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Dharma Help: Video Tutorials
Answer
4/11/17 2:52 AM
I am launching a series of Dharma Help video tutorials on healing common mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, panic attacks and migraine. This is something that I wanted to do for a long time but didn't have time to get it done. I hope it helps many.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztNV1Y6RsKo&feature=youtu.be

RE: Dharma Help: Video Tutorials
Answer
4/11/17 2:36 PM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Someone flagged this as being inappropriate due to claims to treat medical conditions.

However, not only do the old texts promise all sorts of miraculous things related to medical conditions, it is considered almost weird if you don't sell meditation as treating depression, anxiety, and other conditions.

S. N. Goenka got into meditation as it cured his migraines, apparently.

I am not saying anything about the efficacy of any of these claims, but I am pointing out that numerous books on meditation and teachers of meditation, from ancient to modern, wouldn't be able to be discussed here if we censored based on those sorts of claims of treatment and cure.

RE: Dharma Help: Video Tutorials
Answer
4/11/17 3:41 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
All right. Yeah, there are numerous instances where dharma practice has been assigned or used to alleviate and/or heal medical conditions, so this is nothing new. I guess it might seem suspicious or even outrageous to some who don't know this to say things like this aloud. However, there are a lot of historic and present time examples of dharma being used for healing and that it works

I came to think of MBSR, Jon Kabat Zinn's work. I don't know exactly what kind of exercises they do but I gather they must do something with recognising the light of awareness and bringin that to the pain or trauma. That's main stream, I would say, and scientifically tested.

Speaking f more tantric means of healing, I recall that Namkhai Norbu healed his cancer with practice, chöd if I remember right. Chöd has been used in the healing of AIDS and many other ailments as well, as can be read from Tsultrim Allione's materials. Two of my friends have been able to greatly alleviate migraines with chöd as well. Go figure.

These videos will be sutra-style though (not tantric), expressed with simple language and easy-to-learn and apply instructions. Would be nice to hear of people who tried it in their condition and whether they got any benefit or not.

RE: Dharma Help: Video Tutorials
Answer
4/12/17 8:28 PM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Hi Kim,
It's an interesting technique, I tried it because I'm either dark nighting or just a general gloomy Gus. I think I felt some positive effect, I will play with it some more though 
Questions. Would you consider this an energy practice? In my view I guess everything conscious or movement-based could be considered an energy practice, but do you see this technique as something in line with aerobic exercise or chi gong, that moves heavy energies through the system? Something supportive prior to sitting practice? 
I'm experiencing kundalini symptoms for many years now (heavy tensions and sharp pains, clogged energy body, spontaneous kriyas and mudras during meditation). Would this technique support that purification process?
Finally, I understand that you framed the practice in the context of depression, but would you also consider it useful for negative thinking, anxiety, lack of motivation, ennui, or any other hindrances? 
Daniel-san 

RE: Dharma Help: Video Tutorials
Answer
4/13/17 5:01 AM as a reply to Daniel - san.
Daniel - san:

Finally, I understand that you framed the practice in the context of depression, but would you also consider it useful for negative thinking, anxiety, lack of motivation, ennui, or any other hindrances? 
 
Hi Daniel- San,
I don't consider myself suffering from depression but I tried this techniques one evening when I was tired and flegmatic but needed to muster one more hour of meaningful presence and discussion. I found that after a few rounds I was much more alert and talkative, less affected with this tiredness and fogginess, lack of interest and desire to just sleep and be grumpy.

 Jehanne

RE: Dharma Help: Video Tutorials
Answer
4/13/17 8:29 AM as a reply to Daniel - san.
Daniel - san:
Hi Kim,
It's an interesting technique, I tried it because I'm either dark nighting or just a general gloomy Gus. I think I felt some positive effect, I will play with it some more though 

Questions. Would you consider this an energy practice? In my view I guess everything conscious or movement-based could be considered an energy practice, but do you see this technique as something in line with aerobic exercise or chi gong, that moves heavy energies through the system? Something supportive prior to sitting practice? 
I'm experiencing kundalini symptoms for many years now (heavy tensions and sharp pains, clogged energy body, spontaneous kriyas and mudras during meditation). Would this technique support that purification process?
Finally, I understand that you framed the practice in the context of depression, but would you also consider it useful for negative thinking, anxiety, lack of motivation, ennui, or any other hindrances? 
Daniel-san 
Hey Daniel-san.

