Lost on the path

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Jake ., modified 8 Years ago.

Lost on the path

Posts: 137 Join Date: 4/18/13 Recent Posts
Hey everyone. This is my first post and I need some insight as to where I am. This is going to be a long post because I want to be as detailed as possible in order to get the best diagnosis. I also need to state that I have had no meditation training and have meditated around 20 times in my life. I am nowhere near an experienced meditator and am new to the buddhist lifestyle. I only stumbled on this community by chance in order to seek answers.

My story starts in July 2012, when I was having a difficult time with my life situation. I read a book called the Power of Now which completely changed my life. The story is below, which I posted on a different forum and just pasted it.

I’ve always been naturally funny with a good sense of humor but shy at the same time. Throughout high school I didn’t have much confidence in myself and was very self-conscious, which continued this way through my first two years of college. I made huge strides in college but always let my ego rule my mind. It wasn’t until one of my professors mentioned this book in class, saying how it completely changed her life. I must have suppressed this memory because it couldn’t have come at a better time later down the road. This time was during my summer job working as a web developer. Now at first I enjoyed this position, but could never find a passion or a knack for it despite loving it in high school. Anyway, I kept having thoughts of “I am not good enough for this job” and “I am only an intern, no one here respects me”, etc. These thoughts continued until one day I couldn’t take it anymore, I absolutely dreaded going into work. However I remembered my professor talking about a book that changed her life, found it online, then grabbed it on the way home at Barnes and Noble. Little did I know that this book would completely change my life as well.

That night I got really stoned and started reading the book. Even the first page resonated with me where Eckhart said “If I can not live with myself anymore, there must be two of me” or something like that. I kept reading and many instances in the book made so much sense to me that I could actually connect them to personal experiences in my life. I think this is what made the change so radical, pretty much my ability to directly compare the book to my life (situation). Anyway, the book completely destroyed my negative and condescending ego. I felt unlocked and I totally felt the power of now through my body. I found extreme peace in simply sitting on my deck and just being. Being one with myself and one with the world. I felt aligned with something so much greater than me that I couldn’t even describe it. It was as if the world was working in my favor, handing me things that honestly seemed too good to be true. Things would happen to me, small things yet so powerful and meaningful. I wish I could give an example, but it was maybe 6 months ago and I cannot. Anyway I felt perfect, nothing could budge this state I was in. No words or actions could separate me from this feeling I was having. I was so sharp and focused and funny and confident. These words cannot even begin to describe my feeling because it was so pure and natural. I felt connected to people in such a strange way that one of my favorite things to do was talk. I could literally talk to someone for hours and love every moment. The emotions I felt did not stem from my mind, they came from my body. I believe I even fell in love at some point, even if it wasn’t that was what it felt like.

This was my summer, the most amazing life experience I had ever had. I felt I could do anything; I had access to unlimited potential. Then I went back to college for my junior year. Everything was great at first, but then slowly something happened. I am not sure what, but it was as if I was falling from grace. It had its ups and downs, the ups being when I could somehow return to the now. I could literally feel the connectedness to higher being. I could feel a higher power in my body.

