The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis

The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis Mind over easy 11/21/12 9:27 PM
RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis Simon T. 11/22/12 5:04 PM
RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis This Good Self 11/22/12 9:47 PM
RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis Mind over easy 11/22/12 11:08 PM
RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis This Good Self 11/23/12 5:04 PM
RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis Change A. 11/24/12 9:19 AM
RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis Richard Zen 11/22/12 11:08 PM
RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis Mind over easy 11/22/12 11:24 PM
RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis Richard Zen 11/22/12 11:57 PM
RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis Bruno Loff 11/24/12 5:47 AM
RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis This Good Self 11/24/12 6:18 AM
RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis Nikolai . 11/24/12 6:17 AM
RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis James Yen 11/24/12 12:35 PM
RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis Nikolai . 11/24/12 2:39 PM
RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis James Yen 11/24/12 3:03 PM
RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis James Yen 11/24/12 3:09 PM
RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis Nikolai . 11/24/12 5:56 PM
RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis Jane Laurel Carrington 11/24/12 6:38 PM
RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis Robert McLune 11/24/12 9:13 PM
RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis Robert McLune 11/24/12 3:39 PM
RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis James Yen 11/24/12 9:16 PM
RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis Mind over easy 12/2/12 3:44 PM
RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis James Yen 12/2/12 11:51 PM
RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis Mind over easy 12/2/12 11:57 PM
RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis James Yen 12/3/12 12:02 AM
RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis James Yen 12/3/12 12:23 AM
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RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis Mind over easy 12/3/12 12:25 AM
RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis James Yen 12/3/12 12:29 AM
RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis Fitter Stoke 12/3/12 8:58 AM
RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis Jane Laurel Carrington 12/3/12 4:21 PM
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Mind over easy, modified 9 Years ago at 11/21/12 9:27 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 11/21/12 9:27 PM

The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis

Posts: 239 Join Date: 4/28/12 Recent Posts
Hello all.

To give some background, I think I've been doing insight practice for around a year, probably a little less. In any case, I crossed the A&P early in my practice, and have since experienced the full list of nanas, I think. The dukkha nanas have certainly come up time and time again, probably even before I started a formal practice.

I'm in college, studying as a sophomore. I've never been a particularly motivated student, but I definitely do well on tests and have the aptitude to succeed. As of a few months ago, I've been quite intent on getting stream entry. I'd estimate that I probably put in at least 15 hours a week into seated vipassana practice. I also note throughout the day whenever it occurs to me, which is quite often. In seated meditation, I believe I've reached equanimity, and in daily life, there have been two times, quite recently, where I truly felt equanimious for a few days. However, it is nowhere near my perceptual baseline, and I'm not even sure where that is.

In reading Ingram's work, as well as others, there was so much emphasis on the dark night, how to deal with it, and whether or not one should even attempt insight practice, considering various factors in life. I was thinking something like, "How bad could it really be? These are theoretical stages and knowing that they're just a result of practice will keep it all into perspective". I decided to plow into it with a moderately consistent and, at times, intense amount of effort. I do not regret the decision to begin practicing. However, in hindsight, I really ought to have considered these warnings, and how the dukkha nanas could disrupt my life.

I'll just start complaining now. I go to school and I think I like it. I'm studying music, which I've had a fairly consistent passion for, for as long as I can remember. I like to discuss and I like to play music. I understand that college is a confusing time in a person's life, and that confusion, stress, and a mix of powerful emotions can show up without any spiritual practice. However, as of today, I have to concede that my experience with school has severely changed for the worse since I've began practicing. Please hear me out.

During A&P experiences, I'm neurotic, edgy, and probably much more outspoken, scattered, and bold than is optimal. During the dukkha nanas, I sometimes find myself unable to even muster enough energy to get out of bed, let alone commute an hour to school, let alone pay attention in class. How can I focus on the professor's words when all of my mental effort leads to pain? It is simply difficult to effectively participate when I find myself holding back tears. It is almost impossible at times to muster the motivation to do homework, and sometimes, simple tasks and assignments just don't click and I'm left hung up, feeling like I "just can't do it", like I'm missing some mental software that enables me to proceed with the task. I don't have any friends to express this pain to, since it just isn't easy to explain and most people don't really understand dharma stuff, let alone a theory of oscillating mind states with different emotional implications. It all just seems pointless and meaningless, more of the same, more missing the point, and most importantly, more building upon concepts that seem to divide people, inspire greed, and deny myself the communication of something so basic and immediate about humanity. Of course, we need doctors and engineers and people to keep the world running, but is that really me?

I'm faced with declining grades. I really am trying to get through, but there are basically two problems. I can't seem to get my mind to do school, and I can't seem to explain to myself why I should be participating in this system when the possibility exists to live on simple means, using my free time to develop jhana, pursue arhatship, and participate/share dharma. I've told myself that I should just finish school to free myself up for dharma practice, but the problem is that the dukkha nanas seem to destroy my academic rigor and ability to succeed. At that realization, the thought is that I should get path to eliminate the fetters/fabrications that give rise to the suffering that so deeply inhibits my ability to succeed. But alas, I seem to have reached a point at which more consistency is required to reach stream entry, but that consistency cannot be achieved due to all the work that constantly consumes my time and effort in college. Noting is just simply too tough to do when I'm engaged in class discussions, or practicing music. Investigating the three characteristics is impossible when I'm pressed for time, pressed for sleep, absorbed in lecture, and trying to hold myself together through all I have to do. I'm too busy in school to practice consistently enough for enlightenment, and I'm suffering enough to make functioning in school a serious challenge.

Call it depression, anxiety, or just dukkha nanas, but in any case, I'm seriously considering whether or not I can handle continuing college education right now. I've considered deferring before, but I'm scared about the wrath this will bring about with my parents. My parents are Mormon, which isn't inherently bad. But they're extremely dogmatic about their religion, and many years ago, when I quit, our relationship was seriously dented, and I don't talk to them much, let alone express my feelings or talk about religion. I've tried to talk depression with them before but they view my depression as a result of not being Mormon, and even seem to deny any depression. So that would suck to do, but if I have to, they can't force me to keep going. They are paying for my education though, which makes me feel further guilt about this whole situation.

Possible options:

1. Discontinue college, deferring for long enough to attain to stream entry or beyond
I gather that stream entry is a solid attainment to rebuilt daily life upon, so I could go to school and not be so hindered by constant dark night stuff. My parents would be extremely upset and I probably couldn't explain why I did it.

