Author Topic: Conflict with the path  (Read 4940 times)

Be Still

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Conflict with the path
« on: December 24, 2013, 01:56:52 AM »
Greetings everyone, this is my first time posting here and wanted to know if there was anyone in this community that could shed light on something I experienced recently.

About a week ago, I was meditating. It was a very simple meditation, simply watch the thoughts in your head as if they were clouds. As I watched, one by one they faded away and I became calm. Afterwards, there was almost no thought or great gaps where there seemed to be none and I felt sucked into the present where suddenly I was aware of everything around me and not just where I placed my attention. So far, this is standard in my practice. What occurred afterwards however, was not so standard.. All of a sudden, I felt like I was dying. A fear of death and going insane overwhelmed me, I began talking to myself: "No. No. Don't." As if continuing any further would result in my demise. Something from inside cried out in panic. At the same time, a great burst of energy began to radiate through me. Mind you, I am not an energetic person at all. This intensity of energy was unreal. I felt like a new person, someone better than who I was before. I was fine with the energy but I was not fine with the fear of death or going insane, as if everything was about to reach the end. So I tried to stop it with my will, whatever this meditation lead me to I tried to push it back into my depths. If meditation is awareness then what is its opposite? Unconsciousness, hypnosis. So I began to force myself to day dream. Slowly, the fear vanished and I just sat there. The energy still remained. For several days afterwards, this energy remained. I have an anxiety disorder, for several days afterwards it was non-existent.

I believe it has been little over a week, the energy is gone. There is no trace of this fear either(but the usual tension of my anxiety disorder has returned). Looking back in retrospect, I believe I came close to dissolving or putting aside the false identity that is the ego. What occurs afterwards? Once a person's identity is dissolved, does the truth surface on its own? Do you suddenly see the light? Is everything the path of spirituality wants to show you finally seen? I do not know. I cannot know, the moment came and I got too scared to continue. I was even somewhat out of breath when it happened. I could be completely wrong, perhaps that is not the end. Perhaps this is no precursor to enlightenment, merely another scene on the path to see and follow.

Since this happened, I have been looking back in retrospect and thought many things. I was afraid to lose myself. Once you lose yourself, what will happen? Sri Ramana Maharshi saw what he needed to see and left everything behind and under went several years of silence. I'm a 24 year old Californian guy, I'm afraid I cannot afford to have an epiphany that leads to this. That is just one example, look back at the events that followed enlightenment for many notable individuals. Much of it is something I do not want to happen to me. But who can say? When the nature is revealed, who can say what you will become? And who can say how I will react? Or where I will go? Or what I will do?

As crazy as this might sound, I've become scared of enlightenment or whatever this scary precursor to it seems to be. If that is even what this is. Everything that I have read so far, points to it being just that, and points to it as being a necessary step. Since then, I have not engaged in any prolonged meditation sessions anymore. I've barely meditated at all.

That is my story, before this occurred, I never signed up to anything related to meditation such as a forum. But after that, someone needed to hear this -- like minded people no doubt not random people who will tell me I am insane. I believe I already know the answer to this conundrum, I believe I already know what I have to do, but I do not know it all hence I am here.

Please, shed me your insights on this matter. What do you think this is?
Watch your thoughts as if they were clouds and one by one they will fade away and a clear sky will be revealed.

Stanislav

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Re: Conflict with the path
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2013, 08:45:16 AM »
There is nothing to be afraid of, it's just a thoughts. Once disidentification for "yourself" happened you still can have some fun. You know that it's not who think you are. Play with that.
Ramana Maharshi experience is very rare. I know some people that had awakening and there is no problem. They still functioning in society, some of them got new talents, music and painting, actor abilites.
Accept your fear. Do not resist anything. Live as you lived. And enlightenment will take care of itself.

Re: Conflict with the path
« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2013, 05:02:20 AM »
hi Be Still,

When one leaves home and becomes a monk there is a strong desire for escape from this suffering.... ( for this to happen first awareness has to be big enough to see unsatisfactory even in the mist of the happiest moment of once life)...

This path if truly practiced one cannot escape the path of abandoning everything... because they make no sense what so ever to have... even love , there is inherent suffering attached to it. (i am talking about the common love not 'love and compassion for all beings')

But if you practice with half mindedness and have attachment still in physical world then dont worry that attachment will remain as it is and you will not progress much to reach a state of total abandonment. But still remove some layers of impurity.