Now (January 2013) I feel numb, not connected to any of my friends; they do not feel like friends even though I love all of them. I feel alienated from my family; I can feel myself emitting some awkward and poisonous energy. It is the scariest experience of my life because I can literally not go on like this. After experiencing the true nature of my being, this state of living is so strange. Thought has returned and struggle within and without is now my normal everyday life. I continuously seek the now, which I think contributes to this feeling. Perhaps now that I know of my greater potential, I seek it with such capacity that I am draining my energy, however I cannot shake it. The thoughts keep coming back into my head. I used to be the wittiest amongst my friends, now I feel like I am not funny. I cannot hold conversation. It feels like I am just coasting through life, that the experiences I am apart of just do not feel like I was actually there. My brain or mind or something feels like it is turned off. I do not feel smart or confident. Confidence now feels alien to me, I feel an awkward sense when I look people in the eyes for even a few seconds. I do not understand what is happening. It is as if I am stuck between states of consciousness. I am nor conscious or unconscious. I am here but I am not. It is the scariest feeling and it has actually brought me to tears. I do not want to talk to a therapist or someone about it because I know it is an issue with myself, created by myself. I have looked for answers online but I know it has only made it worse. I am trying to self diagnose something created by my mind and turning it into a reality. I feel like I am giving myself anxiety, which I have never had a problem with before. Even conversing with my older brother (the closest person to me in the world) I cannot hold conversation. I used to be able to talk with him for hours, shooting the shit and whatnot. Now even talking to him feels unnatural. I have tried to read the power of now to make sense of this, but nothing resonates like it did. My problems seem unable to be answered with Eckharts words. He speaks about problems about the life situation, but I am not waiting for a moment in the future. This feeling is pushing people away from me. It is pushing away my closest friends, my family, my girlfriend, all people I love dearly. I am able to sit still and produce no thoughts, seemingly in the now, but this feeling does not leave. It is a feeling of no desire to literally do anything. I used to absolutely love being with people, now I am almost afraid of it.


This was how I felt in January 2013. Now it is April 2013 and I am just starting to come across stuff that makes sense. This previous monday I stumbled upon a book called Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha. I have been reading from page 166 onward, about the progress of insight. Now since I have had no formal meditation training, I am a bit skeptical but I believe I am in the Dark Night stage.

The Power of Now is a self help/spiritual book that explains how we are not our minds, which I think is non-duality? Everything in the book made SO much sense to me and it "sent" me into this mindset where I would not be thinking, I would feel bliss and happiness and an ability to accomplish anything. I was completely present.

I believe this book pushed me into the Arising and Passing away stage. And for around 3/4 months, form July to October I was in this stage. Then things took a terrible turn for the worse. After reading about stages 5-10, each symptom accurately describes what I have been feeling.

5. Dissolution
6. Fear
7. Misery
8. Disgust
9. Desire for Deliverance
10. Re-observation


I think I am in the re-observation stage at this point.

Ever since the A&P event subsided, I have been searching for answers as to why I was feeling depressed and full of misery. I THINK the power of now opened a can of worms without me being aware of it at the time.

The feelings of fear/misery/disgust are not that strong anymore, but I feel spacey and feel vibrations. It is incredibly hard to focus and my attention seems lackluster. Everything seems like it is slightly moving. It is scary.

What to more experienced members think about this? I am being weary of my beliefs here and do not 100% believe this, but it just makes sense to me at this point.
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dream walker, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Lost on the path

Posts: 1333 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
Read MCTB once thru and try to get all the concepts and vocabulary down. Then reread the book again with this new viewpoint and see what you can get out of the book. If you are past the arising and passing away and into the dark night area then the best thing is to meditate yourself past it and get to Equanimity. You will probably cycle through the stages several times as most of us have. Get better at meditation and you should be able work thru the stages a bit faster. Find a local teacher that knows the stuff in the book or skype some teachers.
Good luck
~D
Rob Wynge, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Lost on the path

Posts: 17 Join Date: 1/31/10 Recent Posts
Oh man, I read The Power of Now over 10 years ago, back before hardly anyone heard of Tolle, and cool life changing stuff like this never happened to me... :-) (I did love the book though)

The advice you've been given is good. I also like Shinzen Young for a very technically focused practice. If you prefer more "just be" styles of practice, look into Advita or Dzogchen.
T DC, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Lost on the path

Posts: 389 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
Hey Jake,
Just wanted to say I can really relate with your story. I am a pretty quiet guy myself, and in high school much of the time I felt mentally locked up, like there was a hard barrier in my brain which I could not cross to interact with friends and other people. Then, I had a day where everything was going well, I was no longer restrained by myself, I felt like my brain was sharper and loosened up.. Anyhow that day I had what I would call now an enlightenment experience, or taste, where for a brief period all the barriers between me and world were gone, and I was totally "in the movie" so to speak.

