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Rebecca's Log
Answer
4/3/18 6:45 PM
I have decided, at the suggestion of another member, to start my own practice log.
I'm only just beginning my journey.
Most days I meditate 25 minutes in the morning, 35 in the afternoon, and 40-50 before bed. Still working on developing access concentration though I may have stumbled into the first jhana about a week ago.
I also do walking meditation, walking a mile at the park 3 or 4 times a week.
I try to maintain mindfulness throughout the day. I keep a smile on my face. I've been noting sensations and paying attention to the mental impression my mind creates with everything my body feels. 
I follow the five precepts religiously, but I am suffering from an addiction to opiates. Need to work through that. 
I also suffer from depression. I was first diagnosed at the age of ten. I'm 32 now, so I've lived with it a very long time. Currently, meditation is working better than medication to keep the depression at bay.
Right now my goal is to make it through the dark night and reach first path, and as of today, I need to work harder on my noting/mindfulness. 

So I'll try to post here every evening with a report of the day's practices, and anything I might experience during it all.

I'm also begging for constructive criticism. I don't have a teacher. You are all my teachers. If I'm doing it wrong, I'd like to know.

Back in a bit with today's report!

RE: Rebecca's Log
Answer
4/3/18 9:12 PM as a reply to Rebecca P.
That's a great decision to start a log! emoticon 
“There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.”— Buddha
Now all you need to do is to walk the walk hahaha.

The e-sangha will help. I have no teacher too. Although I will make a lousy example, I have benefited immeasurably from the kind souls here! I'll pay it forward as much as I can! Remember this from the Buddha himself:
“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”
I wouldn't be embarrassed about my addictions, vast majority of people have them and you are courageous to share it! I think just sharing it alone relieves a lot of negativity. Let's figure out how to tackle them with patience and sensitive intelligence. I'm sure it will help others too.

Many will chip in to suggest, but you need to find out the truth for yourself. Love the journey more than the destination and it will be nothing but wondrous! 

RE: Rebecca's Log
Answer
4/3/18 10:27 PM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
Thanks Yilun Ong!

Here is today's report.

Samatha meditation for 25 minutes this morning. Was falling asleep around the end.

Walking meditation at the park. Just kept on walking and kept on smiling.

More samatha meditation in the afternoon for 35 minutes. Didn't get sleepy. Some interesting head tinglies.

Nighttime session, 30 minutes. More head tingles as I was positioning my legs into the half lotus, and a tiny hint of rapture during. 

Whenever I thought about it today, I smiled and tried to be mindful. Also did a little noting but not enough. It takes a lot of concentration!

Wondering if I should start to integrate Vipassana and Metta practices into my day, or if I should solely focus on access concentration for now.

Edit: I dreamed of the Buddha last night. That's the second time in about 2 weeks.

RE: Rebecca's Log
Answer
4/4/18 7:20 AM as a reply to Rebecca P.
You're ambitious! That's great but try to temper it in solid directions rather than scatter them. I would start doing metta whenever I am mindful to be doing it off-cushion and when in trouble. I will hone my sensitivities by attempting to wish people what they seem to be needing. e.g. wishing good health to an elderly person. Ease to someone with a troubled look.

Otherwise, off-cushion I will stay positive/clear/bright, focus on relaxed clear-seeing and start to power mindfulness of (1) quality of mind, what causes higher/lower quality of mind; (2) coarse feelings/sticky thoughts, especially the negative, watch relevant cause & effect, review them later on if I do not have time; I will add (3) mindfulness of breath whenever I have spare attention to dedicate to it or when I encounter difficulties to use them to calm mental/bodily fabrications and let this be my long-term mindfulness practice until they become habitual and I find I have spare attention to use (boredom) in daily life <- really just increase the intensity/depth/breadth of these will do.

If you are really capable of handling more, add a 5 min. pre-meditation workout: pranayama (scanning/visualization/energy work) & slowly incorporate understanding: "Mindfulness of Dharma" and how they relate to what you experience in daily life (there's enough Vipassana in all of these for the beginning, IMO):

(A) Dharma Seals, or the three characteristics of existence : 1. Impermanence (bread & butter – watch it like a hawk when possible, use it to lower the value of good subjective experiences like addictions) 2. Suffering (turn negative energy into curiosity in learning about it) 3. Not-self (start to see and disassociate the troubling mind/body/objects from I - such a relief!)

shargrol's golden advice: Regarding the three characteristics, it sounds like you are making the classic mistake of assuming that the dharma and three characteristics are hard to see. Actually, the three characteristics are right here, in every experience. We don't control the moment, we don't get exactly what we want, and the things we experience are not the same as our self because sensations, urges, emotions, and thoughts appear >within< our awareness. It's basically that simple, although it becomes more subtle over time. In any case, we don't need to work hard to see it.

( B 5 Hindrances, or those factors which prevent development: 1. Desire (Sensate/wrong) 2. Ill Will 3. Sloth 4. Restlessness & Worry 5. Doubt

(C) 5 Spiritual Faculties, to balance: Using 1. Mindfulness to balance [2.Wisdom & 3.Faith] - don't be a smarty pants, mostly a male problem emoticon +  [4.Effort & 5.Concentration]

(D) 7 Factors of Enlightenment, or those which support development: 1. Mindfulness 2. Investigation of Dharma 3. Energy+(Energy Body) 4. Rapture (joy/happiness both physical/emotional stemming from seclusion/renouncement/contentment/progress - don't lose this, it's the anchor) 5. Stillness 6. Concentration 7. Equanimity

I realize that mindfulness is one of very few factors almost completely within my control. It is the foothold into enlightenment. I cannot command concentration directly for e.g. but I can use mindfulness to observe concentration, what leads to it (stillness) and balance effort to get to the goodies. High effort does not always get me to high concentration. If I am sleepy, I resolve to be mindful, at the very least I come out of snooze knowing what happened or I get better with observing the hypnagogic state. I will never put up a fight with myself/sleep/anything, when I do that I have left the path and joined the resistance, fighting for the ego.

There is great benefit in getting concentration strong and stable before hardcore Vipassana, I doubt rushing into it will yield any benefits. One problem during the DN is yogis question if they are meditating or in AC or not. If you are strong there, you spare yourself the pains of that and many more...

If you are most hardcore, you can start working towards the 10 paramis, specifically 6. Patient Endurance (balance with resolve). This is a Life Path (not academic), a long one I wish for all who read this!

A good motivation is Skilful Living. I ask myself oft - "What will be skilful?" Something that helps with addictions or when lost:
"What, when I do it, will lead to long-term welfare and happiness?" - Buddha (I think haha)
Adding one most important thing that is not in the Dharma: Laughter. Laugh at yourself heartily. It is funnier than most things and most liberating...

Godspeed! emoticon

RE: Rebecca's Log
Answer
4/4/18 1:40 PM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
Wow. So much useful suggestions and information. I'm going to have to read over your post several times and write it down. Thank you friend.

I went without pain medication last night and this morning, and was not in a pleasant mood. Making my bed this morning was a painful endeavor. When I get like that, it's like everything I do is against the current and twice as hard. I didn't even feel like meditating. I ended up imbibing in more pain meds.
My husband and I got our tax returns back so we spent the morning running errands and paying off debts. When the meds kicked in, I felt relaxed. Felt free. My smile came effortlessly and stayed there. I was mindful. My time with my husband was pleasant. 
When I'm on opiates, I feel more spiritual. My practice is effortless. I'm kind and patient. 
When I don't take the pills, my body is wrought with painful sensations. I become irritable. It's harder to practice mindfulness. 
I think what I need to do, is quit the pills. It's the withdrawals that put me in a bad place, but I should use that opportunity to be mindful of how I feel and to gain some insight. Perhaps enough so that I don't ever want to take the pills again. Once I'm over the withdrawals, I'll be in a better place physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It's just that awful river that I must cross, and getting to the other side would be worth it.
I feel weak in that regard. Addiction is a serious problem. I want to continue to feel good taking the pills forever, but their effect is deceitful. It's not a true rapture. It's cheating! I have to stop cheating. I have to be strong. Wish I had some equanimity. Wish I could see the truth clear as day. I'm still stumbling along blind in this world. 

RE: Rebecca's Log
Answer
4/4/18 5:30 PM as a reply to Rebecca P.
My Middle Way

I have bipolar disorder. Yes, on top of plain old depression. Trust me, I am wrought with problems.
When I become manic, I get very religious. There have been times that I believed I was "the chosen one" and was meant for amazing things. I went a week believing I was posessed by the Egyptian god, Wepwawet. I'd become so spiritually inclined that I forgot everything else. Then, when I came down from my little cloud, I'd be so burned out that I'd discard my spiritual side, thinking, it was all just BS anyway. 
This time around, when I first began to meditate again and study Buddhism, I was manic. I spent most of my waking life forcing myself to be mindful, to the point that I didn't talk to my family. I had laser beam focus and saw nothing else. I was due for a burnout. 
When I got to that point, I was mentally exhausted. I'd decide, "I don't want to be mindful today." Those days, I was unhappy, knowing nothing I did was meaningful. 
I believe that if I weren't meditating daily and self-medicating, I'd be in a pretty bad depression right now.
But I found my Middle Way. I stopped forcing the mindfulness. I stopped setting a timer for my meditations and began to stop when I felt ready. Not crawling, not full speed ahead, but comfortably walking this spiritual path. 
There are times when I feel that I have too many faults, and too much negative karma, to make it down the road. I acknowledge these thoughts and let them go, because my truth, in this moment, is that even if I don't progress any further, I'm already better off than I was. I'm a better person. A happier person, just from meditation and mindfulness practices. It's easy as pie, and I've got nothing else to do anyway. My close family all tell me to keep doing what I'm doing. They've noticed the change too.
Today my husband told me that I "carried myself like a Buddhist." Not sure exactly what he means, but it was nice to hear it. I asked if I seemed false or like I was forcing myself, and he said no. Like I said, it's easy. Not only that, it feels good. It feels nice to carry a smile on my face. To look at strangers with compassion rather than jealousy or resentment. All it takes is a positive attitude for life to become much easier. 
Dare I say, I'm proud of myself, and that's a big thing, because I've spent most of my life despising myself. 
I refuse to treat myself that way any more. 

RE: Rebecca's Log
Answer
4/4/18 10:45 PM as a reply to Rebecca P.
Today's report.

Either my mind has been racing, or I've been on the verge of sleep all day. Not the best day for my samatha practice.

Didn't meditate in the morning.

At 2 p.m. meditated for 32 minutes. I tried to focus on my smile, but kept slipping into the hypnagogic phase. Kept trying to bring my attention back, but it only worked temporarily.

At five I meditated for 30 minutes. More hypnagogic visions. They seem mostly random and useless, but apparently my mouth is a piano. Interesting.

Took a nap.

At 9 I meditated for 25 minutes. I gave up early because again, slipping into hypnagogia. This time I saw that my heart is a carton of eggs. Plenty of symbolism there.
I did have a pleasant feeling in my chest that expanded up into my throat. The sensation rode my breath like a surfer rides a wave. I feel that if I had been able to stay alert, I could have found myself in the first jhana. Oh well. Tomorrow will be better.

