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Somewhat drenched in doubt, or am I?

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Somewhat drenched in doubt, or am I?
Answer
5/6/18 2:28 PM

I will begin with a full disclosure; mispelning and horrible use of grammar occur will. 
I started meditating daily the 2nd of aug 2017. Prior I had little meditation experience but much psycadelics experience, mainly LSD and mushrooms. 
I learned noting(Mahasi rising falling) from Yuttadhammo bhikkhu on youtube. Later I found Shinzen and just loved hes secular and simplified approach.
It can still be a bit confusing having bouth the styles in mind when noting. Now I do some blend between fast freestyle noting and the simplified Shinzens.(Maybe this is a bad idea?)

Anyway...
I quickly started to feel the benefits and soon I was meditating at least 1 hour a day. Some periods 6-8 hours. I would do away some work(working from home) so I could meditate all day a few days in a row. 
I entered mind and body after maybe one month or something and felt so free. It was so wonderful to see a feeling or a thought and not have to act on it. Pain on the cushion turned in to flow for the first time and I stopped tobacco(snus) and drinking from one day to another with great ease.

I also realized I had talant for concentration and hit 1st jhana around new year. In feb I had 4th for the first time. 

After a retreat in march I had a huge dependent origination experiance. I saw my life, sort of, in one single image and just understood that things are as they are because  of.. stuff hehe! 

The last month I have been very doubtful of my practice. I doubt absolutly everything about it. My ability to note, the path in general, my possible(contingent?) progress etc.

It effects my daily life in big and bad ways. I get easily irritated or even angry, I doubt my relationship with my partner although there is nothing wrong. I doubt my ability to raise our child. It is like Im trying to find what is wrong, and blaming everything around me and my self and the practice for the uncertainty I feel. 
It is of course easy to note off doubt or what ever feeling when on the cushion, but in daily life, its a whole nother matter. I find it really hard integrating what I now feel is true, namely that nothing is satisfying.

I can from time to time contact the wonderful feeling of "everything is what it is and its nothing I can do to change it" kind of thing. -"It dosent matter if I remember this or not, even if im deep in ""the shit"", its still just as it is".

 And "dont know mind" is also very helpful and very fast to just enter if I find myself pondering alot.

I still sit for about 1hour a day and sometimes more but I keep changing between technics with the mindset that "if I sit effortless for a few days everything will be fine" and the next day Im like "I have to be better at the jhanas" so then I do that. And so on. Changing my mind all the time. 

I think I might have had an A&P exp but I dont know. Observations started to go very fast and there was no point in noting. My awarenes felt 360¤ around me and my body desolved into little pieces and then into everything else. At one point I couldent tell the differance between the sences. The sence of self was also a part of that. Then I got exited and lost it. Lasted maybe one minute.
This has happend a few times but not as profound as this one time.  This might be A&P right? It had a bit similar feel to it as enterning the first jhana due to all the piti and sukha and being soaked in the experience. But this was not as tense(musclewise) as I experience 1st jhana. Also it came directly from insight pratice and there was not this artificial feel that I think jhana can have(or am I totally full of shit?)

I might be helped to know where I am on the map or I might not. I am very scared actually if it turns out that Im not as progressed as I thought. Wich, of course is absolutely possible and highly likely because I havent practiced for very long.
Is it possible to make fast progress like this or am I totally delusional? Or maybe this isnt fast at all? (listen to me doubting)

Im very greatful for any help. It is so hard to navigate this waters with so few to talk to and compare. Maybe I should just put Ingrams book in a dark drawer and give up maps, nanas jhanas and all that all together?

metta





RE: Somewhat drenched in doubt, or am I?
Answer
5/6/18 3:15 PM as a reply to ett nolltre.
Hi ett noltre,

Just quickly wanted to say you do a great job of describing your practice and that this audio by Ron Crouch that was posted recently might be helpful to you: http://ia600709.us.archive.org/4/items/WhatIsThePath/WhatIsThePath_.mp3

(I believe he talks about some of the stages as "just noticing how unsatisfying everything is")

Sounds like typical dark night stuff to me, I'd just try your best to be your best in daily life and keep up practice... find a good teacher if you can.

