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I meditate but nothing happens

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I meditate but nothing happens Peter Richardson 11/9/18 8:43 PM
RE: I meditate but nothing happens Richard Zen 11/9/18 11:23 PM
RE: I meditate but nothing happens Peter Richardson 11/10/18 1:58 AM
RE: I meditate but nothing happens Konstantin Alexandrov 11/10/18 3:55 AM
RE: I meditate but nothing happens Tashi Tharpa 11/10/18 7:04 AM
RE: I meditate but nothing happens Matthew 11/10/18 8:23 AM
RE: I meditate but nothing happens Peter Richardson 11/11/18 4:17 AM
RE: I meditate but nothing happens shargrol 11/11/18 5:36 AM
RE: I meditate but nothing happens Tashi Tharpa 11/12/18 5:28 AM
RE: I meditate but nothing happens terry 11/27/18 3:21 PM
RE: I meditate but nothing happens terry 11/27/18 1:59 PM
RE: I meditate but nothing happens J C 12/3/18 10:40 PM
RE: I meditate but nothing happens terry 12/4/18 9:33 PM
RE: I meditate but nothing happens J C 12/11/18 12:58 AM
RE: I meditate but nothing happens terry 12/12/18 7:41 AM
RE: I meditate but nothing happens Chris Marti 12/12/18 8:54 AM
RE: I meditate but nothing happens Peter Richardson 11/22/18 4:36 AM
RE: I meditate but nothing happens Jehanne S Peacock 11/12/18 10:15 AM
RE: I meditate but nothing happens Change A. 11/24/18 8:23 AM
RE: I meditate but nothing happens terry 11/27/18 1:08 PM
RE: I meditate but nothing happens Alex 12/3/18 9:01 PM
RE: I meditate but nothing happens terry 12/11/18 3:47 PM
RE: I meditate but nothing happens J C 12/11/18 4:00 PM
RE: I meditate but nothing happens Chris Marti 12/11/18 4:40 PM
RE: I meditate but nothing happens J C 12/11/18 5:15 PM
RE: I meditate but nothing happens Chris Marti 12/12/18 8:49 AM
RE: I meditate but nothing happens terry 12/12/18 12:04 PM
RE: I meditate but nothing happens terry 12/12/18 3:05 PM
RE: I meditate but nothing happens terry 12/12/18 11:54 AM
RE: I meditate but nothing happens terry 12/12/18 1:06 PM
RE: I meditate but nothing happens J C 12/15/18 6:40 AM
RE: I meditate but nothing happens terry 12/16/18 3:24 PM
I meditate but nothing happens
Answer
11/9/18 8:43 PM
Hi all,

I discovered meditation about 4 years ago and have had some interesting experiences. I'll keep it breif though.

early: started learning about meditation, found the art of acceptance and life changed when I applied acceptance in every day life.

mid: I used daily short meditation (10-20min) to deal with stress, anxiety and depression. Definitely helped deal with those to some extent.

mid-late: managed to get a daily practice of 2 x 30 - 40 minute meditation sessions to help with reducing work stress. After a week of doing this I noticed it was easier to still my mind and sometimes I would have very deep periods of total stillness in my mind, almost no thoughts at all.

lately: I can do an hour or so of meditation but nothing really happens. It's nice but all of this stuff that everyone else raves about - it doesn't happen to me.  I meditate with earplugs, eye mask, total silence and total blackout, trying to cut out all distractions so that it might happen for me.  Often I use a basic guided audio track to help me remain focussed on the breath, so I use over-ear headphones to ensure no other noises reach me. I have recently tried floating which is apparently helpful for many things, including meditation, and it is very nice and does seem to help every day stress levels, but either I fall asleep or I'm just awake with my thoughts, albeit reduced amount of thoughts.

About 2 years ago I was sick in bed for 2 or 3 days and I had nothing to do but watch youtube videos. I came accross some stuff about liberation and letting go of the ego and I found it absolutely amazing. After the 3rd day, spontaneously, I noticed that I was completely free from all of my problems. I mean all of them! Gone! Well they were still there, but they didn't bother me whatsoever. I was free from worrying about what people thought of me. It was like nothing I had ever experienced in my life!!! But 24hrs later, it had faded away and I was left depressed that I had lost it and I had no way of finding it again because I don't really know what trigerred it.  Ever since then I've been trying to get back there using meditatoin. Everyone here is talking about it but why isn't it happening for me? How often should I be meditating? And for how long? Morning, afternoon or night? What's the trick?

RE: I meditate but nothing happens
Answer
11/9/18 11:23 PM as a reply to Peter Richardson.
It sounds like you are able to get good results from consistent mindfulness, but without the consistency it fades. This is because your habits change over the years, so don't put too much pressure on your practice. 

This practice helped me alot in dealing with daily life:


https://dharmaseed.org/teacher/210/talk/9813/

Rob Burbea - Welcoming

Psychology can help a lot. Try to read about what a healthy self is supposed to look like. Hint: You accept imperfection in yourself. No psychological splitting of all good or all bad. The challenge is to maintain this throughout the day, especially dealing with toxic people.

You can also enjoy the breath with your eyes open throughout the day, but looking at it as a form of emotional feeding. Notice when you feel well-fed compared to when you are clinging.


https://youtu.be/EDgyAPyTM-0

Thanissaro Bhikkhu - Emotional Feeding

I would also look at Thought Worlds and how constructed and distorted they can be. They can be right sometimes, but often times they are not to be trusted.

https://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/y2003/030906%20Worlds.mp3

Worlds - Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Have fun!

RE: I meditate but nothing happens
Answer
11/10/18 1:58 AM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Thanks very much for that Richard, I'll have a look at those 3 links and report back. Much appreciated.

RE: I meditate but nothing happens
Answer
11/10/18 3:55 AM as a reply to Peter Richardson.
Hi Peter,

Another advice, could it be helpful to set a goal for your meditation?

You mentioned that you concentrate on the breath during the sits, there's a book called The Mind Illuminated by Culadasa (John Yates) which is well known to the members of this forum that uses breath as the main meditation object and also is extremely good in explaining how to establish a regular practice and how to prepare yourself and set a goal for each of your sits. It is also very systematic and has some handy explanations of how the mind and attention works according to neuroscience.

Speaking about the books, here are a couple more recommendations, could be you will find them helpful:

Another famous volume, Mastering The Core Teachings of the Buddha by Daniel Ingram, available online, https://www.mctb.org , is just a desk companion for dedicated meditation practitioners. Hard to describe it's value, MCTB is a multifaceted guide into practical spirituality. Daniel is also a maintainer of this forum.

Also, rather for inspiration and knowing of what is possible with meditation than for the practice instructions, but really, really good at inspiring, is Shinzen Young's book The Science of Enlightenment: How Meditation Works. It has very precise terms and clear analogies and quickly gives a general picture of the meditation path.

Good luck!

RE: I meditate but nothing happens
Answer
11/10/18 7:04 AM as a reply to Peter Richardson.
Everything you describe sounds like good progress to me.

Vince Horn's rough map of the path looks like this:

Seeking
Breakthrough
Disillusionment
Resilience
Completion

For me, the Reslience stage is about investigating, opening to, being with, fully accepting--however you want to describe it--all body sensations, mind states and thoughts that are right here, right now, regardless of whether the feeling tones associated with them happen to be pleasant, unpleasant or neutral. 

Let's take the phenomenon of this sense that 'nothing happens.'

More than likely, when you sit there's a tremendous amount of stuff happening. It's just that it's not meeting your expectations. So you can investigate the expectations--the body sensations, mind states and thoughts going on around all of that. You can really feel into whatever is there, even if its neutral, dull, unpleasant, unwanted. 

