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10 day Goenka retreat, 3rd path

10 day Goenka retreat, 3rd path
11/6/18 1:59 PM
I've just finished a 10 Goenka retreat. For those that do not know me, so far I'm pretty sure I'm 2nd path. You can see the posts here:

First path
Second path
After second

Last year I did a 9 day home retreat which produced insights but no paths (although I'm pretty sure I crossed the AP).
This year I didn't meditate so much as other years, I found myself solving a lot of other issues in my life.

About the retreat:
The first two days I regretted going on the retreat (I didn't remember it being so heavy on the sitting schedule). At the end of the 2nd day I had a pretty strong jhana experiences and the rest of the day I found myself cycling through the stages and wandering with curiosity about what I could get done.

On the 3rd day I felt relieved, and I began making plans for after the retreat. I had this "done" sensation, everything seemed a brighter and clearer. I guess I had some kind of reset or something (if it was a fruition it was not a path).

From day 4 to 5 I began to notice sensations, but lots (really lots) of memories about the past came to mind when meditating. I let them do their thing. Nothing happened until the 6th day.

On the 6th day, I was noticing sensations and I began switching my awareness to the sounds outside (birds, other meditators moving, etc) and inside (my breath sensations) back and forth. It became clear that there was a "cloud" that followed awareness.
The cloud moved really slow, trying to catch up with awareness. It also keep coming back to me and doing a lot effort.
It was an "aha" moment seeing this thing (I never guessed that so much effort was put in this distortion).
It also had a lot of qualities of failed control.
Physically I was still (not moving at all), and I said to myself, I have to get rid of this thing. It was more of a disgust feeling about the cloud. Of course I realized I was making the cloud.

So, I looked for the feelings, or processes that maked up the cloud and tried to relax them. I felt a lot of deep compassion for me, for whatever parts of myself that kept doing that thing.
Awareness stopped switching and located in my head and chest and I began relaxing.
Whatever I was doing was working (the cloud was diminishing), but at some point I saw a strong light and felt like I was split in two (starting in the head) but continuing in all the body in light. After that I couldn't concentrate or even meditate. It was disolution, but I didn't think it was the disolution for the 3rd path.

Day 6, 7, 8 and 9 I couldn't concentrate or do anything. But I didn't try to do anything. I continued to feel some deep compassion for myself, for my doubts and problems, for all the things that make me human.
When I closed my eyes I had weird images about all the things that I feared. I had bizarre thoughts and I thought I was becoming crazy.
On day 8 I kind of sensed a restriction, like some force stopping me. I said to myself, re-observation.

On day 9, all of the sudden (I was doing nothing at all), concentration went to the middle of the head (behind my eyes). I could feel like a point concentrating all my awareness, all of myself in a tiny point. The last thing I remember (and feel) was like a "crack" or a pop in that point. I opened my eyes and they were wet (they werent wet before the pop).

I felt awake, really awake. The fog was gone. It was late, the Goenka audio was putting everyone to sleep, and I was with my eyes opened like windows, the body fresh like a leaf (I was this way until the chat ended). I felt a lot of movement from the front of the head to the back.
That night, in my bed I closed my eyes, concentrated easily (I could easily concentrate in a point, which I couldn't do before), and went from jhana 1 to 4. In 4th Jhana the point in my head reappered again and I was kicked out of "infinite space". For a moment there was this feeling of pressure in the point. Then the point relaxed in incredible sensations of bliss moving from the front of the head to the back.
If it was a fruition, I couldn't notice a blip. Also it was "too blissful". It did have a reset feeling.
I could't do this before, like at all. I struggled to get jhana 1 to 4.

The next day at the morning I did the same thing (jhana 1 to 4, and the point relaxing from front to back blissfully) with almost no effort.
That day, as the waves from front to back continued during the day, I noticed that not only the fog was gone. Something changed and I feel more "sharp" all the time. Things feel more sharp, like my attention can keep with them more time, getting more light out of them. I can't emphasize enough how different (and better) perception feels.

The retreat ended (I'd like to thank all the people in the Goenka retreat for everyting).
The day after, I began realizing that the change isn't going away, even more, it's seems like getting deeper as parts of my mind realize that something fundamental has changed.

So far, I'm pretty sure it is 3rd path (time will tell).

Fundamental to getting it (I think) are some ideas and feelings about how everyone does everything out of compassion. Basically, how compassion is the driving force of everything. Also, what being human means and the suffering it involves.

RE: 10 day Goenka retreat, 3rd path
11/8/18 8:05 AM as a reply to Ernest Michael Olmos.
So far  change in perspective holding.

I've considered a lot of things, like the "path experience" not being third but second path (and my second path being other thing).
Also being arising and passing away.

But, 5 days after it shines like the first day. Also, I have some ideas about a lot of things that I'd like to share in case they can be useful to someone.

From my perpective now, everything is seen as "pain-compassion".
Like you have a lot of mental and physical "worlds" and some are in pain and some have compassion. So, compassion "takes action" and you do something to release the pain (like stretching a numb muscle, but in the mental world).

After some consideration, I'd like to post some ideas that I have about a "framework of awakening" (up to 3rd path or whatever emoticon).

1. There are 3 types of phenomena:
    - Hearing, seeing, tasting, etc related to the outside world. I'll call them "senses"
    - Feelings, emotions and thoughts. I'll call them "feelings"
    - Body sensations (like breathing, energies in the body, air flowing, etc). I'll call them "sensations".