There's a bunch of technical stuff about "doubt" as a mental hindrance that you might want to read up on. It's listed as one of the 5 hindrances to meditation in classic buddhadharma.

good luck

RE: Somewhat drenched in doubt, or am I?
Answer
5/7/18 3:59 AM as a reply to Andrew S.
Thx Andrew,

Yes Ron Crouch really put words to everything that happened to me. I clearly went through the dark night, step by step. And I feel alot lighter having heard this. Wow I fought it so hard. And it almost cost me my relationship.

This is as Ron said the good thing with maps. With no teacher around to guide me, how would I ever have known this was caused by my meditation?

A retreat coming up will surely deepen this.

thanks again

RE: Somewhat drenched in doubt, or am I?
Answer
5/7/18 5:01 AM as a reply to ett nolltre.
What I found helpful for hard meditation phases/dark night experience:
- one technique, going steady
- not following the tricks of the mind: the want top map; want to change the technique cause the one you're doing won't bring results; want to stop meditation cause it's pointless anyway
- overcoming sloth (it's your mind, not your body)
- not taking any intoxicants (including nicotine, alcohol, coffein)
- recognizing what is, not what you want it to be (e.g.: "I am in dark night now, I want to arrive at equanimity, then I will feel better, and get enlightened anyway")

Your struggle to accept it is what feeds it.

RE: Somewhat drenched in doubt, or am I?
Answer
5/7/18 5:23 AM as a reply to ett nolltre.
ett nolltre:

The last month I have been very doubtful of my practice. I doubt absolutly everything about it. My ability to note, the path in general, my possible(contingent?) progress etc.

It effects my daily life in big and bad ways. I get easily irritated or even angry, I doubt my relationship with my partner although there is nothing wrong. I doubt my ability to raise our child. It is like Im trying to find what is wrong, and blaming everything around me and my self and the practice for the uncertainty I feel. 
It is of course easy to note off doubt or what ever feeling when on the cushion, but in daily life, its a whole nother matter. I find it really hard integrating what I now feel is true, namely that nothing is satisfying.




Sure sounds like your first DN cycle to me, although I'm a remedial mapper at best. It's really fortunate that you have some understanding of the phenomena associated with the dukkha nyanas. I wasn't so lucky. For me, this ended up being the 'rolling up of the mat stage.' I was in my 20s. I set about trying to fix all of the things in my life that I believed were so broken. That was such a big project that I basically stopped practicing. I felt that, in order to feel OK, I needed reassurance from external sources--friends, family members, employers, society. Suddenly I felt like a loser for being so into meditation. In an instant I felt like a weird cultist. Just a glance at a robed monk or nun would fill me with disgust. The A&P experience was so powerful that part of me felt that my new direction was 'returning to the marketplace' and 'exiting the cocoon' to face things I was afraid of and grow as a person. There was some truth to that. However, there was no need to quit practicing. That's the key. Giving up the practice--i.e. paying maximum attention inwardly and outwardly--wasn't necessary at all. I gave in to the impulse to go back to sleep and didn't get back into practice in a serious way for about a decade.   

RE: Somewhat drenched in doubt, or am I?
Answer
5/7/18 9:58 AM as a reply to ett nolltre.
Hi, you are in the good track. There is my two cents..

Before entring in the doubt stuff lets talk about maps. Maps are cool, can give you some orientation but is not fun to lost all  the good views for just keeping looking at the map. My advice, drop the map, focus on what is happening right now, the process of insight is very personal and there are no formulas, there is no a+b+c, there is no A&P, followed by DN then equanimity and then Stream entry happy ending.

What i want to say is, enjoy the travel, dont look at the destination, instead of looking for stream entry goal look in how the medtation process is helping in your life, becoming more relax, kind, compassionate, not triggering and not clinging like before etc

You can jump and cycling A&P to DN, then reach equanimity and go back to A&P, and going in this rolllcoster for a while. So my advice is work in what is happening right now. And what is happening to you is typical dark night stuff, so now is a good moment to put in practice all the tools you had learn in all this year of meditation emoticon

Also in the west there is a strong cultural approach for the goal oriented practice, looking for results and rewards, having to achive something and this something have to be now and fast. This view dont let me stay on the present, my mind, my being is in the future, and with all this stuff is hapening to you right now probably you think you are not making process and you are going back so probably this generate frustration, stress, anger, disappointment, is your reaction of what is happening becouse you can accept what is happening.

