This is my first post, but I have been frequenting this magnificent site for a couple of years now. I have also been in the whole self help or spiritual awakening (whatever you wanna call it) thing for about the same time.
I am presently encountering a problem that has been omnipresent through this quest of mine: everything goes almost perfectly for a certain time span only to be contrasted by days of feeling like shit.
The first make me feel like a king, my purpose is clear, my actions are relentless, i feel balanced, i feel complete.
Meanwhile, during my off days, i lose control, everything turns into chaos, i stop meditating, i start artificially enhancing my mood and so on and so forth only to come out of it after i let go… After i stop giving a fuck altogether….
Do any of you encounter similar issues? I’m reaching out for the first time, i usually take the bull by the horns by myself, but this just keeps coming up.
PS: English is not my 1st language so i apologize for any grammar mistakes, hope everything’s clear
Cool of you to put something out there :-)
I totally get what you’re saying as I have been and still experience it too – but isn’t it basically just the rythm of life that there will be ups and downs? I mean it’s the contrast that makes us appreciate the difference of experience (the sweet isn’t as sweet without the sour).. To me, managing it comes down to the same thing in either end of the spectrum; to be aware of whatever it is I’m going through – so when I’m “The king”, I appreciate that feeling as fully as I can, empowering my .. “kingship” .. and when I’m “The pawn” I catch myself as soon as I can when my “pawniness” comes on and try to manage it at the best of my current ability – if I’m out of balance / not paying attention to myself, I can slumb to a level of pawniness not worthy of even being on the chessboard :-P but the more I’ve practised my being aware of my emotions/balance/kingship vs pawniness the sooner I seem to be able to either empower or lessen the direction my energy is taking.. You are aware, it’s clear from your post, just keep doing that, once you see the issue, you engage the issue, you dissovle the issue.. So bottomline I see part change, part acceptance needed on this subject :-)
I’m not sure if I got it. Are you suggesting that change through awareness followed by some sort of action to direct my energy in the desired direction is the solution? Adding accepting that this will keep on happening and trying not to fight it anymore, but embracing it…
Yeah I think you understood what I was trying to say very good :-)
By being more an more aware, you’ll catch yourself slipping earlier and earlier. And the earlier you catch it, the easier it is to resist by focusing on Not to stop meditating, Not to artificially improve your mood, etc. (That is your action, or non-action if you will) – This will not eliminate the “curving” of up and down periods but it will alleviate the down periods because it sounds like you currently end up empowering it – which I also have done and still end up doing sometimes..
And yes I think alot of the negative energy is enforced by the negative thoughts about the negative energy (the worrying about worrying, that Alan Watts talks about) thereby creating a vicious cycle.. So by accepting/embracing (good word!) the fact that these periods will arise we can “remove” some of the enforcement of the negative energy, lessening the impact..
I replied to a couple other threads with posts I think are relevant to yours. Here they are:
I think experiencing the “negative” – sadness, anger, anxiety,
frustration, whatever else – is a perfectly natural part of life. We
won’t always be happy. Sometimes we’ll be hungover. Sometimes we’ll
trip and hurt our knee. Sometimes someone close to us will die and we
may experience grief and depression. I think when these “negative”
emotions are present, it’s important to approach them authentically.
What I mean by that is we need to fully acknowledge, to ourselves, that
we feel badly in whatever way that we do. And we need to try not to
blame ourselves for not feeling better. It’s not your fault if you
experience emotional pain; it’s natural, human, and inevitable in
everyone’s life. We need to learn how to embrace our pain, so it can
melt away in the arms of a compassionate mind, body, and self.
the other hand, I believe this “bliss”, “ecstasy”, or “euphoria” you
describe is also perfectly possible in human life. Sometimes we’ll
climb to the top of a mountain and have a beautiful view. Or we’ll have
some great sex. Or we’ll have a beautiful spiritual experience. In
Humanist psychology (look into Abraham Maslow, Roberto Assagioli) they
call these “peak experiences”. And it makes perfect sense to strive
toward these experiences. Perhaps you will develop a meditation
practice that helps you maintain a positive emotional baseline in
neutral times, be resilient in hard times, and be euphoric in good
times. Maybe you’ll find an activity you’re passionate about, and the
flow state you get into when you do it brings you into ecstasy. Or
maybe there is a religious or spiritual tradition that you can devote
yourself to which brings you blissful peace. The point is, I think this
bliss exists, and it’s natural for humans to move toward positive
experience – so try your best to find it!
To me it’s about
balancing the passionate pursuit of bliss with the peace of accepting
that life is part pain. There is room for every emotion in the Self –
from rage to depression to bliss to contented – if we can just let our
emotions be what they are inside us and run their course.”
