Feeling ungrounded

Koko Loere, modified 9 Months ago at 3/12/22 1:21 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 3/12/22 1:21 PM

Feeling ungrounded

Posts: 7 Join Date: 10/23/21 Recent Posts
Hello
I have been meditating on average for two and a half hours every day for the last (almost) two years. And about 30 minutes for a year before that. The last two days I have been meditating for only 20 minutes. This doesn't feel particularly fruitful, probably has a lot to do with my metrics of what constitutes "spiritual progress" which are bad because two days is too short a time to gain insight into that... Anyway:
  • How to know when to slow down and when to push through with spiritual practices?
  • What is pushing through? Is it just tolerating more pain?
  • What is slowing down? Is it watching a Hollywood movie and eating junk food and continuing as usual the next day? Obviously not.
The reasons I ask these questions is because my head feels like a storm, weary and confused. I have been thinking about "grounding" and "taking it slow" for a year and a half or so now (but haven't acted on it very decisively) which have caused me to be doubtful and stuck in the domain of ego and not fully surrender myself to the Truth of this moment. It is difficult for me to reconcile all this ego-talk with Truth (the hauntingly beautiful way of being that emanates from my heart), while at the same time it isn't hard to reconcile Truth with self-honesty.
It is obvious to me that I am conflating conceptual insight with experiential insight here. In other words: 'Truth', the last two times I used the word, are not the same thing for me.
 
Contemplating my death and realizing that Truth is already itself and that there is nothing really to lose or a 'real' reason to rush, helped me come to terms with the pain and uncertainty of feeling the finite self slowly dissolve. But I am still looking for a ground… and when I find it, my awareness is like a laser that evaporates big parts of it, and then I need to twist my body in a weird way and hold on very tightly so I don't fall. And when I think 'why not just fall?', the ground gets even more uneven. And I am sort of addicted to it.
 
I would appreciate some wisdom here; something that can simplify the matter. Some similar dispositions and experiences, anything.
 
Martin, modified 9 Months ago at 3/12/22 3:29 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 3/12/22 3:29 PM

RE: Feeling ungrounded

Posts: 498 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
If I can dive in with some questions,

What is your on the cushion practice like? (what are you trying to do when you sit, and what actually happens?)
What has changed over the past few years off the cushion? 
shargrol, modified 9 Months ago at 3/12/22 4:51 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 3/12/22 4:51 PM

RE: Feeling ungrounded

Posts: 1879 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
How's life going for you? There's a lot more to life than mediation and Truth.
Koko Loere, modified 9 Months ago at 3/12/22 8:16 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 3/12/22 6:24 PM

RE: Feeling ungrounded

Posts: 7 Join Date: 10/23/21 Recent Posts
It's hard to say since it has been quite monotonous because of the pandemic. This also explains why I'm so stuck in my head obsessing over progress and latching onto raptures that make me feel spiritually authentic, as described in MCTB2. Also because I have been living with my emotionally immature parents, who are really tempting me to think of myself as being more spiritually elevated and wise. (I hope I'm not coming across as obnoxious..)
I don't really know how to answer your question. The metric for "how life is going" has been based on my perceived progress mostly, but I guess you just want me to focus on the material aspects. I have been travelling from octobre till decembre and living on my own the last few months for the first time (I am 20 years old atm). This has been good. I'm ambitious, although this comes with strong doubts, I do feel hopeful. One step at a time...It's just that I feel very stuck quite regularly.
Koko Loere, modified 9 Months ago at 3/12/22 8:12 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 3/12/22 8:00 PM

RE: Feeling ungrounded

Posts: 7 Join Date: 10/23/21 Recent Posts
I am not sure if this post is cluttered together. Please go here for a better reading experience if it is:    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1XTLuLPulgpOsnPsP3BescvtFnoKPzWbHnp3d9rwF4DQ/edit?usp=sharing

Off the cushion:
  • My mind feels sharper. I seem to want to just lay down and bask in this new territory instead of going into my suffering that the world helps to amplify (and thus see more clearly).
  • I feel more confident, this is also because I was 17 when I started meditating and thus was coming out of puberty (I am also a late-bloomer). But definitely also because of meditating. A lot of limiting beliefs about myself I simply moved beyond and others I just seen through and moved beyond that way, and others I still struggle with but those I can't really formulate well.
  • I am way more curious about pretty much everything. I actually care about understanding things now. And about learning and reading. School didn't instill this sense in me at all.
  • Just more mature and loving

On the negative side:
  • More ungrounded.
  • More obsessed with personal development thereby losing sight of my natural impulses and desires, which is something I'm struggling with socially.
  • Simply a little more crazy. Hard to define, but: being invested in something very "esoteric"/not-of-concern-by-others while losing sight of the bigger picture. Like you are very much zoomed in on something and you forgot you did so and therefore there is no possibility of zooming out.

