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I don't know what to do with myself

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I don't know what to do with myself
Answer
6/29/12 7:36 AM
Hello! This is my first post on DhO and I'm really thankful for having a page like this so far. It's really interesting to read the experiences of other people, but I can't really compare them with my own point of view. I think its a little more complex in my situation.

I smoked very many weed when I was young 14-18. (now I'm 20) and I got a fear neurosis with the time, probably from weed. (social fear). The point is, that I also had mystical experiences when i was at this age. I remember one intensive dream, when I was sober. I was about 17. The dream was somehow lucid. I realised that I dreamt and there was a immense feeling of bliss, light and "weightlessness", which continued for some time after awakening. I did not practice any lucid dreams techniques at that time. (A&P?)

I had many mystical experiences in my life, but this one was the most impressive so far. As a child I was able to control my body heat. I intentionally made my body fevered, when I wanted to stay home from school. I had a experience with 19, when I was on LSD which felt like this http://www.jonathanrosenbaum.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/lsd.jpg and many "bliss" states with different psychedelics, mostly cannabis, from 14-19. Perhaps I can sometimes also see "auras", a foggy, magnetic like substance around living things.

the fear neurosis was there before the dream and is still there. It got better, when I started meditating (samatha, breath) with about 18, although there was never an enduring inner peace state. I think the hope for healing made me also very ecstatic, because I felt that there was something going on. Once after about 3 month of samatha meditating I saw that my balcony was vibrating. (A&P?) or rather my consciousness was vibrating.

After a time I started a vipassana retreat. I almost neglected my meditation practice months before. In the retreat I sometimes managed to sit still for an hour without any disgust, And sometimes there was heavy disgust. One evening my body was complety made out of tickling sensations for a while and this was very blissfull (which could also have been a lsd flashback)
After that almost everything changed. Vipassana(body scanning) made me feel distracted and depressive, after i have done it. but sometimes it was also chilling, especially when i laid down in bed after it.

I switch my meditations regularly. Now I make a mix of Choiceless Awareness, Samatha Breath Meditation, Metta Meditation, Counting Breaths, Self-Inquiry. And i have a form of meditation I call "dream meditation". It is a mix between reality checks, dreamlike feeling and sharp awareness. it is active it produces a surrealistic feeling. I had a few dream recognitions this month, although I neglected dream meditation weeks before.

Now my actual problem. I am never real happy. theres always something that keeps me down. There are often situations in my life where I only can think, when i actually should interact with people. there are strong feelings of self-disgust, helplessness, inferiority and incompetence. My mood changes of course. But I can't get as happy as I can get depressive. I feel as if I don't practice my meditation correctly, because I often get involved in misery thoughts, now especially when doing Choiceless Awareness. Metta is also hard to build up, during Metta Meditation. Should I swich to samatha breath watching? I feel misery in my heart area. its like a blockage. i also judge myself and other people very harshly, without wanting to.

don't know if am in the Dark Night, or if I have some sort of psychic illness, or if I have both? Am I a chronic dark night yogi?

Meditation experiences so far:
- the point between my eyes gets an intense feeling (sometimes pulsing, sometimes it streams, st its hard st its like) almost every time I meditate
- fine body feelings, like electric pulses
- "Expansion of my body" like it is getting bigger
- Visions
- dimly light
- all sorts of vibrations
- stillness
- ecstasy
- feeling and steering energy

last week I was drunk and I "watched me". I did self-inquiry and Choiceless Awareness since 2 weeks before. It saw my self like in a movie. The things is happened to "Julian" not ~myself. is there a connection to anything else and what was that?
yesterday i was aware of my left foot for a while, while just sitting in a seminar. I could f.e. feel my breath in the food? I felt like a pushing pulsing.


So the e-book is written emoticon I think that much information can help to analyse it better. and sorry for my bad english emoticon

RE: I don't know what to do with myself
Answer
6/29/12 9:52 AM as a reply to Voku Hila.
Voku Hila:
I often get involved in misery thoughts, now especially when doing Choiceless Awareness. Metta is also hard to build up, during Metta Meditation. Should I swich to samatha breath watching? I feel misery in my heart area. its like a blockage. i also judge myself and other people very harshly, without wanting to.


You're quite right that this is likely to impede progress, but there is probably a way to work around it. What are the steps in your metta practice, and what's making it hard?

RE: I don't know what to do with myself
Answer
6/29/12 12:23 PM as a reply to fivebells ..
@fivebells

thinking of the metta of a good friend, with example situation to feel in it.
thinking of the metta of a neutral person -//-
thinking of the metta of a "negative" person -//-
spreading the metta to my neighbourhood

sadness. since a while i can't get a good feeling, while doing it. there are doubts comin up regarding for example me, my working, my relationship to others and this makes the meditation feel fake. At this time I'm disappointed of my inability. theres a lot of analysing. feeling of helplessness, sometimes. feeling of emotional sickness.

i thought about increasing the amounts of metta meditation sitting, trying to train it. I will start heart yoga soon. I also thought about autosuggestion, or a energetic healer/tantric heart massage. and in winter i will probably attain a holotropic breathing course. or quit smoking.

