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wisdom-fear
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3/6/19 2:28 PM
I am in a place - off the cushion - where my practice gives me deep sense of tranquility one minute but I am also the most chaotic I have ever been.  It is almost like I am repeating patterns over and over again - deep painful patterns and though I have absolute insight I cant stop.  Its almost like it isnt even me causing the chaos.  

This energy was first met fully on a Vipassana retreat and I asked the teacher if I could leave as I was sure I'd go psychotic if I stepped into it. She advised me to stay and I did, I also stepped into dark energy.  I feel like this is now taking me over at times and whatever I try and build I am over come by a destructive, angry force.  

What is this?  Does anyone know?

RE: wisdom-fear
Answer
3/6/19 2:35 PM as a reply to nickol lindsay.
Have you read this chapter on re-observation? https://www.mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/part-iv-insight/30-the-progress-of-insight/10-re-observation/

What do you mean with ”dark energy”? Is it a metaphor?

RE: wisdom-fear
Answer
3/6/19 2:38 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I can’t tell where on the maps you are, but the wording ”all fluff and no substance” has helped me through many challenges.

RE: wisdom-fear
Answer
3/6/19 2:44 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I havent read it but I will now.

The dark energy - is like a dark ball of energy that felt outside of myself at one point and when I got close enough to it I was filled with destructive impulses that felt very alien.  Now it feels like it is me and I am it but we are still not the same.  And because I am so close to it it completely consumes and takes me over.  It is like a desire to annihilate everything and real destructiveness - like a desire to expose and reveal everything and everyone and life.  It makes me be unable to take anything seriously.  It is hard to describe but to picture it,  it is like the terminator walking out of a burning building untouched and completely unconcerned.  And yet while the buildings are there it is an absolute fully concentrated unstoppable rage that brings it all to destruction.

RE: wisdom-fear
Answer
3/6/19 3:32 PM as a reply to nickol lindsay.
Maybe you should read the section about dark jhana extra thoroughly then. You need to step back from practice a bit, is my guess, and take care of yourself.

EDIT: not stopping practice entirely, but for the moment when such things appear, and then approach practice gently at a sensate level.

RE: wisdom-fear
Answer
3/6/19 3:02 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
The mind is a complicated thing, and concentration can create weird things that feel real enough to have real consequences for the person who experiences them. It’s probably not ”real”, whatever that is, but if it affects you, that doesn’t really help, does it? You seem to be a really nice person. That terminator thing illussion can go screw itself while you do nice things for yourself. Maybe do some metta meditation? Or listen to dharma talks about metta? I can recommend Jack Kornfield (available on youtube) for anyone who needs to restore their faith in humanity and in themselves.

RE: wisdom-fear
Answer
3/6/19 3:20 PM as a reply to nickol lindsay.
I would send an email to Daniel Ingram if I were in your situation. You can find his contact details at his webpage if you google integrateddaniel. Maybe they are available here as well, I haven’t checked. I would write ”Dark jhana? Help needed!” or something like that as the topic in order for it to stand out as he may get hundreds of emails on a regular day.

Just in case. He knows his stuff. I don’t. And it sounds like you could benefit from qualified guidance.

RE: wisdom-fear
Answer
3/6/19 3:26 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
There's also the r/streamentry Guide to Health, Balance, and Difficult Territory.

I'd personally second its recommendations around reducing practice time, shifting practice towards metta, reading Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness, and working with a somatic experiencing therapist.  

RE: wisdom-fear
Answer
3/6/19 3:38 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Thanks Linda you have been really helpful.   I'm in a difficult place really and not sure how to get out of it.   I will try the metta.  The more destructive a place a get into the more I attact people filled with the hostility and the more I find it hard to be kind to myself.  Your kindness really helped.  Thank you!

RE: wisdom-fear
Answer
3/6/19 3:43 PM as a reply to JP.
Thanks JP, I will...  do you think trauma is carried in the subtle body and thats why practice brings it up? 