Love the nick. I even have an official Karate Kid t-shirt emoticon

No, I do not consider this an energy practice as in prana/lung/chi-exercises.

This technique is based on the shamatha/shamatta-principle. Quick contraction, a sharp sting and immediate release, repeated many times if necessary. After the immediate release a different vista of the mind can be found, the natural state of clarity and emptiness.

As you know from your training at the Miyagi Dojo, all martial artists contract their muscles and clench their teeth when delivering a kick or a punch. A kick (like the Crane Kick that you did in the first film) or a punch doesn't have the same power if jaws are separate. Test it. Combining the muscle contraction with teeth makes it a comprehensive technique that works really well in cutting through depression, monkey mind, anxiety or any stubborn emotion. Plus that it makes the muscles of your body firm.

In real time the action of sharp concentration (here applied thought muscle contraction, there are other ways) lasts for 0.5 to 1 second. If we time-stretch this to last 10 seconds or more, we can realise that this simple action is based on the same principle as concentration practices that are more commonly known, it's just condensed to a short moment. And because of that it has a sharper cutting edge, "more juice" or will power to cut through anything that can be cut down. By anything I refer to any dualistic mind content be it depression, busy mind or whatever. When ti is applied with commitment to the specific details of this instruction, you end up in the natural state. And this is achieved in minutes, not in days or weeks of retreat. Simple and direct. It's a splendid way to chop down that gloominess of yours.

As the natural state becomes familiar through applying this principle, whether through a muscle and teeth contraction or through a sudden sharp shout, this makes us see our sitting practice or moments in action in a different light. But, in short, yes I think it is very useful to apply this whether you are going to sit down for meditation after it or not.

Most shamatha-meditation techniques are based on the time-streched version of concentration which makes it a lot more difficult because you keep getting distracted all the time. The nonphysical "muscle" of mental concentration can also be applied sharply but to know how to apply this, requires different skills. Simplest way to get to this principle, momentary concentration applied to it's maximum, is to contract the muscles and teeth or shout.

When you do it like this you can quite easily come to understand the relationship of concentration and awareness, the natural state. But if you cannot get glimpses of the natural state and yet do concentration practices of very mild intensity, you will probably spend years trying to enhance your skill of one-pointed concentration while knowing close to nothing about the natural state. This dichotomy and ignorance can be shattered by getting to know the natural state of which dynamic extension concentration is.

The list you gather under "kundalini symptoms" is actually a bunch of different things. And a very common misunderstanding is to speak of "kundalini problems" as kundalini only creates solutions. It is prana/lung/chi/breath energy that causes physical or emotional problems due to disordered or excess prana. So we should speak of "prana problems". These can range from mild discomfort to overtraining condition of yogis and athletes to mild or severe psychosis. Kids who do too much physical exercise or breathing practices have prana problems. Pick any yoga or meditation discussion forum and you will see people telling of these problems...

Which would be greatly alleviated or completely nullified if they were able to recognise the natural state, selfless awareness. See, all energy is vassal to the royalty of awareness. Problems caused by prana are immediately brought into the care and attention of awareness, when awareness is brought into the equation. Prana problems cannot be treated or healed with anything that is mind- or thought-based.

Interesting that you have kriyas and mudras. I am involved with Open Heart-practice where we intentionally use the stress release mechanism that is called by the name of "spontaneous kriya" in hindy yoga. If you didn't know there is also a branch of Western psychology by Dr. David Berceli who teaches TRE, trauma releasing exercises. They have a worldwide organisation. The same stress release mechanism is used in dzogchen teachings as well under the title "rushen". We call it rushen too. So this shaking, trembling, spontaneous voicing, jumping and what have you can be consciously applied.

That you have mudras spontaneously is quite rare. I'd love to see a video of you doing them. I know people who have this happen and who have developed from the abrupt and random kriya-phase to mudra-phase where they spontaneously embody different tantric deities (not lower spirits) through hand gestures or dances. Can do it myself to some degree but mostly I am not very mystically oriented. See this playlist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFuYVrhLAmE&list=PLqTm9fV9DGht_QHo9PbWte6bUlCtOm34O

I already answered your last question but in case it wasn't clear enough, yes, this technique works magic with any kind of self-based mind states.

