Need help

Nikhil Gowardhan Meshram, modified 2 Years ago.

Need help

Posts: 5 Join Date: 9/2/18 Recent Posts
Dhamma. Org

I am male 30 years from India. In december 2017 last week,  i went to a 10 days retreat (S. N. Goenka vipassana).  This was my third retreat,  first one being in December 2013. I was a regular smoker (10 cigs a day) and also heavy drinker (at least 3 times a week) although drinking was reduced to almost nothing couple of months before the retreat.  Meditation practice off the retreat was not regular so i can not say that I am a serious meditator. But i am always excited and positive towards the retreats and put my heart into it when i am in one. Follows the record of the my experience since december 2017 to november 2018, any insights and suggestions would be of immense help. I have been following dho since one year and i think this is the right place to look for suggestions and help. 

Dec 2017 -  Before the retreat

                Very excited, confident and positive towards the retreat.  At this time I was not having any idea of the maps and progess of insight/concentration.  I was doing the retreat just for the feel of it. This was going to be my third retreat

27 Dec 2017 to 6 jan 2018 The retreat

First three days were just fine,  pain was the least and insignificant.  I could sit for an hour straight.  I do not have knowledge of the jnanas so cant comment on that but overall sessions were going great and mind wandered the least. 

Day 4 at night,  my heart suddenly started racing and i felt something like panic attack,  i had to go out of the room to catch my breath,  i felt i was going to die. I was extremly scared. I somehow related that to the withdrawls of smoking and went on.  

I am not a diabetic,  still i felt that the uneasiness might be due to low blood sugar. So everyday i took a  bottle of lamonade with me to my room. After that i had severe fatigue throught the retreat,  couldnt walk few steps without struggling to breathe air. 
The uneasiness,  extreme fear that i am going to die,  lack of sleep (slept only for few hours throught the retreat) continued till 8th or 9th day. Last day was remarkably better in terms of feeling stable. 


JANUARY 2018

I came back from retreat and two days after that i went to watch a movie and had severe uneasiness, anxiety problem,  i was scared,  couldnt breathe, left the hall and went straight to hospital.  My blood sugar was normal ECG SHOWED SLIGHT ABNORMALITY IN ANTERIOR VALVE or something. Then i went for 2D ECO and STERSS/TRAEDMILL TEST Which again came back normal.  DOCTOR SAID MY HEART IS FINE. 


FEB-April 18

Felt slight better but some kind of uneasiness still  lingered. Smoking ( even a single cigarrette made me anxious), was reduced from 10 to 1 or 2 per day. I had food poisoning on 15 th march and after that,  digestive issues remained.  I went to 3-4 doctors,  all of them said nothing was wrong with me.  

May 18

Fatigue is extreme severe pannic attacks (almost daily) in the evening.  Sleep is gone. Brain fog (experienced first time ), Physicall tasks are extremly difficult.  Although i was regular at the gym and have significant stamina i was extremmly scared of even a small walk. 

Lack of concentration was extreme,  girlfriend complained that i dont pay any attention. I have quite a good memory (above average)  but it was very difficult to remember a single thing during the day. Frustrated,  embarrassed.  Before the retreat i was able to study for 10 to 12 hours a day.  Now half an hour was an impossible task. Everyone was asking where am i (lack of attention) i thought memory loss was permannent. 

June.18 first week

Was literally crawlling with fatigue.feeling like my brain is pushing against my skull. Had exams but couldnt appear as i was scared i was going to die any moment now.  I gave up on everything and just waited for the moment to come. I gave up the job,  gave up the carrier, gave up on almost everything. went to my parrents.  

June-july 2018

Some sort of brain fog (different than earlier).  I am like a doll sitting at one place one posture all day.
Slept only for 3_4 hours a day. Weird feeling in the centre of the  chest made me suddenly awake at almost every night. During the sleep  Breath was stopping suddenly and i had to struggle to catch it This was the time i came accross dhammaoverground website and MCTB.  During this time i couldnt do anything so started reading

August. 

For few days,  just before falling asleep,  a stage was there where i am not completely asleep nor awake but aware of it in a very weird way.  This happened for couple of nights for very short periods of times (about 2-3 minutes) 

For two days Very different type of experience like i am not me type.  Althogh experience didnt match any of the description of cool things in the books or websites, i felt calm for the first time in months. it was not extremly pleasant nor painful (very neutral). 


