Author Topic: A way to combine insight AND stress relief?  (Read 1804 times)

kanoo

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    • The Relaxation Response, (NSR) Natural stress relief
A way to combine insight AND stress relief?
« on: March 31, 2013, 08:26:58 PM »
Hi guys, I'm practicing Vipassana every day (from 20 mins to 1 hour) I have been practicing for a little over a year and have seen great benefits in being able to observe my thought patterns and tendencies and detach from my thoughts which has in general lead me to be a happier less negative person.

The way it has illuminated my thought process to me has been invaluable - and I don't want to stop but - I feel stressed most of the time and work very long hours, the more stressed I am the more my social anxiety and awkwardness etc increases.

Yet when I practice a mantra meditation "the relaxation response" or "the benson method" which is a TM imitator it seems to be better at purging stress from my nervous system and I feel happier, relaxed and more self confident and just generally less anxious and able to cope with life's ups and downs a bit better.

From my perspective I really need both aspects. To be able to observe and be aware of my thought processes so that I can avoid attachment yet I also feel the need the for the relaxation response to purge the stress from my nervous system as with Vipassana I am aware that I am stressed but as I am sure you know - it's not intended for stress relief.

Is there a meditation that combines both benefits? Or is there a way to combine both types of meditation in routine in a way that is healthy and balanced?

I have heard of samatha but know very little about it - has anyone here had similar issues or found a routine that allows stress relief and insight training?

Many thanks

Kanoo

 

Vivek

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    • Advaita & U Ba Khin's tradition
Re: A way to combine insight AND stress relief?
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2013, 03:34:19 AM »
Quote
...but as I am sure you know - it's not intended for stress relief.

Hi kanoo, even though I am not sure what form of Vipassana you practice, I must respectfully disagree to the view that it does not being about stress relief. At least mainstream Vipassana practices like those of Mahasi Sayadaw and Sayagyi U Ba Khin, do bring about cleansing of all tendencies of the mind, thus, helping practitioners free themselves of difficult emotions like fear, regret, self-pity etc. Do you experience such difficult emotions or feelings while you practice Vipassana? Does your mind get more agitated, instead of relaxed, during Vipassana practice? Such experiences are natural and nothing to be alarmed about, because the increase in discomfort is only indication that the practice is indeed serving its purpose, which is, to cleanse the mind of impurities at the deepest level.

Combining Vipassana practice with other forms, such as using mantra, is not recommended.
Let's go beyond this illusion, shall we?

kanoo

  • Member
    • The Relaxation Response, (NSR) Natural stress relief
Re: A way to combine insight AND stress relief?
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2013, 12:54:29 PM »
I practice the mahasi method and experience lots of negative emotions and feelings etc. As far as I am aware vipassana was a tool used to reach enlightenment rather than being conceived as a form of stress relief?

I normally avoid focusing on sensations in the heart area as the monk I learnt from said that the feelings of sadness or unhappiness would not leave when observed like other sensations - my normal practice is to try and observe as many thoughts and sensations as possible - I label and then move back to the rising and falling of the belly.

The monk also said that 20 mins a day would do very little..... But that it was better than nothing....

The relaxation response seems to leave me feeling more focus and relaxed. Perhaps I need to observe the sensations for longer or practice for longer?

Vivek

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  • Staff
    • Advaita & U Ba Khin's tradition
Re: A way to combine insight AND stress relief?
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2013, 03:24:10 AM »
I would say stress relief is more of a bye-product of practicing Vipassana, one of its secondary benefits. Maybe you can try lengthening the sitting, it may help. As I said previously, the unpleasantness and discomfort could be indicators of progress in practice. It is up to you to choose whether you want to sit through the negative states to understand their transitory-ness, or to move on to other forms of meditative practice that are less intense.
Let's go beyond this illusion, shall we?

kanoo

  • Member
    • The Relaxation Response, (NSR) Natural stress relief
Re: A way to combine insight AND stress relief?
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2013, 05:05:06 PM »
It's not that I feel that uncomfortable it's just that the Relaxation Response seems to give me something Vipassana does not and vice versa. But if I have to choose one I'll choose Vipassana every time purely becuase it changes the way we relate to the world which in the end brings about deep and lasting change rather than simply feeling more relaxed.

 

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