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Have you ever tried changing up your meditation? And trying something more like Tonglen, perhaps?
I tried it a few years back, continuously for about a month. It made things significantly worse. Or I guess I should say significantly more "extreme." The amount of internal struggle I was having, connecting with people's pain (or more likely my perceived concept of their pain) was exacerbated. I decided to stop, and haven't gone back since.
It sounds to me like you might be meditating on the wrong things. Instead of just meditating your usual way (on the breath?), perhaps you might meditate on suffering and the Four Noble Truths.
After my experience practicing compassion meditation, and its negative effects, I assumed (perhaps incorrectly) that further concentrating on suffering and meditating on it wouldn't make things that much more worse. I don't know though.
I'm assuming this isn't normal.
@specialkayme -- The fact that you assume it isn't normal is the only abnormal thing going on, from where I sit. If you assume that meditation is going to strew flower petals in your path and everything is going to be terrific all the time ... well, it isn't true.
I in no way presume to be even competent at meditation, but I have been attacking this problem for almost 10 years now. I have no delusions that meditation is flowers and rose petals. I know meditation practice involves road blocks and obstacle courses that can't be "avoided" and need to be worked out.
But the sadness I'm referring to as a result of my meditation isn't just sadness. It's true depression. To the point where I won't want to leave the house, or interact with people. I don't think THIS is normal.
My most successful meditation string occurred when I was studying for the bar exam in the summer of 2011. I quite literally locked myself in a dorm room for two months and studied. I meditated every day when I woke up. I rarely left the campus, limited my interactions with other people (except for my fellow studiers during meal times and the 2 hour daily class), and limited my interaction with society as a whole (no internet except for email, no phone at one point at all, no radio, only 30 min of TV a day as a reward for focusing the entire day). During those two months I was able to use the meditation as a focus aid. It was an incredibly stressful and sad time of my life (I couldn't even spend time with my wife), but meditation helped me see it for what it was: stress and a sad time. Meditation helped me get through it. But every time before, and since, continued meditation practice has actually harmed me, or so I feel. Maybe that two month stretch was an anomaly, in that I didn't have much interaction with society so I couldn't internalize as much of other's pain. I don't know.
In part, I can't tell if the "sadness" is more like a tunnel or a diving well. If it's more like a tunnel, I'll have to power through the darkness to make it to the light on the other side. If so, the saddest moment I'm encountering during my meditation practice so far may very well be the saddest moment I will encounter, as it all gets better if I just keep sitting. But if what's happening to me is more like a diving well, where there is no light at the end of the tunnel and it just keeps getting darker, they'll be a point where I've gone too deep and there isn't a chance to make it back.
I've done a search on the topic, but the only thing that comes up is using meditation to cure depression. But I've got the opposite happening.
I enjoy meditating. Usually only about 15-20 minutes a day. As you know, meditation is cumulative. It takes practice to get into the groove and stop your mind from wondering. Whenever I get into a routine of regularly meditating, I increase my compassion considerably, which you would generally consider a good thing. But the result ends up making me considerably depressed. I see disheartening things (sometimes at work, or seeing a dead cat on the side of the road on the way to work) and I become immediately filled with sadness as a result of the added compassion and interconnectedness I've gained with those around me, and it typically doesn't go away (sometimes stays with me for an hour or so, sometimes a day or so, sometimes long enough for me to encounter another sad situation). The resulting compassion, connection with those around me, and ultimate sadness, eventually becomes a little bit much and forces me to stop meditating for a while (sometimes a few weeks, sometimes a few months). The break ends up creating some mental distance, and I don't get as depressed (I end up seeing sad things for what they are, rather than internally struggling with them). When I end up taking a break from meditating, I end up missing that clear, focused mind and I want to start again. When I get back into a meditative routine, I get filled with depression again. And thus the vicious cycle.
I'm assuming this isn't normal.
Anyone else run into this? Any suggestions?
The onus is on the women shopping in the store. The arising of self consciousness is their arising.
How is this any different than the person brewing beer, or distilling liquors, knowing (with a fair amount of certainty) that a percentage of the people purchasing your products will die as a result (alcoholism, drunk driving), or others will die (domestic violence, drunk driving).