September-November

One day i was extremly scared thinking that if i sleep i am never going to wake up,  that was the moment i surrendered myself (i did not have choice situation). Surrender was natural and there had nothing left to hold on to. 

There has been shift in perception as well as understanding after this event. Cant say its sudden,  it was more like gradual but i was seeing things differently now.  Sometimes the fear arised but i was not that scared.  Memory also has been working fine now. But it feels like i am different now in so many ways.  I am less frustrated,  less sad,  more statble now. 

The thing is I left practicing soon after i started having problems. And i am afrraid if i start practicing the bad phase would return.  

I request everyone for the advice.  And I am sorry for the long post. Please forgive my English. 


tamaha, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Need help

Posts: 59 Join Date: 5/17/17 Recent Posts
Hi Nikhil,

Fellow Indian here, who too started with Goenka.
"This was the time i came accross dhammaoverground website and MCTB. During this time i couldnt do anything so started reading”
So, now you must be familiar with MCTB and the nyanas and stuff? Looks like yours is a classic Dukkha nyana (Dark night) experience, which is common and normal.

"i felt calm for the first time in months. it was not extremly pleasant nor painful (very neutral). "
Likely you got up to equanimity here. Can't be very sure, though.
So, looks like you're cycling A&P -DN - EQ.

"One day i was extremly scared thinking that if i sleep i am never going to wake up, that was the moment i surrendered myself (i did not have choice situation). Surrender was natural and there had nothing left to hold on to.

There has been shift in perception as well as understanding after this event. Cant say its sudden, it was more like gradual but i was seeing things differently now. Sometimes the fear arised but i was not that scared."
Though you talk about perception shift here, I can't say you did reach stream entry, because neither I'm experienced to say that nor your descriptions are sufficient enough to say that. Most likely it's not Stream entry. In any case, you've got some good insights and looks like that has reduced some suffering in you. Good for you. The insights and experiences that you had could be temporary or sometimes have a permanent impact, no one can say that for sure and only time will tell. As with most people's experience, a permanent significant shift only comes with Stream entry.

"The thing is I left practicing soon after i started having problems. And i am afrraid if i start practicing the bad phase would return. "
The best advice for this is to contemplate for some time on what is your actual motivation for meditation practice? Do you really want to practice now, why? What are you looking for? Is it okay if you don't practice?

"Sometimes the fear arised but i was not that scared. Memory also has been working fine now. But it feels like i am different now in so many ways. I am less frustrated, less sad, more statble now. “
Do you mean to say you are content with your current life after that experience?
If so, why do you think you're worrying whether you should continue the practice? Or do you feel there’s much more to be done? Your motivation to meditate has decreased only because you're scared of the Dark side or because there's a huge reduction in suffering?
If you neither have enough motivation nor have much suffering, there wouldn't be any confusion whether or not to continue the practice.
Give it some time, give a few weeks and months and see if things start changing and if you're back to your old self. That should be a pretty good indicator regarding what you're supposed to do in the future.

But, in case you decide to practice further, you should be brave enough to face the challenges. Give a few more reads of MCTB2 ( https://www.mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/ ), understand the stages in and out, take the advices given there to your heart. Understand that all the things that you're experiencing are normal and have been experienced by countless yogis in the past. Prepare yourself and continue your practice according to the stages. Don’t freak out. Spend more time here on DhO (can't stress this enough) and see how people have managed a similar territory in the past and see what pieces of advice they got from others. Remember the MCTB Mantra: “Perceive the 3 characteristics of all the sensations that make up your reality precisely and consistently”.
Few other common general advice that people usually give during DN: Socialise more with family and friends, exercise well, have good sleep, don't let DN affect your personal and professional life, and continue the daily practice.

If you're still worried about the practice, you can slowly start with Brahmaviharas, which is almost never a problem if done properly. Then slowly shift to other concentration based meditations, to stabilize yourself more and see if you're ready.
You could also check out "The Mind Illuminated" by Culadasa which is followed by many, here.

All the best. You can keep updating on your practice here.
Matthew, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Need help

Posts: 119 Join Date: 1/30/13 Recent Posts
It sounds like you experienced fairly serious and long-lasting energetic symptoms after doing relatively small amounts of a technique that is typically well-tolerated. Although it's possible you're going through the progress of insight, much of what you described does not resemble the dark night.

People on an internet forum will not be able to diagnose what caused these symptoms, much less whether it's safe for you to start practicing again. When someone has an experience like yours, it's very important not to start meditating again without expert advice.

