Author Topic: stressful times/difficult practice  (Read 510 times)

mobius

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    • vipassana
stressful times/difficult practice
« on: December 15, 2019, 10:27:22 PM »
For the past few months (and for at least a few months ahead I anticipate) I am going through a particularly stressful time. Short story; deaths in the family, troubles/fighting over inheritance and real estate, and poor relationship issues with my family which have been brewing for a very long time. So needless to say my mind's been really scattered lately; often getting lost in the stress and worry about where my life's going to go from here.

I've realized recently that for a while now since this began most of my meditation sits have been different than before: most of the time my mind is wondering and I can only get back to my breath for a second or two; a handful of times. And it's had a bit of a lasting effect cause I've noticed some things like my hallucinations at night being reduced and my memory of late is poorer (like it used to be...).

I've tried sitting longer; but often that just results in more time ruminating (more of the above). I've tried other techniques but most of them, like before, just give me horrible headaches.

What should I do? Should I just keep meditating as normal (whats always worked for me) knowing that this stressful time in my life will pass eventually and things will get easier* better again. Or is there something better I can do in the short term to help?

*It's never been easy....
"Not knowing how near the truth is, we seek it far away."
-Hakuin Ekaku

"I have seen a heap of trouble in my life, and most of it has never come to pass" - Mark Twain

Middleway

  • Staff
  • Just be a witness.
    • Vipassana as taught by Mr. Goenka - Switched to Shamatha
Re: stressful times/difficult practice
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2019, 03:22:37 AM »
When my mind is restless for a sitting, I listen to Dhamma talks. Ajahn Brahm talks are very good and also Robert K Hall. This helped me a lot.
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

Dharmic Tui

  • Member
  • Something
    • Some Theravada, some secular
Re: stressful times/difficult practice
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2019, 05:42:02 AM »
Sorry to hear about your troubling times. Hopefully your practice can assist you navigate your way through these times, stay the path and try to keep your distance from all the chaos and human dysfunction that may be going on around you.

stillpointdancer

  • stillpointdancer
  • Member
  • Retired teacher, deepening understanding of Dharma
    • Insight meditation
    • Exploring the results of 30 years of meditating
Re: stressful times/difficult practice
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2019, 12:25:51 PM »
For the past few months (and for at least a few months ahead I anticipate) I am going through a particularly stressful time. Short story; deaths in the family, troubles/fighting over inheritance and real estate, and poor relationship issues with my family which have been brewing for a very long time. So needless to say my mind's been really scattered lately; often getting lost in the stress and worry about where my life's going to go from here.

I've realized recently that for a while now since this began most of my meditation sits have been different than before: most of the time my mind is wondering and I can only get back to my breath for a second or two; a handful of times. And it's had a bit of a lasting effect cause I've noticed some things like my hallucinations at night being reduced and my memory of late is poorer (like it used to be...).

I've tried sitting longer; but often that just results in more time ruminating (more of the above). I've tried other techniques but most of them, like before, just give me horrible headaches.

What should I do? Should I just keep meditating as normal (whats always worked for me) knowing that this stressful time in my life will pass eventually and things will get easier* better again. Or is there something better I can do in the short term to help?

*It's never been easy....
Meditation is worth doing while things aren't too bad so that they see you through the bad times. When bad things happened to me I used to stop meditating for a few weeks, then gradually built it up again but starting with relaxation meditations. For you it may be that you just need to add some relaxation exercises before the main meditation.
“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

mobius

  • Member
    • vipassana
Re: stressful times/difficult practice
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2019, 11:42:28 PM »
I'll try these things. Thanks for the helpful tips as usual  :)
"Not knowing how near the truth is, we seek it far away."
-Hakuin Ekaku

"I have seen a heap of trouble in my life, and most of it has never come to pass" - Mark Twain

dharma bum

  • Moderator
  • Certified Zen Master (second degree black belt)
    • vipassana
Re: stressful times/difficult practice
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2019, 01:33:57 AM »
1. I go for walks if I'm restless/upset during which I try to be aware of breaths.
2. Dharma talks also work for me (Ajahn Brahm).
3. Some movies work for me. Look for Amongst White Clouds on youtube.
4. Some books work for me. By a strange coincidence, one time when I was going through a hard time, I found a copy of Pema Chodron's 'When Things Fall Apart' on a table in the library.
5. I try to convince myself that bad times are good for me because it is an opportunity to rewire my brain. To be honest, I'm not sure it works. :)
Mostly ignorant

Alex

  • Member
Re: stressful times/difficult practice
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2019, 10:27:53 AM »
Sorry to hear you have and are going through a rough patch.

I would suggest orienting the mind more to the relaxed, soft and open qualities of the practice, just sitting and welcoming what is there:
Welcome, scattered mind.
Welcome, worry.
Welcome, breath.
Welcome, rumination.

And if the stress-reactivity in the body-mind settles down a little, maybe nudging the mind somewhat more towards the breath, sparkling interest, curiosity, maybe allowing things to settle down even more.

As an off-the-cushion practice you might repeatedly ask yourself: "How can I relate to my present moment experience in such a way that it might settle or soften somewhat?"

 

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