Author Topic: What to do when mind gets agitated  (Read 3107 times)

raushan

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What to do when mind gets agitated
« on: September 04, 2016, 01:23:21 PM »
Hi Everyone,
I have been reading the questions and answers form this forum. It has been helpful for my daily practice of vipassana.
I have been doing vipassana meditation from past 6-7 months regularly for 2 hr a day i.e. 1 hr morning and 1 hr evening. Before starting the meditation I have had mild form of anxiety and depression. Since I started doing the meditation it helped me lot to deal with my thoughts.
It happens with me frequently so I had to ask, After weeks of practice I feel focus and enthusiastic for a day and two, but as soon as it happens old sankharas start to come up. This agitates my mind. It remains sometimes for a day or two. sometimes it stays for week. During this period I won't be able to focus much on my work or on my study. This makes me agitated more as I feel I am already behind with my peers. Also, During these times I tend to fall back to my old habits.

My question is how do I deal with these negative emotion states? What I do during these times as i am not able to focus much on my work then? Should I force my mind to do the work? Sometimes I try doing this but It won't work for me. 

Thanks
Raushan
« Last Edit: September 04, 2016, 01:25:57 PM by raushan »

Laurent

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Re: What to do when mind gets agitated
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2016, 03:19:15 PM »
Hello,

My first thought is that it is normal. It takes time to develop dhamma, depending on the person though (the starting point is not the same for everyone).
So don't worry too much, otherwise it may have a counterproductive effect.
Trying to get out from this anxiety sphere, it seems normal that you will feel anxiety.
Observe it and keep calm  ;)

Metta.
 
« Last Edit: September 04, 2016, 03:21:25 PM by Laurent »

Middleway

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Re: What to do when mind gets agitated
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2016, 03:52:11 PM »
Hi Everyone,
I have been reading the questions and answers form this forum. It has been helpful for my daily practice of vipassana.
I have been doing vipassana meditation from past 6-7 months regularly for 2 hr a day i.e. 1 hr morning and 1 hr evening. Before starting the meditation I have had mild form of anxiety and depression. Since I started doing the meditation it helped me lot to deal with my thoughts.
It happens with me frequently so I had to ask, After weeks of practice I feel focus and enthusiastic for a day and two, but as soon as it happens old sankharas start to come up. This agitates my mind. It remains sometimes for a day or two. sometimes it stays for week. During this period I won't be able to focus much on my work or on my study. This makes me agitated more as I feel I am already behind with my peers. Also, During these times I tend to fall back to my old habits.

My question is how do I deal with these negative emotion states? What I do during these times as i am not able to focus much on my work then? Should I force my mind to do the work? Sometimes I try doing this but It won't work for me. 

Thanks
Raushan

I think you have made good progress. It is good that you are now able to see/notice your agitation, the cause for agitation, and the results (of falling back into your old habits). I suggest that you use your mindfulness to observe these feelings and negative emotions and recall the causes for the same. Investigate and inquire the root causes. Stay with them and watch them arise and fall away. Watch the causes for arising and notice how your mind seeks out distraction from these emotions by falling into old habits. Keep at it and insights arise. Insights will set you free of these negative emotions.

Warm regards,

Middleway

Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

raushan

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    • S. N. Goenka switched to Samatha Forest Tradition
Re: What to do when mind gets agitated
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2016, 06:18:04 PM »
Hello,

My first thought is that it is normal. It takes time to develop dhamma, depending on the person though (the starting point is not the same for everyone).
So don't worry too much, otherwise it may have a counterproductive effect.
Trying to get out from this anxiety sphere, it seems normal that you will feel anxiety.
Observe it and keep calm  ;)

Metta.

Thanks Laurent.
Yes, I feel that I have been expecting instant results from Dhamma. And I start generating misery for myself when it doesn't work as I expect it would be. I try to be patient but it doesn't always happen. Also, I kind of get arrogant and proudy when sometimes I see the glimpse of fruits of Dhamma. Knowing It isn't wholesome thought I tend to get there again and again.
I will keep trying to observe it.
Thanks.

raushan

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    • S. N. Goenka switched to Samatha Forest Tradition
Re: What to do when mind gets agitated
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2016, 06:24:42 PM »
Hi Everyone,
I have been reading the questions and answers form this forum. It has been helpful for my daily practice of vipassana.
I have been doing vipassana meditation from past 6-7 months regularly for 2 hr a day i.e. 1 hr morning and 1 hr evening. Before starting the meditation I have had mild form of anxiety and depression. Since I started doing the meditation it helped me lot to deal with my thoughts.
It happens with me frequently so I had to ask, After weeks of practice I feel focus and enthusiastic for a day and two, but as soon as it happens old sankharas start to come up. This agitates my mind. It remains sometimes for a day or two. sometimes it stays for week. During this period I won't be able to focus much on my work or on my study. This makes me agitated more as I feel I am already behind with my peers. Also, During these times I tend to fall back to my old habits.