Be aware that this forum has a tendency to diagnose all negative meditation experiences as manifestations of the dark night, when there are many other potential causes for what you experienced. Of the weird things that can happen in meditation, long-lasting negative energetic symptoms are probably the least understood, both in terms of what causes them in some people and not others, as well as how they can be treated. 

I would be very, very careful before you try meditating again, because the symptoms could recur and be worse than before. Be grateful that you're functional again and hold off on practicing until you know what's going on. 

I recommend that you contact Tara Springett (http://www.taraspringett.com/), Hokai Sobol (https://www.hokai.info/contact/), and Willoughby Britton (https://vivo.brown.edu/display/wbritton) for advice. Tara Springett is an expert on treating negative energetic phenomena in meditation practitioners. Hokai is an experienced Buddhist meditation teacher. Willoughby is an academic expert in negative meditation experiences and she'll be familiar with experiences like yours. 

I will seek contact info for more teachers whose advice could be useful to you and post in this thread. I think it makes sense for you to consult multiple experts before you decide to practice again. It would also be helpful if you could provide me with your email address. You can send me a message and post in this thread when you've done so, so I can make sure that the message was received (sometimes the message functionality here doesn't work). 

tamaha's advice is well-intentioned but potentially dangerous. It's impossible to diagnose over the internet whether further practice would be safe for you or not at this juncture.
tamaha, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Need help

Posts: 59 Join Date: 5/17/17 Recent Posts
You could also check out the book "Trauma sensitive mindfulness" by David Treleaven, a much talked about book these days on this subject.
Nikhil Gowardhan Meshram, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Need help

Posts: 5 Join Date: 9/2/18 Recent Posts
Thank you. Where are you from in india    ? 
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Noah D, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Need help

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Please review the resources available on this page: https://www.reddit.com/r/streamentry/wiki/health-and-balance
T DC, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Need help

Posts: 389 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
That sounds like quite an experience!  In posting about it here, you are on the right track - the negative, destabalizing effects that meditation can have are well recognised in this community.  Resources such as the link Noah posted could be helpful, you could also try reaching out to teachers such as Daniel Ingram, author of MCTB and founder of this forum, for more personal guidance.  Best of luck!
Nikhil Gowardhan Meshram, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Need help

Posts: 5 Join Date: 9/2/18 Recent Posts
Thanks a lot everyone, listening from someone means a lotlin such situations.  I am stopping maditation for a while,  till my exams are over. And will post other missed details of the experience 
Nikhil Gowardhan Meshram, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Need help

Posts: 5 Join Date: 9/2/18 Recent Posts
Noticing involuntary body movement while going to sleep.  is it normal
shargrol, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Need help

Posts: 1554 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Nikhil Gowardhan Meshram:
Noticing involuntary body movement while going to sleep.  is it normal

Could be normal and nothing to worry about. How is everything else in your life? Are you mostly okay?
Nikhil Gowardhan Meshram, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Need help

Posts: 5 Join Date: 9/2/18 Recent Posts
I can say I am better now. but there are certain issues i would like to point out here.  
1. I remain dull throught the day. 
2. I also observed some characteristics of double mindedness with me.  earlier i was a confident guy,  but now i am inconsistent and indecissive. also I can not study like i used to,  efficiency came down to 30 % or so.  thanks for asking though. 
Nikhil gowardhan meshram, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Need help

Posts: 6 Join Date: 8/29/20 Recent Posts
I had to make another ID as I couldn’t log in with the previous one

That was me before almost 2 years. I can’t thank enough to this forum for helping me through my difficult days. I am immensely to Tamaha, Matthew, T DC , Noah and others for their advice for it would have been almost impossible for me to sustain without it.

I took the advice and stopped practising after couple of days of writing above post. Focused all my energy to bring my life back on the track. I spent some time on this forum articles and tried understanding MCTB. I am much better now though can’t say I am exactly out of woods.
What I was going through, did not seem to me like progress of insight back then, but recently I came across Shargrols post which said -
““Post stream entry, the body will start re-wiring itself, almost to physically incorporate the new glimpse of emptiness/cessation. It's hard to describe, but in the same way that pre-stream entry we "think with our gut" or have "heartfelt feelings" or have "a lump in our throat" or feel "there is something on my mind" there are now re-wirings in all of those nerve centers that give us more expansive ways of having all of those body-mind ways of knowing.
This will show up in different ways, for different people. Some people get skull crushing aches, some people feel love in their heart, some people will feel fear in their gut, some people will feel very sexual, some people will feel panic in their throat, some people will feel bliss in their third eye... and probably all of these will be felt at some time or another.”

