Author Topic: Confusion  (Read 2923 times)


« on: December 05, 2010, 06:13:56 PM »
Some of you may know that my erratic participation on this forum is caused party by my drug use which I hope to put behind me now. I've just come back from my 3rd Goenka retreat, I find the technique works really well for me and I plan to stay clean. I relapsed the last two times and now after 5 days back into the normal world I can feel the madness descending on me. No craving for drugs but bad habits are making a preview now and then and I know from previous experience that this is where it starts and it's like a death spiral in a plane.

I've started living healthy, eating well and putting on weight, working out, waking up early and following a routine and these things do help. I feel the only reason I've been able to do this is because the effect the meditation has on me. But my meditation is getting weaker as it always does outside the retreats. Even in the camp I can never progress from anapana to vipassana and with those familiar with the Goenka scanning technique I probably did only 10 rounds from head to toe in the entire course. Outside is even worse and now I'm not even sitting regularly.

My dilemma is that this technique definitely works for me but what use is it to me If I can't keep it up and I fall back into my old habits which I can't come out of unless I go back to a retreat or something to restart. On the other hand I'm aware of the shamtha-vipassana method as described by some on this forums and my question is this- If I start doing this tomorrow will my drug problems and mood swing be in check. How long will it take for the practice to manifest in my daily life. I know it can be counter productive to look at meditation this way but I have to. I can't afford to fall back into drug use, I can't take time off for another year and once I'm in it I find it impossible to come out or to be happy without them.

I'm really confused. Any insight is appreciated.


Re: Confusion
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2010, 08:00:07 PM »
 would say just do samatha and focus on concentration and calming down - it will naturally glide over to some sort of vipassana.
You can sit for maybe half an hour o whatever doing anapana and then broaden your attention and be aware/mindful of of everything that comes into you field of awareness, not only bodily sensations. Or you can use your breath as your base and then 'note/notice' other phenomena if they are very persistant and then return to you breath again - there are many ways. just start doing samatha/anapana and see what happens.
If this will help you break your habbit of misusing drugs i do not know  but I definetely think so in the long run - there are so many factors involved when it comes to break such a habbit.
I used alot of drugs daily for almost ten years and it halted my personal and emotional growth. It wasn't always heavy drugs but I was never sober. When I eventually stopped doing this I got high of the feeling of being present and alive - it really felt like tripping to be absolutely awake and present and I still think it kicks ass to be present.
Ofcourse I cannot tell you how to do this but samatha will help you getting the urge out of your face so to speak, keeping it at a distance so that you can clearly see it and not identify with it. When you get that craving, sit with it and just observe that feeling like you had no idea what it was - It is just this feeling and it feels like this – no need to add all the thoughts and reactions and habbits that you used to associate with that feeling. I know fully well that it is much easier said than done but totally objectifying physical sensations and study them like you had no idea what it was, like it is the first time you ever experience a physical sensation can be a great adventure and beats the hell out of doing drugs.
Good luck with that.

I can add also that some of my old friends did not quit and seeing them today gives the idea of 'hungry ghost' a real and hollow face – those really do exist.
It is no longer some cool youth-thing we did att art school – it is just misery but it seems that you already found this out.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2010, 08:51:52 PM by soma »

Morning Dew

Re: Confusion
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2010, 08:26:42 PM »
I would warmly recomend you to find a local group of people which occasionaly meditate together. This will help you alot to remain in practice. Anything which can inspire you to sit is welcome.
I too felt my dark demons getting hold on me to the detriment of my practice. I was close to totaly turn my back to meditation and cutt it out of my life. And i am good at running away from things.

I too did drugs and alcohol. I was stealing too. Hanging with the guys from the hood living in fear. It is tough.

For this reason i joined today my local zen centre. To have someone at hand who knows what path i am walking now. Someone to push you or slow you as needed.