To me it sounds like you had a similar experience. Anyhow, now that that has happened, clearly you have a vision of the immensely joyous state in which it is possible to live. I would call this a vision of enlightenment. It is a helpful thing to have because it can guide in your practice, and motivate you; wherever you're at you know in the back of your mind whether your current state matches the state you tasted, and so can put effort into practice accordingly.

It sounds like you are now on the right path with meditating, and reading MCTB. I think that book has extremely good advice for practice, especially the emphasis on constant effort in mindfulness, which I have found to be KEY! My advice for the dark night, and pretty much any stage is just keep on practicing, don't push yourself too hard, but push hard enough.
Cheers man, good luck! emoticon
C C C, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Lost on the path

Posts: 946 Join Date: 3/9/10 Recent Posts
Hi Jake,

I have two suggestions.

1. Take a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement + vit B + vit D + krill oil. This will stabilize your nervous system quickly and effectively, making you less labile.

2. Try not to feel any compassion for your self in your current situation. This was a breakthrough for me, and very counter-intuitive. People say "be kind to yourself", which is good if it is interpreted as "eat well, exercise, do fun things". But if it's interpreted as feeling sympathy or compassion for yourself, then it aggravates things severely. Read more in "Encounter with the Nagual". by Armando Torres..
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Lost on the path

Posts: 1631 Join Date: 5/18/10 Recent Posts
I would recommend an old self-help book that will help reduce any repression of healthy desire: Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz goes indepth about the self-image. He was a plastic surgeon but he met many patients who didn't need surgery but had self-image problems instead. He taught how to change the self-image which is a big clue related to impermanence.

Next I would read some good books on Meditation:

Direct Path to Realization by Analayo
5 aggregates by Boisvert

With meditation the purpose is to eliminate craving completely. As Shaila Catherine points out in her book Wisdom Wide and Deep "how far do you want to let go?" This is something you'll have to decide for yourself. Not everyone will be cravingless.

Another thing to point out is that much of what bothers us is how we think about what is good and bad (including our views of meditation) and you need to see deeply enough to know that Descartes maxim "I think therefore I am" has consequences. The subtle thing I'm trying to get at is your thoughts about your practice could be negative and that will affect you negatively. It's important to see that thinking about yourself is just thinking, not a "self". Thinking about the past isn't the past but just being in the present moment and thinking. Treating your thoughts like you treat your senses starts to unravel the thoughts as feeling separate from other phenomenon your consciousness knows. Your consciousness can know thoughts like it knows seeing, hearing, etc.

Phenomenon in your direct experience (including thoughts) can be pleasant neutral or unpleasant. Soon after a feeling tone is registered your perception will decide to like or dislike what's happening and stress hormones are released. This happens over and over again like a broken record. You want to let go of obsessive thoughts related to the likes and dislikes to get relief. When you let go you will be more in your senses instead of lost in thoughts and you can compare the stress of being lost in negative thoughts versus positive ones or being in no mindstate whatsoever.

If the Maltz book doesn't do it for you then I would consider developing a lovingkindness practice and concentration practice to help smooth out the insight practice because the insight practice will create withdrawal symptoms (some of what you are describing already) as you progress. Everytime you feel that you are getting negative mentally I would instruct you to find some positive action you can make that will lead to a positive result. Keep dwelling on positive thoughts and let the negative ones arise and pass away. This should relieve some repression of desire and allow you to develop a habit of thinking positive when something negative happens.

