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Offlinedeff
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Alchemy of the Mind
    #11379617 - 11/03/09 09:56 PM (7 years, 11 months ago)

Alchemy is the pursuit to transmute one less desirable element into a more desirable element. Such historical pursuits included trying to find methods to transmute coal and common metals into diamond or gold.

Another form of alchemy is mental alchemy - the pursuit to transmute undesirable mental states to desirable mental states via a number of methods - visualizations, affirmations, and meditations. In this process, the old undesirable mental state (say depression, anger, sorrow) is transmuted into a desirable state (bliss, love, compassion, wisdom, clarity) via the catalyst of imagination, ritual, and mental intent. Using this approach to the mind, one could develop means to alleviate mental afflictions and to accelerate progress to desirable states. While this may sound mystical in nature, a lot of it is purely psychological (though mystical applications could definitely be used - which is the basis of most forms of tantra).

My question - or rather discussion I'm attempting to bring forward - is twofold. First, what prevents one from transmuting one state to another when such a transition is desired? Can this mental blockage - often the result of conditioning or habit - be transcended? Secondly, what techniques have been successful in any forays into this you might have tried (i.e. when your mental state is undesirable what do you do to try and change it to a desirable state?).

I think when the mind is looked at from this perspective - as a highly malleable mental continuum of experience - the possibilities for psychological healing and growth can be enormous. One has to realize that the mind has such incredible power to alter itself - if one is willing to attempt this with faith and patience.

:sun:


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OfflineBeatles
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Re: Alchemy of the Mind [Re: deff]
    #11379672 - 11/03/09 10:03 PM (7 years, 11 months ago)

Amen

"There's a lady who's sure
All that glitters is gold
And she's buying a stairway to heaven

When she gets there she knows
If the stores are all closed
With a word she can get what she came for

Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh
And she's buying a stairway to heaven
And it's whispered that soon
If we all call the tune
Then the piper will lead us to reason

And a new day will dawn
For those who stand long
And the forests will
Echo with laughter

Oh, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, ooh, whoa, oh

If there's a bustle in your hedgerow
Don't be alarmed now
It's just a spring clean
For the May queen

And as we wind on down the road
Our shadows taller than our soul
There walks a lady we all know
Who shines white light and wants to show
How everything still turns to gold
And if you listen very hard
The truth will come to you at last
When all are one and one is all
To be a rock and not to roll "


"Give away the stone. Let the oceans take and
Transmutate this cold and fated anchor.
Give away the stone. Let the waters kiss and
Transmutate these leaden grudges into gold.
Let go. "


--------------------
“Universal Truth is Not Measured in Mass Appeal.....”


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Offlinedeff
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Re: Alchemy of the Mind [Re: Beatles]
    #11379782 - 11/03/09 10:16 PM (7 years, 11 months ago)

Vajrayana Buddhism (Tibetan) - aka tantric Buddhism - employs techniques of meditating and visualizing oneself as the body and mind of an enlightened Buddha. By visualizing the end result of the practice (Buddhahood) continuously - one can greatly accelerate spiritual progress and the attainment of traits related to Buddhahood (compassion, wisdom, patience, equanimity, etc.)

The same approach can be used outside of Buddhist practice - where one meditates and visualizes on the desired mental state they wish to achieve. For example, if one wants to become more compassionate - they could meditate on being compassionate and the feelings that entails - as well as visualizing themselves as a very compassionate being. If one wants to overcome depression, they could meditate on memories of how they felt in happy and blissful situations - and visualize themselves as being very outwardly happy. With enough practice - one's mental state will start to converge to the intended end result.

If anyone has such desires to transmute mental states or to improve upon personal traits - I highly recommend this type of meditation and visualization - it can be very powerful.

:sun:


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Edited by deff (11/03/09 10:27 PM)


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Invisiblerebus_minus
Registered: 05/15/09
Posts: 667
Re: Alchemy of the Mind [Re: deff]
    #11380853 - 11/04/09 01:11 AM (7 years, 11 months ago)

Good thread.

One technique I have used lately is to start the day with some metta chanting. This is very helpful and reminds me that i seek happiness for myself and others. I also take refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma & Sangha. This is all helping me to maintain a sense of direction and to act as a reminder when I find myself feeling ill will towards others. I used to have a tendency to stay irritated at people close to me for long periods at a time without snapping out of it, but this technique has proved very effective and is exactly what the good doctor prescribed.

May I be happy.
May I be free from stress & pain.
May I be free from animosity.
May I be free from oppression.
May I be free from trouble.
May I look after myself with ease.

May all living beings be happy.
May all living beings be free from animosity.
May all living beings be free from oppression.
May all living beings be free from trouble.
May all living beings look after themselves with ease.

May all livings beings be freed from all stress & pain.


Then I will do mudita, upekkha, karaniya metta sutta & kandha paritta, but that can be looked up for those drawn to this sort of work. :grin:

This puts my mind in a very good place and perspective before morning meditation.