Kim

RE: Dharma Help: Video Tutorials
Answer
4/14/17 12:12 AM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Kim Katami:

Hey Daniel-san.
Love the nick. I even have an official Karate Kid t-shirt emoticon

Yeah it's a solid flick. I was a kid myself when it came out and the other youngsters got to calling me Daniel-san, you know, because my first name is Daniel - and children are super clever. That lasted for ten or fifteen years and you can imagine it never got old

This technique is based on the shamatha/shamatta-principle. Quick contraction, a sharp sting and immediate release, repeated many times if necessary. After the immediate release a different vista of the mind can be found, the natural state of clarity and emptiness.

Hmm, ok. Does it do anything to the channels then? I'll have to try more than one round. I just felt less foggy after one go

As the natural state becomes familiar through applying this principle, whether through a muscle and teeth contraction or through a sudden sharp shout, this makes us see our sitting practice or moments in action in a different light. But, in short, yes I think it is very useful to apply this whether you are going to sit down for meditation after it or not.

Funny, sudden high pitched yelps were one of the kriyas I experienced after kundalini awakening when I surrended to the inner teacher that had me running laps through my apartment and standing on my head in order to keep my channels clear. Weird wild stuff.
But what if the depression or gloominess is chemical? I was a heavy marijuana smoker for a few years, day and night, and I quit (again) five months ago. Regular and prolonged pot use messes with neural pathways and dopamine production, so when a pothead quits cold turkey, there is a period (called PAWS - post acute withdrawl syndrome) that lasts anywhere from 6 months to 2 years of symptoms, different for different people, but many times including anxiety, depression, lack of motivation, anhedonia, brain fog, insomnia etc. What if the cause is not monkey mind related in other words?

When you do it like this you can quite easily come to understand the relationship of concentration and awareness, the natural state. But if you cannot get glimpses of the natural state and yet do concentration practices of very mild intensity, you will probably spend years trying to enhance your skill of one-pointed concentration while knowing close to nothing about the natural state. This dichotomy and ignorance can be shattered by getting to know the natural state of which dynamic extension concentration is.

I feel like my practice is the natural state. Are you familiar with Kenneth Folk's three gears instruction? I practice third gear, letting go, letting be, bare awareness of sensations. Is that the same thing? Mediation produces a nice glow for me generally and it feels like hindrances are burned up like bugs getting zapped in a bug lamp, energetically. Also like I'm letting a load off 

The list you gather under "kundalini symptoms" is actually a bunch of different things. And a very common misunderstanding is to speak of "kundalini problems" as kundalini only creates solutions. It is prana/lung/chi/breath energy that causes physical or emotional problems due to disordered or excess prana. So we should speak of "prana problems". 

Yes, it took me a few years of study and experience to figure that one out, but I understand that my discomfort is related to blocked channels and prana and that is something different than kundalini. I have also experienced totally cleared channels on various occasions (years ago) and kundalini symptoms were still present (movements, kriyas etc) but not uncomfortable or painful. Also loads of other mystical stuff that I was not looking for when I got into mediation. 

Which would be greatly alleviated or completely nullified if they were able to recognise the natural state, selfless awareness. See, all energy is vassal to the royalty of awareness. Problems caused by prana are immediately brought into the care and attention of awareness, when awareness is brought into the equation. Prana problems cannot be treated or healed with anything that is mind- or thought-based.

Yes that is my intuition. However, I stopped normal concentration practices many years ago (Kenneth Folk first gear) as it was clear that making objects out of things was inherently stressful. Effort was stressful, and by that I mean it generated uncomfortable sensations. I believe I am an unsuspecting kriya yogi in that I experience the energy of the body mostly all the time, like my conciosuness is fused to my body regardless of my intention. So my feeling state (usually in the heart center but really spread throughout the body) is either in the foreground or background of my awareness pretty much all the time. It's been this way for years. Yet the prana issues continue. I've been checked out medically many times over the years and nothing has popped up physioligically, I think I just feel things that are for most people subconcious, regular ol' Vipassana if you ask me. I never noted Mihasi style, just noticed, without effort. Noting is dualitic and stressful IME  

Interesting that you have kriyas and mudras. I am involved with Open Heart-practice where we intentionally use the stress release mechanism that is called by the name of "spontaneous kriya" in hindy yoga. If you didn't know there is also a branch of Western psychology by Dr. David Berceli who teaches TRE, trauma releasing exercises. They have a worldwide organisation. The same stress release mechanism is used in dzogchen teachings as well under the title "rushen". We call it rushen too. So this shaking, trembling, spontaneous voicing, jumping and what have you can be consciously applied.

