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Dealing with the Dark Night

Really struggling here...

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Really struggling here... Markus 4/30/15 8:43 AM
RE: Really struggling here... Markus 4/29/15 4:51 AM
RE: Really struggling here... Oochdd 4/29/15 6:15 AM
RE: Really struggling here... Jake 4/29/15 6:16 AM
RE: Really struggling here... Banned For waht? 4/29/15 6:22 AM
RE: Really struggling here... Noah 4/29/15 8:08 AM
RE: Really struggling here... katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 4/29/15 8:56 AM
RE: Really struggling here... Noah 4/29/15 5:30 PM
RE: Really struggling here... Richard Zen 4/29/15 8:46 AM
RE: Really struggling here... Markus 4/30/15 6:12 AM
RE: Really struggling here... Richard Zen 4/30/15 8:44 AM
RE: Really struggling here... Robert 5/8/15 2:52 PM
RE: Really struggling here... Markus 5/8/15 2:59 PM
RE: Really struggling here... Robert 5/8/15 4:10 PM
RE: Really struggling here... SeTyR ZeN 5/8/15 8:58 PM
RE: Really struggling here... Markus 5/9/15 2:59 AM
RE: Really struggling here... Robert 5/9/15 5:15 AM
RE: Really struggling here... Markus 5/9/15 5:35 AM
RE: Really struggling here... Robert 5/9/15 7:50 AM
RE: Really struggling here... Markus 5/9/15 1:51 PM
RE: Really struggling here... Robert 5/9/15 2:17 PM
RE: Really struggling here... Markus 5/9/15 3:04 PM
RE: Really struggling here... Robert 5/10/15 12:46 AM
RE: Really struggling here... Markus 5/10/15 8:53 AM
RE: Really struggling here... Oochdd 5/10/15 3:19 PM
RE: Really struggling here... Markus 5/9/15 5:36 AM
RE: Really struggling here... katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 5/9/15 9:17 AM
RE: Really struggling here... Markus 5/9/15 1:44 PM
RE: Really struggling here... katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 5/9/15 4:19 PM
RE: Really struggling here... Markus 5/9/15 4:16 PM
RE: Really struggling here... katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 5/9/15 4:37 PM
RE: Really struggling here... Psi 5/9/15 7:07 PM
RE: Really struggling here... katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 5/9/15 8:57 PM
RE: Really struggling here... Markus 5/10/15 5:15 AM
RE: Really struggling here... katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 5/10/15 7:24 AM
RE: Really struggling here... Markus 5/10/15 9:02 AM
RE: Really struggling here... Robert 5/10/15 10:00 AM
RE: Really struggling here... Markus 5/10/15 10:59 AM
RE: Really struggling here... Robert 5/11/15 3:40 AM
RE: Really struggling here... katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 5/10/15 12:13 PM
RE: Really struggling here... Markus 5/11/15 10:09 AM
RE: Really struggling here... Markus 5/10/15 12:49 PM
RE: Really struggling here... katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 5/10/15 8:04 PM
RE: Really struggling here... SeTyR ZeN 5/10/15 9:01 PM
RE: Really struggling here... katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 5/10/15 2:39 PM
RE: Really struggling here... Robert 5/8/15 2:48 PM
RE: Really struggling here... Markus 5/10/15 8:46 AM
RE: Really struggling here... Markus 5/10/15 12:52 PM
RE: Really struggling here... Markus 5/13/15 4:46 AM
RE: Really struggling here... katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 5/12/15 1:06 AM
RE: Really struggling here... Markus 5/12/15 3:59 PM
RE: Really struggling here... Psi 5/12/15 6:22 PM
RE: Really struggling here... Psi 5/12/15 7:37 PM
RE: Really struggling here... Markus 5/13/15 3:27 AM
RE: Really struggling here... Psi 5/13/15 7:57 AM
RE: Really struggling here... Bill F. 5/12/15 7:18 PM
RE: Really struggling here... Markus 5/13/15 4:45 AM
RE: Really struggling here... water drop 5/13/15 5:13 AM
RE: Really struggling here... katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 5/23/15 12:02 PM
RE: Really struggling here... cian 5/23/15 8:29 PM
RE: Really struggling here... Advait Childers 5/24/15 8:10 AM
Really struggling here...
Answer
4/30/15 8:43 AM
Hi there. I've been meditating on/off for about 7 years now. Mostly I was doing really basic zazen or mindfullness for 10-20 mins here and there. Never built too much consistency until last summer after i got the Insight Timer app (after reading 10% happier). That has helped enormously because i like following numbers and stats, they seem to motivate me. There have been times when i "quit" and remove the app but for one reason or another, i always get back on the horse. 

It seems the worse my life gets, and the less i get pleasure from everything, the more hope i have that this meditation thing will work and liberate me somehow. Like Leonard Cohen said, you gotta suffer greatly to even be interested in this stuff. That certainly applies to me.

I guess i still have the hope that meditation and buddhism can help but these dark days hit me harder and harder and i'm afraid what will happen when there is no more hope left. Perhaps removing all this baggage and these layers is a way to prepare myself for the focus that is necessary to truly pursue this path diligently. It is certainly not for the faint of heart. 

About a month ago just as i started reading MCTB which i found through a reddit discussion, i met a vipassana teacher and since then have started practising vipassana (for the first time). It was a very strange occurence of events especially considering that my teacher knew the book and even guessed that i'm reading it after i told him my story and that i am reading this crazy book. 

I decided to quit my current life. Sell all my stuff and move to thailand. Already have my tickets. I live in northern europe (cold climate) and my social life is dead. I can't function in this society anymore. I've struggled with depression ever since i can remember. Been to many therapists and doctors and tried all kinds of pills, potions, meds, drugs, yoga, zen, self help programs, you name it. Been diagnosed with bipolar, depression, BPD, NPD, OCD, etc. But at some point i stopped believing any of that crap and stopped following any instructions from doctors and last autumn i quit therapy, quit drinking, quit smoking and even became a vegan. I seem to be obsessed with quitting things. I just want to do the right thing. Live right. Minimize harm caused to others and mysef. 

But the last few days have been worse than ever before. There's only so many tv shows to kill time with. Or movies to watch about human dramas. I'm a musician and i cancelled all my shows. I'm trying to feed my mind more positive things. Just feel so god damned alone. Like nobody understands me. Like no matter what i do or how i live, these dark feelings take over. The worst thing is that these moods are temporary. And by the time i do find some answers or get help, i'm already in a different mood. It really sucks. I might read this later tonight and feel inspired and wonder what the hell is wrong with me for thinking such dark thoughts. And suddenly become this wise man with all the answers, feeling good. This pattern persists... 2-3 days feeling awesome and then misery. Dukkha. 

I still have a girlfriend who i love very much (thank god) but i've disassociated myself from everyone else in my life including friends and family. I think they are living in zombieland and its a complete waste of time to even talk to them. I'm 32 and feel like a child because i'm essentially an anti-thesis of a model citizen. I even stopped paying my bills because i dont care what happens anymore if i dont. There are days where i hate everyone and want the universe to explode. Yet I know that this is the "war" i create in my own head and thus project to others. This is not the path of kindness. Without kindness, we're as good as dead.

I just thought i'd sign up here and get some feedback from fellow practioners as well (i've been scavenging the forums a lot but didnt' feel inclined to sign up until i had something to offer the community). 

I can't help but wonder if i'm beyond hope. Just a failed human being. Failed model. I mean, surely there's a point where even the laws of impermanence just dont apply anymore. You know, the point of no return. 

Yet here i am, writing on a forum full of strangers. 

Thoughts?

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
4/29/15 4:51 AM as a reply to Markus.
Well thanks Gordo but  I haven't moved there yet. My flight leaves at the end of may. 

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
4/29/15 6:15 AM as a reply to Markus.
Hi Markus,

Sounds like you're having a pretty rough time! Hope it will get better soon! 

It sounds like you have already found a vipassana teacher that knows about the stages of insight, so this is a good first step. First to figure out whether you have crossed the so-called Arising and Passing away event or not. Do the descriptions in MCTB match any of your experiences? If so part of your current struggle is likely Dark Night related. However given your background of depressions and various diagnosis, figuring out what is Dark Night and what is basic psychological baggage can be quite tricky. Stopping medication and stopping seeing your therapists can be quite risky in this situation. Although on the one hand working with the working assumption that all of your current struggle is Dark Night related can be quite liberating and empowering (meaning you don't have to "fix" anything in your life, your life is fine, you simply need to finish this cycle), on the other hand it can be dangerous if it means you're neglecting other potential causes in your life (such as a pre-existing psychiatric conditions, etc). So I advice you to discuss this in detail with both your teacher and your therapists that you've seen in the past.

Also, as you can read in MCTB, going on a renunciation trip, moving to Asia, leaving everything behind, can be very tempting but beware that you don't burn too many bridges behind you. When you finish this path, you will want to have a life you can return to! I think it is quite possible with the right teacher and support to finish this path at home without renouncing everything and heading off to Asia, but if you have the finances and personal situation to do it, it might be worth a try. 

If you are going to Thailand I can recommend the 10-day retreat on Wat Kow Tahm (www.kowtahm.com), as it is lead by a young but very experienced western teacher, which might be easier to work with than some monks that barely speak english and don't understand your background in some remote monastery somewhere. 

Good luck and practice well!

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
4/29/15 6:16 AM as a reply to Markus.
Hey Markus,

I have the utmost respect for you and your decisions. From an outsiders perspective, you are clearly on the right track whether it feels like it to you or not. Seems like you are going through an intense spiritual awakening and taking the steps to heal yourself and see where this awakening leads.

Good luck!

Jake

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
4/29/15 6:22 AM as a reply to Markus.
Maybe there is certain definite number of things one needs to go through.

When you see something many times you get bored from it, but after a while you get interested again so you need to get "interested again" also certain number of times and if thats done something else triggers and you are again interested in that something etc.

aaa triggers bbb then bbb triggers ccc and ccc triggers aaa..

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
4/29/15 8:08 AM as a reply to Markus.
Hi Markus,
Your story pains me because I have been going through something resembling it since I was sixteen.  I have been blessed with a lot of support and structure and there may be ways in which these things have given me an advantage.  That being said, I have been in and out of school many, many times, never sure if I was going to graduate.  I have been very depressed and very manic countless times (and continue to be).

Here are the things that have worked for me:
-Taking the right meds (after experimenting for a really long time to find the right cocktail) while not drinking for long periods of time.
-Doing super-aggressive forms of psychotherapy such as EMDR and Internal Family Systems that force you to understand, on a non-dual, but psychoanalytic level, how your mind is actually protecting itself by being depressed (or showing other symptoms).
-Doing A LOT of grounding things (Chi-gong in the form of horse stance/twists/lower dan tien stirring, AYP energy work in the form of diaphragmatic breathing and keeping the mind in the 3rd chakra).
-Doing A LOT of vipassana, with the help of a teacher.
-Doing A LOT of prayer/positive visualization/magick-intentionality in the direction of perfect health and well-being.

Finally, I have found that in particularly bad times the goal for me was to "wade through the water" or just "tread water", meaning, you only have so much control.  Think stability.  Think becoming like a mountain, building a mountain within yourself, one day at a time.  Every thing you do that is grounding, balancing, harmonizing is money in the bank.

