I haven't seriously practiced any visualization or more complex techniques since I simply lack the concentration to do them.
Anapanasati should be curing that problem. How long have you been practicing breath meditation? On the other hand, practicing visualisations helps develop ones ability to visualise (strangely enough). Just like drawing your attention back to the breath helps you focus, in the same way drawing your attention back to the visualisation helps you to focus. It is just another object.
Well, half-assed intermittent meditation for a year, then daily diligent practice for about three months. My concentration has improved greatly, but coming from a mind that was like a bunch of hummingbirds in a tornado, I'm trying to be patient!
I'm more able to recognize a distraction in its early stages now. Just not quite enough to sustain a visualization for more than a few breaths. I suppose visualization practice would help, but I'm waiting for instruction from a teacher. In fact, this Sunday there'll be a Chenrezig teaching at the Kagyu center
If practicing on the breath is problematic, what else might you suggest? I always read the breath is the most accessible gateway.
I do not think it is problematic at all. Anapanasati was my sole practice for 12 years. Just that it tends to be "isolating" whereas it seems to me that you also need to be doing a practice that ties you back into your environment. Balance is the key.
So maybe practice with a visual object, like the Buddha statue on my altar? I haven't tried using a visual object before. Just the breath, and the weird objectless kind that sometimes happens where I'm just sitting there and different things arise but nothing becomes a focus. That one's not too common, though.
It's rare that perceptions are so similar I worry I'll forget what taste versus smell is like. I initially interpreted it as feeling the thoughts from the perceptions, the contact that may turn into interpretation, and feeling they are similar since they arise in the mind and become similar things... "blah is good, blah is bad." I am worried though that when I do what *feels like* paying bare attention to senses, they seem more similar than dissimilar. But then I go back to ordinary attention and they're distinct. Not sure what to make of that?
Well, now you are being clearer. Perceptions are essentially identical after they have passed into mind. But they are also, essentially, identical before this stage too, due to their empty nature.
Whew! I wish I could edit my initial post to make it less alarming to those who may only read the first post then reply. I think I'm understanding that one Zen story, and now I'm in the "mountains are not mountains" part
I see where you're coming from
I qualified what I meant better in my second post. I think I overstated it a bit, and it's simply one specific long-standing addictive behavior that feels like I have no control in.
You do not control, or you do not want to control? Let's get serious for a second here: normally we enjoy our addictive behaviours, while engaged in them, it's the consequences that we do not enjoy!
I'm very fortunate that my karma with addiction here is not drug related, which I think Catmoon thought. So there's no recreational drug use giving me "insight" here. Mine is a sensual addiction, specifically to lust. I'm at the stage where the enjoyment is almost at a minimum, but I'm going through the motions. Even the consequences are not so terrible anymore. I used to be overrun with guilt. Now it's more like "that was a waste of time. I hope I can just not bother at all next time."
I call it an addiction because it started out ordinarily enough, then became one where I put myself through hell afterwards but did it next time anyway, and now it seems boring and I still do it anyway. Sorry if I alarmed anyone into thinking I was addicted to heroin or something.
Thank you. A big reason I posted it on here also is I feel it's related to my practice. Catmoon's suggestion also got me talking with my partner about all this, so he's on the lookout for me being a wing nut, too. I admit at the moment, I'm skeptical of a psychologist.
It is related to your practice, but it is also related to your mental health. As for being skeptical of psychologists, I am a psychologist too you know!
Some of my advice comes from my experience as a psychologit and some from my experience as a practitioner. Not all psychologists are into mind control and money making.
Thank you, your example is helping me soften my view. I mainly had one very bad experience with a psychologist. Full-on teen angst, a recent parental divorce, living in tension with my stepdad in a place I hated and a Mormon school when I wasn't Mormon. The prescription? Five minutes of conversation and a drug. It's left me skeptical of psychologists.
the disorder spans the border between health and disease, it is only the more persistent and severe forms that are classified as "disease". In other words perfectly healthy people can have quite a bit of this sort of thing going on.
Thank you. It's important to have lots of perspectives on this so I don't cheerfully drive myself nuts while thinking I'm benefiting all beings. Whoopsy. Like I said, if it is symptomatic of DP/DR, the results haven't been dysfunctional. No real anxiety, no social alienation, two of the primary results of DP/DR that I read.
Just in case you don't worry too (I mentioned it above) the addiction is not drug-related
These are absolutely symptoms of depersonalisation/derealisation. However, DP/DR are themselves symptoms of the dukkha ñañas. With continued vipasyana-style practice, the symptoms will pass. Consider a retreat.
Derealization sounds like the opposite direction I want to be going. Could you please elaborate on the dukkha ñañas? I found a list of 16 (?) ñañas related to breath meditation and couldn't find a specific dukkha one. Do you just mean realization of the qualities of dukkha experientially? I would say that's partly what's going on, if I had to guess.
Also, doing my first zhinay group retreat December 31st - January 1st
It culminates in taking refuge. I'm very excited.
Most importantly, don't worry. DP/DR is not a permanent medical condition - it's a stage in spiritual practice. Most people get stuck in it because they don't have a meditation practice or, if they do, discontinue it at this point - hence the "medical" disorder. If you browse a DP/DR support forum, it's extremely clear that all of the people are in the dark night and don't know it.
Thank you for this encouragement. I realize I was already reifying my experience with this. "What if this becomes permanent? This is so weird, am I going insane?" Oops. That's when the worrying started.
I'm curious to read more about the Dark Night in Buddhist terms. I'm familiar with the Christian take. It was in the throes of depression that I had an experience that closely mirrored the Dark Night, and that got me looking to a spiritual path. Since I wasn't practicing anything at the time though, it was maybe a taste and not the real thing.
I don't plan on giving up practice or running away from anything in fear here. If I do have DP/DR, even momentarily, I'm convinced it's workable like anything else. And if it can become a future source of compassion for those in a similar state, all the better