can stimulants block results from concentration practice

can stimulants block results from concentration practice Sanjeev K Sharma 8/24/11 9:35 PM
RE: can stimulants block results from concentration practice Simon T. 9/13/11 10:11 AM
RE: can stimulants block results from concentration practice Tommy M 9/14/11 7:23 AM
RE: can stimulants block results from concentration practice Michael A. 9/20/11 3:14 AM
RE: can stimulants block results from concentration practice Simon T. 9/20/11 6:35 AM
RE: can stimulants block results from concentration practice Michael A. 9/21/11 6:32 PM
RE: can stimulants block results from concentration practice Simon T. 9/22/11 1:51 AM
RE: can stimulants block results from concentration practice Simon T. 9/22/11 1:56 AM
RE: can stimulants block results from concentration practice End in Sight 9/22/11 7:37 AM
RE: can stimulants block results from concentration practice Simon T. 9/22/11 11:05 AM
RE: can stimulants block results from concentration practice End in Sight 9/22/11 12:09 PM
RE: can stimulants block results from concentration practice Simon T. 9/22/11 12:34 PM
RE: can stimulants block results from concentration practice End in Sight 9/22/11 2:00 PM
RE: can stimulants block results from concentration practice Michael A. 9/23/11 2:37 AM
RE: can stimulants block results from concentration practice J Adam G 10/21/11 12:43 PM
RE: can stimulants block results from concentration practice Michael A. 12/19/13 9:00 AM
RE: can stimulants block results from concentration practice Michael A. 12/19/13 9:01 AM
RE: can stimulants block results from concentration practice triple think 12/19/13 10:28 AM
RE: can stimulants block results from concentration practice End in Sight 9/22/11 7:39 AM
Sanjeev K Sharma, modified 11 Years ago at 8/24/11 9:35 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 8/24/11 6:09 PM

can stimulants block results from concentration practice

Post: 1 Join Date: 8/17/10 Recent Posts
later realized more clearly: by "block results" I meant

delay or hamper progress, or maybe even set one back

Nothing hard like amphetamines or cocaine, but Ritalin and related?
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Simon T, modified 11 Years ago at 9/13/11 10:11 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 9/13/11 9:59 AM

RE: can stimulants block results from concentration practice

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I asked myself the same question. There is probably not many people on earth that did serious investigation on the matter (neither did I). My experience with both ritalin and dexedrine (amphetamine) is that they block the thoughts in a very invasive way. They do improve focus but at the same time I get the feeling that something is missing. One could argue that they can help you to get use to sit for a long period of time... and then you slowly tapper off the medication, but that's a pretty weak argument. Does those medication block so many things in the brain that you cannot achieve realization? Wouldn't someone get stuck in concentration meditation since he get so much focus?

I'm now tapping off dexedrine before my retreat next week. I know waking up in the morning at the bell will be a serious challenge but i don't really have the choice since dexedrine make me feel too tired in the long run.
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Tommy M, modified 11 Years ago at 9/14/11 7:23 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 9/14/11 7:23 AM

RE: can stimulants block results from concentration practice

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I don't know about Ritalin or drugs of that ilk, but I've worked with amphetamines and cocaine in the past. In my experience, thoughts just race like crazy and it takes considerable practice to maintain concentration while under the influence of this sort of drug, however I would say that their effects are more readily suited to noting as the speed and accuracy possible can be quite astounding. That said, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone and can vouch for the clean approach to practice over chemical enhancement. It's too unstable and risky, it's a high stakes game that is not suited to most people.
Michael A, modified 11 Years ago at 9/20/11 3:14 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 9/20/11 3:14 AM