With Metta,
Noah

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
4/29/15 8:56 AM as a reply to Markus.
Hi Mark, 

Further to the understanding already expressed here, I hope you keep trying. Not for me, but because, to me, it is like your mind is already doing a form of intensifying noting: rejection, rejection, rejection, mood change, rejection, rejection, rejection-- meaning, the mind is just perceiving everything in an aversive and negative way. And yet your mind is forwarding fundamentally wholesome/skillful action in this (ending drinking, ending smoking, care for who/what you eat, gratitude for your girlrfriend, awareness of your retreat from social and societal conditions at the moment...).

I may not be right, but I speculate that things could get more intensely rejecting when you travel at the end of May. The mind will have new experiences to witness and be strongly aversive, too.

So if you can make an intention now to get to your retreat center  as soon as possible and just sit with mind; walk when needed (do not harm your body... after several days sitting will become natural). 

I think you will have no problem with the not eating after noon rules. When we feel this aversive, we often don't want to eat, just eliminate. I often think that Siddhartha Gautama Buddha must have been also going through a very painful mindstate before his mahaniddana awakening... because he was rejecting food completely and willingly at that point. We could construe that event any way we want, but I leave room for the possiblity that he was strongly averse and in do-or-die try mode, willing to starve if there was no reliable answer to his suffering.

Even if you are perfect on retreat, difficult things can happen. People may speak of you tauntingly, make disturbing eye contact, make rumors, snicker. Ridiculous things. Do not expect monastic practitioners to be different than lay pracitioners: Do not be provoked; know that like you cited with Leonard Cohen: "You gotta suffer greatly to even be interested in this stuff." So your comrades there are there due to some suffering, even if their families obliged them to be there for tradition.

Respond to all provokation and aggitation with sitting meditation. Hear any yells in your mind, look at that provocation there. And if you do yell out loud, it's okay: Compassion for all beings who are suffering so much they yell and lash out loud.

And then no matter*: Please try to sit again, kindly and compassionately with your animal, like you are caring for an animal who is a mess of bones and no fur --- they need very silent, gentle care for weeks before they rebound with weight and light in their eyes, then springy joy.

If one retreat place is truly intolerable, find a quieter one. Good teachers will become noticeable in some time if not right away.  

Also, do pack some things for diarrhea and malaria: After several days I think your mind may settle down and be open to some practical help/support. You are worth the care completely, like any living being.

Markus, best wishes.

_______________
*edit:  Also "doubt" is a huge deterrant in meditation, both an intense impulse and sometimes a sustained drain, the thought and intensely restless feeling, "What am I doing here??? Even the squirrels are wiser than this!"

But if you are safe and able to sit with own mind, just respect doubting mind, even speaking to it: "Thank you. I see your point; it's a good point. Yet we are safe and we are still sitting this week(s). This is the project for a while."

Sometimes there is a huge fatigue, a thought, "Just quit." This is useful to sit in. If you feel "quit" mind, "I give up", be with that wherever you are for as many days as needed. Take in some food and water, but then be with that.

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
4/29/15 8:46 AM as a reply to Markus.
Markus:
Hi there. I've been meditating on/off for about 7 years now. Mostly I was doing really basic zazen or mindfullness for 10-20 mins here and there. Never built too much consistency until last summer after i got the Insight Timer app (after reading 10% happier). That has helped enormously because i like following numbers and stats, they seem to motivate me. There have been times when i "quit" and remove the app but for one reason or another, i always get back on the horse. 

It seems the worse my life gets, and the less i get pleasure from everything, the more hope i have that this meditation thing will work and liberate me somehow. Like Leonard Cohen said, you gotta suffer greatly to even be interested in this stuff. That certainly applies to me.

I guess i still have the hope that meditation and buddhims can help but these dark days hit me harder and harder and i'm afraid what will happen when there is no more hope left. Perhaps removing all this baggage and these layers is a way to prepare myself for the focus that is necessary to truly pursue this path diligently. It is certainly not for the faint of heart. 

About a month ago just as i started reading MCTB which i found through a reddit discussion, i met a vipassana teacher and since then have started practising vipassana (for the first time). It was a very strange occurence of events especially considering that my teacher knew the book and even guessed that i'm reading it after i told him my story and that i am reading this crazy book. 

I decided to quit my current life. Sell all my stuff and move to thailand. Already have my tickets. I live in northern europe (cold climate) and my social life is dead. I can't function in this society anymore. I've struggled with depression ever since i can remember. Been to many therapists and doctors and tried all kinds of pills, potions, meds, drugs, yoga, zen, self help programs, you name it. Been diagnosed with bipolar, depression, BPD, NPD, OCD, etc. But at some point i stopped believing any of that crap and stopped following any instructions from doctors and last autumn i quit therapy, quit drinking, quit smoking and even became a vegan. I seem to be obsessed with quitting things. I just want to do the right thing. Live right. Minimize harm caused to others and mysef. 

But the last few days have been worse than ever before. There's only so many tv shows to kill time with. Or movies to watch about human dramas. I'm a musician and i cancelled all my shows. I'm trying to feed my mind more positive things. Just feel so god damned alone. Like nobody understands me. Like no matter what i do or how i live, these dark feelings take over. The worst thing is that these moods are temporary. And by the time i do find some answers or get help, i'm already in a different mood. It really sucks. I might read this later tonight and feel inspired and wonder what the hell is wrong with me for thinking such dark thoughts. And suddenly become this wise man with all the answers, feeling good. This pattern persists... 2-3 days feeling awesome and then misery. Dukkha. 

I still have a girlfriend who i love very much (thank god) but i've disassociated myself from everyone else in my life including friends and family. I think they are living in zombieland and its a complete waste of time to even talk to them. I'm 32 and feel like a child because i'm essentially an anti-thesis of a model citizen. I even stopped paying my bills because i dont care what happens anymore if i dont. There are days where i hate everyone and want the universe to explode. Yet I know that this is the "war" i create in my own head and thus project to others. This is not the path of kindness. Without kindness, we're as good as dead.

I just thought i'd sign up here and get some feedback from fellow practioners as well (i've been scavenging the forums a lot but didnt' feel inclined to sign up until i had something to offer the community). 

I can't help but wonder if i'm beyond hope. Just a failed human being. Failed model. I mean, surely there's a point where even the laws of impermanence just dont apply anymore. You know, the point of no return. 

Yet here i am, writing on a forum full of strangers. 

Thoughts?

I think you are partially on the right track, but still making some mistakes that won't help. Paying your bills and keeping responsibilities can actually reduce your stress because you have less things to worry about.

I think Right Effort (which isn't an excess striving) is what helped me when my practice wasn't going so well. In fact without Right Effort I don't think any practice will do well because the mindfulness is not consistent enough.

Right Effort:

1. Let go of unskillfulness.
2. Prevent unskillfulness from arising.
3. Cultivate skillfulness.
4. Sustain skillfulness.

One of the quick ways to understand impermanence in your meditation practice (you're going to need to learn this sooner or later) is what you said above about changing moods. If you don't wrestle with the old mental patterns and just let them fall away (because you are not adding any more stories) you get a better relief than with trying to stop things. Again harshness is not what is prescribed. Look at the 4 foundations and try to note moods and just get to know how they feel but get to know HOW it feels when they drop off naturally.

This helps to disidentify internal monologues, stories, thoughts from being a self but having the same nature of the 3 characteristics as everything else. The goal is to decondition ruminating. Ruminating is the only problem. Everything else (including emotions and negative ones as well) are not a problem.

Learn concentration practices as a tool. When you are really upset they often work better than mindfulness. The 8 fold path may seem like a boring list but there are many tools in there that stabalize your concentration which aids in clarity for insight. Metta practices (Brahmaviharas especially) are good practices that can condition a well-wishing which banishes a lot of thoughts about enemies which can live in your mind rent free. "What you resist persists". As long as you are letting go of rumination you are on the right track.

Of course eat well and exercise which benefits your energy levels.

Be your own psychologist. Study schemas and you'll see that they are just old beliefs that repeated so many times they are very wired together in the brain. By not ruminating on those schemas the wiring naturally deconditions (like a forgetting) and the conditionings you are developing elsewhere take the place. It can be slow but you should notice some improvements after a few months of good practice and I don't need to tell you that after 5 years it'll be a lot better.

Visualization has come up in Il Matto's post and it can work but I would understand that visualization conditions, so be careful what you visualize so that it is what you want to condition for yourself. It can also be a powerful practice because if you are busy conditioning something else the old conditionings can start going into atrophy from a lack of use.

Good luck!

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
4/29/15 5:30 PM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
@Katy- Wow katy, this left me speechless.  Where were you during my darkest of nights?

@Richard- I cannot second 'be your own psychologist' enough.  The only way formal talk therapy ever works is after one has an embodied understanding, which is the same thing anyone (smart enough and motivated enought to be posting on here) can create for themselves.

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
4/30/15 6:12 AM as a reply to Markus.
Thanks for all the comments everyone. Really helpful stuff. Lots to chew on! I feel wiser. Also in higher spirits today. Met with my teacher (Ron Crouch) and he gave me a lot of helpful instructions also. He's an exceptionally great teacher. 

In case you're interested, my marching orders for now are the following:
  • read Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond by Ajahn Brahm
  • constant self-monitoring of thoughts and asking myself "is this wholesome or unwholesome" (ie. mindfullness)
  • focus more on concentration for now and cutback on the insight (until a more happier state is reached)
  • goal: happiness (and then go for deeper insight practise when in a more conducive state)
So i decided i will start doing 60min concentration meditation every morning instead of combining everything. And in the evening do a little insight + meta (loving kindness). I would also like to start integrating some yoga practises into my day. If anyone has any suggestions, let me know. I know there's been some talk of AYP over here which i am a little familiar with. And of course implementing all the wisdom you have given me on this thread. Again, i'm grateful for all the help. Isn't it cool that we have the possibility for such a domain to even exist? 

I will update my progress here so its all in one place. 

Feel free to discuss or comment further. I would also like to reply to some of the individual posts made but now i'm hungry. Just thought i'd check in. 

Time to eat some pancakes!

in friendship, 
markus

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
4/30/15 8:44 AM as a reply to Markus.
Never forget that it's the amount of time that you spend on practices that will make the biggest difference. Any periods with rough patches that you are practicing through really help the brain. They aren't failures like some people think. The emotions don't have to be eliminated, just the length and unskillfulness of the emotions.

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/8/15 2:52 PM as a reply to Markus.
How do you think some of the sages of India, for example, would be diagnosed if they submitted themselves to a psychiatric evaluation? And what about the shamans all over the world? Schizophrenia would be my guess for the shamans at least...

You wrote something about suffering... In my view it is necessary up until we realize there is something else than the unfulfilling dreamworld that we have been taken to be real. Whenever we fall into old patterns and beliefs (dreaming) the suffering is necessary to break the trance. Unless there is a wise person/guru we deeply trust who can point out that we've fallen under that is. Trust is the most important thing btw. Whatever we trust in. We can trust the suffering too. We can start seeing that suffering is life, or our own heart, showing us that we've abandoned our integrity and sincerity. We can be grateful for apparent adversity etc., it can keep us humble, and humility is what opens us up for the beauty of truth, or the heart, awareness or whatever you want to call it... But suffering is not necessary beyond a certain point. And a specific attitude is what defines whether we suffer or not. You might suffer a certain (perceived-) situation, and someone else does not because of a different attitude and trust. The seeking and striving ends in the realization that it all is and was about Love. And since love (freedom, peace, happiness, compassion for the self that is the love/goodness that is all the perceived things as one self beyond the separate self) is our actual self, it's the attitude that counts in all this. Shine out, don't try to suck in (happines, love or whatever you're seemingly after). The more you shine, by actions and by seeing things with care and compassion, the more the love is felt. Your nature is to flow out (in situations etc.) not to try to get something, anything, for yourself. When you try to be happy or try to get something for yourself you're actually denying your truth, your real nature. Not to say that the body doesn't need food, money and relative comfort in this world though.

edit:

Oh yeah, forgot to say that reading Rumi somehow awoke this living and dancing knowing in me. I didn't understand half of the poems I read but I kept reading anyway and somehow I (I is just a concession for the apparent separate self who is reading this) became aware of the tenderness in the chest which radiates as everything. Beyond beautiful... Along with the practices you do you might want to engage in the passion -part which doesn't have to do with rational inquiry. All this doesn't end up being rational at all you know. Total abandonment and leaving the separate self behind has nothing to do with rationality whatsoever. And the "selfless self" or the "real self", awareness, cannot really be abandoned. It is there even with the abandonment and the darkest of moments, having no problem even with those things.

