wandelaar

Meditation sickness and related deviations

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, wandelaar said:

It's generally a hopeless strategy to force oneself not to think of something.

See:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Wegner#Ironic_process_theory

 

Much better is to get involved in something else so that one's attention and energy is automatically directed away from the unwanted thoughts.

That's so true wandelaar, it's probably the most practical and viable way by diverting the attention else where. While in some cases where the physical syndrome caused by qi is too intense and terrifying with the mental state being like some sorta mania (Or some people are just simply too sensitive and susceptible and are prone to build up something like "self–induced catatonia" regardless of the actual syndrome), this method can have limited effect.

 

Ultimately it's the thoughts in one's head that are causing the aftershocks of the deviation and the possibilities of them bouncing back can be quite high. I don't think it was the deviation itself that was the deviation(:huh:), it was the aftershocks–deviation. Since the mind and qi generation/movement are coherent, the aftershocks–deviation cycle becomes a perpetual machine(NO WAY OUT HELL).

 

Once the thoughts arise, the panic strikes, and gradually the vicious cycle forms and strengthens and eventually becomes a conditioned reflex which could be immune to the diversion therapy. Though I've never been diagnosed of depression before, what I was going through during the deviation period was partially very similar to its characteristics I learnt about.

 

The "understanding" which saved me from the deviation didn't come over night like satori or enlightenment, it wasn't. It's something inherent in everyone. It did kinda feel like epiphany at that very moment of realization, but the process was learnt and accumulated. I guess it might be a very elementary level of Zen "achievement". And that's why it was impossible to be passed on just by telling people what I felt like when grasping this understanding. But it surly can be learnt. Later on I learnt that this thing is exactly what can be achieved during the process of many different religious practices like those of Zen, Taoism, Vipassana etc even it's what the Power of Now talks about. My Taoist teacher who I encountered years after the incident teaches the practices of such type also (The core conception is the same). 

 

Here is a brief process of how this understanding occurred.  

 

I was in such discomfort and panic during the deviation that I was looking for and holding onto the "Me", the "I am" so that I feel a tiny bit more of a sense of security that I am still here with me (It's like when you were terrified as a kid you tend to huddle.) I guess this was the only thing I could do out of instinct since anything else didn't matter anymore to an utterly desperate and mentally-lost person.

→ 

My focus of attention gradually and naturally got placed on the chest (heart chakra) region for this is the place where I can better grasp this centered "I am" (Some years later I came across the book I Am That written by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj in which the "I am" he talks about was the same thing I felt.)

A friend introduced Byron Katie and told me she might be of any help for my condition. At first what I saw was just an old lady talking to people helping with some non-spiritual neighborhood family issues but still was watching her videos on youtube and they actually turned out to be wise, comforting and amusing. (Later on discovered that her now husband is the translator for one of the Tao Te Ching versions and thought she's not that non–spiritual after all:D.) Tried to do her method of "4 Questions and A Turnaround" but it was just too overwhelming and clueless for me in such condition and I automatically sticked to the first question "Is it true?"(And back then ofc I considered this question bull for obviously I was suffering and it was TRUE!!) (Again some years later I found online a few articles from a now quite well-known Chinese zen master which talked about how valuable accurate and how similar to the Zen teaches the Byron Katie works were.)

The focusing on chest thing got my way of "thinking" shifted and I found out I wasn't thinking through my head anymore but sensing/feeling through my heart and those thoughts from within my head sometimes can be caught the moment when they were "produced". And the thoughts especially emotions became one with the feelings of energy on my body. For example "fear" was not a "thought/concept of fear" but a lump of energy in my belly and it was actually the feeling which this lump was/generated that gave me the sense of "fear". First there was energy then it's perceived by the mind which puts labels/judges on the energy and in this case it's called "fear". The process happens so fast that I used to think what happens is simply "I think"(in my head). And came to realize thoughts are energy, energy is thoughts, emotions are energy, energy is emotion(not trying to be poetic:P). OK then later on got this piece of puzzle connected to qigong, TCM and everything else and realized they were all indeed in this one holistic picture.

Went on binge watching Byron Katie homie videos and noticed she kept mentioning the energy emotion thing just like what I was experiencing. And one day this "Is it true?" question appears in my heart most of the time when a thought or a piece of emotion rises.