RE: can stimulants block results from concentration practice

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All I can say is that I just hit first shamatha jhana during a 20 minute sit last week and I take vyvanse (extended release Dex). Mileage may vary, but a low enough, smooth enough dose seems not to have gotten in my way (and my first time on the stuff was the first time in my life I realized silence was not something you had to be afraid of). I'm sure mileage varies, but for this primarily inattentive ADD practitioner, I never would have made it this far without that experience. Still will see how long I stay on, but I'm saving that investigation for a time I find it to be an obstacle. Hope that helps!
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Simon T, modified 11 Years ago at 9/20/11 6:35 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 9/20/11 6:35 AM

RE: can stimulants block results from concentration practice

Posts: 383 Join Date: 9/13/11 Recent Posts
Michael A.:
All I can say is that I just hit first shamatha jhana during a 20 minute sit last week and I take vyvanse (extended release Dex). Mileage may vary, but a low enough, smooth enough dose seems not to have gotten in my way (and my first time on the stuff was the first time in my life I realized silence was not something you had to be afraid of). I'm sure mileage varies, but for this primarily inattentive ADD practitioner, I never would have made it this far without that experience. Still will see how long I stay on, but I'm saving that investigation for a time I find it to be an obstacle. Hope that helps!


For concentration practice I see how it can helps. For insight practice, I'm not so sure. Tell us if you manage to explore insights on vyvanse.
Michael A, modified 11 Years ago at 9/21/11 6:32 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 9/21/11 6:32 PM

RE: can stimulants block results from concentration practice

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Simon:

Glad to meet someone else looking into similar issues; I have the feeling I'm not the only one who got some major resonance out of the Three Characteristics and his clinical diagnosis.

First, some more background on my situation, and the next paragraph will be about my experiences in insight. Vyvanse was hell getting adjusted right (incredibly finicky sensitivity to tiny changes in sleep, diet, exercise, and with the nasty habit of feeling like too little when you have too much, thus making it hard to calibrate). But the dosage I'm settled on doesn't block thoughts that bluntly; sure, it did at first, but my current dosage just seems to slow down the universe a tiny notch so I'm not overwhelmed by the various thoughts flying my way, thus cutting out my anxiety. The difference is subtle, like a single cup of coffee without the nervous edge. Also FYI, my flavor of primarily-inattentive comes with lots of hyperfocus, just lots of trouble telling it when to arise, when to dissipate, and on what object. My luck is that mindfulness of breath has become INTERESTING to my mind.

Anyway, my recent practice notes are in the Dharma Diagnosis section, but here's the gist: Insight sure seems to be happening, but concentration is what broke down the door. The more I reflect/read/hear, sounds like I hit first jhana without realizing, crashed through a wall in my mind and hit second as well, triggering A&P (wild back spasms, bright flashing/jumpcutting/moving light shows behind the eyelids, body breathed itself, the visual field got a little hallucinatory/crawly for the next two days). With the burst of energy, I was so obsessed that I started noting everything in sight, and got some crazy feelings of fluidity and word/mind/body unity. "Following the breath" in yoga suddenly made perfect sense, I could actually see occasional mental states pop up first as physical tensions (and sometimes _avoid_ those states by watching them disintegrate). A week later now, I know I can reach SOME jhana every time I sit, but the line between first and second is weirdly permeable, because the rapture part has really faded away even when first entering. Today I start to suspect I won't have long until the Dark Night, as I suddenly noticed visual, auditory, physical vibrations everywhere and pixelation is all over the place. First little tremors in the cohesion of objects. Sort of trying to enjoy the remainder of the honeymoon while I've got it, but I suspect it's going soon enough.

Anyway, my long sit tends to be a few minutes after I take my meds, so they don't fully kick in until the end of the session. I haven't yet found any predictable difference between sessions before, during, or after medication. That said, I know there's always at least some in my system, which probably makes that latching-on focus easier to find.

Bottom line: meds haven't gotten in my way so far, and likely got me to the place in life where I could practice at all, but that's also possibly because I don't feel mine as strongly as some do. Also, AD(H)D is a great motivator as far as me and the dharma are concerned. I know that's a lot of words, but hope that's of use to someone.

