Very simple question...

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom
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Beautiful Breath
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Very simple question...

Postby Beautiful Breath » Mon Apr 11, 2011 11:20 am

After four months I am STILL obsessing about an ex partner.

I have been Buddhsit for over 20 years.

Nothing is working.

Cannot sit - too painful ( before you ask yes I have tried just sitting with it :shrug: ) might just as well sit in a fire hoping it will cool me down.

I am experiencing all of the most base emoptions from lust to jealousy.... its ridiculous.

Question is...what can I do?

Told you it was simple :namaste:

BB

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Re: Very simple question...

Postby Ben » Mon Apr 11, 2011 11:28 am

Just let go.
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: Very simple question...

Postby David2 » Mon Apr 11, 2011 12:00 pm

Maybe you should try to sit shorter but more often, if it fits in your daily schedule.

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Re: Very simple question...

Postby Kori » Mon Apr 11, 2011 12:04 pm

Ben's answer is simply put what I'm about to say. When these thoughts arise of your ex-partner, dismiss them and tell yourself that they aren't important; all they are causing for you is suffering. You have moved on to a new stage in life. When one revisits the past, it's as though the events are happening over and over again, when they don't need to be! Just let go of the past and focus on now, practice mindfulness.

In truth, I don't feel it to be necessary to sit in the traditional position, just sit however is comfortable for your body, or at least without straining it too much; eventually you will become used to it. You can even lie down, but try not to let yourself become drowsy. ;)

- Leah
"All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him."

Dhammapada, Ch. 1, Verse 2.

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Re: Very simple question...

Postby David2 » Mon Apr 11, 2011 12:20 pm

Recently, I read something about the so-called "Sedona method". Its aim is to give some help to letting feelings go.
The base exercise is to contemplate over the following questions:

1. What is my feeling at this moment?
2. Could I welcome it?
3. Could I let it go?
4. Am I willing to let it go?
5. When?
6. Repeat questions 1-5.

Maybe it helps you a bit.

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Re: Very simple question...

Postby Beautiful Breath » Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:00 pm

Thanks for getting back to me - I am more than aware that this is not a forum for Broken Hearts etc... My question is from the viewpoint of the Dhamma too.

Nothing seems to be able to transcend the painful feelings that I am experiencing. I AM able to objectively see themn as suffering and not somewhting that should be pursued - however, they are currently overwhelming.

BB

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Re: Very simple question...

Postby David2 » Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:32 pm

Beautiful Breath wrote:Thanks for getting back to me - I am more than aware that this is not a forum for Broken Hearts etc... My question is from the viewpoint of the Dhamma too.

Nothing seems to be able to transcend the painful feelings that I am experiencing. I AM able to objectively see themn as suffering and not somewhting that should be pursued - however, they are currently overwhelming.

BB


The Dhamma does not promise to lead you to an instant end of suffering with a short time of practice.
It is a very slow, gradual process in which the results will gradually come over the years, if you practice every day.

It is like playing the piano. Don't expect that you can play the hardest pieces flawlessly after a year or two.

Practicing according to the Dhamma has nothing to do with magic. Like playing the piano, if you practice every day, sometimes it is fun, and sometimes it is hard work because you are not in the mood to practice. But like a pianist we even should practice when we are not in the mood to practice because otherwise we will never get anywhere.

(Edit: I will put those last 3 lines in my signature because it should be a good reminder for me and others.)
Last edited by David2 on Mon Apr 11, 2011 2:01 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Very simple question...

Postby Beautiful Breath » Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:37 pm

By the way... My quandary is in as much as it's the 'feelings' I'm struggling with NOT the thoughts. I can intellectualise my situation perfectly (said woman was no good fir me, neurotic, etc) this however alters nothing re how I feel.

This is what I am struggling with :-(

BB

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Re: Very simple question...

Postby Dan74 » Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:52 pm

I would suggest to focus on the feelings as you experience them in the body. This grounds you in the actual physical moment and channels the energy away from the thoughts that tend to spin around in circles.

As you bring your attention gently to the physical sensations of all the feelings, you will recognize that you suffer, feel some metta for yourself, recognize that it's OK and accept what is happening to you. As you accept it, it will be easier to be aware of these sensations. And as you become aware of them, you will see them change and begin to loosen identification with these feelings and sensations.

They are like passing clouds or in your case, a storm. If you see it for what it is, it will pass. But until then it is important to accept what is happening and to take a good look at it, not from outside, but from the inside.

Suffering is a great teacher. And good teachers are rarely very nice to us.
_/|\_

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Re: Very simple question...

Postby unspoken » Mon Apr 11, 2011 2:52 pm

Listen to The Script- The Man Who can't be moved. It helped my friend I don't know how and why

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Re: Very simple question...

