Author Topic: Question about my life based on my experience  (Read 272 times)

garyblackhouse

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Question about my life based on my experience
« on: March 17, 2018, 01:21:47 PM »
There's a new thread in "meditation, practice and the path" board titled "separated from the body." I was going to post in there but didn't want to hi-jack the thread with my own stuff because I don't really have an answer, just more questions. This is quite important to me, any feedback would be welcomed.

After meditating for 3 or 4 months daily my practice seems to deepen and I experience my body fading away until there is just this sort of peaceful spaciousness. It usually begins with body becoming very, very, VERY heavy then as I move through and observe is becomes lighter and lighter until "I" am no longer present in mind nor body and all that remains is the sense of "I am," whatever body there is is very subtle indeed. I would go as for to call mystical or religious experience.

However, last time this happened, about 6 months ago, I became quite unhappy after, life seemed to start moving quite fast and I burned out. I started smoking weed again about a week later, for a couple of months. Again I am back to this point of a solid sila and my practice deepening progressively for about 3 months, and again this experience of dissolution of mind and body occurs this morning. C

Could it be that my consciousness is growing so fast that my mind can't keep up and is over-whelmed? Thus leading me back to old habits? I don't want to suppress these experiences of "bliss" when they occur in my meditation, it's best to let what is happening, happen, but what can I do differently after they happen so I don't become so unhappy with life? I am slightly concerned that a similar cycle will occur in the coming weeks that will take me in the wrong direction.

I'm beginning to question whether I'm re-lapsing on weed because I'm addicted to it, or if I'm re-lapsing on weed because through meditation life is taking me to new and unknown places, and my old self can't handle it, so it goes back in to old habits to have the same kind of experience of ignorance it's always had. It's as if my smoking habit is my ego saying "pause" on life and the path until a later date, but eventually I must move past this, right? I feel like I'm in the perfect position now, to move through these doors, but in the past my mind and old habits just take over and I lose my equanimity.

Peace and metta to all.

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Question about my life based on my experience
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2018, 10:39:01 AM »
Hey Gary,

I think there could be a few things going on here.

One is that through your cultivation of presence and mindfulness, the addictive habits of your ego become more obvious and something you're critical of. The path involves a degree of conscious effort, and the ego is usually living in some form of addiction, whether it be to food, drugs, alcohol, sex, or even thought itself.

Secondly, as you are deepening your presence and equanimity, your ego is clinging to it's safety blankets, one of these in your case being weed. As your mind sees things more clearly, when you're pre-occupied or slipping back to automatic patterns, even less choice is available to the automated you.

I think there's a level of courage and determination required, but that is accessible to you.

All the best.

Alex

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Re: Question about my life based on my experience
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2018, 02:19:33 PM »
Hey Gary

It seems that you are determined to look/understand what is happening and build a life that is based on virtue.

If I understand you well, you seem to have deepened your practice leading to very subtle experiences of presence/awareness. Then something seems to have been triggered (in meditation or maybe in other areas of your life?) leading to a loss of this ‘momentum’ and a return to old unhealthy habits. Now you have re-found a solid sila, as you call it, and your practice is deepening again and you’re wondering how to avoid a similar cycle?

A question that comes to mind is what you mean with ‘becoming unhappy with life’ after the mystical/religous meditation experiences…

In addition, I would like to offer the following to consider: maybe transformation is a gradual process (with sometimes a more sudden progress). Addiction and old habits tend to die slowly and, it probably depends on the person, sometimes we need a few cycles to grow out of them.
Also, maybe we can not always understand everything about these processes that unfold in due time, but if we look closely, we can learn about the dynamics and patterns, which helps us to make better choices.

Kindly
Alex

stillpointdancer

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Re: Question about my life based on my experience
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2018, 10:26:28 AM »
Could it be that my consciousness is growing so fast that my mind can't keep up and is over-whelmed? Thus leading me back to old habits? I don't want to suppress these experiences of "bliss" when they occur in my meditation, it's best to let what is happening, happen, but what can I do differently after they happen so I don't become so unhappy with life? I am slightly concerned that a similar cycle will occur in the coming weeks that will take me in the wrong direction.

