Author Topic: Vipassana, routine, letting go of resentment, and implementation - Advice?  (Read 413 times)

NewPathForward

  • Member
  • Who are you?
    • Beginner in Vipassana / The Path
Hello everybody,

I am very grateful that this forum exists.  Thank you to contributors who are selfless in their effort to help people like me become just a little bit happier, and may it return to you ten fold.

I am a sober drug addict.  Today marks 61 days clean from drugs and alcohol.  Though I have eliminated these negative facets of my life, I feel I need something deeper in order to be happy.  I have been in and out of recovery for some years now, and in this time have followed the program-of-action prescribed by the 12 steps.  This has provided a degree of awareness as to how my self-centeredness and ego cause most, if not all of my perceived problems.

Though I am developing this awareness, I feel it is not enough, for I do not know how to let go of my ego once I become aware of it.  I hope to gain something from the wisdom of the Dharma.  I understand the idea of suffering, attachment, and letting go, but I just don't know how to implement these teachings into my life.

Over the past two weeks, I have developed my practice of Vipassana.  At first, it started as me just meditating for a few minutes before bed due to all the time I have by myself from COVID-19.  I then began to see small benefits, and now my practice involves at least three sessions a day, usually no longer than twenty minutes.  I get restless and I am still learning about my posture. 

One thing I've learned is just how resentful I really am.  I won't go into the specifics of the situation, but I am starting to see how often a specific resentment pops into my mind and disturbs my peace.  To let go of this resentment I have been praying for this individual (Part of the 12 steps is developing faith in a "Power greater than myself that I have chosen to call god"), putting myself in this persons shoes, and reflecting on how we are all just trying to find happiness.  Despite this, I still see the resentment coming up throughout my days.

Besides this, I am trying to practice Vipassana at least twice a day and not set expectations of bliss and relaxation, but rather simply observe what causes me to break concentration of the breath.  As of today, I started doing metta-bhavana (I did a guided meditation that I found on youtube) and I want to start pairing this with my vipassana routine.  I am trying to remain present throughout my day, taking time to look at vegetation and admire it's beauty.  I have been trying to reflect on the impermanence of everything, but often it feels these reflections are forced.  It feels as if I am seeking something and not letting the wisdom come naturally.  I am trying to force it, and I know that doesn't work but I feel I just cannot let go.

I try to be selfless toward other recovering addicts by keeping in touch with them and providing counsel and support if necessary.  I am also trying to be more in the moment with my family since I live with my parents (I am 20 years old).

I know, it was a lot to read.  My question is, what do you suggest for me to do?


stillpointdancer

  • stillpointdancer
  • Member
  • Retired teacher, deepening understanding of Dharma
    • Insight meditation
    • Exploring the results of 30 years of meditating

Besides this, I am trying to practice Vipassana at least twice a day and not set expectations of bliss and relaxation, but rather simply observe what causes me to break concentration of the breath.  As of today, I started doing metta-bhavana (I did a guided meditation that I found on youtube) and I want to start pairing this with my vipassana routine.  I am trying to remain present throughout my day, taking time to look at vegetation and admire it's beauty.  I have been trying to reflect on the impermanence of everything, but often it feels these reflections are forced.  It feels as if I am seeking something and not letting the wisdom come naturally.  I am trying to force it, and I know that doesn't work but I feel I just cannot let go.
 My question is, what do you suggest for me to do?
Looks like you are trying to move forward in your practice. You don't say what your Vipassana practice involves, but I always start my meditations with either a metta bhavana or a mindfulness of breathing meditation, and then move on to Vipassana. Bliss and relaxation are rather different. Samatha meditations are all about relaxation and feeling good, so you might want to go into what they entail sometime. I sometimes use them instead of metta or mindfulness of breathing.

Of course you are right when you say that you can't force anything, and that letting go of stuff is a long term goal too, so don't knock yourself out about it if you don't see immediate results. Bliss is a technical term in Buddhism, reserved for a specific stage in development, but is often misused in Buddhism too. I was warned about 'bliss bunnies' who went along with Buddhist meditation and got caught up in the bliss, which, although rather fun, is merely a stage you go through and you have to let it go like everything else.
“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

Alex

  • Member
Hi NPF

Welcome to the forum, and good for you on the steps you have already taken!

You ask for suggestions.

In general: continue with the meditation practices and with the development of healthy and worthwhile habits. Develop patience. Good habits bring you good things, but that takes time.

More specifically, you speak of resentment and you speak of a tendency to want to control resentment or insight. I invite you to ask yourself:
  • How am I actually engaging with the resentment?
  • How could I engage with resentment in a skillful way?
  • How could I engage with the tendency of trying to control things in a skillful way when it arises?
  • What would that even mean, attending to those experiences (feelings and thoughts, tendencies and automatic reactions) skillfully?

I leave you with this quote from Dr. Judson Brewer, a psychiatrist who by the way researches meditation as a way of dealing with addiction.