You want to turn on and turn off desire when appropriate. When you become goal oriented towards a worthy goal the motivation comes from dwelling on positive things related to your goal. The longer you dwell on it the more likely the desire will come in and motivation happens on it's own no different than when you dwell on a product you want to buy and need zero willpower to buy it. Think about the positive things about having a good conversation with family and friends. Use anger as energy to deal with obstacles in a positive manner. Eg. If I was an alcoholic and I got angry at myself because of it I can use that energy (including guilt) to stop drinking as opposed to feeling sorry for myself. Anger doesn't have to be self-destructive, sadness etc. These emotions simply have to be understood. All emotions have beliefs behind them and when distorted beliefs are corrected by real experience the emotions right themselves.

Keep this in mind when you do a meditation practice. As another meditator on this forum instructed me: "Engage in life".
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Jake ., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Lost on the path

Posts: 137 Join Date: 4/18/13 Recent Posts
bernd the broter:
Hi.
I had similar experiences while/after reading TPON (actually it had started before, but reading the book seemed to reinforce them), although less profound than what you are describing. After half a year, most of it passed. I found myself in total confusion and didn't know what to do. MCTB gave me an explanation. I got a teacher and meditated myself to some sort of semi-stream entry, which ended the confusion. I'm very happy about that. The other effects you describe are very nice, but probably won't return or stay. (At least they didn't for me.)

I didn't read TPON again since - I now consider it to be rather misleading and probably doing more harm than good. Getting a qualified teacher was the best thing to do in this situation for me. Note: although I had already passed A&P once, I still made all kinds of stupid mistakes when I started formal meditation training. A teacher always pulled me back on track. So your experience doesn't guarantee that you won't get stuck.

Other than that: I doubt that meditating 20 times will lead you through all of the dukkha nana stages. On the other hand, Daniel seems to state that it is possible for some people so whatever...

What is your meditation practice at the moment?


I am very interested in ending the confusion and feeling of disconnection with reality. Sometimes the feeling is not that bad and other times it is absolutely unbearable. At this moment, I feel alright because it is 2:30 in the morning and the stresses of the day are removed when I stay up late. I have not looked into a teacher of any sort yet. The reason for this is because only within the past week have I actually and I believe, truly, believed what is happening to me. I am certain I crossed the A&P event after reading TPON just based on what I have read in MCTB.

Also, I think you misread what I meant by meditating 20 times or perhaps I wasn't clear enough. I have only meditated around 20 times in my entire live, all of them post reading TPON and during what I believe to be my Dark Night stage (which is the resent months to right now).

dream walker:
Read MCTB once thru and try to get all the concepts and vocabulary down. Then reread the book again with this new viewpoint and see what you can get out of the book. If you are past the arising and passing away and into the dark night area then the best thing is to meditate yourself past it and get to Equanimity. You will probably cycle through the stages several times as most of us have. Get better at meditation and you should be able work thru the stages a bit faster. Find a local teacher that knows the stuff in the book or skype some teachers.
Good luck
~D


I have read the first few pages but skipped to the progress of insight chapter because it applied almost exactly to my current situation. I believe I have passed the A&P event long ago and have since been diddling in the various stages of the Dark Night. I am not sure which kind of meditation I should do but I am sure I will find out when I start diving into MCTB. Once I have read through this and began formal meditation, I will consider looking into some teachers.

Rob Wynge:
Oh man, I read The Power of Now over 10 years ago, back before hardly anyone heard of Tolle, and cool life changing stuff like this never happened to me... :-) (I did love the book though)

The advice you've been given is good. I also like Shinzen Young for a very technically focused practice. If you prefer more "just be" styles of practice, look into Advita or Dzogchen.