My question is how do I deal with these negative emotion states? What I do during these times as i am not able to focus much on my work then? Should I force my mind to do the work? Sometimes I try doing this but It won't work for me. 

Thanks
Raushan

I think you have made good progress. It is good that you are now able to see/notice your agitation, the cause for agitation, and the results (of falling back into your old habits). I suggest that you use your mindfulness to observe these feelings and negative emotions and recall the causes for the same. Investigate and inquire the root causes. Stay with them and watch them arise and fall away. Watch the causes for arising and notice how your mind seeks out distraction from these emotions by falling into old habits. Keep at it and insights arise. Insights will set you free of these negative emotions.

Warm regards,

Middleway
I wasn't aware that I am aware of these until I read your answer. ;). I have tried earlier to observe the negative emotions knowingly or unknowingly but didn't do it persistently. As my mind gets agitated I loose my focus and concentration and stop trying. As you said, I think I have to keep trying it instead of looking a way to escape from it.
Thanks.

VipassanaXYZ

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Re: What to do when mind gets agitated
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2016, 01:46:17 AM »
Raushan, the basics are important.

It is a long path, and at every step, shila, samadhi and panya will help.

The foundation of meditation (shila), will help samadhi, samadhi in turn will help shila.
Keep the five precepts in mind and keep working at refining yourself.

Like I usually say: Take notice of your good qualities and your strengths, remember and delight in the past wholesome deeds and acts of kindness done by you. Remember these qualities and good actions over and over again and with this sound base in the reality and truth of those actions, resolve to protect and multiply your goodness and your strengths. Remeber the good deeds and wholesome action of others. Remember the qualities of the Buddha :). Delight in these and place the intention that you may also start developing the qualities that are not yet present, and strengthen the qualities that are there by putting them into action. Same for the other two exertions, observe the unskillful qualities that are present and make an intention to remove them, observe the unskilful qualities not present in you and guard yourself so they may not find any grounds in you.

Do these exercises frequently, as frequently as you need.

What are good qualities?

Qualities in line with the five precepts, the five faculties (for helping meditation ), and the seven factors  that help meditation:

 5 precepts -read more here: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/precepts.html)

 5 faculties - http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/conze/wheel065.html)

 7 factors -https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Factors_of_Enlightenment )


------------------------------------------

I am also adding a few things I learnt over time:

1. Smile before you sit for one-hour sitting - it releases the stress for a moment and helps you settle down in a pleasant state before you begin with watching the breath first and then move to sensations.

-Try to play Goenkaji's one hour chanting for group sitting if that inspires you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YuAgnfun0RE
You can also download the mp3 from VRI.

2. One of the nivaranas (Goenkaji calls them one of the five hindrances) is lack of energy, it could be because of lack of clarity, or because of lack of energy or enthusiasm. Just know that we are uprooting very deep sankharas, the work is still new, so there are bound to be tough times and times when you would stumble. Just dont give up, as soon as you can gather yourself back, Start Again :)

3. Watch the breath if you find yourself struggling. At one point, I watched the breath for one whole year, it helped me calm down and stopped me from falling back over and over.

4. You have to judge for yourself. When the mind is not so well concentrated, use the breath to sharpen, enliven and clarify the mind. Focus on the breath just below the nostril on a small area (along with sensations), helps to develop equanitmity. Use the breath as long as you need to overcome storms.

If you still find it difficult, and find your attention is hazy then direct the mind to reflect on the following:
Asubha Sutta: Unattractiveness

§4 Insight Knowledge
"This my body consists of the four great elements, is procreated by a mother and father, is built up out of boiled rice and bread, is of the nature of impermanence, of being worn and rubbed away, of dissolution and disintegration, and this my consciousness has that for its support and is bound up with it."

— M. 77, trans. Ven. Ñanamoli

"And what is gratification in the case of form (body)?

"Suppose there were a girl of warrior-noble cast or brahmin caste or householder stock, in her fifteenth or sixteenth year, neither too tall nor too short, neither too thin nor too fat, neither too dark nor too fair: is her beauty and loveliness then at its height?"

"Yes, venerable sir."

"Now the pleasure and joy that arise in dependence on that beauty and loveliness are the gratification in the case of form.

"And what is danger in the case of form?

"Later on one might see that same woman here at eighty, ninety or a hundred years, aged, as crooked as a roof, doubled up, tottering with the aid of sticks, frail, her youth gone, her teeth broken, grey haired, scanty-haired, bald, wrinkled, with limbs all blotchy: how do you conceive this, bhikkhus, has her former beauty and loveliness vanished and the danger become evident?"

"Yes, venerable sir."

"Bhikkhus, this is the danger in the case of form."

