Bliss, etc.

Joseph Campbell formulated what became his most quoted dictum, "Follow your bliss" in the decade before his death. Join this conversation to explore this idea and share stories.

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Neoplato
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Post by Neoplato » Mon Aug 24, 2009 12:17 am

Andreas Wrote:
Well for me bliss is again to lose completely yourself into others to be selfless.
I've thought this in the past but I don't think I've ever stated this anywhere. For me, this is compassion. If we can find bliss in the compassin we give to others, I feel we also find the true bliss our hearts yearn for.
Society demands sacrifice and for me so does bliss.
I can't agree with you more on this. However, for me, sacrificing for others is more rewarding. Sacrificing for society may just make other people wealthy.
Infinite moment, grants freedom of winter death, allows life to dawn.
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Post by Andreas » Mon Aug 24, 2009 10:31 am

Yeap neoplato you are right in both of your statements the problem is (at least for me) how you go doing that when so many things seems to be in the way. I try to hold on to that concept and lead my life that way and its damn hard.
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Post by Neoplato » Mon Aug 24, 2009 11:33 am

I try to hold on to that concept and lead my life that way and its damn hard.
Oh...I'm there with you Andreas, 100%. Right now, I've made a "truce" with societal demands, family obligations, and spiritual seeking. If I could just get all three under the same umbrella, I would enjoy my life much more. For now, I have found an inner peace, but I wouldn't call my life situation "blissfull".

I'm tired of counting the same old "beans" over and over. There's really no point in it, but society demands that I count them. So all I can do is "whistle while I work". :wink:
Infinite moment, grants freedom of winter death, allows life to dawn.
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Bliss in the Mundane

Post by Samarra » Mon Aug 24, 2009 9:55 pm

I know I should find bliss in everything that I do, including the mundane. Sometimes, with all the day-to-day things that we have to do, it’s really a struggle. Hard as I try, I cannot see even Joseph Campbell enraptured during a bowel movement (sorry for the visual).
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Post by Neoplato » Mon Aug 24, 2009 10:12 pm

Hey Ken!

Good to here from you.
Hard as I try, I cannot see even Joseph Campbell enraptured during a bowel movement (sorry for the visual).
Funny, I've had some of my most enlightening moments during a bowl movement. Things become much clearer when reading on the throne. :lol: :wink:
Infinite moment, grants freedom of winter death, allows life to dawn.
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Post by rabar » Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:49 pm

Just don't strain and 'breathe it out...' (smile)

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Post by CarmelaBear » Sun Sep 20, 2009 10:39 pm

Someone I met recently made a statement that went something like this (exact words may not be a perfect recollection):

"It is in comfort that we experience our greatest misery."

In the second half of my life, I discovered the comfort of overeating foods that have the power to take over my consciousness and form a craving for very specific experiences. By themselves, they may be relatively harmless, but over time, my consumption has had concrete self-destructive effects.

Eating potato chips by the boatload and munching on whole bags full of candy and downing fast foods as if it were my last meal upon this great sojourn......hugely comforting and fraught with a cascade of negative consequences, beginning with guilt, guilt, guilt......and when I look in the mirror or measure the poundage on the scale.......the misery of shame comes home to stay.

Efforts to release me from the negative feelings by suggesting that this is somehow "normal" is a waste of time.

I have to stop this comfort-through-food thing. I can't give in to the cravings. Like addictions to drugs, the binges are complex behaviors that seem to focus my attention on the moment. Right now, I need a bag of chips or candy or fried food. Right now, the stresses of the day seem overwhelming. I eat to survive this feeling, and the consequences to my health be damned. Eating the comfort food, however satisfying, leads to a merciless misery of disappointment and self-reproach.

Hence, today is a new day. I am logging every calorie so that I can be aware of exactly what damage I am doing to my body. When I write it down, I eat less. The embarrassment of commiting my culinary conduct to paper tends to outweigh the cravings. I feel hungry, and it's all I can do to stop imagining a giant bowl of snack food with salt and fat and starch and calories.

Don't think of elephants. Don't think of elephants. Don't think of elephants.

The 12-steppers say, "One day at a time." Indeed.

