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Tough time in 3 characteristics

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Tough time in 3 characteristics
Answer
2/6/14 4:35 PM
Ok I get it - life is full of dukkha!

I have been experiencing pain and suffering in my meditation and sometimes deep dark energy hangovers like something in between flu and depression after meditations of between 30mins and an hour - mostly concentration and vipassana.

I thought it was dark night for a couple of years but having read the idiots guide I realise that I still have solid pain at times and this means 3c. It's been as tough as I can manage sometimes dealing with the suffering that comes with strong meditations both during and after. It's making me question whether to continue if I will have to cycle throughout the dark night stages for the new few years too!

I'm already tired of the journey!

Any advice or thoughts from the wise ones out there?

RE: Tough time in 3 characteristics
Answer
2/6/14 7:09 PM as a reply to b man.
b man:
Ok I get it - life is full of dukkha!

I have been experiencing pain and suffering in my meditation and sometimes deep dark energy hangovers like something in between flu and depression after meditations of between 30mins and an hour - mostly concentration and vipassana.

I thought it was dark night for a couple of years but having read the idiots guide I realise that I still have solid pain at times and this means 3c. It's been as tough as I can manage sometimes dealing with the suffering that comes with strong meditations both during and after. It's making me question whether to continue if I will have to cycle throughout the dark night stages for the new few years too!

I'm already tired of the journey!

Any advice or thoughts from the wise ones out there?

Dang, now I have to qualify myself as wise to answer? That never stopped me before and not about to stop me now (grin)

No A&P moments? no seeing everything dissolve? no fear/anxiety? no disgust?
Misery kicks me the hardest and it feels like flu mixed with depression the first couple times thru. Once past it I'm mostly done with it (sometimes). Reading your old posts I think Tommy gives good advice. Reread the old stuff. Maybe reread MCTB if it's been a while...I always get new stuff from it depending on where I am at. If you are in the knowledge of misery...get the hell out of it; it sux...(ya I know easier said than done) get to equanimity and stay there. Although you are seeing the stress/dukkha clearly in the sensations of suckiness, have you really looked at their impermanent nature and that they are not you? Look really hard at these 2 of the 3 characteristics and see if it doesn't kick you up to the next level. Wherever you are.
Good luck,
~D

RE: Tough time in 3 characteristics
Answer
2/7/14 12:46 AM as a reply to b man.
Sorry to hear that. Is the pain localized in a particular part of the body ?

RE: Tough time in 3 characteristics
Answer
2/7/14 5:34 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Thanks for your responses - I managed to lose my response twice so I'm just gonna write a quick response this time else I might lose it!


Yes reading back those old posts is very helpful. I am confused now though about where I am at. I did have a very profound unity experience with reality stopping and me being part of everything but it was 4 years ago and I guess I never really thought it was the a&p or maybe I did, but then reading that idiots guide it says of you have solid pain you must be at 3c's (pain comes in my hips btw, when meditation is really got momentum after lots of regularity and frequency of sitting.

I do get the misery stuff a lot, not really much fear or disgust. I dunno to be honest, and although it would be nice to know as I think it might help me progress, I don't mind too much if I can't figure it out from a purely intellectual standpoint. Maybe I am stuck a bit though, as one of the things that struck me about reading those old posts is that some of them are from over two years ago and I seem to be having the same issues still, even though I'm about 600+ hours of practice and another 10 day retreat since then

RE: Tough time in 3 characteristics
Answer
2/7/14 7:36 PM as a reply to b man.
I'd try to find a teacher. someone who gets to know you well and what your practice entails.

RE: Tough time in 3 characteristics
Answer
2/8/14 12:48 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
I've been wondering about a teacher for a while - have had a brief look a couple of times but not found anyone - am in North London - anyone know if anyone?

RE: Tough time in 3 characteristics
Answer
2/10/14 4:11 AM as a reply to b man.
:-) Hi b man!

Ah, sigh:-\...it's not what you hoped for, and you may have already checked this out under the London Insight Meditation resources tab; but just in case you've not looked that way, they offer ideas for learning with or without a teacher, including online and audio courses (some of which offer opportunities to communicate with a teacher but which, they add, are rarely free) and sitting-groups...there's one in North London, free but no teacher.