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/8/15 2:59 PM as a reply to Robert.
Hi Robert. I just read your message after going through the most hellish 1hour meditation i've experienced. Its really difficult to understand what you are talking about at least when i'm in my current state of mind. Rumi, love, suffering, freedom, total abandonment, reality, etc, etc. These words mean nothing to me when my mind is complete chaos. It amazes me that i am even able to write these words. It also amazes me that people seem to describe this world beyond language and the senses (ie. spirituality) yet to comprehend this stuff they use those very things. Its like we cannot avoid reductionism or sensual experience whatever the thing is. Was buddha just full of shit? Perhaps the awakened one was just a way to describe something that is self-evident and trivial. Perhaps we should really be focusing on things like world poverty, nuclear weapons, violence and ending this disaster of a species known as humanity. Permanent extinction. Mass suicide. The final ritual. Maybe thats what Buddha was talking about.  

The last week has gone quite smoothly after i wrote last. I have been implementing the instructions from Ajan Brahm's book "Minfullness, Bliss & Beyond" and I've been working on stage 4 (following the whole breath). I've been doing this for an hour each day. No insight or metta, just haven't done those at all. The hour feels like enough for me. But then again, i dont know how long i'm supposed to be doing this. There's no clear instruction on this anywhere. In fact, the instructions regarding this whole endeavour are quite terrible as far as i can tell. I'm starting to be skeptical that anybody really knows what they are talking about. Asking myself why i even bother. With anything, for that matter. 

I've also been trying to keep my gatekeepers attentive and mostly they've been doing a good job. Until today. An intruder got in. And its wreaking havoc in my head. There's a great battle raging on. 

I'm confused about everything. I dont know who i am anymore. I type these words but its as if its not me typing. Just some unknown force doing it on my behalf. I'm 32 and i have nothing to do all day but sit around playing online chess, reading my kindle, and waiting for my plane to leave to thailand on the 25th of this month. And sleep and eat and shit. I dont drink or do drugs or eat animal products. I try to keep my sexual drives under control but this is an area i haven't quite mastered yet (porn, masturbation, orgasm, etc). Working on it. I dont have a job. I quit my previous career as a musician and have no idea what i'm supposed to do next. I workout throughout the week doing bodyweight stuff and running and some light stretching/yoga. It's funny how motivated and pumped up for working out i can be but then the next day i have no interest or energy to do it whatsoever and just want to quit everything. 

Watching Breaking Bad seems to be the only thing that makes sense these days (third time seeing it) but i'm only watching the episodes this time around with my girlfriend and it kinda drives me crazy that i cant just binge on it like i would if i was watching it solo. I still love my girlfriend and will be travelling with her but she's mostly at work and when she's not, i seem to feel much better. Luckily i've saved some cash for our travels. And i dont plan to come back to wherever it is i'm from (finland, estonia, etc). When we do have problems its mostly because i'm acting like a stubborn child who wants attention and who wants to be a billionaire druglord and kill everyone who doesnt obey me. 

Today's meditation was very difficult. The first 30 minutes i sat in my chair with eyes closed and tried to follow the breath but the thought stream was overwhelming and i couldnt help but want it all to just end. My phone has an interval bell halfway through my 1hour meditation and i thought that i will try some noting to hopefully help me get through this session. That was a disaster also so i got out of my chair and lied down in the dark room. Tried to note, tried to follow breath but the thoughts were relentless and telling me things i dont want to even hear. Nothing seemed to be working. 

So then i got up and paced around the room like a lion in a cage. I checked the time repeatedly on my phone (which i normally dont allow myself to do). Stared out the window. Walked to the kitchen. Refusing to give up. Sat back in the chair. 6 more minutes. Counted my breathing. Looked at the clock again. Pure hell. Thought about how i want to delete myself online and everywhere. Few more minutes left. Why is this suddenly so difficult i asked myself. I insisted that i get through the hour no matter what, who cares how i do it. And i did. 

The thing is, i feel like nobody understands my depression (if that is even the right word, it seems something much darker and worse) when it really strikes. It is a state beyond comprehension. Beyond words or senses or even enlightenment. This is the prison i live in. And no matter how much i practise this stuff or tell myself i'm happy, eat healthy, practise veganism/kindness/nonharm, read and educate myself and study the teachings of wise men like buddha or laugh and play and take care of myself, etc, etc,  it comes from nowhere and strikes me down. It becomes me. It's frightening. It makes me want to not live anymore. It makes me see everything as one big blur where nothing is even there anymore. Its like i am already dead. And the universe is already in a blackhole. 

So thats the condition i write from now. These words are straight from the blackhole that is my current existence. This is as honest as i am able to convey this state. 

In this state i am unable to even eat because no food is appealing and cooking feels like a process that is way too complex. And drinking water feels like climbing mount everest. I just do what i have to. Usually this lasts for 1-2 days. Right now i feel strangely joyous in this miserable state... it's like i am home. And more real than reality. 

If you haven't been in this kind of state, i doubt you really know what i'm talking about. I dont care what your qualifications are. That's a big problem because all the doctors and teachers and gurus and authors and experts and masters cannot do a god damned thing for me. Nor do they understand. Its all just words and theory. Like a dog barking. 

All i can do is just live and breathe and wait it out. I know the storm will pass but i also secretly hope that it doesn't and things get even worse so i can get more motivation to destroy myself completely. Once and for all. Then again, i still care. Otherwise i wouldnt be sitting here writing this. I have hope. I care about feeling better. Desire. Dukkha. Thats what keeps us alive. 

Thats all i got for now. 

I'll report back again when i feel like the words are dying to get out as they are now.

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/8/15 2:48 PM as a reply to Markus.
For some reason this doc came to mind. Why not check it out. It's really helpful in showing us how that Love/TheWay expresses in everyday life. Go beyond the ideas about how life should or shouldn't be. Leave your ideas about life in general and just feel this. That's all.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tLB1lU-H0M

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/8/15 4:10 PM as a reply to Markus.
I wrote that doc recommendation reply before seeing your last reply. Wasn't probably the most appropriate reply from me regarding the last post.

I do know what you're writing about. Racing thoughts way beyond the norm, self hate, suicidal thoughts, self blame, victimhood, total irritability all at once. I don't know if there is anything one can do when that shitstorm is on. Just to wait it out like you say. But there is a reason why that stuff occurs; It's like the mind/ego is somehow sensing that it is losing its grip and it needs to use all its energy to divert the attention. It needs to keep up the activity and reactivity, otherwise its game is up. So that is actually an indicator that what you are doing is making a difference, otherwise the mind would not be reacting like that. But understand that it gets its fuel from your reactivity to it. You assign meaning to that thing and that is what keeps it going. When you stop drawing any further conclusions about that whole thing it starts to die down in time. You can't prevent it from happening but you can refrain from assigning any negative meaning to it or drawing any fixed conclusions about it.

That thing happening means nothing. And it is actually pretty common, believe it or not. And its power will start to decrease when you let it be when it's on (it also doesn't have a power over you apart from distraction). It's unpleasant for sure but it is nothing to worry about. You don't have to figure it out, it can't be figured out. It wants to be figured out, a habit which only keeps it going. There's no need to give it what it seems to be demanding (attention).

It won't cease right away. It has formed in time so it also takes time for it to fade. It's good to understand this too.

edit:

Quote: "Tried to note, tried to follow breath but the thoughts were relentless and telling me things i dont want to even hear."

The thoughts aren't the problem no matter how offensive or taboo. We can't do much about that anyway. The real illusion is that (which I put in bolds) which arises right after the initial thoughts, saying/feeling that they should not arise. That's where the identity is. Just start noticing whenever that arises. It's the secondary response. The "gate keeper", the one who tries to be aware and keeps track of the progress etc.

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/8/15 8:58 PM as a reply to Robert.
Hi Markus, and all

Markus, try listening to some buddhist basics for westerners;
Try Robina Courtin .. listen carefully to her, and read a bit about her, you might find yourself in what she says. She speaks ahell of fast emoticon

Start with this one, she might explain a bit what "the Buddha" was saying or not saying , just enough 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nasIq4E9nNg

and then maybe this one after
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h99rLc7j9Io

and then some more, try one of her numerous complete full week retreat video series around the world, mostly in the US and Australia

Best wishes

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/9/15 2:59 AM as a reply to SeTyR ZeN.
I looked into her and read her bio. Its hard to relate to her story since she is a woman and i never really got the whole monk/nun thing. How can people who escaped the real world offer us any advice and understand what its like to have to make money and pretend to give a fuck about people and so called family and so called friends (who are these people anyway who have no IDEA who i am or want to be) and do everyday things + the immense psychological stresses that come with that. The same can be said for most of the buddhist teachings. The practical value of it all is starting to seem very miniscule. Especially when i consider the results thus far. This leads me to think that everyone who claims otherwise is just deluded. 

Why can't we just approach this from a rational point of view and rebuild a new form of spirituality. 

I think all these maps and traditions and lineages, etc, etc are useless. People like Kornfield and Dalai Lama are just blabbering away about human obsessed new age fluff talk without a willingness to practise practical truth and kindness on a holistic level. What about the billion people starving and the BILLIONS of animals dying just so we can all sit out in meditation on x path and study how to find our belly buttons. I say disrobe mr. Dalai Lama if you want to be taken seriously. Forget about tibet, nobody cares. Europeans took over america just like china took over tibet. Welcome to modernity where science, reason and democrasy are trying to give a new kind of environment where people are actually allowed to think freely. Until you are wearing your robe and playing dictator, your "art of happiness" means shit. 

I feel quite discouraged with this whole thing after spending the whole morning reading through threads on this forum. 

Perhaps this just isn't the path for me. I prefer reason. Science. Whatever that means. 

Buddhism = chronically self-obsessed? What the hell could someone living thousands years ago understand about modern life? 

Radical kindness. 

Now there's a concept for you all to digest. 

What about putting that into practise? 

It begins on our plates. In how we treat animals. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHfVajDbyJk&spfreload=10

I think you are all hypocrites. 

WHEN WILL YOU PUT YOUR WISDOM INTO PRACTISE?

I'm all ears. 

If you are feeling comfortable and happy, you are deluded. Good luck with your "maps of enlightenment". 

How am i feeling? 
Angry. 

But my anger and failures as a human being are irrelevant once we open our eyes and ears to the real holocaust thats going on out there. Its everywhere. All restaurants and dinner tables support it who eat animals. Stop kidding yourselves.

Please, just stop. 

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/9/15 5:15 AM as a reply to Markus.
Markus:

Why can't we just approach this from a rational point of view
You should ask that of yourself. Give a good look at yourself before blaming the outside world.

You're doing that shit to yourself if anyone, not others. Snap out of the hypocritical victim role, including the animal thing. Talk to someone face to face (even a therapist) but it's you who needs to start listening, not them.

