numb to feelings?

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numb to feelings?

Postby Babadhari » Sat Feb 15, 2014 7:15 pm

"Monks, these six are conditions that are conducive to amiability, that engender feelings of endearment, engender feelings of respect, leading to a sense of fellowship, a lack of disputes, harmony, & a state of unity...... ?AN6.12



reading the Saraniya Sutta translated by Thanissaro Bhikku, draws my attention to an apparent personal inability to accurately discern my feelings.

my introduction to meditation regarded focussing on bodily sensation and trying to remain equanimous.
current formal meditation is anapanasati with metta at the end. throughout the day i try to contemplate the body.

i have paid little attention to mental feelings and emotions. in fact, i refused to identify them by abusing drugs. when asked by a councellor as to what i feel at a particular moment the inclination is to usually say nuetral or equanimous but the reality is a feeling of indifference.( i have problems with councellers practice telling me to be selfish and focus on myself)

i recognise when a feeling of anger arises but im more aware of tension and unease in my arms.
i recognnise when a feeling of anxiety arises but more aware at the time of a pounding heart or uneasy stomach
apart from these i seem to be unaware of other feelings, or perhaps these should be classed as emotions?

the sensations of these emotions have a stimulating effect on me similar to a cup of coffee or drugs ive taken in the past.
is it possible i unconsciously crave the sensations that arise with these unwholesome emotions?

by trying to maintain equanimity before, i consciously reprimanded myself for feeling happy and joyful.

i hope that by practicing more metta and doing wholesome meritous deeds that i experience more pleasant feelings and recognise them when they arise.

does anybody have any advise or references which would be helpful

with thanks and gratitude
Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion.
Aflame, with birth, aging & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs ......

Seeing thus, the disciple of the Noble One grows disenchanted. SN 35.28
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Re: numb to feelings?

Postby culaavuso » Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:36 pm

kitztack wrote:by trying to maintain equanimity before, i consciously reprimanded myself for feeling happy and joyful.


Equanimity includes being unperturbed by happy and joyful feelings, but not being averse to happy and joyful feelings. Equanimity can include a lack of greed or aversion even for feelings. If you have an opportunity to visit a monastery, you might be able to see monks who appear genuinely happy and joyful. Pleasant feelings need not be avoided, but passion and desire for those feelings are to be avoided.

AN 6.63
AN 6.63: Nibbedhika Sutta wrote:The beauties remain as they are in the world,
while the wise, in this regard,
subdue their desire.


MN 137 has a lot to say about various kinds of feelings.
MN 137: Salayatana-vibhanga Sutta wrote:'The thirty-six states to which beings are attached should be known': thus was it said. And in reference to what was it said? Six kinds of household joy & six kinds of renunciation joy; six kinds of household distress & six kinds of renunciation distress; six kinds of household equanimity & six kinds of renunciation equanimity.


kitztack wrote:i hope that by practicing more metta and doing wholesome meritous deeds that i experience more pleasant feelings and recognise them when they arise.

does anybody have any advise or references which would be helpful


Metta practice is a good way to develop an awareness of feelings because it tends to be a pleasant feeling, which tends to be easier to stay with than unpleasant feelings. Note that developing the foundations of mindfulness includes developing an awareness of feelings while being independent of them. This does not mean trying to "force" equanimity by rejecting pleasant and unpleasant feelings, but rather observing feelings as they arise and cease in order to develop greater skill regarding the activities that make various feelings arise and cease. It's also worth noting that practice of the Jhanas begins with developing a skill in a course of activity that results in pleasant feelings arising, and only later after sufficiently developing the skill refining it to lead to a more pure equanimity.

MN 10
MN 10: Satipatthana Sutta wrote:In this way he remains focused internally on feelings in & of themselves, or externally on feelings in & of themselves, or both internally & externally on feelings in & of themselves. Or he remains focused on the phenomenon of origination with regard to feelings, on the phenomenon of passing away with regard to feelings, or on the phenomenon of origination & passing away with regard to feelings. Or his mindfulness that 'There are feelings' is maintained to the extent of knowledge & remembrance. And he remains independent, unsustained by (not clinging to) anything in the world.


AN 4.123
AN 4.123: Jhana Sutta wrote:There is the case where an individual, withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities, enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. He savors that, longs for that, finds satisfaction through that.