Even if it doesn't seem like it, you're likely on a spiral of progress, not something entirely circular! emoticon

Take care, and best wishes for your endeavours (-:

RE: Tough time in 3 characteristics
Answer
9/23/14 1:41 PM as a reply to Anne Cripps.
Im cycled back round and feeling the flu like symptoms again - been in it for a good 10 days noiw. Re-reading MTCB and really trying to just observe the arising and passing (impermenance) of the nasty symptoms. 

damn, this is hard! Im trying to realise the no-self part of it also but its just full on, feel bad stuff! 

Ive been a bit perturbed by re-reading the section in MCTB (I think the warnings at the beginning and the section around A&P) that says that after A&P theres really no turning back, and its making me wonder that if I am suffering this much in my time in 3C whether I really want to go into dark Night and do all this again and again, but possibly (probably) worse! 

Half considering putting the whole thing on hold until I have a better time in life to do this!! 


Anyone been through such a tough time in 3C stage? If so, any thoughts on speeding up progress other than just meditating more?

p.s - bump on any leads on teachers in North London way? 

RE: Tough time in 3 characteristics
Answer
9/23/14 6:24 PM as a reply to b man.
Hi, there. I had terrible, weird jaw pain during the 3C stage. It started out of the blue and continued for months. I actually consulted two dentists who could find nothing wrong with my teeth or jaw. Imagine my shock when I read MCTB toward the end of the jaw thing and read that as a symptom. Then A&P was pleasant--kind of maniacal, but fun. A&P was so compelling that that is when I knew all this was for real.

I don't remember any emotional reactions during those early nanas before A&P. The Dark Night that I most recently went through, though, totally kicked me down the stairs. It went on for 5 months, and the stages where crystal clear and happened in texbook order. I think the worst of it was for me was Disgust, which was a revulsion toward meditation, life, and consciousness. But fear was pretty bad, too. Disgust included physical nausea as well as mental revulsion, and I lost 20 pounds rapidly. So I'm just wondering, from my the POV of my own experience, whether you aren't actually in the DN already.

Incidentally, as bad as my DN was, and it was terrible, I regret nothing. Coming out the other side has, so far, been well worth the trouble. 

Best wishes.

RE: Tough time in 3 characteristics
Answer
9/29/14 8:05 PM as a reply to b man.
Not really knowing you or your practice and just making the assumption that your diagnosis of 3C's is correct-

During meditation, for me, 3C's is an opportune moment to really dive in. All the body pains, discomfort, itches, the feeling that your whole body and mind have restless leg syndrome- I use these as a sign to really commit (commit to the sit, not in a general way). Because the first time I (intentionally, in the context of meditation) crossed the A&P, it was because I decided to apply all my effort to the discomfort, like welcoming it in, saying "bring it on". It feels so counterintuitive, but in my experience, once you accept all the shitty feelings and make a commitment to dive into them with intense moment-to-moment mindfulness, the sensations tend to intensify and become more distinct as flickering sensations rather than abstract notions like aches and pains. The aches and discomforts then become tingling sensations, more and more uniform, the intensity builds, the negative feeling-tone starts to fade, then bam, A&P.

Although this is more about crossing 3C's to A&P, you can also use a similar strategy in DN territory. That is to say, when the mental/emotional content become negative and really bother you in a sit, you can get a lot of mileage from radically diving into it, radically accepting it and intensely investigating the sensations that make it up. As a general idiom for practice, all the sensations exhibit the 3 characteristics, and through all the flavors, feeling tones and variants of experience, your goal is to 1) allow them, and 2) to apply relentless mindfulness to them until you can discern the nature of the sensations. It doesn't matter if they are physical or mental or emotional or whatever, just hack away. As above, so below. 

RE: Tough time in 3 characteristics
Answer
9/30/14 1:17 AM as a reply to Mind over easy.
Mind over easy:
Not really knowing you or your practice and just making the assumption that your diagnosis of 3C's is correct-

During meditation, for me, 3C's is an opportune moment to really dive in. All the body pains, discomfort, itches, the feeling that your whole body and mind have restless leg syndrome- I use these as a sign to really commit (commit to the sit, not in a general way). Because the first time I (intentionally, in the context of meditation) crossed the A&P, it was because I decided to apply all my effort to the discomfort, like welcoming it in, saying "bring it on". It feels so counterintuitive, but in my experience, once you accept all the shitty feelings and make a commitment to dive into them with intense moment-to-moment mindfulness, the sensations tend to intensify and become more distinct as flickering sensations rather than abstract notions like aches and pains. The aches and discomforts then become tingling sensations, more and more uniform, the intensity builds, the negative feeling-tone starts to fade, then bam, A&P.