There is a word for that : aversion. When you keep practing vipassana sooner or later shit will arise and will hit you in the face, vipassana is not easy, is path of purification. Observing all the dark stuff, unprocessed emotions, opresed feelings, old traumas that emerge is not a happy thing to do, but, if you have the courage to do it, the determination to observe really close all this sensastions and thoughts is when you can do the bigs steps in the path, you are not reacting to it with fear and anger, you just observe with equanimity as you were observing the piti and sukha when you where in the jhanic states.


The process is something like this, the wave is not what is happening "outside" the wave is how you react to it, at first you shake, you try to run away, anger, frustration, disatisfacion emerge, thats ok, its natural process, but, with the practice, effort and determination you start to observe all the uncontrollable stuff that is happening, and you start to become more equanimous, the boat can swing left to right but you are calm and steady, flowing with the expirience, embracing it, feeling it. You are acepting life as it is.My advice is try to acept and try to be equanimous for what you are expriencing, not wanting to change it, just acepting, see the impermenence of it, see the no self of it, surrender to it. 

Now, lets talk about doubt, Doubt can be very tricky it has this feeling of desorientation, the energy is scattering to all directions, there is no clear path and you feel lost, there are a lot of options in front of you and you dont know what is the correct, the best way to go etc. This generate a lot of insecurity, and we probably react to this doubt and insecurity with frustration, anger, disatisfaction etc.

The opposite word of doubt is faith, and if you dont like this word you can also use Trust. The short anwser is : trust in the technique, and trust in yourself. Use doubt as object of meditation, observe it very close, what is doubt made of? What comes frist? a thought or a sensation, or is a mix? what kind of sensation? there is something reacting to this kind of thoughts and sensations? Can you see that you are not the doubt? Can you see the doubt come and go?  Can you be cool and flow with the feeling of insecurity and the not knowing?.


 We usually identificate ourself that we have near, we identify with our familiy, "Im part of this family", with our friends, "Im part of this group", and our country "Im from x", but there is not mor nearst thing that our thoughts. We can say "Yes, thoughts are not me, I already know that" but that knowing for a lot of people is just a belief, is an idea. We really need direct expirence of that reality and this come for calm and clear  observation. Hugs, metta and good practice ;)

RE: Somewhat drenched in doubt, or am I?
Answer
5/8/18 3:29 AM as a reply to Jordi.
Hi Jordi,
and thank you very much for this elaborated answer. Very helpful
Also in the west there is a strong cultural approach for the goal oriented practice, looking for results and rewards, having to achive something and this something have to be now and fast. This view dont let me stay on the present, my mind, my being is in the future, and with all this stuff is hapening to you right now probably you think you are not making process and you are going back so probably this generate frustration, stress, anger, disappointment, is your reaction of what is happening becouse you can accept what is happening. 
This is so true and a big part of many of the problems I face.
Now, lets talk about doubt, Doubt can be very tricky it has this feeling of desorientation, the energy is scattering to all directions, there is no clear path and you feel lost, there are a lot of options in front of you and you dont know what is the correct, the best way to go etc. This generate a lot of insecurity, and we probably react to this doubt and insecurity with frustration, anger, disatisfaction etc
yes. Meny times now I have looked at the practice and understood that it will never bring me anything satifying. It is utterly unsatisfying. As everything else. The Jhanas and some a&p event or other crazy states can relly bring that illusion of satisfactory. But it is what it is. 
And that fact had me question the point of practice. Yes this is really about acepting reality as it is. And it seems harder then I thought hehe!

I'm very greatful for the help I got. What a wonderful place dharmaoverground is..

I'll keep practicing.

metta

RE: Somewhat drenched in doubt, or am I?
Answer
5/8/18 5:49 AM as a reply to ett nolltre.
ett nolltre:
Meny times now I have looked at the practice and understood that it will never bring me anything satifying. It is utterly unsatisfying. As everything else. The Jhanas and some a&p event or other crazy states can relly bring that illusion of satisfactory. But it is what it is. 
And that fact had me question the point of practice. Yes this is really about acepting reality as it is. And it seems harder then I thought hehe!

Maybe what you're seeing here is that experience is never ultimately satisfying. Maybe the practice, in bringing you this insight, is showing you the doorway to nibbana, cessation. 

RE: Somewhat drenched in doubt, or am I?
Answer
5/8/18 5:51 AM as a reply to Tashi Tharpa.
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