Hmm, cool. I've experienced all that and more spontaneously when I relax. I'll check out TRE, I think I've seen these vids before 

That you have mudras spontaneously is quite rare. I'd love to see a video of you doing them. I know people who have this happen and who have developed from the abrupt and random kriya-phase to mudra-phase where they spontaneously embody different tantric deities (not lower spirits) through hand gestures or dances.

Yes I experienced all of this in various ways and more and it freaked the shit out of me. I was perfectly fine while it occurred of course, actually fearless and very buddha nature-y, chanelling higher deities sounds about right - but later I would think about it (at night in my tent in the dark) and my scared inner child figured I was going schizo and it was something that was in fact quite rare, and quite weird, and I freaked out. Then I would go back to being fearless totally cool with everything, freak out, cool out...so schizo wasn't so far off. Not sure I'd want to put vids up in public in case I ever want to run for president lol, but I can provide something more directly to you.
My big K shabang was ten years ago after my second 10-day Goenka retreat (6 months after my first) and I had a knack for concentration. Partly through effort, intuition and some inner guidance that grew stronger over the days as my concentration deepened, I practiced a technique that I feel I made up where I quickly passed my awareness in revolutions around my head, externally. Years later I would read about this exact method that I 'discovered' in an esoteric Taoist alchemical book called 'The Secret of the Golden Flower'. Tarin (a wise regular on the DhO back in the day) also wrote about this technique in an incredible thread on here in the vault somewhere, though he desribes revolving attention quickly around the body/heart, until you rip your spiritual heart out. Ouch. Anyway, the effect for me was I became highly concentrated (fourth jhana) and my breath seemed to stop for many minutes at a time and my breath started regulating itself, doing all sorts of fast in/out breathing and retentions, until I mustered myself into deeper jhanas. Never formless though. From there I experienced spontaneous healing of knee pain in both knees, which has never returned (had surgery in one knee and daily pain for years prior to that) and I awoke some inner buddha nature guru that was fearless and utterly content. I vascillated between that and the scared little child aspect of myself for some time, and experienced loads of other freaky mystical stuff, like predicting the future and communicating messages through my 'higher self' to relay specific messages that got passed along between my girlfriend and her psychic. Later I was able to fully surrender to this 'inner guru'. I know Dzogchen gets well into this stuff, I read later anyway. I also felt like loads of pychic fear and pain got healed, in daily life and in lucid dreams where the veil being waking and sleeping became paper thin. Honestly I just started meditating to be happy - I never really wanted any of these mystical experiences and never knew what kundalini, mudras or anything else was when it happened to me, read about this stuff years later. I also don't have fixed conclusions about what all this is, I just know it isn't explained or explainable with regular old materialist concepts 
Concerning mudras, at that time my body would sway and do symmetrical dance-like movements like bowing to unseen forces in 6 directions, my crown chakra opening like a flap (so it felt) and spraying good vibes out to all the new students in the mediation hall behind me (per my inner request), and purification mudras, fearless mudra, earth witness, and lots of other stuff that I had to look up on the internet later to see what it all meant. But now it feels like my heart center is leaking - so, I feel sensations of anxiety or fear even when I'm in stable fearless equanimity, in the natural state I believe, without effort or resistance, but obivously with sustained awareness. But I'm not scared or anxious, totally relaxed and equanimous and letting be - yet the uncomfortable sensations roll on. So I don't know if it's just karma cleaning itself out or what, it's been going on for years though the symptoms have changed, many for the better, but not less intense. I'd like to think that my practice is so strong it makes the symptoms of purification that much stronger. It sure would be pretty to think so. Maybe I was a really bad dude in previous lives, and there's a lot to purify, who knows 
Sorry for going on about this, I just wanted to provide more context - it should really go in a practice journal I guess

Can do it myself to some degree but mostly I am not very mystically oriented. See this playlist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFuYVrhLAmE&list=PLqTm9fV9DGht_QHo9PbWte6bUlCtOm34O

Cool I'll check these out thanks!

