Anxiety. ..

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Anxiety. ..

Postby Beautiful Breath » Thu Dec 20, 2012 3:51 pm

Hi all,

I have been practicing for some time now but I have to say in terms of any reduction in my personal anxieties they seem to be more accentuated rather than reduced. I can look back over the last year or so and despite all the signs being positive in terms of my sitting practice (so I'm reliably informed by an ordained friend) out of meditation I'm developing more insecurities as the weeks go by. I'm starting to conclude that I may have to change my practice altogether.

My main practice is Anapanasati.

Anyone else felt like they're experiencing anything similar. It feels a little like I'm going backwards rather than forwards.

_/\_ BB...

I guess I should have said that my attachments are getting worse....that's a bit more nearer the experience...
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Re: Anxiety. ..

Postby marc108 » Thu Dec 20, 2012 4:31 pm

may i ask insecurities regarding what?

in my own personal experience, the first year or so i started sitting seriously i thought it may have been making my mind worse re: anxiety, depression, etc... but after much personal reflection and discussion with my teacher i realized that i was simply more aware of what was going on in my mind, and that none of those issues were actually getting worse. the course things became ultra noticeable and the subtle things come to the surface.
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."
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Re: Anxiety. ..

Postby Beautiful Breath » Thu Dec 20, 2012 5:01 pm

I suppose my anxieties are around relationships manifesting in a general sense of neediness... its awful as I am about as far from insecure as you can imagine as a rule :-D
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Re: Anxiety. ..

Postby SarathW » Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:39 pm

Hi Beautiful
Any mental phenomena’s are arise due to attachment. They all coming from self protection and self preservation. It is part of our genetic makeup going back to the origin of us.
Just be aware of them (mindful).
See them in terms of impermanence etc.

I am anxious even to write this post! :console:
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Re: Anxiety. ..

Postby Beautiful Breath » Fri Dec 21, 2012 10:17 am

Thanks...sometimes it feels like a tatoo, there and will always be there...horrible and seemingly apart from my practice. I must be doing something wrong?
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Re: Anxiety. ..

Postby plwk » Fri Dec 21, 2012 11:32 am

Someone once told me that between the neurotic mind and a pancake, the latter can be flipped over faster... khanti khanti khanti
Bhikkhus, if you develop and make much this one thing,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.
What is it? It is recollecting the Enlightened One.
If this single thing is recollected and made much,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.

Anguttara-Nikaya: Ekanipata: Ekadhammapali: Pañhamavagga
VSM VMM WBB TBHT WTBT My Page
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Re: Anxiety. ..

Postby danieLion » Sat Dec 22, 2012 6:03 am

Beautiful Breath wrote:I suppose my anxieties are around relationships manifesting in a general sense of neediness... its awful as I am about as far from insecure as you can imagine as a rule :-D

You might try Dr. Burns' books When Panic Attacks or Feeling Good (google "cognitve distortions, Dr. Burns" or something like that and you'll get a basic idea). Combined with Buddhist practice, I find it a potent combination.
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Re: Anxiety. ..

Postby cbonanno » Sat Dec 22, 2012 1:04 pm

Beautiful Breath wrote:Hi all,

I have been practicing for some time now but I have to say in terms of any reduction in my personal anxieties they seem to be more accentuated rather than reduced. I can look back over the last year or so and despite all the signs being positive in terms of my sitting practice (so I'm reliably informed by an ordained friend) out of meditation I'm developing more insecurities as the weeks go by. I'm starting to conclude that I may have to change my practice altogether.

My main practice is Anapanasati.

Anyone else felt like they're experiencing anything similar. It feels a little like I'm going backwards rather than forwards.

_/\_ BB...

I guess I should have said that my attachments are getting worse....that's a bit more nearer the experience...


If you are meditating to get rid of anxiety you are only strengthening your anxieties. Just meditate for no reason.

Also, maybe your attachments are not getting worse, maybe you are just seeing them more clearly.
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Re: Anxiety. ..

Postby danieLion » Sun Dec 23, 2012 7:20 am

Beautiful Breathe,

Listen to this talk by Andrea Fella called Working with Thoughts in Everyday Life (downloadable) and cross reference it with this list of common cognitive distortions:

1. All-or-nothing thinking: You see things in black and white categories. If your performance falls short of perfect, you see yourself as a total failure.

2. Overgeneralization: You see a single negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat.

3. Mental filter: You pick out a single negative detail and dwell on it exclusively so that your vision of all reality becomes darkened, like the drop of ink that discolors the entire beaker of water.

4. Disqualifying the positive: You reject positive experiences by insisting they "don't count" for some reason or other. You maintain a negative belief that is contradicted by your everyday experiences.

5. Jumping to conclusions: You make a negative interpretation even though there are no definite facts that convincingly support your conclusion.

-Mind reading: You arbitrarily conclude that someone is reacting negatively to you and don't bother to check it out.