Opening to all of this reveals, actually, a rich universe of things going on: boredom, wanting to quit, wishing the pleasant stuff were stronger, brighter, more comprehensive; wanting the painful and unpleasant stuff to go away; remembering 'better' meditations; imagining what it could be like right now based on that remembering; feeling a vague sense of the sit 'not being good enough' or of the meditator not being good enough, not understanding enough; not liking what's happening right now, etc.

Wanting to get back to the breakthrough is totally normal. This is "the chase" and just about everybody goes through this. The path to what you discovered involves going through the doorway of all of the neutral and unpleasant stuff described above. "How is it right now?" 



 

RE: I meditate but nothing happens
Answer
11/10/18 8:23 AM as a reply to Peter Richardson.
It may help to engage with a particular program of practice like:

1. The Open Heart system discussed on this forum, which seems to be working well for many people. The firsthand reports of breakthroughs and awakenings by Open Heart practitioners appear credible to me, and I have adapted some of their practices for myself with success. I'm hoping to explore this system more deeply in the future.
2. Dharma Ocean somatic practices described in Your Breathing Body & The Practice of Pure Awareness. These teachings produced major results for me. Dharma Ocean use somatic awareness to jumpstart the bodymind's natural process of clearing out blockages, developing concentration and wider awareness. This eventually leads to stream-entry and deeper awakenings. 
3. The Mind Illuminated by Upasaka Culadasa

All of these systems have teachers that work with students online. If you want results, working with a teacher is pretty important. If you need help getting in touch with a teacher, let me know.  

Forms of therapy that work with trauma and mental blockages like EMDR, Hakomi, and somatic experiencing could get the process of meditative development moving for you. You might also try the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT): I followed the instructions in The Promise of Energy Psychology and got great results. 

If what you've been doing isn't working, it's time to try something different. All of the meditative systems I mentioned successfully help modern people reach concentration and awakening. At least one of these should produce some kind of progress for you.

You're also at the very beginning of your meditation practice. At this stage the most important thing is not giving up, even if you have to try some different systems and techniques. Keep asking for advice as needed from teachers and fellow students--trying to figure things out on your own doesn't always work, because our own minds and mental tendencies are difficult to discern clearly, especially at the beginning.

Edit: The Reichian bodywork thread in this forum has proven techniques that you can add to any meditation practice to start opening up tension in the bodymind, which stifles meditation progress. All of the systems I mentioned include meditation techniques that release chronic tension. Unlike those meditation techniques, the Reichian bodywork includes movement and will really help this process along.

RE: I meditate but nothing happens
Answer
11/11/18 4:17 AM as a reply to Matthew.
Thank you so much to everyone who replied here. To answer in bulk:

I have just ordered these books: The Mind Awakened and also Shift Into Freedom. 

I agree with the... SeekingBreakthroughDisillusionmentResilienceCompletion

It seems true. But I really want to know what happened when I had that wonderful 24hrs of bliss. Some teachers say that enlightenment might not happen in this lifetime but others say that this is a lie and it's actually quite simple if we look deeply within. I'm inclined to agree with the latter, but I feel that something is holding me back. I feel this way because I totally understand the theory, inside out and back to front! I could write my own book about it. And I have had a 24hr glimpse of what it feels like, so I know exactly what is possible, but alas, I can't feel that anymore and I don't know what caused it to happen spontaneously. 

My goal for meditation - I don't really set one as I have heard that setting a goal is setting up expectations which can lead to disappointment. I may be wrong about this and I am open to all concepts and ideas. I usually just slightly hope to get to that extremely deep place and I also hope that something... "supernatural" (my best way to describe what I have felt some times) will happen. Like one time I was in a very deep meditation and suddenly I snapped back to reality and I heard this extremely loud CRACK. Then all my hairs stood up in end and I felt tingles all over. I'm sure these strange things won't be written in any of the books! 

I've read Gateless Gatecrashers where the authors guide people to enlightenment through a series of questions using deep looking but often chastise the students for relying too heavily on meditation or anything other that deep looking / clear seeing as they are certain that none of that is necessary. So I am confused by this because others seem to believe that it IS necessary. 

Also I have spent a week at a Buddhist temple in Melbourne Australia where I learnt a lot but heard plenty of times that enlightenment probably wouldn't happen in this lifetime. But I did notice that these words came from people who clearly weren't enlightened and weren't exactly living out the values that they themselves taught. More confusion. 

So many books and so many resources, where to begin?! Yes a spiritual guide / teacher would be perfect, if I could find one that was indeed enlightened and was willing to help me for more than 5 minutes. I'm not looking for a quick fix or for 3 quick tips to fast enlightenment or any gimmicks, I'm in it for life but I need to find someone who can show me the path. 

RE: I meditate but nothing happens
Answer
11/11/18 5:36 AM as a reply to Peter Richardson.
I would say that in spiritual practice we always get these fetishy "sneak previews" that motivates further practice. The 24 hours of bliss was a sneak preview, but I should caution that the first experience of this stuff is always the best experience and if you are not careful, it can be like a drug user trying to reexperience their first "high". 

But those sneak previews are great teachers. Clearly 24 hours of bliss points toward all the classic spiritual directions "letting go, acceptance, appreciating things just how they are" etc. etc. The thing that happens with further practice is a _mature_ version of that bliss becomes possible. It will never be total blissout 27/7, but it will be appreciation/respect and space/freedom in a very human way.

Have you added "Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha" to your reading list? Lots of very frank conversations about the oddities of meditation in that book.

I suppose one other caution -- these practices create highs and lows. If you can not get obsessive/possesive about the highs and not get depressed/distraught about the lows, practice will be a lot less painful.

Best wishes!

RE: I meditate but nothing happens
Answer
11/12/18 5:28 AM as a reply to shargrol.
http://insanebraintrain.blogspot.com/2016/11/talk-29-big-experience.html
It is relatively common for people early on the path to have a BIG experience.  It doesn't have to play out that way, but again, a big initial awakening or opening is not exactly a rare event.  What's going on?  What is that about?

The experience referred to here often has some kind of taste of complete freedom or liberation, possibly great joy, love, light, etc.  In the Theravada progress of insight, this kind of thing falls under the technical mapping as the stage of knowledge of arising and passing.  It may happen as a result of meditation, most commonly on an early retreat of some kind, or from using a psychedelic.  Extremely rare individuals may stumble in by simply reading a sentence that gives them great insight.

The experience may be so big that a person may think they are enlightened.  Indeed, they may have gotten a glimpse.  But as pure as that experience can be, it would generally be somewhat tainted by being viewed from substantially within the assumptions they currently hold.

To my way of thinking a couple of things are going on here.  On the one hand, in order to have a big experience, you need a thorough indoctrination into attachment to language, concepts, beliefs, cultural assumptions, and identity.  Check.  Pretty much all people fall into this category.  But the more attachment the better.  My speculation is that it could "help" if the person is particularly rigid about some of these things, solidly married to their worldview, even neurotic about it.

The other side of the coin is that you then need a complete relaxation of all these things.  You need to stumble into a pure consciousness that has dropped as many of these attachments and rigidities as possible.  A complete letting go into pure consciousness, the metaphorical original mind or natural mind.  Complete freedom.  A thoroughly different point of view.

It is the difference between these two that creates the ground for a big experience.  The more radical the change in perspective, the bigger the relief, the more dramatic it will be perceived.  For some people who already "get it", it might not be as big, it might not ever happen that way.  This would be like someone who has been meditating a little bit over time and slowly gets it, kind of like the apocryphal metaphor of boiling a frog.  But for someone who is more thoroughly entranced by thought addicted identity views, the bigger the experience might be.  And again, pretty much everyone is subtantially "attached", even if they've read a whole stack of buddhist books.

The blue line in the graph above attempts to portray the theoretical progress over time of a typical person on the path.  Slow at first, then perhaps a tipping point such as stream entry, and a resulting acceleration, and then a slowing down again as one asymptotically approaches some ideal.  Actual progress could be much noisier and more different.