I'm quitting the opiates. Period. I had my last dose several hours ago. This coming week will be rough, but I'm determined and I'm not afraid. Typing it all out for the world to see made me realise how much the pills control me, and that makes me dependent on them for happiness. That is a no no. So, that's it. No more.

About a month ago my car broke down on the freeway. My husband came and picked me up, but we had to leave the car. It was towed, and now the price to get it out of impound is more than we paid for the whole car. So, we are letting it go. It was a good car, until it wasn't, and if I were in a different frame of mind I would be upset, but I'm not. My mind has released it effortlessly. The loss of my car doesn't cause me pain. 
That's good.

I've got a big week ahead. There will be some struggle, but it's another opportunity to practice and learn. I'm going to study my pain intensely and hopefully, learn to put some space between me and it. We'll see how that goes.

RE: Rebecca's Log
Answer
4/5/18 5:43 AM as a reply to Rebecca P.
Hi Rebecca, I do not have any experience with opiates, so can't really help you there. Stay mindful, watch what happens and know that whatever happens, it is ok. Try not to judge if you can. Remember to go to the BVs... emoticon

Edit: You are going strong-willed method on it. It can work and I hope it does! I do not know how to skilfully say this but hey, don't beat yourself up, yeah?! Compassion to yourself... 

RE: Rebecca's Log
Answer
4/5/18 5:30 PM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
Thank you dear friend. Your words are a breath of fresh air. I appreciate your presence.
Remember to go to the BVs... emoticon
Forgive my ignorance, but what are the BV's?

.

Ok, here is today's half report.

First of all, I decided to wean off the opiates instead of going cold turkey. I plan to have less and less as the days go by. Today I'd had none and didn't feel great, and actually lost my temper. Like Yilun Ong says, I have to try to not beat myself up, but it's hard not to. All I can do is prevent it from happening again.

I meditated this morning for 25 minutes. My mind refused to be silent for the most part. That pleasurable feeling I always get was actually spread across my eyebrows this time. Couldn't focus on it enough to increase the sensation.

Next, I volunteered at the local Humane Society. Played with lots of kitties and puppies. It was rewarding but draining. So many things sap the energy right out of me. I hope to soon learn how to conserve it and consciously direct it as needed, instead of it leaking all over the place.

I meditated at 4 for 30 minutes. Better concentration this time. No sleepiness. The good feeling was in my chest this time, right about where my lower heart (i mean, carton of eggs!) chakra is. As I inhaled, it moved forward towards the front of my chest. On the exhale, it moved back near my spine. There were moments it spread to my throat and abdomen. I spent some time playing with the feeling by altering my breath and watching where it went and how it felt. May have been close to first jhana. Then, I started thinking about this chocolate bunny my mom bought me and lost my concentration. 

I've been scattered today and keep forgetting to practice mindfulness. I have, however, smiled through most of the day, except when I had my little outburst. It's over now and I'm back to smiling.

Back later tonight!

RE: Rebecca's Log
Answer
4/5/18 11:42 PM as a reply to Rebecca P.
This isn't exactly a second update for tonight, just another ramble by yours truly.

I've had a bad night. I lost my composure. A part of me wanted to start hating myself again, but I refused. Instead I laid in bed, let myself cry, and felt a soothing succor wash over me.

To lay it all out for the world to see, I am plagued with issues. Bipolar, Borderline, PTSD, persistent depression, self-harm issues, and addiction issues. I grew up in a dysfunctional, abusive environment. I have physical problems as well, the worst being fibromyalgia, and more pain which could be psychosomatic. I have a criminal history. Within the last two months, I've lost my home, my family, my cats and my car. 

My life is rife with suffering. So much that for years, I accepted it as my fate and even developed some sort of martyr syndrome.

Why am I sharing all this? Well, I, like all of you, have decided to start this little experiment on myself called the Dharma. Maybe there are others out there with problems like mine, who don't think they can make it. Maybe even you, don't believe I can. At times I don't believe it either, still. 

But I'm putting forth real effort. I have tried everything else. I've been sampling psych meds and combinations thereof for 22 years. Therapy has yet to do me much good. The opiates might help temporarily, but when I come down I'm worse for it. If you can think of it, I've probably tried it, maybe two or three times over. 

I strongly believe that if I stay on this new path, it will help me. It has already helped me. I suppose I'm still a little unstable, but I'm a lot better off than I was. As I said before, even if I progress no further, I only need to continue what I'm doing to enjoy a life with less suffering. 

I'm just like everyone else. I want happiness. I don't want to suffer. And the answer to my problems is in my hands.

RE: Rebecca's Log
Answer
4/6/18 1:45 AM as a reply to Rebecca P.
Much love to you Rebecca. There are many who care and wish you well. We are all here to change our lives for the better, and lots of people have managed to do so. I find that very empowering.

The teacher Culadasa has an interesting point about focussing the mind.  He says that when you notice the mind wandering in meditation, don't be angry.  Instead be pleased that you have noticed it, because this shows progress, and then you know to draw attention back to where it should be. In the same way, when you find yourself in a bad spot again, try to be pleased that you have noticed it, because that means you are learning to manage your issues, and you can turn your intentions back towards positive living and meditation.

It is really heartwarming to read of your strong determination.  Of course it will wax and wane, and it is a long road.  But I can tell you that the path does work.  It can reduce suffering to a fraction of what it used to be.  There are some dangers along the way; so try to find a teacher, or at leat read widely, to help you handle the dark night should it occur.  But the best protection, if you can manage it, is to forgive those who have harmed you, forgive yourself, and find small ways to be generous every day, even if it is only in your thoughts.  Forgiveness is one of the most powerful forces in the world - especially when you forgive people who don't deserve it.  Forgive them anyway, and mean it.

We all have a Buddha nature.  You too.

RE: Rebecca's Log
Answer
4/6/18 2:58 AM as a reply to Rebecca P.
RUMI:

The spirit and the body carry different loads and require different attentions. Too often we put saddlebags on Jesus and let the donkey run loose in the pasture.

I've had an abused childhood and this journey has helped me look at them differently, accept them with compassion (towards myself and my parents), accept that they are part of me, taught me to direct tenderness, care and mercy to wherever needs them, inviting the pains to stay as long as they wish to and eventually they decide to bid a warm farewell... I hope you can see the theme of how the middle path deals with problems.

You have a set of physical/emotional stuff that needs to be dealt with, it will be wise to look at them objectively and stop piling them on 'Jesus' (aka spiritual) as he will get overloaded and it will all crumble. Separate them, for the physical, accept your conditions and when the physical pains hit you, keep them physical, watch the emotions and get on 'Jesus' to mediate acceptance and compassion. Meditate and ask what can be done to soothe those pains, think of increasing Equanimity - the 4th Brahma Vihara (sometimes simply called metta - read the link) that comes from the 1st 3: Metta (Loving-Kindness), Karuna (Compassion) & Mudita (Sympathetic Joy). As we develop the 1st 3, the 4th strengthens and EQ is necessary for higher jhanas and Vipassana. I will start to develop EQ by distancing myself from the subjective good of bad habits (e.g. opiates feeling good) and keeping the same distance from the emotional/physical pains. Stay on middle ground, observe and know that you are improving a key skill.
Meditation on Difficulties (Jack Kornfield: A Path With Heart) Page 81

Calm yourself and ask:
1. How have I treated the difficulties so far?
2. How have I suffered by my own response/reactions to it?
3. What does this problem ask me to let go of?
4. What suffering in unavoidable, is my measure to accept?
5. What great lesson might it be able to teach me?
6. What is the gold, the value, hidden in this situation?

Take your time, repeat/reflect as necessary, listen with an open mind/heart.

The key to real progress IME, is solid positive steps. This means slower progress than we would prefer, but this means that the whole body/mind system will more likely stay in a forward motion than tend to roll back. The great desire to be off with the bad is to be looked at carefully. For me, this involves the overarching theme of spiritual greed, although the desire is of a good nature, it still stems from greed, I have let that go to come to happier terms with each living moment. The other alarm is that this means we are denying those negativities as us and denying them the chance to teach us the deeper lessons about us that we have not made available to come to our consciousness. 

Often our problems signify something else in us that is screaming for attention. Be gentle and allow the problems to speak, do not repress them nor allow them full sway over us. Use mindfulness to face them and intelligently allow quantities through so that we can handle them without being overwhelmed. I am suggesting a slow, easy (once you get into the rhythm) but surefire method - middle way.

Look at the difficulties with the correct light:

1. They can teach us and will make us stronger. We can focus on our strengths but we will not grow spiritually unless we face our demons.
2. They require sensitive, gentle, patient compassion and attention. We want to learn to be able to do this.
3. Achieving this balances us as a being, one that wields freedom and power over difficulties.
4. We do not want them magicked away as they are part of us and part of our journey to truly BE.
5. We will appreciate the work we have got still to do, if it is slow, it is fine as we are enjoying this work to be better.
6. The path is the journey, not the end point. Let's make the long, important parts enjoyable.

Try using "not-self" to unstick the difficulties from yourself so that you as a witness can better investigate and work with them. Let me know if you need help with specifically working with them this way.

Remember that this path is about eventually letting go after clear seeing... You are doing fine, just don't beat yourself up. There's no benefit of that to anyone! emoticon

Edit: This method works very well when I want to beat myself up! emoticon

RE: Rebecca's Log
Answer
4/6/18 8:00 AM as a reply to curious.
Well said.

RE: Rebecca's Log
Answer
4/6/18 9:26 PM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
Ok, that video was pretty funny. I will stop it. I will also focus on the other, perhaps even more valuable advice you have expounded. 

.

Today's log

Not a lot to say except that it's been my first full day without opiates. They say the third day is the worst, so if I can make it over that hump I'll be out in the open. 

I meditated this morning for 20 minutes, and then slept all day and slept some more. Withdrawals I guess. I'll meditate a little longer tonight when my tummy is less full.

Didn't smile quite as much today but I haven't quit trying. Only occasional mindfulness. Been passing my awake time reading the Lotus Sutra. Don't know if it takes skill to be mindful while reading, or if it never happens. I intend to learn!

That's all. Just wanted you guys to know I'm still here, and determined to quit the pills. One day down.

RE: Rebecca's Log
Answer
4/7/18 1:38 AM as a reply to Rebecca P.
I recommend picking up A Path with Heart by Jack Kornfield if you are looking for something to read. Perhaps a sweeter balance to your steely character (a good thing!)...

Keep going, my well-wishing thoughts are with you...

RE: Rebecca's Log
Answer
4/7/18 4:22 AM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
I recommend picking up A Path with Heart by Jack Kornfield if you are looking for something to read. Perhaps a sweeter balance to your steely character (a good thing!)...
I actually found it in audiobook version on youtube. I've heard the first out of three hours so far. It's simple yet meaningful. Thank you for the recommendation. And thank you for your presence!

Since I slept all day I'm up all night. I've had two 25 minute meditation sessions. The first was uneventful, but before I even sat down the second time, I had an interesting feeling in my head, like it had expanded. I practiced breathing into my crown chakra and felt very obvious sensations there. I also did a little metta practice towards myself, including Thich Nhat Hanh's version of visiting your internal organs, smiling at them, thanking them, and sending them love. It made me feel happy. 

