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About Dovahkiin

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  1. Hi everybody. Over the last few months I've grown gradually more confused about how to go forward in my meditation practice, and I think this community is the best place I can turn for some quick advice. There are a ton of techniques I want to explore further - Do-Nothing, Mindfulness, Samatha practices, Self-Inquiry. However, at a recent Vipassana retreat (Goenka-style) I connected more with the Vipassana technique than perhaps any other technique. Goenka advocates Vipassana-only (albeit with a little Metta), and many people in those circles even go so far as saying different practices are like different wells for water - useless - and one must choose a single technique. To be honest, it seems dogmatic to me. My dilemma is that I don't feel experienced enough to select the right portion of what I learned on retreat (i.e. a certain amount of Vipassana via the method I learned, and doing sittings of strong determination regardless of type of meditation) and leave what I don't need. How can I trust my mind to make this decision? I like some alternatives I've stumbled on: I like the idea of incorporating self-inquiry into Vipassana, but I'm not sure how it should look on a detailed level. Body scan for a while and then switch to self-inquiry questioning / contemplation when the spirit moves me? @Leo Gura has mentioned this sort of thing, but if anyone can learn me on how this kind of combination would look or point me to a resource, that'd be great. Along these lines, 3 speed transmission (Kenneth Folk) sounds good, but I still feel unsure of the mechanisms of switching between / combining practices like this. Ultimately, I see the danger I'm in here of neglecting doing serious work by continuing to think about these things instead of just picking something and doing it. Hopefully, responses will be useful for more people than just me - how does one strike a balance between trying a ton of stuff and decisively picking a direction, without skirting real work, and without going down the wrong dogmatic road? Everyone's different, so even general principles speaking to this challenge (as opposed to an explicit recommendation) would be great. Thanks all.
  2. @StenneAnti-depressants absolutely help people out of some dark places. I see them as band-aids, with the potential to stop the bleeding in desperate times, but without the ability to cure any sort of root cause / "chemical imbalance." Whatever you do, do not go off of them cold-turkey. If you are able to go off of them, great, but do it gradually, intelligently and with the guidance of a mental health professional. Do not switch from SSRIs to mushrooms rapidly. That said, I'd encourage you to do your own research and listen to your mental health in contemplating what's been said here, because the stance that SSRIs are a waste (in many cases) is a valid one. They were discovered completely by accident in the 1950s, and as a result the hypothesis for how they work stemmed from their invention, rather than their invention stemming from a good theoretical understanding of how they should work. Scarily, we still don't really know how they work. For a very thorough history on this science, check this out: It definitely opened my eyes to how willy-nilly the great SSRI experiment is. As others said, natural cures, therapy / counseling, etc, are great ideas. Good luck!
  3. @Leo Gura Have you ever considered taking a video down because it no longer represents your views / teachings? Also, how much value do you think there is in the scientific and neuroscientific study of meditation, ala Dave Vago, Willoughby Britton, etc? The Dalai Lama seems to be a fan; do you see potential here beyond slightly opening Western minds?
  4. To be clear I’m all for contemplation. But brooding monkey mind loops of chatter masquerading as contemplation, especially when in a dark mood, are no good. I’m definitely guilty of this.
  5. @Jedd aside from practicing equaniminity as best you can - trying to accept your experience that the mind is labeling as bad and just be with what’s happening - I think counseling / therapy can be very helpful for anyone. For the sleep itself a bedtime routine often helps, but for the root of the issue, if you can afford it, seeing a counselor could be really helpful.
  6. Thanks, this helps for sure, and makes sense. I have found kefir that isn’t filled with sugar so I’ll stick with it. I only mention kombucha because the two seem to have different probiotics, so drinking both covers more bases, but I admittedly don’t know a ton in that area. And yeah, I meant cold-cuts and the like. I’ll sill purchase raw meat, bacon, etc. Appreciate the response.
  7. Hey all! There are a couple things I'm wondering after finishing Leo's video; I did my own research where I could (i.e. on wheat's industrial history), but am still wondering a few things, and hoping someone might be able to guide me: 1. Why is deli meat so bad? Is it just because it's commonly not grass-fed? 2. What about kefir? It's supposed to be mostly lactose-free from fermantation, so it is an acceptable compliment to kombucha for probiotics? 3. What do you guys make of dining hall food, assuming one sticks to whole foods and still avoids everything on the bad list? I'm about to be a graduate student considering making this a part of my diet, but feel as if dining halls might likely be taking shortcuts even on simple vegetables, meats, etc. Any thoughts? Thanks!
