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Nervous Energy

I am just starting my own path. The beginning of my journey began with the most devastating event of my life, a scant 3 months ago. I will not bog down the discussion further on that subject, for I suspect that many folks here came to their own studies for similar reasons. Still, my suffering is unique; if only to me ;-).

My dilemma at the moment is my propensity to approach new experiences in life with a great deal of nervous energy. This served me well in my youth as a rock & roll drummer, as a songwriter, as a 'party animal'. BUT-

I currently find myself drifting away from my initial need for the calm of meditation because, well, it has already "cured" the surface problems. YET- I recognize that this is a delusion. I need to continue my practice. I am still meditating regularly, daily; somewhat clumsily...

I skated for decades on wave after wave of self aggrandizing situations, surrounding myself with like minded personalities. Hence, I developed a deep seated habit of getting overly excited about every new experience that came along-- resulting of course, in the inevitable crash of "oops- this wasn't it after all". So, I'm reaching out to ask--

Is it possible for an "excitable boy" (thank you Warren Zevon) to be centered in the Buddhist way?

Thank you in advance for your thoughtful responses. ~Tom~


  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Is it possible for an "excitable boy" (thank you Warren Zevon) to be centered in the Buddhist way?

    Yes...Why not.....Out with the old habit "Meditation" and in with the new "Meditation" to speak...

  • YET- I recognize that this is a delusion. I need to continue my practice. I am still meditating regularly, daily; somewhat clumsily...

    Hello B)

    'Somewhat clumsily' is the whole of my practice. Long may it continue.

    The form can be enhanced. For example:

    • An insight diary to record smarts
    • Walking or wheeling meditation
    • A sadhana
    • A retreat with like minded stumblers
    • Find a minx monk/teacher/sangha to develop refined bread clumse
    • Develop some sila

    ... and so on

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    There was a Zen story about a young monk who has a wonderful experience while meditating, who goes to his teacher with it. The teacher listens to him and says, “remember, in the end it is neither good nor bad.” Later on the same monk has a terrible, frightful experience, goes to his teacher and is again told, “this is neither good nor bad”.

    Meditation has different aspects. As long as you can practice it regularly, you will notice you have good days and bad days, until the mind finally learns to settle down.

    If you have difficulty staying with just sitting meditation, I think @lobster’s suggestion of learning to do walking meditation is a very good idea.

  • FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountains Alaska, USA Veteran

    A useful approach to an excess of energy can be to continue with whatever you're doing but to do it all very, very slowly, with full mindful attention to each small movement, each small action. In my mind it is rather akin to walking meditation or to Tai Chi, but without the necessity to will yourself to completely break off what you were doing before.

    I have sometimes found this to be quite useful in dealing with an overly excited approach to projects - which can involve a lot of grasping and craving after a particular result that may or may not materialize. I've also found it useful in dealing with acute attacks of depression and anxiety, or for times when I'm just feeling frazzled and can't seem to muster the will to go and meditate in the conventional way.

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited January 2019

    I believe it's an error to presume that to be 'centred' you must be 'calm'.
    One of my Shiatsu instructors was a veritable ball of frenetic movement. He couldn't sit still while teaching, and learning from him was exhausting.
    Yet he was an extremely grounded individual, and had moments of inspirational blinding insight into the human psyche and workings that could halt one in one's tracks. Moments that one might have considered completely uncharacteristic and impossible for one such as he.
    He would suddenly make statements that left us feeling "wow, yeah, didn't see that one coming!"
    I was in awe of him and how he 'worked'.
    Therefore, 'Calm Abiding' may still occur, in my opinion, even in an apparently 'Jumping Jack Flash'.
    It may just not seem like it to outsiders, but as with all things, it's a question of you finding, for yourself, the Happy Medium.
    Or Middle Way, as some might say.

    Give it time.
    It will all come out in the wash.

  • tom_hitttom_hitt Fairview PA New

    Thank you all for the thoughtful comments thus far. I do indeed find a calm in walking meditation that is quite different from my seated meditation practice. I suppose my issue at the moment is, I'm excited about becoming calm. Maniacal. Ludicrous. It's disrupting my sleep. Or maybe it's the tea... ;)

  • I'm excited about becoming calm. Maniacal. Ludicrous. It's disrupting my sleep.

    The professional Bodhi, uniformed Sangha do undergo a period of calm from inside to out ... if they have done their job ...

    However outer form is not indicative of inner status and vice versa. @federica mentioned this. If we have integrity and right focus/concentration, we inevitably still and refine ...

    The dervish buddhists prefer to stay awake but what do they know ...

    The important thing is enjoy the tea ...

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @lobster said:

    I'm excited about becoming calm. Maniacal. Ludicrous. It's disrupting my sleep.

    The important thing is enjoy the tea ...

    “Bitter, astringent taste” does not sound like the kind of tea I usually enjoy. I will stick with my usual cup of Earl Grey thank you very much.

  • NamadaNamada Veteran
    edited January 2019

    I'm always nervous, who knows what lurks behind the next door? How can we nervous people who are about to destroy the earth of greed, sit still, and watch our nervousness? We need patience and courage to look at ourselves. And from there choose the right path. Buddhists want to float to another place free from suffering, who knows where this is?

  • hello @tom_hitt,
    simply being mindful may be useful. Sometimes mindfully noting the beginning of a process leads to its spontaneous subsiding.

  • All moods and emotions are self-created, as reactions to events. But, because they are habitual, we can break habits. Here's a quote from Pema Chodron:

    The three difficulties (or the three difficult practices) are:

    1)to recognize your neurosis as neurosis,

    2)then not to do the habitual thing, but to do something different to interrupt the neurotic habit, and

    3)to make this practice a way of life

  • Is it possible for an "excitable boy" (thank you Warren Zevon) to be centered in the Buddhist way?


    They are too excitable and flighty. :anguished:

    They need to calm down the flitting ... which if they stick to this fad long enough may happen. Then? Yes! You lucky boy ...

  • First the excitement.
    Then the dishes.

    Developing a calm and kind attitude is the whole of the work.

    It is work and it does work.
    Dharma. Meditation. Practice.
    Don't leave your mind/life without it ...


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