I'm beginning to question whether I'm re-lapsing on weed because I'm addicted to it, or if I'm re-lapsing on weed because through meditation life is taking me to new and unknown places, and my old self can't handle it

Peace and metta to all.
Sometimes the mind doesn't want to change and fights back, as you have seen. Luckily you have experienced some positive effects of meditation as well, so maybe you will be able to handle it. Well done for seeing the cyclic nature of things when you start meditating, or maybe it's like the tide gradually changing, too slow to see. And sometimes it is two steps forwards and three steps back!

Maybe you were just going too fast and you needed space to catch up before taking up meditation again. This has happened to me over the years, but the desire for 'new and unknown places' kept me going.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

deepdown

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Re: Question about my life based on my experience
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2018, 11:33:29 PM »
Hi friends. Thanks for your responses. They all resonated quite deeply with what it is I'm going through. And I'll take what you said on board.

To respond to your questions, Alex.

If I understand you well, you seem to have deepened your practice leading to very subtle experiences of presence/awareness. Then something seems to have been triggered (in meditation or maybe in other areas of your life?) leading to a loss of this ‘momentum’ and a return to old unhealthy habits. Now you have re-found a solid sila, as you call it, and your practice is deepening again and you’re wondering how to avoid a similar cycle?

Yes, that's basically it I would say, last time I had this very subtle experience of awareness a week later everything became super heavy again and I believe I became unhappy because a week before that I was floating in bliss and then it was gone, but this was half a year ago, and a big lesson, understanding that we can't be in bliss all of the time, and we must live on this earthly plane.

At that time, about half a year ago, there were also other factors that made things difficult and made me go back to smoking, it seemed like a perfect storm looking at it now. I realized I was working too hard in college, doing too much exercise and I also had a potential intimate relationship for the first time in about 6 years that totally caught me off guard and threw me up all sorts of challenges I just wasn't ready for, it freaked me out. I thought doing lots of exercise and pushing my body would help me stay off weed, but that back-fired too, so now I am doing a more sustained exercise routine, something called LSD (long, slow, distance) and being more cunning in my approach to relationships. It was also coming in to winter at the time, so it all sort of built up and I got burned out. One day I was cycling to college, I turned around and went to my friends house to buy weed, and thus my practice took a time out for a few months and my commitment to college faded for a while too, until I was ready to "start again." Since then it has been going okay, I am over 3 months off weed again, I feel I am at that point where it will show it's face again sometime soon, and I think like you guys are saying above, a bit of courage, conscious effort and even faith will go a long way. I do feel more "ready" after each cycle and understanding it more and myself more. I've been adapting my lifestyle slightly too so I can generally live in a smoother way, perhaps that way I can stop getting burned out, and conserve my energy so I have the strength to face what ever is to come.

I feel it's inevitable that I will start craving again sometime soon, I thought in the past I could move on from weed without craving it but perhaps it is something I just need to let arise and then send it some metta and prayer and use mindfulness and understanding. It's an old ugly self-destructive part of my self that I need to show compassion for, even started talking to that part of myself to let it know I am not going to neglect it. These are all new little things I've been doing to see if it will help, and I think it is. Once I have that first drag the habit rolls like a train for months until it eventually runs out of steam, with courage and effort perhaps I can avoid putting fuel in the tank in the first place, that is to say, observe the habit rather than let it take control.



deepdown

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Re: Question about my life based on my experience
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2018, 11:34:23 PM »
I should probably mention deepdown is the new garyblackhouse.

Alex

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Re: Question about my life based on my experience
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2018, 08:14:45 AM »
I'm beginning to question whether I'm re-lapsing on weed because I'm addicted to it, or if I'm re-lapsing on weed because through meditation life is taking me to new and unknown places, and my old self can't handle it,

it seemed like a perfect storm looking at it now.

Spoken like a true meteorologist.  ;)
I guess this also answers your question as to why you turned to weed?
Interesting to look closely at all inner and outer weather phenomena. Whether rainy or sunny, they deserve equal attention and compassion. Good to see that you're befriending and tending to the darker microclimates of your mind/heart.

I don't know if this caught your eye, but Matthew recently linked to a podcast on craving and science https://www.vipassanaforum.net/forum/index.php?topic=3342. It's with American psychiatrist Judson Brewer who does research on changing habits, craving and mindfulness. You can also find a TED talk online. Might be interesting for you to watch/listen to.