-M


(SIDE NOTE: By the way, every read the Visuddhi-magga? It has really boring sections, but I sort of suspect that a couple of Buddhaghosa's personality types laid out in the beginning ("deluded", "speculative") are crypto-ADHD. Both are people who have trouble paying attention, but for opposite reasons. Deluded types are "dull", disengaged, low-key, sloppy, always daydreaming; speculative types are the kind with a torrent of thoughts they have to wade through, the absent-minded professors, soaring through the clouds because their thoughts grab too tightly to let them just see the world. So "deluded" types are supposed to have gigantic, physical, seeable objects of meditation (A kasina that fills their whole visual field, for example) and meditate in a nice open bright field with open eyes, while "speculative" meditators need to get left in a dark cave (seriously!) with something small and defined that leaves their mind no room to wander. For both, though, the breath is supposed to be uniquely suited to their temperament, and I've found that to be very accurate so far.)
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Simon T, modified 11 Years ago at 9/22/11 1:51 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 9/22/11 1:51 AM

RE: can stimulants block results from concentration practice

Posts: 383 Join Date: 9/13/11 Recent Posts
One of the issue I have right now is that I only have instant release amphetamine and it's hard to adjust. I want to start another retreat soon (I'm in Thailand) but I don't know how to use my medications properly. Without it, my thoughts really get out of control. I got some successful insight meditation sessions with dexedrine and benzos (I need to either use clonazepam or lyrica with dex because the anxiety get too extreme) in the last few days. Dexedrine make it easy to have long sittings but there is always a point where I end up loosing the attentiveness even if I can keep the position.

It's really a double edge sword.
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Simon T, modified 11 Years ago at 9/22/11 1:56 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 9/22/11 1:56 AM

RE: can stimulants block results from concentration practice

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Thanks for the Visuddhi-magga suggestions. I was thinking about asking of the forum what the scriptures have to say about people with poor concentration.

I wonder if someone formally diagnosed with ADHD ever managed to get to one of the four path. It would make for an interesting case study to become an Arahant with ADHD emoticon
End in Sight, modified 11 Years ago at 9/22/11 7:37 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 9/22/11 7:35 AM

RE: can stimulants block results from concentration practice

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
Simon T.:
Thanks for the Visuddhi-magga suggestions. I was thinking about asking of the forum what the scriptures have to say about people with poor concentration.

I wonder if someone formally diagnosed with ADHD ever managed to get to one of the four path. It would make for an interesting case study to become an Arahant with ADHD emoticon


Hi Simon,

My attention has always been rather "weird", and I would expect that I might quality for a diagnosis of ADHD (or might have in the past), and yet I attained all four paths, and then what appears to be AF.

(Going through the paths gradually improved my attention in some way, and AF did even more so. Yet, there is still a significant residual kind of attentional weirdness.)

Lack of concentration is an impediment, but a surmountable one. The most important thing for me was to constantly adjust my meditation techniques to suit the idiosyncracies of my mind. An experimental attitude was extremely important for me in this regard. I always recommend the same to others...but, in the case of some kind of neurological difference, I believe that an experimental attitude is crucial for success.
End in Sight, modified 11 Years ago at 9/22/11 7:39 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 9/22/11 7:39 AM

RE: can stimulants block results from concentration practice

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Michael A:
(SIDE NOTE: By the way, every read the Visuddhi-magga? It has really boring sections, but I sort of suspect that a couple of Buddhaghosa's personality types laid out in the beginning ("deluded", "speculative") are crypto-ADHD. Both are people who have trouble paying attention, but for opposite reasons. Deluded types are "dull", disengaged, low-key, sloppy, always daydreaming; speculative types are the kind with a torrent of thoughts they have to wade through, the absent-minded professors, soaring through the clouds because their thoughts grab too tightly to let them just see the world. So "deluded" types are supposed to have gigantic, physical, seeable objects of meditation (A kasina that fills their whole visual field, for example) and meditate in a nice open bright field with open eyes, while "speculative" meditators need to get left in a dark cave (seriously!) with something small and defined that leaves their mind no room to wander. For both, though, the breath is supposed to be uniquely suited to their temperament, and I've found that to be very accurate so far.)


