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The price of awakening

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The price of awakening
Answer
5/12/13 10:06 AM
Solved.. Thanks !

RE: The price of awakening
Answer
4/21/13 7:58 AM as a reply to Sweet Nothing.
Hi Akash,

It sounds like you've had an amazing journey. It also sounds like the classic progression through the stages of insight. If you're not familiar with the insight maps you might have a look around the wiki, particularly the sections on A+P and the so-called Dark Night ('dukkha nanas').

The general theory is, once you've come this far, the only way out is through. You might want to try a different insight technique, such as noting, as people seem to have more success getting beyond the initial stages with it. It's normal to have little concentration ability at this stage, and noting can act as a guardrail when you're feeling your way through the chaos.

It's helpful to understand that some of what you're going through is practice related and temporary. As epic as it must feel to you, it's not personal. You're not in hell, you're not being punished. All the unpleasantness should be regarded as fodder for practice - that is systematically investigating the impermanence of phenomena. Also, the characteristic of not-self is very helpful to notice here. See "the three characteristics." That will get you through.

As for your skin issue, that may be secondary to the stress of your practice right now, or it might be something else. I can't see how it would hurt to see a doctor. I would however be leary of psychologizing all this material instead of practicing through it, so you might not want to overshare about your practice. That's just my 2 cents.

Anyway, hope that helps. Lots of people have gone through some version of what you're going through and found that the price of awakening was well worth it. You migh have a look at Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha, also in the Wiki.

-Jason

RE: The price of awakening
Answer
4/21/13 8:02 AM as a reply to Sweet Nothing.
I will let others more advanced respond to your very sincere and well-described angst. But, the itching and other physical symptoms you describe are very familiar to me. Regardless of what else you do, get to a competent doctor immediately for a full physical. I mean right now.

I could be nothing and probably is, and I don't mean to scare you (except enough to go), but please do go.

RE: The price of awakening
Answer
4/21/13 9:17 AM as a reply to Some Guy.
Dear friend,

I cannot thank you enough for responding to me in this turbulent time. I've been constantly checking in hopes for some response like yours.

Yes, I was not familiar with the road map especially due to belonging to the Goenka tradition where all you really get to know is through their books and their discourses. Goenkaji is like a role model to me, and I cannot cease to wonder how S. U Ba Khin could have sailed through the dukkha nanas while also working as hard as he did. I used to be a pretty witty, funny guy who always had something to say but now I am just blank and rarely feel the humor.

I feel I have understood the essence of Buddha's teaching. His words are like sweet nectar to the ears of anyone who realizes even one the noble truths. If the three characteristics are Dukkha, Anicca and Anatta, I feel I have understood the first two but the last one is a little tricky due to the construct of the ego. I can only imagine how much harder it could be if I started my journey when I was older, with a larger build up of pride & arrogance.

The skin issue is definitely due to stress, as the homeopathic doctor put it. A teacher told me that modern medicine only suppresses the symptoms of the problem instead of releasing it from the roots, and that is why it must be avoided. I was able to get some sound sleep today and I feel ok now. emoticon

Thanks again.

Some Guy:
Hi Akash,

It sounds like you've had an amazing journey. It also sounds like the classic progression through the stages of insight. If you're not familiar with the insight maps you might have a look around the wiki, particularly the sections on A+P and the so-called Dark Night ('dukkha nanas').

The general theory is, once you've come this far, the only way out is through. You might want to try a different insight technique, such as noting, as people seem to have more success getting beyond the initial stages with it. It's normal to have little concentration ability at this stage, and noting can act as a guardrail when you're feeling your way through the chaos.

It's helpful to understand that some of what you're going through is practice related and temporary. As epic as it must feel to you, it's not personal. You're not in hell, you're not being punished. All the unpleasantness should be regarded as fodder for practice - that is systematically investigating the impermanence of phenomena. Also, the characteristic of not-self is very helpful to notice here. See "the three characteristics." That will get you through.

As for your skin issue, that may be secondary to the stress of your practice right now, or it might be something else. I can't see how it would hurt to see a doctor. I would however be leary of psychologizing all this material instead of practicing through it, so you might not want to overshare about your practice. That's just my 2 cents.

Anyway, hope that helps. Lots of people have gone through some version of what you're going through and found that the price of awakening was well worth it. You migh have a look at Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha, also in the Wiki.

