Wanting social support to get started.

Isabel Smith, modified 2 Months ago.

Wanting social support to get started.

Posts: 11 Join Date: 2/10/14 Recent Posts
Hi there! 
I'm looking to I guess briefly share my story, and also to find a group of some kind or information how to find support before I really delve into spiritual practice. I'm 29 now and I first was Introduced to mindfulness in a sense from Osho (who now I find hilarious more than serious but he did help in a way in his videos saying "be awares, be awares".) Lol. But anyway, that was when I was about 20 and even before then I may have crossed into some kind of territory (but to this day I'm not sure if it was just mental health issues) when I was about 16. 
but anyway, those times I recall were incredibly disturbing to me and when I was a 16 year old I went into a kind of existential depression where I became obsessed with philosophical meaning and was experiencing extreme dread until I finally got on medication which mitigated my dark (at times suicidal) fixations but just resulted in a lot of blegh-ness about life.. jumping back to when I was about 20, not only did I learn about osho, and a bit of Alan watts, but a good friend told me about daniel ingram. Hence i found this group and began to also feel a much greater sense of meaning in what I might before experiencing.

​​​​​​​And since then I got off meds a few years later with the help of professionals and a lot of planning. And so in that sense I worked on my "morality training" as he would say to get to a point of more ordinary stability. When I was about 23 shortly after quitting meds I also when to a 10 day vipassana goenka retreat. I believe I MAY have achieved access concentration but I'm not sure I sort of feel like I lost the ability. I do recall being really in the zone in total stillness in a 4 am sit for 2.5 hours. That was amazing. Haven't been able to do that long since then. I also experienced lucid dreaming using my breath about 2 times. 
But all though that retreat taught me a great deal about investigating my sensate experience i came out feeling really "opened up" and my dread spilled out again as if I had only buried it for a time. I ended up losing my job and breaking up with my boyfriend at the time and feeling destabilized all over like in Hs but this time I was able (with good friends who happened to be familiar with certain spiritual practices as well) to keep my head above water. However due to some of my "stuff" I have also had a lot of personal issues in the past 5 years involving a toxic relationship. Got out of it finally and haven't seen him since March. However I came out with two young kids to worry about so keeping my "layperson life" stable is of utmost importance. However I have gotten to a point in my life where I'm not sure I am totally ready to delve into insight practice but I do want to start cultivating a very strong concentration practice. I admit I want to learn more about this for the emotional benefits if could offer at least Initially. I also feel that it has gotten to a point that part of my personal development requires me to delve into practice as from what I have learned it is something I really value and to ignore it would be neglecting a great opportunity to find what could be a very real passion in my life which I need since I spent a lot of time relying on partners Ina. Co dependent way, effecting my own needs and rejecting any paths of self worth or "finding myself". 

So I'm here to find community and support so as to begin the baby steps of really taking my practice seriously as after that retreat I sort of was like "ahhh this is too much" and sort of distracted myself with real world stuff. I recently have experienced different versions of that same feeling of dread (and again I'm not sure this is more related to any kind of insight I the mindfulness sense so much as personal psychological insight) but I was able to navigate it much better and realize my thoughts and beliefs did not have to be identified with. Yesterday I was able to sit for about ten minutes and immerse myself with my sensations whenever I begin to feel "longing" or feelings of melancholy/helplessness. I was able to observe it and watch it pass away. 

So In other words I'm not as scared to take steps in deepening my practice. But I am looking for ways to get social support since daniel suggests and it's clear to see that social support is essential to maintaining some kind of stability in a potentially dark at times path. Any suggestions how to find this kind of meaningful and reliable support with others? IN PRACTICE. 
 
Isabel Smith, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Wanting social support to get started.

Posts: 11 Join Date: 2/10/14 Recent Posts
I'm not sure I fully understand. Are you suggesting online gaming for social support or just saying that social support is like gaming? 
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Smiling Stone, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Wanting social support to get started.

Posts: 230 Join Date: 5/10/16 Recent Posts
Hello Isabel,
Welcome to the Dho, I'm afraid you were answered by a bot! I hope more real people will chime in...
I don't have any clue about social support. You will probably feel a sense of small community if you start to post here. Find real people if you can, though...
with metta
smiling stone
Isabel Smith, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Wanting social support to get started.