This is a fascinating idea.

For what it's worth, I never found much value in anapanasati.
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Simon T, modified 11 Years ago at 9/22/11 11:05 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 9/22/11 11:02 AM

RE: can stimulants block results from concentration practice

Posts: 383 Join Date: 9/13/11 Recent Posts
End in Sight:
Simon T.:
Thanks for the Visuddhi-magga suggestions. I was thinking about asking of the forum what the scriptures have to say about people with poor concentration.

I wonder if someone formally diagnosed with ADHD ever managed to get to one of the four path. It would make for an interesting case study to become an Arahant with ADHD emoticon


Hi Simon,

My attention has always been rather "weird", and I would expect that I might quality for a diagnosis of ADHD (or might have in the past), and yet I attained all four paths, and then what appears to be AF.

(Going through the paths gradually improved my attention in some way, and AF did even more so. Yet, there is still a significant residual kind of attentional weirdness.)

Lack of concentration is an impediment, but a surmountable one. The most important thing for me was to constantly adjust my meditation techniques to suit the idiosyncracies of my mind. An experimental attitude was extremely important for me in this regard. I always recommend the same to others...but, in the case of some kind of neurological difference, I believe that an experimental attitude is crucial for success.


That's my issue with the temples in Asia. They are really focussed on one technique and there is not much place for experimentation. I believe experimentation is essential. Regarding "noting speed" you talked about in the other thread, I don't know yet. I never really managed to put well the noting into practice. I find that it obscure the object and it's not true awareness. On the other end, it's good to put the mind back to it's place and develop the habit of bringing back the mind focussed. Doing noting on a physical sensation is pretty easy. When it comes to awareness of the thoughts, it's a different story. Sometimes, my mind is so confused that I can't see my thoughts at all but at the same time I feel that I'm overwhelm by them.

What I do now is to start directly by awareness of the thoughts, digging as much as possible to notice sub-conscious thoughts bubbling in the brain. When I loose it, I go on the breath to get some rest. In other words, I prefer to have my thoughts as my primary object.

Did you write about your story of your practice before reaching fourth path? I would like to know about it.
End in Sight, modified 11 Years ago at 9/22/11 12:09 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 9/22/11 11:50 AM

RE: can stimulants block results from concentration practice

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
Simon T.:
Did you write about your story of your practice before reaching fourth path? I would like to know about it.


You can look at my practice journal on KFD. Towards the beginning, someone asked me a similar question, so I recounted the story from memory.

(If I had to characterize my own difficulties with attention, I would say that I strongly leaned towards the "speculative" phenotype described above.)

The most helpful method I used (getting me the first two paths very quickly) is here: http://kennethfolkdharma.wetpaint.com/thread/4647646/Drunken+Vipassana+Fist%3A+An+Introduction

Please note, I am explicitly telling you not to try this with amphetamine or any prescription drug whatsoever. The method can be much more intense than my neutral writing style makes it seem. In combination with amphetamine or a prescription drug, you would be taking on great risk. However, you may find some useful ideas in my post which you might be able to apply, in a modified form, to your own case.

Simon T.:
Regarding "noting speed" you talked about in the other thread, I don't know yet. I never really managed to put well the noting into practice. I find that it obscure the object and it's not true awareness.


Have you taken something as simple as your visual field as an object to note? For example, staring at a wall, or a large or small kasina, or the visual field as a whole, and repeatedly noting "seeing...seeing..." during each individual moment that you notice that you are seeing the kasina or visual field? This is very simple, and the visual field is generally much more distinctive and clear than the motion of the abdomen (the traditional anchor of the noting technique)

If you found that this was doable, you could move on to varying your noting speed in order to see if you could find a speed that keeps your attention grounded in the process of meditation and away from discursive thinking.

