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Dealing with the Dark Night

What's being asked of you

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What's being asked of you
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2/15/17 12:39 AM
I wish someone would have told me this sooner...

All that's necessary to get out of dark night is to be a fully functioning human being.

Forget no-self for now.

You should be able to make and maintain friendships.

You should be able to function at a high level in school and work.

You should be engaging in hobbies instead of indulging in pointless distractions.

You should be taking care of your health (yes, you do have to give up addictions).

A big place of stuckness for me was confusion surrounding spiritual teachings and practices. I believe the same for many on this forum.

Fear and laziness is all that stands between you and beating this.

Meditation has nothing to do with it.

Stop avoiding your life. Confront it. Enjoy it. Excel in it.

That's what's being asked of you.

Good luck

RE: What's being asked of you
Answer
2/15/17 3:30 AM as a reply to ivory.
While in some sense that is true, the exact opposite is also true, i.e. all that's necessary to be a fully functioning human being is getting out of dark night.

And as you come out of it, slowly you regain the ability to engage in relationships, study and work, do exercise, etc.

That stuff, in turn, can help you move further out of the dark night.

Of all the stuff you mentioned, regaining physical health was for me the most powerful. Being in dark night in a period when one does 1h of exercise a day becomes a really tolerable experience, which vanishes within one or two weeks of doing so.

RE: What's being asked of you
Answer
2/15/17 9:07 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
The health factor was the biggest for me as wel but it wasn't exercise, I've always been active. I had to quit smoking and drinking.

And this is where I may have differed from others. After a series of losses I collapsed into a state of learned helplessness.

I had to work on all of the above to get moving again, especially shyness and laziness.

RE: What's being asked of you
Answer
2/15/17 12:28 PM as a reply to ivory.
I don't really find this helpful. Saying to someone who is depressed or in the DNs "you should be doing X, Y, Z, which you're not doing" is just discouraging and demotivating. Acceptance of reality is key here - so I think it's important to step back and say "hey, I'm depressed, feeling shitty, having trouble with my life, not doing X, Y, and Z, feeling bad about it, and feeling bad about feeling bad - and that's where I am right now, and that's ok."

It is true that behavioral interventions can help with depression. It's also true that depression makes behavioral interventions much more difficult, which is why therapy and meds are so helpful.

But in my experience, meditation is even more helpful than therapy and meds for getting out of a deep depression. This is especially true when dealing with the DNs. Just notice and accept your thoughts and reality.

RE: What's being asked of you
Answer
2/15/17 1:03 PM as a reply to J C.
In hind sight I can see how this would not be helpful for some.

I think one of the things overlooked is the fact that there's a spectrum.

In one of my first talks with a teacher she asked me, "Are you an overdoer or an underdoer?"

If you're stuck in the mud your first have to accept the reality and slow things down.

To get unstuck you do need to rock yourself out.

With depression you can't kick into hyperdrive but you can't just sit there.

RE: What's being asked of you
Answer
2/16/17 5:57 AM as a reply to ivory.
When you get onto path you get locked into it and go through changes within till there is a change what makes the DN over. You can't stop it yourself, all wholesome and unwholesome actions are not possible to do while in it..

read descriptions of jhanas.

RE: What's being asked of you
Answer
2/16/17 6:53 AM as a reply to ivory.
Ivory:

Fear and laziness is all that stands between you and beating this.

Meditation has nothing to do with it.

Stop avoiding your life. Confront it. Enjoy it. Excel in it.

That's what's being asked of you.

Good luck
This is true, but fear of doing work needs to be seen properly in terms of cause and effect to get out of it, but it's not really that easy. Meditating (paying attention with soothing and relaxing the body and mind of tension) allows us to confront life much more.

The Welcoming practice described by Rob Burbea in particular helped a lot. The lizard brain doesn't like routine and wants constant novelty and hates the present moment. If things feel like a bother it's because it's not welcomed enough and like inertia you need to consistently welcome and loosen tension enough to get the ball rolling and then you can just work normally until the next bother appears and you can smooth out your daily life more and face more things. Relax fabrication.

Not being present and being unintentional is typical of human nature as per the paper "The Unbearable Automaticity of Being" by Bargh and Chartrand. We have to be intentional enough so that our new habits (the unintentional portions of our mind based on prior practice and actions) both get congruent. Presence while you are acting, and extending the length of the prescence, enhances the separation between the self and other so you can exert on the environment. You'll notice the reduced need for social approval which reduces the need to avoid social disapproval. This allows important risk taking to take place which is a big part of learning. People do fear the consequences of risk taking and mistakes from the judgement of others and especially bosses at work where it can't be avoided. Fear is better used as a signal that the skills aren't there and then challenges that are appropriate to the skills need to be chosen instead.

