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I have a question that I would like some input on.

Lately, I have been able to see the fruit that total acceptance and surrender can bring to one's experience. I have tasted moments of pure joy, compassion, and equanimity. In these states, everything appears very clear and I'm able to rest with the experience and not cling on to these pleasant feelings. Everything I have read about and heard from teachers seems crystal clear. Perception is completely altered and the mind is clear.

Inevitably, these experience fall away and hindrances make their way back into the mind. In my experience, the hardest of these hindrances to overcome is doubt. Once doubt enters, it's easy for ill-will to follow as well as other hindrances.

Intellectually, I'm aware of the Four Noble Truths and that desire causes suffering, and even that desire for the cessation of desire causes suffering. I'm aware that aversion to whatever state of mind and feelings are currently present only perpetuates them. However, when the pleasant states are gone and hindrances arise (especially doubt), I begin to question everything I know.

I have told myself and written down tips and advice on how to handle these kinds of situations when my mind was unhindered. Even though I know in my heart to trust my own words and experiences, when doubt is strong enough, everything is deluded.

I don't have a single question, but I would appreciate input on how to handle strong moments of doubt and ill-will towards that doubt. In the past, I have always managed to accept the feelings and allow them to pass, which is what I know I need to do, however in the moment it can be incredibly difficult.

The toughest thing for me to work with is getting angry at myself for not accepting the unpleasant feelings for how they are. I know that to move past them, I need to accept non-acceptance, but that is always easier said than done. This leads to a downward-spiral of aversion towards aversion of doubts.

Any words, tips, or tools you guys have are so very much appreciated.

Edit: I apologize if this is too much of a discussion-based question without a real definitive answer. I am new to SE in general, so please forgive me if this isn't an appropriate question.

  • Hi, and welcome to the site. Here, unlike many of the other SE sites, people will try to answer almost any question. If you're used to other SE sites then you'll know they have various reasons why a question might be closed; but we have an old specific meta-topic here (though it's long and maybe not worth reading) about how or why we try to handle such difficulties, instead of closing a question. – ChrisW Aug 6 '15 at 22:36
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Any words, tips, or tools you guys have are so very much appreciated.

Does it help to remember that "doubt" and "identity view" belong together? If they eradicate together (at the same stage) then maybe they arise together.

Even though I know in my heart to trust my own words and experiences, when doubt is strong enough, everything is deluded.

Isn't 'identity view' a bit deluded too?

So like, "I am doubting" and "here is myself experiencing doubt": just forget it. Experience it, recognize it, remember it's delusive, and put it away, do or be without it.

I (subjectively or as an analogy) experience some kind of brain storm that's like an electrical short circuit, that draws all the electric current and does nothing. If it persists and I recognize it then I deliberately blow the fuse on it: i.e. recognize it as a fault, switch off the current (stop feeding it), try to see a bigger, more stable, more useful picture.

I label/name that storm "a thicket of views", which the suttas say is associated with views about self.

In summary I'm trying to suggest that if you're experiencing "doubt" then maybe you're experiencing "identity view"; maybe you can already handle identity view, and/or recognize it as a cause of doubt.

I would appreciate input on how to handle strong moments of doubt and ill-will towards that doubt.

According to the Wikipedia article I cited above, doubt and identity-view go together but ill-will may remain until later. So don't be surprised if there's ill-will.

I mean, you're saying "ill-will towards doubt and delusion". I suppose you have to be free of the doubt and delusion you talked about, first and foremost; and once you see things clearly then you can (perhaps literally) "sort out" the ill-will (maybe ill-will goes after delusion stops, like you say it comes after delusion starts).

This advice is partly based on the idea that "right view" is the first (or if it's called "right knowledge" then it's also nearly the last) factor on the path.

  • Thank you, this is very helpful. I will treat such moments like the "brain storms" that you referred to. It's also very helpful to know that doubt and identity view arise together. – ascherj Aug 7 '15 at 1:33
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Dukkha comes from mismatch between "what is" and what you think "should be". Keep repeating this until it sinks in :)

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What you resist persists, what you embrace dissolve. The more you will resist your tendancy to doubt, the more you will experiment doubt. Let it be, even if unpleasant, and cease to resist it in the present moment. It will then gradually go away.

Yann

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Practice the Four Immeasurables, the four divine abodes.

Potential practice methods: There are four, pick one a day and spend a few twenty-minute sessions meditating on it.

Loving-kindness / loving-heartedness (metta)

Empathic/empathetic/sympathetic joy (mudita)

Compassion / "to suffer with [and yearn to relieve]" (karuna)

Equanimity = deep equipoise (upekkha)

They are called Brahmaviharas which translates roughly to "divine fields of becoming" or "godly dwellings"

Hindrances and afflictions are overcome by wise effort.

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