On the cushion:
What I am trying to do and what happens: I don't know. Just follow the instructions.
While doing Mahasi-style noting, which I am doing since Octobre, I use the label doubting a lot.
Sometimes I try to concentrate too hard and I am just distracted and then react to that distraction by putting more effort into the practice. (seems like a clear case of the first samatha jhana to me, however it can also be the disharmony from the third samatha jhana) Other times I think I accessed the fourth vipassana/samatha (they start to morph here because the way I investigate is way more gentle and less consistent) jhana because of the level of equanimity that covers a very wide space and I begin losing sense of my body although never entirely. And there is not much of a disconnect of what I am trying to do and what happens. The practice of choiceless awareness results in this experience most often. I am very unsure about where I'm at with the stages - up until n11 I recognize a lot of the descriptions although I do not grasp very deeply the talk about vibrational speed and patterns and such - which has to do with the obsessive doubting about progress so I don't want to go into them too much.
More recently I do more samatha practices and use my abdomen as the object. I did kasina (attracts more energy to the head) once and it resulted in too much clarity and in too little integration/feeling. -- I'm putting more and more emphasis on the latter for 10 months or so now and I'm starting to notice how it is stabilizing and integrative whilst not necessarily impeding insight, although it takes a long time. My aversion towards this approach is fueled by the confusion with content as opposed to the three characteristics I experience. This brings me back to one of my original questions of pushing through versus reducing practice/putting less energy into practice... -- Back to kasina: It reminded me of my earlier, insight Gung-Ho/Rambo-like practice, meaning: non-integrative/lack of connection with body. Although the feedback I liked very much. By which I mean the confidence of knowing that I was concentrating well felt encouraging rather than discouraging.

I hope this wasn't too long. For more context, you can read my other post in this thread.
If you feel inclined to add something, please do.
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Chris M, modified 9 Months ago at 3/13/22 10:17 AM
Created 9 Months ago at 3/13/22 10:17 AM

RE: Feeling ungrounded

Posts: 4611 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
What are you stuck on?
Martin, modified 9 Months ago at 3/13/22 4:06 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 3/13/22 4:06 PM

RE: Feeling ungrounded

Posts: 498 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Thanks for answering those questions. It's nice that Shargrol and Chris have chimed in, because they are both coming from places of deep knowledge, while I am just another guy trying to figure it out. I would pay a great deal of attention to any advice they give or questions that they ask. 

My experience with Mahasi style noting is that it actually works in the opposite direction of what I think of grounding. I find metta-based concentration practice to be grounding. (For what it's worth, I'm not much into being grounded at the moment, so I might not be the ideal guy to comment, but there have been times when I wanted to be more grounded.) I have had some happy results by approaching practice as a group of related, and mutually-supporting, skills. Daniel Ingram has some great things to say about this in chapter 6 of Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha. In short though, if you find something lacking, like a sense of being grounded, you might try something like metta or walking practices, but you could also add something non-meditative, like hiking, or swimming, or even weightlifting or cooking. Except in cases where someone is dead set on getting to a particular realization in the shortest time possible, it seems to be helpful, or at least not particularly harmful, to rebalance and integrate new things every so often to achieve stability.
Koko Loere, modified 9 Months ago at 3/13/22 4:17 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 3/13/22 4:11 PM

RE: Feeling ungrounded

Posts: 7 Join Date: 10/23/21 Recent Posts
I can't pinpoint it. But something like this: fear that is "slippery" and quick and "ungraspable". I find it really hard to contemplate it because it comes and goes so fast. Although I have to admit that I have not committed myself to just contemplate it to the extent it happens in the present moment for a set amount of time... I will do this now. How great it is to have this forum to expose my blindspots! Thank you, sir. I'll report back in a bit.
Koko Loere, modified 9 Months ago at 3/13/22 4:51 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 3/13/22 4:51 PM

RE: Feeling ungrounded

Posts: 7 Join Date: 10/23/21 Recent Posts
I developed more of a poise in relation to the fear. Although I had a hard time finding it. Probably because of how fear works. 
I will devote more time toward this type of contemplation.
Koko Loere, modified 8 Months ago at 3/14/22 5:23 PM
Created 8 Months ago at 3/14/22 5:23 PM

RE: Feeling ungrounded

Posts: 7 Join Date: 10/23/21 Recent Posts
Yes, it is definetly good to rebalance and integrate. I am doing more of the activities you mentioned and maybe metta and walking practice. I'll contemplate chapter 6 of MCTB some more, kinda glossed over it the first time I read it.