I'm still riding out the withdrawals. 36 hours without opiates. Feeling good at the moment, but will probably feel pretty icky soon enough. No worries. I'm kicking this habit.

oh! @curious, I only just now saw your post. Thank you for your kindness. I can use all the encouragement I can get!

RE: Rebecca's Log
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4/7/18 2:52 PM as a reply to Rebecca P.
Just want to say, that I did metta practice for fifteen minutes today. I had to stop early as I was completely overwhelmed with emotions.

I started with myself, using the usual phrases and also a few I came up with myself. I started crying.

Then I moved on to three of my closest family members and used the same phrases. By that point I was bawling. I think I've really had some pent up stuff in my heart and in my mind. The crying felt good, but it was very intense. Still, I'm thankful for it and this in no way has turned me away from metta practice. I'll be doing it every day.

It was an apt suggestion to say the least. Thank you!!!!

RE: Rebecca's Log
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4/7/18 6:45 PM as a reply to Rebecca P.
I think I had a breakthrough during walking meditation! I only walked a half mile due to pressing matters at home, but I didn't let that bother me. I timed my breath with my steps, smiled, and stayed conscious of the sensations in my feet and legs. For several moments, I was free. I wasn't Rebecca anymore. My problems disappeared. The past disappeared. The future disappeared. My destination wasn't important. I wasn't human anymore. I became the act of walking. My smile became more authentic and relaxed. I felt whole. I enjoyed every sensation. The sun in my eyes. The cold breeze. I welcomed them all. 

I have never been so in the moment as I was during that walk. 

RE: Rebecca's Log
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4/8/18 8:08 AM as a reply to Rebecca P.
I wouldn't bottle those intense emotions, just let them flow and be okay with them. Maybe even sink further and see if there's anything else there like some childhood fears or stuff that you do not even know is there... 

Metta check: Don't forget to just be you, just be happy, be nice/lovey to people around you, be present in the moment, enjoy them and see that the path, the goal, the now are inseparable. Treasure each moment for what it plainly is, if you see the dharma, great. If not, more importantly you are living a good life!

Sounds like your concentration went up a few notches, keep going, Rebecca United! emoticon We get excited by these new states - that is perfectly normal, but it is not okay to beat ourselves up when we fail to re-attain them. Turning our energy to mindfully observing what the factors are, is the bright way forward...

RE: Rebecca's Log
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4/8/18 10:06 PM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
More words of wisdom, Yilun Ong. Thank you. I'm taking your advice to heart.

I did allow myself to feel today. I have been bottling up emotions relating to not being able to go home, missing my cats and my husband. I let myself cry, noted the emotions, and paid attention to how the emotions felt in my body.

I know I have a lot of pent up stuff from my past, when I was 4-16 years old, and I've really blocked it out. There are parts that I can't even remember because they were so horrible, and when I look at my past I really don't feel much, though I know I should. How do I unbury all of it? Where have I hidden it? Is it dangerous to even go near it? Stay tuned to find out.

Meditation went per the usual today. Three sessions of about 30 minutes so far, including metta practice.

One more thing. I actually achieved real mindfulness while washing dishes today. I didn't have to force it. It wasn't a task to be mindful, I just was. I was in no hurry, there were very few thoughts, and you're dang right those dishes were cleaned with some serious patience and care. Dare I say it was enjoyable. 

My ability to be mindful seems to be improving, although I'm not forcing myself to practice it all day with little luck, as I did at first. 

Also seeing random little flashes of white light.

RE: Rebecca's Log
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4/9/18 3:12 AM as a reply to Rebecca P.
Makes me smile reading the dishes bit. People think mindfulness is a pain but after you see how pleasant it is, there is no going back. Keep the pleasant mindfulness flowing and going by nudging it along gently.

No one knows about the buried stuff and only you can find out. I would summon increasing curiosity about it, encouraging its unearthing, powered by the knowledge that the tomb raider will find her treasures! Because of past blocking, I found out that I am subtly resisting their full release by habit, so I would say that there is a need for more gentle probing than 'normal' peeps to get these stuff really flowing, to feel into them, pat them on the head, give them a hug, serve them tea and biscuits, till they finish their sob stories, wipe their tears and bid a cheery goodbye for good. emoticon

Meditation: if it feels pressurizing or that the end of the long sessions are somewhat draining, switch to more shorter sessions with the aim to exit with a calm, bright mind (and trying gently to prolong the calm abiding, post meditation). Enter sessions with the joyful thought of having some much treasured, me-time (or self-discovery/improvement, whichever best suits the mood).

Wishing you innumerable bright lights to lit your path... _/ \_

RE: Rebecca's Log
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4/9/18 7:04 PM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
I liked your bit about the tomb raider. It sounds adventurous. I'm going to start working towards that.

I've spent over a month looking for a job. Financial situation has been quite dire and I need to do my part. I woke up early for an interview at a fast food chain and managed to meditate for twenty minutes before it was time to leave. I got the job. I'm very happy and relieved, but not sure if this constitutes 'right livelihood.' I'm going to take it into my own hands and make my job something that helps people, simply by keeping a smile for the customers, wishing them good things silently, and hopefully brightening some people's day. That will be all I can do, as I need this job very badly. Beggars can't be choosers. 
It will be harder now to find the time to meditate, but I'll make it happen. If I have to wake up at 5 AM just to meditate, I will. It wouldn't feel right to go to work without having done that.

My mom and I got into an argument today. Put two people with borderline personality disorder under the same roof and it's bound to happen occasionally. I lost my patience but never raised my voice. We've made up since then and are now once again getting along together happily. 
We live together in a very small house. It was always chaos and hot tempers before I began meditating. Now, my mom thinks it's so important that she will be as silent as she can while I'm doing it. She has seen the change and supports me.

I practiced metta meditation (mettatation. haha) for twenty-five minutes today, and wished wonderful things for everyone from myself to my cat. I was once again moved to tears but only momentarily. I have gone as far as to ask two of my family members what they'd like me to wish for them specifically. I'm so happy to have a family that is open-minded enough to be glad about my practice.

For a while today, I was restless and had an empty feeling inside. I should have meditated right then, but at that time I didn't feel like it. I regret now that I didn't. Meditation was probably more important than ever at that moment.

I lost my smile for a little bit, but I've got it back now. 

RE: Rebecca's Log
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4/9/18 11:18 PM as a reply to Rebecca P.
A great 40 minute samatha meditation tonight. Felt a very pleasurable sensation near my solar plexus, and found the proper way to breathe in order to increase the sensation. If I focused enough, I could get the feeling to abide completely independent of my breath, but I lost concentration a few times to check my posture and that I was still smiling. There were moments when I couldn't pinpoint the source of the sensation, it seemed to take over my whole being. 

My meditations always last longer when I start playing with these rapturous feelings. It gives me something to focus on, and so my mind is less likely to wander and ask things like, "how long has it been?" or "this is boring" or "I want tea." 

I like tea.

RE: Rebecca's Log
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4/10/18 4:02 AM as a reply to Rebecca P.
Your post made me smile and laugh (I like tea - hahaha good one)! 

Don't worry about meditating at the right moment, I'd say being mindful is enough. If you do not feel like it, don't do it! Right livelihood is more useful as seen from a culmination of Right thoughts/intentions/speech/action - i.e. Right Living than the livelihood itself and we do that whatever our jobs are (although it is obvious that some jobs are opposing that possibility). I think you have a great thing going there with support from your family, roping them into your practice is such a smart idea!

You made my day! emoticon

RE: Rebecca's Log
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4/10/18 8:56 AM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
I'm glad I could make you laugh. Not everyone appreciates my silliness. 

I do worry about meditating at the right time, because I know it would make me feel better. When I'm anxious or sad or angry, I know meditating would at least help a little. IIt centers and relaxes me. It has become my number one coping skill.

I forgot to mention last night, that I did walking meditation yesterday, for a mile. My mindfulness has improved even more! I think I've broken through a mindfulness barrier. About half of the time spent walking, I was (almost) effortlessly mindful. Perfectly pleased with walking, not in a hurry, and a mind open and empty, free of cares. This new mindfulness is much different from the way I would almost force it before. The forcing was no fun, because I would lose the mindfulness again and again, and force it back again and again. Not last night, though. 
I think my meditation practice is the reason I have found this new pleasure. I notice something new every day, however small, to show that I am, in fact, making progress. 

RE: Rebecca's Log
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4/10/18 10:57 AM as a reply to Rebecca P.
Maybe because I am silly too! emoticon

Contentment from progress/seclusion, success in overcoming the hindrances (worry is a big one! So find a motivation to drop that?) causes stillness which creates joy + bliss and that powers the momentum to carry us forward in an uncontrived manner. You are doing just fine and how you are doing your walking meditation is how you are most certainly doing this correctly. Let this skip in your step carry you forth naturally...

RE: Rebecca's Log
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4/10/18 6:24 PM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
Something interesting is going on.

I haven't felt very 'spiritual' today and only spent twenty minutes this morning meditating, during which I spent half the time falling asleep. I've felt very dull, tired, and bored most of the day and so about forty minutes ago I layed down to take a nap.

I was dead tired but didn't drift off as expected. As usual, I proceeded to use the time spent falling asleep with a smile on my face, being mindful. I paid attention to my thoughts and made an effort to shut them down so I could just be. To my surprise, the thoughts ceased immediately. Mid-thought, in fact, accompanied by a vague visualization of a mixer spinning and sending pieces of thoughts in multiple directions. Cool, I thought. That was easy.

There was one thought that stuck around, however, and that was a song that came out of nowhere and played in my mind. "Solstice" by Bjork.

When your eyes
pause on the pole
That hangs on the third branch from the star,
you remember why
it is light
and why it gets dark again.
The earth
like the heart
slopes in its seat,
and like that
it travels
along an elliptical path,
drawn into the darkness.

On that last line, which happens to be the the one right before the song really starts kicking (at least in the remix) I felt a strange new sensation on the top of my head. If you take bitter cold, mix it with intense heat, and butterflies like the kind you get in your stomach, you end up with something close to what I'm feeling. It's strong too. So obviously and undeniably there, sometimes changing position, always on my head. As I type this, the words on the computer screen blur and then line up again. My depth perception keeps shifting. I'm thinking clearly, but can also choose not to at my leisure. It's been over twenty minutes since this all started and I'm still in the midst of it.

Something is shifting. Changing. This is all new to me. 

RE: Rebecca's Log
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4/10/18 8:18 PM as a reply to Rebecca P.

"The woods are lovely, dark and deep, 
But I have promises to keep, 
And miles to go before I sleep, 
And miles to go before I sleep."


RE: Rebecca's Log
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4/12/18 2:32 PM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
Oh no Yilun. Don't get me started on poetry. I can quote it and I can create it. Certainly there will come a time when I post a poem instead of an update. 

