Welcome, Guest
Username: Password: Remember me

TOPIC: The Loss of Passion

The Loss of Passion 12 Feb 2019 13:44 #110349

I mean it makes sense on the one hand, but it is kind of strange on the other to see things like once beloved hobbies fall away. I find myself in a zone where I could end up being that person just sitting out on the front porch looking out on a two lane blacktop, and that's my life. Which is okay. It's just a bit weird in terms of prior identity.

It seems like a lot of the hobbies or activities had some level of extrinsic reward to them, or maybe something about manipulating state, or some status component or whatever. And it's just no longer necessary to do those things, to play the guitar or paint or go on a ski trip. It's like the contentment is already there and it would require grasping to do those things. So there is less doing.

Wondering how that is playing out with other people.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Laurel Carrington, Philip

The Loss of Passion 12 Feb 2019 14:11 #110352

Yes to all of that. (Identity, status, extrinsic reward, fear of missing out, etc etc etc.) But it's a fine line between things naturally dropping and a subtle dullness/avoidance which always goes with doing something new. (In other words, it's very easy to spiritually bypass real curiosity and take the lazy way and disconnect out of life.) For me, sometimes it means "forcing" myself to do something new. This last weekend I "forced" myself to go to my niece's tennis game, just to make sure I did something new and mildly annoying. As fate would have it, it was kind of enjoyable.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Philip

The Loss of Passion 13 Feb 2019 09:21 #110368

Yes, I've got some of that going on to a degree. One of my first big insights was how my photography hobby was driven by grasping and that (plus the smartphone revolution) kind of took the sails out of it. I find now I tend to pick up stuff that I used to be quite driven to do, fiddle with it for a while and then put it down again, because that drive seems to have faded.

Of course the other factor I've got going on is this awakening thing which has sort of become my 'current project'. :dry:
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: shargrol, Laurel Carrington

The Loss of Passion 13 Feb 2019 10:33 #110371

Also noticed that before I used to be "good" about doing stuff ahead of time. Like way ahead of time. Now I have to wait until it feels right, usually closer towards the deadline if one exists.

I may not be exposed to enough unpleasant situations, but most social activities tend to be okay, and that's whether it's close friends or the equivalent of dinner with the in-laws. Okay in the sense of fine, not bad and not great. Kind of like the way I experience dreams. Although I suppose I get a bit more out of conversations with my partner. Or the cat.

I still do a few crosswords, and keeping a roof over my head still evokes some substantial interest.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: shargrol

The Loss of Passion 13 Feb 2019 21:02 #110390

This topic scares the sh*t out of me because it really hits that nerve of changing in an undesirable way. Blue pill, red pill, but once you take the blue (or was it red) you cannot go back.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

The Loss of Passion 13 Feb 2019 21:33 #110391

Tom Otvos wrote:
This topic scares the sh*t out of me because it really hits that nerve of changing in an undesirable way. Blue pill, red pill, but once you take the blue (or was it red) you cannot go back.

I could see how it could put some people off. I've wondered about that, turning people off. When I talked to my girlfriend, I thought she might take it that way but she seemed eager to trade a bit of passion or whatever for some peace. Depends on how much one is suffering I suppose.

For myself, it's very tranquil and I can't say I want to trade back. But it is different. When it was first happening, I remember it seemed like a very good thing, in contrast to how things were before. I remember likening it to an investment that pays dividends every second. But over time it becomes the new normal and I think I've kind of forgotten so much of what it was like before that it becomes a little bit of a mystery.

I do have a kind of wishful thinking that there are people out there who are living the normal human life really well, that is, they are so well adjusted psychologically, they do so well with friends and family and career and so forth and maybe they are better off without it. That the ride is so good, why would they get off. Maybe that's possible. But I'm not sure I've ever actually met such a person. Seems like pretty much everyone is beset by psychological suffering or whatever.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Laurel Carrington

The Loss of Passion 14 Feb 2019 06:16 #110393

I'll add another dimension... I keep discovering new interests and new approaches after giving up a lot of my more manic pursuits. Just as an example, I'm finding that my workout routines are a lot more targetted and specialized now. And it's because I was able to really see what was needed. In the past it would be all about time in the gym, increasing 1 rep max, going for maximum shred. But these days I'm' interestingly less strong but more resilient/flexible and I like it. Same thing with entertainment, much less of it but I really do enjoy it when someone recommends a good show/movie and I watch it. Same thing with cooking, less over the top recipes and a lot more simple meals that are really good, less identity around what I eat as long as it's really good fuel.