The graph explains why the big experience is generally only possible early on, or in the acceleration phase:  the gulf that creates the ground for the experience is vast at first, but as progress is made, the chances of a big, dramatic experience fall off.  As one moves towards the liberated perspective and leaves the attached perspective behind, any jumps into a very pure version of freedom seem more and more inconsequential.  After a certain point, it cannot be perceived as big or dramatic, this is simply the way things are perceived all the time.

Although this kind of experience can be repeated, it is also very common to have just one big experience, and this may commonly be the biggest, most dramatic experience of a meditator's life.  On the other hand, it is possible to repeatedly release into a very absolute experience, and some may have more of a predisposition to this kind of thing than others.  Psychedelics do help to reach this kind of absolute, but even here some degree of meditative practice makes a big difference.

At any rate, the experience often provides the motivation to get serious about a meditation practice and continue on the path. 

POSTED BY INSANE BRAIN TRAIN AT 2:39 PM

RE: I meditate but nothing happens
Answer
11/12/18 10:15 AM as a reply to Peter Richardson.
Hi there Peter,
from what you write it seems to me that you have been cultivating consentration instead of insight in your practise. According to my (and many others) understanding concentration can only bring you stillness of mind, but it cannot generate permanent awakening. In practise it is not so straight forward, because people who say are only practising concentration (let's say on the breath as the object) might be doing also insight practise, if they are also paying close attention to the individual sensations of the breath. But it's useful to keep this distinction in mind. Mastering the core teachings of the Buddha is a great book to read a bit more about this in very practical terms.

To me your 24 hours experience sound like an A&P event (see MCTB for details). It is frustrating and a bit useless to chase these peak experiences. However, it is possible to shed a layer of the ego and permanently be more free from your own delusions. It resembles a lot like your experience, but naturally it will not be so wild in the long run emoticon I've noticed in myself that the first experience is always the strongest. The second, third, nth experience of the same sort tends to loose the "this is so cool" factor, but instead becomes enjoyable and worth it in another manner. It's kind on like comparing your experience when you were youn to when you are older and more mature.

It is good to have a goal, in my opinion. But goals can be limiting, if you are chasing some experiences. I prefer to set as my goal something permanent. Like I want to become more clear and compassionate, and be able to use my life in a way that I can benefit other and myself, and try not to make the world worse. In this goal I've found my meditation practise bring me forward. I have actually lost my appetite for flashy experiences and intense blissful feelings. I much more appreciate the subtle sensations. It is like when you learn to appreciate some subtle flavour instead of something very strong. Like good tea (often quite mild) vs some intensely fruity sweets.
My practise currently is Open Heart Yoga, and I've been following their method for a couple of years now. I would also vouch for the two-part formula Matthew mentioned, to aid in creating this first lasting shift. It will make furthering your meditation much easier. There is a free ebook/pdf available called "Awake! Stories of Awakening and Dialogues Leading To It" that you can read for more information. But I would also recommend trying to get a better sense of actually sensing what is going on in your mind during meditation (this is called vipassana) like discussed in the comment of Alexey here.

RE: I meditate but nothing happens
Answer
11/22/18 4:36 AM as a reply to Matthew.
Matthew, Tashi and Kon, thank you very much for your help and encouragement!! So greatly appreciated!! I have purchased The Mind Awakened and it is exactly what I needed. It's written by another technical minded person like myself, it is as if I am writing to myself! I didn't know such a complete and thorough manual written for lay people even existed for meditation.

Again, thank you so much! 

I'll report back here in a few weeks with updates on my progress :-) 

RE: I meditate but nothing happens
Answer
11/24/18 8:23 AM as a reply to Peter Richardson.
You were sick when that experience happened. So death meditation is what you need to experience progress. 

Here's a link to one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4j5RJfu5X0

RE: I meditate but nothing happens
Answer
11/27/18 1:08 PM as a reply to Peter Richardson.
Peter Richardson:
Hi all,



About 2 years ago I was sick in bed for 2 or 3 days and I had nothing to do but watch youtube videos. I came accross some stuff about liberation and letting go of the ego and I found it absolutely amazing. After the 3rd day, spontaneously, I noticed that I was completely free from all of my problems. I mean all of them! Gone! Well they were still there, but they didn't bother me whatsoever. I was free from worrying about what people thought of me. It was like nothing I had ever experienced in my life!!! But 24hrs later, it had faded away and I was left depressed that I had lost it and I had no way of finding it again because I don't really know what trigerred it.  Ever since then I've been trying to get back there using meditatoin. Everyone here is talking about it but why isn't it happening for me? How often should I be meditating? And for how long? Morning, afternoon or night? What's the trick?



aloha peter,

   When you were sick you forgot to desire results, and so you experienced them. Now you have a taste and want more: this desire itself is the problem. Indulging this desire by proliferating means only prolongs the difficulty. It is not about meditation as such: you can be enlightened watching you tube videos, or doing anything without thinking of good and bad, without desiring results. 

  Keep it simple, my friend. You are spinning your wheels. Relax; let it happen. Have faith. Accept - right now! - that the Great Way is ever a mystery. "Darkness within darkness."

terry



tao te ching, trans feng


Chapter One

The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. 
The name that can be named is not the eternal name. 
The nameless is the beginning of heaven and Earth. 
The named is the mother of the ten thousand things. 
Ever desireless, one can see the mystery. 
Ever desiring, one sees the manifestations. 
These two spring from the same source but differ in name; this appears as darkness. 
Darkness within darkness. 
The gate to all mystery.

RE: I meditate but nothing happens
Answer
11/27/18 1:59 PM as a reply to Peter Richardson.
you would need to recognize a teacher if you stumbled over one

you create your teacher by learning

they don't advertize

they don't accept students

they don't teach

one learns by osmosis

your only real teacher is within




dogen: shobogenzo: bendowa:

dogen quotes the following case:


Long ago, there was a monk in Meditation Master Hōgen’s monastic community named Gensoku who was a subordinate under the Temple’s administrative director. Master Hōgen asked him, “Director Gensoku, how long have you been in our community?”

Gensoku replied, “Why, I’ve been in the community for three years now.”

The Master asked, “As you are still a junior monk, why have you never asked me about the Buddha Dharma?”

Gensoku replied, “I will not lie to Your Reverence. Previously, when I was with Meditation Master Seihō, I fully reached the place of joyful ease in the Buddha Dharma.”

The Master said, “And what was said that gained you entry to this place?”

Gensoku said, “I once asked Seihō what the True Self of a novice is, and Seihō replied, ‘Here comes the Hearth God looking for fire.’”

Hōgen responded, “Nicely put. But I’m afraid you may not have understood it.”

Gensoku said, “A Hearth God is associated with fire, so I understand it to mean that, just as fire is being used to seek for fire, so the True Self is what is used to seek for the True Self.”

The Master said, “Just as I suspected! You have not understood. If this is what the Buddha Dharma was like, it is unlikely that It would have continued on, being Transmitted down to the present day.”

[The Hearth God was a nickname for the temple boy who attended to lighting the lamps. Temple boys, who ranged in age from seven to fifteen, had not yet taken the Precepts and were not monks. The relevance of this reference is discussed in the Translator’s General Introduction.]

 Gensoku was so distressed at this that he left the monastery. While on the road, he thought to himself, “In this country, the Master is known as a fine and learned monastic teacher and as a great spiritual leader and guide for five hundred monks. Since he has chided me for having gone wrong, he must undoubtedly have a point.” So, he returned to his Master, respectfully bowed in apology, and said, “What is the True Self of a novice?”

The Master replied, “Here comes the Hearth God looking for The Fire.” Upon hearing these words, Gensoku awoke fully to the Buddha Dharma.