Excerpt FromA Compilation of Shargrol's Posts at Dharmaoverground.orgShargrolThis material may be protected by copyright.

What is mentioned here is 99 % (even could be 100%) match to what I experienced during/after that time. So couple of questions came to my mind. I would be saved if someone helps me with these as I really am in dilemma weather to start practising again.

  • Is it even slightly possible that I achieved SE and do not remember the cessation? Could that be post SE cycling ? The reason I am asking this is because, I have read that second path stages are not easily predictable, which seems to be happening right now. 
  • I did 3 Goenka retreats and was alone for about 6 months during which I used to be aware of every moment and even did noting practice unknowingly. Not much time on the cushion though. Could so little time contribute to progress of insight .
  • My problem is that my meditation practice instructions were in Hindi and this forum and MCTB are in English, I can’t make sense of the terms like formations, vibrations etc

n0nick, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Need help

Posts: 17 Join Date: 6/12/20 Recent Posts
What you are describing are symptoms of a kundalini awakening. I maybe wrong but the 4 path model is not universal and doesnt always corelate to other paths and traditions. You dont need to be a stream enterer to undergo kundalini awakening and it has a map of it's own.  The involuntary movements are kundalini kriyas part of the body mind releasing tension and repressed emotion. The Goenka tradition ignores and doesnt address energetic awakening and symptoms. Good luck. 
Nikhil gowardhan meshram, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Need help

Posts: 6 Join Date: 8/29/20 Recent Posts
n0nick:
What you are describing are symptoms of a kundalini awakening. I maybe wrong but the 4 path model is not universal and doesnt always corelate to other paths and traditions. You dont need to be a stream enterer to undergo kundalini awakening and it has a map of it's own.  
Many thanks for your reply and thanks again to pkointing out that Kundalini awakning has map of its own. Can you suggest some resources that could help me regarding those maps. 

Also if 4 path model is not universal then can you suggest other models which people who are following goenka tradition might generally encounter with. ? 

Thanks again .... with Metta
n0nick, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Need help

Posts: 17 Join Date: 6/12/20 Recent Posts
The 4 path model is specific to vipassana practicioners. Zen and vajrayana have their own map. Taoism, Hindu tantra, direct path have their own map. They may meet at some point as insights are universal to the human nervous systems but different methods lead to different stages of awakening or insights. As per maps for kundalini process I think kundalini vidya by joan shivarpita harrigan is one of the most comprehensive text on this subject and influenced by mainly hindu tantra. Kundalini tantra by swami satyananda saraswati is also good. Good luck.
Tim Farrington, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Need help

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
Nikhil gowardhan meshram:
I had to make another ID as I couldn’t log in with the previous one

That was me before almost 2 years. I can’t thank enough to this forum for helping me through my difficult days. I am immensely to Tamaha, Matthew, T DC , Noah and others for their advice for it would have been almost impossible for me to sustain without it.

I took the advice and stopped practising after couple of days of writing above post. Focused all my energy to bring my life back on the track. I spent some time on this forum articles and tried understanding MCTB. I am much better now though can’t say I am exactly out of woods.
What I was going through, did not seem to me like progress of insight back then, but recently I came across Shargrols post which said -
““Post stream entry, the body will start re-wiring itself, almost to physically incorporate the new glimpse of emptiness/cessation. It's hard to describe, but in the same way that pre-stream entry we "think with our gut" or have "heartfelt feelings" or have "a lump in our throat" or feel "there is something on my mind" there are now re-wirings in all of those nerve centers that give us more expansive ways of having all of those body-mind ways of knowing.
This will show up in different ways, for different people. Some people get skull crushing aches, some people feel love in their heart, some people will feel fear in their gut, some people will feel very sexual, some people will feel panic in their throat, some people will feel bliss in their third eye... and probably all of these will be felt at some time or another.”

Excerpt FromA Compilation of Shargrol's Posts at Dharmaoverground.orgShargrolThis material may be protected by copyright.




Hello Nikhil, and welcome back to the DharmaOverground. That this issue is still on your mind and in your life after two years is a strong sign that it is crucial to you, and relevant to your life, and that this is a good place for you to seek help and support as you work on the path.