So less total ambition, but more right-to-the-point or right-on-track ambition.

And yeah, your example of "busting through work and finishing ahead of time" versus "getting it done by the time it is due" is EXACTLY what seems to be happening now. Much more balanced, less dramatic, yet still effective.

The interesting thing about this is it is a bit isolating, because 80% of most conversations is talking about striving, keeping up with entertainment (movies, book, news), and often confusing complaining about something and doing something that actually changes things (complaining about politics, finance (and dharma maps and bad meditation teachers --- just kidding, I still love talking and complaining about that :) ). So I find that I often don't have a lot to say, but it's still interesting to hang out and listen.

Ultimately though, no big deal, feels fairly minor most of the time. And heck, could be I'm just getting old :D

(Lately I've been thinking about it this way: it's less first and second jhana, more third and fourth. :) )
Last Edit: 14 Feb 2019 06:22 by shargrol.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Philip

The Loss of Passion 14 Feb 2019 07:57 #110395

I agree with shargrol. The dharma is not a dead-end street. It's an entirely new street, with plenty of shiny new things to be interested in that are less ego-based. I also remember posting something very much like what Eric posted here but a long time ago, on my practice thread and Tom, you had the same reaction.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: shargrol

The Loss of Passion 14 Feb 2019 12:01 #110399

I've also had a number of changes in interests. I clearly remember post-stream-entry where I got rid of a huge amount of books, some of which I've collected since childhood. I was able to take a fresh look at them, and found that a lot of them were really crappy. I had been holding on to them because I had been holding on to them. It was such a relief. I've restarted a smaller library, but now it mostly book I haven't read, but really look forward to. I'm sure I'll cull those eventually as well.

Guitar playing was another thing I put down, but that was more complex. I had a lot of motivations that centered around others' opinions of my playing, and really, was going through the motions. I've been able to let those old motivations drop away. I recently picked up my playing, and found it felt brand-new again, much like it was when I started at age 15. I will likely never play so obsessively as I used to, and that's a good thing.

New interests have sprung up - board game playing, and a really curious but joyful interest in Magic: The Gathering. I'm a bit late to the game--most people I know started in their early teens, but I'm able to learn and play and have a great deal of fun with. Better yet, I'm able to put it down and do other hobbies and it doesn't feel dissapointing, like I'm abandoning an interest.

All in all, these new attitudes feel way healthier, more joy-producing, and more richly soulful.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: shargrol, Philip

The Loss of Passion 14 Feb 2019 14:45 #110401

Tom Otvos wrote:
This topic scares the sh*t out of me because it really hits that nerve of changing in an undesirable way. Blue pill, red pill, but once you take the blue (or was it red) you cannot go back.

I totally understand feeling fear and thinking, "What if _______ changes out from under me? I NEED _______ because I'll go broke/get sick/get divorced/vote Labour/etc/etc/etc."

FWIW: Not sure if everyone has had the same experience, but none, repeat--none of my changes/evolutions have been undesirable. Each has felt felt like walking all day and then finally finally getting to take off a pair of tight shoes. You don't have to put them back on if you don't want to, but if you have to, you understand why you're doing it, and make time to shop for new shoes.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Philip

The Loss of Passion 14 Feb 2019 14:48 #110402

Tom Otvos wrote:
This topic scares the sh*t out of me because it really hits that nerve of changing in an undesirable way. Blue pill, red pill, but once you take the blue (or was it red) you cannot go back.
Tom, I was nuts. I can see that looking back: take this kind of picture, collect that kind of gear, is this lens really sharp enough, blah, blah. And I just realised - it was the realm of hungry ghosts, huh, that's taken three years to realise, talk about a slow burn.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: shargrol, Laurel Carrington

The Loss of Passion 14 Feb 2019 14:54 #110404

This is a cool thread. My interests have changed a lot, not just as a sort of downstream or side effect of insight, but as a purposeful/conscious integration of insight into conventional life. For several years I just focused on basic functioning & up until recently any hobbies I took up were partially in relation to that, such as trying to emulate what I felt a high functioning human being would do in the world. I have recently realized that taking care of my mind, body & things in very basic ways takes enough time & energy on top of a full time job + sleep. When you add in the desire to go on adventures such as travel & have good family/friend relationships + spiritual practice + selfless service where available, that in itself is a full plate & I don't need to add on improv comedy, swing dancing, mixology, guitar, etc on top of that.

