Message Boards Message Boards

Insight and Wisdom

The horrible unshakeable mind!

Toggle
The horrible unshakeable mind!
Answer
6/13/17 9:15 PM
I have been mildly optimistic about insight meditation for some months, almost a year, and thought I was making pretty steady progress. Impossible distractions became occasional distractions became minute distractions and attention to the breath grew finer and finer. I thought that soon I would really have a distraction-free sit. I was doing this together with reading The Mind Illuminated and things just seemed to be on track.

Not sure what happened but instead, and rather suddenly without a clear trigger, I find distractions are worse than ever and even dullness is back to the point that I often feel like sleeping -- I had appeared to overcome that ages ago. The distractions are not just wandering attention. They are endless chains of reaction that produce outrageous amounts of thinking that branches and develops like a weed on steroids, even to the mildest of stimuli.

In everyday life I am horrified to see how much of my "own" thoughts and goals are honestly just reflex and I can only ever seem to catch it in retrospective. If I forget about X and encounter it again without remembering I will literally do exactly the same thing in response to X, as if everything were instinct. Eating the same stupid things, saying the same stupid things, failing to listen with attention, endless unexamined kneejerk to the world around.

Feeling doomed to an animal-like life.

RE: The horrible unshakeable mind!
Answer
6/14/17 2:38 AM as a reply to housecrow.
Relax; this is all part of the process of seeing how there's nobody at the center of thoughts and emotions and life in general.

Instead of being annoyed and angry at the mind and the state of our life, we can develop compassion for ourselves and others. We can develop wisdom to learn how to be a humble little animal. We are no different than all the other beings bound to the laws of nature, birth and death, sickness, old age, etc.

We can let these seemingly dark periods of practice be lessons in humility and compassion. We can see how all beings suffer. We can dig deep into our suffering and be with it without accepting or rejecting. Just being with.

The key is to relinquish judgements of good and bad, right and wrong, progress and failure. It's all of the same essence.

Practically, work to see the 3 characteristics of impermanance, unsatisfactoriness, and selflessness of all phenomena. Practice seeing things objectively in a detached sort of way.

And exercise, eat well, take the initiative to seek out spiritual friends.

Easier said than done. Good luck emoticon

RE: The horrible unshakeable mind!
Answer
6/14/17 4:15 AM as a reply to Chi.
Excellent Advice.

RE: The horrible unshakeable mind!
Answer
6/14/17 9:14 AM as a reply to Chi.
The phrase humble little animal is very touching. Thank you truly for all you have written here. OK, I will go work on it.