RE: I meditate but nothing happens
Answer
11/27/18 3:21 PM as a reply to Tashi Tharpa.
Tashi Tharpa:
http://insanebraintrain.blogspot.com/2016/11/talk-29-big-experience.html
It is relatively common for people early on the path to have a BIG experience.  It doesn't have to play out that way, but again, a big initial awakening or opening is not exactly a rare event.  What's going on?  What is that about?

The experience referred to here often has some kind of taste of complete freedom or liberation, possibly great joy, love, light, etc.  In the Theravada progress of insight, this kind of thing falls under the technical mapping as the stage of knowledge of arising and passing.  It may happen as a result of meditation, most commonly on an early retreat of some kind, or from using a psychedelic.  Extremely rare individuals may stumble in by simply reading a sentence that gives them great insight.

The experience may be so big that a person may think they are enlightened.  Indeed, they may have gotten a glimpse.  But as pure as that experience can be, it would generally be somewhat tainted by being viewed from substantially within the assumptions they currently hold.

To my way of thinking a couple of things are going on here.  On the one hand, in order to have a big experience, you need a thorough indoctrination into attachment to language, concepts, beliefs, cultural assumptions, and identity.  Check.  Pretty much all people fall into this category.  But the more attachment the better.  My speculation is that it could "help" if the person is particularly rigid about some of these things, solidly married to their worldview, even neurotic about it.

The other side of the coin is that you then need a complete relaxation of all these things.  You need to stumble into a pure consciousness that has dropped as many of these attachments and rigidities as possible.  A complete letting go into pure consciousness, the metaphorical original mind or natural mind.  Complete freedom.  A thoroughly different point of view.

It is the difference between these two that creates the ground for a big experience.  The more radical the change in perspective, the bigger the relief, the more dramatic it will be perceived.  For some people who already "get it", it might not be as big, it might not ever happen that way.  This would be like someone who has been meditating a little bit over time and slowly gets it, kind of like the apocryphal metaphor of boiling a frog.  But for someone who is more thoroughly entranced by thought addicted identity views, the bigger the experience might be.  And again, pretty much everyone is subtantially "attached", even if they've read a whole stack of buddhist books.

The blue line in the graph above attempts to portray the theoretical progress over time of a typical person on the path.  Slow at first, then perhaps a tipping point such as stream entry, and a resulting acceleration, and then a slowing down again as one asymptotically approaches some ideal.  Actual progress could be much noisier and more different.

The graph explains why the big experience is generally only possible early on, or in the acceleration phase:  the gulf that creates the ground for the experience is vast at first, but as progress is made, the chances of a big, dramatic experience fall off.  As one moves towards the liberated perspective and leaves the attached perspective behind, any jumps into a very pure version of freedom seem more and more inconsequential.  After a certain point, it cannot be perceived as big or dramatic, this is simply the way things are perceived all the time.

Although this kind of experience can be repeated, it is also very common to have just one big experience, and this may commonly be the biggest, most dramatic experience of a meditator's life.  On the other hand, it is possible to repeatedly release into a very absolute experience, and some may have more of a predisposition to this kind of thing than others.  Psychedelics do help to reach this kind of absolute, but even here some degree of meditative practice makes a big difference.

At any rate, the experience often provides the motivation to get serious about a meditation practice and continue on the path. 

POSTED BY INSANE BRAIN TRAIN AT 2:39 PM
aloha tt,

   The observations above are recognizable but the whole idea of enlightenment involving a mere change in point of view is reductionism.

   One cannot reduce "the Glimpse" to an ego experience - one of mara's tricks - trying to get a handle on the Great Way only leads to more frustration. It is as dogen says, like being on a raft in the middle of the ocean and thinking the apparently featureless horizon is a view of the whole universe in all its vastnesses. There is a lot more to the One Brilliant Gem than what we have, do or will "experience" in any sense of the word. Yet the One Drop may know wetness without reducing it to an experience that can be spoken of, replicated and enhanced.

   The problem here is that people cannot be satisfied with emptiness - the Void - despite their Experience. Habit and conformity reassert themselves. One needs to return to the Way and abide there, desiring nothing. The ego/experiencer has to continue on to try to impress their fellows and make "something" profitable from the wonderful "nothing" that Everyone truly owns as a birthright, this "treasure in a ruin" as the sufis say. Wherever there is a market for spiritual wares, there will arise spiritual purveyors, seeking fame and gain. (My daddy used to say, "wherever a profitable racket can exist, it does.") This is not to disparage the many sincere teachers, or to fail to recognize that many oscillate between the passions and enlightenment - who doesn't? If it weren't for attachment, we wouldn't need to wake up and stay awake.

   'Fame and gain' is a problem readily recognized. The attraction of 'acceptance and approval' is more relevant. And attachment to views. The buddha often emphasized that attachment to ideas and conceptions - "spiritual materialism" - is even more pernicious than attachment to sensual delights as it is harder to see.  (In the emergency room, the best doctors would say, "Psychological pain is the worst kind, because it is the hardest to treat.") Mastering teachings is a chimera.


terry



from merton's "way of chuang tzu":


MAN IS BORN IN TAO

Fishes are born in water
Man is born in Tao.
If fishes, born in water,
Seek the deep shadow
Of pond and pool,
All their needs
Are satisfied.
If man, born in Tao,
Sinks into the deep shadow
Of non-action
To forget aggression and concern,
He lacks nothing
His life is secure.
Moral: "All the  fish needs Is to get lost in water.
All man needs is to get lost In Tao."




 WHEN LIFE WAS FULL THERE WAS NO HISTORY


In the age when life on earth was full, no one paid any special attention to worthy men, nor did they single out the man of ability. Rulers were simply the highest branches on the tree, and the people were like deer in the woods. They were honest and righteous without realizing that they were "doing their duty." They loved each other and did not know that this was "love of neighbor." They deceived no one yet they did not know that they were "men to be trusted." They were reliable and did not know that this was "good faith." They lived freely together giving and taking, and did not know that they were generous. For this reason their deeds have not been narrated.

They made no history.

RE: I meditate but nothing happens
Answer
12/3/18 9:01 PM as a reply to Peter Richardson.
Hey Peter,
you seem to be doing well.
It's super common to have these deep experiences (especially early on) and then work towards having them again.  This is fine if it's a motivation for practice.  Just keep up the practice and hold it all lightly. 
About 'it seems like nothing is happening".  Friend, I hear you.  I had years of practice that felt that way.  1) it's fine, 2) some people are like this where they just naturally don't have as flashy or psychedelic an experience of meditaiton as others.  This was the case for me.  It's fine.  3) keep getting dharma stimulation, get a teacher if possible, study/read about meditaiton etc (which you are already doing), 4) study the 'Seven factors of awakening" and reflect on them every sit and beef up the factors that you are naturally lacking in, keeping them balanced and high.

I really got a lot of mileage out of keeping the seven factors in mind during my sits.
Wishing you well.

RE: I meditate but nothing happens
Answer
12/3/18 10:40 PM as a reply to Peter Richardson.
Peter Richardson:


Some teachers say that enlightenment might not happen in this lifetime but others say that this is a lie and it's actually quite simple if we look deeply within.


It can happen in this lifetime, but it takes a lot of work to be able to look that deeply.


I'm inclined to agree with the latter, but I feel that something is holding me back.


Yeah, you're missing the thousands of hours of practice that you need to get there.


I feel this way because I totally understand the theory, inside out and back to front! I could write my own book about it. And I have had a 24hr glimpse of what it feels like, so I know exactly what is possible, but alas, I can't feel that anymore and I don't know what caused it to happen spontaneously. 


You seem pretty sure about that for all the uncertainties expressed in your post.

Are you familiar with the three characteristics? Do you understand how the illusion of free will is created and how it causes suffering?

What you glimpsed was pretty cool, but it wasn't enlightenment. This is good news - it means what's coming is even better.


My goal for meditation - I don't really set one as I have heard that setting a goal is setting up expectations which can lead to disappointment.