Yes, people have brains. Yes, it's easy to blame other people. No, it isn't easy not contributing to the cause.
Now THIS example really grinds my gears. The only person responsible for getting unclean thoughts, an unwanted boner and being an unfaithful husband is the husband. Blaming the clerk, the company or the woman wearing the "nice piece of underwear" is, quite frankly a load of bullshit and victim blaming and shame on you for even thinking this is a valid example to use.
Woah. Blame? Shame? Really? Who's victim blaming? Just because you interpreted it that way doesn't make it so. Personally, I don't see anything wrong with it. If it makes the woman feel good, comfortable, and happy with herself, all for it. But all our actions have consequences, whether to yourself or other people. The example could easily be used by a guy wearing a muscle tshirt. No difference really.
You may not like the message. I don't see the need to blame the messenger. But if it makes you feel better, so be it. I hope you get out of it what you desire.
How about payday loan lenders? That's not on the list of banned occupations but it directly preys on people's suffering.
Actually predatory lending was very much alive at that point in history. Why didn't it make the list? Who knows.
How about prison guard? They didn't have prisons back then.
Oh sure they did. I think you're viewing it too narrowly. In any event, how is that not a form of "business in human beings"?
Come to think of it, the list doesn't include thousands of jobs we have today that in one way or another take advantage of people.
Who said the list was exhaustive?
Now, as to not dealing in meat. I have a local meat market. They get truckloads of meat products and are very popular. If I had to pay the bills and someone offered me a job there, this Buddhist would take it and think nothing of it. In the same way, if I had to, I'd take a gun to hunt and put meat on the table like I did as a teenager rather than let people go hungry and again see nothing wrong with it. I would not enjoy it. Neither would it be right to see people go hungry if I have the means to fix it. We are not monks. There is something wrong with a philosophy of religion that puts strict adherence to rules above living a normal life.
And if it's a spectrum, and you found where you exist on the spectrum, why are you upset at the writings?
Personally, I'm no different than you. If forced, I'd probably break four of those (I wouldn't be willing to do a business in human beings) in an attempt to survive and make ends meat (pun intended). But that's me. I haven't been known to be the "best" buddhist.
If you want to do what you're doing now, only more, make it part of a routine. Wake up 10 or 15 minutes earlier, and meditate before breakfast. Or do it when you get home from school. Or right before you go to bed. Whichever works best for you. But pick one and stick with it. If you do it every day for two or three weeks, it will become part of your routine.
As far as the duration goes, I don't think 15 minutes is bad at all. As long as you are doing some quality meditation during those 15 minutes. If you want to go longer, add a minute every week. No need to sit there for 2 hours at a time at this point in your practice though.
I read a book once called "8 Minute Meditation" (https://www.amazon.com/Minute-Meditation-Expanded-Quiet-Change/dp/0399173420/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1480941901&sr=8-1&keywords=8+minute+meditation). It's title screamed of an "8 Minute Abs" type system, which never works, but the book was a gift and I read it anyway. It actually was good, and showed how you don't need to sit for an hour straight to get good practice. Consistently meditating for 8 minutes a day is better than sporadically meditating for 30 minutes a day.
I hope that helps.
Different people learn with different styles. Some people learn best by turning inward and just doing. Others need some introduction before they do their own trial and error. Still others need to read a manual before they try anything.
Zen probably falls more into the first category. Tibetan probably falls closer to the end category. Tibetan is big on debates, dialog, and learning the "why" of buddhism. Along the way, you pick up traditions, some that seem normal and others maybe not.
View it kinda like if you wanted to build a chair, and knew nothing about woodworking. Some people learn best by getting their hands on some powertools and seeing what they can do. Others learn best by getting a short intro on what each machine does, then seeing what they can do. Still others need plans on how to build a chair, and want to ask questions as they are making cuts. No one of these is wrong, just different.
If someone who learns best in the first category attempted to learn the way of the last category, they would probably feel very frustrated ("Why are we spending all this time talking and reading? Just do it already!"). Likewise, if someone who learns best in the last category attempted to learn the way of the first category, they would probably feel very frustrated ("It's a powertool, what do you mean just do it? I don't know what I'm doing!"). The wrong learning style for the wrong person could mean that it takes significantly longer to learn something.
At least, that's my take on it.