Agitation in Stage 3

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This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Henk de Wit 1 year, 3 months ago.

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    Henk de Wit

    Hi all,

    Currently my practice is at Stage 3. Periods of mind-wandering have almost completely stopped and I notice that introspective awareness is becoming more powerful. I also find myself better able to prolong the periods of attention to the breath.
    However here’s the problem as well; very often the following occurs:

    I’m going through the 4-step transition and notice my attention stabilizing around step 3/4. Introspective awareness and peripheral awareness are decent,in my view. But then, either all of a sudden or more gradually, my mind grows agitated/restless/bored JUST WHEN my attention deepens. And before I know it there are suddenly so many thoughts that I cannot pay attention to the meditation object anymore (i.e. extreme mind-wandering and restlessness set in.
    I then go back to the first step of the 4-step transition (as I suspect that monkey-mind is present)and set the intention ‘to be fully present’ and ‘to seek out pleasurable contents of consciousness’. So what’s the real issue: (very) often my mind has grown so agitated and/or restless that no matter how hard I try to hold and set those intentions I can barely calm the monkey-mind down.

    Is there anyone that has encountered this in his/her practice? Or any advice in general?

    Perhaps it’s important that I point here that my mind is by its nature VERY active (also diagnosed with ADD; after 4 months of meditating with TMI I’m just recently getting over mind-wandering (and forgetting to a lesser degree). This doesn’t bother me but I figured it might be helpful to give you all a little bit of context.

    Thanks in advance.


    Ted Lemon

    Wow, I’ve heard enough people talk about this happening at the end of stage three that I think it’s almost a marker. I suppose it doesn’t happen to everybody, but rest assured that you are in good company. It certainly happened to me.

    The approach I took, which may or may not work for you, was to learn to laugh at and love the inner toddler that Just. Doesn’t. Want. To. Keep. Sitting. That is, there was some part of my mind system that had noticed that something significant was happening, and was not comfortable with it, and wanted it to stop, and was kicking up a ruckus.

    I don’t know that this is precisely what’s happening for you, but you might try investigating it. When this little tantrum of monkey mind agitation happens, just notice it happening, smile, and try to generate feelings of love and care. Don’t imagine that you can suppress it. The good news is that it’s quite energetic, and you aren’t going to forget that it’s happening. Don’t think of it as a failure—think of it as just one of the many gateways you will have to cross as your practice deepens.


    Henk de Wit

    Thank you for that answer, Tod! It’s really appreciated and definitely helpful.
    I’ve indeed noticed that since some weeks my attentions is stable longer than before. What I as a result interpret as a sign of progress after months of mind-wandering and forgetting.

    Again, thanks very much and good luck with your own practice.

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