2. Before 1st path all of them are seen as permanent, satisfying and self.

3. At 1st path, "senses" are seen as impermanent, not satisfying and not self
    At 2st path, "feelings" are seen as impermanent, not satisfying and not self
    At 3st path, "sensations" are seen as impermanent, not satisfying and not self

4. The AP moment is one of the 3 characteristics being fully seen at each path:
    - AP moment for 1st path is "impermanence" (anicca).
    - AP moment for 2st path is "not self" (anatta).
    - AP moment for 3st path is "suffering" (dukkha).
This corresponds OK with my experience.
For 1st path I strived with impermanence.
I remember for 2nd path going on long walks on the Gooenka retreat with feelings of joy and looking at the horizon and "sensing" the division between the outside world, myself and my emotions.
For 3rd I began feeling compassion for myself and all my mental "worlds". I had a lot of "I'm not my body" experiences that felt like "weird".
My guess is that at AP moment one characteristic is fully seen and another is "partially deduced". So experiences have a mix of two, with one dominant.

5. After the path, the mind delights in the impression that the characteristic that is fully seen.
So, after 1st path, the mind enjoys "impermanence". After 2nd, "not self". And after 3rd "suffering".
My guess is that it uses the "momentum" of the previous characteristic seen for the next path.
So 2nd path fruition is "not self - impermanence" and 3rd is "suffering - not self".

6. All this can be used for formal meditation instructions to focus on:
    - For 1st path "impermanence and senses (mostly seeing and hearing)". Use not self or suffering for path.
    - For 2nd path "not self and feelings". Use impermanence from 1st.
    - For 3rd path "suffering and body sensations (breathing, pain). Use "not self" from 2nd.

So, this is what I can come up so far. There are other things of course. Some experiences can have some qualities of higher paths.

It's all based on my experience, so it's not "a framework of awakening" (also, it doesn't contain 4th emoticon).

For me it's useful to know that the "pain-compassion-mental worlds" that I "see" right now is another thing (not the all solution).
After all "pain-compassion" is "dual".

I'll enjoy my new ability to go into mental worlds.
My mind will try to unknot the thousand knots as I switch from "senses" to "feelings" to "body sensations". Even as I experience each of the 3 phenomena as not dual, the combination of the 3 are felt dual.
I'm pretty sure they are the same thing (I've had some experiences where I feel them like that).

Another thing is that I'm really sure is this. There is no way out. After the first AP and after 1st path, the mind strives to go forward (no matter what you do, meditate or not).
I have a good explanation for this (that involves the three characteristics). It also explains the way people who have not crossed the AP experience the world. But it is not ready yet emoticon.

Hopefully all this ramble can be useful to someone. Maybe it's all deluded and misguided, and I hope I don't offend or misguide anyone. In any case, take it with a grain of salt (or lots !!!).

RE: 10 day Goenka retreat, 3rd path
11/8/18 8:29 AM as a reply to Ernest Michael Olmos.
One other thing that comes to my mind:

For AP, the mind sees clearly 1 characteristic and partially deduces another one.
At each path (1, 2, 3), the mind clearly sees 2 characteristics and deduces the other.

I ran out of characteristic for 4th, so.....the reasoning is really simple:

At 4th the mind sees the 3 characteristics clearly (without deducing any of them).
My guess is that it "unifies" the three "worlds" I mentioned before (senses, feelings and body sensations).

Today I just can't stop rambling emoticon..... Reflecting on that as I write this post.

RE: 10 day Goenka retreat, 3rd path
11/8/18 12:31 PM as a reply to Ernest Michael Olmos.
Still rambling emoticon.
Lets see if I can put this rambling to good use.

Seeing the 3Cs in every phenomena at the same time is really difficult. That won't fly.

So I had an idea. How about if when you get a path, you don't clearly see the 3Cs but only 2 (and the other is "partially inferred").

Daniel talks about the three doors, and each one has 2Cs.

So it would make sense that, as each path is with 2Cs, there's one missing.

Then it would make sense that, for 4th path, you need to clearly understand the one that's missing.

In my case I got 1st through the "impermanence" and "not self" door. The 1st is the senses (seeing, hearing, tasting).
The same with the 2nd (maybe that's why it was not so difficult). The 2nd is emotions and feelings.
And the 3rd was "suffering" and "not self". The 3rd is body sensations.

So, I have to see suffering in seeing and hearing (it's going to be hard because both shine a lot). I'll look for the feeling that they don't satisfy.
Also see suffering in feelings and emotions.
And see impermanence in body sensations.

Also, between "seeing, hearing, feelings and emotions" (lack suffering) and "body sensations" (lack impermanence) there should be a gap where knots would be made (because they clearly see 2 different characteristics).

Finally, I've had 2 combinations of the 3Cs in the paths. I still didn't have a "impermanence-suffering" path.

OK. I can work with this.

RE: 10 day Goenka retreat, 3rd path
11/8/18 7:24 PM as a reply to Ernest Michael Olmos.
Seems like solid practice, whatever it is!  For what it's worth, now might be the time to really play around with the jhanas. See what happens! emoticon

RE: 10 day Goenka retreat, 3rd path
11/9/18 1:31 PM as a reply to shargrol.

In my last year home retreat I was able to access the first 4 jhanas with incredible clarity. Also I could identify the nanas as they went by in a single sit.

But outside of the retreat.....I found all of this incredible difficult.

I'll play around with the jhanas and report back.