You could try different kasinas or different sensory modalities as well, if you were not satisfied with the results at this point.

This is what I had in mind by experimentation; take the bones of one technique, figure out how to make it work "well enough", and then keep varying the details and implementation until you get something that suits the idiosyncrasies of your mind especially well.

Keep in mind that rapidly noting "seeing" is one means of attending to the impermanence characteristic of sensory experience, and recognizing this thoroughly enough is sufficient to attain stream entry.

Monks, eye-contact is inconstant, changeable, alterable. Ear-contact... Nose-contact... Tongue-contact... Body-contact... Intellect-contact is inconstant, changeable, alterable.

One who knows and sees that these phenomena are this way is called a stream-enterer, steadfast, never again destined for states of woe, headed for self-awakening.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn25/sn25.004.than.html

EDIT: Not being a Pali scholar, I am not sure whether the meaning I intended is better conveyed by this one instead: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn25/sn25.003.than.html
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Simon T, modified 11 Years ago at 9/22/11 12:34 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 9/22/11 12:34 PM

RE: can stimulants block results from concentration practice

Posts: 383 Join Date: 9/13/11 Recent Posts
End in Sight:


Monks, eye-contact is inconstant, changeable, alterable. Ear-contact... Nose-contact... Tongue-contact... Body-contact... Intellect-contact is inconstant, changeable, alterable.

One who knows and sees that these phenomena are this way is called a stream-enterer, steadfast, never again destined for states of woe, headed for self-awakening.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn25/sn25.004.than.html

EDIT: Not being a Pali scholar, I am not sure whether the meaning I intended is better conveyed by this one instead: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn25/sn25.003.than.html


I'm confuse this look more like a description of the A&P. He describes impermanence.
End in Sight, modified 11 Years ago at 9/22/11 2:00 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 9/22/11 2:00 PM

RE: can stimulants block results from concentration practice

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
Simon T.:
End in Sight:


Monks, eye-contact is inconstant, changeable, alterable. Ear-contact... Nose-contact... Tongue-contact... Body-contact... Intellect-contact is inconstant, changeable, alterable.

One who knows and sees that these phenomena are this way is called a stream-enterer, steadfast, never again destined for states of woe, headed for self-awakening.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn25/sn25.004.than.html

EDIT: Not being a Pali scholar, I am not sure whether the meaning I intended is better conveyed by this one instead: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn25/sn25.003.than.html


I'm confuse this look more like a description of the A&P. He describes impermanence.


If you keep up your practice, eventually you will be able to notice that all your sense-experiences are impermanent no matter which nana you're in. The A&P is a time when that characteristic tends to become clearer in some ways.

But, the key thing is, noticing impermanence is sufficient to get one stream entry.
Michael A, modified 11 Years ago at 9/23/11 2:37 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 9/23/11 2:37 AM

RE: can stimulants block results from concentration practice

Posts: 20 Join Date: 9/20/11 Recent Posts
End in Sight:
Simon T.:
Did you write about your story of your practice before reaching fourth path? I would like to know about it.


You can look at my practice journal on KFD. Towards the beginning, someone asked me a similar question, so I recounted the story from memory.

(If I had to characterize my own difficulties with attention, I would say that I strongly leaned towards the "speculative" phenotype described above.)

The most helpful method I used (getting me the first two paths very quickly) is here: http://kennethfolkdharma.wetpaint.com/thread/4647646/Drunken+Vipassana+Fist%3A+An+Introduction

Please note, I am explicitly telling you not to try this with amphetamine or any prescription drug whatsoever. The method can be much more intense than my neutral writing style makes it seem. In combination with amphetamine or a prescription drug, you would be taking on great risk. However, you may find some useful ideas in my post which you might be able to apply, in a modified form, to your own case.