Anyway, I started work yesterday, and I've been trying to adjust and squeeze meditation in when I can. The day before, I only meditated 20 minutes all day, and yesterday I meditated a few times, but my mind wouldn't calm down. 
This morning I woke up two hours before I was due at work so I'd have time to meditate. I meditated twenty minutes, and just now after work, I did metta practice for 30 minutes. I really like the "mettatation" because of how easy it is to focus on the good thoughts. When I stop and let my mind be silent, I feel a vast stillness. Total relaxation and total concentration at the same time. I'm still including myself in the practice.
I'm having to learn everything new at work, so I haven't been very mindful yet. I intend to once I get into the swing of things. I keep a smile and try to feel love and send good wishes to all the customers. That will be the key to making my job feel fulfilling. 
No matter where I am, I must stay focused on what I'm working towards, and it has little to do with my actual job. I have to keep my spirituality strong always. 
I'll let you guys know how that goes.
Wish me luck and joy of course.

edit: and about those sensations I was having on Tuesday, they went on for a while longer and then stopped. Have no clue what it was. Don't think it was an A&P event. I could be wrong. Will we ever know? Wanna take a guess? Go for it!

RE: Rebecca's Log
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4/12/18 11:44 PM as a reply to Rebecca P.
Hello, Rebecca, I’m Laurel, and much of what you write about resonates with my own experience. I too have fibromyalgia, and I too find myself feeling more spiritual with opiates, although I have been fortunate in avoiding addiction. I honor you for your determination to break the addiction. There aren’t enough options for pain management in our culture, but meditation can help.

You have stuff from the past that is likely to surface, some of which might best be handled in therapy along with the meditation. I also recommend Culadasa’s book, The Mind Illuminated, which portrays an approach to practice that is as gentle as possible for dealing with painful material in our backgrounds. Also, a friend of mine always had to remind me when I was starting out that meditation is not medication; in other words, don’t look on this path as a substitute for appropriate medical care. 

One suggestion I would make for your reports on sits: try to be as specific as possible in describing what you are doing (e.g.: focusing on the breath at the nostrils, or closely observing bodily sensations as they arise), and also what is happening (thought loops followed by sudden calm, etc.). As time goes on this will become easier. 

RE: Rebecca's Log
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4/13/18 2:23 PM as a reply to Laurel Carrington.
Hi Laurel! It's so nice to hear from someone who shares some of my experience. Glad I'm not the only one who feels more spiritual with opiates. To me, the kind of pain caused by fibromyalgia, which is something different from a stubbed toe or a cut, zaps all the life energy and freshness out of me so quickly. It's no wonder so many in America are addicted and overdosing on narcotic pain medication. It's no longer a personal problem, it is a problem for all of humanity. Society and culture have become unfulfilling and invalidating, so we seek other ways to feel comfortable even in our own skin.

You're right that I should be more specific about my meditations. Talk about a duh moment. I'll work on that, and I'll also see if I can find that book for free somewhere, at least until I get my first paycheck.

Think I will put the next log entry in a new post to avoid confusion.

RE: Rebecca's Log
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4/13/18 2:35 PM as a reply to Rebecca P.
Oh hello Rebecca. How are you?

I'm alright, but exhausted from working all morning. I must be out of shape. 

Yesterday after posting, I did walking meditation for one mile. It was an absolutely beautiful day. I timed my breath with my steps, smiled, and tried to keep most of my focus on the sensations on the bottom of my feet, while also enjoying the wide open sky and lovely weather. I kept my mindfulness through more than half of the walk, and never lost the synchronicity between my walking and my breathing. Usually I lost track once or twice, but not this time.

Before bed I meditated for forty minutes. Sitting in the half lotus position with my back against a pillow, I focused on the air passing through my nostrils for the first ten minutes or so, to ensure my breathing was comfortably established. I occasionally shifted my attention to my mouth to ensure I was maintaining a smile. Next, I focused on my body and found a pleasant feeling near my carton of eggs (heart (read previous post)). I stuck with the feeling, watching it change with the rise and fall of the breath. I adjusted my breathing until the feeling remained at a constant level, and focused on it as well as I could. There were moments when I felt the feeling, but couldn't locate it in my body. . .it was just a feeling. Often it would spread to the back of my throat, and, for only a second, the feeling encapsulated me from my chest to the tips of my toes. My concentration wasn't quite strong enough, and the feeling returned to its original magnitude and position. I believe I was close to first jhana when I felt that sensation in my legs. When it passed, I didn't fret. Just went back to the original source. 

I also meditated for twenty minutes before work this morning, but I'd had only four hours sleep, so lots of hypnagogic visions and an eventual giving up until I could get more rest.

A couple days ago, my concentration seemed to dwindle, but now it's back and just about the strongest it's ever been. I'm always happy when I see progress. I've come far in ways I never imagined. 

RE: Rebecca's Log
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4/13/18 5:22 PM as a reply to Rebecca P.
Me again.

Been going over the MCTB book and a few other websites, feeding my hungry spiritual head. In the process, I've realized something.

I haven't been doing much as far as insight practices go. I know this and have for a while. It felt like too much work and effort to me, but whether it is or is not, is really just an excuse. 

I am afraid of the dark night. I'm afraid of that point of no return.

Why? Because I know depression. I know every line in its weathered face. It has suffocated me for over twenty-three years. 

I've tried nearly every psychotropic drug known to western medicine. I've seen many therapists. Currently, I'm on five different psychiatric medications, three of them antidepressants. All that, and I was still miserable. Eeyore's got nothing on me. 
Then I started meditation, and mindfulness, and have found some relief. We'll say that my depression was at a nine out of ten before, and is now at four out of ten. A significant improvement.

I didn't utilize these new habits to throw myself into a new kind of misery. I don't think I could handle it again. My death was looming. I thought about suicide often. I've been in six different mental wards. I have scars on my wrists. Long cuts from the wrists to the inside of my elbows. At one point, I was cutting myself and cauterizing the wounds, just to feel some relief. Scars. Countless.
You're bloody right it was damn serious.

I just don't know if I'm stable enough, or if I will be in the future. I want enlightenment, but perhaps I was not meant for it in this life. Perhaps now I am simply meant to develop these positive habits, and hope they carry over. Who knows.

So, the reason I'm not following Mr. Ingram's directions to a T, is because I may drown in a river I can't cross. 

Feel free to share your voice on this matter. 

RE: Rebecca's Log
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4/14/18 10:14 AM as a reply to Rebecca P.
Daniel have a good point on darknight that says that people with deppression or anxiety should stay away from it .Althought I entered it with all of that ,but I agree with Daniel. About this stuff u should consult with adept meditator best eye to eye if there is near a monastery or a qualified teacher near you.

RE: Rebecca's Log
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4/14/18 9:46 AM as a reply to Rebecca P.
Rebecca, there are so many ways up the mountain. Why would you choose a dry insight path which by many accounts, leads to darker DNs? The Buddha almost always talks about insight after emerging or transitioning from the 4th jhana. The Mind Illuminated is basically IMO something like that path where concentration is built to the peak or close to it - the TMI practitioners claim no or diluted DNs. IME, I switched to Insight after the 3rd jhana, the DN is noticeable but not a problem at all.

Can you see that the mind is creating this suffering? A future of no substance is projected and bought into. BTW, there are Insight practices in what you are doing; it is practically impossible not to be doing it. Once you note a thought or anything that is impermanent and you make a switch, with mindfulness/clear-seeing, impermanence is seen through and 'practiced'.

I suggest you see that all these unnecessary thoughts stem from spiritual greed, dissatisfaction with the current moment/situation, wish to be out of it and be someone you are not, disagreeing with reality (isn't this a ridiculous activity - to disagree with whatever is here?), lack the patience to walk the journey and be okay with every moment - that is a key factor to enlightenment. Have you ever heard of a suffering Arhat? Seeing the qualities of arhats/buddhas show us clearly what we need to work towards, their enlightenments are worked out not a magic flip when attained.

I would check every moment and be alarmed when the mind is not happy with anything - it is a created story that is suffering and worthy of all efforts expended to understand through dispelling the untruths...

Apologies for the stern tone! Get out of there! 

P.S. The past and the future only holds truth or becomes a warped reality when we buy into those stories in the current moment - when you are not thinking them and allowing them to cover over the reality of NOW, where are they and is there anything to deal with? Do not block them when they occur, but do your best to see them for what they are and thus with time, let them do their empty dance and watch them go...

RE: Rebecca's Log
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4/14/18 9:45 AM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
I second this post. If you can’t get hold of the book right away you can go to Culadasa’s website and get a taste of his approach. Also, keep doing what you are doing, especially as it sounds like it’s really helping. Throw in some metta practice, aimed at yourself and others. Enjoy your walking meditation, focusing on the sensations of the soles of your feet. Walking outdoors is great, also I like walking barefoot indoors and feeling the smooth floor. Take care of yourself! 

RE: Rebecca's Log
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4/14/18 10:15 AM as a reply to Rebecca P.
This is gold, hot off the oven by the most beloved Daniel Ingram:
Why do this? Well, the fundamental suffering caused by not perceiving sensations as experiences in some bizarre way does all sorts of unfortunate things to the mind and the way we perceive reality, and the righting of that, such that we perceive experiences as experiences, feels vastly better and so is positively globally transformative.

Take time: if you actually perceived all thoughts as experiences, you can't have a true sense that time is actually real, as all sensations of past and future occur now, and, being perceived as experiences, are known to occur now and not actually be time in any real sense. This is transformative.

Take agency: by actually perceiving experiences as experiences, such as intentions to do things being perceived clearly as experiences, it becomes clear that they all arise on their own naturally, causally, without anyone to create them, just part of the process, and this immediate felt experience of natural unfolding beats the crap out of the way in which somehow there is the notion that we are doing things.

Take perception: when everything just perceives itself as it is, where it is, on its own, with each sensation simply representing itself, this is vastly better than the mode of perception in which we believe that some sensations in the brain are the perception of other sensations that already occurred. This is a vastly upgraded way of perceiving experience and highly recommended.

Take thoughts: when we perceive thoughts as the experiences they actually are, we notice that thoughts are these small subtle sensate experiences in space. Seriously, now troubling can the actual experiences of thoughts be? They are so subtle most of the time, a very small percentage of what is actually occurring, and that proportionality makes thoughts assume their proper sensate place in experience, and this is vastly more manageable and easy to handle than when we contract into thoughts and lose the rest of the framing experiences that give them proportion.

Take pain: when we perceive pain exactly as it is, where it is, in the context of the rest of our sensate world, perceiving it as experiences in space along with the other sensations, perceiving it clearly to arise and vanish, perceiving it to be in proportion to its actual size and intensity and proportion of the wide world of sensations, allowing it to stand for itself, this is vastly better than the previous way where we would be reacting to pain long after it is gone and blowing it way out or portion in comparison to how much of experience it actually takes up.

