Hello/ Namaste Meditators.
I registrated to this forum in order to find out whether I'm doing something wrong in my meditation practise, or that sth. might be wrong with myself, or that maybe meditation itself is nothing more than a joke. I need to find out!
I started practising vipassana meditation exactly a year ago when I read the first writings about the benefits of it. Bhante Henepola Gunaratanas Mindfulness in Plain English
was the first book I've read about meditation, it's still lying on my desk while I'm writing this. I found the promises of vipassana (and later, also samatha) very...seducing.
"Puryfing fire". "End of suffering". "Living each moment to it's fullest". "Only peace remains". To me, it seems like the advocates of meditation (Gunaratana, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Joseph Goldstein and Ajahn Brahm, these four are those whose writings I've read the most) are labeling meditation as the universal solution itself, giving the meditator total immunity to all kinds of disturbing thoughts and feelings that will arise of course due to the events that occur in every human's life. Drug addiction, depression, anxiety, hopelessness, nothing meditation, especially mindfulness meditation (Vipassana) couldn't solve, right?
"Great", I thought. "This might be the key to overcome my countless worries caused by the problems in my life. In fact, meditation might be the key for every human being to overcome it's traumas and fears and concerns, (certainly worse than mine) no matter how many horrible things happened in their lifes".
So started practising meditation a year ago: Two times a day, 30 minutes minimum. First concentration on counting the breaths, then on every distraction that arises, just like it's taught. A year of practise has passed now.
My personal impression of this first year with meditation: Horrible disappointment!
Nothing changed. Let's say, if there was a tragic happening I witnessed, I was still as sad as before. If I encountered a scary situation, I still was as afraid as before (and turned my back towards it instead of facing it). If there was something troublesome, I became angry just as before. Nothing changed.
But I'm glad to say that I've identified the problem allready: Vipassana doesn't give me any results because for me, it seems like reality itself is in the way. To be more precise: Disturbing and worrying thoughts habe a trigger. That trigger is the perception of some event. This event - the death of a relative (example only, didn't happen to me) - is very real! And no matter how many hours a day you meditate, you know very well that this situation remains. And as long as the situation remains, the thoughts concerning it keep on coming to your mind again and again, don't they? Thus, how is Meditation ever supposed to make a difference if reality forces you to be aware of the present situation as long as it still persists?
It is said that all phenomens are impermanent, and recognising that is a major goal of Vipassana, isn't it? However, I found out quite the opposite: When a worrying thought is caused by a real situation, my reason reminds me all the time that the situation remains and therefore, gives the thought concerning it it's substance. I never witnessed that impermance!
I must say, when I read some of the topics on this forum, I become jealous: Feeling of "hotness and coldness", experience of jhanas (nothing seems to be more lightyears away for me now), disturbing experiences at a Goenka 10 day retreat. Quite honestly, I would welcome even disturbing experiences during meditation, because then AT LEAST something would happen at all!
But, could it be that I'm just too impatient? Is it just normal that you have to practise not 1, but at least 3 years before the very first results show up? Was it also your case that the first year of daily meditation didn't change anything in your mindset?
PS: I am aware of the fact that many people on this planet have much worse problems than I do. But these problems - famine, war, etc. - are reality, and how could mindfullness help these people to get rid of their detrimental worries as long as this reality still remains?