The Shargrol material is gold, and I am glad to know you have found your way to the rich resource of his posts compilation. I find it endlessly fruitful myself, as many do.

What is mentioned here is 99 % (even could be 100%) match to what I experienced during/after that time. So couple of questions came to my mind. I would be saved if someone helps me with these as I really am in dilemma weather to start practising again.

I think one of the main things that distinguish something like the pragmatic Buddhism Daniel Ingram tells of in his MCTB book from therapy, psychiatry, and even philosophy, is the emphasis on practice, on applying the techniques of meditation drawn from the scriptures and from practioners' life experience yourself, in time spent on the mat in meditation. It is not a mere philosphy, not an intellectual contruct alone, that is offered on the meditative path. It is a deep way of working with the immediacy of your mind, that leads to genuine change in your relationship with reality. 

You had an extraordinary energy awakening in your initial round of practice, and have been cautious since, and that was the right thing to do. But you seem to have stabilized enough now to begin to wonder about resuming meditative practice in some form. I would certainly recommend doing so, as gently and alertly as possible. This sangha is many things, but one thing it can be is a safety net. If you resume a gentle practice, at intervals and meditation period lengths that work for you in a sustainable way, using a simple technique that you can relate to and use with increasing skill and awareness, and if you stay in touch with this community as you do so, and share your experiences and thoughts and concerns, the meditators here can offer you genuine support based on a vast collective experience of the meditative path. It does not need to be a dramatic thing at all, nor do you need to do heroically long sits: steady, determined, committed meditation will do what you need it to do. In the long run, which is what life is. Long runs do not require haste, just humility and patience. 

My problem is that my meditation practice instructions were in Hindi and this forum and MCTB are in English, I can’t make sense of the terms like formations, vibrations etc

Again, I think your first focus should be on a simple technique, from your instructions in Hindi, especially as you are reestablishing your meditative practice. Feel free to ask questions on this forum as specific question arise, and of course we will all be very alert to any energetic phenomena as they manifest in your practice and life. A lot of people here have learned to deal with Kundalini well, through experience, and I'm sure you will benefit from their input. हो सकता है कि हम समय के साथ भाषा की बाधा को पाटने का एक तरीका खोज सकें।, lol. Google translation for MCTB? Stranger things have happened on the path.

Best of luck, my warmest welcome in your return to this sangha.

love, tim
Nikhil gowardhan meshram, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Need help

Posts: 6 Join Date: 8/29/20 Recent Posts
Hello Nikhil, and welcome back to the DharmaOverground. That this issue is still on your mind and in your life after two years is a strong sign that it is crucial to you, and relevant to your life,
Thank You
Indeed It is crucial issue for me
You had an extraordinary energy awakening in your initial round of practice, and have been cautious since, and that was the right thing to do. But you seem to have stabilized enough now to begin to wonder about resuming meditative practice in some form. I would certainly recommend doing so, as gently and alertly as possible. This sangha is many things, but one thing it can be is a safety net. If you resume a gentle practice, at intervals and meditation period lengths that work for you in a sustainable way, using a simple technique that you can relate to and use with increasing skill and awareness, and if you stay in touch with this community as you do so, and share your experiences and thoughts and concerns, the meditators here can offer you genuine support based on a vast collective experience of the meditative path. It does not need to be a dramatic thing at all, nor do you need to do heroically long sits: steady, determined, committed meditation will do what you need it to do. In the long run, which is what life is. Long runs do not require haste, just humility and patience. 
completely agree with you there, and thats what I did. I started with gentle one hour sit which did not agree with me enegywise so reduced to half hour sits twice a day. 

My problem is that my meditation practice instructions were in Hindi and this forum and MCTB are in English, I can’t make sense of the terms like formations, vibrations etc
Again, I think your first focus should be on a simple technique, from your instructions in Hindi, especially as you are reestablishing your meditative practice. Feel free to ask questions on this forum as specific question arise, and of course we will all be very alert to any energetic phenomena as they manifest in your practice and life.