Here is some important theory for you: It is essential to have a clear goal. From an ancient book of wisdom:

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“–so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”

(Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Chapter 6)

Also, you seem to have an implicit goal which is to recapture an experience you had in the past which you have made into some sort of ideal.
As others have said, it would be very productive to look at your expectations about what you think should happen, what is supposed to happen, what you think enlightenment would be like, and so on.


I also hope that something... "supernatural" (my best way to describe what I have felt some times) will happen.


I like "spiritual" or "transcendent" myself.

Like one time I was in a very deep meditation and suddenly I snapped back to reality and I heard this extremely loud CRACK. Then all my hairs stood up in end and I felt tingles all over. I'm sure these strange things won't be written in any of the books!


This cracked me up (no pun intended), because you just described a well-known experience known as the Knowledge of Arising and Passing, often called the A&P, described in many Buddhist meditation manuals going back all the way to the classic commentaries.

Since you have already had this experience, I would really urge you to read Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha, Revised Edition by Daniel Ingram. It will explain everything you need to know. I would not waste time with the other books until you read that one.

I've read Gateless Gatecrashers where the authors guide people to enlightenment through a series of questions using deep looking but often chastise the students for relying too heavily on meditation or anything other that deep looking / clear seeing as they are certain that none of that is necessary. So I am confused by this because others seem to believe that it IS necessary. 


Yeah, that kind of approach can help people understand the theory, but without lots of meditation it's not going to get you to enlightenment. There's no shortage of teachers who put in the hard work, meditated for years, got enlightened, and then teach methods that have nothing to do with the way in which they got their realization. Yes, in a sense, it's true that all you need to do is see clearly, but building your skills up to the point where you can do that takes years of work.

Some more wisdom for you:

The tale of the Chinese emperor and the picture of the rooster

Once upon a time, there was an emperor who was extremely fond of roosters, and so one day he commissioned the most famous painter in all his realm to paint him a picture of a rooster. The painter replied that it would take him three years to accomplish this. The emperor was secretly rather annoyed, but in the end he agreed.

When the three years came to an end, the emperor summoned the painter, but on seeing that he was empty-handed impatiently demanded: "What about my painting of a rooster?" The painter remained perfectly calm, took up a piece of paper right where he stood, and started to paint. The brush flew across the page, the ink danced. With apparent ease, he produced the lifelike image of a rooster, capturing its very essence. It took him less than three minutes to complete. On seeing this, the emperor was furious and could stand it no longer: "Have you been deliberately deceiving your king? Is this some act of rebellion? It took you just three minutes to paint that picture; why did you make me wait three whole years?" To which the painter replied: "Sire, first please calm your fury; and when you have done so, follow me and see for yourself."

The painter led the emperor to a large house and opened the door, and on looking inside, the emperor realised that the house was filled to the roof with sketches of roosters. Then the painter spoke: "These are my efforts of the last three whole years. Without those three years of labour how could I possibly have produced that perfect rooster for you in less than three minutes?"

https://www.lefthanded-design.de/en/ertzahlung.html


Also I have spent a week at a Buddhist temple in Melbourne Australia where I learnt a lot but heard plenty of times that enlightenment probably wouldn't happen in this lifetime.


Well not with that attitude, it won't.

But I did notice that these words came from people who clearly weren't enlightened and weren't exactly living out the values that they themselves taught. More confusion.


It's important to understand that enlightenment is separate from morality. There are highly enlightened people who are very immoral, and highly moral people who have no degree of realization.


So many books and so many resources, where to begin?! Yes a spiritual guide / teacher would be perfect, if I could find one that was indeed enlightened and was willing to help me for more than 5 minutes. I'm not looking for a quick fix or for 3 quick tips to fast enlightenment or any gimmicks, I'm in it for life but I need to find someone who can show me the path. 


Begin with Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha, Revised Edition by Daniel Ingram. It's an amazing book and it makes the path clear.

Daniel is indeed enlightened, and he maintains this forum and answers questions.

RE: I meditate but nothing happens
Answer
12/4/18 9:33 PM as a reply to J C.
[quote=J C

]
But I did notice that these words came from people who clearly weren't enlightened and weren't exactly living out the values that they themselves taught. More confusion.


It's important to understand that enlightenment is separate from morality. There are highly enlightened people who are very immoral, and highly moral people who have no degree of realization.




aloha jc,

   The relationship of morality to enlightenment is not direct, it is true. But in my estimation enlightened people do indeed live the values they teach. Their values are precisely what they really teach. What they say goes in one ear and out the other. How they act is the true teaching. If a so-called teacher demonstrates they are thoroughly attached by ranting about how unfairly they are treated, for example, they know squat.

   Enlightenment is undefiled. Claiming you are enlightened defiles you. Claiming another is enlightened defiles them. The enlightened don't know they are enlightened, thus they are truly enlightened.

terry




tao te ching, trans feng



Chapter Fifty-six


Those who know do not talk. 
Those who talk do not know.

Keep your mouth closed. 
Guard your senses. 
Temper your sharpness. 
Simplify your problems. 
Mask your brightness. 
Be at one with the dust of the Earth. 
This is primal union.

He who has achieved this state 
Is unconcerned with friends and enemies, 
With good and harm, with honor and disgrace. 
This therefore is the highest state of man.

 

RE: I meditate but nothing happens
Answer
12/11/18 12:58 AM as a reply to terry.
terry:

The relationship of morality to enlightenment is not direct, it is true. But in my estimation enlightened people do indeed live the values they teach. Their values are precisely what they really teach.


Morality is really, really hard - much harder than enlightenment. No one agrees on even the most basic values or principles - no one even agrees on how to figure them out.

An important insight for me was understanding the path to enlightenment to be a technical skill. Think of it like bowling. Someone might be a great bowler and a great teacher but a lousy person, in which case you might want to take the bowling skills and leave the morality.

Another person might be skilled in morality in some sense, but have values I disagree with or that aren't right for me. Again, I'd want to take what I can use.

Yet another teacher might prefer to focus only on teaching bowling to the best of their ability and try to leave teaching or demonstrating values out of it, since that is a separate and complex endeavor.

And all teachers are human. They may bowl perfect games but none of them are perfect people. They'll all slip up and do something unkind or thoughtless or unethical sometimes. Every single one.


What they say goes in one ear and out the other. How they act is the true teaching. If a so-called teacher demonstrates they are thoroughly attached by ranting about how unfairly they are treated, for example, they know squat.


That's very black-and-white thinking, and would lead to rejecting all humans as "knowing squat" for being imperfect. We're all human. We all fuck up. Some of the wisest and most enlightened people have made huge mistakes, as we've seen over and over and are learning more about every day.

Every day it seems like more people we respect and look up to - priests, teachers, judges, artists, leaders of all types - turn out to have done very unethical things. Such is human nature. This is a reminder that we are all mammals. Even enlightened mammals are still mammals. Yet we can still learn to bowl, or to meditate, from those who have done unethical things. If we couldn't, we'd be screwed.

This also serves as a demonstration of how complex morality is, because I personally see it as a positive thing if someone who was treated unfairly has emotions about it and communicates ("rants about") those emotions. I don't value stoicism or emotionlessness, and I don't want a world where the victims of unfairness don't get sad and angry, don't rant, or don't fight back.


Enlightenment is undefiled. Claiming you are enlightened defiles you. Claiming another is enlightened defiles them. The enlightened don't know they are enlightened, thus they are truly enlightened.


That doesn't make sense to me. I can defile someone just by claiming they're enlightened? Being aware and mindful of your own attainments nullifies them? That seems like a very anti-enlightenment stance to take!

How about someone who says

Buddha:
I have no teacher, one like me does not exist in all the world, for I am the Peerless Teacher, the Arahat. I alone am Supremely Enlightened. (MN 26:25)


Did the Buddha defile himself by claiming enlightenment?

