Dukkah in others effecting my Sankaras

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Raven Jones, modified 3 Years ago.

Dukkah in others effecting my Sankaras

Posts: 16 Join Date: 1/12/18 Recent Posts
Hi all,

I would be grateful for some help with something I struggle with sometimes. I am very sensative to vibrations & can feel the vibrations of others increasingly well as I practice. On occasion when I engage with a friend or famliy member that is suffering, I feel a wave of Dukkah sensations arise in my own body (which I understand to be my own Sankaras brought up by 'resonating' with the vibration of the other person). 

Often I need to meditate a day or two (about 6-8 hours worth of sits) to clear this sankara out of my sytem / regain equanimity and control of focus. 

I understand that these sensations are my Dukkah but is there anyway to be with others in deep suffering and not have your own sankaras totally overwhelm you? 

This doesnt always happen to me but suddenly out of the blue one emotional conversation can bring up deep Dukkak that I battle to observe objectively and often become overwhelmed by. Would appreiciate suggestions on how to better handle these situations. 
Thank you! 
C P M, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Dukkah in others effecting my Sankaras

Posts: 219 Join Date: 5/23/13 Recent Posts
In this book by Mary Mueller Shutan

https://www.amazon.com/Managing-Psychic-Abilities-Highly-Sensitive/dp/1844097005/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

She defines psychic abilities as existing on a scale of sensitivity, with the type of thing you are experiencing as somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. She describes ways of managing sensitivity to other people’s energy.
Anna L, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Dukkah in others effecting my Sankaras

Posts: 231 Join Date: 1/21/17 Recent Posts
Hi Raven, I empathise with you. I went through a phase like this - I called this my "hermit" phase! As the name suggests, I managed it by not seeing very many people! 

As a result of doing a lot of meditation and contemplative practice, I became very sensitive to others - particularly to those who were suffering greatly. I quickly found that I just did not have the spare energy or time to spend on constantly working to regain equanimity, so I reduced my social interactions to the bare minimum and became very selective regarding who I spent time with. Energy drainers were dropped pretty quickly when I became aware of the cycle. 

Interestingly I picked up a copy of "In This Very Life" by Sayadaw U Pandita today, and opened to a page (p.97) that speaks to this issue. He writes:

"Avoiding Unmindful People
Dissociation from persons who are not mindful is the second way of developing mindfulness as an enlightenment factor. If you are doing your best to be mindful, and you run across an unmindful person who corners you into some long-winded argument, you can imagine how quickly your own mindfulness might vanish."

He then goes on to talk about choosing mindful friends - good advice! 

Eventually, with enough practice, I got to a point where equanimity was not as easily shaken by others, however I am still very discerning when it comes to the people I surround myself with emoticon
Dom Stone, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Dukkah in others effecting my Sankaras

Posts: 115 Join Date: 3/21/17 Recent Posts
Well I think I just finished a damaged relationship with a loved one due to this. Making a skillful decision is impossible when you can't tell which is purification and which is simply sensitivity to other persons dukkah. I've noticed it especially after a longer deeper sit, where I assume it's just synchronization with another person's more constant level of mind noise, meaning the problem lies with them and fail to take into account my own sankharas.

The way I see it is that typically, we all have a fair deal of white noise in our mind due to the minds inability to cope with it's default sensitivity. On top of that are other types of 'noise' that are recorded onto it at various times, though it will tend to be louder if built upon a constant background of noise. When we meditate, we seek to drop this meaningless white noise and we are left with a high dynamic range of stuff as well as increased sensitivity to this stuff due to its comparative quietness.

It completely derails my 2 hours worth of concentration savings in 5 minutes, and it has the same feeling as if somebody was to go smash all the windows in my home. (Though less urgent lol). It even tends my mind towards dullness.

Maybe it is just purification, but when others are closely linked to this, how can it be approached without unnecessarily hurting those you are supposed to love. I get that being mindful every second with discipline would help, but even the most pro of tightrope walkers need a break! I can be SUCH a dick sometimes! emoticon
seth tapper, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Dukkah in others effecting my Sankaras

Posts: 477 Join Date: 8/19/17 Recent Posts
I think Christ had the answer to this problem.  When the mind is in a mode of selfless loving - as you would towards your child or beloved pet - it sees other's suffering and rather than reacting with mental churn and self reflective narratives it feels compassion and produces a clear rational mind frame. 