2. Continue college, trying to ignore dharma stuff (or just vipassana stuff)
This would seem to be basically impossible, as I'm definitely cycling through dukkha nanas, and my mental baseline seems to be investigation, which automatically happens when I'm left without a task to occupy my mind

3. Continue college, try to get stream entry
This is where I'm at now, and my post refers to this situation. Practice is inconsistent this way, and there are some days where I can hardly fit in a meal, let alone dedicate any amount of brainpower to making progress in the path of insight. After trying to adopt consistent practice and finding myself derailed many times, I have concern that I won't make stream entry this way



Daniel Ingram seems to have made a general recommendation to slay the vipassana beast, putting aside conventional life in order to establish a steady base from which one can develop a more conventional and stable life. I can't help but feel so desperately that I need that stable base in order to live life without being inhibited by this horrible suffering that keeps arising. I can't seem to keep my career as a meditator and my career as a full-time student separate, and I'm beginning to pay for it academically and emotionally. I'm in this terrible darkness, alone and without much of an idea to do. Please, help me think this through. I really need some support in this endeavor and I know that many of you have been in similar positions.
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Simon T, modified 9 Years ago at 11/22/12 5:04 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 11/22/12 5:04 PM

RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis

Posts: 383 Join Date: 9/13/11 Recent Posts
Once you have crossed the A&P, you are on the ride, as Kenneth Folk put it. This ride is going to be your life. It seems you are commited to do constant noting as far as you can. You seems commited to ride this thing and want to do it in a skillful manner and not fuck up your life too much. This is good. You can see practice and progress as one thing and positioning as another. We don't live in a culture that support the idea of monkhood so to become entirely commited to the practice is challenging socially. So we end up making trade off to not alienate our relatives. Just go collect alms isn't really an option generally so we have ultimately to find a way to substantiate ourselves. This is positionning. You slowly move your life in a direction that will make it easier to practice.

From my experience, it seems that it's better to not talk too much about meditation to my relatives but at the same time be relatively open about it. It's more about reassuring them and make them comfortable with the fact you spend considerable time sitting doing nothing. If they feel that you are a better person and more at peace thanks to "what you do", they will come to term with it.

I consider the training in morality to be highly important. Finding something to drive me forward and want to make this life worthwhile made a huge difference. If I can die knowing I did my best to be a good person in this world and live up to my ideals of compassion, love, selflessness, it's good enough for me. It sure would be nice to get a cake at the end but it's not a given.
This Good Self, modified 9 Years ago at 11/22/12 9:47 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 11/22/12 9:29 PM

RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis

Posts: 946 Join Date: 3/9/10 Recent Posts
Hi M.O.E,

Tell me if this is of any help.



Dzogchen Practice in Everyday Life
by HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

The everyday practice of dzogchen is simply to develop a complete carefree acceptance, an openness to all situations without limit.

We should realise openness as the playground of our emotions and relate to people without artificiality, manipulation or strategy.

We should experience everything totally, never withdrawing into ourselves as a marmot hides in its hole. This practice releases tremendous energy which is usually constricted by the process of maintaining fixed reference points. Referentiality is the process by which we retreat from the direct experience of everyday life.

Being present in the moment may initially trigger fear. But by welcoming the sensation of fear with complete openness, we cut through the barriers created by habitual emotional patterns.

When we engage in the practice of discovering space, we should develop the feeling of opening ourselves out completely to the entire universe. We should open ourselves with absolute simplicity and nakedness of mind. This is the powerful and ordinary practice of dropping the mask of self-protection.

We shouldn't make a division in our meditation between perception and field of perception. We shouldn't become like a cat watching a mouse. We should realise that the purpose of meditation is not to go "deeply into ourselves" or withdraw from the world. Practice should be free and non-conceptual, unconstrained by introspection and concentration.

Vast unoriginated self-luminous wisdom space is the ground of being - the beginning and the end of confusion. The presence of awareness in the primordial state has no bias toward enlightenment or non-enlightenment. This ground of being which is known as pure or original mind is the source from which all phenomena arise. It is known as the great mother, as the womb of potentiality in which all things arise and dissolve in natural self-perfectedness and absolute spontaneity.

All aspects of phenomena are completely clear and lucid. The whole universe is open and unobstructed - everything is mutually interpenetrating.

Seeing all things as naked, clear and free from obscurations, there is nothing to attain or realise. The nature of phenomena appears naturally and is naturally present in time-transcending awareness. Everything is naturally perfect just as it is. All phenomena appear in their uniqueness as part of the continually changing pattern. These patterns are vibrant with meaning and significance at every moment; yet there is no significance to attach to such meanings beyond the moment in which they present themselves.

This is the dance of the five elements in which matter is a symbol of energy and energy a symbol of emptiness. We are a symbol of our own enlightenment. With no effort or practice whatsoever, liberation or enlightenment is already here.

The everyday practice of dzogchen is just everyday life itself. Since the undeveloped state does not exist, there is no need to behave in any special way or attempt to attain anything above and beyond what you actually are. There should be no feeling of striving to reach some "amazing goal" or "advanced state."

To strive for such a state is a neurosis which only conditions us and serves to obstruct the free flow of Mind. We should also avoid thinking of ourselves as worthless persons - we are naturally free and unconditioned. We are intrinsically enlightened and lack nothing.

When engaging in meditation practice, we should feel it to be as natural as eating, breathing and defecating. It should not become a specialised or formal event, bloated with seriousness and solemnity. We should realise that meditation transcends effort, practice, aims, goals and the duality of liberation and non-liberation. Meditation is always ideal; there is no need to correct anything. Since everything that arises is simply the play of mind as such, there is no unsatisfactory meditation and no need to judge thoughts as good or bad.

Therefore we should simply sit. Simply stay in your own place, in your own condition just as it is. Forgetting self-conscious feelings, we do not have to think "I am meditating." Our practice should be without effort, without strain, without attempts to control or force and without trying to become "peaceful."

If we find that we are disturbing ourselves in any of these ways, we stop meditating and simply rest or relax for a while. Then we resume our meditation. If we have "interesting experiences" either during or after meditation, we should avoid making anything special of them. To spend time thinking about experiences is simply a distraction and an attempt to become unnatural. These experiences are simply signs of practice and should be regarded as transient events. We should not attempt to re-experience them because to do so only serves to distort the natural spontaneity of mind.

All phenomena are completely new and fresh, absolutely unique and entirely free from all concepts of past, present and future. They are experienced in timelessness.

The continual stream of new discovery, revelation and inspiration which arises at every moment is the manifestation of our clarity. We should learn to see everyday life as mandala - the luminous fringes of experience which radiate spontaneously from the empty nature of our being. The aspects of our mandala are the day-to-day objects of our life experience moving in the dance or play of the universe. By this symbolism the inner teacher reveals the profound and ultimate significance of being. Therefore we should be natural and spontaneous, accepting and learning from everything. This enables us to see the ironic and amusing side of events that usually irritate us.

In meditation we can see through the illusion of past, present and future - our experience becomes the continuity of nowness. The past is only an unreliable memory held in the present. The future is only a projection of our present conceptions. The present itself vanishes as soon as we try to grasp it. So why bother with attempting to establish an illusion of solid ground?

We should free ourselves from our past memories and preconceptions of meditation. Each moment of meditation is completely unique and full of potentiality. In such moments, we will be incapable of judging our meditation in terms of past experience, dry theory or hollow rhetoric.