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/9/15 5:35 AM as a reply to Robert.
You're calling me a hypocrite?

Hmmm...

Lets think about that for a second. 

I believe in kindness and love and compassion. I practise it. Not just talk about it or quote the sayings of some guy thousands of years ago. I practise it when nobody is looking. 

You pretend to give a shit and proclaim to understand the buddha's teachings and preach about Rumi and love and other nonsense. Yet you don't even practise it. You come here and link me to some stupid videos and claim to know something that i'm missing. 

And i'm the hypocrite. Right. 

“In their behavior toward creatures, all men are Nazis. Human beings see oppression vividly when they're the victims. Otherwise they victimize blindly and without a thought.”
- Isaac Bashevis Singer

This buddhism thing is fucking joke. 

I mean, i respect some of the teachings but you guys are all a bunch of navel gazers who dont really believe in anything but your selves. I'm finally starting to see that clearly. 

I live because I care. I believe that we don't have a right to intrude on other creature's well being and their interests. I support a new kind of living where we are actually in harmony with the circle of life. 

What do you believe and value? 

Nonsense. Nihilism. Death and destruction and violence and rape. 

Do us all a favor and kill yourselves. 

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/9/15 5:36 AM as a reply to Markus.
Pawel, I have no idea what you're blabbering on about. Please come back when you learn some english and how to structure a sentence. Start here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMlDHQ5hAGk

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/9/15 7:50 AM as a reply to Markus.
I'm glad I have the freedom to not engage in a blind, fruitless argument. Btw. I didn't call you a hypocrite, read it again. You're calling yourself that (by assuming that you were called a hypocrite and being affected by the thought). That's what I mean by listening. Being open and not projecting our stuff out onto other people and situations.

But it's your life mate. You're the one who suffers that world of opinions, not me. So act how you want, just know that there are consequences to every little thing. This is just a simple fact.

And I'd go to the therapist/psychiatrist if I were you. That's probably some childhood trauma that is causing this pattern. And it needs to be seen through before any further progress can take place.

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/9/15 9:17 AM as a reply to Markus.
Hi Markus:
Its like we cannot avoid reductionism or sensual experience whatever the thing is. Was buddha just full of shit?

I would like to put in quotes all of what you wrote, but I picked that sentence for brevity. In all of what you wrote, you're actually seeing things as they are-- and with a lot of anger, aversion, rejection, dissappointment, fear--- the "not-want" side of the "want" coin.

In Buddhist speak, you have written a lot about the "not this" side of desires and acknowledged the desire to be able to control all of it.


I think these are the fundamental, painful, frustrating, maddening insights to see in the rip tide of dark night. What your retreat in Thailand would be, in my opinion, is just sitting with this. It is hard.

As you said, some spiritual leaders seem to be full of shit and comprised of airy new age fluff that is not saving millions of suffering beings. The fact that we are able to log on and express ourselves here attests to a massive luxury when compared to countless numbers of sentient beings who are suffering and attendant to their loved one's sufferings. I speak of human and non-human sentients. Countless.

So knowing this is like an explosive "hate this!"

There is a story of the Compassion God saving all beings, pulling them from samsara (the cosmos of living, trying-to-survive/will-to-surive, dying) to the further shore of peace-- all of the beings there-- then turning back to see another entirety of beings sufferings again all the horrors you mention above. Her head explodes from it. Then he/r head regenerates and s/he goes back to save this lot. So it continues.

So if you can save all sentient beings, great. 

But it's not likely.

Why meditate and watch the entirely angry shit-brain your having?

Because anger has limited use in helping others: it can be a personal motivator, but if it doesn't covert to compassion, then you-- like many champions of "Eutopias" created vulgar "Dystopias".

Anger is most often a gratified outburst, a last "take this!" to the relative impotence one perceives onself in the Dark Night of the Soul. Think of anger as greed, because its gratification often (but not always) is.


Hence, the "middle way" which looks like the weakest, lamest answer when there is epic dark night, truly seeing the vulgarity living beings with some intelligence can put themselves and others into-- myself and yourself included. 



But at the end of the day, you are also one such living being: to kill oneself or another, is deep frustration, rejection, anger and impatience-- to the extreme. A lame "take that!" like a spoiled child empowered.


To bust through this and know, "Oh, I can change some of this absolute shittiness by just my actions, and my actions must first care for me, an equally arisen member of this fucking system, a product of this very churning system so apparently fully of shit and pain and willful cruelty and self-promotion/survival-- I must care about this emotionally crushed being too." 


Looking out from your view of the shit storm inside and obviously in conditions outside of your mind, you do have the sound basis for seeing the conditions in which all beings arise and act. 

It's work, but what you have are the ideal ingredients for compassion, understanding and acting truly peacefully, which is not quitting nor violent, just moderately knowing who you're arisen, how you'll pass away and what creativity you can do/act as a skillful twin arising with the madness, self-training in deflating the terms of one's very arising: greed, hatred and ignorance. You're not at all ignorant.


Sit well; bhavana.


Karuna (with compassion and thanks for your comminications here which are clearly seeing, if still naturally biased and naturally hurt and flailing, naturally hating conditions, naturally feeling a rage of impotence in conditions-- an ignorance, frankly, but not stupid, and the very honest, clearly seen basis for the practice),
k

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/9/15 1:44 PM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
Katy, I think there is a lot of wisdom in what you are saying and it's really striking deep. I've calmed down somewhat from my earlier outburst. I know this storm too will pass like they always do. But i still agree with most of what i wrote and although i don't quite have it together yet, I hope some readers will find some truth in my mad ramblings also. The truth is, i am deeply concerned for my fellow creatures and when someone questions that, it can really set me off... especially when i'm already in an angry state. Veganism is what led me to this path and motivated me to do something about feeling this deep "caring". 

Apologies if i stepped on some toes. 

I would like to get to the heart of the buddha's teachings and go to the original source. This means the discourses but also perhaps find some living masters when i move to southeast asia in a few weeks. Find some retreats. I want to get rid of all these "methods" and other people's interpretations, maps, etc. They don't seem to speak to me too much. 

I think the most important thing on this path is to practise meditation/mindfullness as much as we can. But it is equally important to put into practise the insight we gain from this and teach others through acts of kindness and compassion. It still amazes me how little concern most people into buddhism, spirituality have for others. I mean they will talk about it and write books about it.. but when it comes to giving up the steak and cheese, they are not even willing to really understand what this is doing to themselves or others. Not to mention the enivornment. 

Buddhism (awakening) and veganism (radical kindness) are inseparable. 

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/9/15 1:51 PM as a reply to Robert.
And I'd go to the therapist/psychiatrist if I were you. That's probably some childhood trauma that is causing this pattern. And it needs to be seen through before any further progress can take place.
I've seen plenty of therapists and most of them just want to put me in a box and encourage my self-obsession while getting paid. Waste of time. And money. I can go in there and babble away for centuries and it does nothing but inflate my ego. I think western psychology and therapy have nothing to offer me. The whole premise is flawed (paying for a listening ear). And all the stuff that is applicable i think comes from buddhism. 

I prefer to stick to philosophy, science and the teachings of wise people. The closest i can get to the source texts, the better. 

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/9/15 2:17 PM as a reply to Markus.
Well there are things that Buddhism, for example, doesn't really deal with specifically or in a way that might be more conducive for certain body-minds. And you wouldn't go to a psychiatrist or a therapist for the absolute truth or enlightenment but it can be good for certain situations. To get the mind in a more clear and receiving place, a place/state where those persisting patterns could be met in a right way. To get the mind in a place where meditation and concentration actually starts to have effect.

I've been to 2 different therapist in my life. The first guy didn't really listen and made stuff up so I quit after a couple of times. The second psychotherapist was respectful, knew how to listen and also had the ability to ask the right kinds of questions that I hadn't thought about. And because I was also listening (my motivation was to get more clear and more open and I also didn't want to hide, wanted to be truthful and sincere for myself) I could easily come up with the answers for myself. But I needed someone to ask the right question, someone who could observe my situation from a more detached place than what I was able to do at the time.

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/9/15 3:04 PM as a reply to Robert.
Robert, another reason therapy doesn't really work for me is that my moods can change so drastically. If I make an appointment now for x days later, i might be in a completely different state of mind so whatever therapeutic benefits there might otherwise be, they would be for that state instead of the another one. None of the diagnoses of western psychobabble seem to apply to me. I've tried that path, and i dont have any more money to waste on it. Unless you have some book suggestions or wish to elaborate further that might open my mind regarding this,

Also my meditation teacher Ron Crouch is a clinical psychologist by profession. 

I've also been emailing with Kenneth Locke recently and we are gonna skype soon. I know he struggled with depression, addiction, etc so will be interesting to get his views on all this. 

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/9/15 4:19 PM as a reply to Markus.
Apologies if i stepped on some toes. 
I think your posts express many feelings which are shared but often shunned/stuffed out. It is one reason I like this DhO forum:  World's getting pretty small here, so now's as good a time as any to get stuff off the chest in mere speech acts, like bloging here, because we live increasingly close together, impactfully and influentially. Wait till we all start farting quite close to each other.. guh. I will miss our mere language outbursts.

Your thoughts are essential and understandable. My goodness, water, food, wildlife, population growth-- it's plenty maddening. Waaaay better to vent and look for answers to the madness in such a forum and meditative practices (and actions, including how one does their job(s), no matter that job) than in wrecking the lives of others and own-self by becoming overwhelmed, impatient and despairing or dictatorial and violently controlling.

I would like to get to the heart of the buddha's teachings and go to the original source.

Good luck.  I will just offer that "the original source" could be taking any of the trainings you study and investigating own mind and own actions and seeing for yourself, "Do I generate dukkha still? Do I host dukkha in difficult conditions or do I reduce dukkha even in difficult situations? Do have the subtle dukkha of conceit, a lonesome alienation? Am I free despite conditions and living life till it passes finally?" Wow, that's the extra tall soy latté, so to speak. 

Anyway, ridiculously tall order, but if you see conditions as you do right now, then there are two directions to go: a) quitting in myriad ways and b) re-efforting and re-investigating and supporting own self in myriad ways, but hopefully as gently-kindly-'wellbeingly'-encouragingly-coachingly-effortfully as you would have all other born beings in the cosmos treated from their birth till their death and through their lives. And maybe you do a) and b) again and again, shaping actions and mind authentically in the circles.


Buddhism (awakening) and veganism (radical kindness) are inseparable. 
You could also say that buddhism and moderation and compassion are inseparable.

Say, if the buddhist ideal of nibbana came to pass today, there would be no more births whatsoever: not in the grasses, not in the birds, not among the giraffes, the worms, us, and so on... and this "blowing out" of volitional arising would be an occurence willed naturally in each sentient being-- each would just live out its life without creating more lives nor energies to perpetuate sentient energies. 

Would you agree that not everyone wants that ideal? Not even among devout buddhists. Maybe even you and I don't have conviction that this cessation "is blissful, peace, the stilling of all prepartions...". 

if you like buddhist teachings, then trust the dhammapada: hatred begets hatred. So, too, seeds give rise to their plants: force begets force, etc.

