Dealing with the dark night of the soul while trying to run a business

Michal, modified 1 Year ago at 4/9/23 2:16 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/9/23 2:08 PM

Dealing with the dark night of the soul while trying to run a business

Posts: 33 Join Date: 6/9/20 Recent Posts
Hi,
here is a bit of a background regarding my practice (I will highlight the important stuff, if you dont want to read all of it):
I started meditating after a strong A&P event which might have been caused by doing my first magickal spell just as an experiment 4 - 5 years ago. Or it might have been caused by a kundalini transmission or overtraining in the gym. Or probably by a mixture of everything, who knows.

The strong A&P event quickly became too intense and turned into existential dread with symptoms that are often associated with kundalini syndrome/dark night.(you know, everything turned grey and dreadful with physical symptoms such as needing much longer sleep etc)

Since then I have experienced many highs and lows, did many magickal workings, had psychedelic experiences and meditated for 1 - 2000 hours (I meditate 1 - 4 hours a day, most of the time). For the past 6 months I have done only kasina (about 2 months mostly 4h a day, now 1+). Before then it was a mixture of noting, breath counting, body scanning and other techniques. Including all day awareness (which I still do now) etc.

I have also thought multiple times that I had a fruition, which is probably not the case. But still a detail that might be useful. But it would be safe to assume that I am pre-stream-entry.

Nowadays I fluctuate between feeling absolutely out of this world incredible, blissed out, with intense jhanic experiences and feeling  absolutely dreadful like I want to gouge my eyes out.

The destabilization so far has been a factor in:
- not completing university 
- when I manifest a lot of clients and run into a difficult task/dont have strict deadlines my mental state can interfere with my ability to complete the tasks (I know for a fact that it was not like this when I was in a more A&P phase, so it is not caused by laziness or anything like that). 

Feeling like you are internally screaming your lungs out can be damaging to my ability to run a business. Which can be intensified when I run into a hard task.

Should I meditate even more, so I hit SE? Wouldn't that just hinder performance in other areas of life even more? 
I also am not able to do a retreat at this moment (which might change, so  So I have been thinking about cutting out some sleep to have more time for meditation (I am physically able to do that, because of jhanas).
Balancing responsibilites / somehow getting enough time to hit SE is not an easy task at all. 
I have also tried solving it by using modafinil to concentrate more - when you are glued to a task after a heavy concentration session, it is possible to be productive even in DN. The thing is I dont think it is healthy to do it often enough to be a real solution.
Also, I got used to using A&P energy to be much more productive and so being in a more DN phase is even more complicated.

I would love to hear if you have any tips!
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Jim Smith, modified 1 Year ago at 4/9/23 4:37 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/9/23 3:03 PM

RE: Dealing with the dark night of the soul while trying to run a business

Posts: 1767 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Michal
...
Nowadays I fluctuate between feeling absolutely out of this world incredible, blissed out, with intense jhanic experiences and feeling  absolutely dreadful like I want to gouge my eyes out.
...
I would love to hear if you have any tips!


There is something called a jhana hangover that some people have experienced. My guess is that extreme bliss can "use up" all your neurotransmitters and you are left with depression.

I would cut back on meditation and learn to keep the jhana at a low level, don't push it to bliss, try keeping it just enough to feel tranquil happiness. And I recommend this as a general curative for all problems: https://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2020/08/preparing-for-meditation-with.html - because after a session nothing bothers me. I think alternating between visualization and body awareness after doing the physical relaxation has a unique effect on the brain, the nervous system, and the whole body (I think it deactivates the sympathetic nervous system, activates the parasympathetic nervous system, and deactivates the default network in the brain). You can achieve in a short time what might take much longer with other types of meditation.

I don't recommend trying to trigger jhana to counteract depression. There is a state where you feel a pleasant quiet contentedness from which you observe other emotions like anxiety and depression and they seem more like physical sensations (an imperfect analogy) than "reality" and are much easier to bear. (It could be considered a kind of "therapeutic depersonalization" rather than pathological.) I think that is a better way to deal with the strong emotions like the the urge to self-enucleate. The above link can help you experience the contented state (when you are deep in the relaxed state feeling like you are floating, notice you don't feel any unpleasant emotions). If you make an effort to remain relaxed and mindful after the meditation session you can learn to keep the contented state in daily life for longer and longer periods. You might have to look for that contented place in your mind because intense emotions can attract your attention so strongly you can lose mindfulness and you don't notice anything else except the emotions. But if you find that contented place once, it will be easier to find subsequently.


If you are running a business you might find "The Surrender Experiemnt" by Michael Singer interesting to read.

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/c/message_boards/find_message?p_l_id=10262&messageId=15209174
The Surrender Experiment is an autobiography of Singer's life in which he decided early on to always take the path that life presented to him without regard to his personal likes or dislikes. The result was that he started out meditating in the woods and step by step, trying to help people who came to him, he ended up the CEO of a billion dollar company and the director of a spiritual temple where yoga and meditation were practiced and taught.

The book shows how you can be true to your spiritual values while running a successful business.
Michal, modified 1 Year ago at 4/9/23 3:33 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/9/23 3:33 PM

RE: Dealing with the dark night of the soul while trying to run a business

Posts: 33 Join Date: 6/9/20 Recent Posts
Thanks for the tips.

