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Help - Review is very overwhelming

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Help - Review is very overwhelming
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8/14/19 11:18 PM
To anyone who saw my post a couple weeks ago: https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/14781622
where I asked which practice to switch to, this will probably seem absurd because of how fast I went from that to this. 

[Edit: deleted a long wall of text detailing my journey up to this point]

Had a clear first path fruition 3 days ago.
 
Yesterday was very calm. Chill. As MCTB says “like the calm after the storm.” I was just calmly, quietly going through these Dharma books and thinking “wow!” I was observing the newfound breathing room between my thoughts, sensations and general experience-field.
 
Then today, review hit me like a TRUCK. This is absolutely nuts. One hour I’m chill, and the next hour everything is vibrating and shaking and it feels like reality is about to fall apart. My baseline now is like mind-and-body while just normally walking around and doing stuff. I haven’t even meditated today, and this is just happening, and it is so OVERWHELMING. The reality vibrating and shaking and going crazy has admittedly gotten terrifying. Sensory experience is overly intense it is absolutely insane. Typing this, it has calmed down but as I reach the end of this post, I can feel the craziness coming on again. I’m aware that this is supposed to be like A&P to Equanimity over and over and over again, but I do NOT ever remember the Dukkha Nyanas being like this pre-Fruition. I hardly noticed them except for Dissolution.
 
I feel like I’m in over my head right now. I feel like I’m in a position that only people who handled the pre-first path Dukkha Nyanas should be in, thus equipping them with the ability to handle this Review cycling. I don’t recall anything like this pre-Fruition. The closest thing to “handling dukkha” that I can recall was relaxing and letting go of unwholesome mental states in daily life.
 
My question is: WHAT DO I DO??? Am I trapped in this vicious cycle until…… something??
Thank you for any advice in advance – I really need it.

RE: Help - Review is very overwhelming
Answer
8/13/19 11:53 PM as a reply to Patrick.
Assuming that you've experienced technical 1st path & are now in Review A, it will only last about 2 weeks, after which point the rapid cycling will end.  Review B is much more chill.

Since review phase is just something that goes on automatically, if I were you (having the little information I do from your post), I would just chill out, eat some ice cream & distract myself for a few weeks.  If it was path, it will be there when the dust settles.

RE: Help - Review is very overwhelming
Answer
8/14/19 5:16 AM as a reply to Patrick.
Patrick, it is definitely time to relax and let the dust settle for a few weeks.

You obviously put a lot of energy into thinking about and practicing the dharma. A big part of practicing is also allowing things to just be. You need to be able to let go and allow life to simply be as it is. Very simple, very plain.

As Noah says, it's time to chill out, eat ice cream, watch movies, talk with friends, get some gentle exercise like walking or biking, play video games, go bowling, cook a new recipe... normal stuff..

I do think that by relaxing and doing normal stuff, your current feeling of being overwhelmed will go away, These temporary states do pass.


just in case...
I also admit that I am worried about the situation you describe. It is possible that there are psychological aspects (like a manic phase) that is being combined with meditation related stuff.  Because of my concerns, and because I can't really tell what is going on with you by reading an internet post, I am listing the standard info here, just so anyone who stumbles on this post and needs help will have this info...

There is some general meditation related info on this page: https://www.reddit.com/r/streamentry/wiki/health-and-balance .

There are a lot of ways to get trained help during mental health difficulties listed on this page: https://www.nami.org/find-support/nami-helpline 

And these days there is even a crisis text line where people can just text message with counselors: It's open 24/7, free and confidential.(More info at https://www.crisistextline.org/texting-in ) To use the lline, just text "HOME" to 741741.


 

RE: Help - Review is very overwhelming
Answer
8/14/19 7:46 AM as a reply to Patrick.
When that happened to me, if I remember correctly, I took some time off and sat on the ground in a herbal garden with my bare feet in the mud for hours until it calmed down.