So there's wise compassion for what we are in the structure of life in our realm, our cosmos, this samsara, this arising and passing, the sentience-- recognizing the/our fundamental will/desire of life and well-being/satiation/pleasure bond with sentience, even if only in being existant-- if if that is our only pleasure-- the pleasure of existing.  Unless you really are at ease with nibbana for yourself --- no more coming into being, truely respecting the unarising and unpassing elemental movements of infinite cosmos (as understood in just one school of buddhist cosmology[2]), then who are you or I to judge the lives of others while we, too, are trying to assert the terms of our happines on external conditions, against cessation? [1] emoticon This is nuts, no? It's a funny place. Who really warms up to the idea of cessation fundamentally? One who is tired and sees things as they are, knows to try to develop their life at any point, despite any past, to be helpful, not harmful to self and others, but who sees things as they are and is tired of the arising and passing.


I don't intend to be lecturing. You are just at a very sincere place of, like, rock bottom, similar to the place of addicts who really want to be finished with their addiction. So I am telling you sincerely what I think. No harm, no foul, no blowhardism I hope is felt here.


Best of luck. No matter what happens please keep in mind monasteries accept all kinds every day among the lay and the monastics. There are some who come to the monasteries more or less "fit" than others, yet monasteries receive. So if there's a hell of a lot of stress there, a) that's normal just like outside of the monastery, b) it's a great place to recognize who has found a calm and skillfulness with self and others in even this [1]. I'm sure you get this. 

And sense of some harmless humor, laughing at myself helps. I have a "Mr. Bean" world view maybe, too. It helps.


Best wishes.
___________
[1] These two points with the "[1]" are related meaning, we might forego the judgement yet still take actions that are based in understanding, skill and compassion-- three deliberate cultivations-- just like in the beings you may find on your retreat in the monastery or in your life outside the monastery. So I'm not saying, "Hey, change/contribute/influence nothing. Be all passive.." I'm not saying nor intending that. I'm saying if radical kindness involves force, that, in kamma-speak, would perpetuate the coming into being of force against people wills, a world in which you would accept living and accepting it, being co-generator of that action. If we get philosophical and into logic, this could also be dispelled. So hunting for original source outside of own practice because becomes a sort of maize-prison, like trying to find Faustian completion and one true logic,,,

[2] Also, "don't know" is useful in all of this study at some point.  Some friends have become devout skillful theists and skillful actualists. skillful in their families and work in our conditions and in this-- to meet anyone anyhow developing skill and compassion, a light mood!, in these samaric conditions (conditions of living-arising, and passing-away and all that happens between, particularly in clinging to the arising-the living, the sentience)-- well, there's surpise, utility and creativity in not knowing, not presuming any "answer" is the originial, like the "sun" is not the "sun" everywhere all the time to all beings from every angle. So a teaching provides a learning moment, part of opening a very big learning-understanding.

Edits 3&4: typos (but not correcting all of them; moderation!

blah blah blah ;]

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/9/15 4:16 PM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
Katy, i find your posts here fascinating. What is your story? 

I'm not as skilled in knowing the teachings as some of you or as experienced in meditation. But judging from your post and some of what i've understood, is the 'awakening' also a form of extinction? A little scary to think of it in those terms. And asking ourselves what is this path ultiimately? The cessation of what? And how far does it go in a hypothethical situation. 

So when i'm talking about extinction of humanity (because we're such a despicable species), i'm really talking about awakening?

This means that even getting through dukkha IS a form of suicide. Which means i'm further than i initially thought. 

And yes i suppose i generate dukkha and this needs to stop if i am to progress.

Its past midnight. Time to meditate. 

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/9/15 4:37 PM as a reply to Markus.
But judging from your post and some of what i've understood, is the 'awakening' also a form of extinction? A little scary to think of it in those terms. And asking ourselves what is this path ultiimately? The cessation of what? And how far does it go in a hypothethical situation. 

So when i'm talking about extinction of humanity (because we're such a despicable species), i'm really talking about awakening?

This means that even getting through dukkha IS a form of suicide. Which means i'm further than i initially thought. 

And yes i suppose i generate dukkha and this needs to stop if i am to progress.

Its past midnight. Time to meditate. 

Fantastic. What I love and am grateful for in meditation is that in the trainings I have learned the focus is on exactly what am I? What do I directly experience in me: body, mind, together? And learning to do this by giving the mind a calm-pleasantness training field (for me: anapanasati) and cultivating unreactivity/welcome to this. (Not easy/natural for me many times).  

Why is sitting observing the actions of one's own body and mind minute after minute, again and again, so daunting, so boring, so selfish, so useless-- all these things we might say sitting in observation of our own beings. 

I love how you answered this: to go sit with yourself now. So, me, too. Time to walk the dog, work, sit-- all of it this is this practice/study/peace/dukkha/study. Learning something new is uncomfortable/discouraging often times... at least for me.

Thank you very much, Markus. I am grateful you let it 'all' hang out here (probably held back some for civility's sake and I appreciate that if so) because that's where it starts: What am I doing/ thinking right now? See it without handing onto it-- justing "Oh, here I am restless!" Or here I am tired and bored and seriously doubting what the hell I gave up everything to do this for?" What is happening in the body now: tension, some hunger/sex/tv/Web cravings? What is this? What am I? What is skillful? What is nibbana, what is the end of dukkha, plain and simple the end of generating dukkha, no double meanings, no harm, no actual suicide? Thoughts, thoughts, thoughts! Am I studying the right study?! Again, what is happening here in this body and mind? "I will watch and learn and not assume, but try to sincerely thoroughly test ideas I think worthwhile from people I think are safe teachers, not conceited, not defensive, people who seem to show what's worth learning in their actions despite conditions hard and easy". Very hard work, but also a luxury outside of the obvious conducts of survival and reproduction. Teachers/learning does happen, pleasantly and unpleasantly. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Markus.



RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/9/15 7:07 PM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
katy steger:
 Wait till we all start farting quite close to each other.. 
And that is exactly what killed off the dinosaurs ...  emoticon

@ Markus  From my view you are not really expressing anger so much as Disgust, Disgust at the way things are, Disgust at how people behave and ruin Nature, Disgust at dishonesty, Disgust at hypocrites, Disgust at all the needless killing.  Disgust at even Disgust itself.

But, again, from my view, Disgust with all that is a good thing, it means you are not ignoring these things, you are awake and aware of these things.  Being awake and aware of these things you are disgusted with these things, again, just my outside view, I could be wrong.


But, you are not alone in this type of disgust.  Personally, what I have done, and have to do when it arises, is remember a few things.
First, The world is and operates the way it does.
Second, I have to accept that this is the way the World is and operates the way it does. 
Third, I do not have think that the way the world is and operates the way it does is acceptable.
Fourth, I can really only change my behavior, and even this can be quite a task.
Fifth, By changing my behavior towards wholesomeness, adds to wholesomeness in the World.
Sixth, What Wholesomeness I do add is very tiny, but it is all I can do.
Seventh, When I add Unwholesomeness to the World, I can only recoginize it, change it, and not blame, (self, world, or others)
Eight, There is enough Unwholesomeness in the World, and I have in my nature to fight for the Underdog, so I choose the side of Good.  Good as in what is wholesome and beneficial for all.
Ninth, Hypocrite check, I have to constantly investigate and redirect thoughts and behaviors by reviewing thoughts, speech and actions.
Tenth, Never surrender, Never.

Anyway, all storms blow over, all clouds eventually break apart, as you already know.

This is not a suggestion of what you should or should not do, it is simply a sampling of my inner mind and what I try to do when I get disgusted with the way the world is, which is, well , always, Hello!, it is all a big dirt ball of Dukkha.... It is so insanely absurd!!  Yet here we all are!!  emoticon

Psi

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/9/15 8:57 PM as a reply to Psi.
Pawel,
Few errors here and there and unusual way to write sentences. I can write far worse posts =)
Oooh, that's "my" turf! 

Psi: 
I really like Psi's delination. So, naturally, being all picky, for me I'd reiterate:
Ninth, Hypocrite check, I have to constantly investigate and redirect thoughts and behaviors by reviewing thoughts, speech and actions.
Fourth, I can really only change my behavior, and even this can be quite a task.
Fifth, By changing my behavior towards wholesomeness, adds to wholesomeness in the World
For someone like me, this doesn't happen overnight. But I look at the skills of, for example, neighbors with decades of experience in their domains, such people's helpfulness, and I know, "Okay, give it time and sincere best effort, plus modest patience, and I can probably effect skill, too." Nothing magic there. Iterative plodding and practice.

And I would probably fuss around with this word "surrender", Sr. Psi, because I think, yes, there is surrender of one's own inner dictator* that would like to see own-world happen and defy actual world/others' world order-- and one does do that by influencing the world in myriad ways (which we do whether we'd like to or not), but I do get that you intend by surrender that one doesn't have to parrot any conduct, one does not have to like conditions nor hate them; one can see what actions could diminish suffering for own and other sentients and contribute to that reduction and not against own life.  I mean, we sort of live in the ideal crowding times for seeing the effects we have on each other, our individual influence and impact, what we're each sowing. 

And part of this method is, ultimately, responsive and creative, more skillful with time and effort, aka. practice. 

All righty, back to work, me.
______
Editx1: typo 
Editx2: *(Asterix)And even the structure of 'dictator' can be useful in reducing violence/dukkha, a role not inherently abusive, no? A structure that arises and expresses volition, and that volition could be pretty supportive ("wholesome") or crushing or a mix. So if Markus you somehow fall into the role of next supreme overlord among sentient beings I hope your/my meditative inquiry stays candid like your posts and converts o compassion: Beings are trying to be happy and feel well and sometimes this pleasure is coming from an outright, possibly overlooked abuse of another being, but we can reduce that gradient and abuse. It is very hard: medical ethics and the emotion of life-saving treatments, for example, at the expense of objectified sentients used in experimentation. So it takes a fully compassionate mind with slow thinking to be helpful here. Such a field does not often have the fast gratifications of disgust and anger outbursts. 

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/10/15 12:46 AM as a reply to Markus.
Markus:
Robert, another reason therapy doesn't really work for me is that my moods can change so drastically. If I make an appointment now for x days later, i might be in a completely different state of mind so whatever therapeutic benefits there might otherwise be, they would be for that state instead of the another one. None of the diagnoses of western psychobabble seem to apply to me. I've tried that path, and i dont have any more money to waste on it. Unless you have some book suggestions or wish to elaborate further that might open my mind regarding this,

Also my meditation teacher Ron Crouch is a clinical psychologist by profession. 

I've also been emailing with Kenneth Locke recently and we are gonna skype soon. I know he struggled with depression, addiction, etc so will be interesting to get his views on all this. 

Those moods go together and they're all false more or less (dependent on conditions). So investigating one impacts the others. The moods have to do with what is being believed, specific thoughts. "This I like, this I don't like", "This can be here, this can not" etc. That is all learned conditioning. Think about it. Why do people feel gloomier in general when the weather is sunny vs. when it's raining. That resulting mood from either the sunshine or the rain is a conditioned response. And the weather doesn't create the response but the beliefs/thoughts about it. And it is insane... And more than 95 percent (probably) of the population lives this way more or less. But it doesn't help if we blame them, whenever we're blaming anything we're also just acting out conditioning. It all starts with myself and it ends with myself, doesn't mean that the environment and animals couldn't or shouldn't be helped but if we're creating enemies by taking sides and identifying with a cause it's not going to make much change and it's fundamentally the same mentality that we're starting to be tired of (a mentality which has been causing all the wars, greed, neglect etc.).

