Help in Meditation

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Hemant Kathuria, modified 10 Years ago.

Help in Meditation

Posts: 25 Join Date: 1/16/10 Recent Posts
Hey Everyone,

My background: Started through Goenka Tradiation, left that. Guided by MCTB, looked for other teachers. Daniel and others suggested that I'm going through a dark night phase (had two series of Migraine attacks, job life suffered, memory loss, etc etc), was really confused about Practice and other things. Struck a chord with Shinzen Young's home retreat (especially Focus on Rest), my sense of well being and peace has very much improved and so is concentration.

The problem is: When I meditate and reach to a level, I get stuck by the memories of my ex-girlfriend and that stupid relationship I was into (was cheated and was left emotionally/mentally unbalanced for two years) and I just can't pass that stuff. It drags me and there is guilt, shame, embarrassment (rage has subsided to an extent). Whatever object of meditation I'm into, the memories just come and take me with them. I have realized that to make any progress further, I need to win over that episode of mine.

I know that 'Keep Practicing' will certainly is the mantra but any other catalyst or technique I can use to conquer this side of my life. Anybody to give some advice around this ?

Thanks in Advance,
Hemant
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Tommy M, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Help in Meditation (Answer)

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
The problem is: When I meditate and reach to a level, I get stuck by the memories of my ex-girlfriend and that stupid relationship I was into (was cheated and was left emotionally/mentally unbalanced for two years) and I just can't pass that stuff. It drags me and there is guilt, shame, embarrassment (rage has subsided to an extent). Whatever object of meditation I'm into, the memories just come and take me with them. I have realized that to make any progress further, I need to win over that episode of mine.

Is it concentration or insight practice you're doing? Could you describe "reach to a level" a bit more?

It pretty clear that this issue is something of a stumbling block for you, but it might be useful to investigate what's feeling "guilt", "shame" and "embarrassment", look at what sensations make up those patterns and observe how they're subject to the Three Characteristics:

Emptiness/No Self: If you can observe them then they can't be the observer, they can't be this sense of a self, they are not you. If you can name and objectify the guilt, the shame, the embarrassment then they cease to be able to affect you in the same way because you can experience the simple fact that there's no self to be found in anything in the observable universe.

Impermanence: Every single sensation which makes up our sensate experience lasts no longer than a split second, by seeing this clearly you can begin to let go of the clinging to the memories of what's gone past. Each emotion is made up of dozens of mental and physical sensations, the content is secondary to the sensations themselves and if you can understand this, see it for yourself through insight practice, then you will get past this.

Suffering: I know you're probably thinking "Fuck you, I know all about suffering otherwise I wouldn't be feeling this way", but this is something fundamental and not the literal "This sucks" feeling caused by an unpleasant situation. If you've read MCTB then all this stuff should be obvious already but if you can learn to see the suffering inherent in every single sensation then you can see how the way you're feeling right now is being created. Easier said than done, but this is what does the damage.

Remember what Daniel talks about in his book about not getting involved in your "stuff" when practicing? The difficulties you're experiencing are because you're doing the exact opposite of this, if you pay attention to this sensate reality as it arises and passes, observe the 3C's in real-time and practicing well then these sorts of experiences can be dealt with efficiently and effectively, leading to realizations which will allow you to understand this much, much, much clearer.

I know that 'Keep Practicing' will certainly is the mantra but any other catalyst or technique I can use to conquer this side of my life. Anybody to give some advice around this?

Aye, keep practicing is really the only way to travel and it's the mantra because it's what works best. The best technique in this situation is observing the 3C's of sensate reality, it works because it cuts through the surface and down into the root of the problem so if you can continually apply this then your practice will improve. Other than that, perhaps alternating insight with concentration practice will afford you some breathing space until you feel ready to really go for it and note this motherfucker into oblivion.

Practice well.
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Meggo mu, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Help in Meditation (Answer)

Posts: 29 Join Date: 3/26/11 Recent Posts
Hemant Kathuria:

The problem is: When I meditate and reach to a level, I get stuck by the memories of my ex-girlfriend and that stupid relationship I was into (was cheated and was left emotionally/mentally unbalanced for two years) and I just can't pass that stuff. It drags me and there is guilt, shame, embarrassment (rage has subsided to an extent).


What Tommy said is of course very good practical advice and dealing with every arising object in such a way will lead to progress.
Besides that i would like to offer two suggestions, which i hope won't over psychologize this issues and drag you away from practicing the proper way.
First point:
Educate yourself about the problem of free will. Try to see that there is a cause - effect relationship at work. Try to see that everything that has happened couldn't have happened otherwise. Try to see that nobody was responsible for the things that happened. Really seeing this no responsibility thing will help you with any allocation-of-blame-issues you might have.
Second point:
You seem to be having some PTSD-like symptoms. Try this:
1) Go into whichever jhana you like most/ is the most stable one for you
2) when the hindrances are suppressed try retrieving the problematic memories
3) don't let your thoughts proliferate, don't analyze, just remember.
4) do this until you don't feel good anymore. Not until it hurts, just until you get a little bit irritated/ restless.
5) repeat the cycle.
6) do this twice a week for an hour for four weeks. If you don't find significant improvement abandon this practice.
If you want to know how this works google PTSD + memories + Propranolol / or EMDR.
This, of course, is not real meditation. It just works through dampening the link between memories (pictures, words..) and their associated emotions and/ or eradicating the associated emotions.
Good luck with that
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Hemant Kathuria, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Help in Meditation

Posts: 25 Join Date: 1/16/10 Recent Posts
My many apologies for such a late reply.

Firstly, thanks Meggo and Tommy for your valuable responses. In the past some time, I have tried to bring some relaxation and 'easy-going'ness within my meditation, and that has brought some good results. After reading your suggestions, I felt like I have to firstly get myself cool at an intellectual level (to some extent at least) so I did what Meggo suggested - to bring it in my awareness whenever I'm equanimous to some extent. It did bring some results. I guess I have to get myself to some distance with this thing.



Tommy: As you asked on my level, I do not know what level I have. Just that sometimes in meditation (4 out of 10 times) I get a lot of peace in my heart so much so that I try to get settled in that for some time (well, till it passes away). It could be one of those concentration jhanas but I don't know for sure. When that level comes, either distractions are minimal or I'm able to watch them come and go like a dance without getting indulged in them (this, of course, doesn't happen with my girlfriend memories) and that coming and going of distractions actually add on to the building of peace in me untill a big distraction come and wash all these effects away.
I'm sorry but all these words 'Impermanence', 'No-self', 'suffering' etc, have kind of become very uninterested for me. I guess too much reading about these words without any significant realization of them have led to such a phenomenon. So when I read about them, I do get this feeling 'Yeah, so what. I know'. I can appreciate that this is ill thinking but that's how my mind behave. Sorry.

My apologies again for not able to honour your suggestions with a sooner response.

Thanks,
Hemant

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