Simply plunging directly into meditation in the moment now, with our whole being, free from hesitation, boredom or excitement, is enlightenment.
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Richard Zen, modified 9 Years ago at 11/22/12 11:08 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 11/22/12 11:03 PM

RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis

Posts: 1656 Join Date: 5/18/10 Recent Posts
Screw it. Stay in school. I had similar professional problems and I knew that the dharma had to be practical in the end. I've done much less practice than you have but I got through it precisely because of what Daniel said and from daily noting and eventually Shikatanza. You have to keep practicing through the bad feelings. Bad feelings in fact are good things to practice on. You don't block them. You just watch them passaway on their own and realize that nothing in your experience is a permanent "YOU". The practice is to accept what you can't control and to let go of clinging which is what drains so much energy. You must let go to the point that you can let go of short-term likes and dislikes and notice how your brain likes to zoom in on likes or dislikes to label them and start ruminating on them again. I would recommend you do some Shikatanza practice to ease the edge off of noting. When you get too agitated I would stop noting and let everything in your mind arise and passaway without manipulating anything. Return to noting only when you're sluggish or lazy. When I got to equanimity (from noting) I really needed to let go of creating a "self" that is "noting". The result was an equanimity that could be developed throughout the day. You also have to let go of a separation between future enlightenment and being in the now. Note your intentions to pay attention, volition, choice, willpower. They are all arisings that pass away and are not a self because your consciousness knows it's happening. What's known can't be a knower. Your consciousness knows that there is thinking/feeling/volition/choice/attention. When all that stuff arises you can ask non-verbally if it's a self and watch it pass away. You can let go of that and save the energy for your studies. Sometimes aversion would be very strong and I still did the practice and noticed that even if I got little studying done I got more than doing nothing. As time went on I didn't even care about my exam results. I just looked at it like a science experiment. How good can I actually do? I did burn out a little during this time but I rested myself and got back into the saddle and I did great.

The thing I've found most recently is that I feel that I use the amygdala when I make plans that are positive or when I have negative thoughts about obstacles but I have to let go of both the negative and the fake prideful boosting feelings to find some mental quiet and that energy to actually undertake those plans. Notice how thoughts can bring you up and then when there is an obstacle to goals it can bring you down like an enemy. Start letting go as soon as you feel some agitation or prideful crap. Do it 500 times a day if you have to. Letting go clears up the awareness that is always going on. Notice when you dread going to a class or work or whatever. Start paying attention to the body and let the aversion arise and pass away on its own. Grounding yourself in the body and relaxing muscle tension over and over again should give you plenty of relief. You can't use the amygdala to stop the amygdala by force so letting go is more efficient. Thoughts are allowed. Thinking about yourself and your situation is just thinking. It's not a "thinker". This includes all your meditation analysis and doubts. Doubts are just doubting thoughts.

When I had the worst of Reobservation I really felt that the dark night is just withdrawal symptoms to using the amygdala. I kept noting (silently) when dealing with difficult people and things got better. Circumstances may not have gotten better but I didn't care. I felt better despite the circumstances. Circumstances only get better when we take action. If formal sitting practice is taking too much time then bring more time in for study and make sitting meditation a 10min per day thing MAX and the rest is just concentrating at school work and LETTING GO of attachment wherever you notice it. Let go of constricting beliefs into your automatic senses. Constricting beliefs are just thoughts. The problem is that beliefs have emotional power to them and what you believe will affect your emotions and clinging. When someone agrees with you, you get warm fuzzies. When they disagree with you, you feel aversion. In the end, (unless you're going to be a meditation instructor), meditation is something you shouldn't be attached to. Meditation is to see clearly in real time how reactivity affects you and to then let go before the mind proliferates on more pride or negativity.

Here are some of Shinzen Young's instructions on how to smooth out the meditation experience so that you can actually benefit from the equanimity you've gained:

Return to the source

When you do this practice sitting please understand you can use this in daily life which is where you WILL encounter your clingings. If there's suffering it's because there's clinging already happening. Start letting go in real time almost like popping a pill for when you have a headache. It's very easy to do vipassana and forget to deeply let go as often as possible. When you're studying keep letting go of mental interruptions as nonchalantly as possible. People learn by doing and by adding more of the practice to your life and by smoothing out the noting practice and relaxing tension in your body you get more results when you actually need them in daily life.

This is another source that helped me a lot with anatta. I started getting to equanimity more often (especially at work doing data entry) with these instructions:

Dhamma Sukha - Anatta

Whichever choice you make, good luck!
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Mind over easy, modified 9 Years ago at 11/22/12 11:08 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 11/22/12 11:08 PM

RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis

Posts: 239 Join Date: 4/28/12 Recent Posts
Thank you. I've looked into zazen practice, and zen ideas. I find the notion of being present and not trying to modify anything about the experience helpful for bringing about equanimity in practice. Not having achieved rigpa/fruition/realization of any sort though, it is admittedly difficult to feel at all like I'm already perfectly enlightened. My understanding is that in zen practices, there is no consideration for the dukkha nanas, and that these things are simply more things to be seen through. Of course, this is in line with the idea that one must accept and surrender to the dukkha nanas, not giving any significance to any sensations of any sort. However, no matter how much I would like to not feel it, I simply do feel this anguish, and I suspect that the suffering brought about by this will continue to come about until I have an experience of rigpa/fruition/realization. My conceptual knowledge tells me that these feelings are all empty, containing no self. However, the process of delusion/fabrication is still continuing and as far as I've experienced, it takes some considerable effort to bring this process to a close.

Perhaps said more succinctly, I feel like I'm feeling intense suffering. I know the suffering isn't real like I think it is, but it sure feels like it is. It sounds like zen is telling me, "It's because you're buying it, just stop doing the buying into it and it will immediately come to an end!", while vipassana in MCTB is telling me, "It's because you're buying it through this process. Here are real stages that have implications for learning, that you may measure your progress by. You have to progress through these stages to get the results of release from the stress".

Simply plunging directly into meditation in the moment now, with our whole being, free from hesitation, boredom or excitement, is enlightenment.


I admit that I find this statement discouraging and slightly misleading. I do think that the moment of fruition/rigpa requires this said plunging, free from mind states. But I think that getting to that point requires traversing of the dukkha nanas, perhaps many times. I wonder if perhaps what zen teachers are getting at is that no amount of theorizing or conceptualizing will produce the enlightened state, and that only unadulterated awareness will produce it. But I just find it a stretch to see myself as an enlightened being, when this great suffering exists. I also find it a stretch to say that just simply being present is enlightenment. I think being present (meditating, being aware) leads through the stages, which one can ignore and then say, "ah ha, for the first time, I've plunged in to the present moment". Perhaps naively and cynically, I see zen as claiming a direct way to enlightenment, while ignoring the process that leads to it, saying that it is sudden. I suppose that hits at the sudden/gradual awakening debate.

Maybe you weren't at all trying to get at that, and wanted to emphasize that practice can be done wherever. If this is the case, I generally agree. But as much as I do try to practice at all times, I simply slip out of equanimity and into the dark night when I'm busy at school or with demanding homework, due to what I see as the inability to sustain the energy for mindfulness.