That is what i am doing. gentle and simple practice. what happens during the sit is after 10 minutes or so, I feel like my body is stretched horizontally, from head to torso in one direction and below that in another. this feeling stays for rest of the sit. I do not know if it is just a mental sensation or I am in some sort of samatha Jhana.

this is also one of the reason to ask if SE has possibly happened, because if what I mentioned above is Jhana, It conforms to the saying that Jhanas are easily accessible after SE
Martin, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Need help

Posts: 294 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Nikhil gowardhan meshram:

this is also one of the reason to ask if SE has possibly happened, because if what I mentioned above is Jhana, It conforms to the saying that Jhanas are easily accessible after SE

Lots of people (including me) report getting to jhanas without SE. The jhanas are just modes of perception that are possible for the human mind. They are quite natural. People even end up in these modes by accident. It makes sense that it would be easier to get there after SE but it seems that there are plenty of other routes there.
Nikhil gowardhan meshram, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Need help

Posts: 6 Join Date: 8/29/20 Recent Posts
Everything is going well now, and those involuntary body movement have stopped too. Thanks for replying. I have posted some updates about recent developments about myself. It would mean a world to me if you give your opinion on that. 
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Dream Walker, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Need help

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Nikhil gowardhan meshram, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Need help

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Yeah I have given multiple readings to progress of insights in MCTB2. The closest inference I could draw out is that I am Ether switching between Reobservation and low Equanimity, or else got to SE but do not remember (or know) it. 

The the thing is I am at the peak of my carreer as a student. A possible dark night/ kundalini episode has alreaddy cost me almost two years. I can’t afford another dark night, atleast not right now, which is why I am scared of practising. 

I understand that, there is a possibility that it’s nothing, not SE, not Dark night, not even kundalini. It might be just a energetic phenomena or A&P at most.  But if it’s not and if there is any slightest possibility that I might have got into SE, well I just need to be sure about that (which I know I can’t be,sadly) so that I make sure to hold practice, for now.

do you think I am still stuck in knowledge of fear ?
Tim Farrington, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Need help

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
Nikhil gowardhan meshram:
Yeah I have given multiple readings to progress of insights in MCTB2. The closest inference I could draw out is that I am Ether switching between Reobservation and low Equanimity, or else got to SE but do not remember (or know) it. 

The the thing is I am at the peak of my carreer as a student. A possible dark night/ kundalini episode has alreaddy cost me almost two years. I can’t afford another dark night, atleast not right now, which is why I am scared of practising. 

I understand that, there is a possibility that it’s nothing, not SE, not Dark night, not even kundalini. It might be just a energetic phenomena or A&P at most.  But if it’s not and if there is any slightest possibility that I might have got into SE, well I just need to be sure about that (which I know I can’t be,sadly) so that I make sure to hold practice, for now.

do you think I am still stuck in knowledge of fear ?

Hi Nikhil,
 
This is a profound consideration, and this post has caused me to see your situation more clearly. The conservative answer would be to minimalize your practice, or even cease practicing altogether until you have achieved your academic goals. But where does that reasoning stop? You won’t be able to afford a possible dark night/ kundalini episode once you have entered on your career path after school either. And what about if you marry, and have children, and family responsibilities? Will there ever really be a point in your life when you could handle another major disruption on the scale of months or years?
 
You have experienced the very humbling and sobering power of the energies and disruptive forces that can come into play along the meditative path, and are rightfully cautious. You have worked hard to restabilize your life and get “back on track” in the academic world. To give you any sort of guarantee that you will experience no further “disruptive” episodes or phases in your practice would be completely irresponsible.
 
And it would be good for you to re-read Matthew’s post above, warning of a possible bias toward meditative solutions on this forum when other psychological, psychiatric, and social factors actually predominate and meditative practices are ill-advised. That is a good thing to keep in mind, especially given that, as he points out, you experienced an unusually strong and extreme and prolonged response to what is for most people a relatively well-tolerated practice, and that it took you so long to re-stabilize.
 
None of this tilts anything one way or another, necessarily. I am a relatively extreme type myself, on the path, having struggled with clinical bipolar syndrome for decades. I’ve had my share of two-year breakdowns. But obviously we don’t want you to ever have to break down again. I mention my condition and history to let you know that it is possible to get through some psychiatric extremes in conjunction with a meditation practice, and also to emphasize that the cost can be prohibitively high for most people, in the simplest practical terms.
 
