feeling like Neo!

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will manders, modified 9 Years ago.

feeling like Neo!

Posts: 201 Join Date: 11/25/11 Recent Posts
Welcome all - actually welcome me, hello all!

its my first post. I hate to make it a negative one but im feeling all beaten up and a bit cornered in by my damned vipassana journey.

i have been mediatating for about a year and a half now but did a 10 day goenka vipassana course in march and its changed my life for the better immensely.

Having said that. I have noticed feeling so apethetic and just BLAH of late. I meditate every evening without fail for 8 months since the course, and have just this week started 20 mins in the morning, and it seems to be this thats tipping me over the edge.

i am interested if this is the Dark Night. I will go and read some other posts and see if there is some good info in there, which i am sure there is, but I guess I wanted to reach out to those who are more experienced as this is indeed a tough time and just like neo in the matrix, I am glad i am seeing the truth, and learning to live more and more unmotivated by ego, but its starting to get tough right about now and I really could use a pat on the back, a guiding light or something.

help!

bmanemoticon
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Bruno Loff, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: feeling like Neo!

Posts: 1094 Join Date: 8/30/09 Recent Posts
Yeah, dark night...
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Tommy M, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: feeling like Neo!

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
Welcome to the DhO, Jim.

This isn't necessarily Dark Night, and even if it is it doesn't need to be as difficult as you've probably heard it made out to be. Depending on what's gone before in your practice, you may just be in the early stages pre-A&P. Even if you were in Dark Night the advice would be the same and that's to continue meditating, don't try to manipulate the experience and just observe what arises.

Could you describe your previous practice in a bit more detail, please? It'll be useful to get an idea of what you've experienced before as there are usually points which most serious meditators will recognize and may be able to offer some more useful, practical advice.

What is it that you're looking for through meditation?

As far as this shitty stuff you're experiencing right now goes, look at what it is that makes these sensations "unpleasant" or however you'd describe it. If you're familiar with the jhanas then I suggest using that as a more efficient way to deal with this sort of thing, the suttas don't distinguish between insight and concentration and it appears that there is a considerably more pleasant way to go about these practices. Remember too that none of what you're experiencing right now is permanent, nor does it exist anywhere other than in a misreading of their perception. If you're able to observe these unpleasant sensations then they're not you, so who's experiencing them?

If you can give a bit more information and descriptions of your current practice it'll be easier to offer some advice.

Metta.
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b man, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: feeling like Neo!

Posts: 201 Join Date: 11/25/11 Recent Posts
i must confess, i am really unfamiliar with the terms of dark night and A&P but feel like I have found an important step in my journey by finding you guys, as I am keen to learn and have been feeling kinda alone in terms of people to ask questions for regarding some of this. I had posted about a year ago in a number of places when I was trying to find out what had happened to me when I had a very strong oneness experience where I felt extremely expansive and experienced the true peace and connectedness. I think it was a form of satori. it was a very powerful and confusing thing for me at the time but I havent really given it much thought since doing the vipassana course as I realised that I was making a misake, getting to drawn into the egoic spiritual feel good of having had this as an experience. The 10 vipassana retreat changed everything for me. I managed to forgive someone who had abused me and this was very liberating, though possibly as I realise now, just another layer, albiet a big one, of the onion, in dealing with some of that suffering. which leads kinda nicley to your other question of what I would like to achieve from meditaiton. Well, freedom from suffering and freedom from inflicting suffering, awareness and working towards a pure heart and mind are my main motivations. I also listened to a buddisht geeks podcast a while back about a guy who had been in a monestry in burma who had stated to see the actual fabric of reality. That interests me but is almost too far from where I am at to be much more than a distraction to give too much thought to at the moment.

I was also a very heavy drinker and smoker in my past, and I have now given up both of those with quite a battle for 2 years so really I also have embarked on a spiritual journey to help me with my new self without intoxicants, so that is also a big motivator.

i dont know how much I really know about jhannas and suttras - ive heard them mentioned but I dont have a clear grasp of these things at present, do you think it is important to me at this stage?