RE: I meditate but nothing happens
Answer
12/11/18 3:47 PM as a reply to Peter Richardson.
Peter Richardson:
Hi all,

I discovered meditation about 4 years ago and have had some interesting experiences. I'll keep it breif though.

early: started learning about meditation, found the art of acceptance and life changed when I applied acceptance in every day life.

mid: I used daily short meditation (10-20min) to deal with stress, anxiety and depression. Definitely helped deal with those to some extent.

mid-late: managed to get a daily practice of 2 x 30 - 40 minute meditation sessions to help with reducing work stress. After a week of doing this I noticed it was easier to still my mind and sometimes I would have very deep periods of total stillness in my mind, almost no thoughts at all.

lately: I can do an hour or so of meditation but nothing really happens. It's nice but all of this stuff that everyone else raves about - it doesn't happen to me.  I meditate with earplugs, eye mask, total silence and total blackout, trying to cut out all distractions so that it might happen for me.  Often I use a basic guided audio track to help me remain focussed on the breath, so I use over-ear headphones to ensure no other noises reach me. I have recently tried floating which is apparently helpful for many things, including meditation, and it is very nice and does seem to help every day stress levels, but either I fall asleep or I'm just awake with my thoughts, albeit reduced amount of thoughts.

About 2 years ago I was sick in bed for 2 or 3 days and I had nothing to do but watch youtube videos. I came accross some stuff about liberation and letting go of the ego and I found it absolutely amazing. After the 3rd day, spontaneously, I noticed that I was completely free from all of my problems. I mean all of them! Gone! Well they were still there, but they didn't bother me whatsoever. I was free from worrying about what people thought of me. It was like nothing I had ever experienced in my life!!! But 24hrs later, it had faded away and I was left depressed that I had lost it and I had no way of finding it again because I da famous parableon't really know what trigerred it.  Ever since then I've been trying to get back there using meditatoin. Everyone here is talking about it but why isn't it happening for me? How often should I be meditating? And for how long? Morning, afternoon or night? What's the trick?

aloha peter,

   It occurs to me, there is a parable that may apply.

terry




kjv bible, matthew 22:1-14 


1 And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said,

2 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,

3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.

4 Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.

5 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:

6 And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.

7 But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.

8 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.

9 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.

10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.

11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:

12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.

13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

14 For many are called, but few are chosen.

RE: I meditate but nothing happens
Answer
12/11/18 4:00 PM as a reply to terry.
So Jesus invited people to heaven but then kicked them out for not meeting the dress code? I don't understand how this applies to him.

Are you saying he's not properly prepared? Or not worthy? Or just wasn't chosen?

Please explain.

RE: I meditate but nothing happens
Answer
12/11/18 4:40 PM as a reply to J C.
It's a parable:

To summarize the point of the Parable of the Wedding Feast, God sent His Son into the world, and the very people who should have celebrated His coming rejected Him, bringing judgment upon themselves. As a result, the kingdom of heaven was opened up to anyone who will set aside his own righteousness and by faith accept the righteousness God provides in Christ. Those who spurn the gift of salvation and cling instead to their own “good” works will spend eternity in hell.

https://www.gotquestions.org/parable-wedding-feast.html

Think of the King as God, the man without wedding clothes as Jesus and everyone else as those who reject being saved. Everyone doesn't answer the call, though many are indeed called.


RE: I meditate but nothing happens
Answer
12/11/18 5:15 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Pretty sure the man who didn't dress appropriately and got cast out is not Jesus. It's someone who didn't properly prepare.

But I was asking how this applied to OP. I guess OP needs to prepare more by meditating and being patient and stopping clinging to his recollection of the past "perfect" experience. It's a poetic way of saying "you can't get back there if you keep clinging to how good it was."

RE: I meditate but nothing happens
Answer
12/12/18 7:41 AM as a reply to J C.
J C:
terry:

The relationship of morality to enlightenment is not direct, it is true. But in my estimation enlightened people do indeed live the values they teach. Their values are precisely what they really teach.


Morality is really, really hard - much harder than enlightenment. No one agrees on even the most basic values or principles - no one even agrees on how to figure them out.

An important insight for me was understanding the path to enlightenment to be a technical skill. Think of it like bowling. Someone might be a great bowler and a great teacher but a lousy person, in which case you might want to take the bowling skills and leave the morality.

Another person might be skilled in morality in some sense, but have values I disagree with or that aren't right for me. Again, I'd want to take what I can use.

Yet another teacher might prefer to focus only on teaching bowling to the best of their ability and try to leave teaching or demonstrating values out of it, since that is a separate and complex endeavor.

And all teachers are human. They may bowl perfect games but none of them are perfect people. They'll all slip up and do something unkind or thoughtless or unethical sometimes. Every single one.


What they say goes in one ear and out the other. How they act is the true teaching. If a so-called teacher demonstrates they are thoroughly attached by ranting about how unfairly they are treated, for example, they know squat.


That's very black-and-white thinking, and would lead to rejecting all humans as "knowing squat" for being imperfect. We're all human. We all fuck up. Some of the wisest and most enlightened people have made huge mistakes, as we've seen over and over and are learning more about every day.

Every day it seems like more people we respect and look up to - priests, teachers, judges, artists, leaders of all types - turn out to have done very unethical things. Such is human nature. This is a reminder that we are all mammals. Even enlightened mammals are still mammals. Yet we can still learn to bowl, or to meditate, from those who have done unethical things. If we couldn't, we'd be screwed.

This also serves as a demonstration of how complex morality is, because I personally see it as a positive thing if someone who was treated unfairly has emotions about it and communicates ("rants about") those emotions. I don't value stoicism or emotionlessness, and I don't want a world where the victims of unfairness don't get sad and angry, don't rant, or don't fight back.


Enlightenment is undefiled. Claiming you are enlightened defiles you. Claiming another is enlightened defiles them. The enlightened don't know they are enlightened, thus they are truly enlightened.


That doesn't make sense to me. I can defile someone just by claiming they're enlightened? Being aware and mindful of your own attainments nullifies them? That seems like a very anti-enlightenment stance to take!

How about someone who says

Buddha:
I have no teacher, one like me does not exist in all the world, for I am the Peerless Teacher, the Arahat. I alone am Supremely Enlightened. (MN 26:25)


Did the Buddha defile himself by claiming enlightenment?


aloha jc,

   Enlightenment isn't bowling. Insight is not a skill. There is nothing about enlightenment that can be learned. We are talking about the basic nature of the mind.

  Words are just words. If they don't point beyond they are worthless. 

   Morality as such is just rules, and rules are suitable for children and the stupid. True morality is the law of love. The way of love cannot be lived by rule, but we can still toe the line. Enlightenment is characterized by love and compassion for all beings. Those who "teach" enlightenment do so by living love. What they say is subordinate to that, always.

   I am not judging anyone. We all do our best, all the time. If we truly knew this, we would be enlightened.

   If you declare someone enlightened, you subject them to judgment. Unfairly, as you point out. Yes, we all know squat. If we were enlightened we would not be talking. There is that within each of us whch is fully enlightened, right now: it is not speaking.

   The buddha did say he was enlightened, according to scripture. He practically invented the term. Krishna declared he was Lord Supreme. Jesus said, "I am the Way and the Life." So, to say someone you know personally is enlightened, you are declaring they are Lord Supreme, or the Way and the Life, or the Peerless Teacher? Who is comfortable being classed with jesus, krishna and buddha? No one I know. No one who acts and speaks like us. The buddha was radiant. Jesus was crucified. Krishna was a fable. And muhammed was only a man like ourselves, and never claimed to be more.

   Mumon, author of the zen compendium "the gateless gate," said of the buddha that he was a swindler who "sold dog's head for mutton." All of these old zen masters had the enlightenement of the buddha but none of them claimed it or allowed themselves to be called buddhas, at least not in their lifetimes. Only One is enlightened, the enlightened all know that.