Thats ironic that it did not impact you at all! For me, the first page of the book gave me a crazy realization feeling and I could feel a sense of energy rush through my body. I truly believe since that moment I have and never will be the same. I will look into these styles of practice and I hope they are covered in MCTB. If not, I'm guessing there definitely are numerous books and resources about these techniques. Also, regarding Shinzen Young, I stumbled on this page a few days before coming across MCTB and this forum. It is all about the dark night and has a video at the bottom which I watched as well. The link is here if you are interested: http://shinzenyoung.blogspot.com/2011/11/dark-night.html

T DC:
Hey Jake,
Just wanted to say I can really relate with your story. I am a pretty quiet guy myself, and in high school much of the time I felt mentally locked up, like there was a hard barrier in my brain which I could not cross to interact with friends and other people. Then, I had a day where everything was going well, I was no longer restrained by myself, I felt like my brain was sharper and loosened up.. Anyhow that day I had what I would call now an enlightenment experience, or taste, where for a brief period all the barriers between me and world were gone, and I was totally "in the movie" so to speak.

To me it sounds like you had a similar experience. Anyhow, now that that has happened, clearly you have a vision of the immensely joyous state in which it is possible to live. I would call this a vision of enlightenment. It is a helpful thing to have because it can guide in your practice, and motivate you; wherever you're at you know in the back of your mind whether your current state matches the state you tasted, and so can put effort into practice accordingly.

It sounds like you are now on the right path with meditating, and reading MCTB. I think that book has extremely good advice for practice, especially the emphasis on constant effort in mindfulness, which I have found to be KEY! My advice for the dark night, and pretty much any stage is just keep on practicing, don't push yourself too hard, but push hard enough.
Cheers man, good luck! emoticon


The feeling of the brain being sharper was one of the most profound abilities I picked up on during the A&P event I passed through. Truly an amazing experience that can't be conveyed into words. I hope I am traveling along the right path at this moment. Unfortunately, meditation did not get me here, reading TPON did. I say unfortunately because I have almost no experience with meditation and I feel that the lack of experience may delay my progress moving forward. But I could be wrong! Who knows.

C C C:
Hi Jake,

I have two suggestions.

1. Take a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement + vit B + vit D + krill oil. This will stabilize your nervous system quickly and effectively, making you less labile.

2. Try not to feel any compassion for your self in your current situation. This was a breakthrough for me, and very counter-intuitive. People say "be kind to yourself", which is good if it is interpreted as "eat well, exercise, do fun things". But if it's interpreted as feeling sympathy or compassion for yourself, then it aggravates things severely. Read more in "Encounter with the Nagual". by Armando Torres..


Interesting advice. I will look into your first recommendation, but I was wondering if you had personal experience and success with that method. Your second bit of advice is interesting. Lately, I have been accepting these feelings because I know they aren't me, they are simply a stage I am going through. Actually, I am not sure if I am feeling compassion for myself or not. Regardless, can you elaborate on this part? I am intrigued. Also, I will look into the book you mentioned.

Richard Zen:
I would recommend an old self-help book that will help reduce any repression of healthy desire: Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz goes indepth about the self-image. He was a plastic surgeon but he met many patients who didn't need surgery but had self-image problems instead. He taught how to change the self-image which is a big clue related to impermanence.

Next I would read some good books on Meditation:

Direct Path to Realization by Analayo
5 aggregates by Boisvert

With meditation the purpose is to eliminate craving completely. As Shaila Catherine points out in her book Wisdom Wide and Deep "how far do you want to let go?" This is something you'll have to decide for yourself. Not everyone will be cravingless.

Another thing to point out is that much of what bothers us is how we think about what is good and bad (including our views of meditation) and you need to see deeply enough to know that Descartes maxim "I think therefore I am" has consequences. The subtle thing I'm trying to get at is your thoughts about your practice could be negative and that will affect you negatively. It's important to see that thinking about yourself is just thinking, not a "self". Thinking about the past isn't the past but just being in the present moment and thinking. Treating your thoughts like you treat your senses starts to unravel the thoughts as feeling separate from other phenomenon your consciousness knows. Your consciousness can know thoughts like it knows seeing, hearing, etc.

