Loving-kindness and sinking feeling

Justin Michael Miller, modified 8 Years ago at 3/10/14 12:06 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 3/10/14 12:06 AM

Loving-kindness and sinking feeling

Posts: 3 Join Date: 3/9/14 Recent Posts
Hello, I came across this website while looking through Daniel Ingram's site. I was hoping to get some feedback from more experienced meditators.

So here is my issue: a few days ago I started practicing loving kindness, trying to follow the directions closely given in The Path of Purification. So basically I'd contemplate on how just as I want happiness all other sentient beings also want happiness, ext. Then when I got to sending metta toward someone I felt was a friend I experienced a very lovely absorption, very flowing, rapturous feeling, which I've read is normal for loving-kindness meditation. (I've experienced this before and it's always nice when it happens) But when I finished meditating I felt like I was very in the moment, gently blissed, but after twenty minutes I felt a very distinct sinking feeling. I still feel it now, like my energy is drained and I feel like there is darkness in my chest. Very tired and emotionless, drained. I'm not terrified, I'm just wondering if this is normal? Am I practicing the technique correctly? Should I just keep practicing to see where it leads?

Thank you for any feedback. emoticon
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Avi Craimer, modified 8 Years ago at 3/31/14 3:20 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 3/31/14 3:19 PM

RE: Loving-kindness and sinking feeling

Posts: 114 Join Date: 10/29/13 Recent Posts
Justin Michael Miller:
when I finished meditating I felt like I was very in the moment, gently blissed, but after twenty minutes I felt a very distinct sinking feeling. I still feel it now, like my energy is drained and I feel like there is darkness in my chest. Very tired and emotionless, drained.


From your description of your practice it sounds like you started with the friend category and skipped the self category. This might account for your heart centre feeling drained and emotionally disturbed. When we try to give love to others without first establishing love toward ourselves it can leave us feeling hollowed out. An analogy might be a hungry waiter serving food to lots of people but not eating himself. Seeing everybody else eat while he remains hungry will make the hunger a lot worse.

My recommendation is to take that sinking, dark feeling in your chest as the object for metta practice. Send the metta directly toward the emotional pain in your heart. During this process it is also likely that psychological material will surface. You might start remembering old regrets and wounds. It can be helpful to create space for these parts of yourself to voice their concerns, this can be done in therapy or just on your own by consciously allowing these parts to express how they're feeling. Don't get sucked into arguing with them or analyzing what they say. Just listen attentively, and continue giving metta, in most cases all that a hurt part really wants to be heard and to be loved.

More detail on using metta and other concentration states to to heal emotional wounds here.

Best of luck, let us know how things go.

Avi Craimer
A Dietrich Ringle, modified 8 Years ago at 4/1/14 8:38 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 4/1/14 8:38 AM

RE: Loving-kindness and sinking feeling

Posts: 882 Join Date: 12/4/11 Recent Posts
Justin Michael Miller:
Hello, I came across this website while looking through Daniel Ingram's site. I was hoping to get some feedback from more experienced meditators.

So here is my issue: a few days ago I started practicing loving kindness, trying to follow the directions closely given in The Path of Purification. So basically I'd contemplate on how just as I want happiness all other sentient beings also want happiness, ext. Then when I got to sending metta toward someone I felt was a friend I experienced a very lovely absorption, very flowing, rapturous feeling, which I've read is normal for loving-kindness meditation. (I've experienced this before and it's always nice when it happens) But when I finished meditating I felt like I was very in the moment, gently blissed, but after twenty minutes I felt a very distinct sinking feeling. I still feel it now, like my energy is drained and I feel like there is darkness in my chest. Very tired and emotionless, drained. I'm not terrified, I'm just wondering if this is normal? Am I practicing the technique correctly? Should I just keep practicing to see where it leads?

Thank you for any feedback. emoticon


I don't know if this might sound familiar to you or not, but I would say that much of the anxiety I experience in my daily life has to do with a kind of "slippery slope" feeling where I feel like I failed in my practice. Similar to what you describe, there is kind of a let down that is centered in the chest/solar plexus area. I suppose this might be called letting go, but it is a difficult letting go if that is what it truly is.


Best,

ADR
Justin Michael Miller, modified 8 Years ago at 4/20/14 12:44 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 4/20/14 12:44 AM

RE: Loving-kindness and sinking feeling

Posts: 3 Join Date: 3/9/14 Recent Posts
Thank you for the feedback!

I guess I didn't really focus the metta on myself, but tried make my self cherishing as a reference. Ex: "Just as I love myself, so too other people love themselves. Just as I want to live and don't want to die, so too other people.. ext." But now I try to direct metta toward myself, wishing that my actions become more skillful and that I become imbued with the causes of happiness.

I think last time I went too fast. Now I'm trying to be more steady and develop metta more gradually.

Your comments are helpful and insightful. Thank you emoticon
This Good Self, modified 8 Years ago at 4/20/14 7:07 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 4/20/14 7:05 AM

RE: Loving-kindness and sinking feeling

Posts: 946 Join Date: 3/9/10 Recent Posts
Try this maybe.

Focus on the sinking feeling for a moment. Intend to know what the sinking feeling is about. Now meditate on your thoughts to slow them down (they slow down or stop when you watch them, so don't try to slow them down). After a few minutes, subconscious thoughts will pop into your mind, which may have the answer to your question. Subconscious thoughts have a certain quality to them when they pop up into consciousness, and this makes them easy to identify.. They surface very abruptly, seem unusual in content and it's almost as though they are spoken by "a voice in the head". They are quite different to normal conscious thoughts. See what comes up - it may need some analysis. When you get your answer, you can take the next step, which might be a behaviour or a belief modification.

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