— M. 13, "The Mass of Suffering," trans. Ven. Ñanamoli

N.B. Women reading this should change the sex of the person in the above.

"Come, bhikkhus, abide contemplating ugliness in the body, perceiving repulsiveness in nutriment, perceiving disenchantment with all the world, contemplating impermanence in all formations."

— M. 50, trans. Ven. Ñanamoli

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/khantipalo/wheel271.html
-----------------------------------------------------

Also, take care to keep meditation space clean, eat healthy food (more fruits), go out in the sun (sunlight energizes us) and do some yoga to help the body physically.

May you keep progressing in Dhamma, may you overcome all hindrances with persistence, the road may be long but you have found your way at last, now keep working, keep working, the fruits will come, may you reach your goals.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2016, 01:48:45 AM by poojavassa »

VipassanaXYZ

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Re: What to do when mind gets agitated
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2016, 02:17:36 AM »
Also, be careful and see that you are not multiplying the sankhara when meditating.

If you find yourself lost in thoughts, come back to the breath, if that doesnt help - stand. (Instructions from Goenka during courses).

During meditation, mind is focused, if you concentrate on breath/sensations equanimously there is a great benefit, if you let your mind drift deliberately, the opposite happens. You are working at great depths with this technique, so you need to be very careful about this. It is better to breathe slightly harder (or if necessary, to stand, to walk), and then come back to meditation than to let the mind drift deliberately and create more deep sankharas and more burden for yourself.

Be very careful about this, and improvements are bound to come!
« Last Edit: September 06, 2016, 03:04:27 AM by poojavassa »

Re: What to do when mind gets agitated
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2016, 02:18:11 PM »
not resisting the existing state of mind and being comfortable in negative states of mind is also a part of vipassana. As long as you recognise it and not react to it a time will come when you dont hate these states and become comfortable with them.

BeHereNow

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Re: What to do when mind gets agitated
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2016, 04:24:27 PM »
I'm interested in people's experience with the question below:

"What I do during these times as i am not able to focus much on my work then? Should I force my mind to do the work? Sometimes I try doing this but It won't work for me."

I have a similar issue at work, when I have a lot of anxiety / unpleasant sensation at work, I have a hard time getting as much done.  Is the best approach to take it slow, do less, and stay with the sensations?  That's what I'm doing and it seems to work, I feel a bit guilty about doing less at work though... I guess that is another obstacle :-)
"You are the Sky.  Everything else is just the weather." - Pema Chodron

Laurent

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Re: What to do when mind gets agitated
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2016, 10:13:36 PM »
I'm interested in people's experience with the question below:

"What I do during these times as i am not able to focus much on my work then? Should I force my mind to do the work? Sometimes I try doing this but It won't work for me."

I have a similar issue at work, when I have a lot of anxiety / unpleasant sensation at work, I have a hard time getting as much done.  Is the best approach to take it slow, do less, and stay with the sensations?  That's what I'm doing and it seems to work, I feel a bit guilty about doing less at work though... I guess that is another obstacle :-)

It is difficult to answer this question. It depends on each person's conditions and the moment. The important is to keep attention with the global attitude to refrain from aversion or attachment, whatever we are experimenting. So, sometimes you can force the proper technique, sometimes you can only be receptive to what happens. Attention have multiple aspects.

TheJourney

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Re: What to do when mind gets agitated
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2016, 04:00:05 PM »
This agitates my mind. It remains sometimes for a day or two. sometimes it stays for week.

Raushan,

There is grasping. Because of grasping, there arise wandering thoughts.

Mental noting the fact that you just had a thought really works. I don't know how long it takes you to drive to work, but I used to drive 50 minutes to work. I use that driving time to mental note and not listen to any sound in the car, like radio or cd. It took a year but it really works.

I meditate daily twice a day hourly each time; however, I wouldn't depend on my meditation to take into effect. That can take forever. A material science engineer had excessive wandering thoughts but he managed to get a PhD with an excessively wandering mind. He meditated daily. Sometimes he wandered if meditation was working and but he kept at it. He stayed with the meditation even when he felt there was no progress. 25 years later his mind suddenly went still. Thereafter, he has a still mind.

Meditation works but takes forever, and in the meantime disturbances in life can cause the mind to regress. Even though it takes forever, you have to meditate because it is making changes internally.

If you want a faster result, then you need to meditate from waking up until you go to sleep. There is formal meditation such as sitting on the cushion. There is also informal meditation which is the practice of mental noting and mindful awareness. You can do anapanasati with your eyes open in any daytime activities. You can do two minutes here and two minutes there.

Don't just rely on the cushion. Practice meditation all the time. You can build this up.

Definitely, mental note whenever you have thoughts, constantly and persistently. If you forget, it is okay but just keep remembering to do it. If you are persistent, your mind will be calm lot sooner than 25 years.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2016, 04:02:59 PM by TheJourney »