This is one the best articles I’ve read about meditation and anger. I am very grateful to you. I’ve tried all different kinds of strategies on how to deal with the rage: writing the thoughts as they appear, noticing any changes in my body sensations, trying all different kinds of breathing…addressing the thoughts associated with the anger with my therapist, and on and on. All of this has helped more or less. The problem is that anger brings up a lot of other feelings such as, guilt,shame,sadness. My mind becomes unstoppable with swirling mad memories of all kinds. I experience anger as a liquid or a gas poison that quickly spreads out everywhere inside of me. It feels like an embodiment of all that is “wrong” with me and world at the same time. I like the way you’ve described the process of dealing with it.I think I am working towards feeling less overwhelmed by the rage itself. As I continue to feel the anger as just as energy and resist the appeal of the stories in your mind,it does become less compelling overtime. However, it seems that guilt,shame,remorse,prejudice,and regret,and fear are just lurking underneath the rage.Do you have suggestions on how to deal with the other emotions that comes up with the anger?
From SoYoung Park
Roger. I LOVE your course. I’m taking my time with it. I still listen to track 2 exclusively, which feels right.
Quick question. When I find myself releasing throughout the meditation, there comes a point when I find my straight back slumped. I want to re-straighten (not ramrod straight, but a relaxed straight). Can I do this? I’m trying not to move (no fidgeting, scratching, adjusting) but slowly sinking into the cushion doesn’t seem to be helpful either.
What do you think? Thank you!
Ps going to a vipassana 10 day retreat in a couple weeks. Terrified and excited.
Roger Wells <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Excellent news that you’re doing the 10 day course. I’m assuming it’s with Goenka, a wonderful teacher, whose method is slightly different to mine. And given there are hundreds of different methods of Vipassana, that is not unusual. They all lead to the same place, like hundreds of paths going up the same mountain.
So when you go to this retreat, I recommend that, for the duration of that course you temporarily put aside what you might have learnt from me and any other sources of information, and for that ten days, give yourself entirely to the method he is teaching. That will ensure the best result.
Later, when the course is over, you can figure out your own way through from the pool of information you’ve accumulated.
You see, it can lead to confusion if you try to mix and match methods – and that leads to struggle, which wastes valuable time on a ten day course.
The other thing is, I have learnt on numerous retreats, that the silence and mindfulness of action during the course of the day and night are AS IMPORTANT as the meditation itself.
So try to move as slowly as possible – slow everything down, from the picking up of a cup to the walking to and from the meditation hall. And pay attention to EVERY action as you do it, as assiduously as you pay attention to the breath when you meditate. observe the feet as you walk. Observe the hand as it reaches out and does things. Every action, becomes a main object
And try to stay as utterly silent as possible – don’t talk to anybody (except with the instructor).
So why is this so important?
Well, the mind on retreat must be allowed to forget itself, and all its accumulated habits, so it can naturally go about re-organising itself and its view, and be open to insight. And the only way this can happen is to slow down the pace at which you are living, and take in as little irrelevant information as possible. This is why silence is essential. And slowing down the pace of your actions slows down the attention and makes it more able to be worked with when it comes time to meditate.
So silence and slow action will help the development of the meditation immensely.
And don’t worry – you will be well taken care of by the assistants there, and the food is sufficient. Just surrender your self to it, and it will be a wonderful adventure you will never forget.
…………………………………………………………………………… Kent Fisher says:
As much as I have covered this subject in numerous posts, I keep hearing meditators complain about thinking: ‘I cant stop …
Just wanted to put in my thanks for the audio course, the books, and these blog posts. They’ve all been quite helpful in getting my practice started – something I’d been wanting to do for years, but managed not to do until now. I’ll probably post a question at some point, but I find that you’ve covered most of the questions that have come up for me already, in one place or another. Other questions have been “answered” by just focusing on the practice and not worrying so much about “doing it right”.
Thank you Kent … so satisfying to know you’re practicing … and actually, I think the most significant line in your email is “Other questions have been “answered” by just focusing on the practice and not worrying so much about “doing it right”. This is incredibly important in two respects:
1. I means you’re listening to your intuition, which is by far the best teacher. The mind is an incredible thing, constantly working on a subconscious level to find solutions to often indefinable problems, which arise as ‘Oh’ moments so subtle, we have to be quiet to catch them.
2. It means you’re not allowing your expectations of ‘what meditation should be’ lead you into a blind alley. You’re allowing yourself to bumble through, with compassion and understanding for your self, learning by allowing apparent mistakes to happen naturally … and providing you keep allowing these ‘mistakes’ and keep bumbling through, the skill will develop. It’s inevitable, so long as you keep going.