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Traveller
09 Sep 11, 02:12
I had a bout of depression and doubt come on tonight, it buubled up and my ego was struggling to deal with it, shooting off all over the place looking for a reason why I was feeling this way. Once it had passed I began to wonder if it was just something that had just arisen because of the way it is and my ego was looking for a reason in its struggle to stop feeling it.

Your thoughts on the matter are welcome.

FBM
09 Sep 11, 03:15
I wish I had something more helpful to say, Traveller, but your situation just made me thing that ultimately everything we experience in life has a biological source. All the senses, thoughts, moods, everything. Do these bouts of depression happen often? Regularly?

Traveller
09 Sep 11, 03:34
In truth FBM a lot of it comes from the fact that I'm looking for an answer and when I can't find an answer I get depressed. Further reflection and reading Ajahn Sumedho's book made me realise that even if I find things that are leading me in the direction of that answer I'm somehow not worthy of it. That other people who are looking for that answer who I encounter judge me as being socially unworthy of looking for it with them. A lot of it came down that due to my background I feel I have nothing in common with the kind of people I meet at Sangha's and they just think I look a stupid, hard faced thug. It started out as minor worry and worked itself up in a negative feedback loop because I focused on it.

Tonight I felt - just whats the point of someone like you looking for the "truth" just go back to spending your days half drunk and playing video games, no ones going to accept you as someone who is seeeking.

Element
09 Sep 11, 03:34
hi Traveller

first, i am glad to read you were 'there' & aware when "it had passed"

however, as for its source, doubt is both inherently in-born and conditioned by experience

the Buddha taught each human being is born with the underlying tendency (anusaya) of doubt (AN 7.11 (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an07/an07.011.than.html))

naturally, this doubt can be further conditioned or strengthened

so, for example, if one has a history of substance use, doubt can be strengthened and thus also arise as a withdrawal symptom

therefore, whether or not doubt is strengthened via conditioning, each meditation practitioner will experience doubt as this tendency rises up in meditation

the Buddha included doubt as one of the five hindrances (nirvarana) to meditation

knowing with confidence this doubt (and also fear) will, without doubt, pass away, is vital for the mitigating of doubt

so your experience was normal for a practitioner and that you were 'there', conscious it had passed, is an important step

there are times an emotion or hindrance will overwelm the mind to the point it can only be endured until it passes away

to 'control' the mood is too difficult

this is OK because each step of bringing awareness & endurance to doubt is a step towards the purification of & freedom from doubt

kindest regards

element ;D

Traveller
09 Sep 11, 03:39
Thanks Element,

I had a minor argument with my GF tonight and I sat and watched the feelings, that anger how it rose, peaked, troughed, dissapeared briefly and then rose, peaked and troughed again in slightly decreasing cycles until it dissapeared to be replaced by sadness which behaved in the same way. I got hit strongly by a similar bout of doubt after visiting the Vihara but it was really intense. It didn't come up until a few hours after I got home.

Elements post tied in with something I read in the Ajahn Sumedho book I'm reading, if I'd gone on another chapter I'd have got the answer I was looking for.

Element
09 Sep 11, 03:58
thanks Traveller

what i am about to say may not be true, but your post possibly offers examples of both conditioned doubt and underlying doubt

regarding conditioned doubt, arguing with your GF may condition doubt & worry because arguing is something that can possibly harm the relationship. your mind, unconsciously/intuitively, may generate doubt towards the relationship

regarding underlying doubt, going to the Vihara may result in meditation deeper than usual. so underlying doubt may arise as a purification symptom

so, regarding your GF, without knowing the circumstances, doubt may be reduced if you apologise to her & heal the disagreement

kindest regards ;D

Traveller
09 Sep 11, 03:59
Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, describes this in one of his books as otherwordly feelings of doubt, I thought this was what it was at first, but then my ego went shooting all over the place, Ajahn Sumedho's book explained why it had to be conquered, Bhante G's book did as well. I think I'm going to have to start taking notes as I'm reading to fix these ideas in my memory.