One day, "Is it true?"... I got it! This is so simple! All of a sudden (not so dramatic...:blush:), the energy panic situation was just gone. It was out of the question. Because any thoughts and emotions that were connected to the qigong deviation were just equal to any other thoughts and emotions and they are simply simply not "true". Every time when I think(when thoughts surface), I would laugh (mostly in the heart) and it was so clear and what was left there was this peaceful joy sometimes even ecstacy in my heart.

This state of peaceful joy/understanding has stayed in my heart ever since and over the years the understanding expanded to a point that I understood (I used to "know" for it appears so frequently in those spiritual materials but didn't really understand) that all is energy and then everything including my physical body and the "I" is not constant, not THAT. And all is one, one is all, then all is none, none is all. (And got the calling in heart to read some script from Buddhism, Taoism which I had been sciolistic and others like Conversations with God which I had tried to read and dropped it back then for I couldn't understand this book full of abstract headaches)Then one day it occurred to me that what there is...is this all that is has been and ever can be

I don't even notice when exactly this question "Is it True" disappeared. It worked like a bridge or I would call it an anti-virus software (for the emotion system) and once it's done the mission it left humbly and peacefully. Now what's left in my life for me to do is just being, living, (And what "live in the moment/now" really is has become clear knowing) and my heart knows what to do or not. Everything and everyone being equal comes without doubt for me and if I don't love and respect ("myself" or anyone anything else) there is nothing else for me to do here. It's not like I'm emotionless it's that I feel and I "know" and I don't cling to it. The heart is like a mirror reflecting but not interacting.

Sometimes some thoughts would surface like "which stage am I in?" "will I get there?" "Will I be enlightened"—each has been understood as another thought/有(which is opposed to the 无(void)). That's it. I continue being, until I don't.

 

 

Edited by Sora
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On 2019-01-05 at 5:36 PM, freeform said:

Before scaring everyone I need to point something out. Most people simply don’t train enough to get any of these problems.

 

Secondly most people also don’t have the ‘energetic awakening’ necessary to develop any meaningful amount of Qi.

Good point! 

 

There are many factors in this equation. People develop mental health issues without the help of internal arts. 

 

One reason why you can se this in practitioners with a relatively small amount of practice is that they already had problems. 

Sensitivity to stress and anxiety can be the first symtoms of mental health problems, and many people start practicing because of this. 

 

I work at a psychiatric clinic, and among those I have met there have been two yoga instructors, trained in India. Both were known patients before becoming instructors, and both developed more severe problems after intensifying their practice. 

 

On the other hand, more moderate practices derived from internal arts are used clinically with acceptable result, so it goes both ways. 

 

If I were to give advice, I would recommend starting slowly and with a mixed program (seated, standing, moving) to make sure you build a good foundation, before moving in to methods that are more demanding for your mind. The process of integrating old experiences can be hard enough. 

 

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23 hours ago, freeform said:

 

I’m being clear and direct (as best as I can) - not trying to be poetic and fuzzy.

 

I don’t follow what you’re saying to be honest - you seem to be inferring about some subtle flaw in the practice of the people I’m talking about... I doubt you’ve met them all though.

 

Just to reiterate - there is no single magic practice that has both a real transformational effect and has no problems whatsoever. It just doesn’t exist. Meditation, however carefully done, is not exclusively safe...

 

This is important for people to know. When you go surfing, the dangers are apparent. When you get into meditation seriously you also need to know that there are dangers and pitfalls... pretending that there aren’t is just irresponsible... 

Surfing and practice are the doing and the excersize of doing things. Meditation cannot be done because it is an act of not doing and of non doing. It is wei wu wei. The art of allowing. And if one knows how allow their own greater alignment with all that ever truely be the ever more ever becoming of, through their whatever their practice of whatever their choosing may be that they then may be practicing the true actions, through their own alignment with the absolute most aligned and inspired actions, most pure and pitch perfect actions, the evermore of all that is good will be allowed to flow through any and all practices that such an individual is seeking the alignment of and with their greater purpose of their own unique and individual fulfillment of their own ever greater succes, health and well-being in whatever they seek to co-create with. Unconditionally. 

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6 hours ago, Sora said:

Now what's left in my life for me to do is just being, living, (And what "live in the moment/now" really is has become clear knowing) and my heart knows what to do or not. Everything and everyone being equal comes without doubt for me and if I don't love and respect ("myself" or anyone anything else) there is nothing else for me to do here. It's not like I'm emotionless it's that I feel and I "know" and I don't cling to it. The heart is like a mirror reflecting but not interacting.

