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Dealing with the Dark Night

Rapid escape from dark night?

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Rapid escape from dark night?
Answer
12/28/16 4:38 AM
I'm stuck in some heavy duty fear/disgust stage. Intense crawling restless icky agitated gross sensations all over my body. They're pretty much permanently there throughout the day unless I vipasanna super hard to dissolve them. Also bad sleep and pathetic cloudy mental function.

It's okay. But in 2 days I have something important and really need to function mentally + feel pretty good. Past experiences with these stages is that people can strongly pick up on it and it's really hard to be not to bleed out or give poor impressions (people have commented stuff like I seem uncomfortable). I'd like to perform a rapid dark night escape.

I've tried intense Metta but right now I can't find or generate positive feelings. What to do?

What do you do when you really need to perform?

RE: Rapid escape from dark night?
Answer
12/28/16 6:06 AM as a reply to Doctor Avocado.
First of all, I must say: I don't know.

If it was me, I would just focus on enjoying the next two days. I would do the things I enjoy and make me feel grounded and calm. Cleaning up my place, washing clothes, cleaning my body and maybe a haircut, slowly shopping for groceries, taking the time to prepare healthy and delicious and simple food, going for walks outside, seeing a movie that would interest me and get me out of my own normal world and thinking patterns, giving to charity or just doing some good like donating things I don't need, hanging out with friends, going to a bar and enjoying a drink without getting wasted, going outside at night and watching the stars or in the city watching the nightlife, waking up early and going to breakfast at a diner, going for a long drive or commute on a train/bus... that sort of thing. Basically stop practicing and simply and without greed let yourself enjoy the mundane pleasures of being alive. Of course, if there is work or school or family obligations, do those things too. Calm and responsible, calm and content.

I would also accept that there is never a good time to practice and the future is uncertain, so making progress in this life is important for me. So ultimately, if I'm meant to go through this stage now, then that's my karma and I will do the best I can under these conditions.

Good luck!

RE: Rapid escape from dark night?
Answer
12/28/16 9:27 AM as a reply to Doctor Avocado.
I have the solution!  It's called gladdening the mind.  You have to do it relentlessly off cushion, for two days straight: "as I inhale, I breathe in joy", "as I exhale, I breathe out letting go."  You play with mental talk & mental image.  By engaging see in, hear in & feel out, in a continuous, purely positive manner, it temporarily eliminates dukkha nana symptoms.

RE: Rapid escape from dark night?
Answer
12/28/16 10:42 AM as a reply to Doctor Avocado.
I strongly support the suggestions already made by shargrol and noah, which are essentially the same -- do what makes you feel better, more solid, more in tune with your immediate surroundings and the joy of just being.

RE: Rapid escape from dark night?
Answer
12/29/16 4:17 AM as a reply to Doctor Avocado.
I get overwhelmed by the amount of suffering in the world.  The sheer mass and volume of it, the history, the thousands of lifetimes of suffering is frightening, sadenning and shocking to me.  The word "unsatisfactory" is grossly inadequate to describe what it means to be human.  It seems so wrong that we should suffer at all.  What is it that decided this planet and its inhabitants should be here now... like this?  We didn't make the decision ourselves.

I've found self-compassion can help.  https://www.buzzfeed.com/macmcclelland/not-feeling-sad-about-feeling-sad#.wxaNg6087

RE: Rapid escape from dark night?
Answer
12/29/16 6:09 AM as a reply to Doctor Avocado.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autonomous_sensory_meridian_response
Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) is a euphoric experience characterized by a static-like or tingling sensation on the skin that typically begins on the scalp and moves down the back of the neck and upper spine, precipitating relaxation. It has been compared with auditory-tactile synesthesia.[1][2] Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) signifies the subjective experience of 'low-grade euphoria' characterized by 'a combination of positive feelings, relaxation, and a distinct static-like tingling sensation on the skin'. It typically begins 'on the scalp' before moving 'down the spine' to the base of the neck, sometimes spreading 'to the back, arms and legs as intensity increases', most commonly triggered by specific acoustic, visual and digital media stimuli, and less commonly by intentional attentional control.[3][4]