RE: 10 day Goenka retreat, 3rd path
11/9/18 2:05 PM as a reply to Ernest Michael Olmos.
Still doubting about the "3rd path". I'll sum up my ideas:

- Before the blip there was a concentration of awareness in a point. This is typically AP.
- There was a blip, clearly and defined. Fruitions and paths have blips.
- AP experiences tend to fade (or change). This thing is not fading.
- There is a noticeable change in perception. Reality is more "stable" and vivid. The centerpoint of moving awareness (moving cloud) is GONE.
- Emotions, body movements, thoughts, etc are identified and seen way differently that before (without agency or at least a lot, a lot less that before).
- Basically, a lot of things that didn't "move" now "move" (including thoughts, etc). Ironically, awareness is fixed, without a centerpoint.
Before it was the other way around (things were more "still" and awareness chased them).
- Everything is sharp all the time. The thing that knows things know them all the time.
- Reality seems less solid. Not flickering, but more like grainy.

Anyway, as I said before, time will tell.

RE: 10 day Goenka retreat, 3rd path
11/9/18 3:24 PM as a reply to Ernest Michael Olmos.
Okay, so this is your second time after a path with access to jhana.... Just for fun a question: have you gone through the whole "oh my head hurts" skull crushing discomfort phase after a path?

RE: 10 day Goenka retreat, 3rd path
11/12/18 8:00 AM as a reply to shargrol.
I had access to some sort of jhana (1st and 2nd) even before 1st path.
Access to Jhana is improving. That said, what happened in the retreat never happened to me before.

It was 1, 2, 3, Jhana. I was never able to get to Jhana in 3 seconds and navigate through the Jhanas with ease (keeping alertness and concentration steady).

That said, it was a "retreat" feature. While I have a lot better single point concentration now, it takes some time to get to Jhana (5-10 minutes).

About the "oh my head hurts", yes, definitely, I've had them. More like a "hangover from hell thing" emoticon. Ironically, this hangover is concentration based.
I posted about this after 1st and also after 2nd (I can't find the post). After 2nd it was really weird (some kind of powers).

After 1st
"Didn't sleep all night long. In the morning I slept two hours (very, very deep rest) and I woke with a kind of hangover. Like drained but not rested. I still have this headache.
Now concentration is building again (and now I'm not so sure thats a good thing). I can feel the stillness, "moving"."

After 2nd
"Day 7 to 10. Spent the rest of the retreat focusing on concentration. Had some really strong kundalini experiences, and I think at the end I learned how to move energies with ease."

So, after each path I had come kind of concentration based, point in the middle of the head, hangover-energy thing.

I've considered the possibility of this shift being AP or 2nd. In this change in perspective, things happen move too fast, a little out of control, in a way that doesn't feel too good. But they are also shinier and more clear. So maybe it's the dark night, but it's too emcompassing to be DN.

It doesn't matter. It's done and the shift holds and is deepening (that's all I care about emoticon).

Anyway, I'll stop making theories about what it was and rambling, and keep investigating phenomena.

RE: 10 day Goenka retreat, 3rd path
11/12/18 8:30 AM as a reply to Ernest Michael Olmos.
Making theories is totally fine... it just takes a while to know if they are on track or not. Things much more sense after time and looking backwards...

Anyway, this is my kinda-funny, kinda-true diagnosis technique: if people say they're done, it's third. If someone says it's third it can be anywhere! emoticon The 1, 2, 3, 4, access to jhana normally comes after SE. Certainly post SE there is the "I just sit down and I'm already at A&P" for a while. Of course this varies... The road to third tends to have A LOT of realizations about emptiness --- really deeply seeing "form is emptiness" --- the formless jhanas come on strong if they haven't already, and usually has multiple apparent insight cycles, even fractal-ish insight cycles... 

Anyway, my hunch is possibly/likely post 2nd, but almost definitely pre-3rd. That's my wild guess. 

By the way, it's totally normal to question paths numbers, paths vs. AP, etc. If you aren't confused and in doubt, then you are probably not paying close enough attention. These maps are human created and experience itself does not come with labels. We do the best we can to understand but our practice and other's descriptions, but there is a lot of uncertainty. (Which is a good lesson in itself!)

Again, sounds like good practice! Thanks for reporting your data!!

RE: 10 day Goenka retreat, 3rd path
11/12/18 1:10 PM as a reply to shargrol.
Well, I had a lot of realizations in my last home retreat with emptiness and my body (that seemed strange). Also for a time I also was able to get to the formless realms.

I posted about these things being 2.5 path in DreamWalker's line.


Anyway, this change of perspective has nothing to do with emptiness or not self.
It's more a no fog, no veil, phenomena moving faster and brighter (and a little scarier out of control), and awareness of the field being extremely stable (meaning things are better "located").

I said thing look grainier, not that I check again, they don't, they look sharp, a lot sharper and "real" than before. When I focus wide or stare, the whole field looks grainier.
Maybe I'm having eyesight problems emoticon.

I really don't know if there are noticeable, permanent, all encompassing changes in perspective that aren't paths.

Another thing, maybe it's the "done" thing, but it seems that from now I'm going back (or maybe I was already going back) to where I was before stream entry. I can feel the "spiritual searcher" beginning to fade. It's seen as another of the selfs that arise and pass away.

RE: 10 day Goenka retreat, 3rd path
11/12/18 6:32 PM as a reply to Ernest Michael Olmos.
Okay, I can see why you think 3rd, no worries.