RE: Help - Review is very overwhelming
Answer
8/14/19 11:01 AM as a reply to shargrol.
Thank you Noah, Shargrol and Linda. I will do my best to relax and be "normal" as best as I can. The classic Linji line "If you love the sacred and despise the ordinary, you are still bobbing in the sea of delusion" comes to mind. 

I'm finding that surrendering to it all has helped tremendously. It finally relaxed when I just laid in bed and thought "lay it on me," prepared for whatever was left. 


Also, if it's worth mentioning, one thing that keeps coming up is some cognitive dissonance regarding my background/conditioning. When it comes to Dharma, I usually talk/message with a small group of (layman) Pali Canon purists (though they all seem to believe a lot of commentarial stuff/have traditionalist attitudes to these sorts of things) and I feel if I tell them what I'm experiencing, they'll dismiss it since they are generally against discussing attainments "if you say you're a stream-enterer, you're not one"...etc - so I feel sort of alone here. Normally I can go to them to discuss stuff but not this, which they are against.

Therefore, I greatly appreciate the attitude this whole community has and the fact that I have even been able to come here for advice.

I'm also hoping that when the dust does settle, it really will be for the better. It doesn't feel nearly as intense as yesterday when I made this post, but I'm still somewhat disoriented, since my own mind and the way it's operating feels unfamiliar right now. 

RE: Help - Review is very overwhelming
Answer
8/14/19 2:34 PM as a reply to Patrick.
Update: 1 day after making the OP

Things have calmed down, and about an hour ago I started getting some sense of quiet, almost divine sublimity. I didn't make much of it until my sister asked to use my computer, and upon seeing her for the first time today, I welled up into tears from pure love. I think I am feeling the positive sides of this new paradigm-readjustment now. Even just thinking about my family and friends, I am filled with love. This is nice.
There is definitely the strong sense of "settling in" and "adjustment" after a massive paradigm shift. My perception feels very clean, clear, HD. Not as hazy as before. Still getting used to this, and that's the only real unsettling part now I think. I'm not used to this kind of perception yet.

RE: Help - Review is very overwhelming
Answer
8/14/19 2:32 PM as a reply to Patrick.
Nice quote! I’m glad you found a way to relax. Surrendering to the process is great stuff, I find.

It will be for the better, and then challenging again, then better, then challenging, and so forth... is my guess. I find it helpful to keep a journal to remind myself of the impermanence and emptiness of all the different phases and gain some perspective.

I find it odd that so many people are critical with regard to discussing the awakening. Since there is no self to attain anything, then why is it considered such a delicate matter? It is just reality waking up to itself, nothing to either brag about or envy. What’s up with all the fuzz? None of us has accomplished anything. Yet there are occurrings that we pragmatically and dualistically speaking have to deal with in our daily life. Stream entry is only the beginning (spiritual Kindergarten, as Daniel says) and therefore we need support from others in order to deal with it skillfully, as there are still many layers of delusions remaining and the deluded ”self” keeps resisting the process. Not seeking support could potentially end up in pretty ugly behavior, I think.

RE: Help - Review is very overwhelming
Answer
8/14/19 2:48 PM as a reply to Patrick.
Patrick:
Update: 1 day after making the OP

Things have calmed down, and about an hour ago I started getting some sense of quiet, almost divine sublimity. I didn't make much of it until my sister asked to use my computer, and upon seeing her for the first time today, I welled up into tears from pure love. I think I am feeling the positive sides of this new paradigm-readjustment now. Even just thinking about my family and friends, I am filled with love. This is nice.
There is definitely the strong sense of "settling in" and "adjustment" after a massive paradigm shift. My perception feels very clean, clear, HD. Not as hazy as before. Still getting used to this, and that's the only real unsettling part now I think. I'm not used to this kind of perception yet.


Aaaaaaaaw! This made me smile. Beautiful!

