Problems continuing my practice

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

Problems continuing my practice

Postby nerdypete » Sun Nov 17, 2013 3:37 am

I am having a two main problems with getting any further in my practice. I am having a feeling of not being good enough. When I'm reading and meditating I feel very calm and centered; however, later on I, for example, make a mistake by overreacting and yell at my kids. Afterwards I feel... really bad and it's very difficult to return to my practice.

I have been trying to figure out what else has been stopping me, and a passage in "Breath by Breath: The Liberating Practice of Insight Meditation" showed me. Basically it talked about, in meditation all your feeling come up and you have to face them. I am having a problem with facing myself, and my past. It feels like purposely opening up old wounds every time I meditate. Yes it helps to heal them, but in the interim it is just too painful to face.

I know it sounds pretty melodramatic :cry: , even as i'm reading over it, it sounds pretty lame. but it really is how I feel.

Basically I'm just looking for some guidance. I'm really not sure where to go from here.
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Re: Problems continuing my practice

Postby Kim OHara » Sun Nov 17, 2013 4:04 am

nerdypete wrote:I am having a two main problems with getting any further in my practice. ...

I know it sounds pretty melodramatic :cry: , even as i'm reading over it, it sounds pretty lame. but it really is how I feel.

Basically I'm just looking for some guidance. I'm really not sure where to go from here.

Welcome to DW :hello: nerdypete (can we just call you Pete?). Your reason for visiting is not at all uncommon, nor are the problems you've come up against.
nerdypete wrote:... I am having a feeling of not being good enough. When I'm reading and meditating I feel very calm and centered; however, later on I, for example, make a mistake by overreacting and yell at my kids. Afterwards I feel... really bad and it's very difficult to return to my practice.

The good thing in that scenario is that you are noticing the over-reaction and wanting to stop it. The standard trick to get over it is to slow down your response so you have time to moderate or change your habitual pattern.
If you continually respond badly to certain people you can also try metta meditation directed at them.
nerdypete wrote:I have been trying to figure out what else has been stopping me, and a passage in "Breath by Breath: The Liberating Practice of Insight Meditation" showed me. Basically it talked about, in meditation all your feeling come up and you have to face them. I am having a problem with facing myself, and my past. It feels like purposely opening up old wounds every time I meditate. Yes it helps to heal them, but in the interim it is just too painful to face.

That happens. The trick here is similar: back off for a little while. Remember to go back to the breath rather than getting caught up in the thoughts that come up. The thoughts will come again ... and again ... and again, but they will be less likely each time to trap you. Observing them without participating in them lets you come to terms with them.

:namaste:
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Re: Problems continuing my practice

Postby barcsimalsi » Sun Nov 17, 2013 4:51 am

nerdypete wrote:...Basically I'm just looking for some guidance. I'm really not sure where to go from here.


From a more positive outlook, mental stress that appears in the mind can be taken as an important sign that one’s particular or habitual view is distorted. Listening to dhamma talks is the first step to overcome wrong view, then one has to remember to often observe the state of one’s mind, recognizing the qualities of intention/thoughts and reflect the dhamma which is in relation to those experiences. In this way, the tendency to the arising of wrong view will gradually decrease as a result of being overthrown by right view.

Here’s a link to some profound dhamma talks that related to your problem:
http://www.sasanarakkha.org/mp3.html

and:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: Problems continuing my practice

Postby kmath » Sun Nov 17, 2013 5:03 am

nerdypete wrote:I am having a problem with facing myself, and my past. It feels like purposely opening up old wounds every time I meditate. Yes it helps to heal them, but in the interim it is just too painful to face.
.


Then maybe take a break in the interim. It's ok, work at your own pace. I'm sure most people on this forum have old wounds that they are working through, but they can takes years to heal. Just be patient with yourself and do what you can.

Metta,

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Re: Problems continuing my practice

Postby Biija » Thu Nov 21, 2013 9:06 pm

Hello, NerdyPete!

If something is not going well in your meditation practice, it probably has to do with one of the Five Hindrances or a combination of them. I strongly recommend a dhamma talk given by Ajahn Brahmavamso on the Five Hindrances (see link below). We all make mistakes, we're not perfect. Remorse does not help. Let it go. If you made a mistake today the better thing to do is to reflect upon and try to avoid the same mistake tomorrow. Allow yourself a new chance, always.
http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books7/Ajahn ... rances.pdf
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Re: Problems continuing my practice

Postby manas » Thu Nov 21, 2013 9:21 pm

nerdypete wrote:I am having a two main problems with getting any further in my practice. I am having a feeling of not being good enough. When I'm reading and meditating I feel very calm and centered; however, later on I, for example, make a mistake by overreacting and yell at my kids. Afterwards I feel... really bad and it's very difficult to return to my practice.

I have been trying to figure out what else has been stopping me, and a passage in "Breath by Breath: The Liberating Practice of Insight Meditation" showed me. Basically it talked about, in meditation all your feeling come up and you have to face them. I am having a problem with facing myself, and my past. It feels like purposely opening up old wounds every time I meditate. Yes it helps to heal them, but in the interim it is just too painful to face.