This things are hard to diagnose -- it takes so much history and talking to really nail it down, so I really do mean that I'm not sure! emoticon

RE: 10 day Goenka retreat, 3rd path
11/15/18 9:17 AM as a reply to shargrol.
Well, first of all thanks for your interest in my progress.

About the shift, I really don't know if it's 3rd (maybe it's 2.5 or even 2nd). Maybe I'm it's the second AP after 1st (meaning I'm only stream entry).

I've dismissed a lot of interesting things as AP (I'm used to it).

About the change in perspective, I'm used to it changing because of other reasons (not meditation related). I know the difference. I don't need more time than a week to know if it still there.

For example, when I sense my breathing, it's different than before. There's no cloud, nothing moving. It's been the other way (with the cloud or something moving) for all my life except the last week after the shift. So it's easy to spot the difference. The change is still there, the same that before (not an ounce weaker).

So far, I've had 3 changes in perspective so far (noticeable that impact all things) that do not go back.

In any case, it's really simple, it's not 4th. There's still agency, and some kind of an observer (it seems to be slowly dissolving as time passes, but still there).

So, it doesn't matter if it's 3rd or not, I still have to keep practicing, noticing, doing retreats, etc.

One more thing to report. Up to yesterday or before yesterday, I didn't have a "unified" self. But yesterday something took the grip and solidified, like "owning" the shift or change in perspective. It is a step back, but I'm not sure it could be avoided.

Again thanks for your interest in my posts. Sorry for rambling too much.

RE: 10 day Goenka retreat, 3rd path
11/19/18 11:11 PM as a reply to Ernest Michael Olmos.
I like your mapping for yourself. Its right on as far as your experience with a nice clarity for your path. I never claim to know shit, but just put out my best stuff based on my own experiences and the multitudes of others; thru my lense.
I thought I got 3rd years ago, I've since gotten very, very strick as to the perceptual shifts that entails the whole package of 3rd. I've mapped out about a dozen minor shifts within the the various sense doors. I'd say by my strick definitions now, I'm NOT 3rd path and never was.
I'm working on the territory, as best as I can. I have had previews of 3rd and 4th, but thats retreat for ya, what is possible.
Good luck,

RE: 10 day Goenka retreat, 3rd path
11/20/18 9:21 AM as a reply to Dream Walker.
I really like your Framework, and maybe I'm 2.5.
After 1st mapping becomes more complicated.

In any case, this is the first shift where I'm not so sure I like the result emoticon.
Everything seems more "chaotic" and some parts of agency seem broken.
Things look brigther but they also look less solid, less separated from other things.

I'm curious about your "strick definitions of 3rd".
I haven't seen many definitions of 3rd (and I'm not very convinced about the ones I've seen emoticon).

RE: 10 day Goenka retreat, 3rd path
11/23/18 5:39 PM as a reply to Ernest Michael Olmos.
It is great that you can access jhanas and that you are practicing meditation and going on retreats. It's also really good that you feel compassion. Cultivating bodhicitta, dedicating merits and so on is extremely helpful, in my experience and as is taught in Mahayana. I highly recommend this if you feel compassion. You can increasingly live and perform every action with the single intention to attain the highest awakening for the welfare of all beings. An intention sustained as strongly as this will reemerge quickly in the next lifetime, thus enabling you to continue on the "path" more easily. Also in the near-term, it will sustain you in hard times, knowing that your motivation is fundamentally pure. There are many other benefits.

If the desire to attain paths is motivating you, then it's better than nothing. Just make sure to aim for the highest possible awakening. Don't fall into the trap of convincing yourself you are enlightened when you are actually someone whose perception is still fragmented, still swept along by concepts, still governed by hope and fear. Buddhas are astonishing and magical and beggar belief, but actually so are we. Some lack the capacity to ever seriously consider this as a possibility. Reality is only limited by the concepts placed on it.

Also, don't take the "path" concept too seriously. It's very confusing and paradoxical. I understand (perhaps especially as a young man) there is a strong drive to get somewhere, make things happen, attain things, do things, prove yourself. But with meditation one must arrive more and more fully in the present moment, perceiving with fewer and fewer preconceptions. The only path you can take is one that circles around on itself. In other words it's the wheel of samsara. That's not to say there is nothing to be gained from spinning rapidly on the wheel over and over and over until you exhaust yourself--you will gain despair! But ultimately it's all right here, right now.

RE: 10 day Goenka retreat, 3rd path
11/26/18 8:28 AM as a reply to B B.
The more I meditate, the more I realize that suffering and compassion are the forces that drive actions in every person.

It's important to realize that compassion is not only for others, but to ourselves too.
Even more, inside everyone there are "mental worlds". In some there is suffering and in others there is compassion. Compassion because of suffering makes us do things (good and bad).

I don't know if it is an attainment that you can feel the qualities of suffering and compassion in every mental world that arises. I definitely couldn't do it before.
Of course, I'll dig into this "suffering-compassion" structure noting their qualities (the 3 Cs).

About the path number and the desire for awakening, I can clearly feel the desire.

Some parts of me that have doubts, some want to get things, some want to explore, some want to detach of reality.
I can't deny the desire or what I think about the "attainment".

I write here my experiences mostly to remember how I felt and thought about things at this exact moment. As time passes, the mind remembers things very differently.

It's not that I'm against doing things or moving towards actions that benefit all people.
Some part of me just doesn't want that doing those things is another consolidation of a self that wants to detach of suffering.
You do need deep understanding of what is going on, even with the most pure of intentions.

