Subtle anxiety/distress

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

Subtle anxiety/distress

Postby Coyote » Sun May 18, 2014 1:36 pm

I have noticed as my meditation has progressed that often throughout the day there is this very subtle sense of anxiety or dis-ease present in my heart. It is very odd because I have the "skills" to deal with it in meditation, but it persists throughout daily life. It could be very minor/subtle depression I suppose, but it mystifies me because I do not know its cause. It causes me to feel very off balance, like the opposite of the well being I feel during meditation. What do the knowledgeable members here suggest I do?
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
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Re: Subtle anxiety/distress

Postby 2pennyworth » Sun May 18, 2014 1:54 pm

Try "smiling mindfulness". Throughout the day smile, cultivate a gentle genuine smile, not a forced " painted smile", cultivate warmth, patience, kindness and freindliness. Working from the heart. Practice generocity by "giving" the smile and warmth to others. When you notice you're not smiling, release tension in head and body; relax and re-smile. Connect with the pleasure to be found in being present with simple activities. :smile:

There's a TED talk on the powerful effect of smiling. I'll find it...

Edit: additionaly, the feeling you refer to in your heart can either be labeled as fear/anxiety or joy/compassion, if you start seeing it as an expression of joy or compassion, your relationship to it will change. That's what I've found in my own practice anyway.
Last edited by 2pennyworth on Sun May 18, 2014 2:23 pm, edited 4 times in total.
“We cling to our own point of view, as though everything depended on it. Yet our opinions have no permanence; like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away.” ~ Chuang Tzu
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Re: Subtle anxiety/distress

Postby 2pennyworth » Sun May 18, 2014 2:02 pm

“We cling to our own point of view, as though everything depended on it. Yet our opinions have no permanence; like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away.” ~ Chuang Tzu
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Re: Subtle anxiety/distress

Postby Mkoll » Sun May 18, 2014 3:23 pm

This is pure speculation, but maybe it's the result of some old kamma that hasn't run its course.

Whatever it is, you know that it is conditioned by causes and when those causes pass away, it will as well.

Sorry my words aren't really something you can take definitive action upon. Maybe taking a proactice stance as Matt suggested would help.

OT:
BTW Matt your avatar kind of freaks me out!
Peace,
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Re: Subtle anxiety/distress

Postby 2pennyworth » Sun May 18, 2014 3:40 pm

Mkoll wrote:OT:
BTW Matt your avatar kind of freaks me out!


Haha! Straying off topic here (sorry!) I noticed other members had animated gifs, and thought they were neat. Came across the digital art of Milos Rajkovic a while ago, this one's one of his less disturbing and freaky creations!
:rolleye:
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Re: Subtle anxiety/distress

Postby culaavuso » Sun May 18, 2014 8:08 pm

Coyote wrote:I have noticed as my meditation has progressed that often throughout the day there is this very subtle sense of anxiety or dis-ease present in my heart. It is very odd because I have the "skills" to deal with it in meditation, but it persists throughout daily life. It could be very minor/subtle depression I suppose, but it mystifies me because I do not know its cause. It causes me to feel very off balance, like the opposite of the well being I feel during meditation.


One approach would be to be aware of it, but don't react directly to the feeling itself. Try being aware of it in the context of the rest of what's happening while maintaining a sense of goodwill and equanimity and while being on the lookout for what causes it to arise or to fade away. Experimenting with different ways of relating to the feeling or labeling it might yield interesting results. Maintaining a focus on the actions and choices that are being made can be helpful to ensure that the subtle feeling does not create a distraction that leads to unskillful behavior. Vigilant mindfulness could possibly yield insight into what conditions lead to the arising of the feeling and what conditions allow the feeling to fade or cease. The same skills developed in meditation to deal with such feelings can apply to daily life as well, though it is more difficult to apply the skills consistently in the context of greater distractions and activity.

The skills from the second tetrad of anapanasati sound particularly relevant:

MN 118: Anapansati Sutta wrote:He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to mental fabrication.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to mental fabrication.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe in calming mental fabrication.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out calming mental fabrication.'
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Re: Subtle anxiety/distress

Postby 2pennyworth » Sun May 18, 2014 9:03 pm

Might I also add from MN118:

"He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to the entire body.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to the entire body.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe in calming bodily fabrication.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out calming bodily fabrication'.

...


"For one enraptured at heart, the body grows calm and the mind grows calm. When the body & mind of a monk enraptured at heart grow calm, then serenity as a factor for awakening becomes aroused. He develops it, and for him it goes to the culmination of its development.

"For one who is at ease — his body calmed — the mind becomes concentrated. When the mind of one who is at ease — his body calmed — becomes concentrated, then concentration as a factor for awakening becomes aroused. He develops it, and for him it goes to the culmination of its development.

"He carefully watches the mind thus concentrated with equanimity. When he carefully watches the mind thus concentrated with equanimity, equanimity as a factor for awakening becomes aroused. He develops it, and for him it goes to the culmination of its development.