CameronJ

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Re: Conflict with the path
« Reply #3 on: December 25, 2013, 06:07:33 AM »
Be Still,

Looks like you've uncovered a fear of insanity and death, which wouldn't be an uncommon aversion for a lot of us. It would follow that insanity and death could be good topics of contemplation for you. What is it about insanity, for instance, that provokes fear? Is it that it's associated with isolation, for example? Or are insanity and death frightening because they're associated with the loss of things that you value? Is it, then, worth valuing those things so much (attachment) if it leads to this kind of fear and limitation in your awareness? It might help to pose a couple basic questions, like these, as the occasion for some meditation sessions.

In a meditation practice, I think it's normal to take a step back once in a while. You'll always have the opportunity to confront whatever you backed away from eventually. If it's a particularly difficult obstacle, it could take more time and patience. No need to force it if you feel it'll lead to your demise though...as long as you don't sweep it under the carpet but, instead, take measures to come to terms with it at a reasonable pace.

Be Still

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Re: Conflict with the path
« Reply #4 on: December 25, 2013, 08:02:45 AM »
There is nothing to be afraid of, it's just a thoughts. Once disidentification for "yourself" happened you still can have some fun. You know that it's not who think you are. Play with that.
Ramana Maharshi experience is very rare. I know some people that had awakening and there is no problem. They still functioning in society, some of them got new talents, music and painting, actor abilites.
Accept your fear. Do not resist anything. Live as you lived. And enlightenment will take care of itself.

Thank you, and what you have said goes side by side with what I was actually thinking. This fear, I think most people who come near to dissolve themselves will feel some of it. 'Some of it' might actually be an understatement, when the ego -- the strongest thought you have ever had -- begins to die.. You will feel it. When I felt it, the energy and the fear grew in magnitude every moment I was in it. This was not even the epiphany itself, I felt like I was on the edge and it was coming -- soon it was coming. This was merely the reception to the main party -- a minor vibration to the earth-shattering that was about to happen.
Be Still,

Looks like you've uncovered a fear of insanity and death, which wouldn't be an uncommon aversion for a lot of us. It would follow that insanity and death could be good topics of contemplation for you. What is it about insanity, for instance, that provokes fear? Is it that it's associated with isolation, for example? Or are insanity and death frightening because they're associated with the loss of things that you value? Is it, then, worth valuing those things so much (attachment) if it leads to this kind of fear and limitation in your awareness? It might help to pose a couple basic questions, like these, as the occasion for some meditation sessions.

In a meditation practice, I think it's normal to take a step back once in a while. You'll always have the opportunity to confront whatever you backed away from eventually. If it's a particularly difficult obstacle, it could take more time and patience. No need to force it if you feel it'll lead to your demise though...as long as you don't sweep it under the carpet but, instead, take measures to come to terms with it at a reasonable pace.

My perspective on the fear of insanity and death basically connects to the dissolution of the self. When your identity is on its last leg, it cries out from deep within with its final defense mechanisms. So, its not specifically a fear of insanity or death -- this is no real issue -- it's more the ego dying. If it can even die, perhaps it is merely placed aside. These two fears were impulses during a longer than normal meditation session I had where I remained in a state of awareness for a prolonged period of time. In that session, my awareness felt like a laser beam -- every thought that passed was purged, incinerated. I didn't think it would lead to this. I don't think much of the two fears, just defense mechanisms of an ego that I almost discarded that day. And as for my self-demise, that is the point I just have to figure out how to do it without leading up to a heart attack next time :D. You are correct about facing it, it is necessary.
hi Be Still,

When one leaves home and becomes a monk there is a strong desire for escape from this suffering.... ( for this to happen first awareness has to be big enough to see unsatisfactory even in the mist of the happiest moment of once life)...

This path if truly practiced one cannot escape the path of abandoning everything... because they make no sense what so ever to have... even love , there is inherent suffering attached to it. (i am talking about the common love not 'love and compassion for all beings')

But if you practice with half mindedness and have attachment still in physical world then dont worry that attachment will remain as it is and you will not progress much to reach a state of total abandonment. But still remove some layers of impurity.

Well, in my opinion, you cannot even escape suffering after enlightenment. You say life has things in it with inherent suffering attached to it? I say life itself has inherent suffering attached to it. For this, I do not take any special approach -- A simple that's life suffices for me. I guess many people look at enlightenment from a stop suffering point of view, this is not my perspective.
Watch your thoughts as if they were clouds and one by one they will fade away and a clear sky will be revealed.

Re: Conflict with the path
« Reply #5 on: December 25, 2013, 12:11:12 PM »
I have experienced immeasurable amount of suffering reduced after following the path.

I can feel the teaching itself is about complete irradiation of suffering. Till now it has not completely disappeared so i cant say for sure.