Phenomenon in your direct experience (including thoughts) can be pleasant neutral or unpleasant. Soon after a feeling tone is registered your perception will decide to like or dislike what's happening and stress hormones are released. This happens over and over again like a broken record. You want to let go of obsessive thoughts related to the likes and dislikes to get relief. When you let go you will be more in your senses instead of lost in thoughts and you can compare the stress of being lost in negative thoughts versus positive ones or being in no mindstate whatsoever.

If the Maltz book doesn't do it for you then I would consider developing a lovingkindness practice and concentration practice to help smooth out the insight practice because the insight practice will create withdrawal symptoms (some of what you are describing already) as you progress. Everytime you feel that you are getting negative mentally I would instruct you to find some positive action you can make that will lead to a positive result. Keep dwelling on positive thoughts and let the negative ones arise and pass away. This should relieve some repression of desire and allow you to develop a habit of thinking positive when something negative happens.

You want to turn on and turn off desire when appropriate. When you become goal oriented towards a worthy goal the motivation comes from dwelling on positive things related to your goal. The longer you dwell on it the more likely the desire will come in and motivation happens on it's own no different than when you dwell on a product you want to buy and need zero willpower to buy it. Think about the positive things about having a good conversation with family and friends. Use anger as energy to deal with obstacles in a positive manner. Eg. If I was an alcoholic and I got angry at myself because of it I can use that energy (including guilt) to stop drinking as opposed to feeling sorry for myself. Anger doesn't have to be self-destructive, sadness etc. These emotions simply have to be understood. All emotions have beliefs behind them and when distorted beliefs are corrected by real experience the emotions right themselves.

Keep this in mind when you do a meditation practice. As another meditator on this forum instructed me: "Engage in life".


Very insightful post. I have read it three times but I am extremely tired and don't feel like I can fully understand it at the moment. So I will wait until tomorrow to write a thoughtful response. Thank you very much for the detailed response.

--

I would also like to thank everyone who has posted and helped me so far. I cannot express my gratitude towards you all. This journey has been a life altering experience, both for the better and worse. I know I am not very far at all, but am extremely excited to continue on and see where things go.

Jake
C C C, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Lost on the path

Posts: 946 Join Date: 3/9/10 Recent Posts
Jake .:


Interesting advice. I will look into your first recommendation, but I was wondering if you had personal experience and success with that method. Your second bit of advice is interesting. Lately, I have been accepting these feelings because I know they aren't me, they are simply a stage I am going through. Actually, I am not sure if I am feeling compassion for myself or not. Regardless, can you elaborate on this part? I am intrigued. Also, I will look into the book you mentioned.


Yes I definitely find those supplements and vits helpful for myself.

Being concerned/compassionate about your state of suffering is a trick the mind uses to keep you stuck in the egoic state of consciousness.

Here's a link for the book: http://thetoltecpath.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/nagual.pdfeservation.
The chapter on self-importance was a good one for me. It comes in many forms, some of them very hard to spot.

If you're not sure about whether you feel self-compassion, simply ask whether you feel it for others. If you were to watch the news on TV and see something like the bombings in Boston, most of us would feel some compassion and sadness. But this is just self-pity directed outwards onto a suitable 'object'. If there was no self-pity, this useless compassion would disappear and In its place would be either 1). nothing or 2). some sort of actual help for those involved, such as giving time, money, physical assistance. Compassion achieves nothing but to bolster one's ego.

NB. Warrior = seeker
Wizard/Sorceror = enlightened one
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Jake ., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Lost on the path

Posts: 137 Join Date: 4/18/13 Recent Posts
What kind of teacher should I be looking for? A meditation teacher or a buddhism teacher? If I were to find a meditation teacher in my area, I don't know what the chances would of him giving me insight on buddhist training.
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dream walker, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Lost on the path

Posts: 1333 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
Steps to take -
1) Meditate every day (as long as your here why not try noting practice?)
2) Read MCTB
3) ReRead MCTB
4) Use the information from the book to help you find a compatible teacher...