Thanks for your ideas.
I'll try to not get attached to paths (or at least I'll note when that happens). I'll also look into some Mahayana teachings.

RE: 10 day Goenka retreat, 3rd path
1/11/19 8:40 AM as a reply to Ernest Michael Olmos.
Well, some time has passed. The shift remains and a new path has been started (not sure if after 2nd or after 3rd). My guess is that I'm in "Cause and effect" or "Mind and Body".

Some considerations about the three moments I did consider path:

- The 1st was completely "out of the blue". For 2nd I was aware of something happening before the blip. And 3rd there was a part of me knowing what I was doing or what was happening.
Maybe this has something to do with first being attained at home and the others at retreat.

- Concentration after path was extremely high, but decreasing for each path (impossible to manage in first, somewhat manageable in 2nd and completely manageable after 3rd).

- The 3 of them had a huge change of perspective, not related to what was happening before. This change of perspective did not have a wow factor, but as it applied to everything all the time, was more impressive that any other experience (for example, a lot of experiences that I had in my home retreat where I didn't get a path and had a lot of AP experiences).

Now, some rambling:

These days I was doing concentration practices mixed with insight. It struck me how easy I could access the low Jhanas and I began investigating attention, grasping, focusing, relaxing, etc.

I moved from 1st to 4th, changing the focus from breath to pleasureable sensations, to visualizations. In the background, there was some constant, subtle effort in continuity.

It began to happen that I could dissect how, after a sensation happened, a visualization ocurred. That visualization was a kind of "interpratation" of the sensation. When I looked closer, I realized that concepts were made of lot of visualizations from memory.
It struck me as weird how I could't make a concept that didn't have visualizations (most of the time parts of many visualizacions)

In my case, there was a pleasurable flow from front of the head to the back. I had visualizations of water running, of "yellow energies" flowing, of two compartments separated by a pipe and the pipe widening, of parts of my head vibrating or tingling (incomplete visualizations of my head and moving things).

My take on all this:

- There is a sensation. The sensation is impossible to interpret to the mind without reference.

- The mind searches in memory for "references of the sensation". It gets some and then "loops" looking for references of the references. And then "references of references of references". All this "references" are from memory and as such, have and "observer".
My guess is that most memories are visual, and have space distorted to provide stability for storage. Also, a memory usually compresses multiple sensations and asociations in one thing (some sort of zipping emoticon).

- This would explain the observer and fractals (the loop generates a fractal or a tree). In order to "learn" the new sensation, a context is needed from memory.

Also, these days I find "suffering and compassion" demolishing "desire and aversion". I began having changes in desire and aversion after what I considered 2nd but now it's a lot more pronunciated. This aligns with 2nd and 3rd path (lower fetters). So, I'm really confident I'm at least 2nd.

My view right now is that all that happens, everything all people do is based on compassion.
You have to account that compassion happens in each person "mental worlds". Also for a lot of different kinds of suffering. I do understand karma a lot, a lot better than before.

A pain is felt in the body, then compassion sets in and a pain is felt in the mind as "not knowing how to solve the pain in the body" (but a relief from the original pain in the body) and then out of compassion some measure is taken to resolve both pains.

Our body, our thoughts, our reality are always twisting and moving to put and end to different kinds of suffering.

My guess is that somehow, I'll continue making progress in the path.
There is some part of me that really doesn't like unnecessary suffering emoticon.

RE: 10 day Goenka retreat, 3rd path
1/11/19 9:04 AM as a reply to Ernest Michael Olmos.
Some corrections:

- I was in "Cause and effect" or "Mind  and body" yesterday (when I was doing concentration). Today I'm in 3Cs or AP (3.4 or 4.3?)

Another thing I didn't mention: Aversion to the seeker.
I find most of the time that I do not want to meditate or some part of me that doesn't want to do anything that consolidates some sort of "seeker". This has been increasing after 1st path and it's becoming a big obstacle to doing proper meditation.
After what I consider 3rd, there are a lot of things that happen on their own and I find even more difficult to make resolutions or keep track of things.

I'll try to investigate what's going on there emoticon.

RE: 10 day Goenka retreat, 3rd path
1/21/19 1:54 PM as a reply to Ernest Michael Olmos.
The shift remains.

Nowadays I'm trying to find the 3Cs in the sense of the ownership of reality.

While reality happens on it's own (and all the senses are at the same level), there is still a sense not of control (control is fading), but of ownership.

Also, when doing concentration or inclining the mind, the sense of continuity, of picking something from the past to make something happen in the present was felt as artificial or at least, worth investigating. Concentration changed A LOT after what I consider 3rd path.

I'll stop making theories and probably stop posting to investigate things.
Also I bought MCTB 2 for the kindle and I'm reading it. Really interesting, it's a lot richer in detail than MCTB 1.

RE: 10 day Goenka retreat, 3rd path
6/6/19 2:45 PM as a reply to Ernest Michael Olmos.
The more I meditate these days, the more I realize how the mind "links" a sensation that arises to a bunch of others things creating the notion of continuity, solidity of concepts, etc.
It's interesting because I couldn't do this before. I could't see the process where a visualization is created linking to a lot of sensations (and visualizations, etc) giving the idea of something separated on it's own.

Even more, I do think that the process is pretty generic and not only applies to concentration practice.

Most repetitive actions, link the old action (from memory) to the new one, making some distintion (separating from reality each action) creating the idea of continuity.
Even most of my history, my childhood, my memories, my meditation practice is conceptualized, moment by moment by linking this visualizations and sensations in a process that requires a lot of effort.