Be Still

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Re: Conflict with the path
« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2013, 06:39:45 PM »
I have experienced immeasurable amount of suffering reduced after following the path.

I can feel the teaching itself is about complete irradiation of suffering. Till now it has not completely disappeared so i cant say for sure.

I believe in two types of problems, inner struggles and real world problems. Inner struggles are perceptual things; the way you look at the world can change all of that. The way you look at the world can cause a lot of grief -- Look at cognitive behavioral therapy, the only proven psychological therapy to work and it only works by changing perspectives and altering underlying beliefs. Perspective is a powerful thing indeed. My irrational anxiety, a psychological struggle, disappeared for several days. I believe an awakening can evaporate much of that for what is it but the most profound of perspective shifts. However, real world problems like being broke or having spousal issues will still need to be solved before or after attainment but most importantly your relationship and view on these problems change afterwards. For better or worse it seems, who can say but you after you have seen it.

To me, whether you choose to see because you want the truth or you choose to see because you want to end your plight, it is all well. It is all well because the path is followed. Regardless, you are trying to reach the truth. Reaching the truth in and of itself is worthwhile enough regardless of why you choose to do so. That is how I think of it anyways.

Mind you, my perspective on things are bound to be different from say a Buddhist where the ending of suffering is stressed because I follow no organized religion.
Watch your thoughts as if they were clouds and one by one they will fade away and a clear sky will be revealed.

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Conflict with the path
« Reply #7 on: December 25, 2013, 07:55:57 PM »
You don't have to follow an organized religion to be Buddhist.

Mpgkona

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Re: Conflict with the path
« Reply #8 on: December 25, 2013, 08:57:27 PM »
Likewise you don't have to be Buddhist to want to end suffering. After all, Buddha was FAR from being Buddhist. And Christ was far from being a Christian.
When you change the way you look at things the things you look at change.

Be Still

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Re: Conflict with the path
« Reply #9 on: December 25, 2013, 09:31:39 PM »
You don't have to follow an organized religion to be Buddhist.
Likewise you don't have to be Buddhist to want to end suffering. After all, Buddha was FAR from being Buddhist. And Christ was far from being a Christian.

Well said.

Also, I thank all those who responded. For the first time in several days since that occurrence, I sat down for meditation and resumed everything. This experience will come again. When? Perhaps, tonight or tomorrow or next week or next month or even a year from now. When it comes, I will be ready for it. Stanislav, your comments in particular have been very helpful.
Watch your thoughts as if they were clouds and one by one they will fade away and a clear sky will be revealed.

Re: Conflict with the path
« Reply #10 on: December 26, 2013, 04:28:03 PM »
I have found that as you progress nature supports you in solving the problems that you call 'real world problems'.

Stanislav

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Re: Conflict with the path
« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2013, 04:49:20 PM »
Be Still,

Don't wait for anything. Keep practicing if you need. It's just experience. Thoughts, emotion, even body is impermanent. Experience too. But who aware of any experience? Who is never changed? Find this one. If you understood this - you are free.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2013, 04:51:48 PM by Stanislav »

Featherwalker

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Re: Conflict with the path
« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2014, 02:48:58 PM »
Be Still,

I am so happy to come across someone who has had an experience that is so similar to my own. How long I have waited for this day!

About 10 years ago this week I was still reeling over an ex-girlfriends dishonesty and betrayals and while looking into a mirror I asked God to help me forgive her as He would. The prayer was heartfelt and sincere. I felt something inside of me (exhaustion?) lead me to lay down on the bed and as my head hit the pillow I saw in my mind's eye myself in a car traveling on a highway towards Atlanta from the spiritual retreat we met at in the North Georgia mountains. The car accelerated so fast I felt my body buckle much like a simulated ride at Disney. All of a sudden I was flooded with the brightest Light and Power I had ever encountered. It was beyond belief and afterwards I could only think of the Gita's description of "1000 noon day suns." I, too, had the feeling that I was going to die if the experience continued. It felt like 1000 noon day suns while sitting in an electric chair being shocked.

Thankfully, the experience passed as quickly as it came and I got up and went outside for a walk wondering what to make of it. I don't know if it changed me in any fundamental way. I have usually tried to act honorably and have done my best most of the time (behaving is the hardest part, eh?).

I have since wondered if it was a flood of energy being released by forgiving but I think it was more. Forgiveness is a process and I still have to reaffirm it when my mind revisits the past as it will do on occasion. I have also wondered if it wasn't the 7th chakra being opened for a moment - but for what reason and to what end I do not know. I did not feel a Presence as so many report nor did I feel some holy stillness - just Power and Light.