Traveller
09 Sep 11, 04:01
It was a really minor argument Element, we made up straightaway and there were no hard feelings, things were fine for hours afterward, she's sleeping right now, while I'm sat in the other room typing. I'm pretty sure it was the second kind of doubt. I thought that was what it was in the first place. Since I've gone into my meditation without trying to get anything out of it, its become "richer" some of the time.

Anyway its passed, next time I'll try and keep an eye on this when it arises.

Element
09 Sep 11, 04:05
..we made up straightaway...
Glad to read that ;D

FBM
09 Sep 11, 05:56
Traveller, you're worthy. You're a human being with a brain and 5 senses. That's all it takes to be "worthy." If someone else makes you feel unworthy, that's their limitation and their error. No reason to be concerned about it, because there's nothing you can do about it. That's their project to deal with.

If you make yourself feel unworthy, that's your limitation and error. Again, there's no reason to worry about it, because you CAN do something abou it. That's your path at the moment. You'll solve this problem and move on to the next issue in due time. Don't push too hard or relax too much. Find the right effort for YOU, regardless of how others practice.

Short story: About 20 years ago in TN, there was an ad in the classifieds inviting Buddhists to a weekly gathering. I went. There were about 6 people there besides me, but the 'principal' characters were:

The hosts - a (forgive the expression) yuppie couple. They had all the cliche yuppie trappings.

Their friend - a middle-aged, middle-class (forgive the expression) hippie, with tie-dyed t-shirt, flowing multi-colored skirt, beads, etc.

A Chinese woman, dressed very drably, somewhat overweight, just passing middle age. No visible signs of having much money.

An Asian (forget his nationality) man, late twenties, also drably, but neatly clothed, also no signs of having much money.

The yuppie couple rang a bell, welcomed everybody and made some comments about how wonderful everything and everybody was, etc. Then announced that we would start with a meditation session, to be followed by conversation. They rang the bell again, etc.

After meditation, the yuppie couple and their friend dominated the "discussion." It became clear that they were there to bestow their enlightened lovingkindness on us lesser beings who were just visiting, and our role was to be grateful and admiring of them. Seriously. I'm not exaggerating. They just traded abstract and vague, feel-good, group-huggy, warm-and-fuzzy comments back and forth among themselves, praising the Buddha, talking about metta, compassion, the value of being human, etc etc.

Well, the young Asian guy (a med student) didn't quite get with the program, because he started talking about his own, real-life, concrete experiences about struggling to develop compassion for his superior in the hospital where he was training. The guy seemed to enjoy making the Asian guy's life a nightmare.

The hosts and their friend maintained picture postcard poses of serenity, compassion, etc, throughout the Asian guy's talk. Then the Chinese woman made some suggestions to the Asian guy about how to deal with his problem. They talked for a little while, and I was just watching the whole scene unfold.

Well, the hosts and friend seemed to start feeling as if they'd lost the spotlight, I guess, because they interrupted the discussion with something like, 'Well, maybe that would be a better topic for after the meeting.' Then they rounded off the meeting with more cliches and posing, noses stuck up in the air and all. As we were leaving, they almost physically herded us out, locked the door, got in their Volvo and left.

Now, the meeting and their whole performance was obviously designed to give them a chance to praise themselves. Their condescending demeanors and refusal to 'get personal' with anyone made that clear. But what is Buddhist practice if it's not personal? What is a sangha if it's not for mutual, personal support for each others' paths?

I went back once more and saw the same self-absorbed, "look-at-me-and-wish-you-were-as-enlightened-as-I-am" performance repeated.

'Fine,' I thought. 'That's what they're interested in and it's their group. Let them have it.' I never went back. Instead, I talked to the Asian guy outside and we wound up having a very long 'real' discussion that lasted most of the afternoon.