Take desire: when no patterns of sensations are extrapolated to be some thing that could get closer to other sensations, that sense of bending, of pull, of drawing, of aching to get closer: this weird pulling of some illusory cluster of sensations to get towards some other cluster of sensations stops when we actually perceive sensations as clear experiences. When all of those sensations are clearly noticed to just be sensations, then such a weird illusion simply can't occur. The same happens with aversion. It is not that preferences can't arise, or that emotions can't arise, but that weird mental pull-push that occurs when some sensations are taken to be some self and some sensations are taken to be some stable thing that the pattern of sensations taken to be self could have some push-pull relationship to are known as they are, that push-pull part of the pain vanishes. Further, emotions, being perceived as part of this wide-open, proportional, transient flux of natural experiences, are given the same clarification as pain, and so the bodily sensations that that typically make emotions troublesome are perceived proportionally, and the thoughts that cause such difficulty when exaggeratedly perceived instead are noticed to just be the little decorations of space that they are.

Take ignorance: it actually takes all sorts of processing power to maintain a sense of a reference point between some pattern of sensations taken to be a self and all other sensation, as the brain has to keep up this strange moving dance, carefully ignore that sensations are the experiences they are, and then generates all sorts of additional mental complexity related to this elaborately crafted, processor-intensive illusion it has created, all of which is useless, delusional, and painful. The stopping of this painful process that happens when sensations that were thought to be self are just noticed to be more experiences marks a vast upgrade to the operating system and this beneficial upgrade is very palpable in this body-mind.

Take clinging: when experiences are clearly perceived as being the experiences they are, it is impossible for any clinging to occur, as the natural perception of the natural transience of experiences is just hardwired into the fact of noticing naturally that experiences are all transient, so what could cling to anything, and what could be clung to? Clear perception of sensations reveals that clinging can't possibly occur when experiences are actually known as they are, as their transience is instantly known by the nature of sensations being what they are.

In short, learning to perceive thoughts as thoughts, intentions as intentions, and other sensations as other sensations can, if done well and thoroughily in a way that brings all of these into clear experience, can make every moment of experience significantly better than it is perceived the other, dualistic way that misses that experiences are actually experiences.
Read and check if you are seeing what he is seeing, and if not investigate why.

Also remember the Anapanasati set of 16 skillsets/instructions? I will turn sharply towards learning how to use the breath to 'Calm Bodily & Mental Fabrications' whenever these guys try to be funny at me. This specific concentrative skill grants one superpowers over DN stuff.

Hang in there, you're doing just fine! emoticon

RE: Rebecca's Log
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4/14/18 9:05 PM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
You all have wise and wonderful things to say. I am grateful that I have access to such a forum.

I was wondering where I'd end up, if I continued my pattern of practice, with perhaps a few spurts of higher intensity. 
I haven't found The Mind Illuminated available without moneys, so I'm going to check out the website soon.

There is also the more positive thought that by my experience with meditation, I am now completely armed and ready to face it. However facing this with a technically nonpeaceful outlook--that depression is bad and something to be fought--I have already failed in overcoming it. Also, with my bipolar disorder, life itself has been a long dance of mental states that ranged between A&P like symptoms always followed by a long DN type situation. I wonder if it could actually be a spiritual thing? I was living with many mild awakening symptoms long before I began meditating. 

Anyway I will be back later.

RE: Rebecca's Log
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4/14/18 10:22 PM as a reply to Rebecca P.
Rebecca P:


There is also the more positive thought that by my experience with meditation, I am now completely armed and ready to face it. However facing this with a technically nonpeaceful outlook--that depression is bad and something to be fought--I have already failed in overcoming it. Also, with my bipolar disorder, life itself has been a long dance of mental states that ranged between A&P like symptoms always followed by a long DN type situation. I wonder if it could actually be a spiritual thing? I was living with many mild awakening symptoms long before I began meditating. 

Anyway I will be back later.
I wouldn't worry about the book. In fact, divorce yourself from the notion that a book, whatever it contains, or anything, anywhere else or anybody BUT yourself can decide to save yourself, by plugging in this virus called "deconditioning".

Depression, bipolar, suicide, dance of mental states like A&P to DN, etc. : YES all very real, real enough to cause a hell lot of trouble ONLY if believed in and lived as a permanent entity taking them seriously with added fear/aversion AND wanting them or self to DIE - worst feeling in the world! <- I've been there, guess who created and built such a monstrous state? The .I.

Watched and laughed off as they are, they cause no other trouble compared to a sneeze or itchy mosquito bite that wears off. Watch mindfully where your next step takes you, check that and pull yourself back to observing dispassionately from the middle ground when wandernig too far off.

Those 'flights of fantasy' especially of how enlightened we already are or done so in the past, are a joke when we look at ourselves in our current state. A proper fantasy would entail an enlightened person imagining he is completely not with a lot more good stuff to get to. Thinking we are done before we are, is a lousy cheap thrill that makes the future (if any) look bleaker than it is.

I wish I am just trying to get into Stage 2, all this while I am swimming in Stage 1: "Mind & Body" and have never experienced anything above that nor seen Stage 4: A&P. There is so much more to experience and so much more goodness to expect.  <- Proper fantasy! The opposite way of thinking is clearly self-created suffering to be avoided...

RE: Rebecca's Log
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4/15/18 12:38 AM as a reply to Rebecca P.
This is your current excellent practice:

1. Build up concentration by balancing effort vs concentration and achieving it through stillness through freeing oneself from hindrances - Label the above doubts/worry/fear emotions and thoughts as they clearly are, not-self, suffering and impermanent. Disembed from identifying with them. Failure to do so is plain reverting to old ways - regression is negative progress.
2. Watching suffering/dissatisfaction with everyday Life as it occurs, triggering instant mindfulness and curiosity to watch cause/effect and see the 3Cs in them. especially in troubling scenarios e.g. seeing not-self in depression/anger/delusion, seeing impermanence in pain, craving and desires.
3. Not denying or disagreeing with any moment. Being present and observe everything as they are, not adding nor subtracting anything from the moment. No push/pull of experiences.
4. Build specific skillsets checked with self-proficiency as outlined in Anapanasati when unsure about practice. e.g. calming m/b fabrications.

You have been doing well! Does it make sense to go into reverse gear now? Any other thoughts about practice over the next (set your own schedule for review) e.g. thinking about going or not going hardcore Vipassana is the ego trying to disagree or alter reality or exert false control. Note the 3Cs. Be happy and observe the next moment which is now. Done correctly there is nothing else you need to do to be fully enlightened. You do not need therapy nor professional help as you can be brave and watch/notice these negativities as they are and let them self liberate as you liberate yourself from them (just by clear seeing!). Feel free to check in here as often as you like, saying anything you like!

However you will benefit greatly from constant access to someone like a teacher or support group that you can speak to. DhO and certainly not I - too sporadic and unqualified to advice best! Maybe post to ask about possibilities of such at no or low cost?

I hope that helps!

RE: Rebecca's Log
Answer
4/15/18 7:41 PM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
First of all apologies for being back later than I said I would. Which was later. 

I see how I am already doing vipassana practice, and enjoying it too! I don't know of many nights dark enough to take away the ability to practice mindfulness. All my practice together has done me so much good. I already see a lot of reality in a new way, and it's pretty fascinating. I enjoy my practice and have no intention of stopping or back off. If I did, I'm pretty sure I'd lose some skills I've acquired within a short time span. 

I don't suppose I have any reason to rush things (except for the benefit of other beings) and I get the hint that the moment is more imporant than putting it on a chart. 

Yesterday was my birthday and I spent all day foolishly eating desserts and allowing myself to cling to distractions. I also woke up late for work that morning and didn't have time to meditate. Spent today trying to get back in a proper routine, although I now find myself constantly wishing for chocolate pie, not getting the memo that the pie has already passed away.

RE: Rebecca's Log
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4/16/18 2:37 PM as a reply to Rebecca P.
Here to say, that I know you guys are giving great advice, but also feel like I am missing the point. Is this so?

Work has really thrown off my routine and I'll be going to eight hour days starting tomorrow. I'm not getting nearly enough sleep but having trouble napping. I've continued the samatha and metta practices though sparsely. I don't feel completely myself. 
I have still been struggling with the pain meds off and on, but I'm proud to share that I had my last dose three days ago, and they say day three is the worse for withdrawal symptoms. I broke down a little, then I saw a tiny random flash of light in front of me, which reminded me that I can find happiness in the moment. I did a mix of metta and samatha meditation for twenty minutes and now I'm much better. Back to smiling like a deranged fool again.

Simply must get into a routine proper.

RE: Rebecca's Log
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4/16/18 11:16 PM as a reply to Rebecca P.
Rebecca, clear-seeing through mindfulness is everything you need now. See through what are subjective vs objective good and bad. e.g. strengthening the objective good (freedom from bondage, feeling better overall), objective bad (feeling guilty, unhealthy aspects of chocolate pie) so that the subjective good (chocolate pie tasting great for a few seconds) is overpowered and gradually let go of them all via the sub-minds/mind/body unifying in agreement - that will really feel damn good!

There is no need to feel that you aren't doing enough, I get that often enough as well and it is basically letting worry/doubt/spiritual greed beat ourselves for nothing. Stay mindful when you are in this state, allow it to be, watch it come and go, see how you have no control, it is not you, it is not satisfactory <- excellent insight practice as it is!

You seem to be having resistances to the new changes. Again just watch them as is and watch them with *gently attempted* dropping resistance and observe the difference. The resistance of lack of sleep is many times more disturbing than the lowly problems related to lack of sleep, no? Let everything come and go, just watch with curiosity and allow the insights to come to you...

Wishing you great ease in your journey!

RE: Rebecca's Log
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4/18/18 3:13 PM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
Sad to say that I am on a downward spiral.

Today is day four or five without opiates. I'm not sure. 
I became sober enough to remember why I craved the drugs in the first place. I feel empty. I am a filthy shell of nothing. There is no joy anywhere.
I guess the antidepressants aren't working, and I'm not far along enough in my practice to pull myself out of this awful place.
I think last night I was close to uncovering some repressed memorie(s). It felt wrong. Everything became rotten. Nothing could touch me but revulsion. I would not wish the feeling on anyone. 
Everything feels empty and pointless, and meaningless, when I don't have some sort of substance to make me feel better. To make me feel worthy of being alive.
It's really, really bad.
Feel like giving up. And I know that as soon as I can, I will be taking opiates again.
I feel like I've let everyone down.
I am too broken.

RE: Rebecca's Log
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4/18/18 6:03 PM as a reply to Rebecca P.
I think I am dealing with some sort of dark night. Everything seems meaningless and empty. There is nothing here that will fill the void. All is absence. All is doomed to fade. The world has lost its appeal. 
My regular coping mechanisms are unhealthy, but they help me to feel momentarily. Trying not to turn to them. The way I feel is unsustainable. I wish I were nothing. I wish I'd never been born at all.
This sucks. No release.
No relief.

RE: Rebecca's Log
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4/19/18 3:38 AM as a reply to Rebecca P.
Rebecca, can you speak to a therapist? The dharma isn't the best choice to turn to, in such a state. But we can try... You seem like you are in the DN, let's assume you are. It is normal to feel this way.

This happens to the best of us at some point/s in our lives and we all have to face such emptiness and loss of meaning in life - well the dharma is that there isn't and maybe you are taking this newly discovered truth badly. However, this truth is what sets us free from making meaning in all that we encounter. When we lose the need for such meaning, we can simply enjoy the spontaneity and simple, direct joys of living, not needing to be overly responsible for what we have no control over...