To accomplish this, I found it helpful to remember that everyones mind is out of their control.  Judging behavior or even personality is objectively irrational.  Each person is the same as me, is me, and I am free to love them completely.  When given permission to love, my mind always does. 
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jonjohn, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Dukkah in others effecting my Sankaras

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seth tapper:
I think Christ had the answer to this problem.  When the mind is in a mode of selfless loving - as you would towards your child or beloved pet - it sees other's suffering and rather than reacting with mental churn and self reflective narratives it feels compassion and produces a clear rational mind frame. 

Do you know a lot of parents that can unconditionaly love their children? :-)  Deep love requires deep understanding, and that's very rare. 

https://www.facebook.com/specialbooksbyspecialkids/videos/941087115993269/ 

https://youtu.be/MOOxpT9q2mo

https://youtu.be/0Z5SGI5Jdns

https://www.facebook.com/specialbooksbyspecialkids/videos/897982523637062/



What a bright thing to come across...
Anna L, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Dukkah in others effecting my Sankaras

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Hey Dom, I really like Seth's response above - cultivating a metta practice can really help, along with lots of self-care practices (sleep, exercise, good food, no alcohol/drugs, time in nature). Your tightrope analogy is a good one - I tend to approach contemplative training as I would physical fitness training. Sometimes we need time out from others, and rest! Also, the "dark night" section of MCTB has some good advice on managing relationships when going through the dukkha nanas. 

Approach others (and yourself) with compassion. This phase will pass. 
Dom Stone, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Dukkah in others effecting my Sankaras

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Seth's advice resonates with me and something I will reflect upon the next few days. Thank you Seth, that is objectively rational emoticon

Anna thank you for your words, I've done well with my self care the last few days though it tends to fluctuate. I'm not sure if it's specifically dark night as I have spent a lot of time in EQ during sessions, however, there have been occasional patches when new material is being digested which is where any troubles could start. Whatever happens, happens though! Anyway, sorry for hijacking the thread. Hopefully your replies can also help OP. emoticon
Anna L, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Dukkah in others effecting my Sankaras

Posts: 231 Join Date: 1/21/17 Recent Posts
Dom Stone:
Seth's advice resonates with me and something I will reflect upon the next few days. Thank you Seth, that is objectively rational emoticon

Anna thank you for your words, I've done well with my self care the last few days though it tends to fluctuate. I'm not sure if it's specifically dark night as I have spent a lot of time in EQ during sessions, however, there have been occasional patches when new material is being digested which is where any troubles could start. Whatever happens, happens though! Anyway, sorry for hijacking the thread. Hopefully your replies can also help OP. emoticon

Oh, I use the term "dark night" loosely - more like just usual "dukkha nana" stuff that continues to arise (well it continues to arise for me anyway!). 
Anna L, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Dukkah in others effecting my Sankaras

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Bigbird:
Hi Anna,
Im going to ask Dom the same thing. I can't see context to what your saying. Its me that can't understand. Can you explain more about how you experienced to sensitivity to others. It appears that this sensitivity caused aversion to them because of their stuff, and took your EQ. I probably misunderstand, what your saying.

As a result of doing a lot of meditation and contemplative practice, I became very sensitive to others - particularly to those who were suffering greatly. I quickly found that I just did not have the spare energy or time to spend on constantly working to regain equanimity, so I reduced my social interactions to the bare minimum and became very selective regarding who I spent time with. Energy drainers were dropped pretty quickly when I became aware of the cycle. 

Hey Bigbird, yes I felt that I became more sensitive to the suffering of others. I am not sure what the mechanism behind this was? Maybe becoming more aware and cognizant of other people's "stuff" (their stories/narratives, dramas, etc. and how they tried to include me in these). My ability to be equanimous was not stable - I could only achieve a calm, equanimous state when conditions were perfect (i.e. when I was alone!). As soon as I was out in the real world, interacting with others, I would lose that sense of equanimity. This sensitivity definitely caused me to feel aversion to people and situations that caused me to lose equanimity. 