-The Fortune Teller Error: You anticipate that things will turn out badly and feel convinced that your prediction is an already-established fact.

6. Magnification (catastrophizing) or minimization: You exaggerate the importance of things (such as your goof-up or someone else's achievement), or you inappropriately shrink things until they appear tiny (your own desirable qualities or the other fellow's imperfections). This is also called the "binocular trick."

7. Emotional reasoning: You assume that your negative emotions necessarily reflect the way things really are: "I feel it, therefore it must be true."

8. Should statements (musterbating): You try to motivate yourself with shoulds and shouldn'ts, as if you had to be whipped and punished before you could be expected to do anything. "Musts" and "oughts" are also offenders. The emotional consequence is guilt. When you direct should statements toward others, you feel anger, frustration, and resentment.

9. Labeling and mislabeling: This is an extreme form of overgeneralization. Instead of describing your error, you attach a negative label to yourself: "I'm a loser." When someone else's behavior rubs you the wrong way, you attach a negative label to him, "He's a damn louse." Mislabeling involves describing an event with language that is highly colored and emotionally loaded.

10. Personalization: You see yourself as the cause of some negative external event for which, in fact, you were not primarily responsible.

From: Burns, David D., MD. 1989. The Feeling Good Handbook. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc.
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Re: Anxiety. ..

Postby danieLion » Sun Dec 23, 2012 7:39 am

Beatiful Breathe,
In When Panic Attacks, Dr. Burns identifies twenty-three Self Defeating Beliefs (SDBs). SDBs 15-21 comprise an anxiety aggregate. They are:

15. Emotional Perfectionism. I should always feel happy, confident and in control.
16. Anger Phobia. Anger is dangerous and should be avoided at all costs.
17. Emotophobia. I should never feel sad, anxious, inadequate, jealous, or vulnerable. I should sweep my feelings under the rug and not upset anyone.
18. Perceived Narcissism. The people I care about are demanding, manipulative, and powerful.
19. Brushfire Fallacy. People are clones who all think alike. If one person looks down on me, the word will spread like brushfire and soon everyone will.
20. Spotlight Fallacy. Talking to people is like having to perform under a bright spotlight. If I don't impress them by being sophisticated, witty, or interesting, they won't like me.
21. Magical Thinking. If I worry enough, everything will turn out okay.
Morgan Road Books: 2006 (p. 19).
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Re: Anxiety. ..

Postby Beautiful Breath » Mon Dec 24, 2012 11:02 am

Thanks everyone...as it happens I am a Psychological therapist and work in a CBT framework with a caseload of Patients with various preesntations including Anxiety.

I was more interested in the possibility of mine being as a direct result of my practices?

BB...
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Re: Anxiety. ..

Postby santa100 » Mon Dec 24, 2012 2:56 pm

Make sure you set some time for yourself everyday for outdoor exercises (jogging, biking, hiking, etc.). These are wonderful natural cures for anxiety and stress..
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Re: Anxiety. ..

Postby danieLion » Tue Dec 25, 2012 12:40 pm

Beautiful Breath wrote:Thanks everyone...as it happens I am a Psychological therapist and work in a CBT framework with a caseload of Patients with various preesntations including Anxiety.

I was more interested in the possibility of mine being as a direct result of my practices?

BB...

The last time I had a panic attack I told my (CBT) therapist and she said, "Good!"

You know why, right?

CBT and the Buddha identify anxiety (a form of dukkha) as the direct result of cognitive distortion. The purpose of anapanasati is to develop vipassana (insight), not to reduce anxiety. Understanding becoming ("seeing things as they really are") can be very anxiety provoking. CBT, like the teachings of the Buddha, provides us with many tools to deal with anxiety and other afflictions skillfully, and neither is about avoiding them.

Albert Ellis wrote:Insight is another name for awareness. Awareness is the first step toward ridding yourself of misery. The more you are keenly aware of your misery-creating thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, the greater your chances of ridding yourself of them.

Let us begin with your miserable feelings. How can you be aware of what you feel--and how healthy your feelings are....? Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy [a form of CBT] shows you not only how to get in touch with your negative (and your positive) feelings, but also how to be aware of--to have insight into--whether they are healthy [skillful] or unhealthy [unskillful]. It encourages you to feel your feelings--and also to weigh how desirable they are. And what good or bad results do they get you?
How to Stubbornly Refuse to Make Yourself Miserable About Anything (Yes, Anything!), 2006: Citadel. Pp. 37-38.


Like Sayadaw U Tejaniya says, "Vipassana is not sitting still!"

Uprooting greed, hate and delusion takes a lot of hard work.
Last edited by danieLion on Wed Dec 26, 2012 7:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Anxiety. ..

Postby Kamran » Tue Dec 25, 2012 5:25 pm

In my case, meditation makes me notice things about myself more clearly than before including anxiety issues.