Can you try to gather and ground yourself and mentally note all these feelings that you are having? See that they are transient (All these shall pass), causes suffering (and additional suffering if one does not accept them for whatever they are, not wish for them to stay/leave, allow them to do their thing, watch objectively their general characteristics and feel, not within your control, of an empty nature in space other than the emotions having a physical aspect - see that those physical aspects aren't terrible to deal with and when you look at them compared to the rich 6 senses sensate universe, they are small and subtle when you are NOT contracting into them.) In short, see that all experiences are simply sensations, some cause trouble when we let them lump together for the mind to label something aversive that we have been used to be afraid of. Broken up by the dharma to their rightful and actual places, they are just that vibrating, fluxing thing, ain't it? Try going into investigative mode and you will see how they are simply, just another sensation...

That's it isn't it? Take a walk perhaps or just sit in a quiet spot outside your home. Open your senses wide, notice the sounds, the sights, the smells, swallow your saliva, breathe deeply and sigh to let go... Zoom out when you notice yourself contracting or focusing on any single sensation, especially negative thoughts and emotions.

See how these thoughts and emotions when placed together in a large placeholder of experiences, are a very small part of any given moment and should not be focused on. Let them swim in their tiny place whilst you see that there is much more to life even when in suffering, it is silly to contract into them and believe that the small little problems are the whole truth to our experience, even when they are present. They need not bother us any more than they do in their small, pathetic place. They may seem to demand our undivided attention but it is our conscious choice to yield to that. They deserve no more attention than the small little place they shout out from. See that and they tire themselves out soon enough after you stop feeding them unnecessary attentional energies for their persistent survival. Then it is time for a good laugh...

Just Do It.

RE: Rebecca's Log
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4/19/18 5:11 AM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
Another way of approaching this DN:

Gently and with sensitivity, stay with the bare sensations and note them then go wide, comparing the negativities to your complete experience in the now. Let go of forceful, narrow focus and go wide. Let awareness calm you. Doesn't matter whether the labels are accurate or not. So long it makes sense for you, allows you to accept and watch them come and go from a zoomed-out perspective. Repeat the notes, whilst being sensitive to any change without wishing them away. Turn the negative energies into investigative strength.

You are starting to awaken. Yes it feels deeply uncomfortable now but your waking up means that you are starting to realize that the one feeling all these sensations, knowing them as they are, being present in every moment of your experience good or bad, is your awakening self. Starting to be more mindful of them is the unavoidable DN, we need to be courageous and honest with them to see us through.

Try for a bright, aware, detached (distance them so you can see the 3Cs in them) and unconditionally accepting, loving presence that is free of the self-judging memories, conditions that you have associated with a personal identity. Begin to allow Anatta of the 3Cs set you free. See that if you allow the wrong beliefs of the past conditionings, stories, emotions and thoughts to remain, you will have to live life filtered through all these coloured lenses. A very negative experience that is absolutely detrimental and unnecessary. They unstick with time and sensitive effort. We need patience...

Sending you additional sparks and strength to power your self-compassion...

RE: Rebecca's Log
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4/19/18 5:50 AM as a reply to Rebecca P.
Hi Rebecca.
I'm so sorry you're going through such a hard time. It really, really sucks. I do agree that it seems very important to get some professional help if you can do that.

As someone who has struggled with substance abuse in the past, it occurs to me that you might consider whether part of what you're going through is what medical professionals have dubbed "hedonic dysregulation." The idea is that prolonged exposure to opioids or other powerfully rewarding substances can upend the brain's natural hedonic balance.

Opioids initially provide some relief from pain, but over time you get hooked on them and your tolerance goes up and up. They basically no longer work. To make things worse, the flood of highly rewarding neurochemicals, in some people, changes the brain in ways that make a person less sensitive to natural pleasure and MORE sensitive to stress and negative emotions.

Yeah, so they literally make your experience of life more painful, not less.

It becomes harder to experience a sense of joy and reward from everyday, healthy sorts of objects and events, like the beauty of a sunset, or getting a sense of warm connection from holding the hand of a loved one, or enjoying the taste of a healthy meal.

One mindfulness-based approach to reversing this process involves two components: reappraisal and savoring. Reappraisal is about reinterpreting stressful or adverse life events and starting to see them as opportunities to grow and learn. In mindful savoring, you work to rewire your brain to be sensitive once again to the pleasures of life.

In mindful savoring, you focus your attention on the sensory qualities of pleasant, daily experiences like feeling the warmth of the sun on your skin, or enjoying the movement of the leaves on a tree in a breeze. You also try to savor your emotional and cognitive responses to those pleasant experiences as well, like the feeling of connection to another person, or the sense of accomplishment after completing a difficult task.

You can count on, initially, it seeming like there's nothing in the world to savor or appreciate, but just know that this is wrong--that it's a lie manifested by physiology. I'm not trying to 'tell you what to do' here in a knowing way. I'm just trying to share something that helped me as someone who kicked a lifelong addiction to alcohol. 

I've had two stints in which, due to a physical illness, I've been unable to walk for weeks at a time. For me now, just being able to walk the dog is something that fills me with appreciation. I try to remind myself that I can still hear, see, digest food, talk, ride my bike. These basic things are very much worth savoring and appreciating. The natural world still exists and can be savored. There's the breath. 

Anyway, I'm just throwing this out there as a possible approach. I wish you all the best and hope that you can find a professional to help you with what you're going through. 

RE: Rebecca's Log
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4/19/18 8:11 PM as a reply to Tashi Tharpa.
Thanks to you both for your caring replies. I'm certainly mentally ill, but I'm seeing my therapist tomorrow. On top of that, I really think my antidepressants need to be changed at least every three months. I'm going to work on making that happen.
It becomes harder to experience a sense of joy and reward from everyday, healthy sorts of objects and events, like the beauty of a sunset, or getting a sense of warm connection from holding the hand of a loved one, or enjoying the taste of a healthy meal.
You can definitely say that again. I call it anhedonia, and I've been living with it since elementary school, so the drugs aren't the primary cause, although I'm certain they're a contributing factor when I stop taking them. I'm sure you can see how coming off the opiates on top of chronic depression is very difficult for me.
I've tried to savor the small things with mixed results. It's hard to explain, but when the depression gets bad even good things have a way of breaking my heart. Much of it is due to my thought process, and something I know I can change. Motivation is a big issue during these times as well.

@Yilun Ong: Wonderful advice as always. Mindfulness is just what I need, but I still find it hard to be in the moment when it's not where I want to be. I have been taking a break from my practice and doing people things like surfing the internet, writing poetry, and drawing and painting. I also volunteered at the humane society today, which made me feel good, but also sad for the animals without homes. I plan on resuming my meditation practice soon, but I'm sad to say that the opiates were a major factor in my spiritual motivation. I think it means that I do still suffer from serious depression and that my medication needs changing. 
Work has also thrown me off center and it's going to take me some time to find a balance between work, meditation, and sleep.

Not giving up, but on pause at least until morning. 

RE: Rebecca's Log
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4/19/18 10:19 PM as a reply to Rebecca P.
Dear Rebecca, thinking aloud that if the opiates can help to tide you through this rough times - it may be a good resort. No one will judge you, including yourself, you should not! Getting stronger first is the main priority and do that progressively with meditative, mindfulness efforts. Much as I wish I can do away with my problematic self, I need to work patiently and with sensitivity towards that. I notice my failures daily without fail! You are not alone...

I am sure you will come to a good compromise with the meds (with/without opiates) via your therapist and be able to move forward well as a result.

Supporting you from afar... 

Edit: A little bit of dharma to aid perhaps: try letting mindfulness aid in your quest, there's truth in that simple. uncolored observation of the issue, dissolves it. This power of dissolving increases as your mindfulness increases, IME. Don't go back to old ways of reacting to them, Rebecca!!! emoticon

Ayya Khema
"Know the feeling, not reacting, then letting it go."

RE: Rebecca's Log
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4/19/18 11:34 PM as a reply to Rebecca P.
Hi Rebecca,
                   Hope you are getting some moments or peace. I have experience with opiate addiction, and with stopping and staying stopped.
I should be able to offer some feedback. 

It would help if you told me what was the history. I dont like offering feedback based on my stuff. I would rather comment on your stuff. Could you tell me what you were taking, the doses as things developed and for how long. Were you just doing pain managment or you progressed to getting stoned. Example, taking meds to go about your day or dosing up to spend the day on couch nodding off. Did you ever mix stuff. Do you ever use street stuff. Do you drink, smoke pot, or anything else. Do you smoke cigarettes. If your uncomfortable about answering, you can private message me. I will answer privately. The reason for this is simple. 1.The effects of opiates, i know about. 2. How much how long, i will be able to answer according to your answer. 3. Why you used, makes a huge difference to the effect it will have had on you. 4. Knowing if you like opiates or drugs in general makes a difference.

If knowing mine helps, no problem, your only as sick as your secrets. Between the age of 18 and 24 i was a heroin addict. At 24 i did 2 years full time outpatient rehabilitation. This involved education.

So i've seen your posts about opiate addiction. If you developed a habit because of pain managment, no big deal. If you developed a habit because of feelings. Then that is a feelings disease, stopping the drug isn't the important part. Addressing the underlying cause is what will benefit you the most. Talking to a therapist is very limited. Its one part. There will be a form of help that will involve group work. That will go alot further than a therapist. Interacting with others in similar situations is fun. In my day it involved terms such as Proccessing emotions. Goal setting. Cycle of addiction. Circle of pain. Circle of influence. Systemic dynamics. Family dynamics. These are a few lines out of many groups that i did, that anyone who was in industry 30 years ago will be able to hook you up with 2018 verson. NA 12 step program is ok. I went to a meeting every day for two years. You may like it. Ive written this in case you don't want to answer my questions.

I see your being advised to meditate. There is a guy named Ron Crouch. Google: Aloha Dharma. Send him an Email. List your current state of mental health challenges. Your Meds. Tell him how your looking at the option of tackling this with Burmese meditation as practiced on DHO.
My opinion is that people with your situation, are often very much in the body, very sensitive to variation, possibly could cross A&Plike falling of a log. The mind would be used to all bodily sensations, but once the experience turns to the mind, it will be overwhelming. All the meditation concepts your hearing are just concepts they won't help.Starting at the surface level and getting things in order first, then later going in with meditation  later is more effective. Ron Crouch will have experience with numbers. Ask him!

If you intend to meditate through this stuff. There is a technique were one uses the breath to let go of the sense facilities, the body, finally the breath, leaving only the energy or the mind. By getting out of the body before you get to deep into samadhi, A&P or Kundalini are avoided.

Best Wishes.