I am thankful you posted your experience. If anyone could shed any light (pun intended) on this please let me know.

Featherwalker


Matthew

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Re: Conflict with the path
« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2014, 07:09:24 AM »
Featherwalker,

Can I ask what felt qualities this power and light delivered? Blissful or disturbing? Peaceful or turmoil? Comfort or fear?

Particularly the felt qualities before your mind started to analyse this experience?

Kindly,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Featherwalker

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Re: Conflict with the path
« Reply #14 on: July 16, 2014, 04:03:51 AM »
I saw Light and felt Power and was awe-stricken. It was overwhelming after a while - I don't think it lasted long.
I also had some interesting experiences some months beforehand at a place just down the road. Twice I woke up to myself in the middle of the night and was simple aware without being aware of light or darkness and knew the greatest peace I have ever known. I began to realize that it was odd that I was experiencing this without a sense of self (if I have to put it into words) and started to become aware of I, I, I, and then it felt like I was racing like a train through a tunnel and I became aware of darkness and approaching sound. The sound was like standing next to a 747 with its engines revving. As I woke up I realized this "sound" was the silence of a quiet bedroom deep in the night.

Matthew

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    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Conflict with the path
« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2014, 06:15:04 PM »
Hi Featherwalker,

Two things on your description stand out: the lack of sense of space and the great peace you describe feeling, before the sense of "I" kicked in.

It sounds as if you have stumbled into a state of Jhana or absorption yet lacked the foundation of calm and equanimity to deal with it (which is no surprise).

I think development of meditation, specifically equanimity, will benefit you in dealing with whatever arises in your practice.

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

VinceField

Re: Conflict with the path
« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2014, 06:55:53 PM »
Featherwalker

Your experience sounds similar to some of my out of body experiences and other similar types of spiritual experiences involving the projection of consciousness and experiences of blissful light energy.  Many others have reported similar experiences as well.  These types of experiences are particularly common in the middle of the night for those with natural or developed heightened levels of mindfulness in altered states of consciousness.  States of intense light and bliss seem to be attributes of some of the higher vibrational dimensions that one's consciousness can attune to by shifting out of alignment with the physical body/physical dimension and into higher frequency states. 

I have likewise had similar experiences as you described of waking in a meditative state without a sense of self.  During these experiences I would feel pure love and unconditional peace.  I would have no acknowledgment of who I was, but would be totally absorbed in a state of pure being.  I would sometimes even communicate with my wife in these states, which would result in demonstrations of unconditional affection and appreciation for her.  It seemed to be a truly wholesome state of being, unimpeded by the fabrications of the ego personality and connected to a deeper source of wisdom. 

Nicky

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Re: Conflict with the path
« Reply #17 on: July 25, 2014, 09:17:04 PM »

About a week ago, I was meditating. It was a very simple meditation, simply watch the thoughts in your head as if they were clouds. As I watched, one by one they faded away and I became calm. Afterwards, there was almost no thought or great gaps where there seemed to be none and I felt sucked into the present where suddenly I was aware of everything around me and not just where I placed my attention. So far, this is standard in my practice. What occurred afterwards however, was not so standard.. All of a sudden, I felt like I was dying. A fear of death and going insane overwhelmed me, I began talking to myself: "No. No. Don't." As if continuing any further would result in my demise. Something from inside cried out in panic. At the same time, a great burst of energy began to radiate through me. Mind you, I am not an energetic person at all. This intensity of energy was unreal. I felt like a new person, someone better than who I was before. I was fine with the energy but I was not fine with the fear of death or going insane, as if everything was about to reach the end.

This experience is normal. If it can be passed through, the mind will settle on naturally on the breath & increasing calmness will follow.

The Buddha taught there are five hindrances to peaceful samadhi, the last being doubt, which includes this natural existential fear.

When this existential fear arises, it is certainly horrifying but it can certainly pass, like another passing cloud.

Best wishes  :)


French_V

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Re: Conflict with the path
« Reply #18 on: July 27, 2014, 04:40:43 PM »
Be Still,
This reminds me of something an early teacher told me: the path seen as an effort to "destroy" the ego, and a warning that the ego is programmed for survival and will do anything to stop this effort...
But in the end, this struggle comes from our identification with the ego: the death of this so-powerful ego, as it happens when the time is right, will not feel like a loss, the same way you don't mourn old clothes that have served their purpose and that you have outgrown.
In the meantime, my teacher's advice was to witness this apparent struggle like you would an interesting movie or a good novel: not with disdain or hate, but as something that is not me and that I can chose to continue reading.

 

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