Discouragement - How to deal with it

I’m experiencing lots of discouragement around a recent abuse scandal in a spiritual community I was connected to. This end result is that I’ve lost motivation to meditate and do practices such as lucid dreaming and dream yoga. I’m no longer connected to this spiritual community, and I’ve experienced discouragement around these practices before, but never anything as strong as this.

Any suggestions on how to deal with strong discouragement obstacles would be much appreciated.

Thank you.

2 Likes

@Ronin We’re here for you! Discouragement along this path is often experienced by many. I’m sure many of us can relate. I’m sorry to hear about your specific community experiences around this scandal, that’s tough to face - especially in a place that is meant to be a trusted environment.

What is the nature of your discouragement now? Are you struggling to see the point because you are disheartened by your experience? Are you feeling like you are not making progress overall?

2 Likes

Inspiration and devotion to a teacher, teaching and community enable me to push through and persevere when the going gets tough or when I’m repeatedly failing at practices. When the objects of my inspiration and devotion are destroyed, this is an intense level of discouragement I haven’t faced before.

2 Likes

Hi. I am very sorry. This must be very hard. Thank you for sharing so openly here. I struggled for a long time because my childhood was full of severe trauma. My mind was completely caught on the events that had happened. I spent ten years in psychotherapy going over it all endlessly and at the the end of the ten years I felt just as bad as I ever had. Then I decided I needed to see if I could find a way to be happy in this life. So I started to look for other options. I eventually read ‘The Untethered Soul’ by Michael Singer. And then I started to listen to his talks a lot. And at some point I realized isn’t wasn’t what had happened that was the problem- but instead that my mind was completely fixated on it. And eventually I started to realize that is what the mind does- fixate on things and grasp.
We live in the world of duality. And I think a lot of people get caught in a lot of weird things in the world. I also have come to understand that what we all fundamentally are- is free from all of the craziness of the world of duality. We are not the worried mind, but the open, empty, cognizant space that the thoughts come up in. We all have Buddha mind but it is covered by the obscurations. Doubt is one of the hindrances. It’s not what we are. It’s a hindrance of the mind. Sometimes it helps me to get some distance by remembering that. Even when people hurt or disappoint us- it is the mind and heart that get disturbed but we are not actually the mind or heart. We’ve identified ourselves as that and that’s why we keep suffering- but we can with practice start to identify as the open and empty stillness.
Thank you again for sharing here. I hope you can continue to practice. :bouquet: :heart:

2 Likes

@Ronin, I’m hoping you can find this group and @Andrew’s work an inspirational new beginning. It’s always difficult to let go of previous difficult experiences, so I wish you the very best in that journey and welcome you here with open arms.

To me there’s no room for the word failure in these practices! I know that might be difficult to hear when it may seem that you aren’t making progress at all. However, it’s true! Every day that you put small work into it, is another day you are moving forward. These truly special skills are ones that everyone can master but do genuinely take time to build and eventually master.

In my personal experience, I felt deeply discouraged for my own perceived lack of progress. It took me 99 days of daily and nightly practice to have my first natural lucid dream. I was truly unsure if I’d ever get there myself, but I just kept doing it. And one day it happened! I was overjoyed with renewed confidence. Now it happens much more frequently 1-2x per week. I also experimented with Galantamine early on. It helped me believe it was possible to have lucid dreams and see the depth of what was possible before I was able to do it naturally. It was a wonderful crutch that I also enjoy using from time to time to this day.

Of course, I didn’t have a difficult experience like yours, but I am hoping you can find a way to clear some of that out in time and step into a new mind space. Thank you for sharing this here with everyone, I think it’s important for to share that this journey is a process that’s not always positive for everyone.

2 Likes

Hey @Ronin… Checking in on you! I’m happy to be a sounding board if you want to direct message me. Hope you’re well!

2 Likes

Was it Shambhala? I’m also a “Shambhalian” and found what happened to be very disheartening. The first thing that comes up for me is connecting with your intention. What had you join the sangha in the first place? What were you hoping to cultivate through the practices? For example, I sat in meditation in order to clear my mind to eventually help others. When I remember that is my purpose, it helps me overcome discouraging obstacles. Another thing that may help is connecting with a deity if you have one, or sense of a higher power, or source of good. It may help to pray for forgiveness and for healing, both for self and other, understanding and compassion. In his book “The Tibetan Yogas of Sleep and Dream” Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche said “prayer is like a magical power that we all have but forget to use.”

2 Likes

Not exactly the same discouragement as mentioned in the first post, but we all from time to time face discouragement in the activities and efforts that matter to us. I think the way to avoid it is to set reasonable but slightly challenging goals, and work towards those. The goals should be a slight stretch for your current abilities, but something you still can achieve in a reasonable amount of time. That way you get a lot of positive feedback, and stay motivated to continue improving.

For lucid dreaming, something I see a lot of from practitioners, especially those new to LDing, is that they seem to consider any night without a lucid dream as a “failure.” I think this is serious mistake, and can result in anxiety and frustration, which are the enemies of great dreaming, thus forming a vicious cycle of more anxiety & “more failure.”

I celebrate any night where I recall my dreams as a success. Sure, I love those epic, vivid, long dreams, and of course I love the lucid dreams, but I try to love all my dreams. I think that makes for a much more enjoyable practice, resulting in a lot of positive emotions, which generates it’s own wonderful cycle of contentedness and success.

2 Likes

There is a quote from Francis Bacon, a 17th century English philosopher that has stuck with me over the years:

“…adversity doth best discover virtue.”

It has proven true for me many times in my life, both in unfortunate situations like that of Ronin and in the challenges of lucid dreaming success as outlined by Dream_Hacker. I have found that the need, or sometimes just the desire, to muscle through challenges will almost always result in improvement.

1 Like