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Can someone tell me what's wrong?

I am extremely new to the art of meditation in general.

My mind, in general, is always cluttered with either office worries or personal worries.

When I remove my worries slowly via meditation (i.e. emptying my thoughts), I tend to be peaceful.

But, during this state, if I encounter a situation that irks or annoys me, my reaction is much rasher or blunt than if I don't empty my mind.

For example, after emptying my mind, I saw my son standing in front of the TV, then I grabbed his arm and brushed him aside. I would not have done this if I had not emptied my mind.

Also, I noticed that my attention and concentration is much stronger after emptying my mind, but my compassion or empathy also gets reduced proportionately.

Can someone help?

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Meditation is not something made to clear our thoughts, it is impossible to do so, thoughts come and go, they will never stop, maybe you can increase the gap between thoughts, that is possible, however this is not the main goal of meditation.

What you need to do is be mindful of your thoughts, be aware, see than as if you were anothet person, awake, dont judge them, dont cling to them, just see them as they are, arising and then going away, this is the nature of the mind. So, when anger comes just see it as anger, see how your body reacts, see how anger grows, see the triggers, feel the triggers... and understand this is anger, don't force it, its useless, don't try to stop it because it can come back even stronger, once you understand the nature of the thinking process and understand you are NOT your thoughts and they simply come and go, you will have a good insight.

I think you may be forcing too much, trying to cover anger, forcing gaps, forcing some kind of emptiness in your mind, I don't think it is the best thing to do.

17

As one Tibetan lama explained in one lecture I attended, this type of anger comes from attachment to a certain form of clarity.

Because in meditation you experience clarity born of unification of mind (lack of inner conflict), when in post-meditation a conflict between "is" and "should" arises, attachment to clarity leads to suffering, rejection of which then manifests as anger.

Read up on tanha (craving) and the second noble truth, then watch yourself carefully millisecond-by-millisecond and try to catch the moment just before the anger arises. For this to be possible you may have to establish mindfulness of body first.

More broadly, a usual problem with beginning meditators is so-called "spiritual materialism". If one sees oneself as (secretly) superior to others, one's practice becomes a (secret) way to confirm one's superiority. This leads to irritation due to (projected) imperfections of others. This is likely why your empathy is reduced. You should be stalking and murdering your ego, instead of feeding it.

Unfortunately with increased popularity of direct methods in the West, like meditation and chakras/energy-yoga, problems like yours are bound to get more common. Opening the floodgate of Emptiness without having built a strong foundation of Discipline can only lead to Rudrahood. I personally am a big proponent of at least 5 years of Sila practice before one is introduced to meditation or energy-yoga.

  • 1
    Andrei, +1. But re: your comment about 5 years of Sila. I'm increasingly of the opinion that that or something similar is spot on. And it may be that the lack of such preparatory work in a lot of western contexts is why we do hear occasionally of significant problems for some meditators. Is your advice coming from some formal aspect of your tradition; is it documented somewhere? Basically, where can I find out more about that idea? – tkp Aug 17 '14 at 20:07
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    @tkp this comes from experience, and kinda matches the path as it is presented in many traditions, but I don't remember anyone explicitly declaring "5 years of Sila, 5 years of Samadhi, 5 years of Prajna" or anything of this kind. – Andrei Volkov Aug 17 '14 at 23:09
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    Hmm. I think I remember the Dalai Lama mentioning it but I can't remember where. It sounded like some Tibetan schools pretty much kept you away from meditation until you had a good grounding in study and, I'm guessing, morality. Shrug. But it does seem to make sense, in my gut :-) – tkp Aug 18 '14 at 14:15
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    The 4th paragraph is what I suffer from, thanks for the heads-up. A family member told me my empathy is reduced. I will be reading on spiritual materialism next. – user4878 Aug 3 '15 at 8:06
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Meditation isn't about clearing your mind or finding peace and happiness or love and compassion. Meditation is practiced so you can experientially come to understand the true nature of reality.