Ken Folk Instructors
How do I find a good meditation teacher? ~ Shinzen Young youtube

from Daniel ingrams website FAQ
Q: I have some time to go on retreat and want a teacher who will use the map terminology, talk honestly about meditation territory, and not be freaked out or intimidated by goal-oriented practice so that I can get stream entry.

A: As teachers like this are so few, I tend to respond to this question as follows: a) if you can find one, great! Check out Mahasi centers, ask around, and best of luck. b) Be a light unto yourself! This means that the essential thing is practice. You do not need a teacher to tell you to practice with precise, every-second of the waking day mindfulness, direct perception of the Three Characteristics, and consistent technique, as you can remind yourself of this. You do not need someone else to tell you not to wallow in your psychological crap, as you can remember this yourself. You do not need a teacher to identify the stages of insight for you, as they tend to be obvious, occur in a very predictable sequence, and the instructions for dealing with them are essentially the same: keep practicing, notice each sensation come and go regardless of what it was, avoid solidifying pleasant states into a jhana, don't be fooled by thinking the A&P is stream entry or that the bliss will last: it is a trap, avoid indulging in your negativity or stopping practicing if and when you get to the Dark Night, and don't slack off or solidify equanimity into a jhana if and when you get to High Equanimity. This is how stream entry or the next path are attained. Thus: memorize the maps if you need to, as they can really help. Basically: the A&P is great, mind-blowing, energetic, kundalini-esque, blissful, powerful, surprising, etc., the Dark Night follows it and involves negative mind states and reactivity, and then if and when that breaks, that's equanimity. Simple! Then when on retreat, practice noticing every single sensation arise and vanish regardless of what happens, good or bad. Thus, if you can remember and apply a very few key instructions, any reasonably good retreat center will do. The few minutes that you get every day or two with a teacher, no matter how good, will mean little if you can't remember and apply these simple instructions. Thus, internalize the dharma, keep your practice on track, use good teachers if you can find them, but above all, realize that responsibility for the quality and results of your own practice falls on you. This is not kindergarten.
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Akash K, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Lost on the path

Posts: 164 Join Date: 4/21/13 Recent Posts
Some years back I have read the book as well and several similar books, stoned and sober.

From personal experience I can tell you that pleasure and sorrow are the same thing separated by time. Without one, the other cannot exist. Even in Ekhart's book he has mentioned that many people in the society depend on illegal drugs to keep themselves at a level below mind. This helps them stay sane, and if you took away the drugs from them they would cause harm to themselves or others. He also mentions that when we use drugs we feel good but once the effect wears out we feel worse than what we were before we took the drug.

I read around here that A&P could happen in different forms. Regardless, dissolution should be obvious before you enter Dukkha Nanas.

I feel you're probably pre A&P as it generally takes focused meditation to experience A&P and even to progress through dukkha nanas.
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k taylor, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Lost on the path? There are concrete practices you can do.

Post: 1 Join Date: 6/20/13 Recent Posts
Kilaya responds to original post by Jake.

Have read through entire thread.

There was some good help, specifically the mention of B vitamins. It is always important to consume high quality protein and fresh foods, and stay away from most junk food. ( I do some junk food. )

It is not possible to develop health and wellness when smoking, alcoholism, or drugs are involved. Period. Make the right choice.

Many things can help. There are many simple, practical, inexpensive things one can do right now, including Buddhadharma and basic meditation techniques from yoga and tai chi / chi kung.

To balance and purify emotions and energy, use the breath practice known as nadi shodhana pranayam, "alternate nostril breathing. Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, and basic hatha yoga practitioners do this.

I once recommended this to a woman online in a meditation forum who felt she wanted to tear out her hair because of the way her child or her immediate family behaved. She has a Masters in Counseling and is a yoga practitioner. She replied "Yeah, you're right! Of course, why didn't I think of that? "

In general, hatha yoga and pranayam are very important for all of us, to be grounded and centered, to wring out accumulated stress, and lay the foundation for really working with ourselves, whether ill or healthy on any level.