In summary I pretty much just focus on basic self care & health + my job + spirituality + my relationships now & have opted to eliminate hobbies.
Last Edit: 14 Feb 2019 14:58 by Noah.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: shargrol

The Loss of Passion 14 Feb 2019 16:11 #110405

Great thread – this topic used to be a cause of some concern for me, mostly with all things musical, as usual. In the world of music, it’s very often the case that the more passion you have, the better a musician you are. You have famous composers and teachers saying things like “if you can go a day without writing a note, you should quit... if you don’t have passion for what you do, you should quit, because you’ll never have what it takes”. Or “you can’t be a musician if you haven’t loved, haven’t suffered...” which suggests to people that they should do all kinds of crazy things that put someone else’s notion of what music is before life.

In relation to practice, I find passion has nothing to do with the quality of music, although it is obviously a form of motivation, and its character is naturally reflected in the musical result, for better or for worse. I used to worry that my music would suffer as a result of loss of passion, but this practice that cultivates concentration, sensory clarity (especially aural and emotional clarity) I find to be extremely beneficial. In terms of the emotions and things we express through music that we might associate with passion, I passion isn't a prerequisite to making music with real substance; with this practice you can know the deepest and truest feelings from "within" and not from "outside" where we might have tried to take them before – music made and heard can have real love and real pain, just as it did before, but now it's clear and honest. There is also no need to hate other music in order to love our own.

I did stop playing guitar (classical!! :P), composing, and doing any kind of musical activities, even listening, for quite a few months, maybe even a year or so, partly because difficulties in my environment and then somewhat of my own will in response to it. I did know that it would come back at some point, when the time was right. Impermanence became pretty clear then, the knowledge of the fact that whenever I do anything in music, or anything really, it could be stopped dead at any second, and I would have no idea how long it could last, which meant that I would be nervous while doing it, and it would hurt or made me angry with things when it was stopped. The absence (or softening) of passion means I can begin and continue without the stress, or at least less of it.

Motivations definitely change; I found that there wasn't the same form of pleasure seeking, since I began to look at lots of the things I might have done for fun as pointless and the desires that drove me changed. After sometime, now I can write a note every day, or I can not. I do music every day now because I realised that had really better make the most of my skills in this life and use them in the best way. I'm still limited by my environment, but I've adapted to be able to do what I can and feel contented.

Of course, it could indeed all just be me getting old...
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: shargrol

The Loss of Passion 14 Feb 2019 16:22 #110406

Junglist wrote:
I did stop playing guitar (classical!! :P), composing, and doing any kind of musical activities, even listening, for quite a few months, maybe even a year or so, partly because difficulties in my environment and then somewhat of my own will in response to it. I did know that it would come back at some point, when the time was right. Impermanence became pretty clear then, the knowledge of the fact that whenever I do anything in music, or anything really, it could be stopped dead at any second, and I would have no idea how long it could last, which meant that I would be nervous while doing it, and it would hurt or made me angry with things when it was stopped. The absence (or softening) of passion means I can begin and continue without the stress, or at least less of it.

I can really relate to this, especially the last line. I'd add, "The absence (or softening) of passion means I can also stop and take a break from activities without the stress, or at least less of it."

Also, go classical guitar. :+1:
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: shargrol, Junglist

The Loss of Passion 14 Feb 2019 16:37 #110407

Andy wrote:
Junglist wrote:
I did stop playing guitar (classical!! :P), composing, and doing any kind of musical activities, even listening, for quite a few months, maybe even a year or so, partly because difficulties in my environment and then somewhat of my own will in response to it. I did know that it would come back at some point, when the time was right. Impermanence became pretty clear then, the knowledge of the fact that whenever I do anything in music, or anything really, it could be stopped dead at any second, and I would have no idea how long it could last, which meant that I would be nervous while doing it, and it would hurt or made me angry with things when it was stopped. The absence (or softening) of passion means I can begin and continue without the stress, or at least less of it.