Here's one good method for working with one's mind (I've come to find out). And it's totally free. One can do it among other things, doesn't matter what religion or philosophical views you have. You'll just have to be willing to do it and keep doing it whenever opinions, beliefs and difficult moods arise. I'm not affiliated with this site in any way. I'll put the link since you seem to be asking for help. Anyway, you should be able to find the worksheet from clicking on from the main page. Watch a few youtube videos to get a general idea about the simple questioning method.

http://thework.com/

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/10/15 8:53 AM as a reply to Robert.
Robert, i am familiar with Byron Katie and I know her process. I dont really understand why its popular. Not that its not an effective system. But like all the cbt and other methods of western psych + new age, neo-advaita stuff, what does it offer more than just plain old mindfullness which is the core of what the buddha taught? And like most of these modern thinkers, i dont trust them at all. It's all just talk, talk, talk. Human centered nazism. 

It also bothers me immensely (and yes this is something i have to work with) how there are so many skillful practitioners who are able to express things clearly and appear to know what they are talking about yet when the ultimate litmus test comes (i'll mention it below), they fail to apply all this. This drives me nuts and makes me feel like i'm taking advice from a bunch of wise nazis. 

Litmus test = veganism. 

What do i mean by 'veganism' ? 

= To minimize the suffering we cause in this world and see ourselves beyond self, race, sex, species, etc. Recognize the interests of other species especially those who are oppressed. 

And instead of the "three trainings",  I woould say there is a 4th component to buddhism and all other "art of life" practises the world offers. In fact i would say there are 5.
 
1. Morality (theory)
2. Concentration (meditation 1)
3. Insight (meditation 2)
4. Metta (meditation 3)
5. Lifestyle (practise)

Usually 1 & 5 are combined but I dont thing that is no longer sufficient for the modern human. 

And although we can only change ourselves, our daily practise can influence others greatly. Think about the consequences of what you choose at the supermarket or the restaurant menu. I think our eating habits are essential because they involve so many choices and there are lots of invisible belief systems and dogmas attached to these. 

For example, we have a name for people who refrain from eating animals. Veganism. 

But what do we call people who EAT animals? Why is there not a name for that? Well actually there is now. It's called.carnism 

I know this may seem odd that i'm bringing all this up which you probably think is trivial. 

But maybe you are reading this for a reason. And its not just about you helping me but perhaps we all help each other. 

And nobody is asking you to change anything. Just make sure you dont let areas of your life remain unexamined. No stone left unturned. If someone says to me, yes they have looked into all of this and choose to continue to support cruelty and violence and still practise buddhism, i say they should get back to the basics and forget about any maps that lead to enlightenment. They are past the point of delusional. 

As true practioners of the teachings of buddha and especially as members of Dharma Overground, I think we all have a responsibility to at least put our cards on the table and reveal how one is to live in this world. Talk the talk AND walk the walk. If only to ourselves. And if there are attachments and addictions related to our habits, that is a calling for us to investigate these areas further and to make them the true teaching of our practise (like katy mentioned earlier in regards to my issues and desire to get to the original teachings). We are the original teachings. This is it.  

So think about that the next time you munch away on your grass fed burgers. (and i know some buddhists are vegans, but most are not). 

I said in the beginning of this thread that i will update my progress/journey on this thread and that's what i'm doing. So if someone has a problem with me discussing these things here, i would prefer you just move on instead of attacking me. All of this is part of the game for me. 

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/10/15 5:15 AM as a reply to Psi.
From my view you are not really expressing anger so much as Disgust, Disgust at the way things are, Disgust at how people behave and ruin Nature, Disgust at dishonesty, Disgust at hypocrites, Disgust at all the needless killing.  Disgust at even Disgust itself.

You're damn right I am. And for good reason. Just look around. It's beyond me to comprehend how anyone could or even should transcend that disgust. The question is what do we do with it. I have a lot of skill to develop here, that i admit. 

I say we use that disgust to change things.

We can bliss out all we want but that disgust has to remain. Otherwise nothing will ever change. And all this work is for nobody but our selves. And that is the king of illusions to think that there is any such thing (ie. 3 characteristics). 

That's why i dont really buy into the claims that anyone here (including Daniel, Kenneth, etc) has attained anything beyond dark night. Yes they might have gone through the maps, which are pretty much useless if you ask me. I dont doubt their own experiences, not saying that.

What i'm saying is, we are all in the dark night. Some are just more skillful than others at handling it. 

Until i see change in how daily life is practised (like Thich Nhat Hahn's vegan retreats), all this talk of enlightenment is just a bunch of nonsense. Eckhart Tolle, Adyashanti, and all those pseudo-spiritualists are no more enligthened than 8-year old children which is why i avoid them like the plague. 

As for buddha? Now that man was onto something. 

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/10/15 8:46 AM as a reply to Markus.
ANIMALS AND THE BUDDHA (documentary)
https://youtu.be/S0MWAAykFuc

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/10/15 7:24 AM as a reply to Markus.
Until i see change in how daily life is practised (...), all this talk of enlightenment is just a bunch of nonsense.
Agree (for me).
Eckhart Tolle, Adyashanti, and all those pseudo-spiritualists are no more enligthened than 8-year old children which is why i avoid them like the plague. 
And here's the hatred, for the work (maybe-- your call) of the buddhist practice to erode own greed and own hatred. Who are you?

_____________________________________
Edit: Your youtube link has link rot at the moment. 

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/10/15 9:02 AM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
Fixed the links. 
And here's the hatred, for the work (maybe-- your call) of the buddhist practice to erode own greed and own hatred.
But i dont hate anyone. What reason do you have to say that? 

I also dont believe that compassion kindness always must appear in the form of non-judgement, non-criticism and even non-anger. 

If anything we need those to jolt us out of our comas. 

We live in dire times! Talking about flowerpower and love and rumi isn't gonna get us anywhere. 

There's a time and place for anger and even violence if others are being oppressed. 

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/10/15 10:00 AM as a reply to Markus.
Do you want help or do you just want to keep trying to manipulate people? So far you're just spinning your stories about things that people might actually listen to if it came from a totally different state of being.

I'm out. Don't want to exhaust myself out here.

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/10/15 10:59 AM as a reply to Robert.
Robert, kudos on the antagonism. It seems you took my advice of "more anger" to heart. I'm not spinning anything or manipulating anyone. I cannot control how others take what i write. You're free to have your own opinion of course. I'm just writing on a internet forum as honestly as i can. Again, you are free to not appreciate that. I would rather you address what i actually wrote than HOW i did it. Different strokes for different folks, right?

In case you haven't realized yet, not every one meets your ideals of being exactly how you want so they can be helped according to you. You want me to say what i have to say from a "total different state of being" and also you claim to know what the "people" will listen to. It seems you have some cool powers. Do you see the hypocrisy in what you are saying here? 

Perhaps its you who needs the help. 

Just saying...

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/10/15 12:13 PM as a reply to Markus.
Well, you're taking insulting shot at people for no reason (re: your comments on Tolle, Adya, etc).

That's okay, but it's needless judgment and it seems ignorant of what they do, in my opinion.

If anything we need those to jolt us out of our comas. 

We live in dire times! Talking about flowerpower and love and rumi isn't gonna get us anywhere. 

Okay, so far I have not recommended to you "flowerpower and love and rumi" to you, so maybe you intend this for someone else.

Or  there may be a proxy target in your head (an umbrella character for "flowerpower, love, Tolle, Rumi) that fuels the pleasure/gratification of lash-out insult-rage. If there is pleasure in angry outbursts-- like the pleasure of superior self-regard (conceit, arrogance) then the mind will, being a pleasure hunter, keep going to "eat" that source of pleasure. 

So in this you could relate well to the meat eater who also eats the steak for pleasure. 

So you the pleasingly angry, radically kind vegan and the steak eater are both basically finding ways to get the brain to release nice chemicals and feel good for a period of time. No?


About dire times: sometimes the brainstem's fight-freeze-flight menu is useful; a hot head can be life-saving. However, it is a trite failure of creativity and use of your whole mind, Markus, to simply collapse and think that some violent rebellion is the fix to dire problems, like desertification, water for all sentients, ocean cleanup, etc. Seriously, your brain is high on pleasure in anger.

Perhaps box with a trainer for an hour every day this week and follow up with some yoga and not coffee. To engineer water catchement, to establish permaculture and nut trees [1], to preserve and protect wild spaces and the ocean-- that takes a cool, long-term head. While anyone, even a two-year old, can kill in the snap of finger.  You're picking the easy, gratifying, brain-doped joy of fight at the moment. Lazy?



So, I guess, you can ask yourself if there's a major, deadly leak in your body (or in the body of someone you love, your girlfriend and/or an animal) do you want to call an angry fighting warload to  come fix you, or do you want a skilled, well-trained compassionate doctor who's primary mental motivation is care for wounded beings. If this world and its beings are living beings what are you bringing to the table to its wounds?


Sent from my 4G Ultra High Horse 


--------
Edits: Typos, goofiness, & material change: "Lazy"---> "Lazy?" and purple and green

[1] And here is the link to NC State's free online permaculture design course...
http://mediasite.online.ncsu.edu/online/Catalog/Full/f5a893e74b7c4b7980fd52dcd1ced71521

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/11/15 10:09 AM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
 If this world and its beings are living beings what are you bringing to the table to its wounds?

What i'm bringing is not contributing to the wounds in the first place. And i dont mean petty human ego wounds, i mean the barbarism that is produced everyday in the form of the greatest holocaust that has ever existed. 

I feel disgust and shame for being apart of the current evolution of the human species. Yet I think there is hope, otherwise i wouldn't be here. 

To engineer water catchement, to establish permaculture and nut trees [1], to preserve and protect wild spaces and the ocean-- that takes a cool, long-term head.

This is all a waste of time. Just dont eat or consume animals. And dont turn them into products for human benefit. At least dont support it. We'll save the whole planet. Oceans, problem solved. World hunger, problem solved. Oppression towards minorities, problem solved. Social inequality, problem solved. Violent behavior, problem solved. Obesite, problem solved. Heart disease, diabetes, cancer, problem solved. 
Well, you're taking insulting shot at people for no reason (re: your comments on Tolle, Adya, etc).

That's okay, but it's needless judgment and it seems ignorant of what they do, in my opinion.

They deserve it. And no its not without reason. Please re-read my post. They are a bunch of spiritual yappers, who dont practise what they preach. 
Okay, so far I have not recommended to you "flowerpower and love and rumi" to you, so maybe you intend this for someone else.
Yes that was for Robert. Since he brought up rumi... although i do like some of rumi's poems. 

Remember, judgement good. Apathy bad. 

This is why most buddhist nations have been bombed or taken over. They are weak. This is not true enlightenment. This is not what buddha, or jesus or mlk or gandhi talked about. To just roll over and take it up the ass because judging is bad. 

Radical kindness Katy. This does not necessarily playing niceguy. 

My anger fuels me to keep on going and change the world. 

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/10/15 12:49 PM as a reply to Markus.
Btw, apologies for the awful formatting in my posts. I'm still learning the ways of this forum. And your purple font confused me when i was quoting those texts. 

I'm beginning to feel unwelcome on this forum. Perhaps its time i take my discussion elsewhere. 

I've said what there is to be said. Probably not in the most loving way. But how would feel about the situation if it was your pet or children in those factories waiting to be raped and killed? 

My anger is just an expression of the hurt and pain i feel for these poor creatures. Spitting out some venomous words on some internet forum and comparing that to a life of misery for billions of animals? This is preposterous and i could care less how my words make people feel. 

I'm ultimately motivated by kindness and compassion. It takes immense courage to actually practise that every day and saying what needs to be said. 

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/10/15 12:52 PM as a reply to Markus.
Time to go for an evening stroll and crank up the Wagner.

any Wagner fans out there?

