Disillusioned

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

Postby Collective » Thu Apr 01, 2010 8:10 am

I'm quite disillusioned.

I take ant depressants, I take 50mg a night which is the lowest prescribed dosage you can take. But here's my problem.

When I was taking 50mg, everything was going good, my meditational practices were of a good quality, and I found myself aware of being a lot more relaxed in situations away from the cushion. As well as on the cushion.

So I decided to drop myself down from 50mg to 25mg. Even though I said 50mg is the lowest recognised proscribed dose all this means is that I was taking 2x25mg capsules. When I decided to take 1x25mg capsule (against doctor's orders), the doctor in his own words told me that the 1x25mg capsule was doing 'nothing' for me. It's was just too weak a dose and wasn't effective at all.

Anyway, on 1x25mg tablet I found my meditational practice jittery, tense, and impossible, and found myself quite stressed away from the cushion.

So now I'm back on 50mg and I'm thinking why bother meditating? What's the point? If I'm relaxed here or there it's only the anti depressants not the meditation doing it. This isn't a 'happy' feeling about why bother. I don't mean

'Hey no need to meditate - I've relaxed anayway :)

It's more a case of

'Why bother, I'm only relaxed because of the anti depressants anyway' :(

In short, I'm worrying that I won't feel any progress (or more importantly I won't make any real progress) because any relaxation I'd expereince would be down to the anti-depressants not the meditation.

Important note here, very important; the anti depressants do not in any way 'fog' my mind. I'm as clear as the next person, my clarity of thinking is one of sharpness. These anti-depressants do not make you feel sleepy in the day, or drowsy, they just relax your nerves and calm you down.

I can't really stop taking them on doctor's orders, so my question is, is it still possible for me to attain nibbana?

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Re: Disillusioned

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Apr 01, 2010 8:15 am

Collective wrote:
'Hey no need to meditate - I've relaxed anayway

It's more a case of

'Why bother, I'm only relaxed because of the anti depressants anyway'


Relaxation is the purpose of meditation? Whether you are relaxed or jittery, it is a matter of seeing things as they are, as they rise and fall, come and go. Taking anti-depressants is not going to keep you from insight.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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BlackBird
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Re: Disillusioned

Postby BlackBird » Thu Apr 01, 2010 8:18 am

I don't know the answer to many of your questions, but I do know this: There's more to meditation than simply trying to achieve a calm state of mind. Whether the mind is calm or restless is no indicator of your potential to achieve nibbana.

metta
Jack
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta

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Re: Disillusioned

Postby Goofaholix » Thu Apr 01, 2010 8:42 am

Relaxation is not the purpose of meditation, it's a by-product. As you gain wisdom though you'll gradually let go of the habits and attitudes that lead to a buildup of tension but this is not a temporary relaxation but something much deeper.

You may not be ready for it but someday when you are you should just sit with the jitteriness, really observe it, really feel it, and accept it, gradually it will lose power over you and you may find you gain freedom from it. There's no point doing this with the aim of getting rid of something though, you want to fully understand accept and learn from it, you are lucky you have something to work with as it's an opportunity for learning.

If you aren't ready for that then just continue to sit having taken full medication, you are building a habit, awareness, and strength of mind.

If in doubt follow your doctors advice.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah

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Ben
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Re: Disillusioned

Postby Ben » Thu Apr 01, 2010 8:45 am

Hi Collective
Nibbana is not blocked to you because you are on anti-depressants. Elsewhere I talked about the preliminary findings of a research hub at Macquarie University. A few years ago I was in contact with them when I was doing a literature search on the effects of meditation on educational outcomes. At Macquarie University they were looking at the impact of mindfulness meditation on cancer patients suffering from depression. The preliminary findings showed that for patients who undertook the mindfulness meditation, they were able to come off their medication more quickly than non-meditating patients, and more importantly, had significantly less remission of major depression.
Medication is important for you to reduce the symptoms of your condition so that you can, not only function relatively normally, but also be able to establish a meditation practice. The meditation practice, in time, will help to alleviate the root cause of all of your suffering.
Certainly be dissillusioned Collective, but be dissillusioned with samsara.
Take care and I wish you every success with your practice.
metta

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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e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com

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Collective
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Re: Disillusioned

Postby Collective » Thu Apr 01, 2010 9:19 am

Thank you all very much.

I think I remember bringing up a similar point a few months ago, and the advice I had then is very similar to now. Basically, we don't meditate to relax, that's just a bonus if it comes about.

I've been thinking, perhaps I should go back to 1x25mg because at least I'll have a yardstick by which to measure my progress as to relaxing. I know insight will eventually help me to relax, so perhaps it is just a case of perseverance.

Thank you all again :namaste:

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Re: Disillusioned

Postby PeterB » Thu Apr 01, 2010 9:49 am

You seem Collective to have developed quite an obsession about being relaxed.
a) whats so good about being relaxed? Being aware is more important. Preferably we should be both relaxed and aware.
b) Trying to be relaxed is counter productive. Its like trying to get to sleep by willpower.
A relaxed state is a by- product . Not and end in itself .
Try doing things for others that tire you..I guarantee that if you help an elderly neighbour decorate their house ( for example ) you will feel relaxed afterwards.
Sila is a vital part of Buddhist practice. As is compassion and goodwill.
All these are essential before a meditation practice becomes successful.

Above all do not meddle with your meds. Talk any changes through with whoever prescribed them.

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Ben
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Re: Disillusioned

Postby Ben » Thu Apr 01, 2010 11:41 am

PeterB wrote:Above all do not meddle with your meds. Talk any changes through with whoever prescribed them.

I couldn't agree more.
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
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia
e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com

Jack
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Re: Disillusioned

Postby Jack » Thu Apr 01, 2010 2:56 pm

I see you have received lots of good advice. I would add learning to accept restlessness. Here is an example from my personal experience of two nights ago. I was at our sangha meeting and we were meditating for 2 hours. I reached a point where I was perfectly calm while thoughts, emotions, body sensations and feelings were still rushing through my mind. I was like a rock in a fast moving stream. All sorts of things were rushing past but I just let them all go. I remained unmoved.

jack

JackV
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Re: Disillusioned

Postby JackV » Mon Apr 12, 2010 2:06 pm

Anyway, on 1x25mg tablet I found my meditational practice jittery, tense, and impossible, and found myself quite stressed away from the cushion.

Hey I was having the same thing. Did you drop down the medication quickly? Basically - as you are probably aware - most anti-deppresants work by a long term build up in the body and a sudden drop in amount the body has can have some right 'orrible feeling associated with. I dropped down from 40mg to 20 just by stopping taking one pill extra and two days later I was unable to mediate like I had been. I got pretty annoyed and thought the same thing.

Beyond this point it has been proven that mediatation practiced over the long term can reduce the effects (im not sure how they quantified this) by up to 50%. I read this article, I cant remember where, just the other day about it.
I would say to you that even if it is jittery etc the fact that you are sitting down with the intention to do this that is the right effort. Keep going be aware of all the issues you mentioned but just do it. Maybe sit for less time but just keep going, I mean it can only be good for you and there is no real sense of achievement in mediation. Try to leave them ideas and just let it be.
Hope you sort it out.

Bless
Here where a thousand
captains swore grand conquest
Tall grasses their monument.


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