Challenge23 wrote:To everyone who posted(two people in particular, you know who you are), thank you very much for your help. I'm currently thinking about the responses very seriously. One thing, though I can answer pretty quickly.Pema Rigdzin wrote:
Lastly, I'm not sure I understand what you mean about "the path involving going insane along the way." If your mind is becoming unduly disturbed, your way of going about practicing needs some fine tuning. Maybe you're creating unrealistic expectations of yourself or pushing yourself too hard. Maybe you need some advice from your teacher (or a qualified teacher) on how to more gradually build up some skills you haven't yet developed (such as visualization, etc).
Ok. What that is coming from is a podcast that I listened to not that long ago(a few months, I think). Here is the link.
http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2011/09/bg ... t-project/
There is some background in regards to the actual research in the previous episode(listed in the link, 231) but most of what I was referring to is listed in the transcript in the episode. Also note that what the woman being interviewed is talking about are constant experiences that happen off of the cushion and were extreme enough to make it difficult to manage one's daily life. The term used was "clinical impairment" and lasts between one and ten years with an average of 3.4 years. Also the 40 teachers she interviewed all agreed that this happened 100% of the time if you meditated past a certain point.
Some of the "high points" (so that people don't have to click on the link) are as follows.
* Disintegration of the selfAnd this can be an attenuation in self or it can be a complete dropping away. And even though you can read about this and think that this might be the goal of the contemplative path. For a lot of people it’s very very scary when that happens. And so when I mean dropping the sense of self, it can be a lack of a feeling like there’s anybody controlling. So one word are coming out of the mouth like who would be speaking them. When you move your arms and legs and walk it’s not really sure who decided that. When somebody ask you a question there’s almost a panic feeling because you don’t know who’s going to answer the question
* Sensory overload
* Temporal disintegration
* Emotional extremes
* Physical pain
Now, if you are a monastic and/or have extremely understanding and patient employers,family, friends, etc. and have never had any mental health issues this could be an acceptable thing to go through. For me personally it is a much more difficult pill to swallow. Of course, on a side note, I am having some serious doubts in regards to these results being Enlightenment in the same sense that the Buddha talked about as it seems to make someone LESS able to function and Enlightenment is supposed to do the exact opposite.
FYI Nothing like this has ever happened to me, and I have been practicing seriously for a long time, including long personal retreats and long group retreats. Someday maybe I will listen to this recording, but it is not a universal as they represent. For most of the people I know, things go gradually and there is incremental integration so changes are normal. We have good lamas that guide us. I would certainly be a better nurse now -- more mentally focused -- than before I started practicing.