Noticing my anxiety and how difficult a task it will be to get rid of it causes some additional anxiety.

Its anxiety about anxiety.

I think CBT with meditation would be helpful.
When this concentration is thus developed, thus well developed by you, then wherever you go, you will go in comfort. Wherever you stand, you will stand in comfort. Wherever you sit, you will sit in comfort. Wherever you lie down, you will lie down in comfort.
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Re: Anxiety. ..

Postby danieLion » Sat Dec 29, 2012 12:38 am


21. "I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped, is as unpliant as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped, is unpliant."

22. "I don't envision a single thing that, when developed, is as pliant as the mind. The mind, when developed, is pliant."

23. "I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped, leads to such great harm as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped leads to great harm."

24. "I don't envision a single thing that, when developed, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed leads to great benefit."

25. "I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & unapparent, leads to such great harm as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & unapparent leads to great harm."

26. "I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & apparent, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & apparent, leads to great benefit."

27. "I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, leads to such great harm as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated leads to great harm."

28. "I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

29. "I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

30. "I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, brings about such happiness as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, brings about happiness."

31. "I don't envision a single thing that, when untamed, leads to such great harm as the mind. The mind, when untamed leads to great harm."

32. "I don't envision a single thing that, when tamed, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when tamed leads to great benefit."

33. "I don't envision a single thing that, when unguarded, leads to such great harm as the mind. The mind, when unguarded leads to great harm."

34. "I don't envision a single thing that, when guarded, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when guarded leads to great benefit."

35. "I don't envision a single thing that, when unprotected, leads to such great harm as the mind. The mind, when unprotected leads to great harm."

36. "I don't envision a single thing that, when protected, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when protected leads to great benefit."

37. "I don't envision a single thing that, when unrestrained, leads to such great harm as the mind. The mind, when unrestrained leads to great harm."

38. "I don't envision a single thing that, when restrained, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when restrained leads to great benefit."

39. "I don't envision a single thing that — when untamed, unguarded, unprotected, unrestrained — leads to such great harm as the mind. The mind — when untamed, unguarded, unprotected, unrestrained — leads to great harm."

40. "I don't envision a single thing that — when tamed, guarded, protected, restrained — leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind — when tamed, guarded, protected, restrained — leads to great benefit."

-Anguttara Nikaya 1.21-40 (PTS: A i 5). Ekadhamma Suttas: A Single Thing.
Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
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Re: Anxiety. ..

Postby alan... » Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:15 am

Beautiful Breath wrote:Hi all,

I have been practicing for some time now but I have to say in terms of any reduction in my personal anxieties they seem to be more accentuated rather than reduced. I can look back over the last year or so and despite all the signs being positive in terms of my sitting practice (so I'm reliably informed by an ordained friend) out of meditation I'm developing more insecurities as the weeks go by. I'm starting to conclude that I may have to change my practice altogether.

My main practice is Anapanasati.

Anyone else felt like they're experiencing anything similar. It feels a little like I'm going backwards rather than forwards.

_/\_ BB...

I guess I should have said that my attachments are getting worse....that's a bit more nearer the experience...


are you doing an all day practice or just sitting meditation?
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Re: Anxiety. ..

Postby Alobha » Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:58 am

You might want to develop meditation objects other than mindfulness of the breath. The four Brahmaviharas and impermanence come to mind. Try to develop loving-kindness the whole time you're awake, not just during a formal sitting for some time.
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Re: Anxiety. ..

Postby waterchan » Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:59 pm

cbonanno wrote:If you are meditating to get rid of anxiety you are only strengthening your anxieties. Just meditate for no reason.


Yes! The best way to meditate!

cbonanno wrote:Also, maybe your attachments are not getting worse, maybe you are just seeing them more clearly.


The OP describes their anxiety as becoming accentuated, but I would think that the more clearly one sees anxiety, the less accentuated it becomes?
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur
(Anything in Latin sounds profound.)
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Re: Anxiety. ..

Postby makarasilapin » Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:44 pm

Beautiful Breath wrote:Thanks...sometimes it feels like a tatoo, there and will always be there...horrible and seemingly apart from my practice. I must be doing something wrong?


a healthy meditation practice is a combination of both vipassana and samatha. my advice would be to fabricate pleasurable states of mind to replace the anxiety.
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Re: Anxiety. ..

Postby Strive4Karuna » Tue Feb 05, 2013 9:44 am

I dont know if this will work for you or whether it is in accordance with the Buddhas teachings, but what a good friend told me (he is Mahayana monk who has been ordained for 12 years) Is just to be "friends" with my anxiety, "play" with my anxiety. Show it love, compassion and be friendly with it. When you see that there is nothing wrong with being the way you are, being insecure, being anxious, those feelings just kind of fade away. You call it a "tattoo" in your pratice, why cant it be a beautiful tattoo?
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