AN 9.35
AN 9.35: Gavi Sutta wrote:In the same way, there are cases where a monk — foolish, inexperienced, unfamiliar with his pasture, unskilled in being quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities, and entering & remaining in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation — doesn't stick with that theme, doesn't develop it, pursue it, or establish himself firmly in it. The thought occurs to him, 'What if I, with the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, were to enter & remain in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation — internal assurance.' He is not able... to enter & remain in the second jhana... The thought occurs to him, 'What if I... were to enter & remain in the first jhana... He is not able... to enter & remain in the first jhana. This is called a monk who has slipped & fallen from both sides, like the mountain cow, foolish, inexperienced, unfamiliar with her pasture, unskilled in roaming on rugged mountains.
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Re: numb to feelings?

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:41 pm

kitztack wrote: i have problems with councellers practice telling me to be selfish and focus on myself
If you cannot take of yourself, be compassionate and loving for yourself, then you are simply going to perpetuate the negativity and problems you have been and are dealing with now.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: numb to feelings?

Postby Babadhari » Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:55 pm

as part of the drug treatment programme i am told to cut all ties with ALL friends still using drugs as if they are bad people because of their behaviour..............
Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion.
Aflame, with birth, aging & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs ......

Seeing thus, the disciple of the Noble One grows disenchanted. SN 35.28
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Re: numb to feelings?

Postby culaavuso » Sat Feb 15, 2014 9:42 pm

kitztack wrote:as part of the drug treatment programme i am told to cut all ties with ALL friends still using drugs as if they are bad people because of their behaviour..............


This is because that's a very easy way to resume drug use through peer pressure. They aren't bad people, but their actions lead to negative consequences and their company may encourage that behavior. This is commonly a serious risk for people who participate in drug treatment programs.

DN 31
DN 31: Sigalovada Suta wrote:"In four ways, young householder, should one who brings ruin be understood as a foe in the guise of a friend:

(i) he is a companion in indulging in intoxicants that cause
infatuation and heedlessness,
(ii) he is a companion in sauntering in streets at unseemly hours,
(iii) he is a companion in frequenting theatrical shows,
(iv) he is a companion in indulging in gambling which causes heedlessness."


SN 45.2
SN 45.2: Upaddha Sutta wrote:As he was sitting there, Ven. Ananda said to the Blessed One, "This is half of the holy life, lord: admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie."

"Don't say that, Ananda. Don't say that. Admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life. When a monk has admirable people as friends, companions, & comrades, he can be expected to develop & pursue the noble eightfold path.


MN 2
MN 2: Sabbasava Sutta wrote:And what are the fermentations to be abandoned by avoiding? There is the case where a monk, reflecting appropriately, avoids a wild elephant, a wild horse, a wild bull, a wild dog, a snake, a stump, a bramble patch, a chasm, a cliff, a cesspool, an open sewer. Reflecting appropriately, he avoids sitting in the sorts of unsuitable seats, wandering to the sorts of unsuitable habitats, and associating with the sorts of bad friends that would make his knowledgeable friends in the holy life suspect him of evil conduct. The fermentations, vexation, or fever that would arise if he were not to avoid these things do not arise for him when he avoids them. These are called the fermentations to be abandoned by avoiding.
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Re: numb to feelings?

Postby Aloka » Sat Feb 15, 2014 10:08 pm

kitztack wrote:as part of the drug treatment programme i am told to cut all ties with ALL friends still using drugs as if they are bad people because of their behaviour..............


Hi kiztak,

This is sensible advice and doesn't mean that your friends are bad people. If you really want to develop your practice, Its better to stay away from the temptation and from the type of social activities where drug taking and/or heavy alcohol consumption are the norm.

With kind wishes,

Aloka

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Re: numb to feelings?

Postby Baylien » Sun Feb 16, 2014 11:41 am

kitztack wrote:

i recognise when a feeling of anger arises but im more aware of tension and unease in my arms.
i recognnise when a feeling of anxiety arises but more aware at the time of a pounding heart or uneasy stomach
apart from these i seem to be unaware of other feelings, or perhaps these should be classed as emotions?

the sensations of these emotions have a stimulating effect on me similar to a cup of coffee or drugs ive taken in the past.
is it possible i unconsciously crave the sensations that arise with these unwholesome emotions?



Hi,
What you say here, is very close to my experience too.
I've notice as my body, mind, clears the drugs out, simple clean emotion slowly returns.
The connection to body is always there, but maybe as we allow our emotions to come and go we they dont do as much damage, and the connection to bodily sensation loosens.
The grasping for what we know is not healthy is another thing, I guess we are vunerable to. This is a very subtle beasty :smile: this became very apparent when I gave up my last drug, the dreaded smoking...........how my life was only a constant drug fix, one after another. I when I finally said enough is enough, how easy it was to actually let go of.....i'd been lied to, for 40 years by a cigarette and believed it.