The everyday practice of dzogchen is just everyday life itself. Since the undeveloped state does not exist, there is no need to behave in any special way or attempt to attain anything above and beyond what you actually are. There should be no feeling of striving to reach some "amazing goal" or "advanced state."


I have trouble understanding this. Many meditators explain that pre-path, they saw sensations as implying a sense of self, and that this resulted in suffering, regardless of the sensations. They explain that they practiced vipassana, ascending through the stages of insight, gradually. They explain that post-path, they permanently debunked the illusion that there was any permanent self, and that a marked decrease in suffering and notion of centerpoint resulted. At this point, from what I have read, this seems to be an amazing goal, and an advanced state of realization. As a recently new meditator, I'm completely open to the notion that I have my concepts wrong.

Here's the thing though. Whether or not I am already fully enlightened and don't realize it is irrelevant to me at this point. What is relevant is that I've begun a practice, and as many have foreshadowed, this practice has led to detrimental effects on my life, some of which are causing me to fail college courses. I understand that these effects are to be seen through, but please have sympathy to the fact that even though these things are intrinsically empty, they are still real in the sense that they are stopping me from functioning the way I used to be able to in life.

In any case, thank you so much. I am massively appreciative for your advice, and this is what I've extrated: be equanimious towards everything, and let awareness be a constant and consistent engagement, rather than some holier-than-life practice that is separated from the rest of life.
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Mind over easy, modified 9 Years ago at 11/22/12 11:24 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 11/22/12 11:24 PM

RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis

Posts: 239 Join Date: 4/28/12 Recent Posts
I feel as though perhaps my thought towards zen are naive at this point. Thanks for sharing. I will definitely give some of that a shot. I didn't mean to come off as cynical or unappreciative; I just don't really have an understanding of zen in the same way that I have an understanding of the stuff in MCTB, which is basically the core of my practice. My plan is to just keep practicing. I'm hitting equanimity more often and with less effort, and it seems like the things that throw me back to dukkha nanas are really just things which I see as significant, which gives them more of a story to buy into. Since I see them as more significant, I don't apply the same mindfulness, and they create suffering. It's just so easy to suffer.

On a side note, last night, while in some kind of dukkha nana, I resolved to rise up to the highest nana I could. I fell asleep before any great length of time, but I woke up, clearly in equanimity. Later in the day, while doing vipassana, I got to equanimity, and felt an experience which seems to line up with the 6th jhana, or maybe 5th. It was this expansive, repetitive feeling, where my consciousness seemed to be doing the infinity sign thing. It's hard to explain. It almost seemed A&P like at first, with a rising-ness, and then, a going out to the sides and back around-ness, like being in a panoramic picture. Anyways, it seems like I'm bouncing back and forth between re-observation, sleepiness, and equanimity. I will do my best to utilize the free time of thanksgiving break and the weekend.

Again, I'm extremely grateful for this place and the fact that such people are out there who are willing to help me. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank...
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Richard Zen, modified 9 Years ago at 11/22/12 11:57 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 11/22/12 11:57 PM

RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis

Posts: 1656 Join Date: 5/18/10 Recent Posts
Mind over easy:
it seems like the things that throw me back to dukkha nanas are really just things which I see as significant, which gives them more of a story to buy into. Since I see them as more significant, I don't apply the same mindfulness, and they create suffering. It's just so easy to suffer.


Yep!

Mind over easy:
On a side note, last night, while in some kind of dukkha nana, I resolved to rise up to the highest nana I could. I fell asleep before any great length of time, but I woke up, clearly in equanimity. Later in the day, while doing vipassana, I got to equanimity, and felt an experience which seems to line up with the 6th jhana, or maybe 5th. It was this expansive, repetitive feeling, where my consciousness seemed to be doing the infinity sign thing. It's hard to explain. It almost seemed A&P like at first, with a rising-ness, and then, a going out to the sides and back around-ness, like being in a panoramic picture. Anyways, it seems like I'm bouncing back and forth between re-observation, sleepiness, and equanimity. I will do my best to utilize the free time of thanksgiving break and the weekend.


Just make sure that if you do the jhana method for insight that you find the 3 characteristics in each jhana and let go. Equanimity fades. Try and look at any awareness that you have and notice the 3 Cs. When you're just relaxing in awareness notice if that awareness is known by consciousness and let go. This can be done with or without a noting practice. Daniel makes it clear that you can let go of labeling to "bleeps" or just noting without labeling.

Daniel's Hierarchy of Vipassana practice

Q: When should I stop noting and just pay attention?
A: You can definitely stop when at that particular time you are at stage #6 or higher, but you could also continue so long as it didn't slow you down or restrict your ability to comprehend whatever arises in its rich and comprehensive entirety.


7) To be able to directly and continuously perceive the sensations that make up the coarse background components also in that same light of strong, direct vipassana awareness, meaning direct comprehension of the Three Characteristics of not only the foreground objects, but things like rapture, equanimity, fear, doubt, frustration, analysis, expectation and other sensations in the periphery, as well as other objects as they arise, such as thoughts and the component sensations of feelings as well as the primary object or objects, assuming one is even using primary objects at this point, which is not necessary.

8) To be able to do #7 very well and then add core processes such as the sensations that seem to make up attention itself, intention itself, memory itself, questioning, effort, surrender, subtle fear, space, consciousness, and everything that seems to be Subject or Observer or Self all the way through the skull, neck, chest, abdomen and all of space such that nothing is excluded from this comprehensive, cutting, piercing, instantly comprehending clarity that is synchronized with all phenomena or just about to be.

9) Able to do #8 naturally, effortlessly and clearly due to one's diligent efforts to write that wiring on the mind as one's new baseline default mode of perception.

10) We are back where we started: one comprehends simultaneously two of the Three Characteristics of one's entire sense field completely including, space, consciousness, and everything else in that volume as an integrated whole and so attain to Change of Lineage, Path and Fruition. That's what you are shooting for if you are going for stream entry at least, and it even works well for the sort of continuous complete mindfulness that brings on higher paths.
This Good Self, modified 9 Years ago at 11/23/12 5:04 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 11/23/12 4:50 PM

RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis

Posts: 946 Join Date: 3/9/10 Recent Posts
The bits I underlined were to emphasize that excessive effort is counterproductive. Actually, applying any effort at all will send a message to the deepest parts of the mind that:the goal is unattainable. If it's unattainable, practice can only lead to frustration and lowering of self worth. It's possible the suffering you're feeling is from low self-worth. An easy way to tell is to examine how people interact with you. If you are suffering and have high self-worth, people will go out of their way to be with you and help you. If you're suffering and have low self-worth, they tend to avoid you or "kick you while you're down". Another thing that can happen to people who are suffering and have low self-worth is that they get a lot of useless "help" from other people with low self-worth.

A bit from that article that I didn't underline, but which is important here is:

To strive for such a state is a neurosis which only conditions us and serves to obstruct the free flow of Mind. We should also avoid thinking of ourselves as worthless persons - we are naturally free and unconditioned. We are intrinsically enlightened and lack nothing.

