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Anger and related stuff
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5/11/11 3:14 PM
I've found in the past week or two I've had an especially difficult time preventing anger, resentment, conceit, and the whole nine yards from bubbling up obsessively about anything those feelings can latch onto; I continually catch it, observe it, and throw myself back into either my kasina practice or sitting practice, but even still it keeps majorly hindering my progress. The trick is, I can't determine whether it's just emotional pain related to something non-Dark Night, or if it's my lovely friend the Dark Night expressing itself again. The thing that makes the nature of the mental pain suspect is that it just arises and throbs with no cause and no reason, though the mind then tries to ascribe various random things to that pain as a cause. Has anyone else dealt with this problem specifically?

RE: Anger and related stuff
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5/11/11 6:45 PM as a reply to Mike Kich.
hi Mike; passing through the DN territory prior to SE I hit a phase where literally every conscious experience what irritating, annoying, angering. I'd be like walking down the street, get a little breath of "wow what beautiful clouds" then BAM a fly would wing into my eye. Then after that wave of annoyance passed, I would suddenly just feel incredible annoyance arising in relation to a piece of trash on the street. The next second it would be something my partner said or didn't say. Then the dog would tug too hard on the leash and I'd be distinctly and intensely annoyed at that. That's about a five second snippet of what life was like throughout all waking hours for about a week or two. So that was my experience: like just any excuse or none at all would do; the annoyance was just bubbling up withoiut any triggers needed, and it was really important to just sideline all justifications and be straight with my intimates; I said something like "I'm just really experiencing some basic suffering right now; it has nothing to do with anything outside me, it's just seeing something that's always there but which is usually covered up or tamped down, so just try to give me a little space and don't take my mood personally if possible" and of course I made a strong comittment not to go into any justifications or proliferating stories but just stick with the waves of sensation/reactivity as they arose and passed.

RE: Anger and related stuff
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5/12/11 10:21 AM as a reply to Mike Kich.
Hi Mike,

I can very much relate to what you are talking about here.

In the DN myself, just came off retreat two weeks ago and practicing quite a bit in daily life now (I work at home so try to sit at least 2 hours a day),
and the irritability can get to astounding high levels.. sometimes it just feels impossible to sit still while at the cinema or in cramped places, my lovely girlfriend's touch at times can cause me so much anger, for no real good apparent reason.

Are you practicing nowadays? I heard stream-entry solves this, temporarily emoticon
Touches of equanimity help but are impermanent at the moment.

RE: Anger and related stuff
Answer
5/12/11 12:30 PM as a reply to Mike Kich.
Mike Kich:
The trick is, I can't determine whether it's just emotional pain related to something non-Dark Night, or if it's my lovely friend the Dark Night expressing itself again. The thing that makes the nature of the mental pain suspect is that it just arises and throbs with no cause and no reason, though the mind then tries to ascribe various random things to that pain as a cause. Has anyone else dealt with this problem specifically?


Why does it matter if this is "just emotional pain" or Dark Night stuff? Why does it matter if it arises with or without a reason? What can you learn from this about the nature of dukkha and the nature of the mind? Whatever comes up in your practice and in your life is exactly what you need to work with. What else is there?

Keep at it!
Eran.

RE: Anger and related stuff
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5/12/11 1:54 PM as a reply to Eran G.
Eran G:


Why does it matter if this is "just emotional pain" or Dark Night stuff? Why does it matter if it arises with or without a reason? What can you learn from this about the nature of dukkha and the nature of the mind? Whatever comes up in your practice and in your life is exactly what you need to work with. What else is there?


Hey Eran.

I can see the validity of what you are saying here. I agree with you that they should all be treated the same, from an insight point of view.

But I can also see that going through A&P again and again, and seeing how the Dark Night symptons occur, and how it can cause bleedthrough sometimes, provides some sort of reassurance and helps in some way (in my experience) to prevent that.

Specifically, learning to recognize the A&P in real time on retreat (usually more noticable) or in daily life (more subtle) allows one to brace for the D&N symptons and try to do all you can do prevent bleed-through.

RE: Anger and related stuff
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5/12/11 4:07 PM as a reply to Yadid dee.
Agreed. Knowing what's coming can be helpful. Knowing that one is about to enter turbulent waters allows one to be better prepared and to communicate that possibility with anyone who may be affected. Additionally, knowing what might be coming, one may be able to embrace the coming storm, to let it wash over fully and to experience it as deeply as possible.

I know from my own experience that all my attempts to outrun this storm completely failed and that turning around to face the suffering was the only thing that brought me any freedom from this same suffering.

Eran.

PS. I'm not trying to say that anyone here advocated running away from suffering. I'm only sharing my own experience in the hope that it helps others.

RE: Anger and related stuff
Answer
5/13/11 11:58 AM as a reply to Yadid dee.
I practice daily, both kasina samatha meditation and zazen, as well as Tai-Chi. I don't usually meditate for more than an hour and a half total a day though. I get touches of equanimity, days where I'm pretty calm and right as rain. I also have pretty terrible times of roiling mental pain, times when I can barely sit still and the mind becomes tense as hell from constantly having to be reeled back to the object of meditation. Better diet, sleep, and practice can be observed to help significantly even on a daily basis; generally speaking equanimity surfaces for me during and after the times when I spend an hour meditating.

RE: Anger and related stuff
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5/13/11 2:56 PM as a reply to Mike Kich.
Just a thought about what you wrote here:

mind becomes tense as hell from constantly having to be reeled back to the object of meditation


I usually never stay with one object unless things get very subtle and murky. Noting whatever arises quickly one after another, including the 'searching what to note', is great when many things arise, so instead of having the tension of having to pull the mind onto an object, you can just objectify whatever's there.

Have you ever tried noting?

RE: Anger and related stuff
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5/14/11 8:03 AM as a reply to Yadid dee.
Yup, I experimented more than a little with noting. I do think it's a very effective practice, but for me I've more or less decided it's a little too intense. I prefer as graceful of a route towards nibbana as possible.

RE: Anger and related stuff
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5/14/11 8:17 AM as a reply to Mike Kich.
Mike Kich:
Yup, I experimented more than a little with noting. I do think it's a very effective practice, but for me I've more or less decided it's a little too intense. I prefer as graceful of a route towards nibbana as possible.


I think that finding out for oneself what works and what doesn't is great.
Good luck.