Author Topic: Meditation and supression of emotions+ other questions  (Read 2730 times)

Mikeler

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Meditation and supression of emotions+ other questions
« on: March 05, 2013, 01:13:35 AM »
Hello to everyone.

I'm a beginner at meditation and have been doing it for about a month, 20 minutes a day. A lot of it seems very confusing and counter-intuitive and I'm taking this opportunity to ask questions to members who have a lot more experience with this.

My first question related to strong/overwhelming emotions, in my case anger and frustration.

The problem that I have is that I feel like when I'm meditating and feeling this emotion, it's almost like I'm trying to supress it into my subconscious if this makes any sense. I don't really know what to do with this emotion. It's like I'm saying "NO NO, this will ruin my meditation session, I can't be experiencing this right now", and I just push it to the back of my mind. This anger in turn comes out later in different ways.

The second problem relates to the whole concept of non-resistance or letting things be and my version of reality which is actively trying to influence or change things.

For example, I do some CBT exercises for my social anxiety. Doing these exercises (thought challenging, reframing, etc.) involves actively going against what I'm thinking. If I were to follow the concept of letting things be, that would mean letting negative thoughts run loose and not doing anything about it. It just seems really counter-intuitive to what I really want to be doing.

I'm not really expecting any specific answer, I just want someone to help me understand this paradox of "just being" and active change which is so perplexing to me.

Thanks.

shu

Re: Meditation and supression of emotions+ other questions
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2013, 09:38:02 AM »
Hi Mikeler,

I can relate to this, I have to deal with very strong emotions, too, and when I read about dealing with those, usually one word comes up: observe. Don't get involved. If you get the urge to act on this feeling, observe this urge instead. Always try to take a step back and observe what you are doing or wanting to do.

For me that's not easy and sometimes I feel that it is impossible. When that happens, I can't handle my emotions this way and I can not sit still on a cushion.
And I think, that is because I need another meditation technique to be able to handle this. So my guess is: first I have to learn to deeply concentrate by practicing shamatha to become calm, then I can try to watch my emotions by practicing vipassana.

I would like to hear what the more experienced meditators think about this.

And about the paradox: in my interpretation "just being" does not mean "stop living, don't change, lie down and do nothing", but instead "experience everything you do, be conscious about it".
So "active change" is a form of "just being", it doesn't have to contradict each other.


Re: Meditation and supression of emotions+ other questions
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2013, 09:59:25 AM »
Quote
The problem that I have is that I feel like when I'm meditating and feeling this emotion, it's almost like I'm trying to supress it into my subconscious if this makes any sense. I don't really know what to do with this emotion. It's like I'm saying "NO NO, this will ruin my meditation session, I can't be experiencing this right now", and I just push it to the back of my mind. This anger in turn comes out later in different ways.

What is wrong if anger arises in a session. Isnt it good? you are given an opportunity to observe anger. Study it as well as u can. see what are its qualities. See what kind of sensations arise when it is just begining to pop up. See how sensations change if you are resisting it. See how sensations change if you accept it and let it be. Become friends with it.
The problem here is "NO NO, this will ruin my meditation session, I can't be experiencing this right now". more you think this way more stronger it gets. You are fueling the process here.

Quote
For example, I do some CBT exercises for my social anxiety. Doing these exercises (thought challenging, reframing, etc.) involves actively going against what I'm thinking. If I were to follow the concept of letting things be, that would mean letting negative thoughts run loose and not doing anything about it. It just seems really counter-intuitive to what I really want to be doing.

So you have been trying to control your thinking till now? correct me if i am wrong.
How is it going? is it possible ?  ;D
After a lot of trying one comes to the conclusion that arising of thoughts is not in once control. its the natural process of nature.
Now what is in my hand is the fuel. I can put it on to any thought and it would start burning.
resisting a thought thinking its bad for me is also putting fuel to it. Equanimity is the key to making peace with it.
As you have seen more you want the anger to go away more it is appearing. More you want the negative thought to go away more of it is arising in your hear.

To be more clear. negative thought itself is not harmful. if we react to it then it is harmful. anger itself is not bad. if we react to anger then the result is bad.
only problem is achieving it will not happen in one sitting of meditation or once overnight.  :D
keep working.

Mikeler

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Re: Meditation and supression of emotions+ other questions
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2013, 02:06:13 PM »
Why are attempts to control thinking futile?

Look at some people and how positive they are. In my opinion this is a result of them challenging thier negative beliefs and replacing them with more balanced ones. It's about keeping my mind in check.

But then if I go with mindfulness which is just observation without interferance of the thinking process, then how can I accomplish this goal of mine to be positive?

How can I improve my life if I don't improve the quality of my thoughts?

Re: Meditation and supression of emotions+ other questions
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2013, 04:28:44 PM »
Quote
Why are attempts to control thinking futile?

Try to observe the root of a thought. how it starts and how the thought trail begins.

Quote
Look at some people and how positive they are. In my opinion this is a result of them challenging thier negative beliefs and replacing them with more balanced ones. It's about keeping my mind in check.

In vipassana we do not try and fix each individual problems which ofcourse can be done.
we try to change the fundamental perspective towards reality which rectifies all other problems.
its like changing the root formula rather than making alterations in each applied problems. Both can be done. But when the applied problems are numbered in millions or more its just not economical to change them one by one. also when we solve one, hundreds more problems are generated by then and solving it will not have any influence for the next.

Quote
But then if I go with mindfulness which is just observation without interferance of the thinking process, then how can I accomplish this goal of mine to be positive?

you are confused with a thought and a thought chain.
We have to interfere with a thought chain because its root source is craving. when we rectify this craving, thought chain becomes a thought with no real attachment to it.

Quote
How can I improve my life if I don't improve the quality of my thoughts?

it is very important to improve the quality of our thoughts. that is why we have shila.




shu


MrKnowsNothing

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Re: Meditation and supression of emotions+ other questions
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2013, 03:22:02 AM »
What you should be tying to do is change your perception of reality, right now your brain is conditioned to producing these thoughts, you can produce positive thoughts and try to battle the negative but it is an endless cycle.

You can literally change the way your brain functions through meditation and even the most horrible sensations and emotions can be dealt with instantly by the power of knowledge and observation. This observation will bring you into deeper connection with what truly is.

You will notice once doing the proper samantha or vipassana meditation how quickly your thought patterns will change. Don't force yourself to meditate because thats not really what it is. Meditation is not simply battling your thoughts, beating them into positive thoughts. It is learning and realizing that we are not what we have been conditioned to think.

It is a lifestyle change and a way of life.

I woke one day to the sounds of the cat scratching at my door. I listened to the paws on the door and that was it. Let the cat in and went back to sleep. No thoughts or emotions entered my mind. I simply observed and it was a very peaceful experience. Bringing what you have learned in the meditation into the "real world" is when the real meditation starts.

This is my opinion. Hopefully its clear. I suffered from anxiety for quite some time. One month of study and practice changed my life.
Meditation, A set of keys for every door.

chintan

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Re: Meditation and supression of emotions+ other questions
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2013, 04:33:14 AM »
I just want someone to help me understand this paradox of "just being" and active change which is so perplexing to me.

Thanks.

Hi - maybe it is not "just being" and "active change". I feel the change is passive - in the background. Each of us our own way of practicing but I dont recommend suppressing or banishing thoughts - the little demons dont go away easy. Let them play out but lets not engage with them.

Why are attempts to control thinking futile?

Thought are in middle of the chain.. just focusing on them alone will be like changing the seasoning without looking at the ingredients or the process of the dish we are cooking.

Metta..

 

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