- Karate Kid

RE: Dharma Help: Video Tutorials
Answer
4/14/17 8:56 AM as a reply to Daniel - san.
Daniel – san:

I don't know how to use the citation function so will quote Daniel's
the old fashioned way.

Daniel-san: >Hmm, ok. Does it do anything to the channels then?
I'll have to try more than one round. I just felt less foggy after
one go
Kim: - Of course it has to do with the
channels, all practices and paths do. But it's not an ”energy
practice” as in tantra or different yogas. Yeah, do a few rounds.

>Funny, sudden high pitched yelps were one of the
kriyas I experienced after kundalini awakening when I surrended to
the inner teacher that had me running laps through my apartment and
standing on my head in order to keep my channels clear. Weird wild
stuff.
But what if the depression or gloominess is chemical? I was
a heavy marijuana smoker for a few years, day and night, and I quit
(again) five months ago. Regular and prolonged pot use messes with
neural pathways and dopamine production, so when a pothead quits cold
turkey, there is a period (called PAWS - post acute withdrawl
syndrome) that lasts anywhere from 6 months to 2 years of symptoms,
different for different people, but many times including anxiety,
depression, lack of motivation, anhedonia, brain fog, insomnia etc.
What if the cause is not monkey mind related in other words?

- In dzogchen there is practice
called rushen where you release our mind stuff in spontaneous ways.
It's the zoo in the night-thing. Or sometimes you might just want to
chill and let it come in an un-dramatic way. But when doing stuff
like this I think it is good to have a support group and/or a teacher
to do it with.
I don't have personal experience
of PAWS, except in mild form related to quitting to drink coffee. But
I have experienced a long burn out that lasted for 3 years with the
very same symptoms that you list. The technique worked.

>I feel like my practice is the natural state. Are you
familiar with Kenneth Folk's three gears instruction? I practice
third gear, letting go, letting be, bare awareness of sensations. Is
that the same thing? Mediation produces a nice glow for me generally
and it feels like hindrances are burned up like bugs getting zapped
in a bug lamp, energetically. Also like I'm letting a load off 
- Yes, I know his instruction. One
thing that is crucial in recognising the natural is that it needs to
be without any mindstuff, including subtle energies of the so called
substrate consciousness. This is what I was referring to earlier.
See, when and if we practice shamatha in the classical manner by
watching the breath for example, eventually we arrive in a peaceful
and somewhat clear quietude. But it's not perfectly clear as there
are very subtle veils of energy, that is the self, going on and yet
many have the problem of thinking that this is the natural state
which it is not.
A way to go about it is to use
the sword of momentary maximum of concentration and cut through
anything that might be in the way. A simple experiment would be to
sit down and first do the shamatha practice as you are used to doing
it until you think you abide as the natural state. Then do some or
several sharp shouts with syllables such as Ha, Ho or Phet. Throgh
this you can find out whether it was awareness or subtrate
conscousness.

>Yes that is my intuition. However, I stopped normal
concentration practices many years ago (Kenneth Folk first gear) as
it was clear that making objects out of things was inherently
stressful. Effort was stressful, and by that I mean it generated
uncomfortable sensations. I believe I am an unsuspecting kriya yogi
in that I experience the energy of the body mostly all the time, like
my conciosuness is fused to my body regardless of my intention. So my
feeling state (usually in the heart center but really spread
throughout the body) is either in the foreground or background of my
awareness pretty much all the time. It's been this way for years. Yet
the prana issues continue. I've been checked out medically many times
over the years and nothing has popped up physioligically, I think I
just feel things that are for most people subconcious, regular ol'
Vipassana if you ask me. I never noted Mihasi style, just noticed,
without effort. Noting is dualitic and stressful IME  
- Yes, normal concentration
practices are stressful and frustating because the intention more or
less constantly gets displaced from the object but at the same time
that is all what is available to many. With devoted practice it can
help quite a bit with the monkey mind by bringing calmness.
In dzogchen we have the game
plan of taking steps backward to three-dimensional concentration and
further to one-pointed concentration in case it is too difficult for
one to recognise and stay in the natural state. I think that is the
smart way to go about it, instead of first spending a lot of time in
trying to keep one's concentration in one place. From awareness as
the base it is much easier to use concentration. Also awareness as
the base also gives a quite different spin to vipassana. It doesn't
have to be so arduous and masculine.
I also had some periods of prana
problems years ago but my teacher was fortunately able to help me.
Yeah, I think it's good to try to find someone who knows how to deal
with things like this. 

