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    Thread: Meditation opens a Pandora's box of suffering...

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      Expert LDer Affirmation! DeeryTheDeer's Avatar
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      Meditation opens a Pandora's box of suffering...

      How do I meditate without making myself so much more angry and miserable than I was before? It seems to bring all these negative feelings up to the surface whenever I attempt it. Maybe it's because I associate meditation with a being a very delicate, difficult task that I know I'll fail at so I usually put it off, as if it's preparing for a speech in front of lots of people or diving off a cliff. Also, whenever I try to breathe softly and let go, I'm filled with deep anger because I feel too submissive and defeated when I just "let things happen". I can't even begin to describe the intensity to which I feel submissive, weak and worthless for not being angry and headstrong, and I do have a daily problem with anger (needing to hit things/myself at even the smallest things that don't go my way), so that's why it's very hard to stop myself from those habits, like I'm "losing" if I don't do it. I assume that during meditation, you're only supposed to feel better, not worse.
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      Quote Originally Posted by DeeryTheDeer View Post
      I assume that during meditation, you're only supposed to feel better, not worse.
      False. While meditation is more often peaceful than not, anything and everything can come up. If there's an emotion or situation prominent in your mind, especially if you're trying not to think about it, it will almost certainly get right up in your face.

      A couple of things helped me out when I first started breathing meditation, both picked up from assigned reading in Jack Kornfield's book A Path With Heart. First, he compared meditation to training a puppy:
      Spoiler for Kornfield p. 58-59:


      Note that in referring to "your hour," de Sales is not advising only novices, but also experienced practitioners, who also sometimes spend a whole session just starting over. You really can't "fail" at meditation, because the whole point is to bring your attention back to the point of focus (such as breath) again and again, which you could not do if the mind weren't inclined to wander in the first place.

      Which brings up the second thing I found really helpful starting out: naming the demons. Get to know the experiences that arise during meditation, regardless of whether they are pleasant or unpleasant.
      Spoiler for Kornfield p. 84-85:
      stormcrow, DeeryTheDeer and yuvyuv like this.
      If you have a sense of caring for others, you will manifest a kind of inner strength in spite of your own difficulties and problems. With this strength, your own problems will seem less significant and bothersome to you. By going beyond your own problems and taking care of others, you gain inner strength, self-confidence, courage, and a greater sense of calm.Dalai Lama



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