Eventually this phase passed and I was able to maintain EQ around others, but it took a decent amount of time, during which I spent a lot of time alone, practising, studying dharma, spending time in nature etc. I also developed a strong metta practice towards myself and others, which helped with the aversion. In some cases, the people I was avoiding just weren't meant to be in my life (outgrown friendships, misaligned values etc.) however in some cases it was definitley my problem (supersensitivity to their "stuff"), not theirs. 

This thread has reminded me to read a book that has been sitting unread on my bookshelf for over a decade(!): The Transmission of Affect by Teresa Brennan. It looks at how the emotions and energies of one person can be absorbed by another. 
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Raven Jones, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Dukkah in others effecting my Sankaras

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Thanks everyone for the thoughtful comments and suggestions! I appreciate the fact everyone here seems to think & reflect deeply about the nature of reality too. 

It's easy in post by post communication for things to get lost quite easily. Just wanted to clarify - I am not really interested in developing psychic powers, it's really SE & progressive stages beyond that is my goal & fascination. Of course concentration practice can have side effects of increased psychic ability, but it's not really my interest. 

I perhaps could have raised my question better. What I'm trying to pick up on this how other people have responded to the increased energetic sensitivity that comes with practice? (One aspect of that being the fact other people's Sankaras can bring up your own very deep conditioning). 

As Big Bird mentions, I think what came up was a very deep layer of my own mental conditioning that happened be set off by contact with someone very close to me. 

Anna's response managed to pick up on exactly I was trying to get at - i.e. dealing with increased sensitivity
Interestingly Anna, I too have noticed as my sensitivity to other people increases my tendency to "hermit" myself away is increasing. I also spend less time with non-practising friends and more with Dhamma friends (this is not elitism, it just seems to be helpful as many monks & experienced practitioners over the years have noticed).

Thanks CPM - I will definitely check out that book suggestion!

Reflecting further, it seems that deeper release mental conditioning & more sensitive we become, the more careful we have to be with mindfulness & constant awareness of sensations. 

P.S. I am not familiar with what 'EQ' means?
Anna L, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Dukkah in others effecting my Sankaras

Posts: 231 Join Date: 1/21/17 Recent Posts
Raven Jones:
Thanks everyone for the thoughtful comments and suggestions! I appreciate the fact everyone here seems to think & reflect deeply about the nature of reality too. 

It's easy in post by post communication for things to get lost quite easily. Just wanted to clarify - I am not really interested in developing psychic powers, it's really SE & progressive stages beyond that is my goal & fascination. Of course concentration practice can have side effects of increased psychic ability, but it's not really my interest. 

I perhaps could have raised my question better. What I'm trying to pick up on this how other people have responded to the increased energetic sensitivity that comes with practice? (One aspect of that being the fact other people's Sankaras can bring up your own very deep conditioning). 

As Big Bird mentions, I think what came up was a very deep layer of my own mental conditioning that happened be set off by contact with someone very close to me. 

Anna's response managed to pick up on exactly I was trying to get at - i.e. dealing with increased sensitivity
Interestingly Anna, I too have noticed as my sensitivity to other people increases my tendency to "hermit" myself away is increasing. I also spend less time with non-practising friends and more with Dhamma friends (this is not elitism, it just seems to be helpful as many monks & experienced practitioners over the years have noticed).

Thanks CPM - I will definitely check out that book suggestion!

Reflecting further, it seems that deeper release mental conditioning & more sensitive we become, the more careful we have to be with mindfulness & constant awareness of sensations. 

P.S. I am not familiar with what 'EQ' means?
hey Raven, yes, I think the tendency to "hermit" oneself at certain times on the path is a common one! haha. I always think of the Emerson quote: "Solitude is impractical and yet society is fatal".