Although this is more about crossing 3C's to A&P, you can also use a similar strategy in DN territory. That is to say, when the mental/emotional content become negative and really bother you in a sit, you can get a lot of mileage from radically diving into it, radically accepting it and intensely investigating the sensations that make it up. As a general idiom for practice, all the sensations exhibit the 3 characteristics, and through all the flavors, feeling tones and variants of experience, your goal is to 1) allow them, and 2) to apply relentless mindfulness to them until you can discern the nature of the sensations. It doesn't matter if they are physical or mental or emotional or whatever, just hack away. As above, so below. 


thanks MOE - this is a really helpful reply - I will take this on board and try and put it into practice :-)

RE: Tough time in 3 characteristics
Answer
9/30/14 2:28 PM as a reply to b man.
b man:
Anyone been through such a tough time in 3C stage? If so, any thoughts on speeding up progress other than just meditating more?
Yes, I have been, and still am.
And no, apart from meditating more, I have not thoughts how to speed progress up.

I started sitting in the zen tradition in 2006, rather half-assed, usually 30 min per day, and not every single day, and no practice apart from this formal one. In 2008, during a retreat, i had real bad pain in knees, hips and was nearly unable to breathe. My teacher told me to focus real hard on my breath, which I did. After a few periods of sitting, suddenly experienced total physical freedom. Sat the rest of the retreat with no pain whatsoever, peace, joy and so on. From this I learned that my body is able to sit without pain.

Due to personal circumstances, I continued in my previous half-assed way. Two years ago, my personal circumstances turned to the positive, and I intensified my practice. Had also turned to a new teacher (zen), who was really demanding. Which made me, one year ago, turn up the volume to two one-hour sits per day. And this is what really does it.

Teacher ordered me to sit through, if any possible. In the beginning I thought my body was going to break apart, pain like hell, shaking, twitching, groaning, the body turning into yoga postures... Even during everyday life, in the office, i started shaking if I did not watch out. Our last retreat i spent outside the zendo, I just could not bring myself to expose my-self in this way to others. The body literally started re-arranging itself, bones and all. This was hard! And I´m not yet through with this, there is still some work to do.

To me it seems really important during the sitting to give up all hopes for change, for things to get "better". Instead, I must really, really honestly look at WHAT IS, and then let go of my subtle plans how to influence the situation to the better. I must BE WITH THE PAIN, trust, and let the body take care of itself. Which I am by no means good at. My 2008 experience is really helpful, because it gave me the deep trust that the pains are ADDED STUFF, they are NOT born-in-to-my-body, they are not part of "me", and my body will know what to do.

And although this has been going on for quite a while, and there is still a lot of pain during my sitting, I see a considerable progress, too. The hips are opening up, posture straightens, breath deepens, the pain changes its nature with every sitting. The diaphragm softened, and I lost a layer of anxieties and depression which I had considered to be part of my personality. It just went away.

If I would have to give any advice from my personal experience, it would be: do more formal practice. Do one hour in the morning, and one hour in the evening, every single day. If possible, do, in addition, one sunday per month of four hours. If possible, add a few retreats. Since 2012, I have been doing two 4,5 day retreats per year.

Here on DHO, I read about many who did much less formal practice and had much better results. Be it so, I am not one of them. Obviously, I am the worst-case-scenario, I did not practice hard enough for many years, and I was not very good at picking teachers, too. But now I am really on the track, and for me, a lot of formal practice really seems to do the trick.

RE: Tough time in 3 characteristics
Answer
9/30/14 2:50 PM as a reply to Jo Jo.
Wonderful. Welcome to the DHO, and excellent first post. You remind me that the most important factor is continuing to practice, with continuity and regularity. This is definitely something I need to incorporate back into my practice. Happy trails! Maybe you should start a meditation journal. IMO, the most useful journals are the ones by users like you who have a dedicated and regular practice.

