Author Topic: Vipassana and emotional well-being off the cushion  (Read 4766 times)

anders

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Vipassana and emotional well-being off the cushion
« on: November 22, 2007, 12:47:35 PM »
In your experience, does vipassana practice lead to an improved state of emotional well-being off the meditation cushion, in other words in your everyday life? I guess equanimity towards sensations should lead to a healthier emotional life, since it is my experience that sensations we choose to label as "unpleasant" can often have a very negative effect on our moods.

To me it seems like The Buddha's main calling was to find a way out of suffering. If vipassana can enhance our over all emotional well-being, I guess he did in fact succeed.

On another (but closely related) note, would you say that emotions (positive or negative) are always caused by sensations? Or could negative thought patterns, for instance, cause negative emotions too? Then again, it seems like thoughts and sensations are closely related, so maybe this distinction is merely of academic interest.

Green Tara

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Re: Vipassana and emotional well-being off the cushion
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2007, 02:03:46 PM »
does vipassana practise lead to an improved state of emotional well-being?

Yes I believe it does. when I came back from the 10 day course I went to see my acupuncturist and he asked me if I had done anything different since my last appointment I asked 'why?' and he said 'something fundamentally changed in your body'. Energy points were unblocked and I seem to be calmer, not trying to be calm but naturally calm.
also few of my friends and coworkers commented on the fact that I seem to respond more and react less, causing less havoc in the team meetings, contributing to the well being of everyone. having said that it is not a lasting effect because when I stopped practising for a couple of months I slipped back into my conditioned ways of reacting.

Regarding if emotions are caused by sensations. I am not sure, I know that I feel the sensations in my body and recognise them as emotions. tightness in the chest (fear) knot in the stomach (anxiety) tingling in my skin (excitement) so if it wasn't for the sensations I wouldn't recognise the emotions. that could happen either ways, External someone said something or something happen or internal getting entangled in my thoughts and remembering past experience. I would say though memories of emotions are caused be sensations.
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Matthew

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Re: Vipassana and emotional well-being off the cushion
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2007, 05:37:48 PM »
Practice is called practice because that's what it is. Off the cushion is where it matters. Your emotional well-being is one of the core aspects of how you manifest as a human in the world.

As we undo the layers of conditioning and release past emotional states we free ourselves to be real in the very moment that matters, now. And thus emotional well being is enhanced by Vipassana practice and if it is not you may be doing something wrong on the cushion.

In the Dhamma,

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

Paul

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Re: Vipassana and emotional well-being off the cushion
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2007, 04:24:37 PM »
In general vipassana has improved my emotional well-being off the cushion.  BUT the emotional well being is often short-lived, for me there's a huge trap in equating vipassana and emotional-well being.  The trap is this: I'm not yet out of conditioned existence.  I can obseve it, and do for most of the day every day now.  With mindfulness little by little we see suffering, or dis-ease and see its causes in our conditioned existence.  Then this cyclic thought comes: "Wow, I feel so cool these days, I can observe life and by doing so the strong emotions have less hold over me".  And at that point I go into reverse, conditioned existence suddenly seems much more satisfactory, and I lose hold of the truth which is the unsatisfactoriness of this state.  I start re-attaching to things, reinforcing ego's existance, creating the next platform on which I fall headlong into the next period of suffering.  And its only in the next period of suffering that I remember what put me in the state where the suffering became inavoidable...that thought again. 

I try to stick to the breath, to reality rather than recursive, self-based thoughts, but I'm not so skillful yet  :'(

Matthew

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Re: Vipassana and emotional well-being off the cushion
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2007, 08:00:08 PM »
An Excellent Amour, a Friend of Meditation.

If you wish for an excellent amour,
A friend of Meditation, then do as follows:
Abandon the need to have a host of servants
And many material goods!
Don't keep many horses and cattle!
Don't favour many relatives!
Neither attach to friends, or harbour ill-will towards enemies!
Abandon work in the fields and handicrafts!
Don't guard wealth, profit or fame!
Abandon the need to become great or famous,
Or to gather people around yourself!

If you don't abandon all this,
Your mind will be carried away by distraction.
But if you do abandon them,
The mind will be safely kept in it's own place.
And if the mind is safely kept in it's own place,
This is true Buddhahood!

Translated by the Venerable Khandro Tsering Paldon, Rinpoche, Copyright 1998

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

Flipasso

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Re: Vipassana and emotional well-being off the cushion
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2007, 09:37:15 PM »
An Excellent Amour, a Friend of Meditation.