” “I walk down the street.There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.I fall
in.I am lost… I am helpless.It isn’t my fault.It takes forever to find a
way out.I walk down the same street.There is a deep hole in the
sidewalk.I pretend I don’t see it.I fall in again.I can’t believe I am
in the same place.But, it isn’t my fault.It still takes me a long time
to get out.I walk down the same street.There is a deep hole in the
sidewalk.I see it is there.I still fall in. It’s a habit.My eyes are
open.I know where I am.It is my fault. I get out immediately. walk down
the same street.There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.I walk around it.I
walk down another street.” ― Portia Nelson
just be in the part of the poem where you know about the hole, but you
fall in out of habit anyway. I know that’s where I am with some parts
of my life. Keep working at it but have patience and compassion with
yourself. And maybe if you tell us more about your specific situation
I’ll have more to offer :)”
Hope that stuff helps :)
Both you guys peter and martijn are pointing out the fact that i should simply stop resisting, as it only strengthens what i’m trying to get rid of and that it’s hindering the passing of inner seasons.
Martijn, it’s an issue just because i’m making it an issue. Or is it not?
Ben, your hole in the pavement story is spot on!
I’m currently trying to take it all in (the advice) and to make up my mind wether i should simply embrace it or combine acceptance with avoiding the proverbial hole…
Yes, I think it is only an issue if you make it one. This doesn’t mean that if you don’t make an issue out of it, that you shouldn’t necessarily do something about it, however. There are many resistance levels we need to work with to be able to learn how to accept the flow our ‘negative’ emotions, to digest that from which we can grow, and to set aside behaviour that isn’t serving us any longer. All of these take an active stance.
If the euphoria you feel is a result of meditation and it goes away when you negelect the practice, then maybe you should reanalyze the use of meditation. From my own perspective, meditation is a lure that opens doors that would best remain closed. The euphoria achieved through meditation is a temporary state that will ultimately lead nowhere. It is no different than a drug that works when you are high and leaves you feeling like shit when you don’t get the fix. But then, these words will probably fall on deaf ears in this environment because it seems that most participants here are hooked on the meditation drug.
So normally I actually dislike using words like “euphoria” and “bliss”. I just did in that post because in the original thread I posted in, the OP’s post was about the general public not believing euphoria and bliss are possible. I think they’re possible, and great when they happen, but forcing it will just lead to disappointment. And seeking them through meditation will lead to the same thing – maybe temporary experiences, like you suggest, but nothing substantial & truly growth-promoting. You can’t seek bliss; it just happens sometimes.
Now, I have experienced the power of meditation to effect my life off the mat. It’s helped me get to know my mind better. I recognize the patterns my mind can fall into, and whether or not they help me or hold me back. I can focus my energy to reinforcing certain mental patterns and stopping others as they arise. I can tolerate things like frustration, annoyance, anger, etcetc, much better – while at the same time accepting them. I can taste my happiness and joy more thoroughly. And I am much more compassionate with myself, since I understand that I am not the contents of my mind. I am more objective about myself – I can often view my thoughts, feelings, and sensations as an observer – instead of being swept up by their tides. I can watch them instead of identify with them.
I also see more clearly which behaviors of mine lead to joy and which lead to suffering. I still struggle with indulging in certain behaviors which bring me suffering, and failing to engage with ones which bring me peace – like I think we all will struggle a little no matter what. But all in all I’m much better than I was before I started meditating.
However, with all that positive stuff about meditation said, I think your words of caution are valuable + important. Because there have been many times in my life where I failed to take what I experienced in meditation and apply it to my life. Meditation will likely lead to more intense “oscillations between king and pawn” as the OP of this thread describes – if you don’t make the effort to bring your meditation practice into real life. So I think this pattern of suffering you describe – experiencing temporary bliss in meditation then falling to rock bottom afterward – is important to watch out for.
I have experienced frustration with myself, leading to self-deprecation, because my meditation practice made me much more aware of how I am responsible for a lot of my own suffering. But then I failed to address what made me suffer in real life, even though I knew the causes.
One that I have struggled with a lot is using porn. Before I began all these awareness practices, I did not see how much porn use made me feel bad about myself. After practicing for a while, I began to see how using porn effected my self-esteem and confidence and lead me to suffer. But I continued to use porn because I was addicted to it, and during the whole process my meditation practice only made me more and more painfully aware of how bad it was for my self – psyche, body, energy, and all. I would have been much better off focusing on letting go of porn use, instead of deepening my meditation practice while continuing to use porn.
However, at the end of the day, if I had never started practicing meditation I may never have become aware at all that porn use was leading to my suffering. Or maybe it would have taken me much much longer to realize this. So the practice of meditation, even though it lead to an intensification of my suffering due to my not taking action on what I had learned from practice, was what initiated my growth away from porn in the first place.
Does this resonate with what you’re trying to say, @martouk ? What do you have to add, and what do you think helps with growth away from this kind of suffering?