I have been really expeirencing alot of strange like growning type pains, energy kind of shooting around my body over the last 6 months too. but I have been very free feeling and up until this current apathy (mixed with a tinge of sadness) has kicked in over the last week or so I have been feeling pretty good on this journey so far. I have had some pretty strong outbursts of anger, but they have been dealt with and I just about still have my job!!

thanks again for taking the time to respond. I do need some guidance right now and appreciate it greatly.
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Tommy M, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: feeling like Neo!

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
Thanks for going into detail and being so honest about your experience, there's nothing wrong with being unfamiliar with all the terminology so I apologize if that led to any confusion. I started out knowing nothing about the terminology either and even now I know very little, but the practice itself makes all that stuff clear anyway so just sticking to that will get you further than twenty books on the subject.

I had posted about a year ago in a number of places when I was trying to find out what had happened to me when I had a very strong oneness experience where I felt extremely expansive and experienced the true peace and connectedness. I think it was a form of satori. it was a very powerful and confusing thing for me at the time but I havent really given it much thought since doing the vipassana course as I realised that I was making a misake, getting to drawn into the egoic spiritual feel good of having had this as an experience.

Right, gotcha. Good insight and it's great that you've realized not to cling to this sort of thing, what you've described sound very much like what you'll see referred to as A&P, the Arising & Passing, 4th ñana, 2nd vipassana jhana or whatever. The terms are used in a useful map of this territory call the Progress of Insight, it's worth checking out as it quite accurately pinpoints a lot of this stuff but it can easily become something to cling to in itself.

One of the most useful things on the progress of insight is how it maps the territory after the A&P as it demonstrates how these negative feelings and tensions are just another part of the process, they're common to most meditators. If you haven't read Daniel Ingram's MCTB, he does a whole section on this territory, which is usually known as Dark Night, but there is one part of that chapter where he talks about handling the difficulties of Dark Night skillfully and he describes a resolution which is beautifully written and heartfelt. I found it very useful and it's worth a read, as is the whole book.

The 10 vipassana retreat changed everything for me. I managed to forgive someone who had abused me and this was very liberating, though possibly as I realise now, just another layer, albiet a big one, of the onion, in dealing with some of that suffering.

If you are able to let go of something like this then you're well on your way to letting go of everything else required to get enlightened. Well done for this, it's wonderful to hear you got such enormous, measurable and practical benefit from meditation.

Well, freedom from suffering and freedom from inflicting suffering, awareness and working towards a pure heart and mind are my main motivations. I also listened to a buddisht geeks podcast a while back about a guy who had been in a monestry in burma who had stated to see the actual fabric of reality. That interests me but is almost too far from where I am at to be much more than a distraction to give too much thought to at the moment.

Good! We're reading from the same page.

The thing about seeing the actual fabric of reality is just a fancy way of saying that one learns to see that reality is just a stream of impermanent sensations, if you've crossed the A&P then you've had a glimpse already so don't let these sort of linguistic descriptions trip you up, it's really simple when it comes down to it. Even if that's not exactly what the guy who was talking was pointing to, if you practice well then these things reveal themselves naturally.

I was also a very heavy drinker and smoker in my past, and I have now given up both of those with quite a battle for 2 years so really I also have embarked on a spiritual journey to help me with my new self without intoxicants, so that is also a big motivator.

No reason to feel any guilt or anxiety about what's gone before, just do what's right for you and what allows you to be happier and more content with life. Congratulations on your sobriety, sounds like you've had a rough time of it in the past but it's great to know that you're moving forward. Even this period of feeling low or shitty is evidence of progress so don't be disheartened, keep on doing what you're doing and this will pass away just like everything else has, but this time you're moving towards freedom from suffering.

i dont know how much I really know about jhannas and suttras - ive heard them mentioned but I dont have a clear grasp of these things at present, do you think it is important to me at this stage?