Of course, this can't be true, things arise on their own.

It's interesting that most things that require continuity can be seen as some kind of concentration practice. AF, PCE, habits, etc.

I'm certain that whatever arises, it arises out of compassion (even duality) and can't be stopped by brute force.

There is something about causality, karma, memory, etc that doesn't seem right.

I'll keep practicing, trying to speed up the mind to find what continuity, pleasure and self (like the negative of the 3Cs) there is in the sensations and visualizations, trying to feel the process that creates them, the compassion of it, the suffering that it covers.
When I'm fast and consistent, my guess is that I catch it near the beginning or the end.
All I have to do is repeat that again and again till I do emoticon.

RE: 10 day Goenka retreat, 3rd path
6/6/19 7:22 PM as a reply to Ernest Michael Olmos.
Good plan, but also make sure you investigate the premises of your hypothesis...

For example, what is practicing, what is the speed of the mind, what is it that feels process, "who" catches it near the beginning or end. A hallmark of approaching 4th path is you need to really question the assumptions about practicing. The road to 4th has a way of eating away at even the premises of meditation and practice itself. It's very interesting to experience this.

That said, you are looking at this exactly correct. Notice how the things that we assume are basic "experiences" are actually mental frameworks that bundle a bunch of sensations, urges, emotions, and/or thoughts into some "thing". This can get very subtle and include "experiences" such as time, space, and of course self. 

RE: 10 day Goenka retreat, 3rd path
6/7/19 2:32 PM as a reply to shargrol.
Thanks for the advice. I'll keep investigating.

While I sound like I know what I'm doing, in reality I'm full of doubts.

Whatever path this is, I've never felt so "lost".
I also find it very hard to keep a consistent practice (didn't happen before).

If I'm in the road to 4th, I don't find "eating away at even the premises of meditation and practice itself" interesting at all but really confusing and painful emoticon.

There's also something interesting. Some part of me keeps investigating (even when I'm not in formal meditation or even noting). Something keeps moving forward. It's irritating because it get's nowhere, no wow experiences, no insight, no concentration, nothing.

Again, thanks for the advice.

RE: 10 day Goenka retreat, 3rd path
6/8/19 4:06 AM as a reply to Ernest Michael Olmos.
Read through your first path and second path descriptions, the timing, the phenomenology, the aftereffects, and I would consider that you crossed the A&P three times as one of the very real possibilities to consider, rather than three paths.

RE: 10 day Goenka retreat, 3rd path
6/10/19 10:12 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
That could be true.

My practice isn't all that consistent and I usually can't get into jhanas or move through the nanas with ease.

I do have some "attachment" to those "attainments" and models, and I keep investigating the sensations and what happens when I compare, judge, remember (I also don't remember that clearly that long ago), doubt, etc.
Whatever is happening, is happening right now, even as I'm typing this.

That said, I don't have that much fear or doubt about not being even stream entry. I never cared much about labels, etc.
There's a part of me that has real fear, doubt and pain about being somebody or being nobody, about doing things or not doing them.

I also could feel some frustration from you in your AP diagnosis video (I did question my attainments long before that video).
Before I started meditation I questioned and noticed a lot of sensations about my life up to that moment (early childhood, relationships, etc).
Now I do the same, adding meditation experiences, practice, etc.

Anyway, being before SE or second or thrid path or whatever is of no use.
I'm not 4th path (there is still agency).
And the instructions are pretty much the same, fast noting or noticing, 3Cs, getting to access concentration, doing retreats, etc.

RE: 10 day Goenka retreat, 3rd path
6/13/19 4:29 AM as a reply to Ernest Michael Olmos.
I understand your frustrations and attempts at getting beyond them, and I am really glad that you keep the basics of practice as the focus, as they work at all stages and strangely become more important the farther we go, not less.

Stream entry should perform as stream entry. I have had literally hundreds of conversations with people that were along the lines of, "I know this doesn't at all perform as stream entry should, but it blew my mind, so would you call it stream entry?" The answer is "no" every single time.

However, to add a bit of reasonable skeptical doubt, an analogy:

It is possible that a few people who, while their description of the vehicle in their garage sounds very much like a bicycle, could, instead, be a Tesla, just a Tesla that they either lost the key to, just like to keep in their garage, never learned to drive, or like pushing out of the garage and Fred Flintstoning around their neighborhood at low speed with a foot out the door.

They say, "It is really quiet when I ride it," or, "It doesn't need gas," or, "It has wheels," or, "I can use my feet to make it go down the road," or, "It has reflectors on the front and back," etc., yes, I suppose they could be talking about a Tesla.

However, when they say things like, "I got it for $50 at a local garage sale and just had to change the inner tubes," or "It has seven speeds that I shift with a control on the handlebar," or, "I can't figure out how to start it up and make it move on its own," or, "I can't find the screen to program in where I want it to take me," or, "It won't stay in the lane by itself, and when I let go of the handlebars I just fall over," it is really hard to keep justifying the Tesla diagnosis of their vehicle.

Is it possible that some insane person sold them a Tesla for $50 and they just are terrible at describing vehicles and even worse at identifying and taking advantage of its capatilities? Ok, one can, if one stretches one's imagination, envision such a scenario, but it comes with its own sets of serious questions, such as, "Dude? Uh? Sup? WTF?"

