Practice with great physical and mental fatigue

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Eric 10 months, 4 weeks ago.

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    Kim L


    Since a couple of months I’m dealing with quite severe adrenal fatigue that has left me bedridden for almost the entire day. I have stopped practicing for a while as meditation practice has been a factor that lead me into this state (a month long intensive retreat was the final exhaustion my body needed to start rapidly going down hill). Now I wish to start up my practice again, for one because my ability to deal with negative thoughts and difficult emotions has gone down considerably. I’m dealing with depression and thought patterns that I used to be able to handle quite well when I was practicing around stage 7 but now I seem to have gone back to square one from a couple of months of complete lack of meditation.

    The only problem is that I’m dealing with some severe fatigue both physical as well as mental and a lot of brain fog/dullness. Meditations are not really going “well” because of this. I’m wondering if anyone here has experience practicing under these circumstances that could offer me some advice. Dullness is basically at the level where it is impossible to successfully apply antidotes to get into a clear state of mind. I’m also hesitant trying to stress myself too much getting to energize the mind as part of my reason for wanting to meditate is to get the relaxation response going and allow my body some improved recovery/healing. I care less about improving my meditative ability than I do about physical healing at this point.

    This brings me to my second question: Sometimes during meditation the relaxation it brings gets me into gross dullness and I start getting sleepy. For me right now this is a positive thing because a lot of the day I’m not only experiencing fatigue but I also feel wired and have a difficult time relaxing and taking naps during the day. So I welcome the sleep inducing effect of the meditation. I’m just a little worried that sustaining this kind of practice will give me a hard time later on getting out of the dullness as my mind may have habituated to it. What sometimes helps is to do metta practice as it energizes the mind/body but I have found that this can add some agitation sometimes in the state I’m in that I want to avoid as much as possible.



    Chloe B

    Hi Kim,

    I suggest you deal with your adrenal fatigue first. It’s one of the reasons you are feeling wired and tired. I am not a doctor but have dealt with the same problem. I suggest you see an acupuncture, Chinese medicine doctor or tibetan doctor to help you rebalance your energy system. Dr Avivva Romm also makes great supplements that use adaptogens to help balance the system I took her Adrenal Soothe everyday for 9 months. It helped me rebalance. The depression could possibly also be due to the imbalance in your body.

    Also I would let go of meditation going well or poorly. We are not a buddha (not omniscient) so do not know when the meditation has been the most beneficial to you or least. A session where you struggle the whole time may actually being doing more of you than one that everything felt at ease. There is no point in judging the experience other than to say you sat. The stages help us apply the appropriate antidote to help us move through whatever we are dealing with. They are not meant as this judgemental framework to say we were in stage 7 so that was good and stage 3 so that was bad. The framework helps us say I am in stage 4 noticing gross distractions this is the antidotes to help with this today.

    Ayurveda, Chinese medicine and Tibetan medicine are all excellent at dealing with the problem you are having. Chinese with the combo of herbs and acupuncture style treatments is particularly good.

    Best of look to you in this and focus on your health. The rest will follow.

    • This reply was modified 11 months, 2 weeks ago by  Chloe B.


    Hi Kim,
    I’m sorry to hear that you are having such significant symptoms. I just came through a period of illness from tick born disease, including adrenal fatigue. There was a lot of brain fog and negative thinking that made practice very unpleasant. I chose to focus on skillful intentions and easy practice, as I was not able to do much else.

    I primarily listened to guided metta meditations, and especially liked the benefactor meditations by John Makransky. I also tried to keep turning the mind to more skillful thoughts, such as gratitude, compassion, and appreciation for any skillful intentions that arose during the day. I also found it helpful to recollect the attributes of the Buddha, or other spiritual teachers.

    My understanding from Culadasa is that it is OK to use meditation leading into sleep, as long as it is done intentionally and with as much mindfulness as possible. To watch to onset of dullness and sleep can be quite interesting. However, if it is difficult to sustain any mindfulness of the process, it may indeed habituate the mind to more dullness. However, that could be worked with in the future when your health improves.

    Wishing you karuna and strength to deal with these conditions.


    Kim L

    @Chloe B

    Thank you Chloe. I will look into the acupuncture although right now I can’t leave the house so perhaps it will have to wait a little bit.


    Thank you Kim. I will check out that guided meditation you mentioned by John Makransky. Easy practice and compassion is what I need to focus on right now as well. Part of the reason I am in this place is an imbalanced practice, exerting too much effort and not listening to my body. Thanks for mentioning Culadasa on meditation leading into sleep.

    • This reply was modified 11 months, 1 week ago by  Kim L.


    Hey Kim,

    I had an emergency appendectomy years ago that left me bedridden. First the surgeon could not find the appendix and so opened me up 5 inches and then he could not close the wound because he thought it may be septic and I’d be worse off if he closed it. Anyway, I basically found a breath that calmed my body enough to not feel the pain so badly. The nurses thought I was being macho when I refused pain killers. But I could manage it and relax around the pain using the long breath (actually cultivating a long breath) enough that I felt OK and at ease. When I went to see the surgeon a few weeks or so later he was impressed with how fast it was healing. I don’t know if he said that to make me feel better or if it was because of the way I used the long breath to destress my body to allow it to heal faster (the long breath fosters a greater Heart Rate Variability which is a measure for stress). This was years before TMI but I was basically hanging out all day in the preliminary Steps 2 – 3 transition to the breath…being aware of the whole breath from nose to navel and sensing the state of the whole body. As my body healed and I felt stronger I eventually went back to the sensations at the nose.

    mucho metta,

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