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On my knees in despair

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On my knees in despair
Answer
10/19/19 2:10 AM
I'm completely broke. There's tremendous grieving, tears and frustration. Suicide momentarily enters my mind but very quickly it is washed away by the knowledge that even death of the physical form is not the way out. Thoughts about the past and future are not real. I'm forced to stay with the suffering here. I've studied observed, and practiced extensively, dependent co-arising, aggregates, satipatthana and hundreds of suttas. I see the illusory nature of everything but there is still this self process continually reforming somewhere. I place my attention on the self and it moves to another location. I put my attention there and it moves once again. It seems I'm all out of resources. I'm drained. Completely broken down. I suspect this breaking down is an obscure element in the brochure somewhere but I haven't got the resources to even bring this to some reasonable and comprehensive understanding for myself. 

Does anyone recognise this part of things? How did you move through this?

Greatest compassion 

RE: On my knees in despair
Answer
10/19/19 4:17 AM as a reply to Bardo.
If you have suicide thoughts, please reach out to someone. I think Daniel would be a good choice, if he is available. He helps a lot of people with this. Health care is also a valid option. My advice below is for less urgent moments.

As you know, there is no continuous self, so you are on the right way. That's excellent work. Keep in mind that the self doesn’t move, though. It arises and passes away. It arises on one location and then immediately passes away, and then another arising appears in a different location (sometimes close to the previous one, sometimes further away), only to pass away just as quickly. They assume to be a self and assume continuity, but that's just a story. One way to go would be to observe those passings away as closely as possible. Try to be compassionate with "yourself". This takes practice. The experienced tension in this bouncing can be very frustrating, but the practice is worthwhile. If possible, try to approach it in a relaxed way rather than with a lazer beam focus. If that's not possible, then just allow yourself to be frustrated. That's very normal and it will pass. If it gets you wired up and stressed out, then allow yourself to rest and take care of your mammalian body and do something that makes you feel good. It might also be a good idea to switch to metta for a while. There is no rush to chase that self, because it dissolves on its own as soon as it arises.

The feelings that you have sound to me like they are stage related. Remember that they are all fluff and no substance. They will pass (technically, they pass away every moment, but eventually they will pass also on a less microscopic level, in a more noticable way).

My best wishes for your wellbeing and practice. 

RE: On my knees in despair
Answer
10/19/19 5:13 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
If you have suicide thoughts, please reach out to someone. I think Daniel would be a good choice, if he is available. He helps a lot of people with this. Health care is also a valid option. My advice below is for less urgent moments.

As you know, there is no continuous self, so you are on the right way. That's excellent work. Keep in mind that the self doesn’t move, though. It arises and passes away. It arises on one location and then immediately passes away, and then another arising appears in a different location (sometimes close to the previous one, sometimes further away), only to pass away just as quickly. They assume to be a self and assume continuity, but that's just a story. One way to go would be to observe those passings away as closely as possible. Try to be compassionate with "yourself". This takes practice. The experienced tension in this bouncing can be very frustrating, but the practice is worthwhile. If possible, try to approach it in a relaxed way rather than with a lazer beam focus. If that's not possible, then just allow yourself to be frustrated. That's very normal and it will pass. If it gets you wired up and stressed out, then allow yourself to rest and take care of your mammalian body and do something that makes you feel good. It might also be a good idea to switch to metta for a while. There is no rush to chase that self, because it dissolves on its own as soon as it arises.

The feelings that you have sound to me like they are stage related. Remember that they are all fluff and no substance. They will pass (technically, they pass away every moment, but eventually they will pass also on a less microscopic level, in a more noticable way).

My best wishes for your wellbeing and practice. 

My mind brings the notion of suicide into the arena but there is never any contemplation of those things.

What I paraphrase here is that there isn't one continuous existing self but more thought events that arise independently and my perception names and forms those events into something that has a sense of continuity like a story about somebody here existing but as you say, "the self doesn't move".

I read your post and laughed with tears! How could I have miss that!

Thank you!

RE: On my knees in despair
Answer
10/19/19 5:11 AM as a reply to Bardo.
I’m really glad it helped.

RE: On my knees in despair
Answer
10/19/19 5:15 AM as a reply to Bardo.
How old are you and since when are you meditating?

RE: On my knees in despair
Answer
10/19/19 5:17 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I’m really glad it helped.


Yes, something has shifted. Something has moved. Words do this for me. That is why I study so many suttas. Last December the Assu Sutta threw me into a huge A&P event and some fruition occured a short time afterwards. It's all very fascinating. :-)

RE: On my knees in despair
Answer
10/19/19 5:27 AM as a reply to John.
John:
How old are you and since when are you meditating?


I've only been meditating what would genereally be discribed in the field as a short time - about 2 and a half years - but I seem to have an uncanny comprehension of the suttas coupled with the most extrordinary concentration. I have many ways to illustrate that concentration but I'm only really concerned with complete release. That is my primary task.

RE: On my knees in despair
Answer
10/19/19 5:27 AM as a reply to Bardo.
Cool. Just be careful, because words can also trap you, because whereas they open up to some spaces, they close even more spaces. Use them as rafts to take you across one river, but then don’t drag them along.

RE: On my knees in despair
Answer
10/19/19 5:39 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Cool. Just be careful, because words can also trap you, because whereas they open up to some spaces, they close even more spaces. Use them as rafts to take you across one river, but then don’t drag them along.