>*Daniel's biographical narration*
- That's a
pretty exotic story. I know similar cases and my own with a lot of
similarities. For sure all kinds of connections both to misleading
misconceptions heading towards a lot of trouble in one's own bodymind
and life in general as well as valid and useful dharma insights and
practices can come from previous lives. I used to remember so much
yogic stuff from my previous lives and at first didn't quite know
what to do or think about it all. I just kept practicing and ”burned
my fingers” pretty badly a couple of times. I had an experienced
teacher to look after me and in that way I was fortunate. Yeah, it
really is important to have someone watch one's back, especially in
cases like this, as there is a lot of potential for both trouble and
insight. One needs to be able to make sense of this stuff and have a
general context, that is, awareness as the base and clarity of mind
and thinking as a consequence.
What you say
about that heart leaking, fear and anxiety without being affected by
it, to me it sounds like working with the mindstuff of the substrate
consciousness which is the deepest part of the mind, i.e.
self-delusion. Really weird stuff can come out there and yet after
some point of practice it doesn't ”hurt”, at least not as much as
before.
As general
tips I'd say for you to take refuge in the Three Jewels and continue
to cut through these subtle layers to the natural state.

RE: Dharma Help: Video Tutorials
Answer
4/14/17 2:48 PM as a reply to Kim Katami.
I started doing meditation as a way to deal with depression and personally I do think that it may help but in very advanced stages. After realizing no-self there was a real quiet state of a few weeks then afterwards just proceeded to do inquiries and mind would rise up and identification with it would be sort of dropped again. The result was a direct release/relief of sensations in the belly and with that the depression was gone but this of course was a stage it would last 1 month then 2 weeks back into contracted depressive state than again 1 month of no depression and utter claritiy. Afterwards the cycling stopped and the default contracted state persistested and is persisting up to this day.


I very much think that physical contrations in the body are the driving forces of depression, impulsiveness, addiction etc. Anyway I did try the exercise but it doesn't do much for me. 

RE: Dharma Help: Video Tutorials
Answer
4/15/17 8:15 AM as a reply to John.
John:
I started doing meditation as a way to deal with depression and personally I do think that it may help but in very advanced stages. After realizing no-self there was a real quiet state of a few weeks then afterwards just proceeded to do inquiries and mind would rise up and identification with it would be sort of dropped again. The result was a direct release/relief of sensations in the belly and with that the depression was gone but this of course was a stage it would last 1 month then 2 weeks back into contracted depressive state than again 1 month of no depression and utter claritiy. Afterwards the cycling stopped and the default contracted state persistested and is persisting up to this day.


I very much think that physical contrations in the body are the driving forces of depression, impulsiveness, addiction etc. Anyway I did try the exercise but it doesn't do much for me. 
Hey John.

Sorry to hear of that persisting contraction. When saying that "physical contractions in the body are the driving forces of depression" and so on, you refer to compulsive contractions or the muscles of the body becoming conctracted subconsciously, right? If that's what you mean, in the case of depression it doesn't make sense as the physical symptoms are just an extension of the mental-emotional paralysis.

If the exercise doesn't do much put more juice into it. Squeeze like you mean it. If that concentrative commitment is not there, I'm afraid it doesn't work.

RE: Dharma Help: Video Tutorials
Answer
4/17/17 11:33 PM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Yes it's pretty much a subconscious contraction. If it was consciouss I could do something and stop it. But it does feel something in the muscles but it's not purely physical it stirs seeking so it's very much connected to the mental process. Resting as awareness temporarily suspends it but even there you can feel the "flood" of negativity or whatever waiting to erupt. And it pretty much binds something and the natural presence can't be lived or if you prefer the lightness of it can't be reached. It's almost as if sorrow is embedded in chest and belly area cellularly which normally stirs mind into thinking mode to attempt to fix and bypass it.

