Meditation while heartbroken

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

Meditation while heartbroken

Postby Dmind » Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:26 pm

Hello everybody,
First I tell you something about me.
I am a 30 years old guy. I did a Goenka vipassana retreat for 10 days in India last year.
After that I have kept practicing meditation but not with continuity.

Recently I find it harder to meditate after the story with my ex finished. Whenever I force myself to do it I end up crying after a short meditation and I have to stop.
The fact that I cry afterwards used to happen also during the meditation retreat when I used to cry about deeper seated issues of the past and then get a sensation of relief and happiness.
However, now the sensation of relief is short lived and in the next meditation the same sensation of sadness comes back (it has been more than a month now).
Well, if instead I don't meditate at all I feel like "disconnected" from my sensations and feelings and I don't feel the sadness as much. But it seems to build up in being more disconnected and not being able to behave naturally..

In theory Vipassana meditation is supposed to be about knowing that everything is impermanent ("anicca").. that applies also to love feelings? (I don't recall anything Goenka said about the love feeling towards a partner :shrug: )
In general did you experience crying after a meditation or during the retreat?
And what about after a bad end to a love relationship?
Do you have suggestions?

Your help is very much appreciated!
Metta to you all :namaste:
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Re: Meditation while heartbroken

Postby Ben » Thu Mar 15, 2012 8:24 pm

Greetings Dmind,

Just keep meditating as per usual. Don't stop f you are crying. Try to observe what is going on while you are crying by focusing on the meditation object - sensations. Try to remain equanimous as much as possible. I also recommend that you spend some time practicing anapana each session and spending more time practicing metta bhavana.

that applies also to love feelings? (I don't recall anything Goenka said about the love feeling towards a partner )

Then you have forgotten what he said about personal love. I recommend that you read the discourse summaries - it will also help you to stay motivated.
Keep in mind also that the grieving for the end of a relationship is normal and will pass.
kind regards,

Ben
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Re: Meditation while heartbroken

Postby sattva » Thu Mar 15, 2012 9:37 pm

i have gone to retreats also where all i seemed to do is cry through them. We carry around so much "stuff" that is unprocessesd normally, but meditation is like opening a hole to let it out. Sometimes it is more like a floodgate. I am not as familiar with your method of practice, so i won't offer any suggestions about that except to not let it stop you from practiciing.

I have been heart-broken several times in my life, not fun is it? There are so many heart-broken people out there struggling to make it through the day. You are not alone. :console:
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Re: Meditation while heartbroken

Postby Alobha » Thu Mar 15, 2012 11:59 pm

Ben wrote:Just keep meditating as per usual. Don't stop f you are crying. Try to observe what is going on while you are crying by focusing on the meditation object - sensations. Try to remain equanimous as much as possible. I also recommend that you spend some time practicing anapana each session and spending more time practicing metta bhavana.

:goodpost:

Dmind wrote:Recently I find it harder to meditate after the story with my ex finished. Whenever I force myself to do it I end up crying after a short meditation and I have to stop.

When the feelings are so intensive that you can't watch the breath, then watch the feelings. You can learn very much from this intense sadness by watching it.

Do you have suggestions?

Make peace with things! :smile:
These feelings, tension in the body, tears.. all these things can teach you great lessons. You can turn your enemies into your advantage to progress on the path. So make peace with them and be patient with yourself on the way.

Take care!
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Re: Meditation while heartbroken

Postby pilgrim » Fri Mar 16, 2012 1:10 am

Perhpas it is better to consider what the Buddha said..
"Enough now, Ananda! Do not be sorrowful and cry. Have I not already repeatedly told you that there is separation and parting from all that is dear and beloved? How is it possible that anything that has been born, has had a beginning, should not again die? Such a thing is not possible." ~ MahaParinibbana Sutta
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Re: Meditation while heartbroken

Postby Yana » Fri Mar 16, 2012 3:11 am

Dmind wrote:Hello everybody,
First I tell you something about me.
I am a 30 years old guy. I did a Goenka vipassana retreat for 10 days in India last year.
After that I have kept practicing meditation but not with continuity.