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/10/15 2:39 PM as a reply to Markus.
Okay, so if you get malaria in Thailand or some other lives who enter your body and need you to not kill them with anti-biotics (anti-lifeness) will you protect them? Some parasites merely nibble at the stomach lining; they are not eating you or killing you (comparable to eating part of a potato, but keeping most of the potato planted so it lives).

This is a serious question. 

Or do you have compassion for your own animal that may need to kill "parasites" in order to live?

This is part of the Catch 22 of Dukkha in Buddhist model: the dukkha-saturated system is not won systemically by crushing others, but it's the training that studies own being, winning a reliable mind, causing the knowledge-based compassion, natural restraint, and skill-building (in any trade), application. Frankly, the creativity and good humor I've seen in some practitioners is also noteworthy to me; yet they work in dire places/conditions.

Edit: brevity.



RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/10/15 3:19 PM as a reply to Markus.
Ha, I like the juxtaposition of

Radical kindness. 

Now there's a concept for you all to digest. 

What about putting that into practise? 


and then telling us all to:

Do us all a favor and kill yourselves.

Anyway, I think most people on this forum have gone through their own dark nights so kind of get where your anger is coming from, but if you're already directing this amount of anger at random people on an internet forum then I'm guessing your friends and family are probably receiving their share as well. And those are relationship that are actually going to matter to you again after this dark night  stuff ends and you get to equanimity or finish this cycle. So I would really see if you can re-read Daniels advice on trying not to let this stuff bleed through into your real life, and see if you can adhere to that as much as possible.

And if blowing off steam by telling some well-meaning people on the internet to kill themselves helps you contain some of the damage in your real life,by all means go ahead, but hopefully you'll be able to contain it mostly to this angry thread. 

In any case good luck!



RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/10/15 8:04 PM as a reply to Markus.
Markus:
Btw, apologies for the awful formatting in my posts. I'm still learning the ways of this forum. And your purple font confused me when i was quoting those texts. 

I'm beginning to feel unwelcome on this forum. Perhaps its time i take my discussion elsewhere. 

I've said what there is to be said. Probably not in the most loving way. But how would feel about the situation if it was your pet or children in those factories waiting to be raped and killed? 

My anger is just an expression of the hurt and pain i feel for these poor creatures. Spitting out some venomous words on some internet forum and comparing that to a life of misery for billions of animals? This is preposterous and i could care less how my words make people feel. 

I'm ultimately motivated by kindness and compassion. It takes immense courage to actually practise that every day and saying what needs to be said. 

Ha, very few people I think are unwelcome here. I think what you're experiencing is just not everyone see things as you do, you're not getting a wave of "Yesses"-- you're getting some "yesses"/'agree", several nods that you're suffering, and engagment and some encouragement on your retreat and work.

You're also getting people sharing from their experience. If it helps, I came here several years ago in a similar sort of implosion about how sentients are used-- quite a similar shock that we keep eating others the way we do, how maddening it is, the scale at large and the willful blindness at a local-person level. Yet I was raised to fish and I learned to hunt and slaughter when I lived remotely on the foods shared by my incredibly generous provider.

Anyway, I get it: it's offensive how non-human animals are objectified and used abhorrantly... as well as human animals!

So let's say you get your way: humans are made to stop using animals.
What do you do with Orca in Antartica who "play" with their last prey, tossing it around in the air?
What do you do with alligators who take dogs and cats?
What do you do with deer that eat bird chicks?
What so you do with.. you get it.
And do you use antibiotics or not?

It's probably easier to vent -- and that's okay -- than to plug away for the Non-Human Rights Project doing the slow work of bringing neuroscience into the courts and establishing personhood, like India's designation of personhood for cetaceans about two years ago this month.

It's probably easier to vent -- and I get that-- than to train labrador retrievers for MRIs which show their minds lighting up like our minds in response to like stimuli.

So I get that your radical kindness is not "niceguy" and that you're disgusted by humanity. I get that. So if you could force the whole place or even destroy it (and obviously humans can, by fast button pushes and slow cumulative habits)-- do you not see that life arises again in the same way? That this is life, this is you. E.g., Plants always grow back despite the weedkiller, nuking, slash-and-burning. 

So if this life arising is what happens no matter what you do, millenia upon millenia, why not see that, okay, in my lifetime I can train me to be a little dam in the flow of suffering, a portion of skill and kindness to influence some things, carry that kind-skillful-effective torch, if you will, and manage it so it's always passed on in the process of life?

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/10/15 9:01 PM as a reply to Markus.

I'm ultimately motivated by kindness and compassion. It takes immense courage to actually practise that every day and saying what needs to be said. 

Hi again Markus;
Well, if you ask me .. Compassion encompasses kindness.
Maybe you wanted to say : Wisdom and Compassion instead ?  Like, im sure you already know, Robina Courtin but many others also say :  a bird needs two wings to fly ; not two lefts or two rights (wing). 

As we are together on a forum meant for that : truth, saying each others truths, being non hypocritical etc.. let me be clear and straight to the point, and i 'll leave it at that : you need to grow wisdom; you already have great compassion.

ps: Buddha never said one had to be vegan or stop eating meat, go study that in depth as it matters deeply to you. (it used to matter to me too..emoticon

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/11/15 3:40 AM as a reply to Markus.
Well I thought I was done but apparently not. I didn't return here to argue but to share something. See this how you will.

Last night I saw a dream where I had to act on my sincerity towards myself and others by confronting my fears about the outside world. I see these kinds of dreams occasionally...

It was about my past drug use and about my overlooked issue with my dad who has always despised any kind of drug use (putting all drugs in the same category except alcohol and maybe cigarettes) and tried to educate me to stay away from all kinds of illegal substances (in an arrogant but fearful manner "don't become a dirty junkie" etc.).

So in the dream I found myself listening to him talk about these things and I had the choice either to shut up and be safe or be honest about who I am as a person, how I feel (being real with him). If I'd just shut my mouth I would be lying in this specific situation and if I'd open my mouth about how I really am and that I want him to know the more real me I might be abandoned. That was/is the story in my mind at least, and sure, it can be seen as relatively true. And the feeling of abandonment can feel very raw and real (and terrifying). It's literally a deeply felt thing, not
just a bunch of thoughts. Although ultimately it is a thought construct, but it is very primal and it's very deep inside, so to speak.

So there was huge anger, sadness and a feeling of victimhood involved when I told him that I'm not the nice, well adjusted compliant son that he might have thought I was. And I noticed that the anger, sadness, sense of being wrongly accused etc. are overcompensation for the fear that was still beneath those things. Getting angry at him was a way to control the situation by force. But in a way telling the truth and meeting the  situation, though not entirely cleanly, was letting go of the habit of control. The previous passive form of control and hiding only struck back in that immediate situation in an aggressive form.

Btw. I thought I had sorted things out within myself about my dad, but apparently there were still some things as described above. So yes, I needed help in the form of that dream since I wasn't aware that this kind of a thing was still buried in my psyche. And I won't deny that I wouldn't need help in other forms in the future too. I still don't consider myself as a victim though, or even as someone who needs help. Those are just ideas that can become another form of identity. But I don't consider myself as someone who is beyond and above life (and help) either. That would be just another form of identity too. And of course we have to be able to discern what is the correct kind of help for our current situation and what is not. And we should be open enough to be willing to admit that we also might not know. Many times only in retrospect could I say that a specific event or a pointer, an ordeal etc. was of significant help and effect in dislodging consciousness from a rigid and constricting pattern.

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/13/15 4:46 AM as a reply to Markus.
I dont think this forum is the place for me. I also now see that theravada buddhism is not for me. As mentioned i'm moving to thailand in a few weeks and now i hear that most of the lineages there dont even practise veganism and are in fact antagonistic towards it (in monasteries, amongst masters, monks, etc). This is very disappointing as i would never compromise how i eat for a retreat. I'm told that in taiwan, korea, etc they are vegan. Zen buddhism. And i know in yoga this is quite important as they have the whole Ahimsa thing... So i will look elsewhere for guidance as i now realize that this is essential for me. I cannot trust or respect the wisdom of those who talk about kindness one moment and then turn around to practise nazism in their eating and living habits. 

But i'm glad we had this discussion, and I hope some readers will find some truth in whats been shared here. Maybe even elevate your practise to another level and really think about what you are doing to your body by how you eat and what that means. 

I really hope people here and elsewhere don't confuse the spiritual search with self-comfort search. As most seem to be doing here and most forums and spiritual paths, religions, etc. This is alarming and not the way to a saner, healthier, kinder world. 

And please look into the links i've provided for more information throughout this thread on what veganism actually entails. It's not about being perfect or removing ALL harm we do. That is impossible. This is not about bacteria or hurting non-sentient life forms. It's about minimizing harm caused to sentient life forms. And yes some of us vegans come across quite harsh and militant (not all). I think it's necessary. 

If anything, veganism is a path of unity. Like yoga and the "ahimsa" concept of non-violence. Note, this does not mean pacifism. Remember: Those who violate the golden rule are not entitled to protection under it. This is a wise code of morality that is worth analyzing deeply. It's a law of life and would be wise to abide by. 

If you want to understand morality, the way we treat animals is key. Kindness starts on our plates. Every morning. If you are not a vegan, you are practising a very narrow form of kindness and this is just self-gratification if anything. I support Radical Kindness. Radical compassion. This means prioritizing the wellbeing of those who are oppressed the most. It used to be slaves, it used to be women, it used to be different minorities. But the greatest minority since the dawn of agriculture have been our fellow animals. And the result? A greedy, overweight, disconnected, unhappy, and disease ridden species destroying its own habitat.

Some resources worth checking out for those who want to know more:

www.towardsfreedom.com
www.adaptt.org
www.worldpeacediet.com
www.carnism.org

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/12/15 1:06 AM as a reply to Markus.
Okay, Markus. I get where you're coming from (I think I linked a site at the begining of how many animals of each kind are slaughtered per minute around the world and about how many die in the wrong place in the slaughter process per hour in the U.S. and suffer horribly (and April 2001 report if I recall) and how many employees are women who are illegal immigrants and are also subject to massive abuse (FRONTLINE has worked on this and spefic farms in the northern midwest) and I'm not telling you to change.

And you are right , some vegans are non-militant and accept food as gifts, too.


So I do want your help on this:

A year ago I become guardian for a rescue pit from a group that rescues ring dogs.
This dog has major food allergies: He has to eat from the ocean, and sometime can eat pork (pigs as smart as he and sentient, presumably like you and I).
When I feed him another food, he bleeds anally, has to go to the vet. That gets very expensive, not to mention he gets sick and in pain, susceptible to the bacteria naturally found in the colon (we went to the vet many times in the first six months as i tried eggs, too. Also. on [brand removed*]'s vegan dog food he gets a "Number 3" bowel movement-- yes, a term for stuff coming out both ends and very badly).
I can't even feed him other hoofed animals, like road kill. 
And rural though I am I haven't seen much road kill and I live in a 12x13 little space at the moment, cold running water and nothing to cook roadkill on for him.
He doesn't digest tofu if bowel movements are a clue. And he will eat rice and beans, but there are the serious allergies again.

So what should I do? What should owners like me do who respect pigs and chickens and don't want to starve the seas but we also took guardianship of a massively abandoned breed in kill shelters?

I would love and greatly appreciate some new, viable ideas here, Markus. Thank you.

*As well:
 This is not about bacteria or hurting non-sentient life forms.
Antibiotics are formed with "animal models"-- dogs, cats, rats, mice, and so on. So I'm asking you about your radical kindness here?

Weathering a horrible Catch-22 in the human condition (and sentient condition) with study of and compassion for yourself in this 'system' and others like you (though different from you perhaps ideologially) can fuel a sustainable study and effort with others to produce ahimsa solutions.