-Jason

RE: The price of awakening
Answer
4/21/13 9:06 AM as a reply to tsetse fly.
tsetse fly:
I will let others more advanced respond to your very sincere and well-described angst. But, the itching and other physical symptoms you describe are very familiar to me. Regardless of what else you do, get to a competent doctor immediately for a full physical. I mean right now.

I could be nothing and probably is, and I don't mean to scare you (except enough to go), but please do go.


The reason why I was reluctant to join this forum and share my journey was that everyone has a different journey. Some people might never experience what I did and may generate craving or envy. Some may not understand me. Yet I went forward because I was in sheer agony and my teachers weren't responsive. Maybe at a later time I will edit my original post to only contain more basic details.

The itching is the worst issue I have ever had. I cannot help but imagine how much suffering it could cause if it happened to a poor person, or homeless person or someone who has to live alone. I wonder if seeing a doctor has helped provide you some relief ?

My symptoms have improved and I am pretty comfortable at least for now. If it becomes severe again I will see a doctor and will avoid work until I am fully healed. Thanks.

RE: The price of awakening
Answer
4/21/13 10:04 AM as a reply to Sweet Nothing.
Akash K:
I cannot thank you enough for responding to me in this turbulent time. I've been constantly checking in hopes for some response like yours.


I know the feeling!

I feel I have understood the essence of Buddha's teaching.


I know that feeling too! It's typical of the A+P stage to feel like you've really seen the truth, and even feel like you're enlightened. Not to belittle your insight at all. It's a real accomplishment. It's just another way in which knowledge of the maps can help put things - like euphoria and misery - into perspective.

If the three characteristics are Dukkha, Anicca and Anatta, I feel I have understood the first two but the last one is a little tricky due to the construct of the ego.


You may find that understanding comes in cycles. It's helpful to put your practice to the test of all 4 foundations of mindfulness - not just sensations - to begin rooting out anatta.

Glad you're feeling better. If your homeopath is trained and licensed he should at least know if you need to be referred, so I'm not concerned.

RE: The price of awakening
Answer
4/21/13 10:42 AM as a reply to Some Guy.
Some Guy:
Akash K:
I cannot thank you enough for responding to me in this turbulent time. I've been constantly checking in hopes for some response like yours.


I know the feeling!

I feel I have understood the essence of Buddha's teaching.


I know that feeling too! It's typical of the A+P stage to feel like you've really seen the truth, and even feel like you're enlightened. Not to belittle your insight at all. It's a real accomplishment. It's just another way in which knowledge of the maps can help put things - like euphoria and misery - into perspective.

If the three characteristics are Dukkha, Anicca and Anatta, I feel I have understood the first two but the last one is a little tricky due to the construct of the ego.


You may find that understanding comes in cycles. It's helpful to put your practice to the test of all 4 foundations of mindfulness - not just sensations - to begin rooting out anatta.

Glad you're feeling better. If your homeopath is trained and licensed he should at least know if you need to be referred, so I'm not concerned.


I am very grateful for your help. I didn't mean to say I fully understand Buddha's words, as I am still in a state of delusion and misery. On the intellectual level I have extensively contemplated the teaching and agree to everything, but on the experiential level I have a long way to go. I realize that intellectual understanding is important to motivate us to practice more earnestly. The literature can be put into one sentence but unless we have sufficient experience it will be just another sentence for us.

I will focus on expanding my understanding of Anatta and also read from the wiki page. I actually saw two Homeopaths, and the second time I felt very dead inside having to give them my history and answer so many questions all over again. I hid from them many details regarding dreams and meditation experiences because I felt they might think I am crazy or deluded. I feel that what I am going through isn't THAT bad physically but my mind is amplifying the problem many times over by not letting go of it. Yet, it is easy to talk about letting go and detaching from the sensation, but SO hard to practice.

Understanding does come in cycles. I do have lot of thoughts that resemble teachings of awakened beings, but I have stopped paying heed to thoughts. I also have some mystical dreams but dont care about them. I feel I must only focus my energies on the experience of the present moment as it is something which is always here.

RE: The price of awakening
Answer
4/21/13 1:25 PM as a reply to Sweet Nothing.
Hi Akash,

Just wanted to try to provide some encouragement, though it seems like some guy is taking care of you. Definitely in my own experience of the path, intense mental suffering has occurred, and the only thing which ultimately made it better was putting as much effort as possible into meditation, either noting it, or just letting it occur.