Cultivating good dharma friends is awesome emoticon

EQ = equanimity emoticon
Dom Stone, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Dukkah in others effecting my Sankaras

Posts: 115 Join Date: 3/21/17 Recent Posts
Wow I have just woken up so this is a lot to take in! I shall try be concise about this using my own terms, so that there is no risk of conflating ideas that aren't compatible.

My sits lately have been mainly of the Mahamudra technique with the occasional dose of Vipassana to see through resistant objects that get in the way of clear seeing. There is the occasional dukkha ñanas when new material comes up or sometimes penetrating existing material, but historically I've usually gone through this with little resistance. Sitting yesterday has involved deep tranquility which at the time feels more solid than possible objects, and everything is simple, lucid and still. Last night for instance I took this a step further and the split between observer/observed broke down, including the  witness,, revealing all sensations as equal, awareness sometimes happening within the objects (especially sounds) etc. There was almost no discernible cravings, which would be seen as they are almost immediately rather than creating a sense of agency around them. At times it felt like there was going to be some sort of kundalini symptoms, but they may have fizzled out due to  automatic tightening. To me, this whole thing is EQ. Coming home, I was actually able to speak to my girlfriend and show her so much love, and it was possible to be impartial and offer skillful kind words that were not reactive to how she feels.

There was a similar depth of sitting earlier that day, except there wasn't (what I believe to be) luminous awareness of things. Coming home, everything looked strange and I tried to maintain some concentration so I could use it for next sit. Me and my girlfriend have a number of automatic programs that are created out of delusion, and they are like scratches in a photo. Serve literally no purpose, but they are very difficult to bypass. Also, she feels that she is not able to meditate and likes to smoke weed (which had caused problems for me especially due my my past drug history), so she is quite prone to idle chatter and heedlessness. She can be very lonely too and doesn't have friends that she sees, so I am a significant part of her life, and if I don't speak much to her, she has next to no face to face interaction and combined with her many anxieties, self hate and worries for the future, she can get very caught up in things. She says she wants to meditate, but she believes she can't due to these factors. I love her so naturally, I want to help her make her life better, and sometimes have less patience than I should, but, being 10 years older, make suggestion and sometimes push but not force her to a method she simply isn't ready to do yet. She won't see a doctor, I look after her financially and she calls me controlling. To make it clear, this is no complaining here. I am simply making what I believe the conditions are for my particular situation as to clarify matters. I don't expect any personal advice from a dhamma forum!

So as I come home from a well rested sit, I offer to make her a tea in a mug as I was going to make one for when I go to work. Somewhere down the line, she gets things confused and believes I'm being controlling by not putting it in a flask so she needs to drink it now rather than put it in a flask. I notice that I'm starting to get worked up about this.

At one point only about 15 seconds later, I feel a rush of energy, in many parts of my body, with synesthetic dots of light of different colours where this energy is. The anger energy feels separate to me twisting in on itself in a strange manner. Thoughts arise, things are said that eventually very horrible, and I am watching my body and mind do its thing from the Witness state, observing clarity of the moment without being the one who suffers. Eventually I leave, normally I leave before anything happens.

This stuff that comes out, I wish would happen in meditation, that way other people don't need to suffer. I am claiming responsibility for what I said, however believe that these programs just don't need to be here for either of us, but if I could manage this in a safe place, then perhaps it would help diffuse her stuff in the process.
There are FAR too many mirror neurons between us which show connection when we aren't in the same room, which makes hiding personal stuff or stages of insight very difficult.

I don't really have purification episode like which you speak of BigBird. Despite the fact my past has been very colourful and bipolar, it feels like all that stuff has already happened when it happened, and now, sitting is mainly clearing out resistances and becoming ever deeper moments of present nature.
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Raven Jones, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Dukkah in others effecting my Sankaras

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Dom Stone's description above is very similar to the experience I had as the subject of this post - thanks for sharing Dom! 

Big Bird all good, happy to discuss these things out, I just want to be clear we are moving towards a point of clear understanding. 

RE: 
What i find confusing is that a someone(processor) doesn't seem to know if the reaction or discrimination of the person (object) is coming from stored conditioning or released conditioning(purification), yet they have developed some idea about other peoples conditioning is bringing up theirs, so this must be a concept that is be passed around. How are they verifying this? 