I think you're going to find posers wherever you go, Traveller. There are always people who are stuck on feeling superior. That's their burden. If I were you, I wouldn't attach to their frame of mind or play the role they set up for you. If you get something worthwhile out of those gatherings, keep going. If they bother you more than helping, don't go. Practice alone. Extending metta to people like that is a very difficult and advanced skill, in my experience. Sometimes it's enough just to refrain from nurturing animosity towards them.

I get the impression that you have some pressing internal issues to work on right now. In my experience, I found it necessary to prioritize my issues. I felt I had to get some things right in my head before I could extend my practice to my relationships in the outside world. Eventually, that did happen, but only after I found that trying to rush to the advanced stuff without getting my mind right first got me nothing but more stress.

Wow. I didn't mean to write that much. Sorry! Hope it wasn't too epic. Or condescending. ;) :peace:

Traveller
09 Sep 11, 11:11
Thanks for the story, FBM. It was very useful and a lot to think about.

FBM
09 Sep 11, 13:28
Thanks for the story, FBM. It was very useful and a lot to think about.

Hope so. If the Buddha was willing to take in a serial killer/mass murderer (which the suttas describe him as doing), you have no reason to feel inadequate or unworthy. Nor does anyone else.

srivijaya
09 Sep 11, 13:50
I'm looking for an answer and when I can't find an answer I get depressed. Further reflection and reading Ajahn Sumedho's book made me realise that even if I find things that are leading me in the direction of that answer I'm somehow not worthy of it. That other people who are looking for that answer who I encounter judge me as being socially unworthy of looking for it with them. A lot of it came down that due to my background I feel I have nothing in common with the kind of people I meet at Sangha's and they just think I look a stupid, hard faced thug. It started out as minor worry and worked itself up in a negative feedback loop because I focused on it.

Tonight I felt - just whats the point of someone like you looking for the "truth" just go back to spending your days half drunk and playing video games, no ones going to accept you as someone who is seeeking.
Hi traveller,
Self = suffering. A very valuable lesson came your way. It's exactly that kind of pain which our self-grasping mind causes us. When those feelings finally pass, we're chilled again - until the next bout.

Anger, despair etc rise up when the conditions are right. If you relinquish ownership of them, then they are not your burden.

Not as bad as you thought eh?
:hands:

Traveller
09 Sep 11, 13:55
Hope so. If the Buddha was willing to take in a serial killer/mass murderer (which the suttas describe him as doing), you have no reason to feel inadequate or unworthy. Nor does anyone else.

You've got a point there FBM.

Traveller
09 Sep 11, 13:58
Hi traveller,
Self = suffering. A very valuable lesson came your way. It's exactly that kind of pain which our self-grasping mind causes us. When those feelings finally pass, we're chilled again - until the next bout.

Anger, despair etc rise up when the conditions are right. If you relinquish ownership of them, then they are not your burden.

Not as bad as you thought eh?
:hands:

Yeah, it was a useful lesson, Kris. :hands:

Its hit me before and I've still stuck with it, as they always say, it will pass, just stick with the practice.

srivijaya
09 Sep 11, 14:14
just stick with the practice.
You are doing alright mate. In any case those uber-distainful, tofu-munching anal-types one tends to encounter in groups, just have more concealed defilements. Less in your face but ultimately harder to root out;)

Aloka
09 Sep 11, 14:49
In any case those uber-distainful, tofu-munching anal-types one tends to encounter in groups, just have more concealed defilements.

Eeek! that sounds a bit like me, Kris ! :biglol:

Traveller
09 Sep 11, 22:47
Eeek! that sounds a bit like me, Kris ! :biglol:

Tofu muncher or not, Aloka, you've given me some good advice. ;D

Traveller
23 Sep 11, 04:02
Curiously enough, despite all my doubts I got an e-mail from the Sutta study group advising me of the next session and an outline of what we're studying so I guess a lot of my doubt was unfounded.

srivijaya
23 Sep 11, 08:00
Curiously enough, despite all my doubts I got an e-mail from the Sutta study group advising me of the next session and an outline of what we're studying so I guess a lot of my doubt was unfounded.