*It wasn't the brand's fault

But here is also a book and community you might like, via Joanna Macy:
(Please consider to that I lived once in a community that was subject to mass murder by an 'eco-killer', so I when I read you possibly threatening with the Golden Rule, I take it seriously that your "radical kindness" may be violent-- I don't know-- but it's clear that that eco-killer's actions helped no one, but took several lives who gave a lot to their community and were living fairly 'green' and reclusive lives, relatively speaking.)

Anyway, in Joanna's sangha there are people who are working very ardently on dire issues and then recovering in the companionship of meditation and kind friendship. 

Best wishes.
Coming Back To Life: The Updated Guide to the Work That Reconnects

Deepening global crises surround us. We are beset by climate change, fracking, tar sands extraction, GMOs, and mass extinctions of species, to say nothing of nuclear weapons proliferation and Fukushima, the worst nuclear disaster in history. Many of us fall prey to despair even as we feel called to respond to these threats to life on our planet.

Authors Joanna Macy and Molly Brown address the anguish experienced by those who would confront the harsh realities of our time. In this fully updated edition of Coming Back to Life, they show how grief, anger, and fear are healthy responses to threats to life, and when honored can free us from paralysis or panic, through the revolutionary practice of the Work that Reconnects. New chapters address working within the corporate world, and engaging communities of color as well as youth in the Work.

The Work that Reconnects has spread around the world, inspiring hundreds of thousands to work toward a life-sustaining human culture. Coming Back to Life introduces the Work's theoretical foundations, illuminating the angst of our era with extraordinary insight. Pointing the way forward out of apathy, it offers personal counsel as well as easy-to-use methods for group work that profoundly affect peoples' outlook and ability to act in the world.

Joanna Macy is a scholar, eco-philosopher, teacher, activist, and author of twelve previous books including Coming Back to Life.

Molly Young Brown is a teacher, trainer, counselor, and author of four previous books on psychology and Earth-based spirituality.

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/12/15 3:59 PM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
Ok one more...

I just wrote a reply but it didn't come through and disappeared. Frustrating!

In case you didnt notice i removed that golden rule comment as i'm not certain about it and didn't like the way i expressed it. It seems to be valid if push comes to shove however. Meaning in a position of defense. I'm the least violent person you will ever come across so dont worry, i'm not the next eco-killer. I believe education is the way. With radical kindness and compassion.  

You're gonna have to decide yourself about what you do with your dog.
This may help: http://www.30bananasaday.com/group/vegan-pets

The theravada crowd and most spiritualists and vipassana practioners dont seem to see the blind spot of eating animals. Or they fall victim to the "i once saw things like you", "i once tried vegetarianism", etc and other nonsense. What they are really saying is that they tried living cruelty free but it didnt work out so they went back to killing the innocent. They probably tried to survive on lettuce and tofu and never learned how to eat a well balanced vegan diet. Or they got beaten down by old habits, traditions, family, friends, status quo. Weak fools. 

It's a little worrying considering you'd think insight practises would help in this regard. That just goes to show they are more about self-comfort to the point of delusion and narcissism. Dangerous and ineffective. 

I decided to never again take advice from people who abuse animals. Directly or indirectly. It's all the same. Murder. 

My method for meditation: shut up everyday for an hour. Just embrace stillness, silence and the present moment. No matter what happens. No maps or any of that bullshit necessary.

Ok, i'm done. 

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/12/15 6:22 PM as a reply to Markus.
Markus:


You seem to have alot of judgements and criticisms about people you know do not know.  Maybe you should be grateful for not only having the choice to eat food today, but also to have the choice of what you eat today.

There are many millions starving that do not have that luxury, I try to recollect that daily, and stay away from meat and meat byproducts to the best of my ability, but find judging others just as grotesque a human behaviour, as letting others starve while being able to pick and choose what I eat everyday, as it sounds so do you. If I eat food, another starves and dies for the lack of that very meal.  

In Dukkha

Psi

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/12/15 7:18 PM as a reply to Markus.
Nevermind...

Repentance: A change of heart.

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/12/15 7:37 PM as a reply to Psi.
Psi:
Markus:


You seem to have alot of judgements and criticisms about people you know do not know.  Maybe you should be grateful for not only having the choice to eat food today, but also to have the choice of what you eat today.

There are many millions starving that do not have that luxury, I try to recollect that daily, and stay away from meat and meat byproducts to the best of my ability, but find judging others just as grotesque a human behaviour, as letting others starve while being able to pick and choose what I eat everyday, as it sounds so do you. If I eat food, another starves and dies for the lack of that very meal.  

In Dukkha

Psi
Apology in advance Markus, if my post bothered you, this is more of a reality check for me, than for you, I have never come to terms as to why I can not seem to be more compassionate for all for the starving people in the world, and actually do more, to do something to help.

The numbers do not even add up, 24,000 die of starvation everyday, and I know a few dollars would feed them, so say we need $72,000 a day, just food costs. 

That is one thousandth of a penny per person on this planet, I think, yet we can not seem to feed everyone.  That is not even greed, that is just downright cold hearted uncaring hatred for human life.

And I know there are logistics involved to get food from point A to point B, but still......

Psi

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/13/15 3:27 AM as a reply to Psi.
Psi, it seems you found the self-contradiction in your previous comment (judging me for judging others). That's good. 

Regarding your reality check, dont fall into the trap of "if you can't do everything, you should do nothing". This is a very convenient way to feel good about oneself an i'm sure the buddha would agree that this kind of self-comfort is delusional. 

This might help (in fact, read the whole thread if you have time).

You're right i dont know the people here, but it seems that the people who take offense from my messages here are the ones most in need of having what you call, a reality check. 

Becoming 100% vegan is a great way to end the poverty and starvation problem. It all begins with educating ourselves and being apart of the solution. And broadening our minds at the kind of world we want to live in. For use, our children, and the animals and diversity that create the wonderful tapestry of life. Have you seen cowspiracy?

Also, you might want to try some metta meditation to put things back into perspective. Think about how that lonely cow or pig feels in that dark cage with nobody caring for it. Living in its own shit and surrounded by the horrific cries of its kin. This is a reality for billions of animals. As you said we are gifted with the choice to CHOOSE our food. And ultimately choose whether we are creating this horror or choosing to refuse to support it. And choosing to condemn those who take part in it or who are blinded by how that 'burger' or 'steak' or 'hot dog' or 'grilled cheese' sandwich ends up on the plate. You have a choice. Every day. 5 times a day. The choice is kindness for life vs suffering. This is why veganism is the most practical form of buddhism there is. 

Like katy said earlier, we can choose to generate dukkha or not. 

The choice is yours.

We all know what the right choice is, the question is do we make it. 

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/13/15 4:45 AM as a reply to Markus.
I started another discussion regarding the meat eating stuff here in hopes of salvaging this thread for what it was intended for: my progress. 

It seems my dark night has once again passed. 

Lets see what happens until making any further diagnoses or conclusions.

I also started doing the daily practises on this site: www.aypsite.org

Continuing my 1 hour daily meditation as usual. My current method: shut up, be in silence and focus on the present moment as much as possible. Lying, sitting, walking, etc. Doesn't matter. And i'm also experimenting without using a timer notifying me of when the meditation is over (just a stopwatch to look at after). 

I'm not certain yet whether i will continue pursuin the theravada meditation styles of insight or concentration. We'll see. I haven't personally found the maps to be of any use at least thus far. 

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/13/15 5:13 AM as a reply to Markus.
Do you have theravada teachers next to you ?

where are you from ? maybe you can write names of meditation centers near you and we can help you choose one


A !good! teacher is a very very helpful thing

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/13/15 7:57 AM as a reply to Markus.
Markus:
Psi, it seems you found the self-contradiction in your previous comment (judging me for judging others). That's good. 
Hmmm, from my view I had thought I was simply observing and not judging.  I will look into that, to make sure there is no delusion present, thank you.  


Psi

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/23/15 12:02 PM as a reply to Markus.
Hi Markus, 

I think you may be in Thailand now?

In case you're checking in here...

It is an opportunity to sit with own mind and body. There are many negative beliefs and alluring beliefs that can stir you from sitting with own-mind, own body, impulses to "do this" and to "do not this".

If you can, sit well, take care of your body (walk, stretch), but in practicing mental investigation and mental-emotional calming day upon day, you may see with skillful eyes skillful people and have skillful conversations. If all is seeming unskillful around you and you may sit on your cushion with a shaw (taking care of your body, stretching, resting, walking), your sitting may help you pass through the stressful and develop skill.

Knowing your care for non-human and human animals you might dedicate this study and effort to your future skill in helping end or ease suffering for other beings.

Do not worry about that "nibbana" and in no more coming into being; I think that alarmed you. It is not annihilationistic nor nihilistic, but notes the depth of release, seeing and releasing all desire naturally through clearly seeing.


Best wishes for your wellness and best kind efforts. Consider caring for yourself as you would an animal that is in mental distress through being habituated in stress.

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/23/15 8:29 PM as a reply to Markus.
Markus!

I've just read through all the above mayhem with my heart singing its wild song for you!
I wished I had gotten here sooner, feels like its too late and you may not check in here again emoticon

but if you do, I wanted to say, right from your first post:

The total rawness of the way you express yourself, honestly and fearlessly, has been massively inspiring to me. Thankyou.

Many of your posts above seemed to speak from this achingly primal place of wanting to step right outside of your entire life as you know it and fearlessly abandon the whole lot - to basically do what probably well over half the world's population is aching to do inside, every single moment, but are just much much much too scared.  And too numb.  

You're letting your shit fly how it flies and man, quite frankly, i dig it.  
And for sure there is an awful lot of shit flying out of you, I happen to rampantly DISagree with just about every 'opinion' you posted about.
But it's very clear to see, as you even said yourself in numerous ways, that none of that is what any of this is really about!  
And I must say I was disappointed to read a lot of people buying into your opinions on stuff and debating with you on that petty level. But you're buying into that too. Stay with what's real.  You fucking KNOW this isn't about discussing the right techniques, or which teacher is genuine, and not even about veganism or anything else.
This is about that great gaping wide open void at the heart of everything and you know it, so stay with your truth in that. Don't get sidetracked by all the tireful mumbojumbo. Everything you think you know is just an avoidance of the real real real deal.  Dive in. 

And you know what you are looking for right now is to be deeply profoundly heard.  Right?

You get across to me this sense of "Nobody else can ever REALLY understand what its like to be in this skin right now!"

and that's so much more than a way of saying "you don't get me, so please don't pretend you do, and don't think you know how to help by giving me advice, because that only subtly implies that you think you're more clever than i am"

it's also expressing something deeper about our fundamental primal aloneness.

Which is both a root of profound depression
and a root of profound insight

You are in a place of profound power.  Yhis is a ripe time.  Everything now is all down to how it gets directed.  

From the timezone I'm in you go to Thailand tomorrow.
I wish you miraculous good fortune, good direction and good love.

And do what your teacher says, you stubborn over-opinionated jackass!  (sorry ;) but it's true! (you may hit me back))

RE: Really struggling here...
Answer
5/24/15 8:10 AM as a reply to Markus.
Hello Markus,

I've been going thru a Dark Night myself for quite a while also. I would like to find a Skype partner to share about the ups and downs of the spiritual path and to share the interesting and funny events that pop up in our lives. If interested you can email me directly at jaiamma@gmail.com

I didn't read all the many responses on this thread so let me know if I'm missing anything important. Thanks,

Om Shanti,

Advait

PS: Does this forum allow for private messages? I haven't seen that feature.