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Author Topic: Buddhist ideas as a valid psychological coping mechanism?  (Read 2881 times)

glovesforfoxes

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Do you think it could work? Personally I have found it to be extremely, and I mean life-changingly effective uplifting mood and coping with stresses. I recently read a book called "The Art of Happiness" which describes techniques that a non-buddhist can use to help them change their attitudes. It's fairly basic, I think, and little more than an introduction to buddhism.
Although some of the techniques are already used by Cognitive-Behavioural therapists (I believe), for example Beck's cognitive triad relates to the Dalai Lama's ideas about his equivalent.
I don't think that religion is a bad thing, unlike a lot of scientists, who treat it with immediate distrust (and rightfully so in line with the scientific method of thinking). I ask any who might have this initial prejudice to try to overcome it - I would like to make it clear right now that this topic is not about arguing the validity of religion, only it's effect on health, happiness and coping.
There is definitely a link between religiosity and happiness. I am betting there is also research that documents better health for religious people.

Some questions to ponder:

what does the role of religion play in fighting mental illness and in coping?
is it religiosity specifically that helps them be healthy, assuming it does, or is it that it is a really good coping mechanism?
should buddhist ideas be applied to psychological therapy if they are found to be helpful when tested scientifically, or is the devision between religion too wide for this to happen right now?

Don_1

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Buddhist ideas as a valid psychological coping mechanism?
« Reply #1 on: 23/09/2009 06:54:34 »
Like ladyapol93, I do not think region is all bad. But I do disagree with 'cut and paste' posts and the spammy link!

Many, shall we say 'troubled', people find comfort, solice and much more in religious ponderings. But it can also have a detrimental effect on some. It might be difficult to separate those who could be helped from those who could be hindered by religious intervention.

Buddhism, with its deep thought, non-materialistic beliefs might be the better of the religions to help calm people, but by the same token, could also be the worst for inducing deep seated problems.

Incidentally, on a trip to the Temple of the Tooth in Sri Lanka, I was not entirely surprised to find collection boxes at just about every corner, with a guards standing over them and making frantic gestures, indicating that you should empty your pockets into them!

glovesforfoxes

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Buddhist ideas as a valid psychological coping mechanism?
« Reply #2 on: 23/09/2009 07:28:37 »
yeah, there is often a difference between practice and true spirit of a religion. look at the crusades..

Dimi

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Buddhist ideas as a valid psychological coping mechanism?
« Reply #3 on: 23/09/2009 12:29:48 »
Haha. Lets not get into that.

Relgion is a very powerful thing in its own right, I may not be religious myself but once in a blue moon (usually just easter) I go to church with my family, we all come back relaxed happy and funnily enough - closer together.

It may just be that the psychology behind that is to see a church as a happy place, a social networking environment. You can't help but feel a closeness amongst all the cluster and chatter.

If you can get into it, you can feel yourself getting more relaxed and happy. Of course if you resist it, you'll just look like a grumpy person.

It all comes down to what you view religion as. If you regard it with skepticism and refuse to enjoy it in what it provides, then of course you won't feel benefits. If you approach it with the mindset that a higher power does not exist or that we're long abanoned, then tada - You won't feel a thing. But if you go there, snap out of being the skeptic and realise WHATS AROUND YOU - its the company around you that matters. To me, that is a divine experience. I love seeing people being happy. Its very infectious.
« Last Edit: 23/09/2009 12:35:19 by Dimi »

JimBob

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Buddhist ideas as a valid psychological coping mechanism?
« Reply #4 on: 27/09/2009 21:47:15 »
My experience has been that the basic techniques of Buddhism, which are the same in all of the other mystical traditions found in all of the other major religions - Hinduism, Christianity, the Muslim Tradition, Taoism - give a person much better coping mechanisms for life if - and only if - the person practices rigorous self-examination, preferably with the help of another person. It is the rigorous self-examination that makes the systems work and provides for maximum effect.  Without this, self delusion creeps in. Also, any small defects of a person's psyche may very well become magnified.

Even without using the more difficult techniques, the simple meditation of observing one's mental activity and just watching it (a technique common to all so called "mystical" disciplines) provides a clarity of thought and a calmness of psyche that allows the mind to become more focus, productive and less dissatisfied with existence. It works for anyone if they maintain a sense of self that is not out of proportion to the reality of their existence.

Persons with diagnosed or suspected mental problems should probably never try some of these practices and should only try the simple practices if they are well supervised and WILLING TO FOLLOW DIRECTION. In the East, the admonitions of this paragraph is usually ignored. There are a lot of crazy sadhus in India and a lot of crazy monks in Thailand and the rest of the Buddhist world. BUT there is also a different attitude about mental illness in these areas, as well as in the Muslim world. Persons consider mentally ill in western society are thought to be closer to Ultimate Reality than most person. Mental illness is in general a Western concept. In many other cultures it is considered an indication of special knowledge.

This raises a completely different discussion: What is or is not abnormal in the humans psyche? Insanity is only a culturally defined condition so what are the REAL limits of the human mind?

But that is off-subject. My experience has been that human consciousness, at least mine, has benefited immensely from the simple Buddhist meditation techniques, as well as some of the more advanced techniques, but only if I am helped by talking with other people about my thoughts.

All people can do with more balance in their life. Just remember to NEVER take yourself too seriously and all this works very well.


JimBob

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Buddhist ideas as a valid psychological coping mechanism?
« Reply #5 on: 27/09/2009 21:56:48 »


The US government says it most likely helps. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/meditation/

And there are ongoing studies that say it has been show to increase the positive outcomes in sever disease models, including high blood pressure and cancer.


Dimi

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Buddhist ideas as a valid psychological coping mechanism?
« Reply #6 on: 27/09/2009 22:20:01 »
That is true, life has a sense of humour - so use it. Other wise, just move on. I'm not saying don't be sad if it is dramatic, but life doesn't wait. Once people admit to themselves its impossible to get move on , then it effectively becomes impossible to  move on

I like to tread carefully with the word disease. I hate the idea of labeling different states of mind as a disease. FOR MOST CASES - I think it gives a person an excuse to act that way, ever hear a person say 'Sorry! I have depression so I can't work as much' ~ I know I have. Of course there are genuine cases of mental issues like schizophrenia (my spell check doesn't work) and hormone imbalances, but most of the time it gives people an excuse to be lazy and fall into bad patterns just for the pure sake of getting their 'highs'

Meditation is a great thing, I do practice it. I find I have much more control over myself that way. Its a good time to clear your mind, or a good time to process thoughts undisturbed.

I wish I could just jump into other peoples brains and experience their thoughts. The mind is too much..

JimBob

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Buddhist ideas as a valid psychological coping mechanism?
« Reply #7 on: 28/09/2009 02:25:34 »
I understand your hesitance to say things are diseases. I believe the Romans believed lack of libido was a disease. 

But meditation and its derivatives have served me well for over 30 years. Don't seem TOO crazy, do I?


yor_on

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Buddhist ideas as a valid psychological coping mechanism?
« Reply #8 on: 16/10/2009 20:43:38 »
Ah folks, reading you is like coming home :)
I especially appreciated JimBobs definitions here ::))

 

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