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Dharma Diagnostic Clinic, aka "What was that?"

Could I have been a dark night yogi this whole time?

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"Today I tried a new type of meditation called 'do nothing'. I was surprised to find that sitting and doing nothing was no more or less entertaining than any other activity in my life. I thought, "shouldn't there be something I would rather being doing than this, sitting and doing nothing?". Then I suddenly started sobbing. I realized why I was so obsessed with getting enlightened, and why everyone else I know is not. Studying is painful, hanging out with people is painful, wasting time on the internet is painful.... everything is painful. Starting a new hobby sounds most painful of all. How could I have not realized this before? Everything is painful, and I thought that getting enlightened was the only way out."

Yesterday, a few hours AFTER journaling the above, the possibility suddenly dawned on me that I might have been in the dark knight for a while now without realizing it. I didn't start meditating until recently, but perhaps I passed the A&P sometime in my past by chance, although I can't recall when exactly this moment could have been.

I have felt an instinctual meaningless in all of life, as if I knew deep down that nothing worldly could fulfill me, and all of my life was just me trying to distract myself from this fact. I spent all of my waking hours doing things I thought would "make me grow" as a person, always learning new skills and studying new subjects. This was never truly fun, but it felt obvious that things like video games would be even less fun, as they wouldn't bring me anything like long term happiness. I knew deep down that the learning wouldn't either, but I kind of purposely ignored that, as I had no other options. At the end of many days I would just feel crushed and unmotivated to do anything for no apparent reason. I would try to discuss the meaningless of life, and friends would often joke that I am "always having an existential crisis", which I agreed with. But although I pretty much had the symptoms, I didn't "feel" like I had depression. I felt like a normal healthy person that was experiencing what seemed to make logical sense to me, although for some reason no one else around me was.

It has gotten increasingly worse over time, rapidly over the past few year, starting with an obsession with psychedelics and eventually leading to the realization/ belief that awakening is the only thing that will "fix" me and bring me true happiness. Most of all, I have felt like I had some sort of trauma or "secret" suppressed in my unconscious that was highly affecting how I felt and acted but I was consciously unaware of. I thought I figured out what it was when while on acid I realized that I didn't actually care about a certain hobby that my entire life had beed revolving around for the last five years. But even after I let that hobby go and moved on, I felt the same. Could that have just been the tip of the iceberg? Could the real "secret" be that my mind understands that nothing outside of me could possibly fulfill me?

Wow that kind of sounds more dramatic than I intended.

Sorry it got so long. True dark knight yogis, does my experience match up at all? It would be pretty relieving to know the truth, even though in the end it won't change my path either way.

RE: Could I have been a dark night yogi this whole time?
Answer
2/19/17 3:20 PM as a reply to Yamazaki.
This is textbook dark night. Pretty much exactly this. The whole realization that everything is somehow unsatisfying, that there's always this desire to change something or do something or fix something, that the feeling of restlessness or dissatisfaction is there all the time, is exactly the point of the dark night.

You sound like you're at the point where you just want to throw up your hands and say "get me out of here! Let me off the ride!" - which is Desire for Deliverance and means Eq is near.

RE: Could I have been a dark night yogi this whole time?
Answer
2/19/17 3:47 PM as a reply to Yamazaki.
I don't know enough about meditation to comment on the dark night (besides suspecting I'm there now), but what you're describing does sound very familiar to me. In my case, in exploring my brain I dealt with depression, then anxiety, then discovered I probably had ADHD-PI all along. For me, doing things was painful because my only motivational tool was (subconscious) emotional abuse. I bullied and scared myself into getting things done, so no wonder I felt like shit. emoticon

Unfortunately, without that hurtful motivation... I still haven't discovered how deep the adhd goes, or what I can use for sustainable motivation. Holy fuck am I ever slow at doing things - and it doesn't help that I've now got serious medical problems and serious side-effects from the medication I need. I have hope, though - I've still got medication options to try out, and there was some compassionate-mindfulness thing I've done a few times that seemed to boost the benefits of the adhd medication I'm on, and some other odds and ends to look into. The "honeymoon period" with my adhd medication was pretty amazing - like a ball of sunshine in my belly that let me Just Choose to do a thing or not do it, and life didn't need a point. I have a feeling meditation can get me there too, but I'm still on the internet editing this post instead of meditating, so I might need the help of a medication change too. good thing I've got an appointment to talk about that issue soon.

So... I strongly suggest talking with a doctor, therapist and/or psychiatrist about these things. CBT might be a thing worth googling too - your comment about not feeling like you have depression sounded like an Emotional Reasoning distortion ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotional_reasoning ). Even if you don't find any medical issue, you'll learn useful skills.  I also think meditation is probably part of the solution, even if it doesn't "fix" you in the way you're hoping for. emoticon Good luck!

RE: Could I have been a dark night yogi this whole time?
Answer
2/19/17 5:01 PM as a reply to J C.
J C:
This is textbook dark night. Pretty much exactly this. The whole realization that everything is somehow unsatisfying, that there's always this desire to change something or do something or fix something, that the feeling of restlessness or dissatisfaction is there all the time, is exactly the point of the dark night.

You sound like you're at the point where you just want to throw up your hands and say "get me out of here! Let me off the ride!" - which is Desire for Deliverance and means Eq is near.

If I have indeed passed the A&P at some point in my life outside of meditation, does it still make sense that I don't seem to have basic insights such as body-mind now that I have started meditating? How would being in the dark knight affect the way I gain insight even though I apear to be no different than a beginner with no concentration?