It sounds like you are going through some pretty extreme physical suffering in addition to the mental aspect, personally exercise, and getting my blood flowing usually helps me with physical discomfort (although idk about the rash, if it is stress induced then hopefully further meditation helps).

Also, I don't want to overwhelm you with meditation information, as for me especially when I was getting started, the volume of practices and advice out there was somewhat overwhelming, however; personally I found vipassana meditation, noting body sensations, to be a stressful, irritating experience, and have switched to meditating in the shamatha-vipassana style found in Tibetan Buddhism (as taught by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche). If you are interested in this, I would recommend reading Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism by Chogyam Trungpa.

Good luck to you, hope this helps. It sounds to me like you're on the right track, and simply need to continue meditating.

RE: The price of awakening
Answer
4/22/13 4:12 AM as a reply to T DC.
T DC:
Hi Akash,

Just wanted to try to provide some encouragement, though it seems like some guy is taking care of you. Definitely in my own experience of the path, intense mental suffering has occurred, and the only thing which ultimately made it better was putting as much effort as possible into meditation, either noting it, or just letting it occur.


I can relate to mental suffering. I feel it is easier to practice or letting it happen when it is mental. However, when it becomes so intensely physical, I cannot help but feel I dont deserve to go through so much pain. I just wish I could fall back to where I was before A&P.


It sounds like you are going through some pretty extreme physical suffering in addition to the mental aspect, personally exercise, and getting my blood flowing usually helps me with physical discomfort (although idk about the rash, if it is stress induced then hopefully further meditation helps).


Ever since A&P I have lost interest in exercise. It used to be so much fun before. I used to cycle an hour every night & go jogging in the morning apart from gym. Now even going to gym feels like excess baggage. With all the itching & pain going on, I can barely get around the house. I tried using Caladryl lotion on itchy spots and it felt a little soothing at first, but then the itchiness simply reappeared in new adjacent spots. It was also hard sitting in meditation yesterday and I couldn't go beyond 5 mins being overwhelmed by the itchiness. Today however I did manage an hour.



Also, I don't want to overwhelm you with meditation information, as for me especially when I was getting started, the volume of practices and advice out there was somewhat overwhelming, however; personally I found vipassana meditation, noting body sensations, to be a stressful, irritating experience, and have switched to meditating in the shamatha-vipassana style found in Tibetan Buddhism (as taught by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche). If you are interested in this, I would recommend reading Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism by Chogyam Trungpa.

Good luck to you, hope this helps. It sounds to me like you're on the right track, and simply need to continue meditating.


Thanks for the suggestion. I feel that the sweeping style works fine for me.

Today morning I woke up feeling ok. As soon as I stood up the whole problem started again. I look forward to when I can go back to my normal life. I think I am probably in Re-Observation. If this isn't RO, then I cannot imagine what it could be. Once I reach the next Nana, I dont wish to experience the DN again for a long time.

Also, I feel my appreciation of music has improved from what it has been since A&P. I still don't crave it but it feels slighly more juicier now.

RE: The price of awakening
Answer
4/22/13 9:18 AM as a reply to Sweet Nothing.
One way of thinking about Anatta: If you're experiencing something from the point of view of the observer, there is this subject-object relationship in your mind. Everything you're witnessing is object, therefore not self. Objectify everything. I do think it's important to include mind states, thoughts, and feeling tone in this. It's an important skill that will serve you well in later stages where you'll break down the sense of the subject as well.

RE: The price of awakening
Answer
4/22/13 1:34 PM as a reply to Sweet Nothing.
I did a Goenka 10 day retreat so I am familiar with Goenka.

You are doing body scanning as your primary focus and looking for "sensations" on your body with all of your concentration...Right? and the results is you have itching "sensations" all over your body? STOP DOING THIS
(Unless you are enjoying it of course then by all means you have found a great way to make yourself suffer.)