That's great. I'm always keeping an eye on this. Sometimes views can form from the words we hear and read. My approach is to cross-reference what I hear or read with my own direct experience. If it doesn't marry then it get's shelved and that shelf is usually labled 'unconfirmed' but it's not an exact science.

RE: On my knees in despair
Answer
10/19/19 6:05 AM as a reply to Bardo.
Sounds like a good approach.

RE: On my knees in despair
Answer
10/19/19 2:56 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Sounds like a good approach.


I've noticed this today. I was curious about it. Tasting food happens only at the tongue area. Mind does not taste the food. Going about my day mind seems like a still lake largely unaffected by various sensory things. Occasionally silence seems deafening. There remains a restless mind and thus thoughts. If there are thoughts there must occur delusions and consequently not seeing. I'm drawn to this area where mind is equanimous to sensory things. It seems like an equanimity that doesn't correspond with the equanimity I'm familiar with on the progress of insight stages.

Do you have a perspective on this?

RE: On my knees in despair
Answer
10/19/19 7:39 PM as a reply to Bardo.
I don’t think it is possible to take away all thoughts while remaining alive. Not healthy either, for that matter. What is possible (as far as I understand it, which is not very far) is not engaging with the thoughts that just happen, during meditation, and engaging with them selectively in daily life.

As for taste, yeah, the actual tasting comes through the sense gate. The rest is just stories.

There are probably many many different layers to the insight stage of equanimity, as it reoccurs in every insight cycle.

Personally, I struggle a lot with vedana most of the time. The fact that I have ADHD probably doesn’t help with that. Thus, my experience of being like a still lake in daily life is limited. It’s amazing when it happens, but so far it’s not something I can count on. Does that come easily for you? I’m grateful for the islands of stillness that appear inbetween the struggles. With my conditioning, I consider that a success, but I definitely wouldn’t mind more stillness. Maybe the islands will eventually grow.

RE: On my knees in despair
Answer
10/19/19 11:56 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I don’t think it is possible to take away all thoughts while remaining alive. Not healthy either, for that matter. What is possible (as far as I understand it, which is not very far) is not engaging with the thoughts that just happen, during meditation, and engaging with them selectively in daily life.

As for taste, yeah, the actual tasting comes through the sense gate. The rest is just stories.

There are probably many many different layers to the insight stage of equanimity, as it reoccurs in every insight cycle.

Personally, I struggle a lot with vedana most of the time. The fact that I have ADHD probably doesn’t help with that. Thus, my experience of being like a still lake in daily life is limited. It’s amazing when it happens, but so far it’s not something I can count on. Does that come easily for you? I’m grateful for the islands of stillness that appear inbetween the struggles. With my conditioning, I consider that a success, but I definitely wouldn’t mind more stillness. Maybe the islands will eventually grow.

Yes, I see what you're saying about thoughts. If I was to be more precise I think I'm referring to sankharic thoughts with sankharas being the prior movements of karma. When sankharas breach the boundaries of the body through speech and/or bodily action they become karmas (actions) and the maturation of vipaka begins to form. Vipaka is the 'effect' part of cause and effect which can be quite colourful in many difficult and non-difficult ways when it returns. (I suspect you know all of this) Apparently, there is a mind that no longer produces these sankharas, karmas and vipakas but it makes sense that vipaka rolls on regardless of whether one is enlightened or not because sometimes they take years to fully unfold. I enjoy watching this process play out in people. It gives my own awareness of my own actions impetus. There's a certain clarity that others just don't see in their actions. Even when I see a baby I can sense the latent potentials of sankharas wanting to express themselves. 

The still mind in the presence of sensory stimulus has been dropping in and out for a couple of months in certain limited moments but yesterday it was stable throughout the day. It seems to be integrating but I say these things and suddenly it is snatched away by a huge bout of suffering. The mantra stands firm: "with mindfulness strive on". 

RE: On my knees in despair
Answer
10/20/19 2:08 AM as a reply to Bardo.
Interesting to see it put in the more educated lingo. I have heard all those terms before but I don't think in those terms, normally. I'm more empirically driven in my approach. 

Ah, for a day or two I have managed to remain in stillness, too. The last time it happened I was knocked out of it by excitement over a letter, which made the dukkha in mundane joy very apparent. 

RE: On my knees in despair
Answer
10/20/19 7:43 PM as a reply to Bardo.
It may be a good idea to get involved in service somehow. Go be helpful somehow. It doesnt have to mean being a formal volunteer somewhere although that is good. Go do something for your SO, parents, children or friends. Cleaning a toilet is spiritual af.

Even better if you can find someone more miserable than you to help.

RE: On my knees in despair
Answer
10/22/19 1:22 AM as a reply to Jason Massie.
Jason Massie:
It may be a good idea to get involved in service somehow. Go be helpful somehow. It doesnt have to mean being a formal volunteer somewhere although that is good. Go do something for your SO, parents, children or friends. Cleaning a toilet is spiritual af.

Even better if you can find someone more miserable than you to help.

Thanks. Service is very helpful. I've always found mundane housework therapeutic during those grandiose moments where you become accosted by a strong sense of spiritual superiority. It's difficult to maintain this superiority when you're scrubbing shit from the side of a toilet bowl.