Author Topic: When issues are surfacing...  (Read 2652 times)

amusiathread

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When issues are surfacing...
« on: June 02, 2013, 06:52:50 AM »
Meditation has been very useful for me in helping to bring certain "issues" to light, but with these transitional periods of progress/discovery often comes a period of a few days where I'm quite annoyed and irritable, and this persists until the pressing issue is identified and resolved. It's fascinating how it works, the process of bringing these insights up from my subconscious and confronting them, but I could really do without the transitional "grumpy periods".

For example, around 6 weeks ago, I started getting very annoyed and irritable, for no apparent reason. This is unusual for me, as even before I was ever meditating in earnest, I was already a very laid-back and positive person. After 5 days of grumpiness and depression, I realized that I was becoming quite annoyed with some of my own habits, that I was wasting too much time via social networking, and being too invested in other mindless and effortless distractions. Once I dialed back these distractions and became more invested in the present (so long, facebook), the irritability and depression went away. How cool is that?

Well, it's very cool and insightful on one hand, but those moody transitional periods are kind of bad news for my work and daily life. What's a good way to approach and deal with these situations? Have you had similar experiences, or do you have an alternate idea as to what's going on? Is this part of the process, or am I missing something? Thanks for your time and thoughts.

Dharmic Tui

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Re: When issues are surfacing...
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2013, 07:35:10 AM »
With time hopefully you will view this irritability as silly as your facebook addiction.

Vivek

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Re: When issues are surfacing...
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2013, 05:29:01 PM »
I would suggest to check for any aversion towards the grumpy periods. The grumpiness, as you said, may be a symptom of a deeper sub-conscious tendency coming to the surface, but I think the aversion towards the grumpiness itself complicates matters even further. Maybe that is why it persists for many days. The constant reacting to the feeling/thoughts that constitute grumpiness could make it more intense thus making it difficult to dissolve and allow for more stuff to come to the surface. To allow and be mindful of the grumpiness itself as and when it comes could help to its dissolution even faster. Watch the reacting towards the irritability, and keep watching. Eventually it should dissolve. By continued practice, the current time-span of few days of grumpiness can be reduced more and more.
Let's go beyond this illusion, shall we?

Matthew

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Re: When issues are surfacing...
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2013, 07:09:23 PM »
...
Well, it's very cool and insightful on one hand, but those moody transitional periods are kind of bad news for my work and daily life. What's a good way to approach and deal with these situations? Have you had similar experiences, or do you have an alternate idea as to what's going on? Is this part of the process, or am I missing something? Thanks for your time and thoughts.

Look out for where you are lying to yourself in daily life (overuse of facebook for example) and stop these things before they bring you to the point of frustration/grumpiness. You'll get better at it in time until you live in a much more authentic way and this stuff just becomes history.

It's down to a basic tension between trying to live "in the modern world" and being authentic - the two are as good a mix as oil and water.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Craig

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Re: When issues are surfacing...
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2013, 04:44:49 PM »
Hello to all  :)

I'm new to this forum and this will be my first post. I am really looking forward to sharing some of my own meditation expereinces and contributing to this wonderful Sangha. Hi Amusiathread. I can sympathise with what you are going through at this moment in time as it is something that I have experienced myself many times before. In fact, I am going through one of these "depressed" and "irratable" periods myself right now and have been for the past few days.

I want to reassure you that what you are expereincing is perfectly normal and is a common feature of a meditator's experience. In fact, it is actually a sign that all that time you're spending on the cusion is actually working. The expression "No pain, no gain" comes to mind here, thus the reason you are feeling like crap is down to the purification process taking place. Something beneath the surface (maybe you are aware of it or maybe you are not) is coming up to be healed. This "issue" can manifest itself in various forms such as anger, irratability, depression, anxiety, fatigue, grogginess etc. The Buddha said that the path to Nibanna isn't an easy one and that we will expereince more suffering before enlightenement. You just have to trust the process. There is no way to escape from suffering until we confront it. Therefore, the best tonic for your present suffering is to just be mindful of what you are expereincing. It can be a slow and long process, but if we're diligent then we can all eventually find peace.

My own daily meditation practice allows for me to confront my own inner demons and this can sometimes be a very painful and harrowing experience. But when I look back since when first I began my practice and the huge strides and progress I've made since then, well, this just makes me realise that it was all worth it since I am a much calmer and happier person now that I was years ago. This just encourages me to keep practicing and face whatever comes up from the depths of my mind. It's hard, but the results are worth it.

Hope this helps. If you have any more questions then please feel free to ask me. I'm not an expert but I'll do my best to help.

Renze

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Re: When issues are surfacing...
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2013, 08:13:08 PM »
Hello Craig and welcome to the forums. Thanks for your insight. I agree that meditation can stir up all kinds of emotions. I often experience irritability, anxiety and restlessness after meditation sessions. But quite often also pleasant emotions like joy and inner peace. The thing I'm learning is to stop labeling them as 'positive' or 'negative', I'd rather use 'pleasant' and 'unpleasant' instead. I think that's more accurate and also prevents you from trying to push yourself away from such emotions, which only makes the suffering worse.