I think it comes down to what your motivation is to meditate and practice Buddhism. And in a way, given what you’re said about not wanting to further disrupt your academic path, I would probably be inclined to advise letting your meditative practice go for the time being. See if you can live well and happily without it. And if you can, then good, do that. Remember that the Buddha began on the path only when he realized the existence of what was to him intolerable suffering: it is miserable people who take the Buddha’s path. You’re not miserable right now, and your previous steps on the path made you miserable to a debilitating degree. You are focused on achieving goals that require stability, balance, and strong steady applied effort. If you find yourself missing something in your life and come back around to considering the eight-fold path, and meditation practice, then so be it. But at the moment, given where you are in your life and what you want to do with your energy and time, I think I would with all humility advise not pursuing a meditative practice. There is an American expression, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Your life is not broken; you have repaired it, indeed, after it broke while you were meditating. I would say, don’t risk breaking it again, for what that is worth.
 
I hope others will weigh in here as well, and offer you their wisdom and insight on this crucial question of yours. And certainly if you do choose to keep practicing meditation, I would urge you to post here regularly and benefit from the support and experience of this sangha. In every case, I wish you well with all my heart.
 
love, tim
Nikhil gowardhan meshram, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Need help

Posts: 6 Join Date: 8/29/20 Recent Posts
 But where does that reasoning stop? You won’t be able to afford a possible dark night/ kundalini episode once you have entered on your career path after school either. And what about if you marry, and have children, and family responsibilities? Will there ever really be a point in your life when you could handle another major disruption on the scale of months or years?

          It is true that there is no good time to face the DN and similar sort. but I am willing to (Not ready yet though, I suppose) to face those difficulties as a necessary patch along the path. and I am not saying that as a "Macho meditator" but with an awareness of the saying that everyone has to face their own demons and I dont want to run away from Mine. my demons, as it seems are way too  scarrier I suppose ..lol.

          Regarding after school and later life, well you are not wrong there either. It seems i will have to make my own damn mind at some point of time. and I am thinking of doing it slightly different than I have back then. like making stronger foundation for Concentraton practices and lless insight Practice. like mentioned in culadasa's TMI.

And it would be good for you to re-read Matthew’s post above, warning of a possible bias toward meditative solutions on this forum when other psychological, psychiatric, and social factors actually predominate and meditative practices are ill-advised. That is a good thing to keep in mind, especially given that, as he points out, you experienced an unusually strong and extreme and prolonged response to what is for most people a relatively well-tolerated practice, and that it took you so long to re-stabilize.

          yes i read it regularly and it was a great help too. advice about bias towards  meditative solution was right thing to point out and it was true in my case to a great extent, as that was what i was looking for at that time instead of seeking any professional help for my psychological problems . but i did so because of two major reasons : first, - I did not have those problems before starting meditation, so after three retreats and a considerable time alone as those things surfaced, i was inclined to believe that  it was related to meditation. and secondly "Psychiatry scenario " in India is pretty crazy both qualitatively and financially, so I could not afford that. To further emphasize the first point - though I was shaken psychologically at first, with practice of equanimity, the sufferings are reduced gretly now. so weather it was related to psychology or meditation, equanimous attitude has taken me a great deal out of it. and why it took so long? I guess it happened for better or else i wouldnt have come across this sangha and MCTB, TMI etc.

I think it comes down to what your motivation is to meditate and practice Buddhism. And in a way, given what you’re said about not wanting to further disrupt your academic path, I would probably be inclined to advise letting your meditative practice go for the time being.

            Yes it comes down to motivation to meditate.though i was interested in Buddhism since childhood, I had zero knowledge of buddhas teaching. I started meditation straight by goenka 10 days retreat - no formal or imformal practice before that whatsoever not even a single sit experience. i did not have even a slightest Idea of negative aspects of it. so in a way I had it coming and it hit me hard, but the lesson is learned now. and even though it was a worse experience of my life, it has introduced me to great insights towards the world and myself. I am a new me now, less arrogant, more calm and patient and this change is so visible now. so in a way I really believe that it is the best thing that has happened to me. (i just hoped that it didnt come so painfully). that is why I want to resume the practice. I am in no hurry, be it now or 10 years later, I want to resume it all the same

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Your life is not broken; you have repaired it, indeed, after it broke while you were meditating. I would say, don’t risk breaking it again, for what that is worth.

 I will be more carefull about that.

I hope others will weigh in here as well, and offer you their wisdom and insight on this crucial question of yours. And certainly if you do choose to keep practicing meditation, I would urge you to post here regularly and benefit from the support and experience of this sangha. In every case, I wish you well with all my heart.

I hope the same, and In that Hope. I remain. Thank you. 

With Metta, Nikhil.