Postby octathlon » Mon Apr 11, 2011 3:51 pm

Beautiful Breath wrote:By the way... My quandary is in as much as it's the 'feelings' I'm struggling with NOT the thoughts.

Those feelings arise from thoughts, where else would they come from? Stop thinking those thoughts that generate those feelings. Which thoughts are they? When the feeling arises, notice what were you just thinking.

My advice is, whenever those thoughts come into your head immediately switch to a positive, skillful thought (think ahead of a few images to use, such as the Buddha, metta toward a loved one (not your ex for now), or even a happy childhood memory or whatever). Don't give in and follow along with the unskillful thoughts, resist them--they are like poison and will cause suffering.

Edited to clarify: Resist following the thoughts, but don't resist any feelings once they have arisen, let yourself feel them as they are.
Last edited by octathlon on Mon Apr 11, 2011 5:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Very simple question...

Postby Cal » Mon Apr 11, 2011 4:37 pm

Hi BB

Sorry I can't help you with relevant Suttas - many here are more qualified. But after losing my only sibling and caring for a parent with dementia, I feel I know something of challenging mental states!

Two thoughts for you. Firstly, I've found the talks and books of Ajahn Sumedho (recently his book "Don't Take Your Life Personally") really helpful. For me, he makes it clear that you really just need to accept whatever you've got at the moment as the way it is. So, he'd be likely to say: "Sadness. It's like this" (replace 'sadness' with whatever you're feeling right now). Generally this just has the effect of distancing one from the raw emotion, and actually often makes me smile with gratitude for such a simple insight.

Secondly, be gentle with yourself. Don't expect too much. Find the simplest, easiest, least demanding meditation, and just be with what's there if you can. There are times in life when 'progress' is great, and times when 'suffering' is great.

Finally. In my worst moments, I've found great help in Dhamma talks and Dhamma books - the right one has a habit of coming along when you need it.

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Right Speech: It is spoken at the right time. It is spoken in truth. It is spoken affectionately. It is spoken beneficially. It is spoken with a mind of good-will. [AN 5.198]

Personally, I seem to gain the most insight when I am under the most pressure, when life is at its most unpleasant. There is something in me on those occasions which feels that there is nothing left but to be aware of 'this'. Ajahn Sumedho - Don't Take Your Life Personally, p288

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Re: Very simple question...

Postby Modus.Ponens » Mon Apr 11, 2011 5:04 pm

I will sugest what I've learned in the Goenka retreat I went to. The feelings are felt in the body. Observe the bodily sensations/feelings without any aversion or attachment, with as much equanimity as you can. Since your feelings are overwhelming, try to do this first with an example to train your mind. Try to pinch yourself to feel some pain and observe that pain without any aversion. Let it come and observe equanimously. You can also train with an ice cube in your hand observing the feeling of coldness with equanimity. When you feel that you have understood experiencialy how it's done with these not so intense feelings, apply that equanimity to the feelings of sorrow and obsession in your body.

A warning: it can happen that you observe, with an underlying and subtle aversion, the feelings in your body. If this happens, just give freedom for the feelings to completely manifest and then apply gentle equanimity. This way you allow the feelings to arise and fall in a natural way, even if it takes weeks for them to fall. This technique will enable you to cope better with your feelings.

I hope this helps.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

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Re: Very simple question...

Postby octathlon » Mon Apr 11, 2011 6:00 pm

Cal wrote: Firstly, I've found the talks and books of Ajahn Sumedho (recently his book "Don't Take Your Life Personally") really helpful. For me, he makes it clear that you really just need to accept whatever you've got at the moment as the way it is. So, he'd be likely to say: "Sadness. It's like this" (replace 'sadness' with whatever you're feeling right now). Generally this just has the effect of distancing one from the raw emotion, and actually often makes me smile with gratitude for such a simple insight.

This sounds like a very good book, I'll read it. Thanks for mentioning it.

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Re: Very simple question...

Postby ricketybridge » Mon Apr 11, 2011 10:24 pm

When I saw the OP, I was like, whoa, did I wake up in the middle of the night and post this? I'm feeling very similar things, only not about an ex, but sort of one of those "it's complicated" situations.

I'm feeling a strength of jealousy I don't think I've ever felt my whole life--and the "problem" may be completely imaginary! In fact, I feel like that's what makes it worse--torturing over myself by trying to figure out if the reason for my jealousy is real or not, which is an impossible task. But I know--either way, my reaction is unjustified and will only serve to destroy me, so I need to just let it go.

So thanks all for your advice from me as well. Just writing this has helped.

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Re: Very simple question...

Postby Beautiful Breath » Tue Apr 12, 2011 9:23 am

...thanks again for all your replies.

