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Dealing with the Dark Night

Are insight practices safe and appropriate now?

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Are insight practices safe and appropriate now? junglist 2/9/17 5:07 PM
RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now? Daniel M. Ingram 2/9/17 5:45 PM
RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now? shargrol 2/9/17 7:39 PM
RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now? junglist 2/12/17 2:35 PM
RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now? Daniel M. Ingram 2/12/17 3:22 PM
RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now? junglist 2/12/17 3:40 PM
RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now? J C 2/12/17 3:34 PM
RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now? junglist 2/12/17 4:38 PM
RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now? Daniel M. Ingram 2/12/17 5:21 PM
RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now? junglist 2/13/17 3:48 AM
RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now? Daniel M. Ingram 2/13/17 9:39 PM
RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now? ivory 2/14/17 11:52 PM
RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now? junglist 2/15/17 5:23 AM
RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now? Daniel M. Ingram 2/12/17 6:46 PM
RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now? junglist 2/13/17 4:18 AM
RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now? Dream Walker 2/13/17 4:55 AM
RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now? Daniel M. Ingram 2/13/17 12:17 PM
RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now? svmonk 2/13/17 9:06 PM
RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now? junglist 4/28/17 2:46 PM
RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now? shargrol 4/30/17 6:38 AM
RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now? junglist 4/30/17 9:33 AM
RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now? shargrol 4/30/17 11:23 AM
RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now? junglist 4/30/17 3:11 PM
RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now? Bruno Loff 2/10/17 12:46 PM
RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now? junglist 2/12/17 2:48 PM
RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now? Bernardo V. 2/13/17 8:18 PM
RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now? Bernardo V. 2/14/17 7:51 AM
RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now? Daniel M. Ingram 2/14/17 5:48 PM
RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now? junglist 2/15/17 4:28 AM
RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now? Eelco ten Have 2/15/17 6:22 AM
RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now? Bernardo V. 2/15/17 6:32 AM
RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now? Bruno Loff 2/15/17 3:45 AM
RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now? Banned For waht? 2/16/17 6:09 AM
RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now? bernd the broter 2/17/17 2:43 PM
Hello everyone,
I would like to ask the more experienced among you:
I've been reading MCTB and felt very encouraged to do some insight practice, but then I got to the description of the vipassana stages and the Dark Night, which seemed to attempt to strike the fear of hellfire and brimstone into me to stop me from going any further. 

I have been managing to do daily morning practice for an hour, as well as whatever noting/noticing practice I can do while going about my daily business. I also have a wife, who often/occasionally has health problems and a daughter, as well as a freelance job that is very flexible. I generally feel like a positive, happy, humorous individual, occasionally/often messy, rather stable psychologically, although my family can do my head in sometimes since my wife's situation makes things difficult. I will not be able to do any retreats at all in the foreseeable future.

My question is: will the dark night, quote, "fuck my life up", as well as that of the others around me? My curiosity is drawing me towards insight practices, but when you read a phrase like "STAY THE FUCK OUT OF THE DARK NIGHT" in a book about holy stuff by someone who knows a whole lot, it makes you have second thoughts. What I understand from the descriptions of the realisations that cause people problems don't really seem like such terrible things, but you never know. 

Opinions anyone?
Thank you!

RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now?
Answer
2/9/17 5:45 PM as a reply to junglist.
Hey, reasonable question.

First, take that sentence in context, which says, basically, if you are the sort of person who has basically no meta-cognitive capacity, insight, or ego-strength in the classical psychological sense around your emotions and reactions to them, then the Dark Night is not for you.

Second, if you are reading my book, hanging out on forums like this one, and asking that questions, chances are pretty high that you are above the A&P already somehow and just may not recognize it.

Third, stories abound on this forum of people reporting the Dark Night fucking up their life. In fact, were it not for the Dark Night fucking up people's lives, I would probably have about 80% less emails to answer, and there would probably a lot less activity here. It can be trouble, but great things happen out beyond it, and it can teach profoudly useful lessons for those who have their basic shit together and can follow instructions and be reasonable people in the face of emotional complexity.

Fourth, find a good meditation teacher if you possibly can, or cultivate a network of friends who already know the territory well, as this makes all of it much easier Dark Night or no.

Hope that helps!

Daniel

RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now?
Answer
2/9/17 7:39 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Well said.

RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now?
Answer
2/10/17 12:46 PM as a reply to junglist.
There is no way to assure you that insight practices will be safe. To the extent that difficult consequences may follow, and that may cause difficulty in a period in your life when your responsibilities preclude that possibility, then it could be that insight practice is not appropriate.

That said, the suffering in the dark night is not arbitrary. I.e. its real stuff coming to the surface that you carry along with you all the time. So understanding this suffering and liberating yourself from it can really benefit your life... or I should rather say, really did mine.

But that kind of reward carries some risk with it. I almost gave up on my PhD, and would've done so if my advisor hadn't convinced me to do a temporary leave instead. I did a retreat and got stream entry, so I got back into the job. Lucky me, for some people it takes much longer.

No-one can give you warantees of any kind, and if someone does, then treat them with suspicion. It's your life and your responsibility.

Also, you learn to manage DN, e.g. by recognizing when you're in it and vowing to never make any important decision during that stage.

RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now?
Answer
2/12/17 2:35 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hey Daniel,

Blimey, thanks! I hoped someone with experience would answer, I never expected it would be someone with all of it, so to speak. It's an honour.

First, cool, that's what I thought/hoped, just had the concern of what degree the context of that sentence was my context.

Second, that's a tricky one - if I have ever experienced an A&P event, it was probably a modest one, not quite the memorable fireworks and spiritual-leader trip I've read about.

Third, thanks! I have luckily not got to the stage where I might fill your inbox with dark and desperate emails.

Fourth, I am giving much consideration at the moment to finding a good meditation teacher, although I would only be able to do something via Skype, if that's even possible, and I've no idea how I would go about finding one. However, thanks to your book, interviews and the like, among other sources, I have found I have been making some progress recently.

Fifth, thanks very much! Yes it did help!

RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now?
Answer
2/12/17 2:48 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Hi Bruno,

Thanks very much for your post, I really appreciate it and its certainly all very helpful.

Funny about the PhD, I've actually just started a "holiday semester" on my master's following the suggestion of my professor, not because of DN issues, more because of family/time/work commitments and difficulties. I would have also probably quit. Just not to cause any worry, I had discussed it with several people other than myself beforehand!

RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now?
Answer
2/12/17 3:22 PM as a reply to junglist.
Dear Junglist,

Glad that was helpful.

Not all A&P events blow people's doors off. My smallest and shortest lasted all of a minute or two, starting with some unusually rapid attention alternating between the sense of the observer and the sense of what was observing that, culminating with a quick little non-blissful but somewhat tingly with the zap down own my spine. No lights. No bliss. No vivid dreams. That was the whole thing. It darknighted me anyway.

As to online teachers, depends on your resources. Where are you located?

Daniel

RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now?
Answer
2/12/17 3:34 PM as a reply to junglist.
Ron Crouch at Aloha Dharma does skype sessions and was amazingly helpful getting me to arahat.

Going on this journey, in particular the few months before reaching arahat, were an incredibly difficult time for me. I lost my life partner and love of my life, in part due to taking out the DN on her, and pushed away other close friends as well, and I wish I could have handled it better.

That said, there isn't really a decision to be made here. This stuff isn't really optional. If you've gotta get the arrow out, you've gotta get the arrow out - and you clearly do - and warnings aren't gonna do shit. The thing wants to free itself. That's why I'm skeptical of all the warnings and hesitancy around teaching "mindfulness" and telling people to meditate and note.

RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now?
Answer
2/12/17 3:40 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hey Daniel,

That's interesting - I think whether or not I've A&Peed before, the discussion and contemplation seems to make me more conscious of what is or might be going on, what to look for and investigate in general, not just A&P and DN.

I live over the pond in Berlin!

RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now?
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2/12/17 4:38 PM as a reply to J C.
Hey J C,

Thank you so much for that, so sorry to hear you had to go through that. Seems like all thoughts and advice are pointing in the same direction on this them.

I had a look Ron Crouch's site, he's not taking anyone new unfortunately. Never mind ay.

RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now?
Answer
2/12/17 5:21 PM as a reply to junglist.
MIght get in touch with Florian: can PM him in the messages area. He is in Berlin and is a good guy with insight.

RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now?
Answer
2/12/17 6:46 PM as a reply to J C.
Oh, yeah, while we are on the subject of warnings: total death count I personally know of so far likely directly related to the Dark Night: two.

Number of people I personally know (have talked with or know in person, not just internet forum buddies) who have demolished jobs, relationships, studies, friendships, finances, health and the like most directly attributable to the Dark Night: uncountable hundreds.