  8. @Leightonm first know that the path you’re on, meditation, etc can be destabilizing and this is normal. If you do these practices you’re bound to be confused sometimes. Second id suggest not feeding too much into this mental chatter (eg “the realness doesn’t seem to give a fuck,” “am I trying to attack God?”). It’s very unlikely you can analyze / think your way out of all the murky, confusing ideas floating around in your head, even though your mind is surely making you feel like that’s exactly what you should do. All you can do is accept your reality right now, and try to take in that it’s impermanent. An actual understanding of impermanence is of course better than an intellectual one (and this should come in time and practice), but try to keep in mind that the negative moods pass, having a depressed thought/feeling doesn’t mean you need to adopt depression as your identity - you can feel that way sometimes and accept that you feel that way - it’s ok id also just add that if you’re feeling overly serious / weighed down by these existential questions, there’s nothing wrong with just doing something enjoyable, hanging out with friends, doing a hobby and being light for a little bit, giving yourself permission to temporarily stop worrying about these big questions.
  9. @Krishna Siva It sounds like your awareness that everything you care about comes back to yourself is actually a sign of some progress. Plenty of people believe they care about their accomplishments, careers, others' opinions of them, etc. NOT out of care for themselves, when it does pretty much all stem from caring about themselves. Nahm's idea of meditating more sounds good. I'd also just accept your reality. If your way of being is self-obsessed, just notice that and increase awareness. There's a perfectly good reason you're that way, and it doesn't make you a bad person. A shift in focus toward others should follow from this increasing awareness naturally.
  10. Communism isn't a utopia. Communism working as its ideologues wish it would is a vision of utopia. Capitalism working as its ideologues wish it would is a vision of utopia, as well. It definitely wasn't controversial in the economics department at my university, which is well known as pro-free market and capitalist. Yes, communism has failed. The evidence for the problems of capitalism is right in front of you if you live in the U.S. Which corporations have been the most successful? It's certainly not the corporations who "go green." The profit motive does not align with creating well-being for people; it aligns with convincing people to spend their money. Sure, our egos stop us from realizing the communist dream; selfishness defeats the point of sharing. Our egos also stop us from realizing the capitalist dream; selfishness defeats the point of seeking profit that's supposed to be equivalent to seeking providing value to consumers. Being selfish, no system will work perfectly. If we weren't selfish and were all enlightened, any system would be fine. Just my humble opinion - I'm no authority on this - but so much focus on economic system ('communism is best,' 'capitalism is best') is just externalizing the problem.
  11. I agree. I wasn't trying to compare them. Rather, I was comparing 2 hours per day alongside 1 retreat per quarter to living like a monk (so similar to retreat) constantly. Thanks Leo. Even a guestimation at quantifying the difference helps me a lot. I'd definitely second this. I've found sittings of strong determination to be way, way more effective than letting myself fidget, both on retreat and in everyday life. It's worth checking here - - as many, many countries have this type of Vipassana center.
  12. @Leo Gura To what extent is going monk-mode like you describe more effective than 2 hours of vipassana a day while being very much a householder (long-term relationship, involved and time-consuming life purpose, self-development junkie, etc)? The 2h/day plan would include a few retreats a year like you've previously recommended. Goenke seems to think it's totally feasible, but how great to you consider the disadvantage to be in terms of pursuing enlightenment? Are we talking monk's 1 year = HH's 10 years? HH's 50 years? HH's 5 lifetimes? If you can't tell there's a lot my ego isn't ready to give up, which is an obstacle in itself.
  13. @ADD Great job jumping into a retreat! I can relate, having finished a Goenke vipassana retreat two weeks ago. Try to treat what is happening to you now, after the retreat, as you learned to be with the happenings of your experience during the retreat. Just because you're not sitting doesn't mean you can't be meditative and use the experiences happening now to grow. So, try your best to be equanimous toward what's happening, including these mood swings. Since being equanimous toward your own mental chatter and story is hard, just focus first on being equanimous toward the associated sensations, i.e. rather than saying "okay, I'm going to be with this dark emotional state with equanimity," just notice the physical sensations that are ACTUALLY happening that are spurring your mind to call it anxiety and fear, and try and be equanimous toward those sensations. In addition to working to let go of aversion to the anxiety / fear, let go of any craving that exists for the happiness, laughter, etc which you've also experienced. Congrats on doing this and continuing it going forward!