Regularly, after meditation or reading spiritual books, I get "epiphanies" (new pieces of information about myself, my behavior and/or the outside world), which induce strong emotions in me. I lose productivity, sometimes stop to meditate for a couple of days and need quite a lot of time to recover. Sometimes, but not always, I get an understanding of what should I do different now (based on that epiphany).

As a result, I learn too slowly.

Since I'm probably not the first to experience these problems (depressive state after learning things about me, which require me to do something differently), there is probably advice in Buddhist writings about how to fix it (so that the learning part remains and the depressive part is reduced or eliminated, i. e. the time between an "epiphany" and new way of doing things is minimal).

What does Buddhist literature (especially from the Diamond way Buddhism) recommend in this situation?

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    Free yourself from the need to increase the speed of learning about yourself. Guaranteed to speed up your progress :) Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 0:23

6 Answers 6


A student goes to the dojo and asks how long it will take to become a master.

The master replies “There is no answer to that, my son. First you must learn patience.”

The student replies “Yeah, yeah, patience. How long is that going to take?”

What you need to understand is, the more you force it, the more likely it is that no wisdom, insight or freedom from suffering will occur. You must reach an understanding or realization that nothing needs to be learned, you just need to except things for what they are, then the "letting-go" of our want to control, this will free you from pain and suffering!!

Continue your meditation daily and the answers you seek will reveal themselves deeper and deeper the more the mind quietens.



When it come to Buddhist meditation:

  • You should not try to speed up anything. You want to speed up since you crave for results. Then you crave this leads to regress.
  • You cannot loose balance of of you mind no matter what, as this is main part of you mental training. A reacting mind creates new fabrication resulting in misery. So any form of reaction is a regress. Whatever experience you should be equanimous realizing its impermanence.

Get yourself a copy of Self-Liberation Through Seeing With Naked Awareness, from the Dzogchen tradition, and read it aloud to yourself from time to time.

You are actually doing very well. You feel a little distress because you are moving something that has fallen asleep and become numb, just like you will feel tingling or pain in your arm or leg if you move it after cutting off its circulation. The pain is preferable to the numbness you had before you moved it, and it is only temporary; whereas if you leave something unmoved, eventually numbness becomes necrosis.

These things have fallen asleep in you because you have been grasping them for a long time -- for so long that you don't even remember when you first started grasping them. It is human nature to have thoughts and emotions, just like it is natural for clouds to arise in the sky. But after a while, the clouds pass and the clear sunlight is once again visible. Likewise, if you allow the thoughts and emotions to pass, you will once again be restored to your fundamental state of peace and joy. To let something pass, simply notice that you are having it. Do not grasp at it -- and more importantly -- do not grasp at not having it. Just observe it, and it will naturally transform. If you are moved to laugh, then laugh. If you are moved to cry, then cry. Just let it flow.


Since you mentioned you got the effect after meditation and reading spiritual books, I think it's important to re-examine your meditation method and the types of "spiritual books" that you read. There're just so many different types of "meditation" and so many different kinds of "spiritual" books nowadays. Practicing the wrong method and reading the wrong book can lead to pretty dangerous side effects. When someone says the Buddha said this or that in some book, that's not good enough. A good book on Buddhism should provide plenty of references straight from the Sutras/Suttas detailing the chapter, section, and paragraph. The same thing with meditation method you're following. It should be traceable back to the source, the Buddha's teaching in the Sutras/Suttas. This will help tracing the problem back to its root cause.

  • 1
    Currently, I do the 16th Karmapa meditation ( diamondway-buddhism.org/buddhist-meditation/… ). Most recent book, which caused such things, was The Great Seal: Limitless Space & Joy: The Mahamudra View of Diamond Way Buddhism ( amazon.de/Great-Seal-Limitless-Mahamudra-Buddhism-ebook/dp/… ). Commented Nov 22, 2014 at 22:34
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    I'm from a Theravada background and so won't be able of much help with Vajrayana. But anyway, similar approach could be used to examine the teaching. For example, a good solid book on Buddhism is "In the Buddha's Words" by Ven. Bodhi. I was perfectly fine after reading this book. So, strongly recommend if you haven't read it..
    – santa100
    Commented Nov 22, 2014 at 22:41

It takes time to progress spiritually, and we mostly learn by experience, not book-learning. I am sure that you are doing your best, so there is no need to be depressed about anything that came before you had better understanding.

Most people are stuck in an ego-defined state, and so they do not really learn. It sounds like you are in the state I call "Neo", which includes lots of 'epiphanies' and rapid progress (and a lot of emotion sometimes). The next stage is nonduality, and it is more calm. It is coming, just be patient with yourself.


Do a retreat with a good teacher.

EDIT: Explanation: Doing a retreat (several weeks of day-long practice with no other occupation) is much more beneficial than doing equivalent meditation time e.g. over one year, one hour a day (I read this somewhere written by Kenneth Folk, and my experience confirms that 100%).

Insights ("epiphanies" as you call those) occur naturally as your practice progresses, and emotional reaction sometimes occur as well. Intense practice helps you deal with both -- more insights coming, less attachment to them (you don't have to think about insight, you just need to be present, and let it come and go as anything else; it does the work by itself), and the emotions are dealt with within the practice, as another hindrance you get over by awareness of the present moment. That way, the emotion is cleared quickly (if you practice, have emotion, then don't practice for 1 day, the emotion9s) might go wild).

Retreats with regular (daily) individual interviews with a good teacher were very important for me, especially at the beginning, as things (emotions and insights) happening might be unusual and unsettling. The teacher can help you not get lost, not go too much into emotions, if possible, just note them and let them go.

Meditation, if done right, is the true teacher, and it also clears some of the bad motivation you may have for the practice (such as being great, or understanding everything, progressing fast, etc); that simply perishes under the scrutiny of mindfulness.

Since you ask about literature: I am not aware of traditional literature on this subject, which is due to my limited knowledge, and also the fact that vipassana was until recently (say 19th century Burma) practiced almost exclusively by monastics, if at all. From the contemporary writings, Daniel Ingram's Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha has a chapter "Practical Meditation Considerations" (section Daily life and retreats) which touches the subject; Kenneth Folk wrote on that as well (somewhere on the web, can't find it now).

  • The downvoter, would you care to state the reason? I find it ridiculous that no-one at a buddhist forum said simply: do more practice, that's your true teacher. My experience (and many confirm that) is that it is much better to do a retreat than spend the same amount of time on one-hour-a-day meditation during the whole year.
    – eudoxos
    Commented Feb 27, 2015 at 9:29
  • I didn't down vote you.But i think it's because you gave a one line answer.Your supposed to kind of elaborate on your answer.
    – Orion
    Commented Feb 27, 2015 at 22:42
  • @eudoxos, I didn't vote at all on this q/a but I sometimes get the feeling it is here as with voting in general, what you vote is a consequense of how the person feels about it the time of voting, and not always so thought through Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 7:06

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