The true nature of reality is the Three Universal Characteristics ( impermanence, suffering and non-self) And the teaching of the Four Noble Truths will again, experientially, allow you to realize why the "ignorant" mind, the mind with wrong-view, will always lead to suffering.

Unfortunately, you have an "ignorant" mind, a mind which believes it can control things, a mind which is going against the natural law of the universe!!

And this is the reason why you are becoming angry and frustrated, it is because you don't yet see or understand how true reality works.

To quote Eckhart Tolle : "What could be more futile, more insane, than to create inner resistance to what already is? what could be more insane than to oppose life itself."

I hope this has helped!

Metta.

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Gone through the same thing, after meditation had a phone call where I was more angry and demanding that things be other than the way they are. I yelled easily at a person whereas usually I would not do that.

I looked this up and found an article, Allowing Things to Arise (from the book The Four Noble Truths -- Teachings by Ajahn Sumedho).

Reading it from time to time I should make a habit of it.

[...]

For example, when I first started meditating, I had the idea that meditation would make me kinder and happier and I was expecting to experience blissful mind states. But during the first two months, I never felt so much hatred and anger in my life. I thought, ‘This is terrible; meditation has made me worse.’ But then I contemplated why there was so much hatred and aversion coming up, and I realised that much of my life had been an attempt to run away from all that. I used to be a compulsive reader. I would have to take books with me wherever I went. Anytime fear or aversion started creeping in, I would whip out my book and read; or I would smoke or munch on snacks. I had an image of myself as being a kind person that did not hate people, so any hint of aversion or hatred was repressed.

This is why during the first few months as a monk, I was so desperate for things to do. I was trying to seek something to distract myself with because I had started to remember in meditation all the things I deliberately tried to forget. Memories from childhood and adolescence kept coming up in my mind; then this anger and hatred became so conscious it just seemed to overwhelm me. But something in me began to recognise that I had to bear with this, so I did stick it out. All the hatred and anger that had been suppressed in thirty years of living rose to its peak at this time, and it burned itself out and ceased through meditation. It was a process of purification.

[...]

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People who do meditation encounter this problem often.Do the meditation on loving kindness at least for ten minutes everyday.

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You were angry whether your mind was empty or not. You are angry that someone or some phenomena has disturbed your tranquility. It is your ego that is in question. The great defender. We are always empty minded. Always. It is the natural primordial state of mind. To revisit this state through meditation is understood yet futile.

It is a state that never leaves us only gets masked over. If you have to reinvent the state of empty mindedness then you are fostering a delusion. Better to visit your anger and your ego. Better to tame them both. Meditation is always happening. Living is meditation. Calm breathing and relaxing the mind is our individual purpose for without doing that how can we function in a homeopathic demeanor ?

There are parts of ourselves that do not integrate into the here and now. These states are real nontheless. They are driven by our feelings that get pushed aside yet they do not go away. Our organized selves, which the ego is the ceo, help us keep all organized and flowing... on the surface that is. When these other states, from beneath the surface, bubble up , they are cast off. You are to tap into this and realize that the ego only helps us by working in the past or the future- interpreting the now in such a way that all has been symbolized and categorized in a associative way.

So we are herded into a world of anticipation or reflection but not real existence. Do not fret. Find the anger. No need to control. Relinquish. Present moment awareness. Leave the coral. Be free from your striving to become and realize that you already are. Walk with meditation in mind rather than plan for a meditative experience that is flawed and conflicted. Be peaceful and unfetterted and empty minded...it is who you are.

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Can I simply suggest you to do the 'Maiththree' meditation, which will help you to calm yourself and to love others, all other beings and to be peaceful with others. This will help you care for others and think about others than yourself while not taking any stress. But for one to do this it takes patients and dedication, but the results are fine. In one of lord Buddhas preachings, it was said that you cannot settle hatred\anger by hatred\anger but with love and kindness it will be done. Its like hitting a wall with a ball, till the wall bounces it back it will keep coming and will never end. But if someone makes a whole in the wall, the ball will not bounce back. No harm done. Its a bad example, but you get the idea. Try to control it, you will succeed. Dont give up, nothing is easy in life and nothing comes free, you have to gain it.

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