Trouble looking at self, overwhelming frustration/pain results

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Mind over easy, modified 8 Years ago.

Trouble looking at self, overwhelming frustration/pain results

Posts: 216 Join Date: 4/28/12 Recent Posts
I figured I'd post this in direct pointing since looking directly at the sense of self is doing this for me at the moment-

When I look into the sense of self and try to look at awareness separated from thoughts, this immense feeling of suffering grows. In the body, there's this extremely unpleasant feeling in my chest, a bit like anxiety but much more like a general sense of unwellness, almost like restless leg syndrome inside a chest instead. This is paired with extreme emotional discomfort, bordering anger and disgust. It was so intensely miserable, to the point where I actually started to sweat.

I know that the response might just be to note it, note it all. And I generally take this approach. However, I'm wondering if anyone has any other skillful ways of dealing with this. The fact that I can go from sitting, feeling generally fine, and upon looking directly at the sense of self and go to some kind of personal hell so quickly seems to indicate to me that this is actually a useful way to get directly at how selfing creates suffering. But I'm getting stuck on how damn unpleasant it is and how hard it is to get past it, noting or otherwise. Backing off and just noting other things in the sense environment tends to make it subside, but I'm interested in working through it to make progress, since it is obviously pointing out something about the relationship between suffering and self. How to break it though? How to dive into examining no-self without getting stuck on this extremely painful blockage? People often talk about noting like it automatically reduces/eliminates the suffering possible from perceiving something, but it doesn't seem to be the case here, where any kind of paying attention to the sense of self brings up the extremely terrible/oppressive sensations in the chest paired with an extreme sense of discomfort/disgust/anger/pure suffering. Not to be a diva with practice (make it go away, this is terrible and I don't want this, etc...), but I'm just looking for some way to approach this that resolves the suffering while still tending to the glaringly obvious problem in mind and body that is related to looking into the sense of self.

"Everything is suffering", but how to not suffer in spite?

Thoughts on direct pointing/looking directly into the 3C's in a non-noting kind of way:

-It is hard, apparently, but also seems to bring me to the grounds of insight related to dukkha rather quickly
-It just brought up territory that seems to correspond to 3rd vipassana jhana, but interestingly enough, no A&P was observed. Slight mind and body feeling when starting the practice, but it was basically: okay, I'm sitting and things are cool, time to look directly at sense of self, okay, I'm suddenly intensely aware of a pair of oppressive sensations in chest, and oppressive, highly aggravating/hateful/miserable mental feelings


With a headache from a suddenly miserable experience-
Kellen
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Mind over easy, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Trouble looking at self, overwhelming frustration/pain results

Posts: 216 Join Date: 4/28/12 Recent Posts
Also, to add, I posted a mad-intense A&P experience a few days back, and I seem to have hit dark night territory pretty hard. That probably factors in to this too.

Looking for "rigpa", instead getting "ripped-up"-
Kellen
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rony fedrer, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Trouble looking at self, overwhelming frustration/pain results

Posts: 27 Join Date: 4/25/13 Recent Posts
hey i just read about the "sense of self" in this link,this may sound helpful

http://happinessbeyondthought.blogspot.ca/2012/05/surrendering-i-letting-go-of-suffering.html
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fivebells ., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Trouble looking at self, overwhelming frustration/pain results

Posts: 563 Join Date: 2/25/11 Recent Posts
The classic prescription is cultivating metta for the sense of self you're looking at until your mind is steady enough to continue. If that's too hard, start with things it's easier to feel metta for and build up to it.

Both the metta and the anger/disgust are fabrications. So are the perceptions of the three characteristics. So is the sense of self. If the anger/disgust is too destabilizing for the purposes of taking apart the fabrication of the self, fabricate a more useful fabrication (metta.) Then use it in conjunction with the three characteristics meditation. It may also be instructive to try alternating between the metta and the anger/disgust, in that it makes clear their fabricated nature. Nikolai's Hacking vedana instructions may be useful, here. (Certainly have been for me...)
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Mind over easy, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Trouble looking at self, overwhelming frustration/pain results

Posts: 216 Join Date: 4/28/12 Recent Posts
Thanks, both of you. Both responses seem along the lines of turning fabrications pleasant before you deconstruct them.
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Mind over easy, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Trouble looking at self, overwhelming frustration/pain results

Posts: 216 Join Date: 4/28/12 Recent Posts
Sorry, I just mentally combined your two posts or something... Fivebells response was along those lines. Rony's post pointed out how the selfing process works and how to directly let it go. Actually... that was kind of what I was trying to do, after listening to Tolle speak. Thoughts are not self, look at them and regard them as such, let go of them, let them pass. Then I tried to approach things in such a way when I got into trouble, not so much with content of thoughts, but the extremely unpleasant nature of the sensations occurring in the chest and in the mind.

I'll try to do some metta next time before I dive into a direct practice style like this. It was a really unpleasant experience, but all the while, it's interesting to try out various techniques and approaches.
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Trouble looking at self, overwhelming frustration/pain results

Posts: 3184 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Mind over easy:
I figured I'd post this in direct pointing since looking directly at the sense of self is doing this for me at the moment-

When I look into the sense of self and try to look at awareness separated from thoughts, this immense feeling of suffering grows.
Kellen


There is a flaw in the premise that is probably important.

"Awareness separated from thoughts": sounds like you are attempting to create a duality between something that doesn't exist (awareness) and thoughts, which are intrinsically aware or you could just more simply and clearly say manifest where they are.

Why try to create that illusion?

There is no separation, nor anything to be separate from anything.

No-self: no subject, no observer, no doer, no controller, no this-and-that, no split, no gap, no this-side-and-that-side, no duality.

Reality is a natural, causal, integrated, transient, ephemeral, empty process. You are trying to be someone who is trying to create a split between something that is mythological and something to ephemeral that it must be held in some illusorily fixed way to create a split.

Let the thing show itself. Let what arises just be, just arise and vanish, aware of itself where it is, no doer, no controller, no meditator, just things arising and vanishing all the way through, easily, simply, straightforwardly. Why make something so simple and easy so complicated and artificially held in some contrived sense of a divide?

Relax and allow the qualities of space to synchronize with themselves.

Daniel

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