Jhanas are worth learning, definitely. There's a guy on here called End In Sight who's doing a lot of work on the jhanas and the original techniques the Buddha describes, I highly recommend checking out some of his threads on here. I'm a bit pushed for time at the moment so I can't post any direct links although I'll try to add some tomorrow. There's also an excellent pragmatic dharma blog called The Hamilton Project which has shitloads of resources, techniques, podcasts and all manner of top-drawer dharma by a couple of the guys from on here and KFD. Google it, read it, practice. emoticon

I have been really expeirencing alot of strange like growning type pains, energy kind of shooting around my body over the last 6 months too. but I have been very free feeling and up until this current apathy (mixed with a tinge of sadness) has kicked in over the last week or so I have been feeling pretty good on this journey so far. I have had some pretty strong outbursts of anger, but they have been dealt with and I just about still have my job!!

Yeah, you're in Dark Night.

Definitely, definitely, definitely read that link to Dan's book, that may just help you get things in perspective and maintain your normal life during this time. In the meantime, just pay attention to the breath as is rises and falls, enjoy the pleasurable sensations and feelings this can bring and allow them to permeate your entire body while always remaining mindful of the breath. If you get distracted it doesn't matter, just GENTLY bringing the attention back to the breath over and over again.

Hope that's of some use to you in the meantime, my apologies for a shorter reply than I'd liked to have left but I need to get up for work in three hours time! Ha!

Take pleasure in simple things, just the senses sensing...
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b man, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: feeling like Neo!

Posts: 201 Join Date: 11/25/11 Recent Posts
Thanks, thats immeasurably helpful to me and I will follow up on all your advice. I appreciate the guidance and support, right on cue. Finding this site tonight and your comments are just another amazing example of what I have been noticing as a reoccurring pattern over the last couple of years of when I am really struggling life just seems to point me in the right direction or someone appears that tells me something crucial just exactly am ready for it. amazing. The more it happens the more I'm learning to just trust the universe to guide me a bit and that letting go is very liberating. Thanks again Tommy, hope work is kind to you :-)
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katy steger, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: feeling like Neo!

Posts: 1741 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
b man
I also listened to a buddisht geeks podcast a while back about a guy who had been in a monestry in burma who had stated to see the actual fabric of reality.


Tommy M
The thing about seeing the actual fabric of reality is just a fancy way of saying that one learns to see that reality is just a stream of impermanent sensations, (...)

Just an note here: a sense that one is "see[ing] the actual fabric of reality" can also express a perception of interconnectedness, cause&effect, law of conservation of energy (aka: 1st law thermodynamics (fancy!)), huis clos, other...
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b man, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: feeling like Neo!

Posts: 201 Join Date: 11/25/11 Recent Posts
hi all,

ive come back full circle to this post after doing some googling on depression after vipassana. I had forgotten that I had posted here and its good that i've stumbled back here and reread some of this information. I wasnt sure about the dark night syndrome before but after spending some time with my family over christmas, my need to meditate was greater than ever ( emoticon ) and i had a very long (for me) session of about 1h20 of vipassana meditation, that was really thorough, and that followed about an hour the night before. Anyway, I have been feeling very very down and I am once again reminded that they are connected.

I guess at this point I am interested in your thoughts on my reaction tonight that I had felt selfish in my withdrawn and disconnected state today after meditating last night, which was "maybe I shouldn't meditate when I am visiting people" which got me to thinking that maybe I should be a bit more aware of the effects of my meditation on my immediate mental health, in the same way that I might have thought about not going out drinking in the past, if I had a day where I needed to be at my best the next day.

I'm at that stage right now of starting to be a little aware of my actions, and I am wondering if any of you in the community here also sometimes have such reverence and reserve towards your practices?



cheers,

Will

p.s - im feeling very low right now, (although its not like regular depression, which I've had in the past, as I feel very very optimistic about the future, excited even), I just am so lackluster for the present. I am trying not to resist what i am experiencing but it just feels like i've had the wind knocked out of me, so if anyone can post or PM me some relevant inspirational material (links) that would be gratefully received
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tom moylan, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: feeling like Neo!