I can really relate to this, especially the last line. I'd add, "The absence (or softening) of passion means I can also stop and take a break from activities without the stress, or at least less of it."

Also, go classical guitar. :+1:

It was curious, extremely short term, like I might start and seconds later I'd have to stop, or sometimes I'd have some time to get into it, and then I'd have to stop, and also long term, I might begin a project of some sort that might take a few days or weeks, but then find that was also impossible. And then eventually, "Ohhhhhh........ things don't last at all, do they....." Didn't lose me my right to enjoy being bitter, goddammit. :woohoo:

I can understand the taking a break thing, passion can make you overdo things.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: shargrol

The Loss of Passion 15 Feb 2019 07:20 #110409

FWIW: Not sure if everyone has had the same experience, but none, repeat--none of my changes/evolutions have been undesirable.

Agreed!

I've been thinking about this and the word I would use to describe what motivates me, what I respond to now, is "authenticity." Nothing that is fake, false, BS. made up, phony, or otherwise crap will be of any interest. I don't want to listen to that stuff or have anything to do with that stuff. Authentic things? Bring 'em on! Now, please don't ask me to explain "authenticity." I just know it, feel it, when I see it. That ability came along at some point during my practice.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

The Loss of Passion 15 Feb 2019 07:39 #110411

"Authenticity," that resonates. I'm very fortunate to have a lot of free time at this point in my life and most of it is spent in practice or related activities. Anything else has to be pretty darn good to lure me away from that and these experiences have a particular quality to them that you might call authenticity. Helping to paint my neighbor's house, community volunteer work, watching a really good movie with my husband, pot luck with friends... Experiential junk food just doesn't appeal to me anymore.

Reminds me of a book read in high school: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Didn't Pirsig use the word "quality" or something similar?
The administrator has disabled public write access.

The Loss of Passion 15 Feb 2019 08:38 #110414

Chris Marti wrote:
I agree with shargrol. The dharma is not a dead-end street. It's an entirely new street, with plenty of shiny new things to be interested in that are less ego-based. I also remember posting something very much like what Eric posted here but a long time ago, on my practice thread and Tom, you had the same reaction.

Quoting Chris, but to everyone else that has chimed in. I can totally appreciate that the essence of specific hobbies or activities may have changed to be more refined, or authenticate, and I have come to be ok with that. Eric's wording was a bit more...dramatic...that it touched a still-raw nerve. Coincidentally, my dog-walking dharma is currently in the form of the audio version of "Abiding in Mindfulness", by Joseph Goldstein. And I had just very recently listened to a part where he discusses the hinderance of craving/wanting. And at one point he did say something equally nerve jangling about doing away with passion. I'll re-listen and post back because I don't want to misquote. But my unenlightened take is that I don't want to do away with passion, but mindfully enjoy the things that I want to enjoy. Yes, some things may drop off because the motivations for doing them may have been uncovered to be flawed in some way, but I still want to be passionate about, say, the night sky and be blown away by its majesty, or be super focused on some new thing because it piques my interest.

Stupid example of the latter. I am trying to increase my productivity and not drop balls that need to be kept going. So I am using the "bullet journal" which, if you are unfamiliar, is a very faddy thing over the last year or two. There is a ton of YouTube/Pinterest/Instagram stuff out there on it, and it is easy to get sucked into the black hole of having the most elaborate and prettiest BuJo out there. (As an aside, there is a whole mindfulness component to bullet journaling that is interesting in a "Random Dharma" kind of way.) Anyhow, my point here is that one of my patterns when I start something new that really has my interest is to "gear up", and believe me, for BuJo there is ample opportunity to get the "right" notebook, the "right" pens, etc. It turns out that my practice has matured enough that I see this pattern in me, see how my interest rapidly can, and does, morph into craving this, that, or the other thing. And I am tempering my new "passion" by keeping focused on the point of it without getting pulled (too much) into all the rest, or seeing it happen when it does.