The fact that you are even here on the planet implies enormous worth. Remember that.
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Bruno Loff, modified 9 Years ago at 11/24/12 5:47 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 11/24/12 4:24 AM

RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis (Answer)

Posts: 1094 Join Date: 8/30/09 Recent Posts
All that you wrote is very familiar to me. One thing before I start:

The you're already enlightenment stuff is utter bullshit, don't engage in such conceptual masturbation. It can consistently be observed in practitioners everywhere that the meaning of those words is not clear to anyone who is not already... *guess it* ... *guess it*... enlightened! It is noise from the mushroom culture. It is pointless to think about such words before attaining to sufficient insight, which makes them at least redundant, but in fact the situation is worst: thinking about them before having insight can actually be detrimental to practice (this is the case with CCC, imo). Fact is, you either already get what they mean by those words, in which case they are useless, or you don't, in which case you are thinking about them in stupid conceptual circles. Furthermore, if you do get what they mean by those words, it is a banal triviality even then (it is a mix of "relax" and "you will be so disappointed if you think enlightenment is more than just this"), and is only repeated because apparent contradictions have the power to generate feelings of "being wise in some mystical way." This obscurantism is one of the the scourges of spirituality. I hope that by being emphatic I made my opinion on the matter very clear emoticon

Here is my advice:

1. Remember yourself frequently that it is very difficult to have a sane perspective and make adequate decisions while under the influence of either A&P or DN.

2. If you have the energy and balance, and likely you do since you are young and don't sound too worn out yet, do a 10 day retreat and get stream entry. That will not clear everything up, but it will be a considerable improvement.

If you're able to jhana, then practice going from 1 to 4 and back many many times, eventually exploring the limits of 4 further and further. For another approach, pay attention to a strobing pulse emanating from the center of your brain. There is a tension there which should be able to relax with gentle equanimous attention to that pulse.

3. The effects of dark night can be HEAVILY SUBDUED by doing an exercise program 2 to 3 times per week. I am serious here, do not ignore this recommendation. I've had most success with weightlifting, but others in this forum have used interval training for a similar effect. Remember that you are a flesh and blood creature. Exercise really helps keeping things in a more reasonable perspective.

4. And speaking about perspective, let me leave you with a warning. I know from personal experience that going through a severe and prolonged dark night can suck enjoyment out of anything in life, to the point it all feels meaningless. You start questioning stuff like career choices and human nature, which to some extend is OK, reasonably safe and can be fruitful, but you may end up applying the same destructive analytical logic to anything you hold dear. And it does apply to anything, when fuelled by enough pain and despair.

The thing is, the pain and despair are often not caused by those things on which they turn. Your pain and despair and desire for deliverance is not really caused by professional doubts, it is caused by a misfortunate perceptual imbalance, which in this community we call "being on the ride". While unfortunately it seems that the only solution to this imbalance is attaining paths, and the only complete solution is 4th path, the corrosive effects of "being on the ride" can be mitigated through the use of several tricks. The most powerful of which that I have found is exercise.

Again I hope I was clear and poignant. Good luck with everything.

Bruno
This Good Self, modified 9 Years ago at 11/24/12 6:18 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 11/24/12 6:05 AM

RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis

Posts: 946 Join Date: 3/9/10 Recent Posts
Bruno I agree that the words "you are already enlightened" are useless on their own. But the words are not a how-to-meditate instruction. Here's a little Master/student dialogue I wrote.


M: You are already enlightened.
S: What? No I'm not!
M: At a superficial level that's true. But at a deeper level you certainly are enlightened. Your ego-mind wants to hold onto the illusion of separation... at heart, you don't want to know the Truth. You're resiting Truth at every moment.
S: That's helpful... not.
M: When I say "you are already enlightened" I mean it literally. It cannot be achieved, nor can it be escaped forever. It's eternal, and it's essence is your true Identity. All you are capable of doing is gripping onto the illusion of separation. That's what you're doing right now - running as fast as you can in the opposite direction. All you need to do is stop striving to become.
S: Fine, so what do I actually do, because right now I'm not enlightened. What do I do?
M: That's what I'm saying!! You don't DO anything. You STOP doing. You stop becoming, then all that is left is your true identity.
S: But didn't you sit meditating for 20 years to become enlightened?
M: Yes and in that practice I stepped back from my constant striving for things to be different than they are right now. It was a non-doing, a negation. Enlightenment wasn't achieved, because it always was. All I did was uncover what was real by stripping away the unreal. The very moment you try to achieve Enlightenment, you're turning your back on it. It can never happen.



So... do I understand it? What do you think?

Or a better question: do you understand it?

edits++
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Nikolai , modified 9 Years ago at 11/24/12 6:17 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 11/24/12 6:15 AM

RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis

Posts: 1648 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
C C C:
Bruno I agree that the words "you are already enlightened" are useless on their own. But the words are not a how-to-meditate instruction. Here's a little Master student dialogue I wrote.


M: You are already enlightened.
S: What? No I'm not!
M: You are but your ego-mind wants to hold onto the illusion of separation... at heart, you don't want to know the Truth.
S: That's helpful... not.
M: When I say "you are already enlightened" I mean it literally. It cannot be achieved, nor can it be escaped forever. It's eternal, and it's essence is your true Identity. All you are capable of doing is gripping onto the illusion of separation. That's what you're doing right now - running as fast as you can in the opposite direction. All you need to do is stop striving to become.
S: Fine, so what do I actually do, because right now I'm not enlightened. What do I do?
M: That's what I'm saying!! You don't DO anything. You STOP doing. You stop becoming, then all that is left is your true identity.
S: But didn't you sit meditating for 20 years to become enlightened?
M: Yes and in that practice I stepped back from my constant striving for things to be different than they are right now. It was a non-doing, a negation. Enlightenment wasn't achieved, because it always was. All I did was uncover what was real by stripping away the unreal.



So... do I understand it? What do you think?


If only the 'stopping of becoming' weren't easier said than done. The art of fabricating one's path to the end of fabrication (if this is the path one wishes to walk, it may not be) is a tricky beast indeed. Simply advising someone to 'stop becoming' often more than not runs head on up against a lifetime of habit and tendencies to become. Very hard indeed it is to 'stop becoming' without fabricating some conducive states of becoming to be able to do just that.

Nick
Change A, modified 9 Years ago at 11/24/12 9:19 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 11/24/12 9:19 AM

RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis

Posts: 791 Join Date: 5/24/10 Recent Posts
Excellent article C C C, thanks.
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James Yen, modified 9 Years ago at 11/24/12 12:35 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 11/24/12 12:35 PM

RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis

Posts: 270 Join Date: 9/6/09 Recent Posts
Hi Mind over easy,

This samsara thing, you know, is not real.

This whole thing, along with its conception of self, and its "lives" is not real.

And the sooner you realize this the better.

The sooner you realize that you don't need to get [to] anywhere else [other] than here.

The better.

I remember in my previous days how wishful thinking affected me, and yes, as Bruno says, it is not helpful.