Posts: 896 Join Date: 3/7/11 Recent Posts
Hey B-Man,
i see that this post was not answered so i thought i would throw in my two cents. i just read your posts and the superb answer from Tommy. if you haven't yet read daniel ingram's book i too recommend that you take the time to do that. much of what you are going through is described there in detail. these swings between highs and lows are very very common along the path and virtually everyone has experienced them.

some very basic things to keep in mind are, "this too shall pass", as tommy pointed out. look directly at the "low" feelings, dig deep into them even if it hurts.

if you are indeed in the dark night, you will get out of it only by progressing. accept this fact. embrace this fact. you are on the ride. use the excellent resources on this site to know that you are not alone and that many have gone through what you are going through.

directly to your point about tuning your practice so that the negative effects on your "worldly life" will be minimized: in daniel's book he mentions "resolutions", which tommy also mentioned. they will help you get through the short term mood swings and will help you to realize when you are about to have an unwholesome reaction and to deal effectively with it. there are also some more physically based practices as exempliified on the AYP website which, for people who don't have access to the jhanas, can slow down the progress a bit and make the transitions a little easier IMHO.

my personal advice is simply to keep at it. anyone who genuinely cares for your well being wants to see you happy. you've proven that you have real backbone by choosing healthy behaviour over unwholesome and if you put in the effort with some discipline and good practice (like noting: read the book!) you WILL get past this suffering. great work so far. let us know how it goes
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b man, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: feeling like Neo!

Posts: 201 Join Date: 11/25/11 Recent Posts
thanks for taking the time to respond Tom, I appreciate it.

I have indeed read the book suggested and it was every bit as useful as both of you have suggested. I think it is important to realise that you can inadvertently affect others greatly during this process. I see it a bit like clearing out your cupboards finding a Jar of something long past its sell by date. You have to get rid of it, but you dont just see it and freak out and chuck it flying across the room in disgust so it smashes all over the floor, effecting everyone else you live with. No. You take your time and dispose of it properly. No one needs to know what was in your cupboard, it doesnt matter. Its gone.

I decided to take a week off this week. I've finally got myself to the fortunate position of being able to do that and having worked my ass off for the last 6 months I have probably massively over done it. The week off over christmas wasnt enough, it wasnt really a rest. It was fun seeing everyone and it was tiring travelling to another city, being around all the old family disfunctions, but it wasnt the break i needed, and when I went back to work, it was clear that I needed more time off. So I've taken it. And I've been in bed for 4 days straight.

It was good to read you also point out that there is only one way out of the Dark Night and thats out the other side. It reminded me of a winston churchill quote that someone posted my when I was quitting smoking a few years back, and that is..
“If you are going through hell, keep going.” emoticon true dat.

Its hard to meditate at the moment, as I just dont feel like I can take the pounding, or that I have the energy for it. But then other times I do and I really feel like I break new boundaries. I feel like I am at a very important part of the journey at the moment, I feel very alone too, and this site may be just enough to get me through, but I think that I also need to branch out and start doing some more social things, as I have allowed myself to be come very reclusive (apart from going to work and seeing my flatmates obviously) and I dont think that helps.

I cant wait to get back to running again, and hopefully cycling to work. I think that some good old exercise will massively help keep things in check. But I've gotta get through this burnout first I think.

anyway. enough rambling on, its good to know that others have been down this road and survived! its just driving me crazy, as I feel like I have so much going for me in life compared to even a few years ago but I am just unable to enjoy it at the moment and more than that, I feel terrible. Hopefully the exercise will help. Gonna sort my eating out too I think. Thanks also for the AYP site. I am enjoying reading that. I think its also a bit of an ego blow being in this stage. After the last few years of quitting the booze and feeling super strong, mentally and physically, I had forgotten what it feels like to be this delicate and vulnerable. its good, ego is what we're trying to get rid of after all! I will accept it and face into it and let its lessons be well understood.

thanks again for the help in focusing on the key issues. its that focus that really helps me through.
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b man, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: feeling like Neo!

Posts: 201 Join Date: 11/25/11 Recent Posts
just want to say thanks again for the AYP link. What a phenomenal online resource that is. I have only reached lesson 38 tonight but its just what I needed to read. Very grounded and inspirational reminders of how, why and what journey I am undertaking, the benefits to myself and the wider world are very motivating and a good readjustment of focus away from the current difficulties of Dark Night.