RE: Tough time in 3 characteristics
Answer
10/14/14 4:06 PM as a reply to Jo Jo.
Jo Jo:
b man:
Anyone been through such a tough time in 3C stage? If so, any thoughts on speeding up progress other than just meditating more?
Yes, I have been, and still am.
And no, apart from meditating more, I have not thoughts how to speed progress up.


Thanks for sharing your experiences Jo Jo - it helps to know that others are finding this stage tough. Hope its getting better for you. 
Thanks for the advice also to meditate more. This seems to be the answer from all angles. I will embrace it as much as I can! 

I think I have naturally started to lay off abit when I get to this stage in the past and feel the effects strongly as it can make me feel very depressed, as well as phyically bad, and a bit of anger surfaces also. I have just put this down to blocked energy and stuff processing. But who knows. Maybe its just suffering coming out! I think though I will heed the advice and where I can push on and meditate more without it making me suffer so much that I just cant do my job! 

Its making me wonder if I have been fighting the bad feeling a little - I will also heed the advice to really delve deep into the suffering and unpleasantness and see what that brings...

RE: Tough time in 3 characteristics
Answer
10/14/14 5:11 PM as a reply to b man.
Past the A&P, which that event 4 years ago almost certainly was, stuff can get murky, and the Dark Night can have all sorts of pain associated with it physically, and then there is this thing where there can be an overarching Dark Night problem (as you are above the A&P), but the specific stage in that you are in is Three Characteristics, so you sort of get the best of both, as it were.

More specifically, resources for a further retreat? Or, that failing, resolve to back out, meaning to have normalcy return and just pull out, back off, settle in, have fun, put things back together, regroup if possible, and that may help for some.

Physical pain in general: just carefully investigate anything fluxing, shifting, anything like that about it at all, even if you just note it again and again, not even that fast necessarily, will do something good most of the time.

I am also a massage fan, deep tissue particularly, if you have that around.

D

RE: Tough time in 3 characteristics
Answer
10/15/14 6:43 AM as a reply to b man.
Is it just the hip pain that makes you think you're in that nana?  Maybe you just have hip pain from sitting a lot - just saying.  Maybe try some walking meditation instead.

Something I wish someone would have told me before - you don't have to torture yourself to meditate.  It can be easy to think you have to get worse before you get better and unintentionally hold onto the uncomfortable things that happen in a masochistic kind of way.  The goal of meditation is to let go of control, not to practice physical endurance or torture your mind into submission. emoticon

RE: Tough time in 3 characteristics
Answer
10/15/14 4:48 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Not Tao:
Is it just the hip pain that makes you think you're in that nana? 


I think it was orginally, but I think now its more the fever like symptoms - I read somewhere that someone called this ascention flu, but Ive no idea if this is related or even a real thing, but it kinda feels like that i.e. Flu / feverish type symptoms but without actually being sick, or sneezing, or any of that side of it, headaches (but not like migranes), this feeling of having quite a sore skull (but its not really your skull its more like a sore brain!


Not Tao:
you don't have to torture yourself to meditate.  


Yeah it was a big relief realising this one. I absolutely tortured myself in the first 10 day retreat!

RE: Tough time in 3 characteristics
Answer
10/15/14 4:57 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
.....then there is this thing where there can be an overarching Dark Night problem (as you are above the A&P), but the specific stage in that you are in is Three Characteristics, so you sort of get the best of both, as it were.

thats really interesting and has changed my understanding of the path hearing that. I didnt realise you could have crossed the A&P and also be still in 3Cs - Maybe we can elaborate more on this - Does it mean that you can fall back through those stages? I read somewhere that you can also pass the A&P again and again - so logically I guess 3cs agian and again also? 

Daniel M. Ingram:
More specifically, resources for a further retreat?


yep, planning another 3 dayer soon - maybe another 10 day end of spring

Daniel M. Ingram:
Or, that failing, resolve to back out, meaning to have normalcy return and just pull out, back off, settle in, have fun, put things back together, regroup if possible, and that may help for some.


yeah, this is my default when I cant deal with it anymore!

Daniel M. Ingram:
Physical pain in general: just carefully investigate anything fluxing, shifting, anything like that about it at all, even if you just note it again and again, not even that fast necessarily, will do something good most of the time.


Have been doing this especially have this in my left thigh - has been a focus point for about 4 years

will try those massages! thanks :-)