You probably are in ReObsevation...so you need to push thru to get to Equinimity. Stop focusing only the body and focus on everything happening

Note the following when not on the breath-

tom moylan:
my list...
touching..tingling, itching
seeing, seeing, seeing
hearext (for external sounds)
hearint (for internal sounds)
thinking
smelling


To do next ...
1) Read "Mastering the core teachings of the Buddha' ( MCTB )
2) Reread it
3) Meditate twice or more a day....30-45 minutes maybe longer sometimes

When you get to EQ you will feel so much better that the dark night is over you will likely stop practicing....and guess what happens then? You will cycle thru the dark night again....a lot of us here have done this many times....I spent 20 years cycling. My advice is to keep practicing but not in such a way that causes more suffering.(There is plenty all ready, you need not make more)

Good luck
~D

RE: The price of awakening
Answer
4/23/13 9:28 AM as a reply to Some Guy.
Some Guy:
One way of thinking about Anatta: If you're experiencing something from the point of view of the observer, there is this subject-object relationship in your mind. Everything you're witnessing is object, therefore not self. Objectify everything. I do think it's important to include mind states, thoughts, and feeling tone in this. It's an important skill that will serve you well in later stages where you'll break down the sense of the subject as well.


I understand what you're saying and I will work on developing this skill. I suffered a lot in my second retreat when I saw the most disgusting images of my life. It would have surely helped back then to know that its a phase and they are not MINE. Unfortunately for me the assistant teacher to whom I expressed this issue told me that "some of your deep filth is being removed" which gave me the impression that they are my own doing.

RE: The price of awakening
Answer
4/23/13 9:46 AM as a reply to Dream Walker.
dream walker:
I did a Goenka 10 day retreat so I am familiar with Goenka.

You are doing body scanning as your primary focus and looking for "sensations" on your body with all of your concentration...Right? and the results is you have itching "sensations" all over your body? STOP DOING THIS
(Unless you are enjoying it of course then by all means you have found a great way to make yourself suffer.)

You probably are in ReObsevation...so you need to push thru to get to Equinimity. Stop focusing only the body and focus on everything happening

Note the following when not on the breath-

tom moylan:
my list...
touching..tingling, itching
seeing, seeing, seeing
hearext (for external sounds)
hearint (for internal sounds)
thinking
smelling


To do next ...
1) Read "Mastering the core teachings of the Buddha' ( MCTB )
2) Reread it
3) Meditate twice or more a day....30-45 minutes maybe longer sometimes

When you get to EQ you will feel so much better that the dark night is over you will likely stop practicing....and guess what happens then? You will cycle thru the dark night again....a lot of us here have done this many times....I spent 20 years cycling. My advice is to keep practicing but not in such a way that causes more suffering.(There is plenty all ready, you need not make more)

Good luck
~D


Yes, I do Breath and then Sweeping method. However, the itching/swelling is not happening during meditation. It was happening 24x7. Today the itching/swelling has stopped (lucky me) and I feel just fine. I have developed a new problem though, which isn't that bad. My left arm hurts on the inside starting from the shoulder, and my right shoulder hurts to a lesser extent.
Last night I was unable to sleep till 3-4 am due to the pain, and I ended up drinking cough syrup just to make me sleep. It's similar to what happens in a fever when the whole body breaks and hurts. I have had lot of muscles break down from working out, but I never disliked that pain as much as I am disliking this pain. Hopefully this too will pass soon enough.

I will definitely read MCTB. The noting method is interesting. I need to learn it in depth to really know what to do. I feel it takes more time to say the note in my head and there are much more events happening than I can note with words.

Whoa, 20 years sounds like 95% of my life ! I have read that once I push through Equanimity I will either get first fruit or I will get back into DN. I sure hope it is not the latter. Whenever I get into Eq territory I will let you guys know.

Thanks a ton!

RE: The price of awakening
Answer
4/23/13 4:54 PM as a reply to Sweet Nothing.
Akash K:
My left arm hurts on the inside starting from the shoulder, and my right shoulder hurts to a lesser extent.
Last night I was unable to sleep till 3-4 am due to the pain, and I ended up drinking cough syrup just to make me sleep. It's similar to what happens in a fever when the whole body breaks and hurts. I have had lot of muscles break down from working out, but I never disliked that pain as much as I am disliking this pain. Hopefully this too will pass soon enough.


When I went thru the Knowledge of misery I felt like the flu...whole body ache...joints and bones hurt....was very, very sucky. I finally took a 81 mg aspirin...which is nothing but I made the intention to move on and took it. Minutes later I was in disgust and then past it moments later into low EQ.
Make a strong intention to move quickly thru this stage and keep meditating...whatever comes up just note it...use a word or just notice it with all your attention and move back to the breath...noting in a nutshell.
The more often you meditate the likelier you will be to move past it; not necessarily length of sessions but keep it up.
Good luck,

~D