I also have a strong feeling sometimes of beeing left alone to loose status and friends, because i often lose my humor and my charisma. a little trauma is probably the source of this. and this pattern and associated thoughts come up in meditation. I have the perception of being a misantrop and disrespectful to the world in my acting and thinking. And I morally don't like this and react sadly against it, which is the source of selfdisgust thoughts and feelings.edit: wich leads to the feeling of incapability while meditating.

RE: I don't know what to do with myself
Answer
6/29/12 12:21 PM as a reply to Voku Hila.
It sounds like you don't have a good connection to the joy/mudita in your experience. You might try doing mudita medtitation instead. Start with something easy to feel joy for, like imagining a puppy chasing a ball. Celebrate that. Do that until you get fluent with it, then move on to celebrating aspects of your experience. Keep yourself out of whatever situations you celebrate at first, just use neutral, isolated sensations like the feel of the breath at the nostrils to start with. It would be fine to celebrate the full experience of yourself, but based on what you've said that may trigger some negative reactions. Once you get fluent with this, start expanding the field of awareness that you celebrate, say the sensation of the breath and the motion of your chest at the same time. As you get more fluent, keep expanding the field of awareness until you are celebrating all of the moment's experience.

If your mind wanders while you do this, it's not a big deal. Just return awareness to the image/sensation and celebrate it again, just as you return in samatha meditation.

RE: I don't know what to do with myself
Answer
6/29/12 12:34 PM as a reply to fivebells ..
Thx emoticon

I've never heard of mudita before. sounds interesting. do you think it will be beneficial to mix it with an additional meditation(like self-inquiry)?

RE: I don't know what to do with myself
Answer
6/29/12 3:44 PM as a reply to Voku Hila.
Maybe, but I suggest doing it on its own at least until you get the hang of it. How do you do self-inquiry?

Mudita is one of the four immeasurables/brahmaviharas. It has a good pedigree. emoticon

RE: I don't know what to do with myself
Answer
6/29/12 4:44 PM as a reply to Voku Hila.
Hi Voku,

My response is going to talk about social fear more than meditation. Sorry if this isn't what you were looking for.

I also smoked a lot of weed when I was a teenager, and I also got social anxiety (SA). I left high school and stayed inside my house as much as I could for almost 5 years. I started working to overcome my SA when I was about 21 -- now I'm 25, and I can say that it's about 95% gone. When I look back at how I was 4-5 years ago, I can't believe how much suffering I went through and how much more difficult my life was because of SA. Here's what worked for me:

-Reading a lot of books/articles/forum posts about social anxiety and therapy.
-Understanding that overcoming social fear involves training a set of skills, just like we train skills in meditation (concentration, mindfulness, etc). The best way that I know to train these skills is to follow a daily therapy program, which you can find in a book. If you learn a lot about SA and therapy, you can also make your own therapy program.
-One book that I read divides SA therapy into 3 categories: mental, physical, and behavioral. For each category, there are skills you can develop. For example:

Mental: When you're in social situations, you might have thoughts like "I can't talk because they might criticize me." So you build up a skill of noticing these thoughts when they arise, then challenging them. "Will they really criticize me if I talk? Probably not." (Meditation can definitely help with this.)

Physical: Whenever you do something you're afraid of, or even think about doing it, you might have a physical reaction of fear/anxiety. (Tingling in the chest, heart speeding up, feeling lightheaded, feeling sick or scared.) With practice, you can build up a skill of recognizing these physical signs, then dealing with them in an effective way. You might take some deep breaths and relax, or you might just ignore the fear.

Behavioral: Being afraid of social situations causes you to avoid those situations (obviously). The more you avoid the situations, the harder it is to stop avoiding them and the more your fear grows. It's a vicious cycle. So, after you've built up some skills to deal with the mental and physical sides of SA, you can slowly challenge yourself with new social situations. If you're afraid of leaving your house, you can start going for a short walk every day. If you're afraid of talking to people, you can start thinking of ways to talk to people that aren't too scary (maybe by asking someone for directions).

(I didn't talk about meditation too much because, even though meditation helped with my social anxiety, this stuff helped a lot more.)

Ok, I hope this was useful for you. Please feel free to reply or message me if you have any questions emoticon

RE: I don't know what to do with myself
Answer
6/30/12 12:28 AM as a reply to Voku Hila.
G'day Voku,

There's only two things anyone can do: 1). alter thoughts or 2). alter behaviour. I reckon behviour is a more powerful creator of happiness. Check that your behaviours are creating happiness. Drop any behaviour that doesn't make you happy. Where happiness is concerned, the more self-centered you are, the happier you will be, so long as you know the right behaviours to do. You have to know yourself, which can take some experimenting if you've been living in a way that is in adherence with some sort of artificial man-made "dharma". It's very simple and very rewarding. It's how we were meant to live.

RE: I don't know what to do with myself
Answer
7/2/12 8:16 AM as a reply to fivebells ..
@fivebells

Self Inquiry a la Ramana Maharshi. Try to find the sense of self and watch it. the questions "Who am I" or "Who is experiencing this" can help.