   It must be considered that we have only millenia old scriptures, passed down by devotees who thought of these men as supernatural beings, which they were not. As we are not.

   The sufi saints were not infrequently martyred for saying "I am god," a statement at odds with koranic tradition. They were regarded by their peers as "spiritually intoxicated." Many of us are capable of saying, in a transport, "I am everything and nothing." Yet to say, "I am a realized being" or "I am permanently enlightened," - even if true - displays a self consciousness antithetical to the state or condition of being enlightened. That is why it is said,  "those who speak do not know; those who know do not speak." Enlightenment is not conditioned, anyway. We are all enlightened or none of us is.
 
   You quote the buddha as sayng, "I alone am supremely enlightened." Well?


terry



from merton's "the way of chuang tzu"


Action and Non-action

The non-action of the wise man is not inaction.
It is not studied.
It is not shaken by anything.
The sage is quiet because he is not moved,
Not because he wills to be quiet.
Still water is like glass.
You can look in it and see the bristles on your chin.
It is a perfect level;
A carpenter could use it.
If water is so clear, so level,
How much more the spirit of man?
The heart of the wise man is tranquil.
It is the mirror of heaven and earth
The glass of everything.
Emptiness, stillness, tranquillity, tastelessness,
Silence, non-action: this is the level of heaven and earth.
This is perfect Tao.
Wise men find here
Their resting place.
Resting, they are empty.
From emptiness comes the unconditioned.
From this, the conditioned, the individual things.
So from the sage's emptiness, stillness arises:
From stillness, action.
From action, attainment.
From their stillness comes their non-action, which is also action
And is, therefore, their attainment.
For stillness is joy.
Joy is free from care
Fruitful in long years.
So
Joy does all things without concern:
For emptiness, stillness, tranquillity, tastelessness,
Silence, and non-action
Are the root of all things.

RE: I meditate but nothing happens
Answer
12/12/18 8:49 AM as a reply to J C.
Pretty sure the man who didn't dress appropriately and got cast out is not Jesus. It's someone who didn't properly prepare.

What eventually happened to Jesus, and why?

RE: I meditate but nothing happens
Answer
12/12/18 8:54 AM as a reply to terry.
 "I am everything and nothing." Yet to say, "I am a realized being" or "I am permanently enlightened," - even if true - displays a self consciousness antithetical to the state or condition of being enlightened. That is why it is said,  "those who speak do not know; those who know do not speak." Enlightenment is not conditioned, anyway. We are all enlightened or none of us is.

I would say this just a bit differently, but I know what terry is getting at -- there is no permanent state of a particular person being enlightened, so to speak of in that way is nonsensical and wrong. Awakening seems to come moment by moment and it's got nothing to do with the specific being who is experiencing the process (yes, process). What that process/experience reveals is that it has always been there and available to us, so all of us already have the capacity.


RE: I meditate but nothing happens
Answer
12/12/18 11:54 AM as a reply to J C.
J C:
So Jesus invited people to heaven but then kicked them out for not meeting the dress code? I don't understand how this applies to him.

Are you saying he's not properly prepared? Or not worthy? Or just wasn't chosen?

Please explain.

aloha jc,

   Explaining a parable is like explaining a joke. Besides, parables were designed to conceal as well as reveal, depending on who hears them.

   You clearly have ears.

   All this dark night business, all these failed meditators who weep and gnash their teeth: they try to answer the call but no one has told them how to dress properly. 


terry



   The gospel of thomas has a different version, a bit less harsh - these parables often possess a certain shock value, some being slow to awaken...


64) Jesus said: A man had guests; and when he had prepared the dinner, he sent his servants to invite the guests. He went to the first, and said to him: My master invites you. He said: I have money with some merchants; they are coming to me this evening. I will go and give them my orders. I ask to be excused from the dinner. He went to another (and) said to him: My master invites you. He said to him: I have bought a house, and I am asked for a day. I shall not have time. He went to another (and) said to him: My master invites you. He said to him: My friend is about to be married, and I am to arrange the dinner. I shall not be able to come. I ask to be excused from dinner. He went to another, he said to him: My master invites you. He said to him: I have bought a farm; I am going to collect the rent. I shall not be able to come. I ask to be excused. The servant came back (and) said to his master: Those whom you have invited to dinner have asked to be excused. The master said to his servant: Go out to the roads, bring those whom you find, that they may dine. Traders and merchants (shall) not (enter) the places of my Father.
   

RE: I meditate but nothing happens
Answer
12/12/18 12:04 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Pretty sure the man who didn't dress appropriately and got cast out is not Jesus. It's someone who didn't properly prepare.

What eventually happened to Jesus, and why?

he died for our sins...the lamb of god...

t


Tyger! Tyger!
(william blake)


Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water’d heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

RE: I meditate but nothing happens
Answer
12/12/18 1:06 PM as a reply to terry.
same day, different parable...another "dark night" song...mr jones as undressed wedding guest...




Ballad Of A Thin Man
(Bob Dylan)


You walk into the room with your pencil in your hand
You see somebody naked and you say, "Who is that man?"
You try so hard but you don't understand
Just what you will say when you get home
Because something is happening here but you don't know what it is
Do you, Mr. Jones?

You raise up your head and you ask, "Is this where it is?"
And somebody points to you and says, "It's his"
And you say, "What's mine?" and somebody else says, "Well, what is?"
And you say, "Oh my God, am I here all alone?"
But something is happening and you don't know what it is
Do you, Mr. Jones?

You hand in your ticket and you go watch the geek
Who immediately walks up to you when he hears you speak
And says, "How does it feel to be such a freak?"
And you say, "Impossible!" as he hands you a bone
And something is happening here but you don't know what it is
Do you, Mr. Jones?

You have many contacts among the lumberjacks
To get you facts when someone attacks your imagination
But nobody has any respect, anyway they already expect you to all give a check
To tax-deductible charity organizations

Ah, you've been with the professors and they've all liked your looks
With great lawyers you have discussed lepers and crooks
You've been through all of F. Scott Fitzgerald's books
You're very well-read, it's well-known
But something is happening here and you don't know what it is
Do you, Mr. Jones?

Well, the sword swallower, he comes up to you and then he kneels
He crosses himself and then he clicks his high heels
And without further notice, he asks you how it feels
And he says, "Here is your throat back, thanks for the loan"
And you know something is happening but you don't know what it is
Do you, Mr. Jones?

Now, you see this one-eyed midget shouting the word "Now"
And you say, "For what reason?" and he says, "How"
And you say, "What does this mean?" and he screams back, "You're a cow!
Give me some milk or else go home"
And you know something's happening but you don't know what it is
Do you, Mr. Jones?

Well, you walk into the room like a camel, and then you frown
You put your eyes in your pocket and your nose on the ground
There ought to be a law against you comin' around
You should be made to wear earphones
'Cause something is happening and you don't know what it is
Do you, Mr. Jones?

RE: I meditate but nothing happens
Answer
12/12/18 3:05 PM as a reply to terry.
LXXX 
Oh Thou, who didst with pitfall and with gin 
Beset the Road I was to wander in, 
Thou wilt not with Predestined Evil round 
Enmesh, and then impute my Fall to Sin!


LXXII
Oh, Thou, who Man of baser Earth didst make,
And who with Eden didst devise the Snake;
For all the Sin wherewith the Face of Man
Is blacken'd, Man's Forgiveness give -- and take!

omar khayyam

RE: I meditate but nothing happens
Answer
12/15/18 6:40 AM as a reply to terry.
terry:
same day, different parable...another "dark night" song...mr jones as undressed wedding guest...




How about this one, on a similar theme... the third fish as undressed wedding guest:

The Three Fish

This is a story of the lake and the three big fish that were in it, one of them intelligent, another half-intelligent, and the third, stupid.