I get your point about the arrow. I felt the same way with a deep burning passion.

That said, try to understand my point about the warnings.

Put yourself out there on the web explicitly as an insight teacher who will talk about the dark side of insight practice for 20 years, and see who shows up and what they report they are going through, and you will understand why the warnings are there.

RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now?
Answer
2/13/17 3:48 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
MIght get in touch with Florian: can PM him in the messages area. He is in Berlin and is a good guy with insight.

Cool, thanks, there seem to be a fair few Florians here from what I can see though (and plenty more in Berlin), any ideas which one he might be?

RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now?
Answer
2/13/17 4:18 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
Oh, yeah, while we are on the subject of warnings: total death count I personally know of so far likely directly related to the Dark Night: two.

Number of people I personally know (have talked with or know in person, not just internet forum buddies) who have demolished jobs, relationships, studies, friendships, finances, health and the like most directly attributable to the Dark Night: uncountable hundreds.

That's some heavy shit.

Just to make sure my understanding is clear: this means that although A&P followed by Dark Night is said to happen without insight practices, the above statistics imply that at least a lot of these people did insight practices and suffered major difficulties. That sounds statistically significant to me to some degree, although I suppose it's not possible to predict if people with a tendency to suffer majorly in Dark Night have a tendency to do insight practices (for which reason would suggest that this would probably not be a deciding factor for me if I am experiencing something of this tendency). 

I wonder if it might be interesting to produce an informed consent form/patient information sheet/patient questionnaire style document, or even if one exists already, that could assess the risk-benefit scenario for would-be insight meditators in order to prescribe the most appropriate technique. I guess that would be your area of expertise Daniel. I'm far from having any direct contact and experience with this, but I get the feeling from what I've read that many insight meditators could have benefitted from concentration meditation to be able to handle their situation more clearly. Extending the arrow analogy, the arrow's got to come out, but you can't just pull it out or you risk damaging tissue and vital organs on the way out, and bleeding to death. Again that'd be your area of expertise though Daniel. Apart from that, directly following great yearnings hasn't always been known to produce skillful results.

RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now?
Answer
2/13/17 4:55 AM as a reply to junglist.
junglist:
but I get the feeling from what I've read that many insight meditators could have benefitted from concentration meditation to be able to handle their situation more clearly.

Yes, this is endlessly written over and over that concentration vs "dry insight" will somehow mitigate the dark night effects.
Unfortunately there is little to no hard data to support this. There are a lot of opinions and doctrinal camps that like to endlessly debate this but it would be more interesting to count which camp actually gets paths accordingly and within what time frame.....again little but anecdotal testimonies.
It also ignores the fact that teachers of concentration also warn of "destabilizing" effects.
Most people also tend to ignore that there is no 'pure' concentration without insight occurring and no insight practices without concentration occurring. There seems to be a constellation of characteristics that make the dark night such as it is for each individual.

Speaking of anecdotal testimonies, I do have hope to hear from a bunch of people who are following Culidasa's program from his book 'The Mind Illuminated' to find out what happens. It should be interesting.
~D

RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now?
Answer
2/13/17 12:17 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
I agree about Culadasa: will see how Dark Night free they end up being, though, in all likelihood, many will end up in his camp because they crossed the A&P and then found him rather than the other way around.

As to informed consent: I do my best to put it right in there with the maps and instructions so people can make their own choices, but again, most find my stuff post A&P rather than before it, so they are already in it most of the time by the time they are pouring through ponderous advanced technical manuals of meditation. It would be sort of like giving consent to go through adolescence, which is known to be taxing and emotionally risky, but, consent or no, it generally happens anyway. Pregnancy is similar: plenty try to prevent it and end up pregnant anyway, and it is definitely not risk-free. Again, on the positive side, just as adolescence and pregnancy can lead to very good outcomes, growth, maturation, and the like, just so with the Dark Night insight stages, as they can and often do provide important insights about parts of our minds and hearts that we otherwise would be unlikely to see that clearly.

As to concentration, Dream Walker is spot on, and the wet vs dry schools have neither proven they are more side-effect free than the others. That said, there are clearly those who run too dry and fry themselves, as plenty of threads here at the DhO attest, and adding more jhana when insight gets to be too much has chilled a number of them out, so it is one possible strategy, albeit not side-effect free either, as jhana can active all sorts of weird experiences that themselves can be confusing, particularly the odder end of powers territory.

RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now?
Answer
2/13/17 8:18 PM as a reply to junglist.
Junglist,

I think it is safe to say that insight practices will never be safe and devoid of mental and emotional suffering.

Daniel and others mentioned a number of possibilities to go about it: dry insight and wet insight.

I chose the first and, like yourself, I was very worried about dark nights. So, not wanting to be stuck in it for any second longer than necessary, I worked very hard to attain stream-entry and arahatship as fast as humanly possible. I went all the way from square zero to the very end (arahatship) in less than two years.

While this may sound like a good plan - and, in deed, as far as Dark Nights are concerned, I spent very little time stuck in them, with the exception of my whole first year of practice (due to the fact that I crossed the A&P while on a ayahuasca, with no previous meditation experience whatsoever) - there were consequences. After two years practicing anything from 3hrs. to 24 hrs. a day, everyday, I had attained insights, but was left with a huge amount of content and experiences to integrate.

That was almost as hard to do as getting insight in the first place and it certainly took a longer time (approximately 6 years). I had to go through a variety of therapies and, even so, depression ensued. My master degree, which should have lasted 2 yrs. ended up taking me 5 yrs. and only now I am starting my Phd (which I should be finishing if had managed things better in the past).

I think your question is a important and worthwhile one.

Do I regret going about meditation practice the way I did? No. Would I have done it differently? Perhaps, but probably not. Would I like to go through it again? Hell, no. Couldn’t be happier to be done with it.

If you have crossed the A&P already - which is likely, since very few people go around poking hardcore meditation forums without having done so - the best you can do is to inform and prepare yourself. If you haven’t (crossed the A&P), well, then you might have a say in all of this. But I will also say this: all the suffering I experienced while meditating never came even close to being sick with lyme's disease or dengue fever. So don't think that anything you will experiece (or have experienced on a DN or due to meditation) comes even close to the worst life could throw at you. It isn't.

RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now?
Answer
2/13/17 9:06 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Right, well, I can attest from personal experience that concentration is no panacea. I ended up in the psychiatric ward of the local hospital during a jhana retreat in 2011. That said, I think turning the focus to concentration in daily practice after an A&P or path does help to control Dark Night-style negative side effects.

Regarding consent, actually, I don't think a formal consent form or anything like that is needed. Teachers just have to spend some time talking now and then about potential negative outcomes, simply be honest and transparent about it. Especially, they need to speak about their own personal experience with Dark Night since that is certainly the most compelling. And it would also help to have psychotherapists and psychologists who understand and are trained in meditation psychology (and perhaps have even gone through a Dark Night or Reobservation phase themselves) that can step in and help students who are having difficulty. I think every teacher would say and I certainly would attest to the value of the practice, even given the difficulties. Some of the Asian traditions have various containers to help keep folks oriented when they are in trouble. The trick is to not end up destroying your everyday life when you're having difficulty.

             

RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now?
Answer
2/13/17 9:39 PM as a reply to junglist.
Which Florian? Florian Weps.

Dengue: totally sucked, I agree. Still, when I had Dengue, even if I wanted to kill myself, I would have been to weak to do so. Just standing took every last ounce of energy I had. Unfortunately, the Dark Night is not like that for an unlucky few: lots of energy, lots of negativity, lots of crazy: bad combination.

RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now?
Answer
2/14/17 7:51 AM as a reply to Bernardo V..
By the way, there are really good mahasi-style teachers in Germany.
In Bayern there is a center called Dhammacari and, if I remember correctly, you can get instructions from the teachers on the telephone - or go there to practice, of course.

RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now?
Answer
2/14/17 5:48 PM as a reply to Bernardo V..
Care to go to the wiki, get the retreat center review form, and fill it out and post it regarding the center in Germany? Always helpful.

RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now?
Answer
2/14/17 11:52 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
lots of energy, lots of negativity, lots of crazy: bad combination.


I was diagnosed with with bipolar with extremely rapid cycles. Not a fun time.

RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now?
Answer
2/15/17 3:45 AM as a reply to Bernardo V..
Bernardo V.:
Junglist,

I think it is safe to say that insight practices will never be safe and devoid of mental and emotional suffering. 


Not really bro emoticon Some people sit back, take a little nap, and that's it emoticon

RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now?
Answer
2/15/17 4:28 AM as a reply to Bernardo V..
Bernardo V.:
By the way, there are really good mahasi-style teachers in Germany.
In Bayern there is a center called Dhammacari and, if I remember correctly, you can get instructions from the teachers on the telephone - or go there to practice, of course.
I had a look at the website, it looks badass. Sounds like somewhere I would definitely go as soon as, if ever, I get the chance. 
I didn't realise it could get as hardcore as that outside becoming a monk.

RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now?
Answer
2/15/17 5:23 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
Which Florian? Florian Weps.

Dengue: totally sucked, I agree. Still, when I had Dengue, even if I wanted to kill myself, I would have been to weak to do so. Just standing took every last ounce of energy I had. Unfortunately, the Dark Night is not like that for an unlucky few: lots of energy, lots of negativity, lots of crazy: bad combination.

So it sounds like the conclusion is in my case is to go for it, with some support.

I'm quite happy to go through the darkness if it only affects me, I'm only concerned that I have to be sure my wife and child won't be negatively affected, and to be able to bear the difficulties they present is one of the reasons for my practice. I feel quietly confident, which me gives the concern of fooling myself. Hope not to be back here in search of some anti-bleed-through advice at some point too soon.

Thank you everyone for all your help!

RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now?
Answer
2/15/17 6:22 AM as a reply to junglist.
junglist:
Bernardo V.:
By the way, there are really good mahasi-style teachers in Germany.
In Bayern there is a center called Dhammacari and, if I remember correctly, you can get instructions from the teachers on the telephone - or go there to practice, of course.
I had a look at the website, it looks badass. Sounds like somewhere I would definitely go as soon as, if ever, I get the chance. 
I didn't realise it could get as hardcore as that outside becoming a monk.
I can't recomend the center highly enough.
I went there for their 15 day basic course back in early 2014. Don't be fooled though there's little basic about it. Maybe that at first you swap walking and sitting meditation more often working up from 20 minutues each to an hour each continuesly.

I wrote about it here.

And here is the wiki entry. There's a few more written accounts of people spending time there..

RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now?
Answer
2/15/17 6:32 AM as a reply to junglist.
junglist:
Bernardo V.:
By the way, there are really good mahasi-style teachers in Germany.
In Bayern there is a center called Dhammacari and, if I remember correctly, you can get instructions from the teachers on the telephone - or go there to practice, of course.
I had a look at the website, it looks badass. Sounds like somewhere I would definitely go as soon as, if ever, I get the chance. 
I didn't realise it could get as hardcore as that outside becoming a monk.

This is the center I reccomend to anyone looking for mahasi-style practice and/or stream-entry.
Dana-based, good food, confortable accomodations, relatively silent, very few distractions and, most importantly, hardcore insight-oriented teachings.
In your case it is also relatively close to home. A 5-hour train ride away, if I remember correctly.

Daniel M. Ingram:
Care to go to the wiki, get the
retreat center review form, and fill it out and post it regarding the
center in Germany? Always helpful.

Already did. About 6-7 years ago!
http://www.dharmaoverground.org/dharma-wiki/-/wiki/Main/Dhammacari+Vipassana+Meditatioszentrum
I should probably correct it for spelling mistakes though.

Bruno Loff:
Bernardo V.:
Junglist,

I think it is safe to say that insight practices will never be safe and devoid of mental and emotional suffering. 


Not really bro emoticonSome people sit back, take a little nap, and that's it emoticon

Ah, wouldn't it be wonderful? But I guess you are right. If I remember correctly, the Buddha says something about the path being either a. quick and pleasant, b. long and pleasant, c. quick and painful, d. long and painful. In my case, as you can imagine, it was rather painful (but fortunately also quick). Still, I wouldn't ever call insight practices safe. Ehehe

RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now?
Answer
2/16/17 6:09 AM as a reply to junglist.
hmm if you can mediate 1 hour it is enough that you start feeling pain and urges to move your body. Keep on absorbing these urges. Defeat cloud of boredom etc etc.
Absorbing movements in heart; feelings is hard aswell.

There is no point fearing dark night, it doesn't exist. It is your weakness and cowardness and unability not to whine etc etc this will make up dark night..

RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now?
Answer
2/17/17 2:43 PM as a reply to junglist.
I'm genuinely puzzled why the answer to "I'm scared about dark night" is, most times, either "do more dry insight to get through it as fast as possible" or "do jhana first because then stuff is easier."

In my books, there is another answer which is both very safe and very feasible for most people:
Practice brahmaviharas.
Those have a very positive effect even if you don't get high concentration.
(On the other hand, if you're scared of high concentration, it is easily possible to practice brahmaviharas in a low to no-concentration way.)