First step:

Don't worry! It is ALL and illusion. And I know, don't THINK it's all an illusion.

But rather, remove THE illusion of the THE ALL.

Nai mean?

Second:

Practice practice practice, hard work brings results.

Now, I'm going to put a disclaimer here:

I HAVE NO IDEA how this thing works, and so, affecting my own attainment:

I have no idea how it happened, I have no idea whether or not past practice was related to it. But my guess was, IT WAS NOT.

It was almost a serendipitous event.

Furthermore:

YOU are here. In seeing just the seen.

All that.

Seeing destroys all illusions.

Keep that in mind.

PEACE BROTHER!

PS:

Avoid labels.
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Nikolai , modified 9 Years ago at 11/24/12 2:39 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 11/24/12 2:39 PM

RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis

Posts: 1648 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
James Yen:

Now, I'm going to put a disclaimer here:

I HAVE NO IDEA how this thing works, and so, affecting my own attainment:

I have no idea how it happened, I have no idea whether or not past practice was related to it. But my guess was, IT WAS NOT.

It was almost a serendipitous event.


What event was that, James? What is this 'attainment' you talk of? How did it leave your ongoing experience? How was perception of the field of experience affected? You have made claims in the past on the DhO which you ended up confessing were simply you lying. This has happened more than once. It would be good to see some of what you say backed up with actual descriptions of your own practice.

Nick
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James Yen, modified 9 Years ago at 11/24/12 3:03 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 11/24/12 3:03 PM

RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis

Posts: 270 Join Date: 9/6/09 Recent Posts
Hi Nikolai!

Well I myself am tentative in proclaiming this attainment, because I could be completely wrong, but I'll say it anyways:

I think I'm a streamwinner.

Of course, stripped of all the politics.

In essence, I'm established in faith in the triple gem, as well as the four limbs of stream entry, the noble eightfold path, the indriya etc.

The only problem is that it's hard to talk about this because there're so many... political ideologies associated with each thing.

The way it happened was very simple, but keep in mind, I'm still not sure how this all happens:

In essence, I was practicing the raw, very raw practice of developing the bodhipakkiya dhamma directly (however you spell that), I practiced the four right exertions, the five indriya and the noble eightfold path as well as sila.

Nothing worked though and I tried for a while in vain.

Eventually I consented myself to being an evil person and just let it be. (I suppose in hindsight that this is a critical point.)

I believe that I'm a paccekabodhisatta, destined to do evil deeds and to go to hell in the next life.

The moment before I feel as if I'm dragged down into the great niraya, I fucking quit the paccekabodhisatta path.

I sit up, relieved.

A few moments later, I speculate that I might be a streamwinner, I decide to go with it.

---

That's pretty much how it happened, I attribute my attainment to my faith in the triple gem all along, my sharp wisdom.

The giving up point was obviously the turning point (where I gave up the Dhamma). Where I relaxed, I didn't realize it at the time.

The giving up giving up point (where I gave up the Adhamma), was another turning point and I sat up a streamwinner.

---

I accrued several insights:

Karma is real.

I gained confidence and a foothold in the teaching.

My previous efforts were in vain.

---

Be well Nikolai.
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James Yen, modified 9 Years ago at 11/24/12 3:09 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 11/24/12 3:09 PM

RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis

Posts: 270 Join Date: 9/6/09 Recent Posts
It's worthwhile to note that I possessed the cause for the fruit of arahatship in this very lifetime as a young child anyways.

I ended up screwing it up though.

But as luck would have it, a serendipitous event occurred!

I truly hope that you find your way.
Robert McLune, modified 9 Years ago at 11/24/12 3:39 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 11/24/12 3:39 PM

RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis

Posts: 255 Join Date: 9/8/12 Recent Posts
James.

Why.

Do.

You.

Leave.

A Blank Line.

Between.

Every.

Line?

It could be.

Misconstrued.

That.

You think.

Each line.

Is so important.

It needs.

To.

Be.

Separated.

From.

The others.

In order.

To.

Draw.

Attention.

To Its.

Awesomeness.

P.S:

The higher they get, the fewer.
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Nikolai , modified 9 Years ago at 11/24/12 5:56 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 11/24/12 5:55 PM

RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis

Posts: 1648 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
James Yen:
Hi Nikolai!

Well I myself am tentative in proclaiming this attainment, because I could be completely wrong

Be well Nikolai.


Indeed you could. Though it would be interesting to read an explanation of why you think your new 'insights' are not 'psuedo-insights' as you have accused others at the DhO of possessing. Without much back up for reasoning, it's all playground material for more 'I'-making (e.g. I'm right and you are wrong) and not really beneficial for fruitful back and forths, though perhaps that is not your intention?

Nick
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Jane Laurel Carrington, modified 9 Years ago at 11/24/12 6:38 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 11/24/12 6:38 PM

RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis (Answer)

Posts: 196 Join Date: 12/29/10 Recent Posts
Okay; why has this young man's thread, which poses a real-life problem of importance, been highjacked with this nonsense? Let's return our attention where it belongs.

I am a professor; I see many young people who are unhappy in their work and just manage to hang in there semester after semester. Some of them leave for awhile and come back with new motivation; some of them pull themselves together before they've done too much damage. None of them are dark nighting, as far as I know. Each case is distinct. I have one student who is just plain too depressed to work. It's good that he has taken time out. Others are casting about because they're in the wrong field; settling on something that works for them takes care of it.

As for you, there's nothing life-shattering about stopping out for awhile, but give things a chance to resolve, or yourself a chance to work on yourself under these conditions. But if it gets to be too much, do something else for awhile. Give yourself a chance to mature. Some of this may not be entirely path-related.

I know this sounds sloppy, but without knowing you on a long-term basis (as an advisee, for example), I can't tell exactly what's eating you. I myself have suffered from long-term dark night stuff compounded by other problems. I am leery of your quitting school without a fallback plan that involves some sort of grounding practices (like working with "stuff": physical work of some kind). Come to think of it, a hobby or martial arts practice could help give you balance. My husband does tai chi, horseback riding, and Indonesian gamelan.

School can be a lousy experience for many reasons. Good luck.
Robert McLune, modified 9 Years ago at 11/24/12 9:13 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 11/24/12 9:13 PM

RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis

Posts: 255 Join Date: 9/8/12 Recent Posts
Jane Laurel Carrington:
Okay; why has this young man's thread, which poses a real-life problem of importance, been highjacked with this nonsense? Let's return our attention where it belongs.

Yes ma'am!
(Robert, Nick, James and the other noisy boys are made to stand at the front of the class and apologize). emoticon

Jane:
I am a professor;

No kidding! emoticon
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James Yen, modified 9 Years ago at 11/24/12 9:16 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 11/24/12 9:16 PM

RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis

Posts: 270 Join Date: 9/6/09 Recent Posts
Yeah I agree.

Listen, from one college student to another: I have been suffering from major depression and a VARIETY of mental illnesses for a LONG time, I've also been on a variety of meds, just recently due to my involvement with a cocktail of drugs (datura, salvia and magic truffles) I got suspended from my college, I also had a nervous breakdown.