Ramble, so yeah.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: shargrol

The Loss of Passion 15 Feb 2019 09:02 #110415

I did a little defense of the path back there, but I wanted to pull out one piece, which is that my ability to say whether the path is worth it or not is greatly diminished by the fact that it requires comparison with something that at this point is only memories, or memories of memories even. Those memories seem flimsy and uncertain, and there is a great distance from them. In order to make the statement definitively I have to become kind of dogmatic about a concept, and that is increasingly hard. I'm reminded of one of those old Zen stories where the villagers bring stories of good news, bad news, whatever, and the Zen master always says something like "maybe". It's like that. I think there are obvious decreases in suffering, yet I can also wonder what it would be like to be truly lost in a good movie again. I can still enjoy movies, but I can't get awfully lost in that way.

One experience that is pleasant and yet admittedly has a degree of concept to it, is moments where there is a deep recognition of the kind of beauty of it all along with a deep understanding of impermanence, that everything is fleeting and will pass away. Realizing the unbelievable preciousness of the moment. I suppose anyone could have something like that, but there's something that seems deeper now.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: shargrol

The Loss of Passion 15 Feb 2019 11:32 #110417

Loss of passion is something that has definitely happened to me, but I need to find other motivators than the old egoic sense of “passion.” I have emotions and preferences, but I don’t have the same drive to do specific things that I once did. I also still have work to do in the world, like raise my son and be a partner to my husband, maintaining a household. For awhile these questions have been submerged in the “story” of my fibromyalgia and early retirement, which bummed me out and caused a lot of heartache. I am now looking at that situation with a more clinical sort of interest. Practice has picked up again after a long period of catch-as-catch-can, and I’m working on ways to improve what physical fitness I do have. One final point: there is no way in the world I would want to go back to how I was before.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: shargrol

The Loss of Passion 15 Feb 2019 12:28 #110419

For me, when I think about passion, the high-energy bump of A&P comes to mind, especially in the honeymoon phase of starting a new hobby or interest. That's definitely fun, but ultimately it doesn't last, so building a lasting commitment based on that doesn't work so well for me.

When I think about current interests, and restarting hobbies like classical and fingerstyle guitar, I think much more of in terms of Equanimity than A&P. Again, nothing wrong with A&P and it even may be necessary to get some things started, but my long-term enjoyment comes with a completely different feel. It's almost more "adult" in some ways than the childish gotta-do-it in A&P. To be clear, I did mean childish, not child-like. Child-like is a good thing and feel completely appropriate when I'm lost in a task or hobby.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: shargrol

The Loss of Passion 15 Feb 2019 12:41 #110421

I have a similar experience. So much has changed over the past few years. I completely agree with some of you on how I work. I used to be a get things done early, fast and furious kind of person. Now, I get them done when they need to be done and when it feels right - same result, less stress.

Also, I was a swimmer my whole life and there was a period a couple years ago where, for some reason, I felt like I needed to get back in the water and train. However, something about it didn't feel right. It felt forced. I didn't really want to be there. Then one day a year ago or so I took my family to a rock climbing gym and something clicked. So, in my 40's I have somehow become a climber. I usually climb 3 times a week and it never feels forced, it's actually become my practice in a way. There is nothing more flowy and present for me right now than when you are on the wall, adrenaline flowing, working hard. All thoughts gone, just right there, fully present, tackling a problem.

However, just because I 'lost' my passion for swimming doesn't mean it feels like a loss, quite the opposite. I am still a swimmer, my wife is a swimmer, my kids are swimmers. I just happen to have another new 'I.' Always adding to my collection, then dropping, then changing, then adding again.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Chris Marti, shargrol, Andy

The Loss of Passion 17 Feb 2019 01:28 #110441

Agree that with maturity I've dropped activities that were done either for the wrong reasons (ie I spent three years trying to learn to play the piano so that I might help out in the church choir, only to finally admit that I loathe playing the piano and pretty much loathe the church choir...so i quit both) or for stimulation (ie I have a low tolerance for noise designed to manipulate your emotions, such as nightclub music, bad church music, film soundtracks, etc.; but I remember times in the past where I enjoyed the sensations, especially when I was much younger).

But quitting one thing opens up time for deeper study of other things (such as Gregorian chant, which I love), which is nice.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Chris Marti, shargrol, Andy, Junglist
Time to create page: 0.252 seconds
Powered by Kunena Forum