Author Topic: Doubt & the hindrances  (Read 335 times)

Crispy0405

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Doubt & the hindrances
« on: November 01, 2017, 03:39:16 AM »
I have a question that I would like some input on.

Lately, I have been able to see the fruit that total acceptance and surrender can bring to one's experience. I have tasted moments of pure joy, compassion, and equanimity. In these states, everything appears very clear and I'm able to rest with the experience and not cling on to these pleasant feelings. Everything I have read about and heard from teachers seems crystal clear. Perception is completely altered and the mind is clear.

Inevitably, these experience fall away and hindrances make their way back into the mind. In my experience, the hardest of these hindrances to overcome is doubt. Once doubt enters, it's easy for ill-will to follow as well as other hindrances.

Intellectually, I'm aware of the Four Noble Truths and that desire causes suffering, and even that desire for the cessation of desire causes suffering. I'm aware that aversion to whatever state of mind and feelings are currently present only perpetuates them. However, when the pleasant states are gone and hindrances arise (especially doubt), I begin to question everything I know.

I have told myself and written down tips and advice on how to handle these kinds of situations when my mind was unhindered. Even though I know in my heart to trust my own words and experiences, when doubt is strong enough, everything is deluded.

I don't have a single question, but I would appreciate input on how to handle strong moments of doubt. In the past, I have always managed to accept the feelings and allow them to pass, which is what I know I need to do, however in the moment it can be incredibly difficult.

The toughest thing for me to work with is getting angry at myself for not accepting the unpleasant feelings for how they are. I know that to move past them, I need to accept non-acceptance, but that is always easier said than done. This leads to a downward-spiral of aversion

Alex

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Re: Doubt & the hindrances
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2017, 02:59:56 PM »
I don't have a single question, but I would appreciate input on how to handle strong moments of doubt. In the past, I have always managed to accept the feelings and allow them to pass, which is what I know I need to do, however in the moment it can be incredibly difficult.

The toughest thing for me to work with is getting angry at myself for not accepting the unpleasant feelings for how they are. I know that to move past them, I need to accept non-acceptance, but that is always easier said than done. This leads to a downward-spiral of aversion

At times it’s tough. No arguing from me ;)

I once heard a teacher say “How on earth could difficult emotions be made easy?” It stuck with me. I find it quite reassuring that difficult moments or difficult emotions are allowed to be just what they are… difficult. And that I'm allowed to struggle.

If I get caught in the downward spiral of aversion, as you call it, after feeling miserable for a while, there comes a point where I pick myself up, muster up my courage to try again and ask myself "Okay, what's happening? What's the quality of my attention right now?", trying to find even the tiniest of acceptance to for example the non-acceptance of the anger towards the non-acceptance of the unpleasant emotions. Sometimes the suffering vanishes altogether, more often, especially with my favorite hindrance (greed), it loosens its grip on my attention enough in order to be able to attend to breath again, even for just one breath. And then another.

I get the sense that you already know your way through the forest.

Kindly
Alex

Middleway

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Re: Doubt & the hindrances
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2017, 10:32:08 PM »

Intellectually, I'm aware of the Four Noble Truths and that desire causes suffering, and even that desire for the cessation of desire causes suffering. I'm aware that aversion to whatever state of mind and feelings are currently present only perpetuates them. However, when the pleasant states are gone and hindrances arise (especially doubt), I begin to question everything I know.

This is where the problem lies. Your intellectual mind (ego self) has made some conclusions and thinks it "knows". When it does not go the way it expects, doubt arises. When you really know, there cannot be any doubt. When you don't know, there is no room for doubt to arise. The trouble lies when you allow yourself to be in between. By falsely concluding, your ego takes you to the mountains and in the next moment thrashes against the rocks on the river bed down below.

What to do? First, say to yourself that you are not enlightened. Even your intellectual ego cannot deny that. Then admit to yourself that you don't "know" and all that you think you know is not really knowing but an intellectual understanding.

When you are at this point, the seeking begins. Investigate and enquire and go on seeking. Never conclude. Conclusions are a product of your intellectual ego. When you seek and contemplate, insights arise. Only insights can set you free. Intellectual understanding won't. This is how you will get out the plateau you are in in the last little while. I suggest you read Dakpo Tashi Namgyal. He lays out the steps for this inquiry/investigation very clearly.

Hope this helps and good luck.

Middleway
« Last Edit: November 01, 2017, 10:37:51 PM by Middleway »
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BeHereNow

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Re: Doubt & the hindrances
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2017, 09:35:08 PM »
A teacher once told me "Don't Know Mind is Very Close to Wisdom Mind."

When I find myself in doubt (constantly wanting to know / control), reminding myself that I have permission to not know (be in doubt) is helpful.

Doubt can then become the object of your meditation, on or off the cushion.  What are the thoughts?  Body Sensations?  Emotions that arise? (e.g. is there fear? what does that feel like?)

Much metta,
Paula
"You are the Sky.  Everything else is just the weather." - Pema Chodron