Its also nice to read information on the path to enlightenment from another practice. I have been taught slightly different techniques, but it is like going to another martial arts class after you have a few belts in another martial art. There are slight differences in practice but the focus and similarities are overwhelming, which I guess is unsurprising seeing as the destination is the same.
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b man, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: feeling like Neo!

Posts: 201 Join Date: 11/25/11 Recent Posts
some superb stuff on the hamilton project as well, thanks - especially like this yogi toolbox, theres a great article on gaining steam entry there and some other great stuff which I am really enjoying. http://thehamiltonproject.blogspot.com/p/yogi-toolbox.html
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Daniel Johnson, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: feeling like Neo!

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
b man:
its good to know that others have been down this road and survived!


I'm a survivor emoticon

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-lt3vVA-4I

Dark Night can be rough, hope the video (workplace-safe) helps a bit.
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b man, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: feeling like Neo!

Posts: 201 Join Date: 11/25/11 Recent Posts
Daniel Johnson:
b man:
its good to know that others have been down this road and survived!


I'm a survivor emoticon

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-lt3vVA-4I

Dark Night can be rough, hope the video (workplace-safe) helps a bit.


lol emoticon
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Bruno Loff, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: feeling like Neo!

Posts: 1094 Join Date: 8/30/09 Recent Posts
b man:
After the last few years of quitting the booze and feeling super strong, mentally and physically, I had forgotten what it feels like to be this delicate and vulnerable. its good, ego is what we're trying to get rid of after all! I will accept it and face into it and let its lessons be well understood.


Dark-night-enforced disenchantment is really great for noticing how much of of my previous behavior and persona was founded on euphoric-imaginative-passions, but as it matures, it becomes quite obvious that feeling weak and vulnerable is also part of the ego, and not opposed to it. I am always the "main character" of my own misery. Maybe this is the case with you also?

The disenchantment allows me to "give up" on the emotional satisfaction of certain things I do under the effect of passions. To give one example, I have recently started to acquire the new ability of not caring to pursue any argument with anyone, and this is a direct result of gaining dispassion towards this kind of situation (I used to get a kick out of "debating").

Feeling like one should or shouldn't meditate, or should socialize more or less, and other such must change X about "my life" considerations could be a byproduct of dark night, without any discernible content other than "I feel like shit".
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b man, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: feeling like Neo!

Posts: 201 Join Date: 11/25/11 Recent Posts
Bruno Loff:


Dark-night-enforced disenchantment is really great for noticing how much of of my previous behavior and persona was founded on euphoric-imaginative-passions, but as it matures, it becomes quite obvious that feeling weak and vulnerable is also part of the ego, and not opposed to it. I am always the "main character" of my own misery. Maybe this is the case with you also?


yes, though I think its more of a can't-breathe-type-weak-and-vulnerable, rather than a I-hate-myself-type-weak-and-vunerable if that makes sense
Bruno Loff:

The disenchantment allows me to "give up" on the emotional satisfaction of certain things I do under the effect of passions. To give one example, I have recently started to acquire the new ability of not caring to pursue any argument with anyone, and this is a direct result of gaining dispassion towards this kind of situation (I used to get a kick out of "debating").


same here, though I also am now beginning to think that my apathy towards not getting involved in "discussions" is gone a bit to far the other way, kind of like its turning into an excuse for avoidance a little, though I am still trying to understand the balance with this one, and to be honest I think the balance I am striving for is sometimes to get involved if it really is warranted and then its a case of judgement knowing I have said enough and learning to leave things. I am finding that the lack of emotional weight in my responses allows me to say what I believe in firmly without making the person I am saying it to feel attacked. which is definitely a big step foward, as I used to somewhat pride myself in being able to win an argument also.

Bruno Loff:

Feeling like one should or shouldn't meditate, or should socialize more or less, and other such must change X about "my life" considerations could be a byproduct of dark night, without any discernible content other than "I feel like shit".


yep :-) I think that those are changes that are long overdue for me anyway. Like you said at the beggining of this post, its forcing me to address the truth and the truth is that I was that I have just been hoping certain things will pick themselves up for a while, and now I am being forced to face upto the fact that its really about time I made some of my own luck in certain respects and faced a few demons.