Have you taken something as simple as your visual field as an object to note? For example, staring at a wall, or a large or small kasina, or the visual field as a whole, and repeatedly noting "seeing...seeing..." during each individual moment that you notice that you are seeing the kasina or visual field? This is very simple, and the visual field is generally much more distinctive and clear than the motion of the abdomen (the traditional anchor of the noting technique)

If you found that this was doable, you could move on to varying your noting speed in order to see if you could find a speed that keeps your attention grounded in the process of meditation and away from discursive thinking.

You could try different kasinas or different sensory modalities as well, if you were not satisfied with the results at this point.

This is what I had in mind by experimentation; take the bones of one technique, figure out how to make it work "well enough", and then keep varying the details and implementation until you get something that suits the idiosyncrasies of your mind especially well.

Keep in mind that rapidly noting "seeing" is one means of attending to the impermanence characteristic of sensory experience, and recognizing this thoroughly enough is sufficient to attain stream entry.


Funny you should mention this, since my raging case of A&P shifted to fine vibrations yesterday and I noticed all of this for basically the first time. Just now, in front of my laptop, I halfheartedly tried "note random visual field spots at max speed" and fell violently into vipassana jhana in _seconds_. I was trying the same thing during informal walking meditation last night with the physical pinprick sensations that appear when I investigate touch, and holy crap is THAT a ride till it dissolves. I agree with you that your full-on technique sounds incredibly dangerous with any kind of stimulant anywhere near the system, even if said stimulant is just correcting a subtle imbalance.

At least with vibrations moving this fast, I do like Shinzen Young's suggestion of slow noting but fast noticing: one label a second, but you notice every single sensation you can link to it (which is anywhere from 15 - 40 hz right now; SO glad I read MCTB or I'd be losing it). Having a special name for the visual field ("Blank," in his lingo) and a separate label for vibration ("flow", he calls it, but "anicca" works for me) also makes things simpler for me to notice. I'll be interested to see what happens in the Dark Night when this stuff goes dull.

Speaking of attentional issues and awakening, I will note that the secular mindfulness researchers at UCLA's MARC center tried vipassana-lite on an ADHD cohort, and even that much of the practice improved attention. The one measure that was totally untouched, however, was the poor working memory function common to people with attention issues (temporarily storing "I need to go to the grocery store on the way home"). I guess if the cache is small, the cache is small.
J Adam G, modified 10 Years ago at 10/21/11 12:43 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/21/11 12:34 PM

RE: can stimulants block results from concentration practice

Posts: 286 Join Date: 9/15/09 Recent Posts
As a textbook case of combined-type ADHD (hyperactivity/impulsivity combined with attention problems -- Visuddhimagga "speculative" type), I find that the stimulants are very helpful to any form of meditation, IF the dosage is correct.

Without any medicine, concentration meditation fails. The mind will not stay in one place for over 30 seconds. End of story.

With the medicine, I can concentrate as well as any other person with 2 years of experience doing jhana, though the meditation techniques still require frequent fine-tuning.

Insight meditation, on the other hand, works without medicine (though more slowly). That's because you can practice insight with the "moment-to-moment attention" technique (khanika samadhi), which is stimulating enough to engage hyperfocus. When noting or practicing choiceless awareness, the mind can stay engaged by moving from one object to the next before becoming bored.

To summarize, insight meditation is already stimulating, so people with ADHD don't need a chemical stimulant to do it. (Though in my experience, stimulants can improve hyperfocus and make insight work even better.) But concentration is insufficiently stimulating for many with ADHD. Yes, the first 3 jhanas are pleasant, but that doesn't make them stimulating, which is what people with ADHD need in order to sustain attention on something.