Its such a confusing and painful time for me - I feel like I have been hurled into an acid trip like scenario that I have no control over - the bizarre thing is I KNOW that these feelibngs are wrong. If I intellectualise (as I said) its a ludircous thing to be hung up over. Wht on earth would I want to be with another person who had demonstrated a capacity for emotional abuse aned even violence - why would I want to have a 5 year old living in my home after spending the last 17 years bringing up my daughter... I must be going mad :jumping:

Either way, if I ask myself "...do you want this woman back in your life..."? the answer is a resounding NO!!!

So why on earth am I still feeling such a yearning for her?

What would the Abidhamma say about such contradictory feelings?

BB

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Re: Very simple question...

Postby Ben » Tue Apr 12, 2011 11:13 am

Nothing outside of yourself can give you everlasting happiness. Likewise nothing outside of yourself is a source of misery,
The misery you are experiencing is the misery you are manufacturing for yourself. Attachment, addiction, craving, aversion, lust - its all the same. If you weren't obsessing over this woman, there would be some other thing that would manifest which you would superimpose your dukkha upon.
I once heard someone say "love is the mother of misery", wise words indeed.
As I said earlier - just let go. Let her go, let go of the dukkha.
And if you have the time, do a residential retreat of vipassana, it will be for your benefit.
All the best.

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
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Re: Very simple question...

Postby kirk5a » Tue Apr 12, 2011 3:21 pm

Beautiful Breath wrote:...thanks again for all your replies.

Its such a confusing and painful time for me - I feel like I have been hurled into an acid trip like scenario that I have no control over - the bizarre thing is I KNOW that these feelibngs are wrong. If I intellectualise (as I said) its a ludircous thing to be hung up over. Wht on earth would I want to be with another person who had demonstrated a capacity for emotional abuse aned even violence - why would I want to have a 5 year old living in my home after spending the last 17 years bringing up my daughter... I must be going mad :jumping:

Either way, if I ask myself "...do you want this woman back in your life..."? the answer is a resounding NO!!!

So why on earth am I still feeling such a yearning for her?

What would the Abidhamma say about such contradictory feelings?

BB

Hi BB

I can't help with the Abidhamma answer, but the Buddha did say

"O bhikkhus, I do not perceive at all any other form which thus stands taking hold of the mind of man as does this: the form of woman... sound... scent... taste... the touch of woman. O bhikkhus, I do not perceive at all any other form which thus stands taking hold of the mind of woman as does this: the form of man, sound, scent, taste, touch of man."

So that would appear to be the answer to "why?" It's because for men, women are the #1 thing which the mind grasps through the eyes, ears, nose, tongue and body. :smile:
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Re: Very simple question...

Postby beeblebrox » Tue Apr 12, 2011 3:32 pm

Beautiful Breath wrote:Either way, if I ask myself "...do you want this woman back in your life..."? the answer is a resounding NO!!!

So why on earth am I still feeling such a yearning for her?


If you don't want her back in your life... are you sure that your feelings are related to her? If these feelings didn't come till you started having problems with her, are you sure that she was the cause, or that these problems were even the cause?

Maybe it's something else. It's very easy to make connections between one thing to another, when there's really none. Many people don't even notice this... because it's an automatic process, due to their habits.

I remember a long time ago, when I had a lot of problems with this one woman. She made me feel really terrible, or at least so I thought. I stopped seeing her, but this feeling still lingered. I blamed her for it. After a while, I stopped caring about her, but the painful feeling still lingered... so where was it coming from?

After a few years, I'm at peace with her, and even looked at her from a positive light... but this bad feeling still pops up, every now and then, and seems like it has nothing to do with her. So what's causing it? And what really caused it back then, when I had a falling out with her? Apparently, she was just a convenient target for me to put my blame on.

Just look at the feelings as pleasant, not pleasant, neutral... don't try to connect them to anything. Pay attention to what they really are, or where they really come from. This is not easy. That why you just sit...

:anjali:

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Re: Very simple question...

Postby ricketybridge » Tue Apr 12, 2011 5:44 pm

Ben wrote:Nothing outside of yourself can give you everlasting happiness. Likewise nothing outside of yourself is a source of misery,
The misery you are experiencing is the misery you are manufacturing for yourself. Attachment, addiction, craving, aversion, lust - its all the same. If you weren't obsessing over this woman, there would be some other thing that would manifest which you would superimpose your dukkha upon.
I once heard someone say "love is the mother of misery", wise words indeed.
As I said earlier - just let go. Let her go, let go of the dukkha.


I love this. Fantastic, strong summary of the core issue (of the 4 Noble Truths, basically?). Each time I reread this, my pain lessens that much more. Thank you. :)


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