The craving of, and aversion of, many things, is a constant focus, sitting in the middle of both with compassion and allowing them to fight it out is how I'm approaching this at the moment. Its like two children fighting.............and its ok.
with metta
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Re: numb to feelings?

Postby chownah » Sun Feb 16, 2014 12:43 pm

kitztack,
Good feelings arise from conditions. I think that at the level you are presently dealing with you might do well to try to find what kinds of activities you enjoy.....I'll bet you can't think of any but maybe I am wrong about this. If you can think of something you enjoy doing (not drugs or sex) then do it and you will be in a situation where you might be able to discover what the good feelings are which makes you enjoy that activity. If you can not think of any activity which you enjoy then start thinking about possible activities you might enjoy and do some exploration by trying some of them....it might take a really long time to find an activity you enjoy if you don't have one....it took me years and years to find mine....and life was often pretty bleak while I was looking which is where equanimity comes in.
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Re: numb to feelings?

Postby Babadhari » Sun Feb 16, 2014 5:48 pm

thank you all for your replies

i think perhaps ive allowed myself to become emotionally detached and not focussing enough on compassion for myself as mentioned.
as advised by Chownah i'll try to allow more pleasant feelings by doing enjoyable activities. even my meditation posture has been pretty uncomfortable the past few months in the hope it would eventually relax
all work and no play is not the Middle Way.....
gratitude Culaavuso for showing the councellors advise is in accordance with the Suttas
Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion.
Aflame, with birth, aging & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs ......

Seeing thus, the disciple of the Noble One grows disenchanted. SN 35.28
Babadhari
 
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Re: numb to feelings?

Postby andyebarnes67 » Sun Feb 16, 2014 7:45 pm

I have little to add to the sound advice already offered but I would add a small suggestion.
Don't be too hard on yourself or expect too much of yourself.
In fact, scrub 'small'. As I think of it, I think this could be quite an important thing to offer a little advice from my own experience on.
I, some 20+ years ago also went through residential treatment for alcoholism along with ongoing support during and after.
Presuming you are happy with the counselling support you are receiving the direction of the treatment you are getting, please don't stray too far from this, even if at times it seems to contradict the dhamma r your practice.
your description of your practice sounds very much to me as if you are 'knocking on the door' of vipassana, albeit separating your observance of bodily sensation to when you aren't sitting. Be careful.
In your seeking for more awareness of your emotions, you could be opening up a faultline that, in terms of your addiction/s, could prove to be dangerous.
Take it easily and go slowly, please.
True meditative practice, particularly vipassana, is not a path to be trodden without wise guidance and care.
The vipassana course I attended a few years ago, for instance, wouldn't allow attendance by anyone with mental health issues as the experiences one might encounter can be pretty powerful, for anyone.
I'm not trying to discourage you in your practice, but suggesting caution.
Vipassana, on one level, can be seen as a purgative for the mind. to handle this, the mind most be strong enough. :namaste:
Metta

Andy Barnes
My comments are by nature, subjective interpretations from my mind. As such, they are never wrong, They are as they are. They are never right, They are as they are.
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Re: numb to feelings?

Postby Babadhari » Mon Feb 17, 2014 8:12 am

thank you andy for your advise
when my councellor asks me what it is i feel at a particular moment and i tell him 'a stinging sensation in my leg' thats not what he wants to hear. :tongue: now i practice a simple breath meditation
i would just like to be more aware of my mental feelings as opposed to seemingly being oblivious to them in an overly-detached way. i guess it takes time for thee damaging effects inflicted by drugs upon the mind to pass and once again feel something in my heart :heart:
Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion.
Aflame, with birth, aging & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs ......

Seeing thus, the disciple of the Noble One grows disenchanted. SN 35.28
Babadhari
 
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Location: lalita ghat

Re: numb to feelings?

Postby andyebarnes67 » Mon Feb 17, 2014 11:33 am

kitztack wrote:i guess it takes time for thee damaging effects inflicted by drugs upon the mind to pass and once again feel something in my heart :heart:

For myself, my drinking (and some drug use) wasall about blocking out powerful, unpleasant emotions. Of course, the addiction involved lifestyle choices that led to more feelings I wanted to bury, and so the cycle continued (anyhow, for another forum, I think).
Anyhow, whilst everyone's addiction story is different, I guess this probably sounds familiar, so think of how long emotions weren't allowed to surface? no reason to suppose their re-emergence will take any less time. Just be sure you continue with support as the feelings that were buried are still there and will come to the surface in the course of time.
Healthy? Cathartic? yes, but easy? No.
Metta

Andy Barnes
My comments are by nature, subjective interpretations from my mind. As such, they are never wrong, They are as they are. They are never right, They are as they are.
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