Have you found ways to deal with cognitive side effects of the stages?

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Simon T, modified 8 Years ago at 7/30/14 6:32 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 7/30/14 6:32 PM

Have you found ways to deal with cognitive side effects of the stages?

Posts: 383 Join Date: 9/13/11 Recent Posts
In term of fucking up my life, the cognitive side effect are on the top of the list. Especially the memory issues. There is a spot in equanimity where it's just impossible to use my brain at all. I had similar issues with dissolution but I could get out of it easily. When I get into that spot into equanimity and things just go blank and there isn't much that can be done. An interesting thing is that if someone ask me a question and I go with the flow, without worrying about what I am saying, I can say some pretty amazing stuff. But by myself, I'm just braindead. 

I meet a monk that told me the story of his master that forgot how to read and write for 3 months. It didn't get that bad for me, but remembering people names can be tedious at its worse. I keep having to re-learn programming languages, as another example. 

I did a lot of energy work in the last 6 months, with the result that I am much more relaxed than I used to be. Still, I find the result to be closer to apathy than equanimity. Cycles somewhat happens by their own with more detachement to them. There is much less physical effects to each stages. On the other hand, neurotic thoughts seems on the rise in number, but have less traction and duration, possibly due in part to some life difficulties I encounter. 

I have been jobless for almost 8 months now and expect resume work as a programmer in the following weeks, if I'm lucky. It's can of scary to go back in the corporate world. I got to master cycling in such way that I can be a minimum productive but it's still unpredictable. I'm relatively functionnal in desire for deliverance and re-observation, as my cognitive function are relatively ok, unless it's a really back re-observation. Sometimes I can just work on the edge of it, not letting stress take over my body, but maintain some level of stress to remain productive. Then there is low-equanimity which is the best spot. When all I cared was progress and my job allowed me some liberties, I would allow myself to rise in equanimity. It became really a problem when I would get close to high-equanimity by 10AM and be confused for the rest of the day. An alternative is to let myself break out of re-observation and then load myself with caffeine or dexedrine, which keep me in low equanimity. 

Beside the obvious cognitive impairments, there is a floating anxiety with a very social component that presents itself in many situation. As an example, I need to fill some paperwork for the government and the mental confusion, the difficulties to recall what I am supposed to do, mix with that anxiety. I could have imagery of myself talking to some obtuse bureaucrat over the phone and there is some sub-conscious blockage going on. I feel a very deep frustration with any form of bureaucracy and it seems to be caused by a mix of all that.
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Nikolai , modified 8 Years ago at 7/30/14 10:03 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 7/30/14 10:03 PM

RE: Have you found ways to deal with cognitive side effects of the stages?

Posts: 1648 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Developing acceptance of and curiosity towards the side effects helped me as I seemed to have no choice in the matter. 
I hear hear ya concerning the forgetfulness in the 11th nana. Never worked out how to stop it. 

http://thehamiltonproject.blogspot.com.au/2010/12/from-equanimity-to-stream-entry.html?m=1
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Simon T, modified 8 Years ago at 7/30/14 10:15 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 7/30/14 10:15 PM

RE: Have you found ways to deal with cognitive side effects of the stages?

Posts: 383 Join Date: 9/13/11 Recent Posts
Nikolai .:
Developing acceptance of and curiosity towards the side effects helped me as I seemed to have no choice in the matter. 
I hear hear ya concerning the forgetfulness in the 11th nana. Never worked out how to stop it. 

http://thehamiltonproject.blogspot.com.au/2010/12/from-equanimity-to-stream-entry.html?m=1

The link to the podcast is dead. emoticon
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago at 7/30/14 10:50 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 7/30/14 10:46 PM

RE: Have you found ways to deal with cognitive side effects of the stages?

Posts: 1656 Join Date: 5/18/10 Recent Posts
I did remember the equanimity fog but I kept practicing through that and memory came back.  I don't know if it's something you have to work through but I did notice that when I let go of aversion to a wandering mind things improved. I reminded myself that if the mind wanders and I notice it then I'm already back.  The extra aversion wasn't necessary and it wasn't a "self" bringing the mind back.  This smoothed out the experience, then I went into a bad dark night, and then it returned to smooth again.  I found that thoughts were much more integrated and they felt less separate.  Any aversion creates a sense of separation.  Thoughts rarely hurt anymore.  Suddenly when thinking is allowed memory is not a problem.

http://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/20/talk/14052/

Right now when I go to work I just do work.  I also like to check and re-check my work so that I hand in something with fewer or no mistakes.

If you have trouble with bureaucracy (AKA people) then I would practice some metta before you get back.  Start including people that may seem difficult right away so the right intentions appear when there are challenges with those people.

I hope that helps.
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tom moylan, modified 8 Years ago at 7/31/14 6:37 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 7/31/14 6:37 AM

RE: Have you found ways to deal with cognitive side effects of the stages?