Quote
Importantly and perhaps paradoxically, dropping the action that causes stress comes about by simply being aware of what we are doing rather than by doing something to try to change or fix the situation. Instead of trying to get in there and untangle the snarled mess of our lives (and making it more tangled in the process), we step back and let it untangle itself.

Kind regards
Alex

NewPathForward

  • Member
  • Who are you?
    • Beginner in Vipassana / The Path
Looks like you are trying to move forward in your practice. You don't say what your Vipassana practice involves, but I always start my meditations with either a metta bhavana or a mindfulness of breathing meditation, and then move on to Vipassana. Bliss and relaxation are rather different. Samatha meditations are all about relaxation and feeling good, so you might want to go into what they entail sometime. I sometimes use them instead of metta or mindfulness of breathing.

Of course you are right when you say that you can't force anything, and that letting go of stuff is a long term goal too, so don't knock yourself out about it if you don't see immediate results. Bliss is a technical term in Buddhism, reserved for a specific stage in development, but is often misused in Buddhism too. I was warned about 'bliss bunnies' who went along with Buddhist meditation and got caught up in the bliss, which, although rather fun, is merely a stage you go through and you have to let it go like everything else.

Thanks for the thoughtful reply.  Regarding my Vipassana practice, your words confuse me a bit when you say you do a mindfullness of breathing meditation before Vipassana, because I interpret Vipassana as a mindfullness of breathing meditation.  I start by spending the first part of the meditation trying to achieve relative concentration, catching myself very often thinking or feeling something outside of the moment, at which point I label said distraction (I am thinking of my University word / I am thinking of my pride), and return my focus on the breath.  I then focus on the internal feeling of my organs (Sounds kind of morbid, lol), and eventually start doing full body scans where I attempt to feel the different ends of my body.

That is what I consider Vipassana, and I never actually do fully release the attention of the breath once I move onto the body scans, I just find that after some time it comes naturally toward the end of my meditation.

Hi NPF

Welcome to the forum, and good for you on the steps you have already taken!

You ask for suggestions.

In general: continue with the meditation practices and with the development of healthy and worthwhile habits. Develop patience. Good habits bring you good things, but that takes time.

More specifically, you speak of resentment and you speak of a tendency to want to control resentment or insight. I invite you to ask yourself:
  • How am I actually engaging with the resentment?
  • How could I engage with resentment in a skillful way?
  • How could I engage with the tendency of trying to control things in a skillful way when it arises?
  • What would that even mean, attending to those experiences (feelings and thoughts, tendencies and automatic reactions) skillfully?

I leave you with this quote from Dr. Judson Brewer, a psychiatrist who by the way researches meditation as a way of dealing with addiction.

Quote
Importantly and perhaps paradoxically, dropping the action that causes stress comes about by simply being aware of what we are doing rather than by doing something to try to change or fix the situation. Instead of trying to get in there and untangle the snarled mess of our lives (and making it more tangled in the process), we step back and let it untangle itself.

Kind regards
Alex

Those are some thought provoking questions Alex, thanks for bring them here.

I am not sure how I engage with the resentment, let alone in a skillfull way (I interpret this as meaning taking on the resentment with wisdom and love).  It's funny though, after me posting this thread last night, I went to do my nightly meditation before bed.  It was one where the focus came easily.  I did a little bit of metta bhavana afterwards (Nothing serious, a few minutes of self love) and I very quickly realized how hard I have been on myself my entire life.  I began the process of forgiving myself.  Shortly after this, I realized how the person who I held this resentment toward has done more for my well being than I felt I deserved at the time.  I picked up my phone and wrote a very long-winded thank you to him. 

It's interesting to me how this stuff works.  I suppose I engaged with the resentment in a skillfull way by meditating on how it disturbs my peace and the very nature of the resentment.  I realized it was grounded in ego and, since it was made so visible to me, was able to let it go.

Thank you :) 
« Last Edit: April 05, 2020, 04:16:06 PM by NewPathForward »

Dhamma

  • Member
  • May we all fulfill our deepest wish for happiness
    • I take from all Buddhist schools + some yogic schools
Good advice, @Stillpointdancer!

Yes, we need to learn to disengage with our problems. Let them be. Don't dissect. Clarity of mind comes from letting things go.

Practice your meditation faithfully. Thoughts are thoughts. They have no inherent value. They come and go. Understand impermanence. There is no inherent existence to any problem. Our minds are delusional - that is the problem!  Guilt and shame, also, have no place in a Buddhist person's life, as it only perpetuates suffering for you and other people. That doesn't excuse you from wrong behavior, nor should it should keep us from apologizing - Not at all!

Feel the resentment, but see it as simply a feeling arousing from a thought. Note it every time it comes up, see to yourself:  "feeling resentment, feeling resentment" with an air of detachment. And, don't feel guilty about feeling resentment. You cannot control the thoughts and feelings that arise in your mind.  Just be with it, note it, and let it go.

I have to go now, but I might say more later.

Peace and enlightenment to you,

Dhamma
You are already Buddha

 

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