If one says something like, "I think I am third path but can't get into jhanas and can't move through ñanas with ease," that sounds exactly to me like someone who thinks they have a Tesla but instead has a bicycle. It is not that bicycles aren't great, as they are. I am currently in a city where biking is how most people get around, and I am loving being back on a bicycle after not having ridden one much for years. Bicycles are delightful. However, a bicycle isn't a Tesla.

All that said, internet diagnosis of paths, both pro and con, is a notoriously slippery, error-prone business, so don't take my word for anything necessarily, and, instead, see for yourself.

Just realize that there is something out there called a Tesla, and it really actually does perform as a Tesla does.

Sorry if I seem to be doing some sort of product endorsement by this. I don't own Tesla stock or a Tesla, for that matter. Actually, from some points of view, and breaking the utility of the analogy and just focusing in transportation, urban planning, health, and the environment, a world where more people own and ride bicycles when they reasonably can would likely be a vastly more environmentally friendly and physically healthy world than a world where people drive any kind of car.

Anyway, the point remains, be skeptical of diagnoses that don't really fit, and practice well.

Best wishes!


RE: 10 day Goenka retreat, 3rd path
6/13/19 4:53 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.

Can you point to where you (or somebody else) lays out the criteria for 1st-4th path. Other than Kenneth Folk's idiot guide and the fetter based model in the comprehensive manual of the abhidhamma, I'm not aware of a clear description of the criteria.
'Beyond first path' in MCTCB2 is a brilliant chapter, but doesn't lay out the criteria you use to diagnose paths- if it's in your book somewhere else, I can never find it.

Your A&P pieces on your website and Vimeo are very comprehensive, an equivalent for later stages would be very useful,

Thank you,


RE: 10 day Goenka retreat, 3rd path
6/13/19 5:31 AM as a reply to Edward.

Can you point to where you (or somebody else) lays out the criteria for 1st-4th path. 

First Path is found here and in nearby sections of MCTB2:

(This is my first time reading this chapter in MCTB2 --- wow, really great enhancements to this section! I really appreciate that there is some gray area talked about, including differences in some practioners experiences. To me, this is exactly what I hoped would occur over time as more people shared their experiences from multiple traditions and multiple human bodies. People want everything in meditation to be black and white, but the truth is there is >some< gray area. That said, it's important not to throw out the utility of the maps because they aren't perfectly descriptive of every person, in the same way you don't throw out a road map just because there was a flood that year and a bridge is out or they're doing construction on the interstate.)

The later paths are broadly described in the Models of Stages of Awakening. As you can see there, there is more "grayness" to the verbal models of the later stages, different language. This is unfortunately necessary because experience itself is beyond language, so describing experience with language is always imperfect and sometimes even misleading. Throw in the subtlety of "self and other" or "this and that" in the later stages and it gets very hard to describe in words. But again, the maps are useful like a 2D topographic map is useful for understanding 3D terrain, even though a topo map doesn't have individual trees, plants, animals, clouds, smells, etc on the map.

The best thing about the maps is what they >provoke< in us. If there is curiousity or a sense that more might be possible, that's worth checking out. No one is able to practice for us, so these maps need to be used to inform our own practice as inspired by our inner conscience about these things. If the maps aren't helpful or meditation is of no interest -- that's fine. It's a big universe with lots of things to do. But if this pursuit is a calling and meditation is part of your daily life, then these maps are wildly helpful, even with the gray areas.

I sitll remember what it was like trying to figure this stuff out and practice well before 2007(?) when MCTB1 came out. The difference in my own practice between pre- and post-MCTB was like night and day. Still as difficult and challenging as ever, but I was able to orient myself and better understand where to look for subtle ill will and fantasy. I am very thankful for Daniel's book and even thought I'm reading it very slowly and reading the sections out of sequence, I'm enjoying version 2.

RE: 10 day Goenka retreat, 3rd path
6/13/19 5:52 AM as a reply to shargrol.

Can you point to where you (or somebody else) lays out the criteria for 1st-4th path. 

First Path is found here and in nearby sections of MCTB2:

The later paths are broadly described in the Models of Stages of Awakening.

Oh yes. Here it is. Thank you.

RE: 10 day Goenka retreat, 3rd path
6/13/19 5:57 AM as a reply to Edward.
What nobody ever seems interested in or appreciative of to the degree I believe it warrants is this one, as people like their badges and levels and all of that, which I totally get, but still, this one is practically useful and less likely to be misleading to a degree that the others are not: The Simple Model.

RE: 10 day Goenka retreat, 3rd path
6/13/19 6:29 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Nice. Thanks for highlighting Daniel. 

RE: 10 day Goenka retreat, 3rd path
6/13/19 5:38 AM as a reply to Edward.


Your A&P pieces on your website and Vimeo are very comprehensive, an equivalent for later stages would be very useful,


For what it's worth on this page the Nana graph video and the Nana/Jhana Mind Map video go into the stages later than A&P. 

RE: 10 day Goenka retreat, 3rd path
6/13/19 9:55 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Well, I don't think you can compare the mind to a Tesla. It's more like a "transformer".

If you write 20 phone numbers and you memorize them, 3 years later, the paper will still contain those numbers, but you probably won't remember them.
If hard pressed to remember them, you'll probably remember fake numbers (and even believe they are the original numbers).

That said, my guess is that path moments are "learning", more like riding a bike.
3 years later you may be a little "rusty", but you will never forget how to ride a bike.
But again, you won't remember clearly "how" you learnt to ride it.