My problem with mudita meditation is the same as with the metta meditation. There occurs a blocking feeling of some kind of spritual paralysis while doing it.
even when I think about a puppy chasing a ball.

I stardet yesterday with the technique described in "feeding your demons" by tsultrim allione.
http://www.amazon.com/Feeding-Your-Demons-Resolving-Conflict/dp/0316013137/ref=pd_sim_b_2
In this technique you visualize your demon and its "personality". Then you jump into the demon and find out what he needs. After that you feed him with what he needs(love, compassion, peace). I did this with my fear demon(see wiki article weltschmerz) I had a tream tonight, in which I was traced by some gangsters. I was scared and droped 10 Euro to see if they would give it back to me, when they noticed that I lost it, to check their personality. Then a nice old man was behind me instead of the gangsters and gave it to me with a friendly smile. he was a lovely person.

I think thats a sign of progess.. emoticon


I'm really thankful to know now where to start. I was concerned that I had to go through this troubled time with ordinary vipassana meditation to solve it. I thought that this would be some dark night thing. I'm glad that I have very many possibilties to solve this problem. that gives me hope.

RE: I don't know what to do with myself
Answer
7/2/12 8:06 AM as a reply to Tony Takitani.
@tony

thx for your answer!

I will dedicate the next months to working with my shadow. A Therapy book about social anxiety is a good idea to complete my programm. I already looked on amazon for a therapy book for social anxiety in german. I will probably start with this, when I anchored the "feeding the demons" technique. this technique is also ought to help with social anxiety and my other little problems.

I also will start to take up some meditations I found in a book Jack Kornfield.
Forgiveness Meditation (apologize to others I did harm, forgive myself, forgive others)
Meditation of Letting Go
...

I have the feeling that they are the right thing for me in this moment. you said that your meditations didn't benefit you as much as therapy. Have you also tried "feeding your demons"? I read the book by tsultrim allione and it sounds very promising regarding social anxiety and other problems. This technique is also ought to work with morphogenetic fields, which also fascinates me. It's some kind of pragmatic buddhist instant psychotherapy. (from Chöd origin)

I tried this technique yesterday 2 times and my dream this night gives me a good feeling(see the answer to fivebells)

RE: I don't know what to do with myself
Answer
7/2/12 8:28 AM as a reply to This Good Self.
thx for your answer CCC!

your advice sounds very easy emoticon Altering my behaviour and my thinking is a big goal of mine emoticon but if i alter my behaviour it has to be authentic, or otherwise I have the feeling of fighting against my inner emotions, which other people notice in some way.

If I'm unhappy and I act happy, than I get even unhappier.

But maybe you mean things like sports, creative activities, when you talk about altering beaviour. I will take this to my mind. I already started doing regular sports a few months ago, but now I'm lazy again, because of the heat emoticon

I think I may need a little explanation what you exactly mean with "altering behaviour".

RE: I don't know what to do with myself
Answer
7/2/12 9:54 AM as a reply to Voku Hila.
Voku Hila:
I'm really thankful to know now where to start. I was concerned that I had to go through this troubled time with ordinary vipassana meditation to solve it. I thought that this would be some dark night thing. I'm glad that I have very many possibilties to solve this problem. that gives me hope.


This is the reason I find Tibetan Buddhist (Vajrayana) practices to be better and more effective than simply Vipassana meditation. Vajrayana practices are so effective that instead of you getting anxious around other people, they may start to get anxious around you!

RE: I don't know what to do with myself
Answer
7/2/12 11:17 AM as a reply to Voku Hila.
Voku Hila:
My problem with mudita meditation is the same as with the metta meditation. There occurs a blocking feeling of some kind of spritual paralysis while doing it.
even when I think about a puppy chasing a ball.


I had this problem. Start with someone else celebrating something, anyone/any event that doesn't trigger a negative reaction.

RE: I don't know what to do with myself
Answer
7/3/12 6:46 AM as a reply to Change A..
@aman


never heard of vajrayana before... I looked at wikipedia and found some certain characteristics. but I don't understandt what exactly in vajrayana is the thing that makes it so powerful?

RE: I don't know what to do with myself
Answer
7/3/12 6:51 AM as a reply to fivebells ..
@fivebells

ah I understand. sounds interesting. I'm a lil bit stressed at the moment, so I couldn't read your link yet regarding mudita.


btw I tried the loving kindness exercise in Jack Kornfields book today and it works. emoticon

RE: I don't know what to do with myself
Answer
7/3/12 7:49 AM as a reply to Voku Hila.
Glad the metta is working for you. Don't worry too much about the link, it was just a citation to establish the practice's pedigree. emoticon

RE: I don't know what to do with myself
Answer
7/3/12 9:09 AM as a reply to Voku Hila.
The technique "feeding your demons" is a Vajrayana technique. Tsultrim Allione used to be a nun in Tibetan Buddhist (Vajrayana) tradition. If you explore Vajrayana more, you will find other useful techniques as well which really help to go through the troubled time where ordinary Vipassana doesn't work that fast.