If your energy is unbalanced, stuck, dark and heavy, weak, extremely vulnerable or unstable, it is Really Helpful to go see a trained and licensed acupuncturist, a doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine ( TCM ). To be a good TCM doctor, the practitioner has to be able to read your pulse. A good practitioner should be able to give you significant relief in 3 sessions.

With or without a TCM doctor, one can do acupressure, a related technique. Books have been published on this.
See
"Acupressure for Emotional Healing: A Self-Care Guide for Trauma, Stress, & Common Emotional Imbalances" by Michael Reed Gach Ph.D. and Beth Ann Henning Dipl. A.B (Oct 26, 2004)

There is also mantra. Anyone can practice White Tara healing mantra with or without Buddhist vows or tantric commitments.
The mantra is
OM TARE TUTTARE TURE MA ME AYU PUNYE JNANA PUSTIM KURU SVAHA
Two malas ( 216 recitations ) or more daily is less work than staying stuck and miserable. Completing 100,000 of this mantra can be done in one year, and can be really helpful on different levels.

This is a very general purpose mantra for healing and purification. A shorter mantra for Green Tara is used to work through difficulties, both inner and outer. It is
OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SVAHA
Again, this mantra is available to all. Completing 1,000,00 in one year is a good basic practice.

If you have bodhisattva vows, you already have the basic authorization for Medicine Buddha, as well as a good basis for working with Tara mantra.

All highest yoga tantra empowerments include the Hundred Syllable mantra ( Vajrasattva Karma Mantra ). So that is also an excellent way to go. 108 recitations in a session, if one is initiated. ( Otherwise, there is always White Tara. )
Completing 100,000 of the long Hundred Syllable mantra is basic to Buddhist tantra.

Any high empowerment includes Vajrapani, the protector aspect of Vajrasattva. For strong purification, protection, and spiritual strength, any Vajrasattva / Highest Yoga Tanta initiate can do 1 million of the basic Vajrapani mantra. It is:
OM VAJRAPANI HUM PHAT.
In one year it is possible to complete a million Vajrapani recitations.

There are are many other really useful and effective practices, from the yogic, kung fu, and Taoist traditions. Obviously I won't go into detail for these here. The point is that they all go together.

Let me emphasize that mantras and breath practices simply don't work when contradicted by self-destructive behaviors, especially lying and smoking and drug abuse. You have to be a good person as well as a good practitioner.

In terms of developing a good set of working principles, I strongly recommend Joe Hyams book
""Zen in the Martial Arts".

If a person has no background in breath control, I strongly recommend the book Breathwalk. This gives a set of about ten classical breath meditations from the 3HO kundalini yoga tradition. I have many many yoga books, and I find this one book to be really accessible and useful long term.

For basic guidance, I recommend a wonderful little book by the Dalai Lama, which is
"How To Practice."
Excellent for any and all Buddhist practitioners, and everyone who is incline to this path but does not know where to begin.

These are times of great change. Keeping our own balance, focus, and clarity requires some work.

Journaling is helpful to listen to and work with ourselves. See book "The Artist's Way" for a complete introduction.

Also, for cognitive self help, see the Amazon review for
" Thoughts and Feelings: Taking Control of Your Moods and Your Life", by Matthew McKay PhD, Martha Davis PhD and Patrick Fanning (Dec 1, 2011)

Anything by Dr. McKay is first class. He is strongly recommended by Dr. Aaron Beck, one of the truly great modern psychologists.

I have covered a great deal of ground here.
A very basic and major point is to develop high-level wellness on all levels. This post gives you proven tools to do so.

This post provides a lot of material that can help many people work through major issues over time. It is not a substitute for professional care. It is my professional counsel as Buddhist teacher and yogi.

You have been helped.

Sarva mangalam.

Kilaya

"You've got to stand up, an' try an' try an' try.
You've got to stand up, an' try an' try an' try."