I know it sounds pretty melodramatic :cry: , even as i'm reading over it, it sounds pretty lame. but it really is how I feel.

Basically I'm just looking for some guidance. I'm really not sure where to go from here.


Hi pete

only just yesterday, I was in meditation, and I noticed a problem. There was this expectation that I ought to be doing better. It manifested as a kind of hardness, a stiffness in the mind. And I realized that there simply was not enough love, metta, in the mind. That is when I allow a warm, forgiving glow of kindness to permeate my mind and body. Give yourself some credit. You have made the decision to sit, and meditate. That is a wholesome act. Bring more love into the meditation, that's my advice. Whatever things you have done that were not quite as good as you would have liked, yes they need to be corrected, but you are working on that, right? You are making the effort, day by day, step by step. So we need to forgive. Forgive yourself, and forgive others also, because any harm they did was also due to defilement, due to ignorance, ultimately.

I find that the warm glow of metta changes the meditation. I can then get back into the breath. I am more accepting of my current ability in the practice, or the lack thereof. I can better accept that this is how things are right now. Not that I don't keep striving to improve, just that right now, I am doing the right thing (meditation) and can be at least at relative peace with that.

Forgive yourself, and infuse your mind and body with metta. And keep striving to improve also. That's my basic advice, based on experience. And next time you are in that situation with your kids, be watchful. Know what the triggers are, and be prepared. What could you do better next time? What strategy could you use, to effectively draw a boundary line with them (which as parents we do need to do), but without losing mindfulness and actually yelling?

:anjali:
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Re: Problems continuing my practice

Postby Digity » Sun Nov 24, 2013 4:42 am

When I first took up meditation it opened up a lot of bad memories too. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Once I faced a lot of those things I realized I behaved unskillfully and did my best to behave more skillfully in those situations in the future. Show some compassion to yourself. At least you're willing to sit down and meditate and open yourself up to these things. That's a lot more than most people are willing to do. Next, just do your best to learn from your past mistakes. That's all you can do. Don't feel guilty and beat yourself up. That's just a lot of wasted energy. Anyway, be kind to yourself. What your doing is good, even though it may not feel that way. The fact that you care and are trying to practice is a lot.

Meditation cleanses the mind, but sometimes cleaning isn't fun. Sometimes you find tons of dirt and crap that needs to be cleaned up. Still, it needs to be cleaned up. That's how the mind gets refined. It's just the way it is.
Samsara sucks.
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Re: Problems continuing my practice

Postby klc » Sat Nov 30, 2013 7:12 pm

nerdypete wrote:I am having a two main problems with getting any further in my practice. I am having a feeling of not being good enough. When I'm reading and meditating I feel very calm and centered; however, later on I, for example, make a mistake by overreacting and yell at my kids. Afterwards I feel... really bad and it's very difficult to return to my practice.

I have been trying to figure out what else has been stopping me, and a passage in "Breath by Breath: The Liberating Practice of Insight Meditation" showed me. Basically it talked about, in meditation all your feeling come up and you have to face them. I am having a problem with facing myself, and my past. It feels like purposely opening up old wounds every time I meditate. Yes it helps to heal them, but in the interim it is just too painful to face.

I know it sounds pretty melodramatic :cry: , even as i'm reading over it, it sounds pretty lame. but it really is how I feel.

Basically I'm just looking for some guidance. I'm really not sure where to go from here.


you felt bad bcoz you overeacted to your children or you felt bad you still overeacted despite doing meditation ?. there is a big difference between the two. my view is you should be concerned with the former and make it up with your children first. and try be mindful when you find yourself in the same situation again.

on the latter part, you should learn not to have that view. i felt subconsciously guilty that i place the meditation failure to affect immediate changes to my behaviour as more important vs that what i did, did hurt my children. that subconcious guilty feeling was what impacted my practice too.

how i come to that realization ? by looking at different perspective of 'facing' my inner emotions as it arises, which often were the bad ones. 'facing' to me means a potential for 'conflict' with a need to 'judge' that bad memories, feelings. emphasize again its moral value and implications. it was very uncomfortable. but when knowing why i was uncomfortable, i realize i do not need to 'judge' but just 'accept'. it was already a past deed, i do not need to re-judge again and penalize myself again. i realized i did not emphasize that the fact i am meditating already indicated i am aware of them n already making steps to better myself. this is the wholesome quality we often miss out as we like to cling to bad experience to penalize ourselves again and again. once i realized that, then there is nothing to judge anymore but acceptance. then the 'weight' got lifted. 'facing' that arisen feelings is no longer a 'conflict', no more rejudgement, i accept what was, n i know i am doing my best of what will to come.

surprisingly, the metta feelings now reinforces itself. metta to myself n metta to my children and those around me.

that was what happened to me too. you are already making good progress having to find this phenomena and this is a good thing, not a bad thing.
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