Posts: 11 Join Date: 2/10/14 Recent Posts
Well that makes sense lol. Thank you very much for your reply. And I was thinking the same.

​​​​​​​I guess I will start with getting started and share here. Hopefully I will be one of the people who does not end up having too bizarre of experiences. I wouldn't mind if it was just me, but bring a single parent of 2 young children, I need to maintain some kind of stability. 
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Wanting social support to get started.

Posts: 2279 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Father of two here and there are many more on this path who are parents emoticon 

Yes, good thing is to take a sane approach when caring for kids as they are in need of balanced parents , rather than having dark night parents. 

However, Dukka Nanas can show up even if doing only concentration based practices. If the investigation/vipassana factor is strong during concentration then there is a chance to go through the insight stages. 

I know too well the story of having great easy long meditations that felt wonderful and then at one stage all disappeared and turned to agony. 

This journey is not either or. And it's not one size fits all. 

It, however, seems to be about Right This Moment. Always just This. Whatever seems to have a sense of past or future needs to be seen for what it is Right Here while it's arising and passing. 

I would suggest to have one sit a day, 45 minutes if you can but 30 as minimum. I find continuous daily sits to be of great benefit. If you miss a day or two it's fine but if at all possible structure the day so you have this one daily sit. 

You choose your practice. If it's samadhi based try and find the one which is most engaging, one that is really interesting so your mind really buys into it. 
Fire Kasina, Breathing in and out, whole body breathing, Nada sound, mantra, ... read about all the different approaches and choose the one that resonates well with you. Give it at least 6 month of daily practice before judging it and moving into another practice. 

Just Calm-abiding is a good practice. Calming the body with each in and out breathing. Thoughts and other experiences come and go but you keep returning to calming the body gently with each in and out breathing. Whole body breathing in , whole body breathing out. 
I find this one to have a very nice soft balance between concentration and vipassana. 

Enough of me gibberish too much emoticon 
Goid luck and best wishes! 

I agree it's good to start a journal here. And just so you know, Daniel Ingram gladly talks to practitioners via video calls. In case you want one on one chat about what next could br the best. His email is on his webpage. 
Isabel Smith, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Wanting social support to get started.

Posts: 11 Join Date: 2/10/14 Recent Posts
thank you yes i like this starting point
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Pepe ·, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Wanting social support to get started.

Posts: 486 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Father of one here (but been in charged of two elderly parents at the same time). If you are raising two young kids alone, I would say your primary concern is to get enough sleep time and some body workout / stretching before attempting a regular concentration practice. Back in the day, I got really frustrated once and again for not being able to practice regularly. It was only when my kid had a full-time school schedule that I was able to practice consistently. The good thing is that during those years I was able to try for some weeks/months different insight or concentration practices and lurking in online meditation forums, so when I finally had more spare time, I already knew some of the ups and downs of each method, where to look for help, inspiration, etc. 

As for concentration practice, what was more juicy for me was metta / loving-kidness (Ron Crouch's version is the one l like most) using pics of a puppy or smiling loved ones when they were kids, as to connect with innocence/naivety as love with grown-ups always involve lights and shades and thus the practice is less fruitful initially. 

I also enjoyed Bhante Vimalaramsi's 6Rs as a complementary practice, specially when metta doesn't have much traction. A calm-abiding & mindfulness combo. Catch every time your mind wanders, spot the tension in the head that each thought has, relax and smile. Easy and fruitful as well, and a practice that you can do throughout the day, not just in a formal sit.  

For a more general overview of a sane approach to meditation, check Shargrol's posts compilation (a seasoned meditators that posts here regularly), in particular Concentration and Vipassana aren’t so different . 

Hope this helps!
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Dream Walker, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Wanting social support to get started.

Posts: 1396 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
Read MCTB and then reread it again. (Daniel's book). It's chock full of good stuff. It answered so many of my questions and still does. Any meditation can spin you into the dark night so why not be gentle with yourself and master that as you can. Even not meditating I always still cycled but today I went thru fear in less than an hour without ill effects. Misery has gotten better.... The further you progress, the faster you can move thru stages.
I've got 2 kiddos and I don't wish them to deal with the amount of time I was ignorant of stuff. Learn and teach them as you can, (one breath meditation great!!!) Be gentle with yourself and stay grounded if you can. It's a wild ride!
Good luck,
​​​​​​​~D
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Wanting social support to get started.