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Jim Smith:
Michal ... Nowadays I fluctuate between feeling absolutely out of this world incredible, blissed out, with intense jhanic experiences and feeling  absolutely dreadful like I want to gouge my eyes out. ... I would love to hear if you have any tips!
There is something called a jhana hangover that some people have experienced. My guess is that extreme bliss can "use up" all your neurotransmitters and you are left with depression. I would cut back on meditation and learn to keep the jhana at a low level, don't push it to bliss, try keeping it just enough to feel tranquil happiness. And I recommend this as a general curative for all problems: https://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2020/08/preparing-for-meditation-with.html - because after a session nothing bothers me. I think alternating between visualization and body awareness after doing the physical relaxation has a unique effect on the brain, the nervous system, and the whole body. You can achieve in a short time what might take much longer with other types of meditation. I don't recommend trying to trigger jhana to counteract depression. There is a state where you feel a pleasant quiet contentedness from which you observe other emotions like anxiety and depression and they seem more like physical sensations (an imperfect analogy) than "reality" and are much easier to bear. (It could be considered a kind of "therapeutic depersonalization" rather than pathological.) I think that is a better way to deal with the strong emotions. The above link can help you experience that (when you are deep in the relaxed state feeling like you are floating, notice you don't feel any unpleasant emotions). If you make an effort to remain relaxed and mindful after the meditation session you can learn to keep the contented state in daily life for longer and longer periods. You might have to look for that contented place in your mind because intense emotions can attract your attention so strongly, you can lose mindfulness, and you don't notice anything else except the emotions. But if you find that contented place once, it will be easier to find subsequently.
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Asaf M, modified 1 Year ago at 4/10/23 7:15 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/10/23 7:10 AM

RE: Dealing with the dark night of the soul while trying to run a business

Posts: 47 Join Date: 12/9/22 Recent Posts
Hi Michal,

Sounds like you are experiencing  fluctuations between strong highs and lows. I suppose one approach is to investiage the changes while  looking into what can be balanced here, in terms of the seven factors of awakening.
We need to take care not to try ourselves. If thigns are getting intense and our modd is swinging wildly, then looking into healthy sleep patterns, healthy lifestyle habits with regards to food and exercise and adding in some light hearted activities can help tone down the intensity.
I dont know how well we can do insight practice when we are overwhelmed by highs and lows, when we are swept away in the flood so to speak.

Having good, workable goals seems to help.
I feel inspired to share this chapter that I am currently re-reading. Perhpas it offers something userful to you as well

https://www.mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/part-ii-light-and-shadows/21-a-clear-goal/

Michal, modified 1 Year ago at 4/10/23 8:21 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/10/23 8:21 AM

RE: Dealing with the dark night of the soul while trying to run a business

Posts: 33 Join Date: 6/9/20 Recent Posts
Asaf M
Hi Michal,

Sounds like you are experiencing  fluctuations between strong highs and lows. I suppose one approach is to investiage the changes while  looking into what can be balanced here, in terms of the seven factors of awakening.
We need to take care not to try ourselves. If thigns are getting intense and our modd is swinging wildly, then looking into healthy sleep patterns, healthy lifestyle habits with regards to food and exercise and adding in some light hearted activities can help tone down the intensity.
I dont know how well we can do insight practice when we are overwhelmed by highs and lows, when we are swept away in the flood so to speak.

Having good, workable goals seems to help.
I feel inspired to share this chapter that I am currently re-reading. Perhpas it offers something userful to you as well

https://www.mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/part-ii-light-and-shadows/21-a-clear-goal/


Thanks for the tip. I will read the chapter.
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Aeon , modified 1 Year ago at 4/10/23 1:59 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/10/23 1:59 PM

RE: Dealing with the dark night of the soul while trying to run a business

Posts: 212 Join Date: 1/31/23 Recent Posts
I feel you man. I swing in a lot of dark night stages too these days.

What I have found to be helpful is to get into the equanimity nana, and spend enough time in it to have it last a day.

I find this can be done either with anapanasati (specifically observing as many changes per second in the felt area of breathing).
Somehow this simple practice almost always gives me whatever it is I need, even if I don't know what that is. Somtimes it brings sukkha, or piti, or balance, or simply reducing a bad mood.

Or the 3rd jhana "shape of attention". You know how you go from second to third jhana by letting the focus of attention disperse, perhaps move outward and forward, so when the 3rd jhana solidifies it feels as if you are focusing on everything except the previous focus of attention?
If you do that with the feelings associated with the DN, it can carry you over to EQ.


One thing I notice when reading your post is... Are you really investigating the three characteristics, when doing kasina practice or doing it on autopilot to train concentration?
If in DN and (unconsciously) doing kasinas to strengthen concentration, there is a chance you end up with stronger concentration that makes DN worse, instead of progressing through it with insight.
Michal, modified 1 Year ago at 4/11/23 4:52 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/11/23 4:34 AM

RE: Dealing with the dark night of the soul while trying to run a business

Posts: 33 Join Date: 6/9/20 Recent Posts
Thanks for the advice. Seems like it could help.
One thing I notice when reading your post is... Are you really investigating the three characteristics, when doing kasina practice or doing it on autopilot to train concentration?<br />If in DN and (unconsciously) doing kasinas to strengthen concentration, there is a chance you end up with stronger concentration that makes DN worse, instead of progressing through it with insight.
About this: It varies from session to session. Good point! 
​​​​​​​
I got into spirituality for power/magick and then my spiritual practices made me care about things like SE. Which is both fortunate and unfortunate at the same time. emoticon

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