Kindly
Alex

deepdown

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Re: Question about my life based on my experience
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2018, 10:22:00 PM »
I'm beginning to question whether I'm re-lapsing on weed because I'm addicted to it, or if I'm re-lapsing on weed because through meditation life is taking me to new and unknown places, and my old self can't handle it,

it seemed like a perfect storm looking at it now.

Spoken like a true meteorologist.  ;)
I guess this also answers your question as to why you turned to weed?
Interesting to look closely at all inner and outer weather phenomena. Whether rainy or sunny, they deserve equal attention and compassion. Good to see that you're befriending and tending to the darker microclimates of your mind/heart.

I don't know if this caught your eye, but Matthew recently linked to a podcast on craving and science https://www.vipassanaforum.net/forum/index.php?topic=3342. It's with American psychiatrist Judson Brewer who does research on changing habits, craving and mindfulness. You can also find a TED talk online. Might be interesting for you to watch/listen to.

Kindly
Alex

I'm not sure if I answered my question fully, looking at it a little further. I've turned to weed under different circumstances as many times as there have been seasons since I began smoking over 6 years ago. Perhaps life is just tough no matter what the situation is looking deeper at it, if it's not relationship issues it's an issue of being lonely, if I'm not stressed with college then I'm stressed having nothing to do, no matter what the situation in the past my mind created the excuse to have a smoke and relieve it. But ultimately I see there is no escape from the reality of life, it just keeps going... I can give my mind a short term dose of some kind of clarity but it just makes matters worse than they were before.

I've been off weed again for nearly 4 months, 4 months was my longest ever break from it, I think I've grown a lot through it all and with age and experience I feel I am accepting life more and connecting with what matters. I picked up a book my Jack Kornfield called "A Path With Heart", I'm doing less Vipassana now and more metta practice, finding it beneficial. Behind it all is probably just a lack of love for myself, a love I know wants to be seen, acknowledged and cultivated, a love that has been outdone by fear so many times in the past, even doing more metta practice this past week I feel more, umm, at peace. All those deep states of consciousness are well and good but I think I've made the mistake of neglecting the heart and human connection, Jack talks about that in his book and it really resonated. He says he had visions, did long retreats, deep states of awareness, walked barefoot, studied the texts for 19 years but then came back to society and couldn't connect with people. I seem to be having the same trouble, but realizing that now and making effort to change it can only be a positive thing. It seems like a matter of the heart, indeed.

Thanks for the link above. I will certainly have a look.  :)

Alex

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Re: Question about my life based on my experience
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2018, 03:05:12 PM »
Before I forget: well done for the (nearly) 4 months!

You say that there are deeper layers to the apparent stressors that seem to impact your life. Perhaps life is just though, you write. Weed seems to have brought you some clarity in the midst of the emotional whirlpools.

Maybe, linking it to the matters of the heart you refer to below, life is especially though when there is a sense of separateness, and unworthiness. Maybe then, weed was also like a soothing medicine, bringing you a sense of peace and contentment, filling a void in your heart, even though it was a temporary and unfulfilling substitute for the real thing?
And now you’re on to the real thing, cultivating something that didn’t come to full development within your own personal history, but that you feel is of crucial importance for a good life deep within your bones.

Working with/through these matters of the heart myself, I find all this very interesting. This is probably why your words resonate strongly, but maybe even more because of the heart-warming honesty in your words. Thank you for that.

Warm regards
Alex

deepdown

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Re: Question about my life based on my experience
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2018, 06:18:01 PM »
Alex, your post really hit the spot, thank you. You summed the situation and what seems to have been a process up very well.  It's great to connect with others, albeit online, who are going through something similar. Maybe I need to find a place for weed in my heart also, perhaps it was necessary in the past so soothe those struggles and growing pains. I might do some meditation on that and look upon weed as an old friend who I've simply grown apart from, as apposed to an enemy who was holding me back from greater, more ever-lasting things.

Alex

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Re: Question about my life based on my experience
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2018, 10:25:11 PM »
Happy to help (and connect).  ;)
It’s freaky sometimes to see how similar certain things can be…