I suppose you're wondering how this is relevant to you, so I'll just be straight:

If you feel like you can't do it... take a break! Take a gap year.

BUT

I feel as if you are overdramatizing things and in reality, are just making a big deal out of nothing, also, the dark night doesn't exist, it's just another invention used by people here to label their depression or more importantly glorify their sadness.

Peace.
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Mind over easy, modified 9 Years ago at 12/2/12 3:44 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/2/12 3:44 PM

RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis

Posts: 239 Join Date: 4/28/12 Recent Posts
Hello all.

I'd like to direct anyone interested in this discussion to this thread. -
http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/3736105

If you're interested in the first post in the linked thread, that's cool, but the bigger issue is this: dealing with the dark night, coming to skillful ways to discuss and understand concepts, and pragmatism in general. I don't claim to have a perfect understanding of any of these things, but I do see the value of discussion of these topics, seeing as these are usually relevant topics to anyone posting on this board. I believe further opinions and discussion could be useful to myself and many others.
This Good Self, modified 9 Years ago at 12/2/12 11:10 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/2/12 11:04 PM

RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis

Posts: 946 Join Date: 3/9/10 Recent Posts
Mind over easy:

Daniel Ingram seems to have made a general recommendation to slay the vipassana beast, putting aside conventional life in order to establish a steady base from which one can develop a more conventional and stable life. I can't help but feel so desperately that I need that stable base in order to live life without being inhibited by this horrible suffering that keeps arising. I can't seem to keep my career as a meditator and my career as a full-time student separate, and I'm beginning to pay for it academically and emotionally. I'm in this terrible darkness, alone and without much of an idea to do. Please, help me think this through. I really need some support in this endeavor and I know that many of you have been in similar positions.


The great Daniel Ingram rarely visits his own web forum. Maybe once every 2 or 3 months. He's busy building a career for himself. When he dropped in in the past, he doesn't seem to have much to say about those suffering depression caused by vipassana. And yet you're staking everything (including your sanity) on trying to reach the promised land espoused in his book.
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James Yen, modified 9 Years ago at 12/2/12 11:51 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/2/12 11:51 PM

RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis

Posts: 270 Join Date: 9/6/09 Recent Posts
Put it this way:

Say you lived and grew up on the moon, but encountered this depression and pain that you now experience. Would you still classify it as the dark night, give it a spiritual bend and then think that the way to escape from it is to practice meditation?

Do you see what I'm saying.

You've used this dark night thing as a way to classify your pain (which is just ordinary depression) and create an imaginary solution (stream-entry).

Unless your knowledge that this is a dark night is in fact innate (if you never encountered this place you would still know it) and not intellectual, then I don't see how we can help you.

If you never encountered this place what would you be doing?

Would you still be considering dropping out of school? No! You would be dealing with your depression just like everyone else.

If you're still interested in seeing steam-entry then I can help you in that regards, as it's relatively simple to see dependent origination, the six sense bases, the four noble truths, the various aggregates, the hindrances etc.

All these can be used as meditation objects.

In fact I could probably point out the truth of no-self and bring you to the elimination of sakkaya-ditthi, doubt and silabbata-paramasa over the internet.

Would you like to try it?
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Mind over easy, modified 9 Years ago at 12/2/12 11:57 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/2/12 11:57 PM

RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis

Posts: 239 Join Date: 4/28/12 Recent Posts
CCC... James...

Are you guys... fucking serious? I'm honestly not sure if you're trying to troll me or what.
???
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James Yen, modified 9 Years ago at 12/3/12 12:02 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/3/12 12:01 AM

RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis

Posts: 270 Join Date: 9/6/09 Recent Posts
Yep, totally serious.

The Buddha never talked about a dark night, it is commentarial. Even the commentaries never talked about a dark night, they talked about stages wherein various insights arose.

Not feelings or emotions.

This is literally made up. I'm sorry.

P.S: I will grant you that there is a reference of sorts to the idea in the Nadiya Sutta and the term: "'dukkha-patipada". Search it up if you want.
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James Yen, modified 9 Years ago at 12/3/12 12:23 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/3/12 12:23 AM

RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis

Posts: 270 Join Date: 9/6/09 Recent Posts
Well I'll just leave the exercise, I'm really not interested in debating the existence or non-existence of the dark night as I really don't care.

I wish you the best.

The exercise is as follows:

1) Discern the eye.

2) Discern the ear.

3) Discern the nose.

4) Discern the tongue.

5) Discern the body.

6) Discern the mind.

Now your question is what now?

That's exactly it! What now?

Nothing!

That is anatta. Don't add anything unecessary to your experience, don't think, don't speculate, pay close attention to your experience, see what's there, see what isn't there.


You see it exists outside the realm of thought and metaphysical speculation. This is where views end.

An alternative exercise is as follows:

1) Look at your computer screen.

2) What do you see? What do you not see?


What now? Nothing.

The truth is in your experience. I swear to you.

Peace brother.
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Mind over easy, modified 9 Years ago at 12/3/12 12:25 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/3/12 12:24 AM

RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis

Posts: 239 Join Date: 4/28/12 Recent Posts
Look, if you or anyone else doesn't "believe in" the existence of the dukkha nanas, then there is no point for you to be posting in a subforum called "dealing with the dark night". You can express your disbelief somewhere else, but the point of this thread is for people with experience in the territory of the dark night, 3rd vipassana jhana, to help each other progress towards 4th vipassana jhana and come to cessation.



I'm admittedly frustrated that people are at a forum authored by someone who wrote the book which could basically be called "the warnings of the dark night, and how to get 1st-4th path", explaining disbelief in such a dark night, and disbelief in the idea of working towards and attaining paths.

Also, I'm NOT DEPRESSED! I don't have clinical depression, or ANY mental illness! I have ascertained these things for myself. Even if you are depressed or have mental illnesses, and read what you find to be similarities in my case, YOU ARE NOT A DOCTOR, AND HAVE NO BASIS TO DIAGNOSE ME! Only doctors can do that, and they have diagnosed me as NOT DEPRESSED. That's why these things are peculiar, only happening to people who have crossed the A&P through vipassana practice. I don't need depression meds or therapy!

If you're looking to debate Daniel or anyone else's attainments, do that in a different forum.



Please, only posters who have: experience/belief/conviction-in-the-existence of dark night/stream-entry to 4th path beyond this line, because the whole point is that those are really the only people who can effectively offer help and understand my current situation.

>___________________________________________________________________
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James Yen, modified 9 Years ago at 12/3/12 12:26 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/3/12 12:26 AM

RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis

Posts: 270 Join Date: 9/6/09 Recent Posts
Of course the problem is that it is difficult to convey this insight because you'll probably merely grasp it intellectually, whereas I know it and see it in real time.

Nevertheless the exercise is possible with various sets of items:

The four noble truths.
The five aggregates.
The six sense bases.
The hindrances.

etc.