Great. Which ones are you going to study?

hajurba
23 Sep 11, 10:35
Eeek! that sounds a bit like me, Kris ! :biglol:

Tofu is along other tasty veg food our main dish during the week. Here we call tofu masaura... there are many recipes that hajurba knows! Why does no one starts a healthy food recipe thread in the tea room? (...it is off topic but you folks started it and now I sit here with a watering mouth ) :P

Aloka
23 Sep 11, 11:08
Tofu is along other tasty veg food our main dish during the week. Here we call tofu masaura... there are many recipes that hajurba knows! Why does no one starts a healthy food recipe thread in the tea room? (...it is off topic but you folks started it and now I sit here with a watering mouth ) :P

You must have forgotten that Element wrote a Lebanese soup recipe in the Tea Room to which you added a recipe for burgers, Hajurba !

Please start a new thread in the Tea Room with your tofu recipes and I will eagerly await them.

OK, back to topic again - I'm starting to think about my lunch, now :P

Traveller
25 Sep 11, 07:29
Great. Which ones are you going to study?

I couldn't make it Kris, cash is tight, it takes me about an hour and a half to get to the Vihara (only 20 minutes on the train) the rest is getting across Leicester. There is a Soto Zen group I can get to very easily every week so I think I'll check it out. I'm still going to keep reading the Pali Canon, there is plenty of wonderful Dharma in there.

hajurba
25 Sep 11, 09:37
You must have forgotten that Element wrote a Lebanese soup recipe in the Tea Room to which you added a recipe for burgers, Hajurba !

Please start a new thread in the Tea Room with your tofu recipes and I will eagerly await them.

OK, back to topic again - I'm starting to think about my lunch, now :P

Sure I will do this. Alas I need a bit of time because I am about to leave for the festival season to celebrate in our village and there is no Internet.
Mmmh...lentil stuff...yeah...if only someone would have added an other tasty veg recipe at these burgers the tofu thing would already run its course ! ;D

Hi Traveler...hope you are doing fine with your plans to visit the Soto Zen group. Take care...wish you all the best...you are doing well anyway....:hands:

Traveller
25 Sep 11, 15:47
Thank you for your kind words and advice Hajurba, my wonderful friend. ;D

Murchovski
27 Sep 11, 00:17
RE "negative feed back loop".
I too have had a lot of depression and find cognitive therapy helpful.
I look very carefully to the inner chatter that is going on in my brain and question myself diligently.
As for people thinking you look stupid or out of place; I had that problem for decades.
Don't value others higher than the highest potentials you see in yourself.
Booze and benzos sort of act as a port in a storm :(with excess a real no,no.:up2:

Traveller
27 Sep 11, 02:41
Well at the moment the negative feedback stuff has been replaced by something far more wondrous, I don't know if it will last. As for booze and benzo's I've had my fill of intoxication. I hope you find the answers you seek, Murchovski. :)

Traveller
29 Sep 11, 04:17
I've got to admit staring at my wallpaper is more difficult than sitting Samatha with my eyes closed, I may have to reconsider Soto Zen, perhaps I should just consider practing at home and when I can visit the Vihara and drop in at monasteries in the UK when I can (I'd like to visit Amaravati if my GF goes of to Greece again this year). Perhaps I should reflect on my changeable attitudes in order to get some insight into my changing self and impermanence. ;D

Traveller
29 Sep 11, 20:29
Some research has shown me there is Theravadin Vihara in Birmingham with instruction available on week nights so it wouldn't eat into the time I spend on weekends with my GF. Its not much more expensive for me to get to Birmingham and even if I have to catch the last train home my flat is only five minutes from the local station.

Aloka
29 Sep 11, 20:51
Sounds good - go for it ! ;D

Traveller
29 Sep 11, 22:24
E-mailed them by way of introduction already, Aloka, I can't make it next week but I can make it the week after. ;D