There is a moral satisfaction in this feeling of want and deprivation. I am conquering the day's demons, the savage craving for luscious, scrumptious, beautiful foods.

It's a gastric lust for fat, for salt, for sugar, for starch.

Satisfying these temptations is easy. The food is sold with great enthusiasm on every corner, in nearly every form of communication to which I am exposed. It feels compelling.

If this hunger is a badge of moral courage, it may be a source of strength and evidence of a smug kind of bliss that attahes itself to those of us who pride ourselves on the struggle to achieve valuable life goals.

For want of a better term for the virtue of avoiding self-indulgence, I call healthy eating habits "moral bliss". This kind of bliss doesn't really feel good, until one can overcome the cravings and the hungers and the pain of being physically, deeply uncomfortable down to the marrow of the bone. When life beats me up, flimsy moral-schmorals blow away in the wind, replaced by a pile of potato chips and candy, and there is my greatest misery in life.......defeat at the hands of my own overwhelming appetites.

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Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by Evinnra » Mon Sep 21, 2009 4:42 am

CarmelaBear wrote:Someone I met recently made a statement that went something like this (exact words may not be a perfect recollection):

"It is in comfort that we experience our greatest misery."

~
Excellent point Carmela, so glad you've raised this in relation to the topic. Obviously there is a big difference between bliss that can be considered healthy and bliss found in self-indulgence through addictions such as food, smoking, anger, alcohol, drugs, sex etc. etc. Where do we draw the line between morally acceptable self-indulgences and morally wrong actions?

Is it morally acceptable to over eat when there are starving children in the world, or is it acceptable to smoke next to a pregnant mother, or is it morally acceptable to indulge in anger when we can't be sure whether our act will not over burden an already depressed person who will commit suicide directly after, or is it OK to fall desperately in love and leave one's new born son for another woman? The examples could go on and on highlighting that even if we think our harmless self-indulgence is morally acceptable - simply because we can't help it - it is in fact far from being acceptable. Ultimately,- I believe - all moral deliberations are context sensitive (that is: decidable for certain only while being IN the situation and not accurately predictalbe ) hence we just have to put up with the fact that the only things certain is moral decision making or deliberating choices in the 'present' is that we are responsible for all our actions.

Provided we can live with our choices we can follow our bliss even if others can't see our bliss being anything more than selfish self-indulgence - I think. Is it normal? I think it is, because we take responsibility for what we do. Is it normal that these addictions develop in our lives? I think it is. It is normal because our addictions are like teddy-bears, they are there to re-install a sense of comfort, power. I haven't met a person who never ever felt powerless during their life. I knew someone who couldn't help her self indulging in angry ravings. That was her security blanket to spew venom at random against those who 'deserved' it. Even when she realised how she was hurting those around her she could not stop succumbing to temptation because it never effectively got through to her that she is actually dis-empowering her self with her addiction. Is this situation normal? No, but it is rather predictable. When I light a cigarette I know I shouldn't but in that moment I can still tell my self that I'll quit later. What stops me sometimes to light up is to think about how pathetic and weak I am and allthough it is normal that I want to light a cigarette, it is NOT normal that I don't try to become stronger or better or more in controll with my life . :roll:

So, why is it that so called 'scare-tactics' make me want to smoke even more?
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Post by Andreas » Mon Sep 21, 2009 8:15 am

Yeap i find myself in this situation more times that i would want to. I thought of going living in cave or something but iam not sure i can separate myself from my computer :D.

How easy is to do take control of these little things and of how much of importance would it be though, i know iam trying to justify my own inability to take control but even if you dont smoke in the presence of a pregnant woman you think pollution is not the same harmful? You can say all you want that you eat "healthy" vegetables and have a normal diet but how many chemicals have they used in order to grow out of season food? You can be very calm in front of a person that has depression and give him some comfort but then he watches the news and see the suffering and he/she feels even worse. Starving children exist in the world but would the food you deny to eat would fill their bellies though? i doubt it.

What kind of gain the world has even if we do have control over our every day desires, i wonder. I guess sacrificing your personal desires means little to the world that doesnt mean that we shouldnt struggle for it but it means that bliss comes when you allow yourself to see that you must sacrifice something bigger than your everyday habits in order the world can gain something out of it.