:namaste:
Matt
“We cling to our own point of view, as though everything depended on it. Yet our opinions have no permanence; like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away.” ~ Chuang Tzu
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Re: Subtle anxiety/distress

Postby daverupa » Sun May 18, 2014 9:08 pm

:goodpost: x2

Comprehensive, providing many avenues for awareness.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Subtle anxiety/distress

Postby Cittasanto » Sun May 18, 2014 9:33 pm

Coyote wrote:I have noticed as my meditation has progressed that often throughout the day there is this very subtle sense of anxiety or dis-ease present in my heart. It is very odd because I have the "skills" to deal with it in meditation, but it persists throughout daily life. It could be very minor/subtle depression I suppose, but it mystifies me because I do not know its cause. It causes me to feel very off balance, like the opposite of the well being I feel during meditation. What do the knowledgeable members here suggest I do?

Hi Coyote,
I find when this sort of feeling arises more dominantly than a nagging background going to the breath and bringing my attention to the task at hand is helpful at the time, then looking at my thought processes either later during a sitting, or once I have re-balanced myself is useful in seeing what I am clinging to. More than likely this happens sooner after it has been noticed, rather than later.

If it is only the background "depression or anxiety" then I keep track of what is the persistent thought, or tone, my mind is drawn to, then I see what meditative practice seams best for the mindstate that is present at the time.

I too have a issue with subtle depression and anxiety going through the day and the best practices I have found that helps is persistent moment to moment mindfulness and mudita.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Subtle anxiety/distress

Postby Coyote » Mon May 19, 2014 8:17 pm

Hi guys, thanks for all the advice. What do you know, feelings are impermanent and it seems to have disappeared for now. It may have been an adverse reaction to some personal stuff in my life, and I didn't connect the two. I will keep a look out if it decides to arise again.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
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Re: Subtle anxiety/distress

Postby Cittasanto » Tue May 20, 2014 9:04 pm

:woohoo:
I once spent about two week with anger. can seam quite perminent at the time :)

Coyote wrote:Hi guys, thanks for all the advice. What do you know, feelings are impermanent and it seems to have disappeared for now. It may have been an adverse reaction to some personal stuff in my life, and I didn't connect the two. I will keep a look out if it decides to arise again.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Subtle anxiety/distress

Postby 2pennyworth » Tue May 20, 2014 10:04 pm

It's kinda difficult to remain objective when I'm caught up in "my stuff"... We can but practice practice practice. This is not mine; I am not this; this is not my self
“We cling to our own point of view, as though everything depended on it. Yet our opinions have no permanence; like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away.” ~ Chuang Tzu
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Re: Subtle anxiety/distress

Postby m0rl0ck » Wed May 21, 2014 2:02 am

Congratulations :) I think many people experience that, maybe all humans to some degree and that most simply look for some distraction, maybe unconsciously, to relieve it. So if you have noticed it, imo you are ahead of the game.
Im of the being aware of it camp.
If you are aversive and push things away or try to fix them, in my experience, it doesnt work. It just adds a new problem, the aversion.
There is no comfort without pain; thus
we define salvation through suffering.
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Re: Subtle anxiety/distress

Postby 2pennyworth » Wed May 21, 2014 1:32 pm

m0rl0ck wrote:
Im of the being aware of it camp.
If you are aversive and push things away or try to fix them, in my experience, it doesnt work. It just adds a new problem, the aversion.


Hi M0rl0ck

What's this other, "aversion push things away or fix things" camp to which you refer?

If one is identifying it as negative (anxiety/dis-ease), personal arising in the first place there is aversion/craving.

Piti and passaddhi are skilful means and enable equanimity for effective direct insight into dependent origination and the three characteristics. Leading to seeing directly that, "this is not mine; I am not this; this is not my self".

But perhaps you're talking about or introducing an altogether different "camp" that hasn't been mentioned in this discussion prior to your post (athough, I think we're all in this camp until we've reached the "end goal" and dropped all fetters once and for all).

:anjali:
Matt
“We cling to our own point of view, as though everything depended on it. Yet our opinions have no permanence; like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away.” ~ Chuang Tzu
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Re: Subtle anxiety/distress

Postby Ananda26 » Sat May 24, 2014 3:35 pm

Coyote wrote:I have noticed as my meditation has progressed that often throughout the day there is this very subtle sense of anxiety or dis-ease present in my heart. It is very odd because I have the "skills" to deal with it in meditation, but it persists throughout daily life. It could be very minor/subtle depression I suppose, but it mystifies me because I do not know its cause. It causes me to feel very off balance, like the opposite of the well being I feel during meditation. What do the knowledgeable members here suggest I do?


You can practice clear awareness during your day to day practice and cultivate a more confident, more at ease state during the day.

You can also do a google.com search to find out more about meditation opportunities. Sitting groups can help to encourage and strengthen one's practice.
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Re: Subtle anxiety/distress

Postby befriend » Sat May 24, 2014 3:53 pm

what I do with my anxiety is label it restlessness, restlessness. and accept it, then it goes away.
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