Now, if you ask me to describe what do I do when I ride a bike vs someone who can't, it's really very difficult. You just do it and another people just can't do it. There is something about the balance, steering, body placement, etc. The same happens when you learn to play an instrument, etc.
And then there are comparisons about who rides the bike "better" and play instruments better, different music styles, etc.

My guess is that meditation is even worse, because, you don't add, you substract. You learn beyond doubt that doing something all the time is painful and stressful (and you'll be able to live without doing it) and you just stop doing it.

We're all human beings here. We make mistakes. It may be the opposite (I might be 3rd path and think I'm below).
Even more, if I can convince you all that I'm 3rd it still doesn't mean I am (or the opposite).

So, getting to the point:

Do you think there are any advantages of having a precise diagnosis?
Other than being able to use that using fancy terms like "emptiness", saying this is this, that is that, like you know what you are talking about.

"I could feel sensations before they are known in my last meditation session. I couldn't identify them, but feel them grouping together, giving rise to visualizations, memories, thoughts.
I consider emptiness, sensations that aren't known, so they don't have qualities. At some point, the mind can feel the unknown before it becames kwown. The known arises out of the unknown."
That sounded post 1st path emoticonemoticon.
In any case, if my description of things sounds like scripting, maybe is because it is. I haven't read so much but I did read a lot, and terms, etc do stick.

Just for the record, "I think I am third path but can't get into jhanas and can't move through ñanas with ease":
Also I'm in a stage where I'm not trying to do those things (or maybe evaluating what's happening to me when I judge, doubt, label, etc). At some point I tried and succeded. After "? 2nd ?" path I was able to get to (what I think were) the formless realms for a long time.

Finally, I'm really positive that I'm not 4th, and that I should keep investigating, that should be enough.

Thanks for the "Simple model", I've read MCTB2 but didn't remember that part.

If at some point I do own a Tesla, I don't really care if you think it performs like a bicycle or even if I think it performs like a bicycle.
Now, if everyone (myself included) consider that my Tesla is a bicycle, is it still a Tesla?
Or if I convince everyone (including myself) that my bicycle is a Tesla, is it still a bicycle?

Convincing people requires too much effort. Diagnosis requires too much effort.
Even getting to the jhanas or labeling the cycles requieres too much effort.
Investigation requires too much effort.

And, whats the point? Why do things? Yeah, I can do them, but why do them?
Yeah, to move forward, to have more, to be more. More of what?
I never been anywhere, never had anything, never been someone.

I'll stop rambling now.

RE: 10 day Goenka retreat, 3rd path
6/13/19 1:11 PM as a reply to Ernest Michael Olmos.
I was under the impression that already after stream entry one keeps proceeding through the nanas even if one tries to avoid it. Equanimity is probably a bit tougher to reach, though.

RE: 10 day Goenka retreat, 3rd path
6/13/19 2:28 PM as a reply to Ernest Michael Olmos.
Ernest Michael Olmos:

Convincing people requires too much effort. Diagnosis requires too much effort.
Even getting to the jhanas or labeling the cycles requieres too much effort.
Investigation requires too much effort.

And, whats the point? Why do things? Yeah, I can do them, but why do them?
Yeah, to move forward, to have more, to be more. More of what?
I never been anywhere, never had anything, never been someone.

I'll stop rambling now.

Hey Ernest - do you notice the nana and cycling? Looks pretty clear from your comments. You seem to be in a temporary but difficult emotional state from which you will cycle on, as we all do. These cycles never seem to completely stop.

People do have meditative experiences in all sorts of different orders, and get experiences that range from glimpses through to well established but temporary states, through to permanent transformations. It did take me a long time to clearly perceive the nanas; part of that was because I needed to develop my technical understanding so I could better recognise and track them. I also found it really helpful to get control over piti really early on (the physical thrill of rapture) and to be able to turn it on an off; that led on to better control of other jhana factors. 

If in doubt, I suggest just working on and balancing the seven factors of liberation*, and continue to deepen where you are at. I also really like Daniel's simple model.There are so many angles to explore and develop to help get the full fruit of insight.

Metta and practice well.


*I translate the seven factors of liberation as follows:

Sati - Mindfulness of the body, feelings, mental states, and the flow of reality
Dhamma vicaya - Curious investigation of the experience of self and reality
Viriya - Engaged effort in following the dharma (don't stop trying!)
Piti - The physical thrill of rapture (so getting to first jhana is enough for liberation)
Passaddhi - Physical and mental calm, renouncing urges and reducing passions
Samadhi - Unified awareness, first contracted on an object, then expanded to all perception
Upekkha - Acceptance of what happens without obessing about resisting it

RE: 10 day Goenka retreat, 3rd path
6/13/19 4:02 PM as a reply to Not two, not one.
I keep cycling. Most of the time I even know what stage I'm in.

Usually when I begin to "not care about anything" like I'm beyond those things (like letting all go), and the effort vs let go thing, it's probably AP.
I feel really great (like I'm beyond things), writing a lot, things look brighter, etc. Yap, pobably AP.

I do cycle, I just don't cycle in a single sit, moving through the stages, but again, I haven't been trying. I am a little lazy.

I've been trying to notice the sensations, what is happening second to second, maybe because I couldn't notice so fast before (and keep noticing fast for so long).
In this fast noting I found a lot of things about my history, my meditation practice, causality, etc.

Cycling and the jhanas are known territory for my but I never really mastered them.

I'm probably frying myself and your advice about balancing is useful emoticon.