Posts: 2279 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
I like Dream Walker mentioning to "stay grounded if you can"

In the past, I always thought of grounding being a "central" thing, something concrete in the center of my experience. 

And this view worked well during the fun and more center-focused stages/states. 
However, once all started dissolving and I lost my ability to concentrate and got all disoriented, I lost that grounding center and went into panic. Start of my full-blown Dark Night. 

This was in 2011, before hearing about Ingram and Insight Stages which later was of benefit. 

Allow the grounding sense to shift away from the usual central view and move to the periphery in such dissolving, hard to concentrate stages. 
In these stages, it's good to move towards the skin of our body and let it be "grounded" outwardly towards the open space. 

As all is impermanent, it's good to be open to any of the experiences changing and not expect them to last forever. 

Yes, read Ingrams book if you can. Good to know about what can happen so not to get into panic and lose it. 

Best wishes! 
Derek2, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Wanting social support to get started.

Posts: 197 Join Date: 9/21/16 Recent Posts
Hi, Isabel,

I was just contemplating this morning whether I should join an online sitting group of some kind. Is that what you had in mind? Or did you want some kind of sharing/support/therapy group?
Isabel Smith, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Wanting social support to get started.

Posts: 11 Join Date: 2/10/14 Recent Posts
honestly both.   i would like to be able to speak to practitioners with more experience but also aware i need support in the other sense
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Kaloyan Stefanov, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Wanting social support to get started.

Posts: 74 Join Date: 2/18/21 Recent Posts
Hi Isabel, great to hear from you and thanks for sharing your story here!

I am a father of two as well (6 and 2), albeit not a single parent like you (that must be even more difficult). I also started out with Osho ca. 15 years ago and still think Osho is a badass (and funny) teacher, even if his esthetics, morals and teaching style might not be everyone's cup of tea. So we have some things in common. emoticon

Just to confirm what others above me have already said - the path often does not give you a choice, as was the case with me when I landed in some pretty tough spiritual territory (A&P into dark night) with kids. I personally found Dipa Ma (one of the famous buddhist meditation teachers in the 70s, 80s and 90s) as a great inspiration for this "householder with kids on the path" archetype. She was a single parrent as well, went through quite a lot of difficulties, including raising 7 children together with her sister in a small appartment without running water. She manged to help hundreds of people on the path in her later years once she started teaching as well (this biography is a good read https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/193041.Dipa_Ma).

On finding a community - where do you live? I can direct you to a couple of good online sangha's that are mostly Europe-based and can provide the type of spiritual / medtiation support you are looking for. They don't restrict to Europe only, but might be easier for you due to time difference. If you are looking more for sharing/ therapy support groups I can ask about these as well. If you are in the States, I am sure there are similar sanghas or groups but cannot refer you to any.

Likewise, community support can also come from 1:1 interaction. I like doing 1:1 video calls with people here on the DhO and elsewhere - let me know if that is of interest for you and we can arrange something. Others here do that as well.

And as someone suggested above - talking to Daniel might be an idea as well.
 
Isabel Smith, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Wanting social support to get started.

Posts: 11 Join Date: 2/10/14 Recent Posts
i am in the states but i will look up dipa ma. thank you 
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Dream Walker, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Wanting social support to get started.

Posts: 1396 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
When things get tough and you need to back off a bit, work on loving kindness.
I like to bump it up a notch and create positive affirmations. Thesaurus and write down phrases, record yourseld reading it and loop it and follow along.
Feeling love and kindness towards oneself is really hard for most westerners for some reason but fake it til ya make it.
I am filled with love and kindness, I am adored, I am cherished, I love myself with great kindness just as I am, I am beautiful, I like me, blah blah blah

Ya I know it starts as bullshit, you might suprise yourself  on how fast you overcome this disbelief because half of your brain is OK with it, the nonverbal side.

Explore the emotions that arise and play with where they occure and the in vs out projections. Can you blast love out only? or can you accept and recieve love?