I do not make any distinction between distinct conditioning & stored conditioning. I am not sure what you mean here? Prehaps a concept from a different tradition? 

I just see the arising of all my accumulated conditioning. Labelling the conditioning as a particular type isnt part of Goenka practise. All sensation is just sensation. Content is not given any importance only the objective obseravtion of Anicca, Annatta, Dukkah as bodily sensation. 

In regards to the relationship between the person (object) who triggered my conditioning, here is how it happened:
I spoke to this person, they where in a temporary deep negative state, within a split second a shot of very strong sensations go through my entire body & give rise to my Sankaras. 

What I understand is happening here is the other person (object) is vibrating at a different frequnecy to me initially & my own system moves from a relaxed set of vibrations to a corresponding, resonant vibration with the other person. We are both now vibrating (resonating) at a similar level, my vibrations give rise to my own Sankara and conditioning. To be clear I see this person's condition entirely seperate from mine, my stuff is my own, it just happens to be resonating at a similar level at that one moment. 

I only explained the contact with the other (object) as it's comon language,  we tend to talk in relative not ultimate reality for reasons of convention & simplicity. 

I am verifying this by self observation & trying to understand the nature of arising reality through observation of self (i.e. the 3 characteristics) from the point of view as an individual who doesnt yet grasp the ultimate nature of reality.  
How can an applied value and vedena have any direct relationship to object? 

It doesn't. The only relationship is that the energetic feilds of others can be felt. Have you ever felt it easier to meditate in a meditation centre than by yourself at home? Have you ever been in a crowd at a rock concert & felt the emotion of crowd excitement effecting your mood (body sensation)? This is what I am talking about.

I notice however, as I meditate over the years & deeper conditioning gets dissolved, this sensatively to feel vibrations outside the body is ever increasing. 95% I remain equnimous to the upset in others. 5% of the time I am not mindful, in a brief moment a reaction arises in my mind causing a deep Sankara to arise. Because I practise a lot sometimes this conditioning is very powerful & takes days to me to regain equanimity. 

But there is no relationship between my Sankara & anyone else's aside from the delusion of self attributing that object as the cause of this reaction (which we are all agreed is not an insightful understanding). 

I hope that I have articulated it a little better? emoticon
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terry, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Dukkah in others effecting my Sankaras

Posts: 1636 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
aloha raven,

   Life involves suffering. Suffering is caused by clinging. If you are clinging to clarity and freedom from suffering, you add to your suffering. If you are attached to the self image of being free of "dukkha," you will suffer from that. It is not about the contents of the bowl, sweet or not sweet, sukkha or dukkha; it is about identification with the bowl itself, and knowing the contents to be impermanent and empty. If you have finished your rice gruel (achieved the primal insight), then clean your bowl (free yourself of remaining attachments through acceptance and renunciation).

   In the course of caring for others, or when they impose on us, life can suck big time. Life is in fact sucking big time for a lot of folks out there, and dealing with all this trauma is a painful business. Plus, we are all in this together. Finding the sweet spot between self development and our need to be human with others is skating on the razor's edge.

   There are two ways of dealing with individual bummer situations, short and long. In the short, realize that intense emotion really only lasts a few minutes, unless you prolong it by obsessing or dwelling on the difficulty. In the course of things, emotions pass and something else takes their place. There are times when life seems to be a raw wound. All we can do is consciously suffer, wait it out. But generally we can practice just letting stuff go, realizing there is nothing more we can do than note the difficulty and move on. Second, try to get to the bottom of the emotion that disturbs you, because in the end it is always your own desire that you are clinging to. All we can do is accept what we can't change; and change what we can. 

   As a practical matter, you might try increasing your isolation, if your presence is not required by some karmic connection to the sufferers.

metta,
terry
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terry, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Dukkah in others effecting my Sankaras

Posts: 1636 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
aloha raven,
 
   I'm reading a book of ryokan's poems, and I ran across one that might be helpful:


"I am no longer
used to the climate here.
Cold is increasingly
harsh on my skin.”

~ryokan

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