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RE: Rapid escape from dark night?
Answer
12/30/16 7:02 AM as a reply to Doctor Avocado.
My suggestions:

0) Do 10-20mins (or more) of very light and relaxing yoga or stretching before the sit

Sit (preferably morning and evening for at least 20 minutes, but for as long as you find useful):

1) If you consider yourself a dharma practitioner, take refuge again in Triple Gem
2) Spend 5-10 minutes doing very slow and relaxed deep breathing, from the diaphragm, going as slow as possible, to help put the body and mind at ease. Start by emptying the diaphragm, then the chest, then pausing, then filling the diaphragm, then the chest, then emptying the chest, then emptying the diaphragm, and repeat the cycle in a relaxed and easy way that feels good. Very useful for the anxiety component of dark night.
2.1) If you feel so inclined, do some deep and slow chanting for 5-20 minutes; good seed syllables are Om, Ah, Hum (for example doing 6 long chants of either one of these) or the mantra "Om Ah Hum" or "Om Mani Padme Hum" in a repeated way, or sing along to a pre-recorded mantra.
3) Bring to mind any teachers or benefactors who have assisted you directly or indirectly in your life and/or spiritual practice, and make a heartfelt thank-you to them. Could also be mentors, employers, family, authors, friends, etc.
4) Take the 5 precepts again, and do your best to live by them for the rest of the day, particularly the vow to not harm yourself or others.
5) If any regret at harm you have caused to yourself or others arises, allow yourself to see it and make a strong resolve to not allow that harm to happen again. Get clear on the distinction between guilt and regret from dharma perspective (guilt is useless anger towards self, regret is useful resolve to change behaviour due to seeing harmful consequences).
5) Practice metta, sympathetic joy or compassion for the remainder of the session. Particularly in relation to the upcoming event and the people involved, if necessary.
6) Close by dedicating the merit in a heartfelt way.


Daily practices I find useful after sit:

• Find wholesome intelligent ways to gladden the mind during daily life, eg being in Nature, with supportive/kind animals or people, etc.
• Read some passages from an insightful dharma text about altruism/compassion, for example written-works by the 14th Dalai Lama, or similar lectures on Youtube.
• Practicing a text such as the Eight Verses of Thought Transformation or Metta Sutta can help a lot.
• Revise the 6 Paramis and check them against your current life.


7) Approach performance situation with attitude of compassion and wish to benefit others.

RE: Rapid escape from dark night?
Answer
12/30/16 2:41 PM as a reply to Doctor Avocado.
Wing Biddlebaum:


I've tried intense Metta but right now I can't find or generate positive feelings. What to do?

What do you do when you really need to perform?
Yeah, when you really need to perform (I like this expression, ha) shout PHET-syllable aloud for 108 times. Takes 1-2 minutes. When you shout each syllable it should be like firing a gun, really punching it. Not angrily but with sharp focus. See what happens

Some examples:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWT2zsrv3V8&index=29&list=PLqTm9fV9DGhtXvWzWyuaQ9IzbIbcpMlqm
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9vzkwXFzWw&list=PLqTm9fV9DGhtXvWzWyuaQ9IzbIbcpMlqm&index=33

Let us know how it went. All the best!

RE: Rapid escape from dark night?
Answer
1/20/17 7:53 AM as a reply to Doctor Avocado.
I totally agree with all the previous answers.
I just would like to add another perspective to what have been said up to now.
From your description, it really make me feel that there is an energetic nuisance that make you feel this oppression. This kind of energetic disturbance are related to what we call negative entity ("bad spirits" from the lower astral, similar to Petra in Buddhism).

Have you explore this way as well?