Recently I find it harder to meditate after the story with my ex finished. Whenever I force myself to do it I end up crying after a short meditation and I have to stop.
The fact that I cry afterwards used to happen also during the meditation retreat when I used to cry about deeper seated issues of the past and then get a sensation of relief and happiness.
However, now the sensation of relief is short lived and in the next meditation the same sensation of sadness comes back (it has been more than a month now).
Well, if instead I don't meditate at all I feel like "disconnected" from my sensations and feelings and I don't feel the sadness as much. But it seems to build up in being more disconnected and not being able to behave naturally..

In theory Vipassana meditation is supposed to be about knowing that everything is impermanent ("anicca").. that applies also to love feelings? (I don't recall anything Goenka said about the love feeling towards a partner :shrug: )
In general did you experience crying after a meditation or during the retreat?
And what about after a bad end to a love relationship?
Do you have suggestions?

Your help is very much appreciated!
Metta to you all :namaste:



hi..

I think no matter what state your in you should do your best to meditate.I think crying is okay too.I usually feel more lighter afterwards.

Maybe you should just do Anapansati in the mean time..to help bring your mind to a calm and peaceful state.

Heart breaks are never easy but i have personally learnt to see the future in any relationship.The moment you lay eyes on someone special..someone you love and are very attracted to..when it is the start of something beautiful..just imagine the future..imagine the moments you will have to part..and you will... it is inevitable..it will give you a sense that nothing is permanent .Sometimes i have good times with my mother and father and those i hold very dear but my mind would flash and imagine the moments when i'll have to say goodbye or they'll have to die or i'll have to die..and life keeps going.always.So i have to prepare myself for these moments.Everythings good while it lasts but when it goes you have to accept that and let it go.

So no matter what degree of separation you experience..whether it's heart break,divorce,or death.Always let it go.

I hope you will feel better soon my friend.And keep practicing the dhamma.. if you can't do it as much as you use to just do as much as you can.The main point is remain anchored in your practices..because that is the only way you can truly be free from suffering.
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Re: Meditation while heartbroken

Postby Dmind » Fri Mar 16, 2012 11:50 am

Thank you guys!
I feel much more motivated thanks to your messages!
what a great sangha you are :twothumbsup:

In particular the one that got to me is:
You can turn your enemies into your advantage to progress on the path. So make peace with them and be patient with yourself on the way.


I didn't think of it this way and it makes me see it in a different light, a possibility to use this sorrow for my self growth.
And this from Ben:
Try to observe what is going on while you are crying by focusing on the meditation object - sensations. Try to remain equanimous as much as possible.


I can see that I was doing it totally wrong because of my personal belief that sorrow and meditation couldn't coexist. So I would stop meditation and actually started thinking about past memories that made me hang on to them and wanting to live them again.
Also it is the "trying to remain equanimous" that I should work on. I tried today and I felt better.

I have to accept life as it is and not as I wish it to be.
This is an apparently simple thing that I will be working on.

But for the suggestion about doing Metta Bhavana.. I actually never really understood this meditation. And so I didn't practice it, I do Anapana and Vipassana only.
I mean, my experience is that this meditation as it was described during the seminars was too "visual" for me.
I actually imagined people (especially people that I didn't particularly like) and a feeling of love for them. But also the feeling of love seemed to be just imaginary. I end up not being able to focus on any feeling and not feeling like I am in a meditative state. Then, since I am not focused, I get distracted and it seems to me I am wasting time. I must be doing something wrong.. or this type of meditation is not for me :( . I need something that I can "feel" and not imagine, I dont know if I am communicating it right. Also do you think I should I include the imagine of my ex in this practice?
Love to you all
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Re: Meditation while heartbroken

Postby Ben » Fri Mar 16, 2012 12:19 pm

Hi Dmind,
I actually have difficulty with metta bhavana myself - as do many co-practitioners. Its hard to generate love for oneself and others.
I suggest that during metta bhavana that you start with yourself as the object of metta bhavana. Then to others. The problem with selecting your ex as an object is that you may confuse feelings of longing, desire, and unrequited personal love for your ex with the expansiveness of impersonal love and thus adding 'fuel to the fire' of your grief and sadness.
Don;t give up on metta bhavana because it is hard.

Karaniya Metta Sutta: The Buddha's Words on Loving-Kindness
kind regards,

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

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