Author Topic: Need help!! Anger/frustration regarding expectations  (Read 465 times)

Whoami

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Need help!! Anger/frustration regarding expectations
« on: May 14, 2021, 07:30:55 PM »
Hi everyone. Im in a deep state of anxiety and sadness. Will explain why and hope someone out there can help me.

The last weeks i have been meditating before and after work and i have had tremendous progress/success/experiences during my meditation. Extreme laser beam -like focus without any disturbace at all for quite a long time, an experience of void and nothingness. These experiences was so impactful for me that a very strong wish/expectation was seeded in my mind. In other words, it was like ”ok i want to experience this every time i meditate now!!”. That wish created a very strong WILL to succeed during my meditation-time. And it grew so strong that i forcefully focused hard on my belly going up and down during the breaths, i got more and more frustrated because i was not able to reach the experience again, i couldnt even find stillness and peace which has been quite easy for me to reach prior to this.
I meditated all day today and afterwards i was exhausted, filled with agonazing anxiety, frustration and utter chaos/anger.
I usually focus on the general feeling of how my belly goes up and down during the breaths, but when this hardcore WISH was born, i forced myself to focus on a more spicific POINT on the belly, all by brute force of will.
I dont know what to do, where should i focus? I want to experience more profound experiences again but i cant get there by force of Will it seems.
Now meditating has become dreadful for me, relating it to frustration and utter anger.
Do i need to focus on a small specific point on the belly or can i just go with the broad sense of the belly moving?
Need help, please. I dont want meditation to create suffering for me as it has Done yesterday and today.
I cant meditate by Will force but i dont know what to do with my strong sense of WANTING these profound experiences again.
All the love,
Whoami

dharma bum

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  • Certified Zen Master (second degree black belt)
    • vipassana
Re: Need help!! Anger/frustration regarding expectations
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2021, 11:32:53 PM »
Meditation is not so much about focus as it is about letting go.

You might want to look at the Calm Abiding instructions

https://www.vipassanaforum.net/forum/index.php?page=2

By the way, having big expectations from meditation and then the frustration is something everybody goes through several times.
Mostly ignorant

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
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  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Need help!! Anger/frustration regarding expectations
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2021, 06:18:30 PM »
Don't cling to outcomes or experiences - this is contrary to the way meditation works, and results in using too much force, as you have discovered.

Finding the balance between effort and relaxation/calming is key. Just enough effort to be there, to get to the cushion, to raise mindfulness to the fore, and let it work it's magic, not so much that you are chasing dragons or dreams.

As dharma bum writes, this is a battle we all face repeatedly on this journey.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Member
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Need help!! Anger/frustration regarding expectations
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2021, 06:20:17 PM »
As regards what to do with your 'strong sense of wanting': like all cravings, you will have to let go of it.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Whoami

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Re: Need help!! Anger/frustration regarding expectations
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2021, 06:51:29 PM »
Thanks guys for the help and inspiration, i need to work on my attitude towards the cushion.

Alex

  • Member
Re: Need help!! Anger/frustration regarding expectations
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2021, 11:44:04 AM »
Hey Whoami

Getting stuck in a loop of craving and (di)stress can be very intense, it brings back vivid memories ;)

But when I read your post, what I see is progress!
Your concentration has deepened, and you got a good taste of the deep states of calm and quiet that come with it. Some people might say to be ware and not to pursue them. It's true, for me at least, that craving has been a stronger hindrance when doing concentration practice versus insight practice, but I find concentration to be a factor that is equally important, and that the subtle sensory states accompanied with concentration are motivation to continue the practice as a whole as well as a motivation to let go of more worldly sensory pleasures. After all, who needs temporary sensory pleasures like food, when you can access more stable sources if wellbeing? The stability will come with practice, by the way, with your ability to navigate craving skilfully.

But as suggested, effort needs to be balanced with relaxation. Concentration is developed alongside other factors like
- Equanimity: being undisturbed by outcome as Matthew suggested
- Mindfulness: knowing when craving is present and how you’re engaging with it moment by moment
- Wisdom: knowing how craving works, knowing the impermanent, unsatisfactory and not-self qualities of concentration as well as the sensory pleasure accompanied with it

On a practical note, as was suggested you can orient your progress more to relaxation instead of concentration to balance them out.
I would also suggest to orient your attention to what is disturbing instead of returning asap to the object of your meditation (i.e. concentrating). Be more mindful of your attitude, as you said, to the presence/absence of craving.
What works for me when I get stuck in meditation, is to use some questions to reconnect to the actual present moment instead of the conceaved present moment: what is my present moment (felt sense) like? What am I seeing/heering/feeling/etc. Or how do I know I’m breathing? Sparkle curiosity. If it's really strong, open your eyes, and name some colors, shapes, textures, etc.

But in the whole, this is progress, next level. I feel happy for you!  :)

Kindly
Alex

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Member
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Need help!! Anger/frustration regarding expectations
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2021, 01:56:06 PM »
Quote from: Alex
...
But in the whole, this is progress, next level. I feel happy for you!  :)

Kindly
Alex

Alex - what a beautifully written post, full of wisdom.

Whoami - Alex is spot on that you have tasted progress. In my response I focused too much on not chasing it (as it will come naturally, with balance). Forgive me, I failed to point to this. M
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Alex

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Re: Need help!! Anger/frustration regarding expectations
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2021, 04:21:47 PM »
Your kind words are much appreciated, Matthew!

Velvet Donkey

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Re: Need help!! Anger/frustration regarding expectations
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2021, 05:27:00 PM »
Hi Whoami, it would be good to hear how things have progressed.

As a comparison I got caught up with expectation and desire as well. After an initial six months of what seemed like a relatively frequent route to stillness and glimpses of bliss, I started to form an expectation of what would happen at each sit. Then things started not to happen! Just nothing. That was about two years ago now, and I've got a daily 45 minute practice. I still worry about whether I can actually be meditating if I don't feel that altered state of mind. However I'm much more content now to just keep turning up and observing my own attitude and whatever is there.  Alex mentioned equanimity above, and I won't say I'm great at it, but that mindset helps.

 

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