Craig

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Re: When issues are surfacing...
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2013, 10:42:00 AM »
Hi Renze  ;)

Yeah, you're quite right. There are times when my meditation practice has me feeling ecstatic  :angel: It can be like a yo-yo effect. Sometimes you're up and sometimes your down. But I think you're right that we shouldn't push ourselves away from suffering, or get too caught up in the sea of ecstasy. Rather we should just be mindful of whatever it is that is occurring.

skunk

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Re: When issues are surfacing...
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2013, 08:23:28 PM »
This thread caught my attention when I was lurking. I've been meditating for 3 - 4 weeks and initially felt refreshed and calmer  (though the natural skeptic in me wondered if this was merely a 'placebo effect' based upon my expectations). Whatever.

In the last week though, I have relapsed to black moods and slight depressions - a reversal to aspects of my personality structure that I'm very familiar with from the past but which I'd finally started to outgrow recently. I did a search and found that it's not uncommon. It may be coincidence but if it's really stuff surfacing then I find that encouraging. I know that my dreams occasionally perform a psychic repairing/sorting function (like de-fragging your pc, really) and have found them strikingly therapeutic and powerful. But they cannot be controlled; meditation might provide slighty more leverage over these things which is encouraging.

There seem to hasve been other effects too, but they are so near-imperceptible as yet and it is too early to rule out coincidence, and I don't like to just chuck out a bunch of speculation that can be misleading.


Craig

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Re: When issues are surfacing...
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2013, 09:48:15 PM »
Hi Skunk.
You're right when you say that it is not uncommon. It does annoy me sometimes when I read a book on meditation and they always fail to mention the hardships of meditation, instead opting to paint a pretty picture and describing meditation as something that will have you riding the waves of bliss all the time. Seasoned practioners know that this is not the case and that much of our "bad stuff" that we would normally try to forget about will come to the forefront of our attention. My old personality traits are something that have repeatedly returned since I began meditating. Rest assured though they do begin to diminish with time and when I look back at how far I've come, it just makes me realise what a miracle mindfulness is. The positive benefits I've obtained speak for themselves and this encourages me to keep at it when my subconcious throws up another wobbler for me to deal with. You said you're only a newbie to meditation and I remember how hard it was in my early days. Keep at the practice. The fact that you're expereince a recurrence of old personality traits suggests that your practice is beginning to stir things up. As uncomfortable as this is, it is actually something to welcome as it sounds like from what you're saying that change has begun and that's definitely something to be positive about  ;D

skunk

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Re: When issues are surfacing...
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2013, 01:56:22 AM »
Thanks Craig. I noticed during my research that some experienced practitioners suspected novice 'sufferers' were meditating incorrectly or failing to be mindful of the depressions, while others claimed that you should just go with the moods. These moods can be seductive. Have you tended to just 'ride through them' or have you made the effort to detach and try to observe them while trying to get on with the day. Is it a mistake to give in to them?

amusiathread

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Re: When issues are surfacing...
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2013, 06:06:11 AM »
Thanks for the thoughtful comments and insights. To further expand on the topic, how has meditation and practicing mindfulness affected your perception of time? I've found lately that while practicing acceptance and not putting up as much resistance to boredom throughout the workday, I'm finding that the workdays and weeks are flying by surprisingly fast. Too fast, really. I'm trying to be mindful to be more in touch with the present, but it seems to be going by way too fast! Is this a phase, or something I need to be mindful of and learn to live with?

Craig

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Re: When issues are surfacing...
« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2013, 11:28:14 AM »
Hello again.
Sorry for the delayed response.
Thanks Craig. I noticed during my research that some experienced practitioners suspected novice 'sufferers' were meditating incorrectly or failing to be mindful of the depressions, while others claimed that you should just go with the moods. These moods can be seductive. Have you tended to just 'ride through them' or have you made the effort to detach and try to observe them while trying to get on with the day. Is it a mistake to give in to them?
I think the key is to always be mindful and observe them. Through doing this we can gain insight into our depression or whatever else it is that we are experiencing at any given time. You're right when you say that the moods are very seductive and mindfulness is not an easy skill and requires a lot of practice and determination. However, it is a much better option than getting too caught up in these moods which only leads to rumination and makes our depression worse. It's a viscous circle - the more down we're feeling, the more likely we are to ruminate and the more we ruminate, the more depressed we feel.
Thanks for the thoughtful comments and insights. To further expand on the topic, how has meditation and practicing mindfulness affected your perception of time? I've found lately that while practicing acceptance and not putting up as much resistance to boredom throughout the workday, I'm finding that the workdays and weeks are flying by surprisingly fast. Too fast, really. I'm trying to be mindful to be more in touch with the present, but it seems to be going by way too fast! Is this a phase, or something I need to be mindful of and learn to live with?
I've never personally experienced this but everyone has their own experiences with meditation, none of which are right or wrong. I have, however, experienced my perception of time shift during a meditation session. My time on the cusion usually flies by.