For me there has to be some kind of greater realization (iam not sure what it is) that drives us to achieve that loss of desire. Iam not sure you can say ill stop eating or stop smoking and believe that you have bliss... nope that has to be the result of greater realization, I think.
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Post by richard silliker » Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:43 pm

It is in comfort that we experience our greatest misery."
Our comfort is in our likes. Our likes are all the same, likes are likes are likes are likes are.... It is by engaging our dislikes, and finding an attribute we like, and then binding it to our existing likes, that we gain experience in order to engage our indifferences. This is where we will find our bliss-in novelty.

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Post by rabar » Tue Sep 22, 2009 10:42 pm

Ah, novelty... over the next hilltop where the grass is always greener. When we 'follow our bliss,' what are we really talking about? Is all bliss the same? Are there different gradations? Could the momentary satisfaction derived from, for example, winning at
a game be comparable to the thrill of seeing one's baby son enter the world? Above and beyond everything, I think we need a 'bliss scale,' and for this reason I combined various charts from John Curtis Gowan's book "Trance, Art & Creativity," online free here http://www.csun.edu/edpsy/Gowan/content.html into one overview of the stages and states available to humans: http://www.raysender.com/gowanchart.html .
I also devised a unit that I named the RENA (Rapture Ecstasy Nirvana Attributes) to the Gowan Chart by which the different levels can be quantified. Check it out! 'Inspired Creativity' lists at 20 RENAs on the scale, while the 'Oceanic Peak Experiences' at 45.
So if your 'bliss' is settling down to watch a good movie with a large size popcorn and soft drink, it might list on the scale at the 'Parataxic Ritual (good/bad) level of 8 RENAs. Actually I'm sort of fudging the chart, inasmuch as it doesn't really include 'satisfaction' experiences - perhaps it should!
Ultimately, though, all desires are a thirst for dissolving into the Godhead. Yes? So we should not waste time with other diversions. A human life is a unique opportunity to awaken to Source, but it doesn't last forever. Which is why the Tibetan enlightened masters loved to meditate in charnel grounds full of exposed corpses. Supposedly you gain enlightenment there real quick!, because otherwise you just waste time diddling around with mediocre half-solutions.
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Post by CarmelaBear » Tue Sep 22, 2009 11:56 pm

Evinnra wrote:So, why is it that so called 'scare-tactics' make me want to smoke even more?
Fear is one of those last-resort kinds of motivators. When all else fails, it is a serious knock on the head......and it can backfire on the people who try to use it. The trouble is that when we feel powerless to motivate someone, we use the incitement of fear as our first choice to cut through all the troublesome methods of persuasion and negotiation that run the risk of compromise or failure.

Add a little testosterone to the mix, and it's easy to see how wars grind on in spite of everything. I'm sure that men are as addicted to the brain chemicals of war as heroin addicts are stuck on their own poison.

I'm guessing that my "drug" is the serotonin produced by the body when I eat sweets and starches. It is a temporary "fix" for stress.

I'm treating my stress with vitamin B complex, and it really is helping. I recommend it to anyone who is trying to eat right or quit smoking or any other difficult chore. I experience it as a kind of "serenity in a bottle"......for want of another description.

~
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by Evinnra » Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:12 am

Good idea, one can not overdose on vitamin B - though too much B6 can make some of us quite sick. How about beating one addiction/harmful bliss with another addiction/beneficial bliss?
'A fish popped out of the water only to be recaptured again. It is as I, a slave to all yet free of everything.'
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Post by richard silliker » Sun Sep 27, 2009 7:03 am

How about a robust intuition.
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Post by rabar » Sun Sep 27, 2009 4:49 pm

Robust and beneficial?
How about 'nondual and alert?'

Check out this video:
http://greatfreedomorg.blip.tv/

The teacher at greatfreedomorg, Candice O'Denver, is teaching
nondual awareness without qu0oting in Tibetan or Sanskrit.

Lots of videos/audios/downloadable book
http://www.greatfreedom.org

Try one of her audio lectures here:
http://www.greatfreedom.org/Downloads/F ... 0Downs.mp3
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