 

Is this what is called wu wei in Taoism? And if so, could you then further explain how you think this works in this topic:

 

 

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The biggest challenge I’ve faced in my experience with meditation is coming to terms with myself. As we open more deeply to ourselves, all of our baggage and dysfunctional patterns come to light. It’s not all pretty and can be difficult to handle. Any propensities towards mental illness can likewise be unmasked. People who have weak sense of self or poor self esteem are particularly vulnerable. This is where a good teacher and support system are invaluable.

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4 hours ago, Everything said:

And if one knows how allow their own greater alignment with all that ever truely be the ever more ever becoming of, through their whatever their practice of whatever their choosing may be that they then may be practicing the true actions

 

Sorry I still don’t understand what you’re saying.

 

I personally find this ‘stream of consciousness’ poetic type writing really unhelpful when discussing specific things...

 

It’s a great way of getting mental detritus out of your head though! Like the ‘morning pages’ practice that writers do. Just not so great for actual communication.

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5 hours ago, wandelaar said:

Is this what is called wu wei in Taoism? And if so, could you then further explain how you think this works in this topic:

Sure, I'll get back to you asap after finish reading the post^_^

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, freeform said:

 

Sorry I still don’t understand what you’re saying.

 

I personally find this ‘stream of consciousness’ poetic type writing really unhelpful when discussing specific things...

 

It’s a great way of getting mental detritus out of your head though! Like the ‘morning pages’ practice that writers do. Just not so great for actual communication.

Ok, to put it simply, you can do things and you can let go of the doing and thus allow the allowing.

 

Usually when someone is sick is because they have been doing and doing and not realising what is causing the sickness, unintentionally holding on to it.

 

You can let go of the doing, and the source of the illness will become appearant, pointing at the very thing that you have been doing that has caused the illness, that you now have allowed yourself to become aware of because you been doing the not doing, the letting go of the doing. So meditation is like create stillness, so the noise becomes more appearant. That doesn't mean the noise became louder, it's just that you finally allowed yourself to hear it.

 

So meditation doesn't create illness. It allows for the awareness of that which has caused the illness.

Edited by Everything

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On 2019/1/7 at 7:02 PM, wandelaar said:

 

Is this what is called wu wei in Taoism? And if so, could you then further explain how you think this works in this topic:

 

 

In my view wu wei can be another name for terms like living in the moment. There is really nothing new under the sun.;)

 

There are two lines in Tao Te Ching that can help explain the wu wei concept.

 

无为而无不为(wuwei er wubuwei)

为道日损,损之又损,以至于无为。

(Let me know if you can't find proper English translation. It's hard for me to translate in simple words without losing their essence.)

 

无为and无不为are equally "important". 

 

I've tried the scientific approach and this was actually where my whole spiritual journey began. However, it didn't work out for me. It can serve as the stepping stone but not the key.

 

If you shift the focus of "thinking" from the head to the heart and start living from there, you might get an instant glimpse of what wu wei feels like. Literally, the "heart(chakra)" region, it's not a metaphor. This is what your state of being was like as a kid and as you grow up you still would "go back" to this state now and then without knowing. It's the Flow, which in Chinese is translated into 心流(xin liu, literally the flow of heart).

 

It's being effortless without trying to be effortless.(Very simple and nothing so esoteric as it appears to be. You just need to do it and you'll know it, instead of thinking and analyzing. Since the latter works as a.counteractive force. It's the state of who you are where you forgot that you are actually always in.) The mind has no answer, the heart has no question.

 

"The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, 'Here it is' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you.(Nor will people say, Look! Here [it is]! or, See, [it is] there! For behold, the kingdom of God is within you [in your heartsand among you [surrounding you].)" - Bible, Luke 17:21

 

Edited by Sora
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Thanks. Understanding why thinking and analysing hinders wu wei will also have to be part of scientifically understanding wu wei. And I don't expect to reach wu wei by means of thinking about it and analysing it. But I just like to think about it and analyse it nevertheless.

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On 1/6/2019 at 3:51 AM, Everything said:

That one can do also do by focusing the mind on breathing, but that is only for the purpose of letting go of thought.

well/........  yes and no,  depends on your cup of tea. 

if one is a neo-non-duality, "nothing exist" all is emptiness,  only awareness is real, school, then yea, I suppose that watching the breath is a good tool.  