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Invisibleredgreenvines
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Re: Alchemy of the Mind [Re: deff]
    #11386112 - 11/04/09 07:53 PM (7 years, 11 months ago)

first of all the things you are calling states (depression, anger, sorrow) are mostly not states, they are largely mental habits or emotional conditions...

but they do have mental-state aspects because of the emotional intensifications. (states are all about mental resonance and they are neither good nor bad - emotion causes extra resonance, but usually steers it mechanically in one direction or another)

the rest of what these "negative" experiences are comprised of is mental contents or associative recollections, physical postures and various kinds of mental residency - how the personality abides. (as with chemistry we need to analyze composition get a good fix on elements in a reliable way); we look at the what, not the why, but we need to be clear about what is what.

So mental alchemy begins with seeing the composition of things (in consciousness) and adjusting behavior to encourage habits that sustain the more desirable mental contents.

To begin with, some postures can be introduced and you can learn to live in the body a bit differently. Then some regular routines can be adopted to create the "crucible" of reformation of character (habits).

Beyond that, learning to look at the self non-judgmentally is most critical in enabling insight and natural transmutation.


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InvisibleIcelander
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Re: Alchemy of the Mind [Re: redgreenvines]
    #11386137 - 11/04/09 07:56 PM (7 years, 11 months ago)

Beyond that, learning to look at the self non-judgmentally is most critical in enabling insight and natural transmutation.

Bingo!


--------------------
"Don't believe everything you think". -Anom.

" All that lives was born to die"-Anom.

With much wisdom comes much sorrow,
The more knowledge, the more grief.
Ecclesiastes circa 350 BC


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InvisibleyogabunnyM
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Re: Alchemy of the Mind [Re: redgreenvines]
    #11386268 - 11/04/09 08:12 PM (7 years, 11 months ago)

i like the notion of self alchemy, and whatever practice you may choose to pursue it.

however, i do not like the idea that a lot these philosophies present; that negative emotions can be eradicated & turned into positive emotions.  as if we could live in some constant state of bliss if only we meditate, chant and study for 2 hours every day.

i think it's unattainable.  negative emotions will always come, it's how you deal with them that i think can be changed.  i guess they can be channeled, if you learn how to handle them in a healthy and rational way.


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InvisibleOrgoneConclusion
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Re: Alchemy of the Mind [Re: Icelander]
    #11386300 - 11/04/09 08:16 PM (7 years, 11 months ago)

If you keep saying "Bingo!" people are going to start suspecting there is a senior among us. :crazy:


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Invisiblerebus_minus
Registered: 05/15/09
Posts: 667
Re: Alchemy of the Mind [Re: yogabunny]
    #11386322 - 11/04/09 08:18 PM (7 years, 11 months ago)

suffering equals pain multiplied with resistance divided by sense clarity - Shinzen Young


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Offlinedeff
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Re: Alchemy of the Mind [Re: redgreenvines]
    #11386379 - 11/04/09 08:25 PM (7 years, 11 months ago)

Quote:

redgreenvines said:
first of all the things you are calling states (depression, anger, sorrow) are mostly not states, they are largely mental habits or emotional conditions...

but they do have mental-state aspects because of the emotional intensifications. (states are all about mental resonance and they are neither good nor bad - emotion causes extra resonance, but usually steers it mechanically in one direction or another)

the rest of what these "negative" experiences are comprised of is mental contents or associative recollections, physical postures and various kinds of mental residency - how the personality abides. (as with chemistry we need to analyze composition get a good fix on elements in a reliable way); we look at the what, not the why, but we need to be clear about what is what.

So mental alchemy begins with seeing the composition of things (in consciousness) and adjusting behavior to encourage habits that sustain the more desirable mental contents.

To begin with, some postures can be introduced and you can learn to live in the body a bit differently. Then some regular routines can be adopted to create the "crucible" of reformation of character (habits).

Beyond that, learning to look at the self non-judgmentally is most critical in enabling insight and natural transmutation.




Yeah I guess these aren't states but rather mental contents and associations (I've always used the term state a bit too loosely). What you say about 'physical postures' is interesting - do you mean this literally (i.e. how one holds themselves physically) or more figuratively (i.e. inner self image)?


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Invisibleredgreenvines
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Re: Alchemy of the Mind [Re: deff]
    #11387046 - 11/04/09 09:49 PM (7 years, 11 months ago)

both
in the mind there is not much distinction between physical attitude and mental attitude.

the difference is mostly that how you set the body produces a continuum of sensory input, like infrastructure, while how you put the mind is always more fluid


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InvisibleyogabunnyM
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Re: Alchemy of the Mind [Re: redgreenvines]
    #11387097 - 11/04/09 09:55 PM (7 years, 11 months ago)

Quote:

redgreenvines said:
both
in the mind there is not much distinction between physical attitude and mental attitude.

the difference is mostly that how you set the body produces a continuum of sensory input, like infrastructure, while how you put the mind is always more fluid




it's true.  there was a study done where they proved that the physical manifestation of a certain emotion will trigger the same area of the brain as if you were actually experiencing said emotion.  we used this concept experimenting with physical acting in the rehearsal process for a play i was in.


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