Gah it's such a shame that so many honest practitioners with a strong desire to put effort in the practice end up burning out. I see that more and more often. But this is because practice is approached is a way which is diametrically opposed to what the Buddha taught.
Do you think that by tiring yourself out more and more you'll get to a point some day where everything will 'explode' and you'll be free? Think about it.
It is very important to evaluate one's actions and see where they lead. If you practice a "technique" and you see that, after a while (without giving it up immediately, but you monitor the results) it leads to your harm and makes you decrease in wholesome states; then maybe what you're doing is not right.
The Dhamma is beautiful in the beginning, beautiful in the middle, beautiful in the end. It's not like you struggle immensely, going through exhaustion & pain and all that and boom, Bliss!
There will be enough difficulties and struggles (according to one's kamma), no need to keep creating more by practicing in a way where you still operate from the basic blindness (avijja) that there's really some thing out there to be attained by some "you" and that will set you free. As long as one practices from that angle, one cannot go beyond Time (or Death).
If you get back to the original texts (and not
the commentaries), it is completely obvious: it is a path of non-doing, letting go, relinquishing. In other terms: creating kamma that leads to the end of kamma.
Everything is stated in negative terms. Right Intention: abandon harm, abandon ill-will, abandon sensuality. Not: actively promote peace, actively generate good-will, or actively see how little you can eat for the sake of renouncing. This is the same for all the factors. Even Right effort in actuality turns out to be working to uproot the cause for unskilful states; not actively looking to "get" (get stillness, get bliss, and so forth). And you actually get good ones by uprooting bad ones; and you maintain good ones by a similar process of watching over the mind and uprooting as soon as possible the arising of unskillful dhammas. The nuance makes a whole lot of difference in practice. Right concentration and the levels of jhanas happens as you drop things. You drop sensuality and you get first jhana. You drop thinking second jhana, and so forth. (It is obvious in the description of the jhanas themselves "withdrawn from" not "having attained")
(PS: not that active measures should not be taken when necessary. You might want to interrupt that bodily action of slapping your coworker in the face. This is not what I'm saying here. It's more that the general orientation of the path is a motion of letting go; not acquiring. You're peeling off an onion, not trying to add layers on top of it).
There is no vipassana versus "conventional mindfulness". There is body, sensations (vedana), perception, own-making (fabrications, sankharas) & consciousness. About one (or more) of these groups (which are just helpful ways of categorizing experience, but not
to be taken as absolute realities), we hold the following view:
- this is my self
- my self has this
- my self is in this
- this is in my self
Because of taking up these stand points, we react to pleasure, we react to pain. Reacting (sankharaming) is rolling on the Wheel of Samsara.
Make things simpler. See that when you let go of things (which basically means you endure through them until they fade on their own accord), there is peace. There's nothing complicated here. Don't be too hard on yourself. It is difficult. But don't exhaust yourself doing a practice that you can see with your own eyes, makes you suffer.
As Westerners we are neurotic enough; the main motion we need to do here is most of the time to relax.