RE: Rebecca's Log
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4/20/18 5:31 PM as a reply to Bigbird.
No problem Bigbird. I am happy to share details with you.
I started with Lortabs about ten years ago, then turned to whatever I could get my hands on from friends or doctors. I found that methadone was my favorite. These days, it's been either Percocet 10's, taking 2 or 3 at a time, wearing 100 mcg Fentanyl patches, or using kratom, which is technically not an opiate, but has the same effects. I can go through 30 grams of kratom in one day. I've been alternating between these three substances for about five years. Usually a few days at a time feeling great interspersed with periods of withdrawals. My tolerance builds very quickly. I use the drugs to treat my pain, but also to treat my depression. So if 5 mgs will help my pain, I am still not satisfied until I've had 10 mgs and everything feels warm and easy. Never took anything with the sole intention of simply nodding off. 
I started smoking weed when I was eighteen, and still do when I come across it. It was my drug of choice until the physical pain began and I discovered opiates. I do smoke cigarettes but am trying to switch to vaping. There was a period of time over which I became an alcoholic when I didn't have access to opiates. Also, I take somas a few times a week and klonopin a couple times a month. I mostly use these to potentiate the opiates.
so yeah, I'm a mess and life is rough. Would like to hear what your input is in all of this.

RE: Rebecca's Log
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4/21/18 12:33 AM as a reply to Rebecca P.
Rebecca P:
No problem Bigbird. I am happy to share details with you.
I started with Lortabs about ten years ago, then turned to whatever I could get my hands on from friends or doctors. I found that methadone was my favorite. These days, it's been either Percocet 10's, taking 2 or 3 at a time, wearing 100 mcg Fentanyl patches, or using kratom, which is technically not an opiate, but has the same effects. I can go through 30 grams of kratom in one day. I've been alternating between these three substances for about five years. Usually a few days at a time feeling great interspersed with periods of withdrawals. My tolerance builds very quickly. I use the drugs to treat my pain, but also to treat my depression. So if 5 mgs will help my pain, I am still not satisfied until I've had 10 mgs and everything feels warm and easy. Never took anything with the sole intention of simply nodding off. 
I started smoking weed when I was eighteen, and still do when I come across it. It was my drug of choice until the physical pain began and I discovered opiates. I do smoke cigarettes but am trying to switch to vaping. There was a period of time over which I became an alcoholic when I didn't have access to opiates. Also, I take somas a few times a week and klonopin a couple times a month. I mostly use these to potentiate the opiates.
so yeah, I'm a mess and life is rough. Would like to hear what your input is in all of this.


aloha rebecca,

   I've had a couple of major back surgeries and have taken opiates for pain for 20 years. I'm surprised that you are able to obtain these drugs in such variety nowadays. 

   There are two problems you are treating with opiates/opioids: physical pain and depression. Perhaps you can use marijuana - it's not so hard to find for a resourceful druggie - and/or meditation for depression, and use opiates only for pain. Then wean yourself off of all pain drugs but a single opiate, best is morphine (worst is methadone). Find a level of morphine that obviates the pain but leaves you alert, perhaps a 12hr 60mg pill twice a day, or 30mgs, or 100mgs. Whatever works but isn't making you buzzed. When you find a minimal maintenance level, stick with it and forget about it, don't even think of getting high on drugs; it's just medicine. (I don't think of marijuana as a drug.) The vaping is a good idea, it is clear from the evidence that smoking your nicotine is far more dangerous to your health and it is a hard drug to quit. The new kind that look like a thumb drive are very easy to use (my wife uses them).

   Keep meditating, regardless of your drug intake; it may save your life. You know taking all those drugs is dangerous, socially and medically. You can control this problem and live normally and be healthy. Take baby steps and be forgiving of your setbacks, but make steady progress.

blessings,
terry

RE: Rebecca's Log
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4/21/18 1:00 AM as a reply to Rebecca P.
Rebecca P:
Oh no Yilun. Don't get me started on poetry. I can quote it and I can create it. Certainly there will come a time when I post a poem instead of an update. 



aloha rebecca,

   I love poetry.

   I listen to blues, too.

terry


a couple of poems for you, kisses to make you feel better...



9.
(e e cummings)

there are so many tictoc
clocks everywhere telling people
what toctic time it is for
tictic instance five toc minutes toc
past six tic

Spring is not regulated and does
not get out of order nor do
its hands a little jerking move
over numbers slowly

            we do not
wind it up it has no weights
springs wheels inside of
its slender self no indeed dear
nothing of the kind.

(So,when kiss Spring comes
we’ll kiss each kiss other on kiss the kiss
lips because tic clocks toc don’t make
a toctic difference
to kisskiss you and to
kiss me)




since feeling is first
(e e cummings)


since feeling is first

who pays any attention

to the syntax of things

will never wholly kiss you;

wholly to be a fool

while Spring is in the world

 

my blood approves

and kisses are a better fate

than wisdom

lady i swear by all flowers. Don’t cry

—the best gesture of my brain is less than

your eyelids’ flutter which says

 

we are for each other: then

laugh, leaning back in my arms

for life’s not a paragraph

 

and death i think is no parenthesis

RE: Rebecca's Log
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4/21/18 8:14 PM as a reply to Rebecca P.
Hi Rebecca,
                   Thanks for the clear and detailed report. What you're describing is chronic addiction. In my day it was seen as a feelings disease. You may have begun medicating for pain managment, however this became much more. That warm feeling, also means alot of your feeling side is numb. If you have ever wondered whether this developed as a result of pain management. Don't worry there was no mistake, this comes from a pre-existing set of dynamics that was going to surface in one way or another. It was only a matter of time.

I think the time frames that you are using for withdrawls are incorrect. This may make it difficult, if it doesn't follow your understanding. Heroin at day 3 is at its worst. Methadone is much longer. I was on methadone for 8 months, reduced down then came off. It wasn't like Heroin. It was less severe but lasted 3 weeks or more. I Google these two- Percocet can also last 3 weeks or more. Fentanyl is less, but can very servere. Being aware of the possible longer period of withdrawl symptoms is better than setting your mind on a target, then dealing with the process continuing. I see that you may have started work. Making a living is important. Detoxing from 10 years of chronic opiate addiction is huge. Recovery from it is just as challenging as Progress of Insight. Maybe more so.
 
There are usefull sayings that were used in recovery. The relivant one here is; Its easy to stop, but very hard to stay stopped.
This post may look like a focus on negative outcomes. Its not. If its a piece of cake, awesome, but don't plan to fail. In the group on goal setting, this was our major specific goal. The game plan needed, must match the challenge. The map you use, must match the terrain. People with chronic addiction normally use the set of dynamics that makes them an addict. Rarely will they see things correctly. Some are able to stop or change their habits using control. This use of their will is known as a dry drunk. They have all the underlying problem, but not the drug. It will manifest in other ways.
This proccess of addiction is very well understood, and has strategies that deliver results. This is presently a very unpleasant time of your life, but burden or blessing, its not written in stone. You have a choice. You can stop the drugs, work at the surface level releasing the backlog of emotional debris. Tackle the more disfunctional aspects that cause addiction. Learn how to process and work with the emotional, feeling side, that you don't know anymore. Maybe make peace with you past. 
Working at the surface level involves insight. A new set of eyes to see what we currently cannot. The group work and 12 step program is the way to gain some freedom. Once you gain some stability. Then go to a retreat cross the A&P and begin Vippassana.

From my understanding i can't help but wonder-10 years chronic addiction- I presume your in the USA-That you are receiving some professional guidance-The plan-That you are going experience a short detox-Then go to work-Do some regular therapy-Get your life back on track.
No one who knows addiction-would back that plan. So is this your strategy? Is this because you don't want to go into the system that is on offer, so your doing this by yourself? This is quite normal to not want to go into rehab? What does your therapist think?

That is a realistic outline of the type of addiction you described. Time will tell. If its harder than you planned. Learn. Make another plan. 
I will follow up with varying ideas and expected experiences during recovery.
                                                                                                     Best wishes.

RE: Rebecca's Log
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4/30/18 6:34 PM as a reply to Bigbird.
Hello friends. You may have noticed I've been absent for a while. 
My new job had completely broken me down to the point that I regressed back into depression and negative thinking. I woke up one morning to go to work and realized that for my own well being, I just couldn't do it. I didn't call or show up. My mother became very angry with me, because she couldn't see how negatively my mental state was affected. In order to cull her disappointment and try to get my calm and mindful state of mind back, I checked myself into the hospital's behavioral health ward.
I was there for seven days. They changed my medication in a way that became detrimental. I would try to meditate in my room, but couldn't even concentrate for more than a few seconds. Also, there was a door that slammed continuously and someone would come in my room and check on me every fifteen minutes. Meditation felt impossible for many reasons. The best I could do was try to maintain a smile, as I withdrew from the opiates and dealt with the stress of a high noise and highly populated environment. 
I was discharged today. I feel like, with my practice, I'm back at square one. But there is a silver lining. Apparently my brother cares about me so much, he is willing to buy me a one way plane ticket to the far east where I can live in a monastery and have the life I've always wanted. At that news I cried uncontrollable tears of joy for twenty minutes. It has been my ultimate dream, and that's all it's been. A far away dream. I'll have to leave my family and my cats, my little hearts, but this is my life and my soul. It should be and is more important to me than anything else.
I'm probably going to try to find a monastery within the united states, where I would be more comfortable, and to save my brother money on a plane ticket. The challenge now is to find somewhere that will accept me with all the medications I'm on and my mental health problems. Is there even such a place at all? Does anyone have any suggestions?
Today could be the day that my life's endeavor has come to fruition. 

RE: Rebecca's Log
Answer
4/30/18 8:31 PM as a reply to Rebecca P.
Hi Rebecca, running off to a foreign environment, breaking off the strongest support you can find with a family backing you, sounds to me like a bad idea. The monastic life is not easy, you will spend months getting beaten up mentally/emotionally just trying to get used to the new everything - usually much less/worse off than layperson living standards. 

In the year that I have been a monk in the monastery I am in, I am the only one left standing. Monks before and after, keep swarming in, only to eventually disrobe.

I've seen people come to the monkhood   with problems and they always leave after having the last straw of exploding to their new limits: often seemingly a lower Bar as there's so much more noise to deal with once there's so much more quiet. I've never seen a successful case but my experience is very limited. Maybe others can chime in with theirs...

If you seek monastic help, I strongly suggest that you be completely honest. Otherwise, you will be causing a lot of damage, especially to yourself. 

Don't work, stay at home. Visit your therapists timely and work on it with meditation, gently and with patience. Read MCTB chapters 17-19. If you're ready to do the work, the answers to liberation are well stated there...

All the best!!!

RE: Rebecca's Log
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4/30/18 8:53 PM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
I get what you're saying Yilun, and you may be right. But I need something. I need help and I need to progress spiritually. My brother told me that he would spend every dollar he has if it would be of help to me. It is such a kind and generous offer. There must be something money can buy that would relieve some of my suffering permanently. To believe that there might not be feels very hopeless. I am open to any and all suggestions.

RE: Rebecca's Log
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4/30/18 9:58 PM as a reply to Rebecca P.
I understand Rebecca. Start a thread asking specifically for such a centre/therapist/monastery? Godspeed!

RE: Rebecca's Log
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5/1/18 1:05 PM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
I have thought of something my brother can do for me. 
I owe a hefty amount of fines to the court due to something stupid I did a year ago. I haven't been able to pay them, which means I have a bench warrant. Around here, if you can't pay your fines, they put you in jail and equate each day you're incarcerated with $40 of what you owe. I would be in jail for a long time. I live in fear of it, because I know they will take me off all my medications that are essential to my mental health. I can see myself going absolutely insane in a place like that. I fear that I would find a way to take my life, even if I had to bang my head against the concrete wall. I am very afraid. This is an enormous dark fate that haunts me day and night.
If he really wants to help me, and a monastery isn't the answer for me, this would be the way he could do it. I'll be talking with him in a few hours.

