Author Topic: I need a little guidance please.  (Read 187 times)


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I need a little guidance please.
« on: January 06, 2021, 02:26:08 PM »
Hello everyone,

It's been a very long time since I was last here, maybe 5 years or so. I've been through a lot since then. I went to treatment and quit using drugs and alcohol for over 2 years now. I've also managed to stop taking antidepressants and now I live a pretty normal, content life.

I owe this change to meditation, dharma teachings and therapy. I've fallen out of meditation practice the last couple years, spending most of my energy learning to cope with a sober lifestyle. Just recently I've felt more stable and ready to take on new practices.

When I was in treatment, one of the guys there told me about the Presence Process by Michael Brown. I tried to do it right after treatment, but I obviously wasn't ready. Then just like that, 2 weeks ago the book ended up in my hands somehow. It's basically meditating twice a day for 15 minutes using cyclic breathing, a mantra and weekly readings.

I'm no stranger to breath-based meditation but the cyclic breathing makes the most uncomfortable feelings arise. Like I'm ready to explode and I have to clench my fists and seize my body tight just to get through it. And then the thing I came to ask about. There's this feeling, deep in my chest. It's hard to explain. Like a pit of darkness and rage and it won't let me see it. I barely just touched it for the first time tonight and it was like this living thing inside of me. My mind kept screaming, "I won't let you win" out of nowhere. It was absolutely bizarre and I cried and cried and cried. But it won't let me hold it long enough to, I guess, integrate it? It scares me. I guess I've always felt cursed in some way and it's not like I believe in demons or ghosts, but that's what it feels like. Like there's this entity inside of me and all I want to do is scream and beat it the frik out of me.

God that sounds nuts. I'm sorry, I just didn't know where else to turn and I remembered the people here being authentic and experienced practicers.

Can anyone make sense of this? I just want to get better and let go of all this junk. Maybe I just need more patience. Please advise.



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    • S. N. Goenka switched to Samatha Forest Tradition
Re: I need a little guidance please.
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2021, 06:45:22 PM »
Hi Tobin,

Too many experiments lead to confusion. If the Buddhist way of meditation was working for you I don't see any need to try new meditation. However from my experience the only thing, you can do to stay with the sensation rather than reacting to it. You can practice metta Bhavana to see if it helps you.

What you described feels like ayahuasca/psychedelics type things. Buddhist meditation doesn't work that way.


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Re: I need a little guidance please.
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2021, 08:30:33 PM »
Hey Tobin

How nice to be able to say you now live a normal, content life, good for you!

My understanding/experience with breathwork only goes so far, but here goes. The idea underpinning breathwork is that inhibition of breathing is one of the body-mind’s strategies of suppressing aversive inner experiences. The point of breathwork is to open breathing up again, which inevitably reactivates these suppressed feelings, memories, sensations etc. in order to integrate them. In my recollection, the clenching and contracting of the fist/body can also be interpreted as resistance, i.e. another way the body-mind is trying to resist the resurfacing experiences, although I’m sure a biomedically trained person can explain the clenching/contracting as a physiological response involving the words hyperventilation and heightened oxygen levels.

So, a breathwork therapist will then gently support you in “breathing through” the surfacing material until it is integrated, for the time being at least. If breathwork is your choice of therapy (I’m not comfortable with calling it a meditation), then, at this point, I wonder if you could benefit from assistance? Seems pretty intense to do that kind of work alone...
Mindful awareness and accepting attitude towards your moment-to-moment experience is also part of breathwork (but doesn’t make it a meditation imho). In that regard, you seem identified with the story / interpretation / fabrication, and attributing a will of its own to it. What makes you say “It won’t let me see it?” You also say you feel cursed in some way? What makes you say that?

“I won’t let you win,” is just a thought. I remember a similar one: “If you don’t get up and stop this meditation right now you will go mad.” Very unsettling at that time, a mindf%ck really, but just a thought.

As much as it feels real, as much as it’s scary or overwhelming, practice remaining in the observer perspective. As raushan said and as you undoubtedly know already: stay with whatever you’re able to notice at any moment and don’t follow up on any reactivity that might arise.
Don’t try to make anything happen (if it's not part of the instruction, like the connected breathing). Seems like something has surfaced, and you're just starting to figure it out. You mentioned cultivating patience, a good idea.  ;)

« Last Edit: January 07, 2021, 09:09:08 PM by Alex »


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Re: I need a little guidance please.
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2021, 04:06:42 AM »
HI Tobin,

Does your mind think a lot in normal/daily activities? I got friend who can run 2.4km and only 6 to 7 thoughts arising just to say something like oh its red light ahead, i gotta cut pass that slow jogger. Me on the contrary, my thoughts run non stop, every few sec thoughts popped up either new or continuously. Knowing this( the frequency of thoughts differs in everyone) may help you to understand how to cope/approach with your meditation. I just want to reinstate people with anxiety "might" experience bigger projection than other people for the same thing.  It is obvious but during that state of mind the one who had anxiety probably are submerged in that scary "mode" and lost the mindfulness of the wrecking mind.

i think that you might be self talking too much during meditation. You might want to read up the home page for Matthew's write up on calm abiding method. 

We are suppose to watch the "mind" that produces thoughts, watch it arises and let it go, instead of being part of the mind. Like standing beside a creek to watch the water flow instead of following the flow.

Your experiences are totally understood and there are many like u and me, but we need to overcome it with proper and constant practises, sometimes it is good to rest for a short time without meditation if it get overwhelming. Meditation should help us to understand how the monkey mind works and not make it more suffering.

« Last Edit: January 08, 2021, 04:11:46 AM by Thanisaro85 »
A Mind Unshaken, when touches by worldy matter, sorrowless, secure and dustless, this is the ultimate great blessing~ Mangala Sutta


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Re: I need a little guidance please.
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2021, 08:38:47 PM »
Hey Chris,

Good to hear from you again. Well done for taking the reins and kicking the bad habits that had a grip of you. That's no small feat.

Regarding meditation and your experiences, I can only say that the cyclical breathing sounds kind of forced, and that is generally not a great way forward. The kind of emotional knot you describe is something I personally experienced. It takes kindness and compassion towards yourself, a practice that moves at a pace natural to your own needs, and time, to undo this kind of phenomenon without the process possibly becoming a way of hurting yourself.

The practice Thanisaro linked to above might be better suited to your place and needs right now - and I'm not just saying that as I wrote it: years of working through things with people using that basis has shown positive results, with a good balance of effort and relaxation being the key.

I'm not around much at the moment as I am dealing with health issues, however, I wish you the best and you're welcome to shoot me an email if you would like to talk.


~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~


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