I will give the exercise proper effort to see what it does. 

RE: Dharma Help: Video Tutorials
Answer
4/18/17 12:38 PM as a reply to John.
I'm in a similar predicament, John. I had thought that 4th path would alleviate my depression, but after awakening I still had a lot of tension in the heart and solar plexus areas. This tension blocks the experience of positive emotion, clarity, selflessness, etc. As Kim implied above, these blockages manifest as physical tension but they’re ultimately caused by mental and emotional clinging to negative beliefs about oneself, the world, and past events. Fortunately, I have found a set of techniques that are gradually fixing the problem. After some heavy physio-energetic clearing, including a lot of vomiting, the major blockages on the left side of the body have completely released, while the right side is in the process of releasing. (For some reason, this body seems to work through a blockage on the left side first, followed by the corresponding blockage on the right.)   

Here are the techniques and treatments that I have used:

1. Body awareness - This variety of samatha meditation seems to be the gold standard for resolving tension. I use the 10 points practice taught in the audio on this page: https://www.dharmaocean.org/meditation/learn-to-meditate/learn-to-meditate-foundational-practices/

You can do this practice lying down or sitting upright in a standard meditation posture. After doing this practice for some time, emotional content may emerge as thoughts and physical reactions (ex. crying or wanting to shout). You can let these reactions express themselves while staying aware of the body. I recommend that you do this practice for 2-3 hours a day, if possible. Remain aware of body sensations whenever you have idle time (i.e. not when you’re having a conversation or engaged in a cognitively demanding task).

You can supplement this with breath awareness as described in The Mind Illuminated (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01INMZKAQ/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1) or whatever other samatha technique works for you.

2. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) - This is a form of therapy that directly resolves emotional trauma. The subject practices a technique to maintain body awareness while simultaneously recalling imagery and feelings associated with the traumatic event. My therapist had me use handheld buzzers that encourage awareness to sweep across the body during recall.

I found EMDR effective, whereas talk therapy was mostly useless for me. The downsides are that EMDR isn’t possible to practice on your own, it costs money, and it may take a long time to resolve the blockages if you don’t also meditate. There are other modalities of trauma release therapy, like somatic experiencing and Hakomi, that could also be useful.

3. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) - Acupressure tapping on yourself while repeating a reminder phrase related to a traumatic event. This initially sounded stupid to me, but it worked very well once I finally tried it. I used the version of the technique described in The Promise of Energy Psychology (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001N89L08/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1).
My current main practice is doing roughly 65 rounds of EFT tapping per day, which takes about 3 hours. This is the maximum that I can handle: after the 65th round, I experience a strong aversion to doing any more of the technique. Once I have done a block of ~1000 rounds total, which takes about 2 weeks, I have to take a break. This creates tremendous momentum in the bodymind to process the trauma, and I have to wait about 2 months before I can practice EFT again.

This mode of practice has triggered the release of huge amounts of emotional material, which in my case involved bouts violent coughing that eventually turned into vomiting. It’s uncomfortable, but it feels like the lungs and solar plexus chakra are finally cleaning themselves after years of being stuck and obstructed.

4. Supplementation - I’ve been taking the Tibetan herbal compounds Semde (https://www.siddhienergetics.com/products/semde) along with Agar-35 (https://www.siddhienergetics.com/products/agar-35) or Bimala (https://www.siddhienergetics.com/products/bimala?variant=7345001861). These draw awareness to the blockages; they feel as if they’re working on the blockages at a subtle level.

I more recently started using their Amrita Meditation Water (https://www.siddhienergetics.com/products/amrita-meditation-water), which has had similar effects.

5. Energy work and acupuncture - Before I moved 6 months ago, I visited an energy worker who used a device called the NES miHealth to zap the blockages. Reiki would probably work just as well. More recently, I’ve started going to an acupuncturist, which seems to be speeding up the pace of energetic clearing.    

Of the techniques that I listed, body awareness is the most crucial, and was recommended by the Buddha himself (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn47/sn47.020.than.html). When you do any technique, make sure you’re relaxing and not adding to the tension. I had a tendency to scrunch the solar plexus when making an effort to concentrate, which defeated the purpose of samatha.