I'm trying to find my groove with meditation again. Last night I did samatha meditation for twenty-five minutes and my concentration wasn't great, but it was there. This morning, more samatha meditation, and my mind was all over the place. I only managed ten minutes.

Been trying to be mindful and thankful to be home and to have all the little things I missed while in the hospital. Smiling when I remember to.

It's a beautiful day outside, and I feel that the best thing for me right now would be walking meditation. I've got some business to take care of first, but that is my goal for today. I'll let you all know how it goes.

RE: Rebecca's Log
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5/1/18 2:41 PM as a reply to Rebecca P.
Walking meditation went fairly well.
I walked half a mile at a slow, leisurely pace, timing my breath with my steps. I focused on the sensations in my feet and the sounds of my feet hitting the ground. Mindfulness came and went, but I did enjoy many easy, wide open moments. Smiled all the while.
A lot has happened to me in the past couple weeks, so my mind wants to go there and think about those things. I was interrupted by those thougts occasionally, and I would gently bring my mind back to the walking. Walking with nowhere to be, no destination, no purpose, except to just walk. It was very calming, which I badly needed. I feel more grounded now. 

Also, as far as my opiate addiction goes, I went seven days in the hospital opiate free and suffering some pretty uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. It's the longest I've gone without in quite a while. Last night I slipped up and very soon regretted it, because it was a small dose and didn't really affect me. I don't exactly feel awful and empty without the pills, but there is always the thought that it only takes some medication to make my day better. So I guess I'm not over my addiction, but I'm trying.

RE: Rebecca's Log
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5/1/18 4:01 PM as a reply to Rebecca P.
Hi Rebecca, 
                   glad you made it back. Its often a bit back and forth to begin with. Thats ok. In the beginning it can take a while to get a clear plan going. One may have the desire, but come unstuck by the reality. Keep developing what you want to do. Exercise can play a major part in helping to recover. It can be used to stimulate chemical production. Get the mind and body functioning without the drugs. 

RE: Rebecca's Log
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5/1/18 5:00 PM as a reply to Bigbird.
I feel like I am going through a dark night. I wonder if I haven't been trapped in it since my teens. 
Brother said he isn't an open checkbook and felt as if he had been suckered iinto being responsible for taking care of my fines. In all it was a refusal.
I broke down and cried today. Everything is empty and meaningless. All happiness is empty in nature. I cried to my mom and she accused me of being insensitive to her own problems. I lost it and became very angry. I just want someone to listen to me. I am fresh out of the psych ward and accused of being selfish for focusing on my own problems. 
I feel so alone.
I Am tempted to turn to the dark side forever and ever.
Don't know what to do. Even meditation feels meaningless.

RE: Rebecca's Log
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5/1/18 11:08 PM as a reply to Rebecca P.
Rebecca, you are most certainly going through a Dark Night of sorts. The problem here is that you think they are permanent and here to stay and you are in control of changing them in an instant. You are wishing away, what you dislike and expect their magical disappearance or Divine Intervention. Can you see how unrealistic this cycle of thoughts and emotions are? You allow them to keep banging you up, throwing you from ceiling to floor.

Do you want this to stop or do you have a secret wish and liking for this? If you want this to stop, read MCTB Chapters 14 onwards especially 17-19. Let's start with complete self-honesty with our feet planted on the ground. Flights of fantasy are great only for the very short moments we falsely embrace them as reality. You really should go to a therapist, otherwise the guidance in MCTB is sufficient if you are brave and honest enough to do the work that a therapist will guide you through. I was in worse shit than you and am seeing myself through. The fact is no one can help us unless we take this brave first step and resolve to see ourselves through to liberation. Wishes and fantasies are a step backwards when we cannot find our own two legs to link the walk from start to finish...

I hope I am not too harsh on you. I really wish to see you get up on your own feet and be more than well!

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5/1/18 11:46 PM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
It's not that I have a wish for this, however when I become trapped in it, I allow myself to embrace it as I feel I don't have a choice.
I am seeing a therapist. I have been seeing one therapist or another since I was ten.
Little solace comes to those who grieve. It's all too much for the broken. I am weary of this world and if it was worse for you, I don't understand how you're still alive.
My negativity doesn't belong here, so I'm saying farewell. Thank you for trying to help me. I don't blame any of you. May a light always shine on your path.

RE: Rebecca's Log
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5/2/18 2:27 AM as a reply to Rebecca P.
It's not that I have a wish for this, however when I become trapped in it, I allow myself to embrace it as I feel I don't have a choice.
I am alive because I choose the Truth.

You are not trapped. You are the one feeding energies for their persistent existence. Choose to cut it off moment to moment and the energies can only fade away.

Why do you want to deny the true reality of their being transient, being suffering especially when you embrace and add mental weight to their emptiness of not being in your control, of stuff that are brought on by your past conditioning and propagated by your every moment of further negative conditioning? <-3Cs

Embrace the truth, Rebecca. Stop persisting in the lies that are comfortable but so much suffering if you continue to do so.

Try transcending identification from these emotions/thoughts –
1. Recognize the associated physical symptoms and the storyline, allow for their stay with calm acceptance
2. See the 3Cs in them (This is where you need to disassociate them and stop what you mentioned above!)
3. Participate by noticing deeper meaning, question truth in it, check identification (no-self).
4. Acknowledge the core of your compassionate wanting/wishes/desires/aversions and understand them. Dissolve the confusion and see that you only wanted to be happy and free from suffering!
5. Action plans if any, check that the arisings aren’t ignored or pushed away in the future without the above steps. You cannot wish them away.
6. Release them

You can do it. Just choose and resolve to do it...

RE: Rebecca's Log
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5/4/18 4:03 PM as a reply to Rebecca P.
How are you doing, Rebecca?

RE: Rebecca's Log
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6/27/18 12:45 PM as a reply to Rebecca P.
Hi again. Did you guys miss me? I missed me.
I finally got myself into treatment. A 28 day rehab program. Just got home today. I'm so glad I went. I am now going on a month clean. So much about me has changed. I used to believe that if I quit using drugs I would only be miserable, but the opposite turned out to be true. I feel so fresh and alive. I have a gentle joy in my heart. I'm learning to love myself and make better decisions. Keeping clean is going to take daily effort for the remainder of my life, but it is all so worth it. I'm free of all those awful guilts and cravings that haunted me everywhere I went. This is definitely the biggest accomplishment of my life so far, and I'm proud of myself. There will be bigger and better accomplishments to come.

I made effort to meditate while in treatment, but with all the clients and the hustle of the techs, slamming doors and all that jazz, I never found more than a few moments of silence at a time. I did learn to deal with the noise with less judgement and more acceptance, but my meditations pretty much stayed on the surface.

Now that I'm home with my respectful mother who will kindly remain as silent as possible when I need it, I'm going to get back into the habit. I'm going to start posting in this log again. I've never been in a better place psychologically to really wind down and concentrate. I'm free!

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6/28/18 7:35 AM as a reply to Rebecca P.
Yaaay! That's fantastic! Great to see you posting again, Rebecca. I have to admit, I was pretty worred that something terrible had happened. Awesome that you've made this progress and shown such courage and fortitude! Congrats! 

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6/28/18 6:33 PM as a reply to Rebecca P.
Dear Rebecca,

Great news! May your recovery go very well! Be gentle with yourself.

RE: Rebecca's Log
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6/28/18 9:35 PM as a reply to Rebecca P.
Nice to see you back here! Keep up the good work.

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6/29/18 7:26 AM as a reply to Rebecca P.
Hooray!

RE: Rebecca's Log
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6/30/18 5:27 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Thank you everyone for your encouragement. It's nice to feel welcome here. 

Since returning home I've been meditating four times a day for twenty or twenty-five minutes. I lost a lot of my focus after I quit for a while so I'm keeping them short. Half-lotus, back against a pillow, eyes closed, focusing on the breath at the tip of my nose. For the longest time I've equated my out-breaths with just a sensation of warmth, but yesterday I began to notice there is a slight vibratory feeling on my nose when I exhale. Now that I'm following that sensation I seem to be focusing a little better. I've struggled a couple of times to stay awake. I'm getting eight hours at night and avoiding naps during the day, as they only make me more depressed and tired. If this continues to be a problem I may try for a little more than eight hours sleep.
I'm planning on doing three walking meditations a week. I've gone once since coming home, and it wasn't anything profound. I caught my mind wandering several times. It was, of course, the first time I've done it in a while. I'm not discouraged. I have every intention of continuing to do both forms of meditation whether it takes me a month or a year to see improvement. I know that even if I flounder at the surface, I still catch those instances of concentration and those moments can only be good for my mind and my inner peace. Actually, just being able to cross meditation off my list every day is good for my state of mind.

I plan to reintrigrate metta meditation back into my routine, probably tomorrow.

Since coming home from rehab, I've been in a state of mild shock. It's not negative by any means, I just can't believe that I'm clean and sober and feel this good. I know it's going to take work, and I know i'll still have bad days, because that's life, but the kind of bad my days were before, was unacceptable. I'm going to six AA meetings a week currently and actually look forward to them. 
The crazy thing about the disease of addiction, is that even if it's destroying your life, and you want to quit more than anything, it's almost impossible to do it alone. In order to get with the program in rehab, I had to have a Higher Power. Since Buddhism doesn't exactly engage in deity worship, I drew from the Kemetic Orthodox religion for mine. I've felt a connection with Anubis in the past and still do. Whether He is real or not, I choose to believe that He is because it works for me, and it's keeping me sober. There will be no interference with my meditation practices. So, business as usual, mostly.

RE: Rebecca's Log
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7/4/18 5:13 PM as a reply to Rebecca P.
My concentration has returned to the level it was before I took that little hiatus. In other words, a significant improvement from how it was a week ago. Going for 25 minutes two or three times a day, plus a bedtime session during which I don't set an alarm. Last night I went for thirty-eight minutes. It only felt like twenty. Although I've developed a little problem. My right leg and foot, the one that folds on top of my left leg in the half-lotus position, seems to keep tensing up. Now that I've noticed it and I'm paying attention, it has, of course, gotten worse, so trying to not think about it isn't working. I guess this is just one of those little annoyances I have to let go and forget about. I don't forsee it remaining a problem for long.

The plans of my mother interfered with my last scheduled walking meditation (we share a car) and the heat is a bit of a hindrance. I can't go super early in the morning because my mother-in-law walks in the same park during that time, and let's just say, seeing her there would not be conducive to my meditation. 

As far as my recovery goes, it's been a struggle these past few days. I'm dealing with some cravings that often threaten to steal my serenity. The chemical dependency is gone but I'm afraid the emotional dependency is still lingering. Old habits die hard. I'm dealing as best I can and thus far I've resisted all urges to use. Still going to meetings. Need to find a sponsor. Not giving up.