P.S.
The need for stimulation has troubled many with ADHD who are told that the mind will "do" the first jhana automatically once the conditions are right. For us, the mind won't automatically focus on something just because it's pleasurable. For ADHDers struggling to reach the first jhana, vitakka and vicara must be done intentionally. Only with extensive practice will the mind learn to "do jhana automatically."
Michael A, modified 8 Years ago at 12/19/13 9:00 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 12/19/13 9:00 AM

RE: can stimulants block results from concentration practice

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As an update two years down the line:

1) I didn't have samatha jhana, I had what you call A&P around here
2)At a certain point, all the cortisol increase from dexedrine was an absolute unpassable wall for my concentration, and I had to give it up. I don't miss the side effects, and 3 years of practice seem enough to go around unmedicated for this borderline case. That said, the taper period was monstrous, and the loss of that clunky focus boost triggered a whole new Dark Night.
3) I am echoing everybody in saying that the suppression of discursive thought via stimulant medication is really crude, like a sledgehammer. if you need it, go right ahead. I'm glad I don't have to, anymore.
4) An experimental attitude is huge, but so is learning to find the sensations of boredom interesting once you have the sitting habit locked in, and try the same thing for a few months to wear out some of that resistance. These days, I seem to need to fluctuate regularly between narrower breath focus and wide open momentary concentration, and it takes regular tai chi to keep my body softening enough to be able to do that and not go too dull or busy or hard. Having a mantra in my back pocket for when all else fails has been very useful as well.

Best of luck to everybody out there. This stuff is HARD.
Michael A, modified 8 Years ago at 12/19/13 9:01 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 12/19/13 9:01 AM

RE: can stimulants block results from concentration practice

Posts: 20 Join Date: 9/20/11 Recent Posts
As an update two years down the line:

1) I didn't have samatha jhana, I had what you call A&P around here
2)At a certain point, all the cortisol increase from dexedrine was an absolute unpassable wall for my concentration, and I had to give it up. I don't miss the side effects, and 3 years of practice seem enough to go around unmedicated for this borderline case. That said, the taper period was monstrous, and the loss of that clunky focus boost triggered a whole new Dark Night.
3) I am echoing everybody in saying that the suppression of discursive thought via stimulant medication is really crude, like a sledgehammer. if you need it, go right ahead. I'm glad I don't have to, anymore.
4) An experimental attitude is huge, but so is learning to find the sensations of boredom interesting once you have the sitting habit locked in, and try the same thing for a few months to wear out some of that resistance. These days, I seem to need to fluctuate regularly between narrower breath focus and wide open momentary concentration, and it takes regular tai chi to keep my body softening enough to be able to do that and not go too dull or busy or hard. Having a mantra in my back pocket for when all else fails has been very useful as well.

Best of luck to everybody out there. This stuff is HARD.
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triple think, modified 8 Years ago at 12/19/13 10:28 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 12/19/13 10:28 AM

RE: can stimulants block results from concentration practice

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The Pali texts speak of bhikkhus entering absorption in the contexts of all types of conditions; buried alive, on fire, dying, impaled, etc..

Greek historical accounts speak of philosophers entering into Jhana, for example, in mid-step, standing still, statuesque, with one foot raised, for hours at end.

Jhana, when desired without grasping, may occur whenever one is free from the five hindering mental qualities, is suitably released from a shifting attention, attending mindfuly apart from any dependence on changing conditions; and one enters into a persisting form of attention fully enveloped and absorbed within and by the given persisting conditions, for whatever period of time.

Whatever enters into the body affects the body and all bodily nutriment, in a real sense, can be considered to be "a drug" of some kind, with whatever given effects within the body and in relation to whatever given bodily conditions.

In relation to the ultimate aim of the N8F Path, this being a path of becoming fully and completely liberated from any and all forms of conditioned or conditioning dependence, any and all modes of dependency, internal and external to being and becoming are contraindicated.

In the course of walking any such a path, any ground that takes one forward on this path, is a necessary form of dependence so long as this provides a necessary footing in this or that moment and is, as such, understood to be 'ultimately' 'entirely' 'unreliable', 'provisional' and 'temporary', 'inadequate' and 'unsatisfactory'.

triplethink /|\ nathan

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