with a stated intent but my heart isn't in it or I don't truly believe it then I won't succeed. It reminded me of conversations that have been happening on other peoples' threads (Fleaball, Severine?) about affirmations. Namely, that you don't chose an affirmation you already believe: choose one you want to believe and then say it until you do believe it. In the same way, I will use chanting to banish my doubts. 

 

Yay solidarity! I'm finding a really positive impact from trying to change my internal conversation/narrative. Like for example often, when I was feeling down about something (like problems with my friend) would think, "I'm so stupid" because I would be berating myself for being in the situation or whatever, as though I should have known better. But recently I changed to saying, "I'm so sad" in those moments. Because that was actually how I was feeling. And instead of letting my brain make judgements about the implications of the feeling, I focused on just saying the feeling. And honestly it was so overwhelming to admit the sadness like that in my head that it brought tears to my eyes. It made me realize that berating myself for the sadness was just another way of hiding from it. It's amazing what a difference words can make, even unspoken ones.

 

One thing to try for your bedtime issues: something that sometimes helps me sleep is progressive muscle relaxation. I'm sure if you google it you can find guides (for example!) but basically the idea is to start at your feet and one by one tense and then relax all the muscles in your body. I learned it at university from a student health seminar in the residence halls and I've used it ever since. I do it lying right in bed and by the time I'm done, I almost always feel more relaxed and it's easier to drift off. Sometimes I even get sleepy halfway through and just drift off.

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OMG what do I want for dinner?? (yes I appreciate how privileged I am to even have this problem.) I am so uninspired and do not feel like anything except sleep. Felt kinda off all day and haven't eaten much but I know skipping dinner isn't the answer. Ugh.

 

Proper reply later..

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9 hours ago, Owlet said:

OMG what do I want for dinner?? (yes I appreciate how privileged I am to even have this problem.) I am so uninspired and do not feel like anything except sleep. Felt kinda off all day and haven't eaten much but I know skipping dinner isn't the answer. Ugh.

FWIW I know this feeling. I have a hard time motivating myself to eat a proper meal when I am hungry, inertia just takes over if my heart’s not in it.

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