If not interested then try a talking therapy with a shrink (i might do this if dark night takes over me again)

I wish i live closer so to organise some sort of private sitting once or twice a week my friend so to keep you goin :)
I am sure there must be some ley practitoners living close to you. Check the local buddhist forum etc

I am not sure whether you see your "old friends" but if try to avoid the for some time. If they do drugs it is easy to slip in again (my experience).

You are already doing great mate. You are excercising, eating well, gaining weight :) keep on sitting daily and keep in contact with people on the Path.

Birds of fether stick together :) chose the fethers wisely my friend :)
Try and join a group of like minded meditators mate. You need a safe surounding at this time. No reason to develope more fear but until your mindfulness ripens stay with safe carrying people :) OK?
What say you my friend :)

Honestly friendly, Dusko


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Re: Confusion
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2010, 05:28:00 AM »
Hi Dhruv. I am reminded of a Vipassi's experience which my teacher shared with me. This guy was a raging alcoholic. He was so addicted, that just the mere mention of liquor was enough to get him to the nearest liquor-shop/bar/pub, and he would drink until he blacks out. He was totally broke because of his addiction, his marriage was falling apart, his children's future was getting affected because he was not able to support them and yet, he could not give up the addiction even to the slightest extent. The first 10-day was an eye-opener for him, but still, the addiction continued, even though he reported that he gained a lot from the course. He attended more 10-day courses. The addiction started to slowly come down, but still he was in a mess. My teacher then suggested to him to stay in the meditation centre and continue his practice. He did so, and with the constant support of the teachers, he eventually became free of his addiction completely. It took months for him to achieve it.

I would urge you to contact the teachers who frequent your centre and keep in touch with them. Explain to them your problem, they should help you. Go to the centre whenever you can, even for one or two days, and meditate seriously. In addition, the metta from your teachers will also help you to progress in the path. If you stick to the path long enough.. you are "bound to be successful, bound to be successful". :)
Let's go beyond this illusion, shall we?


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    • Theravada: with nuts and bolts from Goenka-ji, and fine tuning from Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Re: Confusion
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2010, 07:35:10 AM »
I am going to second Vivek's suggestion. Since you know this practice is working for you, but you keep relapsing into your addiction, you might consider spending a long time, as in maybe even a few months at a center (if that is something you can swing).

It may help you to understand what it means to spend a long period at a Goenka center. You wouldn't be doing courses all the time. You couldn't. The system isn't set up for that because its a grass-roots organization that only exists because people volunteer to make the courses happen. (even the teachers are simply unpaid volunteers.)

And that's what you'd be doing. If you stay for "long term service," it would probably go something like this: you will sit a course, serve two, sit a course, serve two, and continue on with that rhythm as long as you wish. From personal experience, let me say that long term service is awesome. Many people would even say that it deepens their practice MORE than sitting a retreat. There are many reasons for this.

For one, serving is closer to "real life." You are interacting with people, talking, organizing, and basically making things run. (90% of the time, this means working in the kitchen). In fact, it can sometimes be stressful, and tiring (depending on how many other servers are there). And thats all a good thing. Because that's how life is! The only difference is that you are surrounded by practitioners, and your day is structured to sit three hours per day (I usually find time to sit more, but that's optional).

Its a great way to figure out how to integrate practice in your life. I was kind of blown away by how deep I could go into my practice, sitting only 4-6 hours a day. Plus, you are primed for this because you have recently sat a retreat.

Its also beneficial because you have the opportunity to generate lots of metta. Metta practice can be abstract on the cushion, but when you can see that everything you do is about sharing the practice with other people, it affects you. Its a wonderful feeling, and that feeds into your practice. Its great.

Obviously, I'm pretty enthusiastic about it. In fact, I'm planning to serve a few days at the end of December. Even as I start to stray (a bit) from the Goenka approach, I am really grateful for what I've learned, and continue to learn from the centers. So, it feels good to give back.

With metta,
May we cultivate the serenity to accept the things we cannot change; the compassion to change the things we can; and the wisdom to know the difference.