Pick a jungian archetype that you can work with that you can envision or a picture. If I'm working to be more jolly and giving, Santa claus would work great, then let it evolve to whatever it becomes. Pick a goddess to hold you as she stares into your eyes with love and caring. Bring these envisioned beings into yourself to the diffent chakras or whereever and see what happens. Play with this as just a wonderful low stress exersize that you can count on if/when shit hits the fan. You can improvise these affirmations to your kiddos at bed time and they love it.
In the meditation toolbox, make sure you got some soft fun cuddly tools too.
Good luck,
~D
Isabel Smith, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Wanting social support to get started.

Posts: 11 Join Date: 2/10/14 Recent Posts
Dream Walker:
When things get tough and you need to back off a bit, work on loving kindness. I like to bump it up a notch and create positive affirmations. Thesaurus and write down phrases, record yourseld reading it and loop it and follow along. Feeling love and kindness towards oneself is really hard for most westerners for some reason but fake it til ya make it. I am filled with love and kindness, I am adored, I am cherished, I love myself with great kindness just as I am, I am beautiful, I like me, blah blah blah Ya I know it starts as bullshit, you might suprise yourself  on how fast you overcome this disbelief because half of your brain is OK with it, the nonverbal side. Explore the emotions that arise and play with where they occure and the in vs out projections. Can you blast love out only? or can you accept and recieve love? Pick a jungian archetype that you can work with that you can envision or a picture. If I'm working to be more jolly and giving, Santa claus would work great, then let it evolve to whatever it becomes. Pick a goddess to hold you as she stares into your eyes with love and caring. Bring these envisioned beings into yourself to the diffent chakras or whereever and see what happens. Play with this as just a wonderful low stress exersize that you can count on if/when shit hits the fan. You can improvise these affirmations to your kiddos at bed time and they love it. In the meditation toolbox, make sure you got some soft fun cuddly tools too. Good luck, ~D
<br /><br />yes. i am interested in using images. thank you
Isabel Smith, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Wanting social support to get started.

Posts: 11 Join Date: 2/10/14 Recent Posts
Wow! Really appreciate these advice and everyone else advice. I would love to talk to daniel I'm not really sure what I would say but I'll probably send an email and see what he says. I have read some of his book i have a hard time finishing books 
Derek2, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Wanting social support to get started.

Posts: 197 Join Date: 9/21/16 Recent Posts
i would like to be able to speak to practitioners with more experience

There's a few possibilities:

  • Start a practice log here and see if anyone comments
  • Visit https://old.reddit.com/r/streamentry (don't know much about that one)
  • Post specific questions here
  • Ask if anyone here is willing to Skype 1-1 with you
  • Schedule a group Zoom meeting (but probably time zones and schedules would be obstacles)?
Isabel Smith, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Wanting social support to get started.

Posts: 11 Join Date: 2/10/14 Recent Posts
OK great 
pieva, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Wanting social support to get started.

Posts: 34 Join Date: 3/15/19 Recent Posts
A mum of three here (6, 3 and 3). I very much agree with Pepe that you should focus on keeping your sanity. If you have time for practice, that's great! But be gentle with yourself. If you can't make time or if you feel that the progress is slow, that's ok. Pepe mentioned exercise - for me it's a must, especially cardio exercise. It helps balancing hormones, makes me more productive, helps with concentration, it's much easier to be  positive and decisive. It does miracles for my mental health, and it's my priority at difficult times.

I went to my first retreat 12 months before I had my first daughter. I joined another Goenka retreat when my breast-fed baby was 10 months old, part-time for 3 days. I stayed in a B&B, brought my mum to do long laps with the pram, went to the meditation centre after breakfast and left at tea time. Also used to join one-day sits with the local group (mostly nodding off all the time). Pregnant with the twins, attended another retreat, for 4 days. After that, I had to put everything on hold until this fall, when my little ones started nursery.

If you can, try to find a local group. When I travelled, I used to find all sorts of meditation meetings on meetup. Maybe you can even start one. There should be some online classes as well. Then you also have this community.
Isabel Smith, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Wanting social support to get started.

Posts: 11 Join Date: 2/10/14 Recent Posts
thank you [:

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