RE: wisdom-fear
Answer
3/6/19 5:54 PM as a reply to nickol lindsay.
Keep reaching out when you need to! See to it that you are not alone in this. I believe in you.

For what it’s worth, I have seen you be nothing but kind to others here despite the hard time you are going through. Give yourself credit for that and forgive yourself for not being perfect in crisis, and if you can’t do that, then at least acknowledge that there are people who do see the goodness in you.

RE: wisdom-fear
Answer
3/7/19 1:20 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Thanks Linda that's really kind.  This destructive element - the dark energy - is actually a justice seeker - like seems to go after the truth at all costs - so not negative intentions really but extremely strong - like to the point everyone just attacks me when this in full flow but I guess the reality is this energy is like turning over stones at an alarming rate.  I guess I cant follow through with the dramatic unveiling of institutions and people as I just to have the strength of this energy.  Its almost like there are two of us.  Like there is me and then there is this extremely powerful energy who is stronger and whose sole intent is to kind of expose things.  Whereas I would prefer to just let things be, this energy is like a vigilanaty for injustice everywhere and is extremely powerful.

RE: wisdom-fear
Answer
3/7/19 8:36 AM as a reply to nickol lindsay.
Ah. I think I can actually relate to that a lot, if I understand you correctly. During my long journey in the dark night I had a hard time integrating ideas of seeing the good in all people and being a peacekeeper and conciliator with ideas of elucidating structural oppression and increasing awareness and standing up for those who are vulnerable. Balancing that can be really tricky. I think the answer lies in compassion and in thinking outside the box to make people see other’s perspectives and realize what their true needs are and get a sense of the proportions.

Unfortunately, people tend to stick to binary thinking. I blame fear. People are afraid to trust other people to respect their needs, so they take more than they need just in case (resources, power, credibility... basically anything that people may fear not getting enough of). That creates unnecessary conflicts. That’s why when people are informed of how something that they do contributes to injustice, instead of being thankful, they are offended. Because people tend to think that they are either good or bad, either rasists or nice people, either biggots or good citizens, etc. The truth is that we are all contributing to injustices to some extent, albeit in different ways and to different degrees. As a white person I can’t escape the fact that there are rasist structures working in my favor regardless of my conscious intentions, and if I refuse to admit that, I’m contributing to these injustices even more. But the point isn’t to point out the guilt per se. The point is to know the consequences of one’s actions and find ways to work together for the benefit of all living beings. Making people work together for this purpose is hard. It seems to be easier to create division than unity.

If I’m called out for doing something that contributes to some kind of oppression, rather than fighting that and insisting that I’m a good person, I try to learn what I can do better and show in my actions that social justice is important to me. Because the anger isn’t about me. It’s about injustice. And I thank them for trusting me enough to let me know how I harm them so that I can learn from it, because that enables me to be a better person. If I need to call somebody out, or call out a system that people are using in good faith, I try to do it in a way that shows that I trust that they mean no harm. It doesn’t always work, and I can still be very angry too. Some people make it very hard to see the good in them, especially when they abuse their power.

There are indeed many injustices in this world, and I’ll never be one of those meditators who say that it’s all perfect. It’s not. Compassion with those who suffer is important. In order not to be overcome by despair and rage I still need to understand the mechanisms that make people contribute to injustices. Ignorance and fear and lack of alternatives. In order to be able to do something about ignorance and present new alternatives, it is essential to do something about the fear. People who do not feel safe tend be defensive. The human mind has an entire arsenal of mechanisms for that. It’s all too easy to be disgusted by that, but that doesn’t help.

RE: wisdom-fear
Answer
3/7/19 1:31 PM as a reply to nickol lindsay.
I'd say that trauma is "just" a conditioned set of fight/flight/freeze responses to a wide variety of sensations.  So an image, thought, sound, could trigger those responses, or even just experiencing a variety of body sensations.  I do think that body sensations like tension etc. can be one of the things that keep us "stuck in" trauma-mode since it can be a bit more consistently present than images/thoughts/sounds/certain people.  So gradually expanding our awareness of body sensations as just neutral sensations can definitely help, but it's important to try to do that at a manageable pace and with some tranquility.  Intensive and energetic body scanning that you're gritting your teeth through seems like the sort of thing that could be more retraumatizing than helpful.  