Re: Confusion
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2010, 02:16:55 PM »
I feel better after reading all the posts, to know there are others who have been in similar situations. I've had this idea in my head for a while to stay for a month at a center. It's the only thing that can help me build a strong foundation. I'm only going to get time for this after 6 months. I get a break of one month to do an internship. I'll try looking for a local group of people which occasionaly meditate together. No harm in trying.

All I can do now is keep up with what I'm doing and see what happens.

Again, thank you for all your support.


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    • Theravada: with nuts and bolts from Goenka-ji, and fine tuning from Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Re: Confusion
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2010, 11:05:30 PM »
That's great to hear Dhruv. Looking for local groups is a wonderful idea. There are probably groups for Goenka practioners that you should try. You also may be fortunate to have one-day courses in your area. Check with your local center (or their website). These courses may be held at the center, or elsewhere. They are great opportunities for getting a boost in your practice, especially if you've dropped out for whatever reason.

But also don't be afraid to attend ANY groups of meditators that you find. Sitting with devoted people is always good, regardless of the tradition that they come from.

Much metta,
May we cultivate the serenity to accept the things we cannot change; the compassion to change the things we can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

Crystal Palace

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Re: Confusion
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2010, 09:11:40 AM »

Till the time you are able to go on a long retreat, you will have to do with whatever conditions you currently find yourself in. That means you will have to protect yourself from all the BS going around you. This entails ramping up your defences and taking good care of yourself. You will have to be compassionate to yourself. And how is one compassionate to oneself? By not indulging in things that harm oneself.

Doing what you do dhruv is making your body bleed through a thousand cuts. Don't feel guilty about it, but accept the reality of the situation.

1. Old habits will have to go.

2. If your friends insist on doing drugs, then their company will have to go.

3. One thing that works really well is to start the day with meditation, so that you establish some sort of mindfulness and then try to stretch this 'clean' feeling throughout the day and then finally end your day again with meditation. This is a good cycle and it builds great momentum.

4. Keep yourself busy. Cravings and urges generally come when the mind is empty and has nothing to do. Do not be idle. If you have nothing to do, study.

5. Take help of external situations/surroundings if you are unable to motivate yourself alone. I had fallen into this vicious cycle of looking at porn whenever I was alone in my room. I realized no matter how much I motivated myself I couldn't get out of this cycle. So I started going to the library early in the morning and I would stay there till the night - studying. This way I did not give myself any chance to catch porn and also as a little bonus my grades improved.

6. Find a local sangha, make friends with them and stay in touch with them. Whenever you can, meditate with them.

7. Find yourself a teacher you can talk to frankly about. Discuss with him your progress (or lack of). This will motivate you to try harder. If nothing else and if time permits, make your own thread and discuss all that you have done throughout the day. When you completely piss off a day and then when you write about it online infront of us, you might feel a bit silly but the guys here will just give you encouragement and support only. Che Gebuddha did this and his thread has become one of the most replied threads. A quick glance at the thread will show you how tough even Che Gebuddha has it.

8. And finally do not feel excessively guilty. Accept you for who you are and your habits for what they are. Love yourself. Love imperfection.

Do remember that whatever additional actions you take will still revovle around your daily practice, so you will still have to meditate daily and deeply. If you don't then it will be extremely difficult to keep your mind focussed and steady in the face of temptation.

Lastly think of all this as a preperation for the long retreat that you will undertake in the future. For over there you may come directly fact-to-face with your darkest sides. And you will need this sort of a training to help you there.

"Abstain from unwholesome actions,
Perform wholesome actions,
Purify your mind"



Re: Confusion
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2010, 04:20:41 PM »
Thanks for the advice crystal palace. I'm going to do a one day course every Sunday with that group you told me about to keep me on track. My friends have all been detained from college so they're back only after 5 months and I try and avoid other such situations. Other than that I jut need to meditate regularly everyday. Everything else just magically falls into place then.


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