Thread: Empty fantasies

  1. #1

    Empty fantasies

    I was looking at this quote from the late Zen teacher Charlotte Joko Beck and I wondered if anyone had any comments about it. Do you spend a lot of your time in a mental fantasy world ?


    “Most of our difficulties, our hopes, and our worries are empty fantasies. Nothing has ever existed except this moment. That's all there is. That's all we are. Yet most human beings spend 50 to 90 percent or more of their time in their imagination, living in fantasy.

    We think about what has happened to us, what might have happened, how we feel about it, how we should be different, how others should be different, how it's all a shame, and on and on; it's all fantasy, all imagination. Memory is imagination. Every memory that we stick to devastates our life.”

    (Charlotte Joko Beck,- 'Nothing Special')

    https://www.goodreads.com/author/quo...otte_Joko_Beck


  2. #2
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    Hi Aloka

    This is an interesting study by Harvard along the same lines http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/stor...-a-happy-mind/

    It seems we all do mentally wander and it is not good!!

  3. #3
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    Reading this makes me feel better about not feeling well

    Looking back on my day, I can find very few moments which were not all about memories or expectations, and that's clearly not good. I just have a question about the "how we feel about it" part - are we not supposed to observe how we feel about it? Pherhaps that means that we are just not supposed to get caught up on it from a self-centered perspective?
    Last edited by Grushka; 12 Sep 16 at 19:35.

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    I didn't realise I spent so much time in my head until I read Tolle. It seems that almost all people spend about 90% of their lives immersed in their thoughts. We constantly relive old memories and dwell on the past. When we're not we are fixated on the future, planning this or that, and most of our plans come to nothing.

    I like this quote from him, 'Most humans are never fully present in the now, because unconsciously they believe that the next moment must be more important than this one. But then you miss your whole life, which is never not now'.

    To me the whole point of meditation seems to be to wake us from our thoughts and enable us to be truly present and aware of the now. To experience true consciousness devoid of thought. In my own meditations, when I have managed to 'not think' for a period of time, I feel a lightness of body and mind and deep contentment.

    Spending time ruminating through thoughts always brings about heaviness and unhappiness.

  5. #5
    Global Moderator Esho's Avatar
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    Joko Beck was a Zen teacher. A real good one. She always talked about the importance of keeping doing zazen because of this. The wandering mind is very tricky and only through meditation we can keep the mind stable and clear and pacified.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Esho
    Joko Beck was a Zen teacher. A real good one. She always talked about the importance of keeping doing zazen because of this. The wandering mind is very tricky and only through meditation we can keep the mind stable and clear and pacified.
    Yes, I remember reading one of her books.

    Another of her quotes which is relevant to the Buddhist teaching of present moment awareness, is this one (from the same link)

    “There is a foundation for our lives, a place in which our life rests. That place is nothing but the present moment, as we see, hear, experience what is. If we do not return to that place, we live our lives out of our heads. We blame others; we complain; we feel sorry for ourselves. All of these symptoms show that we're stuck in our thoughts.

    We're out of touch with the open space that is always right here.”

    I'm also reminded of the Buddha's words in this sutta:


    SN 1.10 Arañña Sutta: A Face So Calm

    [Devata:]

    Those who abide in the forest,
    Peaceful, living the holy life;
    Those who eat but a single meal;
    — why is it their face is so calm?

    [The Buddha:]

    They do not grieve over the past,
    Nor do they yearn for the future;
    They live only in the present,
    — That is why their face is so calm.

    It's from yearning for the future,
    And from grieving over the past;
    This is how fools become withered
    — Like a fresh reed that's been hacked down.

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipit....010.olen.html
    Other relevant suttas:

    MN I31


    and AN6.47



  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Grushka
    I just have a question about the "how we feel about it" part - are we not supposed to observe how we feel about it? Perhaps that means that we are just not supposed to get caught up on it from a self-centered perspective?
    Its useful to note how our feelings can arise and change about different things, but sometimes its a good idea to just let go of the mental chatter and relax into the here and now.

    This talk "Present Moment Awarenss "might help:

    http://www.amaravati.org/audio/buddh...ent-awareness/



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