I think practice brings trauma up for two main reasons.  One is just that we're investigating, and that brings stuff up either intentionally or accidentally.  Another is that what we discover in meditation is really surprising(i.e. we're conscious of EVERYTHING we experience, nothing is permanent, etc.).  When the brain discovers something surprising, it starts to investigate that thing more and more.  So if you have an insight into the 3Cs about a trauma-linked sensation, the brain responds by directing much more attention to that sensation and linked sensations.  And the thoughts/images/body sensations that are linked to a "trauma sensation" are themselves likely to be "trauma sensations".  So this can get to be a bit of a runaway process, especially if you don't reduce practice time and your practice goal is explicitly focused on "gaining insight into the sensations that are causing suffering."  Trying to redirect your attention out towards neutral and pleasant sensations and keeping only a very small fraction of it on unpleasant sensations may help with that.

RE: wisdom-fear
Answer
3/7/19 1:57 PM as a reply to nickol lindsay.
Hey Nickol, I haven't had this as intensely as you, but I understand.  Here are some things that I did (pre stream-entry).

- Visualisation of a a merciful healing meditating buddha 15 cm above my head, vivid royal blue, with a stream of royal blue light coming down through my crown and washing negativity out of my body, pressing it out of every cavity, every pore. Wash, wash, calm, happy, wash.  I could never get rid of all of it that way, but it kept it a bit under control and stopped it looming inside too much.

- Energetic visualisations of support coming in to me from the world - from ancient lines of energetic power, from the earth, from the heavenly bodies, from compassionate beings, shooting bolts, light bridges, domes.  All the power of creation channeling in and through me in thick beams of spiritual plasma. This made the darks bit much much smaller and less relevant, and gave me spiritual strength.

I think those practices only treat the symptoms. The cure is probably progress in insight, and the dark energy is a huge opportunity, and in fact manifestation of your subconscious making progress but resisting it.  I don't have enough experience to give confident advice, but I sense if you had the time and space to take the risks, you could vipassanise this to great effect.  But a less risky and possibly equally useful approach might be metta, as Linda suggests.  But metta towards this dark energy.  This will probably sound challenging and impossible, but if you can treat this manifestation with loving kindness, you may learn some amazing things.

Metta to you, my friend.

Malcolm

RE: wisdom-fear
Answer
3/7/19 4:02 PM as a reply to curious.
Dear Malcolm,

Thank you for sharing your experinece.  I really loved the visualisation and will certainly try this and all your other suggestions.  

Metta

Nickol

RE: wisdom-fear
Answer
3/7/19 4:06 PM as a reply to JP.
Thanks JP,

It is interesting how the body really does keep the score isn't it. 

Thanks

Nickol

RE: wisdom-fear
Answer
3/7/19 4:11 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Hi Linda,

Yes justice likes justice....  and conditioned responses can feel yucky and I guess egoically  demoralising at times too.  It is easy to forget metta starts at home and with all aspects of ourselves....  I guess we are all torn between love and fear and in our humaness fear can win...  what a world if love won...  love does take the courage to trust as you say...  and trust isnt built into western societies much is it....  fear based societies are bound to produce fear based meditators I guess....

Metta

Nickol

RE: wisdom-fear
Answer
3/7/19 8:04 PM as a reply to nickol lindsay.
Yup. Exactly.

Malcolm put into words what I realize now that I wanted to say. Yes, compassion is necessary even (or maybe even especially) towards the darkness - in ourselves and in others. That is what takes fear away.

Metta!

RE: wisdom-fear
Answer
3/9/19 5:40 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Hi Linda, Yes Malcolm spoke to that amazingly and I am trying to implement it.  Compassion, compassion, compassion and sometimes the darkness *however terrifying* is the light.