Posts: 896 Join Date: 3/7/11 Recent Posts
howdy simon,
i hear you.  both from the cognitive angle and from the distopic thought-stream one.

i too work in IT in a pretty stress driven environment and have spent the past couple of years dealing with apathy issues, motivation issues, pointlessness issues, burocaratophobia issues as well as simply being unable to remember the fundamental basics of certain diverse projects i'm working on.

the cognitive stuff peaks and valleys as do the motivational themes, much in the way of manic depressive behaviour.  my simpleton method is simply to acknowlege those extreme tendencies and to try to supress the wide ends of the spectrum (as suggested in MCTB : not firing off vitriolic emails to the boss...but also not taking on complex projects in the excitement of a manic phase)

the burocratophobia is, for my money, seeing clearly.  my typical cycle runs something like this:  i get some kind of notice that some burocratic box is not checked or some fine or unwanted service must be paid for, anger arises, anger driven strategies arise, helplessness arises then acceptance.

so, any advice i could give you would be typical and you could give it to yourself.  i just wanted to empathize a little.

thanks for your help in past posts and take a deep breath.

cheers

tom
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katy steger,thru11615 with thanks, modified 8 Years ago at 7/31/14 9:12 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 7/31/14 9:09 PM

RE: Have you found ways to deal with cognitive side effects of the stages?

Posts: 1740 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
Hi Simon,

I like the replies so far.

Yes, some of what I had memorized in this meditative training went to zero-- those things that no longer seemed to have value my mind just let go off and I was not sorry to lose that. Some of those things I had kept in memory as pride or defense (facts used to wow or silence or champion-- ridiculous : ) and so that way of memorizing I am glad was deflated. It's a waste of mind and life to use memory like that, to me.

One thing that reigns in my mind from an overly wide state that is diffuse and open, is to follow gently the exhale and the cessation of breathing at the base of the exhale. This is a very calming place to me. Following the exhale and the cessation of exhalation, then I can see how the inhalation is usually where the excitement, or the story-making, or the plans-making, or the too-wide mind-making is happening. The exhale and the cessation of breath is for me an effective source for calming and focusing and learning (or entering fourth jhana if that's the project du jour).

Now I also see when I learn something that I have associated with the learning (the memory) with sensible values, too. I have a basic convinction in the memorization for that which is being learned. E.g., when I consider learning IT things, it's because I've associated IT learning with something that has ethical value to me, like, Internet of Things and wilderness/wildlife conservation, etc.

Thanks for the post and thanks to the repliers so far. A nice topic, I think, about the way dissociative "airy"  mental retreating/"sprawl withdrawl" happens instead of the unification of mind in equanimity.
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Noting Monkey, modified 8 Years ago at 7/31/14 9:56 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 7/31/14 9:56 PM

RE: Have you found ways to deal with cognitive side effects of the stages?

Posts: 48 Join Date: 7/24/11 Recent Posts
I deal with the same sometimes. It is quiet easy if am on my own and I find even funny the memory problems and can give a laugh.
It is also good to make a short reflection on the Anatta nature. There is no controll the only chance is to accept the effects.
This anatta inquire can take some preassure away as you remind yourself that what is happening is actually not "your" fault. This is the way things are. 
But in work environment this is not so easy. The worst thing of course to get lost in the worry which comes after the event happend. 
Yes breath can help as always and avoiding to follow the negativ thoughts. 

So I also just wanted to show empathy as I am also in the same situation (going back to work after a longer break etc.) and I also have problem to accept the stuff sometimes and get frustrated...

NM
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Simon T, modified 8 Years ago at 8/8/14 1:06 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 8/8/14 1:06 PM

RE: Have you found ways to deal with cognitive side effects of the stages?

Posts: 383 Join Date: 9/13/11 Recent Posts
Noting Monkey:
I deal with the same sometimes. It is quiet easy if am on my own and I find even funny the memory problems and can give a laugh.
It is also good to make a short reflection on the Anatta nature. There is no controll the only chance is to accept the effects.
This anatta inquire can take some preassure away as you remind yourself that what is happening is actually not "your" fault. This is the way things are. 
But in work environment this is not so easy. The worst thing of course to get lost in the worry which comes after the event happend. 
Yes breath can help as always and avoiding to follow the negativ thoughts. 

So I also just wanted to show empathy as I am also in the same situation (going back to work after a longer break etc.) and I also have problem to accept the stuff sometimes and get frustrated...

NM


You make a good point about the guilt factor. I had to work on that quite a bit and I'm still forced to work on it. As a layperson having his life crumble and bearing the judgement of others, it's a lot of pressure to handle. It make social interaction even harder and navigate the complexity of modern life become sometimes near impossible. 

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