Some fisherman came to the edge of the lake with their nets. The three fish saw them. The intelligent fish decided at once to leave, to make the long, difficult trip to the ocean. He thought, “I won’t consult with these two on this. They will only weaken my resolve, because they love this place so. They call it home. Their ignorance will keep them here.”

The wise fish saw the men and their nets and said, “I”m leaving.”

The half-intelligent fish thought, “My guide has gone. I ought to have gone with him, but I didn’t, and now I’ve lost my chance to escape. I wish I’d gone with him. He mourns the absence of his guide for a while, and then thinks, “What can I do to save myself from these men and their nets? Perhaps if I pretend to be already dead! I’ll belly up on the surface and float like weeds float, just giving myself totally to the water. To die before I die.” So he did that. He bobbed up and down, helpless, within arm’s reach of the fishermen.“Look at this! The best and biggest fish is dead.”

One of the men lifted him by the tail, spat on him, and threw him up on the ground. He rolled over and over and slid secretly near the water, and then, back in.

Meanwhile, the third fish, the dumb one, was agitatedly jumping about, trying to escape with his agility and cleverness. The net, of course, finally closed around him, and as he lay in the terrible frying-pan bed, he thought, “If I get out of this, I’ll never live again in the limits of the lake. Next time, the ocean! I’ll make the infinite my home.”

https://www.spiritual-short-stories.com/spiritual-short-story-126-the-three-fish/

RE: I meditate but nothing happens
Answer
12/16/18 3:24 PM as a reply to J C.
J C:
terry:
same day, different parable...another "dark night" song...mr jones as undressed wedding guest...




How about this one, on a similar theme... the third fish as undressed wedding guest:

The Three Fish

This is a story of the lake and the three big fish that were in it, one of them intelligent, another half-intelligent, and the third, stupid.

Some fisherman came to the edge of the lake with their nets. The three fish saw them. The intelligent fish decided at once to leave, to make the long, difficult trip to the ocean. He thought, “I won’t consult with these two on this. They will only weaken my resolve, because they love this place so. They call it home. Their ignorance will keep them here.”

The wise fish saw the men and their nets and said, “I”m leaving.”

The half-intelligent fish thought, “My guide has gone. I ought to have gone with him, but I didn’t, and now I’ve lost my chance to escape. I wish I’d gone with him. He mourns the absence of his guide for a while, and then thinks, “What can I do to save myself from these men and their nets? Perhaps if I pretend to be already dead! I’ll belly up on the surface and float like weeds float, just giving myself totally to the water. To die before I die.” So he did that. He bobbed up and down, helpless, within arm’s reach of the fishermen.“Look at this! The best and biggest fish is dead.”

One of the men lifted him by the tail, spat on him, and threw him up on the ground. He rolled over and over and slid secretly near the water, and then, back in.

Meanwhile, the third fish, the dumb one, was agitatedly jumping about, trying to escape with his agility and cleverness. The net, of course, finally closed around him, and as he lay in the terrible frying-pan bed, he thought, “If I get out of this, I’ll never live again in the limits of the lake. Next time, the ocean! I’ll make the infinite my home.”

https://www.spiritual-short-stories.com/spiritual-short-story-126-the-three-fish/


aloha jc,

   So, what is the "dress" of the wedding guest? Prajna, wisdom; unstained.

   The fish story is like the buddha's parable of the four horses. The worst horse needs to be hit hard with the lash. The next worse horse is hit lightly. The second best horse hears the crack of the whip and obeys. The best horse obeys when he sees the shadow of the whip. (According to suzuki roshi, we are all the worst horse.)

   The gospel of thomas version of the parable is likely far closer to what jesus actually said than the synoptic gospel story. In essence, "merchants and tradesmen shall not enter the places of my father." Devotion to personal gain is ignorance. And you can't serve two masters. The "wedding" is meant to establish the church doctrine of jesus' divinity. The killing of the master's servants is meant to show the culpability of the jews. The master's armies are meant as a backdated prophecy of the jews' destruction. All probable interpolations by later ambitious priests, the world's second oldest profession.

   Even so, the added concept of needing an acceptable garment when being presented before god has some validity in the context of being cast into outer darkness.

   The wise fish doesn't bother with a garment, doesn't need a garment. She depends on her natural ability to swim freely, and is prepared to leave home immediately, unattached. The second fish is the one with the garment, a strategy to escape through apparently dying and re-entering the life-giving element in a process of rebirth. The third fish has no garment, no strategy, and dies at the hands of the eaters of flesh. The ocean is enlightenment, nirvana. The first fish proceeds directly, seeing clearly what is coming - death - and immediately abandoning comfort and familiarity, finds nirvana. The second fish hesitates and must undergo severe struggles. The third dies.

   The first fish does not need our sympathy or help; neither does the third fish. It is the second fish, who like our peter, knows the wise fish is his leader but has been left behind, and asks for help. What is needed is wisdom; each fish is ultimately alone.

   I used to surf at kealia beach on kauai, and da boyz formed a pack where the waves were best and the currents not bad. I quickly learned that staying on the fringes of the pack was not only the best and safest place to be, but da boyz were always watching out for everyone in the group, me included. Now and then when the waves were indifferent and the sun so fine, I would lose track of the group and drift away, and suddenly find myself in dangerous currents or white water with no one around. That was hanging with the wise fish, fish number two's initial strategy. But when death, the hunter, comes, each fish is on his own.

   So, there is nothing we can do for the first fish, who is free or will be independently of any assistance. The third fish also is beyond help. The second fish is the one working out his destiny in the world, and trying to be free. Free, that is, of death. Death and the dark nights of terror and despair that afflict the imagination. 

   It makes a big difference if the despairing soul (fsih two) wants liberation or only to drag us down into their hopeless misery (fish three). That is, first fish or third fish.

   In buddhist terms the garment itself - one's individual life - is either dirty (defiled) or clean. We are defiled by hatred, anger and greed or lust, that is, craving. The remedies for these defilements are loving kindness, equanimity, and detachment. Once attachment and detachment balance out in the middle way, we are free and need no remedies for no ailments. Simple sitting meditation - for which one needs no manuals; just sit - is a sovereign remedy, the universal practice of all the buddhas, and in itself utterly harmless.

   Thus, the buddha addressed himself to the second fish, who could learn wisdom and save himself, through a process of death and rebirth.

   I'm still deeply concerned with this business of dark nights, which seems so prevalent among meditators here. The prospect of death produces fear and despair to those attached to individuality. "Life after death" is a metaphor for dying to individuality and being reborn into being "one with everything," birthless and deathless.


terry


another parable,  a conversation between fish two and fish three:



Life After Birth
(anon? unattributed)


"In a mother’s womb were two babies. One asked the other: “Do you believe in life after delivery?” The other replied, “Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later.”

“Nonsense” said the first. “There is no life after delivery. What kind of life would that be?”

The second said, “I don’t know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths. Maybe we will have other senses that we can’t understand now.”

The first replied, “That is absurd. Walking is impossible. And eating with our mouths? Ridiculous! The umbilical cord supplies nutrition and everything we need. But the umbilical cord is so short. Life after delivery is to be logically excluded.”

The second insisted, “Well I think there is something and maybe it’s different than it is here. Maybe we won’t need this physical cord anymore.”
 
The first replied, “Nonsense. And moreover if there is life, then why has no one has ever come back from there? Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery there is nothing but darkness and silence and oblivion. It takes us nowhere.”

“Well, I don’t know,” said the second, “but certainly we will meet Mother and she will take care of us.”

The first replied “Mother? You actually believe in Mother? That’s laughable. If Mother exists then where is She now?”

The second said, “She is all around us. We are surrounded by her. We are of Her. It is in Her that we live. Without Her this world would not and could not exist.”

Said the first: “Well I don’t see Her, so it is only logical that She doesn’t exist.”

To which the second replied, “Sometimes, when you’re in silence and you focus and you really listen, you can perceive Her presence, and you can hear Her loving voice, calling down from above.”