L J, modified 10 Days ago at 9/22/23 2:00 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 6/3/23 12:09 PM


Posts: 34 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Mind over easy, modified 4 Months ago at 6/3/23 2:13 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 6/3/23 2:13 PM

RE: A New Start

Posts: 286 Join Date: 4/28/12 Recent Posts
Howdy and best of luck! It sounds like you have a great mindset and approach going into it all! I can relate to what you've written- I was at a similar age and situation in my life when I started meditating/doing vipassana, while balancing school and a bunch of other stress.

Just wanted to mention the whole body positioning/posture/sitting arrangement thing. I've never been super committed to having an always rigid and upright posture while I meditate. The only time it's ever a concern for me is if I notice I'm getting too tired, not able to focus, too low of energy due to posture, etc... I just try to get reasonably comfortable in a way that lets me practice. 

Also, +1 on recognizing you were burning out and then gearing towards an approach that lets you balance your practice with respecting your overall well-being in the regular human sense. Especially in my beginning efforts, I think I really neglected just taking care of myself on a human level because I was so gung-ho on going for stream entry that I kind of punished myself for ever worrying about myself in any way other than doing vipassana. I later found the importance of just caring for myself, allowing for self love and patience and forgiveness and appreciation, etc... finding a healthier balance of honoring my vipassana practice while also allowing myself to grow and develop in the regular human sense with relationships, working through mental health issues, treating my problems as things to solve in the normal human sense and not just through vipassana. It really was huge to start thinking more like that, both for my normal human wellbeing and also my practice! 

The flipside to a lot of this is that, there is still a lot of tough stuff that can come up as a result of practice, from weird and uncomfortable body stuff, to stresses and tough feelings that are a result of insight practice (IE: the dark night stuff). It seems like it's possible to endlessly wiggle around and avoid honestly confronting sensations and stress (on or off the cushion) due to constantly thinking you need to drastically change things in your life, learn more techniques, learn more philosophy, etc... but that being said, it does sound like you have a pretty healthy approach in terms of practicing and just noticing what's happening in the moment without getting too caught up in narratives. 

So I guess a lot of my message is: it's totally okay to love and care for yourself in the regular human ways! emoticon Your imperfections, things on your plate, problems and stressors, tough thoughts and feelings... they're all natural and okay, and not separate or at odds from practice. Plus in terms of insight meditation, whatever comes up in your awareness is still equally valid fodder for probing into the nature of sensations. The sensations that make up whatever you encounter are all still subject to the truths you're trying to discern. But again, don't let that stop you from still allowing yourself to love yourself and take care of yourself in all the normal human ways! emoticon 

Again, best of luck and see ya around! 
Jim Jam, modified 4 Months ago at 6/3/23 10:02 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 6/3/23 10:02 PM

RE: A New Start

Posts: 7 Join Date: 1/3/21 Recent Posts
Hello! Welcome back.

A few things about your story really resonated with me. For starters, we are near the same age, and the year you started the practice is the same as mine. Furthermore, the intense dry noting and getting the advice to take a step back really worked for me. I had a particularly hard period of dry noting that dipped me very heavily into the Dukkha Nanas, and what got me out of it wasn't more dry noting. Relaxing the body, doing wide open 'noticing' and some self inquiry practice helped me a lot a few years ago when I was running into similar territory to you. The fact that you have a good teacher, and enough good sense, to take this advice to heart is impressive and could be very helpful. 

In terms of practice the self-inquiry and gentle koan-like questioning of things like "what am I?" and "where am I?" really helped me balance myself out during this period. As did simple things like exercising more and being physical. Eventually I had to go back to gentle noting but when I returned I was in a much better place to do it. The vibrations were much clearer, less harsh, and when they were I could sit with them.  

You're doing great. Best of luck.