RE: Could I have been a dark night yogi this whole time?
Answer
2/19/17 7:33 PM as a reply to Yamazaki.
Yeah, I was the same way. This is because insight and concentration are two different things. You've reached the a&p and dark night, and have been bouncing back and forth, but when you meditate you don't yet have the concentration to be aware of those stages, so you don't realize it.

This happens a lot, especially if you've done psychedelics, which have a habit of throwing people into the a&p.

RE: Could I have been a dark night yogi this whole time?
Answer
2/20/17 4:55 PM as a reply to Yamazaki.
Yamazaki:
How would being in the dark knight affect the way I gain insight even though I apear to be no different than a beginner with no concentration?



Dark night is a shit storm. I don’t think concentration makes any difference until you get to EQ. Sometimes I fall back into DN and my present moment awareness goes right out the window. And even though it’s crappy, it’s not debilitating and I know it will pass.

The main thing is to be aware of the cycles. You don’t need to have concentration for that. But you do have to pop out from time to time so you remember what it’s like to have clarity. You do need to see how you feed and keep DN going. Then when you cycle again you can just let it roll through knowing that clarity is around the corner.

RE: Could I have been a dark night yogi this whole time?
Answer
2/22/17 3:02 AM as a reply to Yamazaki.
I was stuck in dark night for decades after a near death experience in a car accident when I was 19. Life was a yoyo ride until I read MCTB. All the best to you. As Daniel says, there are people out there who've gone through the A&P without realizing it. 

RE: Could I have been a dark night yogi this whole time?
Answer
2/28/17 9:47 AM as a reply to Yamazaki.
Yes, Dark Night. Just meditate until you break through into equanimity. Then more until 1st path. Then more until you are more balanced. Retreats are excelent for this.

Also eat healthy and exercise a lot. That helps loads.

Bla bla bla I understood this I understood that bla bla bla meaningless chatter. (at least that was the case with me) But meaningless chatter can really help you get motivated to do meditation, which is what actually works. I'd recommend not getting stuck in any specific narrative along the way.

RE: Could I have been a dark night yogi this whole time?
Answer
2/28/17 12:04 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
I will take this to heart! Thanks for all of the support and feedback guys! Simply having an explanation for what I am going through makes things a lot better, and now I have all the motivation in the world to meditate.

RE: Could I have been a dark night yogi this whole time?
Answer
2/28/17 10:42 PM as a reply to Yamazaki.
I'm in a similar place.  I feel like I'm in a good mood, but there's no point to anything I do.  I have gotten DEEP into many hobbies looking for the thing that would make me say "yes, here is some amount of purpose in my life."  Chess, jiu jitsu, lived as a ski bum for a few years...  I would go all out, do nothing but that thing, and then get to a point where it was like, no this isn't it, this isn't what I'm looking for, at the end of the day there's just no point to this.

I think I had an A&P experience with a psychedelic drug (dmt) about 16 years ago.  If I think about it, I stopped caring about my career around that time.  Just stopped caring about money and nice cars and things like that.

I read about the dark night and some of it sounded familiar, but other parts didn't.  I don't have strong feelings of fear or whatever.  It's more subtle.  I recently read somewhere that unless you have strong concentration skills, you wouldn't notice the specific qualities of the different stages you're cycling through.  You (and I) will just feel a general dissatisfactoriness a lot of the time that is tough to explain, and might sound like depression to someone who isn't listening properly.

RE: Could I have been a dark night yogi this whole time?
Answer
3/1/17 3:19 AM as a reply to chris mc.
The feeling that everything is meaningless, pointless, because as soon as something is experienced it is also fizzling away. The perception that everything around you is permanently dying. Some things may give pleasure, but nothing grants satisfaction. Nothing is saciating. I found this poem to be quite to the point:
A Dream Within a Dream
BY EDGAR ALLAN POE

And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow —
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?  
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand —
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep — while I weep!
O God! Can I not grasp 
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?


RE: Could I have been a dark night yogi this whole time?
Answer
3/1/17 9:50 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Grains of the golden sand —
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep — while I weep!
O God! Can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?


Yeah, this.

RE: Could I have been a dark night yogi this whole time?
Answer
3/1/17 10:00 AM as a reply to ivory.
I used to listen to this song all the time. It was the catalyst that lanched me into DN: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxmhOZjY9UY

It's in with the new and it's out with the old.
Out goes the warm and in comes the cold.
It's the most predictable story told.
In with the young and out with the old.

There's nothing good because nothing lasts
And all that comes here, it comes here to pass.
I would voice my pain, but the change wouldn't last.
All that comes, it comes here to pass.

RE: Could I have been a dark night yogi this whole time?
Answer
3/3/17 3:18 PM as a reply to ivory.
ivory:
Grains of the golden sand —
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep — while I weep!
O God! Can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?


Yeah, this.

Yup, that verse captures it exactly. 

RE: Could I have been a dark night yogi this whole time?
Answer
3/4/17 4:14 AM as a reply to ivory.
ivory:
I used to listen to this song all the time. It was the catalyst that lanched me into DN: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxmhOZjY9UY

It's in with the new and it's out with the old.
Out goes the warm and in comes the cold.
It's the most predictable story told.
In with the young and out with the old.

There's nothing good because nothing lasts
And all that comes here, it comes here to pass.
I would voice my pain, but the change wouldn't last.
All that comes, it comes here to pass.
Yup! Funny, my first transition into DN was also triggered by thinking about death / impermanence.