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Post sesshin anxiety...

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Post sesshin anxiety...

Postby zafu on Mon Jun 27, 2016 9:44 am

Hi all,

I can suffer from anxiety and over-thinking at times. I have finished my first two day Sesshin I am left feeling really quite anxious. Is it normal for Sesshin to push stuff to the surface? I appreciate it was only two days but it was my first...

Thanks for your feedback...
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Re: Post sesshin anxiety...

Postby desert_woodworker on Mon Jun 27, 2016 5:53 pm


One never knows how it will go.

I don't think I have anxiety arising, and I don't know how it is for people who experience it regularly, or periodically.

But sesshin is "a model of life" (in my opinion). We work, we practice, we eat, we sleep, etc. But we do it all as practice, and in the context of practice. We can live our entire non-sesshin life this way, if we are willing to, and develop into living life this way, helped by the Zen Buddhist practices themselves, and by the new resilience and strength that develops in us as we cultivate.

I don't know, but perhaps if you feel "anxiety", it may be because of a wish or a natural impatience to be empowered more quickly by the expected results of practice. Surely, we know that the results will come, but perhaps it is unsatisfying not to have them instantly. ;) Now, I suppose that this could cause something like anxiety and even an increase in the intensity of the pitch of the experience of suffering of samsara.

But even if these things are the case -- or some others things are -- all we can do is return to the practice. Always return. Just the practice. Give no energy to side-thoughts. But just attending to what is necessary. One can make a deal with oneself: "just this". No side processes running. Nothing extra.

Anyway, that is our practice! Whether on sesshin, as you know, or at home. That's what I would say.

Simple. And simple to do. If we allow ourselves. One must just be good to oneself. Make a deal. Even moment-by-moment.

take good care,


p.s. Longer sesshin are good because one has more time to really 'settle-in' to a level of intensified practice, which of course is new to us, unaccustomed. More time is good, if one can give that gift to oneself. Well, it's for oneself, and all beings. best, -J.
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Re: Post sesshin anxiety...

Postby Mason on Mon Jun 27, 2016 10:46 pm

It is, indeed, expected that sesshin will push stuff to the surface. Now you have to work with it.

I also used to have anxiety issues, and I would sometimes experience panic attacks while sitting in sesshin. Of course I thought, "Woe is me! My practice is ruined!" But I soon realized that the opposite was the case. Being able to experience the panic in its fullness without running away, I realized that there was nothing to fear. Racing heart, buzzing limbs, short fast breathing. That's all it is; there's no monster in the closet. Just harmless (even potentially enjoyable) sensations. Then the parasympathetic nervous system kicks in: body cools down, a sweet relaxing flow of energy washes down from head to toes. Wonderful. I haven't had anxiety issues since.
Interconnectedness: it's like two sides of the same coin, except each side is everything in the universe - including the coin.
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Re: Post sesshin anxiety...

Postby zafu on Tue Jun 28, 2016 10:09 am

Thanks for your feedback. Its not as noticeable now. I'll be working on that if it happens again
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Re: Post sesshin anxiety...

Postby Avisitor on Fri Jul 01, 2016 1:26 am

I would always looked forward to the experience after ....
But, damn ... the world just comes back just as strong as it was before all that ...
Disclaimer: There is no intent to be offensive in my posts. None was intended and none should be interpreted as such.
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