Like the above post says you need to get through the stress resistance in your brain before you can function properly. Notice every time there's a bother and it's enough to stop you from acting and you see what you are dealing with.

RE: What's being asked of you
Answer
2/16/17 1:05 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
You're right on the money, Richard.

The reason I put emphasis on relationships, work, hobbies, and health commitments is that our core beliefs are illuminated by studying our relationship with the various aspects of life.

For example, the core belief "I'm weak" or "I'm incapable" is going to affect us in everything we do and will follow us everywhere we go.

Some say that acceptance is the key, but that’s no entirely accurate. You have to see through your core beliefs. You have to know that there isn’t a greener pasture because your challenges will follow you everywhere you go.

When we are confronted with challenges we can ask, "What am I believing right now." Pushing through challenges weakens the belief in the idea that limits us.

Dark night is like, "Core beliefs gone wild."

There may be ways to muscle though dark night, but for me it lifted once I knew myself on a very deep level.

Richard Zen:
Meditating (paying attention with soothing and relaxing the body and mind of tension) allows us to confront life much more.


Yes, it slows thought down enough so you're not bombarded with negative emotions and you can see clearly.

Richard Zen:
You'll notice the reduced need for social approval which reduces the need to avoid social disapproval


This is self-acceptance. Self-acceptance comes from getting clear on one's strengths and preferences. If I prefer one thing, and it's clear that this is what makes me happy, then I'm going to keep doing it regardless of what anyone thinks. I’m not going to try to fit a square peg in a round hole because I know where I belong.

Richard Zen:
Fear is better used as a signal that the skills aren't there and then challenges that are appropriate to the skills need to be chosen instead


Exactly. Fear diminishes when you know you have the skills to confront life’s challenges.

Richard Zen:
Notice every time there's a bother and it's enough to stop you from acting and you see what you are dealing with


This is when the core beliefs have taken over. If you know your core beliefs, and you have seen through them, you can face anything.

RE: What's being asked of you
Answer
2/16/17 3:05 PM as a reply to ivory.
Someone who is not interested relationships, hobbies, work, health, growth or learning; is someone with low self-esteem.

If by "fully functioning human being" you mean someone who doesn't conform to society's definition of "normal", then we are talking something else entirely.

Do you live in Portland OR by chance?

RE: What's being asked of you
Answer
2/16/17 9:53 PM as a reply to ivory.
Ivory:
Richard Zen:
Notice every time there's a bother and it's enough to stop you from acting and you see what you are dealing with

This is when the core beliefs have taken over. If you know your core beliefs, and you have seen through them, you can face anything.


You'll probably like schema therapy and REBT.

RE: What's being asked of you
Answer
2/16/17 10:58 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Richard Zen:
You'll probably like schema therapy and REBT.

I first heard of core beliefs from the local Zen teacher here.

When I mentioned dark night he said, "Meditation is not going to help you. You have to know yourself."

Then he told me how to find out what my core beliefs were.

Had it not been for that I would have totally destroyed my life.

RE: What's being asked of you
Answer
2/17/17 12:25 AM as a reply to ivory.
How do you find out?

RE: What's being asked of you
Answer
2/17/17 8:34 AM as a reply to J C.
The teacher told me that everyone has 1-3 core beliefs. This is copied and pasted from a document the zen center gave me:

core beliefs (feared deficits: ‘if people could see the deepest truth about me, they’d see that I’m utterly (unwanted, flawed, stupid, unloveable, fraud no good, loser, incapable (learned helplessness), hopeless, a burden, unworth a failure, nothing to offer


To find out you need to create a mind map. Basically you walk around with a pen and paper for 1-4 days and write all your thoughts and emotions down without analyzing or trying to figure things out. When you're done, you take a look at everything you wrote. The core beliefs should be obvious from there.

You should be able to google "Mind map"

RE: What's being asked of you
Answer
2/17/17 11:54 AM as a reply to ivory.
That is one thing enlightenment does take care of - after no longer experiencing yourself as a separate entity that can be good or bad, or have any other characteristics, thoughts of not being good enough or comparing yourself to others don't stick around for long.

RE: What's being asked of you
Answer
2/17/17 1:00 PM as a reply to ivory.
Ivory:
Richard Zen:
You'll probably like schema therapy and REBT.

I first heard of core beliefs from the local Zen teacher here.

When I mentioned dark night he said, "Meditation is not going to help you. You have to know yourself."

Then he told me how to find out what my core beliefs were.

Had it not been for that I would have totally destroyed my life.

I had a similar situation when I found out I was a co-dependent. Ross Rosenberg's videos helped a lot. There's also a good community on youtube that deals with these negative core beliefs.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCI-EFu0wsJykzMW4Je191qQ
Lisa A. Romano

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qyUpFLqEv0&index=16&list=PLdsdbto7hkXs0Zpo0mVoVBhhT09dkRDrY

Ross Rosenberg