RE: Help - Review is very overwhelming
Answer
8/14/19 3:27 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
It will be for the better, and then challenging again, then better, then challenging, and so forth... is my guess. I find it helpful to keep a journal to remind myself of the impermanence and emptiness of all the different phases and gain some perspective.


Does this sense of foreign-ness ever go away? The sense of my own mind feeling foreign? This sense of fragility? The sense of reality being almost overwhelmingly vivid? I understand that mood swings and cycles of happy and sad are a part of life, and this was the case before Fruition, but I'm starting first year of University in September, and I want to be able to live my daily normal life as I was going to before. I know I should've thought about this before really embarking on this whole thing, but as you might imagine, some reassurance would be helpful now haha.

Also, how long does this drastic cycling last? Does it get to the point where things balance/level out? I keep spotaneously crying - obviously this would be undesirable when I'm at school lol.

Thanks again for the kind advice and everything

RE: Help - Review is very overwhelming
Answer
8/14/19 3:49 PM as a reply to Patrick.
It came to my mind today that experiences that feel so normal that they are taken-for-granted and baseline stuff not worth mentioning... they were actually new and exciting not very long ago. Sometimes I get disappointed that nothing special arises, without realizing that ”special” is a very subjective and rapidly changing notion. So yeah... but I certainly hope that new foreign stuff will keep appearing for me, at least until I become wise enough not to be attached to having new experiences.

I don’t know that much about the long-term experience, but lately I find that the cycling has so many levels to it that it kind of evens out. The macro cycles seem more significant whereas the rapid cycles are pretty irrelevant and much less sticky. My stream entry was about five months ago. The most drastic cycling occurred only for a couple of weeks or something like that.

Oh, I’m just glad if I can be of any help, to give back some of what I have been given.

RE: Help - Review is very overwhelming
Answer
8/14/19 3:56 PM as a reply to Patrick.
Does this sense of foreign-ness ever go away? The sense of my own mind feeling foreign? This sense of fragility? The sense of reality being almost overwhelmingly vivid? I understand that mood swings and cycles of happy and sad are a part of life, and this was the case before Fruition, but I'm starting first year of University in September, and I want to be able to live my daily normal life as I was going to before. I know I should've thought about this before really embarking on this whole thing, but as you might imagine, some reassurance would be helpful now haha.

Also, how long does this drastic cycling last? Does it get to the point where things balance/level out? I keep spotaneously crying - obviously this would be undesirable when I'm at school lol.

Patrick --

One of the things that a mind does really, really well is to get used to new things, and pretty quickly. I've never had an insight, no matter how deep or shallow, that my mind didn't manage to accommodate within a few days or weeks. I once posted in my meditation diary, after a very upsetting insight, that it was like climbing a steep, rocky mountain at first but a few days later it was more like driving over a garden hose in my car.

Hang in there.



RE: Help - Review is very overwhelming
Answer
8/14/19 4:34 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Thank you Chris and Linda, you have no idea how reassuring it is for me to read what you've said.

One thing is for sure for me now - I am going to take the most gentle, safe approach possible to meditation going forward. I feel like it was useful to be a bit pushy up until stream-entry, but now that I'm "in the stream" I think there's no real urgency like before because of the supposed impossibility of backsliding. I'll be going with metta and probably TMI again, going forward.


Thanks again for real. This thread has helped me handle this a lot. emoticon

RE: Help - Review is very overwhelming
Answer
8/14/19 11:26 PM as a reply to Patrick.
Be ok with what's happening, the usual thing is a&p and then freak out in the dark night. A&p is the first permanent shift. Many, many people over estimate the a&p as first path. Review is rarely a problem, never heard of it but then we only know what we know. The pragmatic path is always full of overestimated claims and retractions. Be ok with that too. If this is kicking your ass, know that we all here know that too. Been there. The rule is only change is permanent.
Your going to be fine. Trust that. Do what you need moment to moment to be kind to yourself and generate metta/pleasure for yourself for a while.
Good luck
~D