Don’t do any more Mahasi noting or insight practice at all. It won’t fix the problem, and could make things way worse. I kept doing insight practice after 4th path and eventually damaged my energy system (I have uncomfortable energy trapped in the solar plexus area). As far as I can tell, this happened because the blockages/tension caused the energetic process of insight to go haywire.

It would be really good for you to find an accomplished meditation teacher and listen to their advice. If I had done this sooner, I wouldn’t have had to search out these techniques myself and my blockages would probably be resolved by now. Best of luck to you.


RE: Dharma Help: Video Tutorials
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4/18/17 3:05 PM as a reply to Matthew.
I forgot to mention another promising option that I haven't tried. Ibogaine and ayahuasca are plant-derived entheogenic drugs known to rapidly cleanse blockages from the body and mind. Users of each drug have claimed that the effects of a single dose are comparable to undergoing to a decade of psychotherapy. From what I've read, ibogaine triggers a ~36-hour "life review" process that rapidly resolves the effects of emotional trauma. Ayahuasca (which has a shorter trip period) works on trauma as well, but it can also produce a wide range of spiritual experiences. 

Unlike mushrooms or LSD, which seem to be somewhat random in their effects, ibogaine and ayahuasca usually produce powerful healing experiences, as if they had been designed as spiritual medicine. Some people have reported the spontaneous remission of physical diseases.

Neither drug is legal in the United States, but there are many ibogaine and ayahuasca treatment centers in other countries. While I'm taking the slow and methodical route for dealing with my energetic blockages right now, I was looking into the Sunrise Center in Mexico, which gives you a flood dose of ibogaine first, followed by ayahuasca days later after you've recovered from the ibogaine. There's a lot of information about both drugs online.

RE: Dharma Help: Video Tutorials
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11/16/18 4:07 PM as a reply to Matthew.
Matthew:
I'm in a similar predicament, John. I had thought that 4th path would alleviate my depression, but after awakening I still had a lot of tension in the heart and solar plexus areas. This tension blocks the experience of positive emotion, clarity, selflessness, etc. As Kim implied above, these blockages manifest as physical tension but they’re ultimately caused by mental and emotional clinging to negative beliefs about oneself, the world, and past events. Fortunately, I have found a set of techniques that are gradually fixing the problem. After some heavy physio-energetic clearing, including a lot of vomiting, the major blockages on the left side of the body have completely released, while the right side is in the process of releasing. (For some reason, this body seems to work through a blockage on the left side first, followed by the corresponding blockage on the right.)   

Here are the techniques and treatments that I have used:
[...]
3. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) - Acupressure tapping on yourself while repeating a reminder phrase related to a traumatic event. This initially sounded stupid to me, but it worked very well once I finally tried it. I used the version of the technique described in The Promise of Energy Psychology (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001N89L08/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1).
My current main practice is doing roughly 65 rounds of EFT tapping per day, which takes about 3 hours. This is the maximum that I can handle: after the 65th round, I experience a strong aversion to doing any more of the technique. Once I have done a block of ~1000 rounds total, which takes about 2 weeks, I have to take a break. This creates tremendous momentum in the bodymind to process the trauma, and I have to wait about 2 months before I can practice EFT again.

This mode of practice has triggered the release of huge amounts of emotional material, which in my case involved bouts violent coughing that eventually turned into vomiting. It’s uncomfortable, but it feels like the lungs and solar plexus chakra are finally cleaning themselves after years of being stuck and obstructed.
[...]

Hi Matthew,
after reading your post, I binge-read through the promise of energy psychology.
I agree, it sounds stupid. Then I tried it, and I immediately felt something moving a little bit.
So I conclude that this deserves further experimentation.
Would you like to share more about how you practice this?
According to the book, changes would come quite fast, and only a couple of rounds are necessary to dissolve a given issue.
But it sounds as if the effects are very different for you, right?

RE: Dharma Help: Video Tutorials
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11/19/18 1:13 PM as a reply to Daniel - san.
Namkhai Norbu relates that he cured his cancer by doing the long life practice of Mandarava, alongside the usual western medicine approach.