Giving up....

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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Myotai
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Giving up....

Post by Myotai »

Hello everyone,

Things have come to a head for me now. I have been really struggling with my practice now for some time. For the last 6 months, longer if I think about it. I arise before dawn, sit and do nothing more than ruminate, unable to focus for more than a few measly seconds before lapsing into an inner noise that's does nothing more than end up making me almost phobic of sitting.

I have tried not trying. I have tried letting go. I have tried just being amongst that inner noise and allowing it to happen. All that happens is that I feel like I am sat in the middle of a storm with absolutely no where to stand. I have tried looking at what Dogen says about the 'goalessness' of practice. This leaves me cold.

I sat this morning and after about 45mins with my head in my hands and heard myself say out loud "I cannot do this anymore".

I wouldn't normally disclose as much as this but I am afraid to say that I am on the verge of concluding that I am simply not up to the challenge.

I really don't know what to do. I am losing faith.

_/|\_
santa100
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Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:55 pm

Re: Giving up....

Post by santa100 »

Maybe because there're still a lot of "I" there. Next time the thought "I cannot do this anymore" pops up, try to spend some times contemplating what exactly this "I" is?
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martinfrank
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Re: Giving up....

Post by martinfrank »

Hello Myotai!

Don't give up! Just be more kind with yourself. You're trying hard with a rough technique. 45 minutes is much if your mind is not ready to quieten down.

Can you do 20 minutes of anapanasati (breath meditation)? Just watching your breath and calming your body and mind? Did you try counting your breath? It is easier to calm the mind when the mind has something to do... like counting. What happens when you do walking meditation? Can you do 10 minutes?

I find that if I concentrate on anicca-anatta (impermanence-notself) I can stop the mind from chatting and then breath meditation becomes easy (for some time). If I am desperate I just repeat "namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambudhhassa" until I can control the mind.

Consider training your mind like training a young dog. You start easy and then slowly demand more. When it gets too much back down a bit and increase what works for you.

Every minute of meditation is a small step in the right direction. Why give up because you cannot do 45 minutes of thoughtlessness? Do 20 minutes of mindfulness! After some weeks, you'll be able to increase either the depth or the length or both of your concentration.

I wish you success!

Martin
The Noble Eightfold Path: Proposed to all, imposed on none.
Buckwheat
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Location: California USA

Re: Giving up....

Post by Buckwheat »

Try sitting at a different time of day...? in the morning I either fall asleep or ruminate, but in the evening I sit with some success.

May you find the path that works for you :anjali:
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.
daverupa
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Re: Giving up....

Post by daverupa »

In brief, maybe the mind, chaotic and unruly these days, needs to revisit some foundational supports while clearing out some accumulated clutter (e.g. Dogen :stirthepot: ).

---

What does your hour-to-hour practice look like for those past months? Are you currently out of touch with certain emotional processes, perhaps under moderate or severe stress over a lengthy period? Maybe you feel dissociated or otherwise unmoored from previous stability for some other reason or reasons?

How familiar are you with the citta quadrant of satipatthana? Does noting the state of mind which obtains at any given moment provide a handhold for you, allowing you to see its ruminations from above, as it were?

Can you redirect this scattered rumination towards recollecting your wholesome actions of the past, and wholesome intentions in the now for the future, in order to help build a sense of calm confidence? What about noting the mind's static as a fact, instead of in contradistinction to preference?

&tc...
  • "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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Hieros Gamos
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Re: Giving up....

Post by Hieros Gamos »

Hey Myotai

I'm not qualified here, but is this anxiety? Maybe let yourself take a break and find some nice therapy or a support group? I dunno.

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Spiny Norman
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Re: Giving up....

Post by Spiny Norman »

Myotai wrote: I really don't know what to do. I am losing faith.
If you need a break then take one, don't give yourself a hard time. Give yourself some space to re-assess meditation, Buddhism, whatever. Do you have any face-to-face contact with other Buddhists?
Buddha save me from new-agers!
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Myotai
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Re: Giving up....

Post by Myotai »

Hieros Gamos wrote:Hey Myotai

I'm not qualified here, but is this anxiety? Maybe let yourself take a break and find some nice therapy or a support group? I dunno.

Image
The irony is I am a therapist! :shrug:
Spiny Norman
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Re: Giving up....

Post by Spiny Norman »

Myotai wrote:
Hieros Gamos wrote:Hey Myotai

I'm not qualified here, but is this anxiety? Maybe let yourself take a break and find some nice therapy or a support group? I dunno.

Image
The irony is I am a therapist! :shrug:
Could you discuss your problem with a colleague?
Buddha save me from new-agers!
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Myotai
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Re: Giving up....

Post by Myotai »

Spiny Norman wrote:
Myotai wrote:
Hieros Gamos wrote:Hey Myotai

I'm not qualified here, but is this anxiety? Maybe let yourself take a break and find some nice therapy or a support group? I dunno.