Practicing those will make your life better, gradually and reliably.
It's true that they also have easier and harder periods, but those are MUCH easier than dry-insight dark nights.

So, in my opinion, prior to starting insight practice, everyone should go and practice them brahmaviharaz for some hundred hours.
Even if it's not necessary (for most people, DN is no big deal), you probably won't regret it, for they have their own benefits, and I can't envision myself ever again dropping them completely.
Then, when you start dry insight and DN wants to fuck up your life, simply stop and go back to brahmaviharas again for as long as is necessary.

One note about Dhammacari: the center is excellent. (And very intense.)
Noting centers probably don't get better than that.
On the other hand, they are also rather narrow-minded.
You'll get their one technique with little to no deviation.
And nothing else.
If you run into problems there, you can expect further guidance, also by telephone.
But only about how you can still apply their technique.

Edit: I just realized that you said you couldn't do retreats.
It may not be possible to get introductory instructions from Dhammacari by telephone alone (I'm not sure)
but there's another option:
go there for 1-3 days to get a good introduction (I guess a long weekend should be possible?), then get further instruction by telephone.

RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now?
Answer
4/28/17 2:46 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hey all,
Just a quick update and thanks for your suggestions a couple of months ago:
I have been trying to do insight practices, basically noting, for quite a while now, and I think it's reasonable to say that I have only found positive effects, touch wood. I don't know about or have enough confidence with the maps to really say, but I'm feeling really quite equanimous these days. The fears of causing trouble to my family have resulted in quite the reverse, and I have gained an ability to observe and handle often emotional and difficult situations quite skilfully, if I do say so myself. Which I'm very pleased with, naturally. I'm still far from perfect of course. 
It's possible there was some dukkha ñana occasions, but I never felt this was caused by my meditation practice, but appeared in life, presenting me with valuable opportunities to learn.
Many thanks to all here at DhO.

RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now?
Answer
4/30/17 6:38 AM as a reply to junglist.
That's great!

Just in terms of normal human development... the general pattern seems to be:

1) increased awareness and problems are more in context and smaller - yay!
2) increased awareness now we start noticing subtler problems -- boo!
3) increased awareness now sees subltlier problem in context and they are even smaller -- yay!
etc.

It can make life a lot easier to just simply know that there are ups in downs, both in conventional external life as well as internal subjective experience. Life and meditation is an adventure.

Hope that helps and best wishes!

RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now?
Answer
4/30/17 9:33 AM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:
That's great!

Just in terms of normal human development... the general pattern seems to be:

1) increased awareness and problems are more in context and smaller - yay!
2) increased awareness now we start noticing subtler problems -- boo!
3) increased awareness now sees subltlier problem in context and they are even smaller -- yay!
etc.

It can make life a lot easier to just simply know that there are ups in downs, both in conventional external life as well as internal subjective experience. Life and meditation is an adventure.

Hope that helps and best wishes!
I think this describes my situation exactly, as well as many others' I'm sure. thanks shargrol! 

Curiously I find myself solutions much more clearly and quickly than before, and I've noticed myself seeing several sides to a situation and then seeing a solution arise quite automatically. Also, since my mood is good, I'm generally able to carry out more demanding solutions.

Not sure to what extent I've got to 2) yet though, but little "boos" seem easier to spot and overcome. I was just thinking today that I should expect for some unexpected "booness" though, things have a tendency not to last, don't they... 

RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now?
Answer
4/30/17 11:23 AM as a reply to junglist.
emoticon

definitely expect some unexpected "booness", it's first noble truth after all!

but that said, it is a wonderful relief to have the problems becomes smaller and smaller. They never fully and completely go away, but we tend to get "better" problems. It's sort of like being promoted at work, still problems, but better problems.

 

RE: Are insight practices safe and appropriate now?
Answer
4/30/17 3:11 PM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:
emoticon

definitely expect some unexpected "booness", it's first noble truth after all!

but that said, it is a wonderful relief to have the problems becomes smaller and smaller. They never fully and completely go away, but we tend to get "better" problems. It's sort of like being promoted at work, still problems, but better problems.

 
Hmm, thinking about it more, I might be a good idea to start getting a bit concerned – it's possible that I crossed the A&P three times in the last month, with the last time with heavy vibrations a couple of days ago just pausing for a while when I noticing some things going on my hand right where I was sitting at the computer. 

It's not quite clear for me where I might be on the maps and to what extent they might apply to my situation, but maybe I should make preparations to dark out then.