If you wish for an excellent amour,
A friend of Meditation, then do as follows:
Abandon the need to have a host of servants
And many material goods!
Don't keep many horses and cattle!
Don't favour many relatives!
Neither attach to friends, or harbour ill-will towards enemies!
Abandon work in the fields and handicrafts!
Don't guard wealth, profit or fame!
Abandon the need to become great or famous,
Or to gather people around yourself!

If you don't abandon all this,
Your mind will be carried away by distraction.
But if you do abandon them,
The mind will be safely kept in it's own place.
And if the mind is safely kept in it's own place,
This is true Buddhahood!

Translated by the Venerable Khandro Tsering Paldon, Rinpoche, Copyright 1998



I can rationally understand how equanimity and non-attatchment can help you live a happier life, but, and I'm sorry to disagree, that poem doesn't seem very happy, it seems a bit sad instead...

Paul

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Re: Vipassana and emotional well-being off the cushion
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2007, 07:40:10 PM »
Matthew, I think I understand the way in which that poem is meant to be taken.  This path seems to me to be about 'abandoning' all those attachments by observing and sitting -- seeing the process and consequences of attachment in daily observation; seeing the illusion of that self that attaches all those things to itself in sitting.  But when I read poems like that, it seems sometimes that the author is saying that you can just let go without any method, without the proof of the illusion that comes through mindfulness and vipassana...is this possible?  It would be much easier than being concentrated all the time  :)


mettajoey

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Re: Vipassana and emotional well-being off the cushion
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2007, 09:43:48 PM »
In your experience, does vipassana practice lead to an improved state of emotional well-being off the meditation cushion, in other words in your everyday life? I guess equanimity towards sensations should lead to a healthier emotional life, since it is my experience that sensations we choose to label as "unpleasant" can often have a very negative effect on our moods.

Absolutely.  By reducing my level of anxiety in my daily life caused by the constant ignorant craving and aversion then reacting habits, it has made my days smoother, happier and more productive.

Quote
On another (but closely related) note, would you say that emotions (positive or negative) are always caused by sensations? Or could negative thought patterns, for instance, cause negative emotions too? Then again, it seems like thoughts and sensations are closely related, so maybe this distinction is merely of academic interest.

I wouldn't say that emotions are always caused by sensations since many are generated by conditioned thinking.    That statement also gives my response to the second part of your question.  My understanding in that Vipassana is a training tool to curb those reactions of cravings and aversions regardless of how they are generated.
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Stefan

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Re: Vipassana and emotional well-being off the cushion
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2007, 07:30:48 PM »
On another (but closely related) note, would you say that emotions (positive or negative) are always caused by sensations?

emotions don't cause sensations et vice versa, they are two sides of the same coin (conditioned thinking is the third side of this coin ...)
the main cause for the emotion-sensation-game is the creation of sankharas.
there's a very good and easy-to-understand description of this theme in "The Discourse Summaries" by Goenkaji.

Metta to you, Stefan

anicca

Matthew

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Re: Vipassana and emotional well-being off the cushion
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2007, 04:53:04 PM »
Paul

The guy who wrote the poem was an ascetic forest dweller. I believe he attained the goal and his words are wise. His method is "Rest in what arises without fabrication" of which I have written elsewhere. This is a very high teaching, a raw direct path when directly understood and practiced, not to be underestimated, but yes not very methodic on the surface.

Flipasso, the poem seems sad because we are attached to all those things. The thought of losing them or even losing attachment to them makes us feel sad. Yet we will lose all of those things one day for sure. We won't all become forest dwellers yet to the  extent we are able to drop such attachments we will aid and speed our progress as meditators. We will aid our emotional well being by letting go sooner rather than later.

That does not mean we lose all connection to loved ones for example, more that we expand our compassion for all to the same level.

In the Dhamma,

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

Flipasso

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Re: Vipassana and emotional well-being off the cushion
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2007, 11:21:56 PM »
The thought of losing them or even losing attachment to them makes us feel sad.
The thought of loosing friends and family realy makes me feel sad. The thought of loosing attachment seems a lot better.
But then again you proved your point. My prefering to loose attachment rather than loosing them at all is just a form of attachment.
I just hope, and believe, that meditation will make me become an overall happier person.
=)

peace@you.all

Matthew

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  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
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Re: Vipassana and emotional well-being off the cushion
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2007, 07:16:55 AM »
Attachment, attachment, everywhere,
Nor not a stop to thinking!
« Last Edit: December 06, 2007, 07:17:15 AM by The Irreverent Buddhist »
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