Personally,  focus meditation, and what the west calls "mindfulness" meditation,  are two ends to the same stick,  but are both needed to focus the mind, (yea, I know, the mind is an illusion) LOL,  and the sitting in the moment is the other end of the stick of being in this moment of awareness,  then after a few years of daily meditation, the two things,  focus and mindfulness merge. hard to explain, has to be experienced. 

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Ran into a specific lineage about 12 years back. Wont mention names.

One of three internal branches, specific school. Pretty darn traditional.

 

A couple of their "Masters" exhibited the exact opposite of compassion, awakening, and unity.

Their focus seemed to be on domination and demeaning all other forms of practice.

Their way was the only way, and if you weren't in the group, you were the enemy.

 

While I understand the traditional vibe that was present thousands of years before, between dojos, I never understood their negativity.

I was asked to be a direct apprentice because of my intensity of focus.

I actually denied, even though they are internationally known, because of this energetic tendencies of their "Masters".

 

What is your take oh Bums of Dao...?

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Some traditional teachers, particularly from Japan, were very strict, and off putting but.. thats window dressing, a cultural flavor.. how they were taught.  It was important to look beyond it, play by there rules and thus learn from them.  I'm sure our Western flippancy was just was just as hard for them to stomach. 

 

I think its good for people to be exposed to ye olde strict traditional.   No nonsense, little instruction- see and do, then shut up and listen.  Not everyones cup of tea, but good to be flexible enough to deal with it.

 

 

back to OP.  I don't think most people have problems with beginning energy meditation, but some are energy sensitive and too much too soon, screws them up.  Thus for them and most, when things go sidewise, heat up, its best to slow down or stop. 

 

As people advance, I've found getting more energy without getting more equanimity, balance, te, means they wobble more.  Bad traits become worse.  Most traditions have dharma lessons for a reason. 

Without wisdom, power, internal, external- corrupts. 

Edited by thelerner

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On 1/11/2019 at 5:55 PM, Zen Pig said:

well/........  yes and no,  depends on your cup of tea. 

if one is a neo-non-duality, "nothing exist" all is emptiness,  only awareness is real, school, then yea, I suppose that watching the breath is a good tool.  

Personally,  focus meditation, and what the west calls "mindfulness" meditation,  are two ends to the same stick,  but are both needed to focus the mind, (yea, I know, the mind is an illusion) LOL,  and the sitting in the moment is the other end of the stick of being in this moment of awareness,  then after a few years of daily meditation, the two things,  focus and mindfulness merge. hard to explain, has to be experienced. 

Yeah exactly, and thus you can call that the allowing of your true unconditional nature. That then wants to allow the thoughts of evermore inspiraling inspirations of flowing through you and as you as who it is you truely are ever so more fully through you, here and now, only for the purpose of feeling absolute good as you do so, for there is no other reason that this reason that is the greatest reason for all that exists, always here and now. As all is here and now is forever.

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On 11/01/2019 at 9:31 PM, Sol said:

 

A couple of their "Masters" exhibited the exact opposite of compassion, awakening, and unity.

Their focus seemed to be on domination and demeaning all other forms of practice.

 

This is very common with schools that have masters who’ve reached the intermediate levels of practice and stopped developing - they ofte exhibit some of the byproducts of this level of practice (general qi projection abilities - which seems almost magical to the uninitiated).

 

Its basically a case of developing Ming but not Xing. It actually creates a glass ceiling in their training and often, with all that extra energy their ‘darker’ aspects start to take over. One often sees these brash dominant characters. Sexual obsessions. Obsession with status, wealth and power etc. 

 

But saying this, there are cases where a teacher might seem harsh, critical, demanding but it’s all in the interest of the students. But there is definitely a different “feel” to these sorts of schools. The ‘virtuous’ characteristics often present in paradoxical ways - eg what seems like obvious foolishness to an ‘untrained eye’, is actually the epitome of wisdom. But again there’s a certain feeling of opening and expanding possibilities (best I can describe it) with ‘traditional’ schools rooted in authentic spiritual teachings.

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On 2019-01-11 at 10:31 PM, Sol said:

 

One of three internal branches, specific school. Pretty darn traditional.

 

A couple of their "Masters" exhibited the exact opposite of compassion, awakening, and unity.

 

 

On 2019-01-11 at 10:31 PM, Sol said:

What is your take oh Bums of Dao...?

If you start practicing IMA as a combat art, there is nothing that say you automatically become "spiritual". 

You might just become a hardass fighter. 

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