This Dhamma is quite subtle and liberating I assure you. You see Richard asserts that the end of suffering is the end of a "being" or "self", whereas I assert nothing but suffering and the end of suffering.

You see?

No assumptions.

It is also possible to see dependent origination.

Interesting eh?
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James Yen, modified 9 Years ago at 12/3/12 12:29 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/3/12 12:29 AM

RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis

Posts: 270 Join Date: 9/6/09 Recent Posts
I guess we posted at the same time.

Yes I am willing to help you along that line.

What is your current meditative experience like? Do you see the three characteristics in real time? How do you notice phenomena? I'm curious.
charon, modified 9 Years ago at 12/3/12 7:10 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/3/12 7:10 AM

RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis

Posts: 36 Join Date: 11/24/10 Recent Posts
Whilst being older than yourself (32), I’m in a fairly similar situation, so thought I’d offer a couple of insights I’ve noticed.

I recently quit my job to go to university, and also find myself struggling with many of the same problems you’ve mentioned.

I’ve had a lot of DN issues to try and deal with, and some seem to be the general experiences talked about as classic cycling through the dukka nanas. These seem to be much easier to deal with than when increased concentration/insight capabilities act as a magnifying glass on my ingrained baggage and habits; I’m so involved with these stories anyway, that I stand very little chance of distancing myself when they become so heightened – I just have to ride them out as best I can, and, hopefully, get a few meditative insights/calming techniques into the experience. Again, as best I can.

Interestingly, many of these issues stem from fear and/or some form of the hindrances. Aversion to working on an essay can manifest as one of my mind’s favourite narratives; that my degree is teaching me very little useful skills, especially when compared to spending time in a monastery getting to grips with the stuff that’s really important. This is accompanied with a very faint and vague mental projection of me sitting and calmly dealing with the very same hindrances which are causing me such angst right now…because, of course, I’ll be better able to cope if I were in “better” circumstances…;-p

There is a lovely parable of a monk and novice watching a stray dog in a Thai monastery as it moves from shaded-spot to shaded-spot. The dog finding a new, better, more comfortable place lays down to sleep. Within a few minutes the dog is scratching at the fleas deeply embedded in its coat, gets up and looks for a new, better, more comfortable place…there’s a fairly obvious conversation going on between the monk and novice that doesn’t need to be stated :-)

I’ve also found that a more pervasive inclination towards renunciation is effecting my motivation to stay. Presumably, this is both a side-effect from “letting go”, and a much less materialistic outlook on life? Maybe also mixed with DN and the above magnification? I find this harder to resist than the more “in your face” negative issues.

To be honest, the two best approaches I’ve found to counter these feelings I’ve learnt from my formal practise. The first is to know that each feeling will arise and pass, and to try and notice when they do so (creating this mental distance helps). The second is to either laugh at my mind, or tell it to shut the f**K up, and sit down to write/study (just noting the aversion and getting on with it anyway).

We’re different people at different stages in our life though – I wasn’t ready for academic learning when I left school at sixteen (not sure if I can really be arsed with it now ;-p), but I learnt a lot trying out different lifestyles and traveling the world, things I would never have learnt otherwise.

There is no right or wrong answer, and you’re going to have to deal with the consequences either way.

Maybe think about these…

Do you have a career in mind?
Do you have any responsibilities keeping you where you are?
Will your course help you achieve your ambitions?

In Buddhism Without Beliefs, Stephen Batchelor wrote a meditation something along the lines of, the only thing in life that is certain is death, and the time and nature of that is uncertain.

You’re going to die, and you have no idea when – what do you want to do with the very precious time you have?

I’m not particularly far along this path, so please feel free to do with this post as you will – I just feel incredibly moved by what you wrote as it very much reminds me of me! I really empathise with how you feel, and I truly wish you all the best in deciding what to do.
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Fitter Stoke, modified 9 Years ago at 12/3/12 8:58 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/3/12 8:58 AM

RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis

Posts: 487 Join Date: 1/23/12 Recent Posts
Mind over easy:
Look, if you or anyone else doesn't "believe in" the existence of the dukkha nanas, then there is no point for you to be posting in a subforum called "dealing with the dark night". You can express your disbelief somewhere else, but the point of this thread is for people with experience in the territory of the dark night, 3rd vipassana jhana, to help each other progress towards 4th vipassana jhana and come to cessation....YOU ARE NOT A DOCTOR, AND HAVE NO BASIS TO DIAGNOSE ME!


Seriously.

Though I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for such people to shut up. This is the internet, after all.
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Jane Laurel Carrington, modified 9 Years ago at 12/3/12 4:21 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/3/12 4:21 PM

RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis (Answer)

Posts: 196 Join Date: 12/29/10 Recent Posts
I will respond because I have had experience of the Dark Night. The one thing I can tell you is that Daniel recommends (or seems to) hanging in there and not making any major life decisions through this process. Remember all his warnings against bleedthrough. If you can keep this stuff from taking over your life, then that's what you should do. The reason I recommended therapy is because it seemed you had a lot of painful childhood (and even recent) family stuff to contend with; one need not be clinically depressed to benefit from talking with someone.

He also recommends cutting back on your obligations to allow time for practice. So you may try adjusting your load, cutting out extra-curriculars, whatever, to give yourself maximum flexibility, and then sit all you can. The one thing I can say now about my most recent DN experience is that while I was in it (I'm working on my 3rd path, which has a lot of cycles), I felt as if I didn't want to do anything except curl up in a ball in bed with the covers over my head. Then all of a sudden it lifted. I have gotten used to going through this stuff and not paying attention to it beyond feeling crummy while it's going on. Ultimately, you have to examine what you're experiencing as experience, at close range, and not get lost in identifying with it.

Good luck. And don't pay any attention to people who are not being helpful.
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Florian, modified 9 Years ago at 12/4/12 5:24 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 12/4/12 5:24 AM

RE: The Pain of Dark Night and College... A Teenager in Crisis

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Jane Laurel Carrington:
The reason I recommended therapy is because it seemed you had a lot of painful childhood (and even recent) family stuff to contend with; one need not be clinically depressed to benefit from talking with someone.


Good advice, in my opinion.

Here's a blog post which expands on it a bit: The Problem With “Teen Angst” and Why You Should Take Teens’ Mental Health Seriously

Here's a good passage from it:

And what if every teenager needs help managing their mental health during adolescence? Doesn’t that mean we’re making mountains out of molehills and inventing problems where none exist?

Nope. Nobody thinks it’s weird that virtually every teenager (who can afford it) goes to a dentist and has their wisdom teeth checked and probably removed. Nobody thinks it’s weird that virtually every female-bodied teenager (who can afford it) starts seeing a gynecologist when they become sexually active. Nobody thinks it’s weird that people of all ages regularly get physicals and get their eyesight and hearing checked.

It is expected that everyone will need (and, hopefully, receive) treatment for some sort of physical ailment over the course of their lives. Yet the idea that even a sizable minority of people will need treatment for a mental problem still gets many people ranting about how we ought to just “snap out of it.”


Cheers,
Florian

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