Image
The irony is I am a therapist! :shrug:
Could you discuss your problem with a colleague?
...I really don't think it's any sort of disorder :rolleye:
Spiny Norman
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Location: Andromeda looks nice

Re: Giving up....

Post by Spiny Norman »

Myotai wrote: ...I really don't think it's any sort of disorder :rolleye:
No, but it's obviously become a problem for you. Imagine if somebody came to you for help with an equivalent problem, how would you advise them?
Buddha save me from new-agers!
Sanjay PS
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Joined: Thu Sep 26, 2013 2:26 pm

Re: Giving up....

Post by Sanjay PS »

Hi ,

Please do read these few pages titled " Healing the Healer " , its penned by Dr. Paul Fleischman , and has a perspective from a therapists point of view .

http://www.vridhamma.org/The-Experience ... ipassana#1


Am sure every one bounces back sooner or later :smile:

sanjay
The Path of Dhamma

The path of Dhamma is no picnic . It is a strenuous march steeply up the hill . If all the comrades desert you , Walk alone ! Walk alone ! with all the Thrill !!

U S.N. Goenka
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Sweet_Nothing
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Re: Giving up....

Post by Sweet_Nothing »

Myotai wrote:Hello everyone,

Things have come to a head for me now. I have been really struggling with my practice now for some time. For the last 6 months, longer if I think about it. I arise before dawn, sit and do nothing more than ruminate, unable to focus for more than a few measly seconds before lapsing into an inner noise that's does nothing more than end up making me almost phobic of sitting.

I have tried not trying. I have tried letting go. I have tried just being amongst that inner noise and allowing it to happen. All that happens is that I feel like I am sat in the middle of a storm with absolutely no where to stand. I have tried looking at what Dogen says about the 'goalessness' of practice. This leaves me cold.

I sat this morning and after about 45mins with my head in my hands and heard myself say out loud "I cannot do this anymore".

I wouldn't normally disclose as much as this but I am afraid to say that I am on the verge of concluding that I am simply not up to the challenge.

I really don't know what to do. I am losing faith.

_/|\_
Hi Myotai !

I think you're getting somewhere. Dont lose faith, just keep going.

Watch everything that arises with equanimity, including the feeling of hopelessness and keep following your meditation instructions to the best of your ability.

Dont try to make this end as it will only make it longer. Change is inevitable, just accept fully whatever pops up. If you crave for pleasantness in unpleasantness,
you're going the wrong way.

Cheers
Homage to the triple gem.
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Anagarika
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Re: Giving up....

Post by Anagarika »

One of the hallmarks of Theravada practice in the west can be a sense of isolation. Soto Zen has done a better job of building communities, zendos, and groups that gather to sit and stare at walls (sorry, couldn't help myself :tongue: Humor intended ). I feel that this sense of community, of having people and teachers to help you along the way, can be very beneficial. My sense of your first post, Myotai, is that you are awaking to meditate on your own, in the quiet of your home. This kind of segregated practice really does take resiliency, and for many the isolation does start to get to them. I myself have had to balance the seclusion that I need with the social contacts in this practice that I also need.

I don;t know where you reside, but perhaps there is a Theravada community within your locale, or at least not too far way. Perhaps sitting with a group, and having access to a teacher(s) or monks/nuns could be very helpful, and make the experience of sitting not so isolated, and not so deadly quiet that every noise or thought in your mind is like a red flag waving.

Don't give up....give in. Give in to the idea that you need some support for your practice. Even the monks of the First Sangha had each other, and the Buddha implored them to care for one another and to look out for each other. Here in the Theravada west, we don't have that, usually.
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acinteyyo
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Re: Giving up....

Post by acinteyyo »

Hi Myotai,
additionally to the good advises others have given you I also recommend not being too hard to yourself. Allow yourself to relax. You probably want the mind to be calm to hard, but the mind doesn't become calm by simply desiring it. The mind calms down because of wisdom. When practicing it is important to observe every state of mind and to understand how states arise and how they cease in order to gain knowledge. Okay, you struggle and your mind isn't getting calm. That's what the mind does at times. This is an important lesson. It shows you clearly that the mind cannot be controlled, it's inconstant and it doesn't behave they way we want it to.
Have you tried to find the reasons why your mind is agitated? When you sit down to meditate and you notice that the mind doesn't calm down you shouldn't just try to force it by will even more. Instead you should try to observe the mind thoroughly to understand why exactly the mind doesn't want to calm down. Otherwise you just create more agitation. The moment you find the reason and understand the process you will understand which actions you have to take in order to set the right circumstances for the mind to calm down. That's when it will settle naturally into a calm state and concentration will become easy again.
How is your sila? Do you sleep enough? Anything which bothers you, anything you crave or grasp so that it follows you all the time?
Use your wisdom to overcome those hindrances. Don't say you're loosing faith only because the mind shows you how inconstant and uncertain it is. Be wise, pay appropriate attention and draw the correct conclusions. This way you will get ahead and probably gain wisdom and faith, which in turn will support your concentration.

best wishes, acinteyyo
Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.
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