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Dzogchening my Vipassana
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11/13/18 10:30 PM
I've been getting into another swing and could use some musing on here.

I’ve been meditating an hour or more consistently for the last few years since my last crescendo. I’ve had minor peaks and troughs in that time, but nothing to get too excited or inspired about.  My job during that period has been fairly demanding on my mental bandwidth, but I feel like my practice has been paying dividends in keeping me happy and peaceful.
 
I’ve recently re-encountered non-dual, Dzogchen teachings and they’ve been making a lot of sense.  I read through the awakening to reality blog years ago and it seemed interesting at the time, but non-dual teachings didn’t resonate with me then.  The other night, however, I stumbled back onto that site and it seemed like the writing was tailored directly to me.  Particularly the idea of “thoughts watching thoughts, not watcher watching thoughts”.
 
I’ve sat many-a-Goenka course, and the teachings therein are extremely anicca-centric.  They give lip service to anatta and dhukka, but only in passing.  I would try to pay attention to anatta, but there always seemed like there was a key to that door that I was missing.  I feel like I may be finding, or have found that key.
 
There have been a handful of times in the last week where, inclining my mind toward no-self, I have a distinctly altered few seconds of consciousness.  Description of the state is extremely difficult.  One such experience happened as I was driving and I looked at two people walking on the sidewalk and I felt like they were not other people.  They felt like thoughts, or like mental phenomenon.  I’m wondering if this is a taste of non-dual perception.
 
In my sit tonight, there was one of the little pop sensations in my head that in the past I associated with potential fruitions.  I don’t know if they actually are, but they always accompany strong bouts of sitting.  I really have no idea where I am on the maps at this point.  I don’t cycle noticeably, except that I can tell when I get to EQ.  My concentration is decent but not overly jhannic.  My life is good, and I attribute a lot of that to meditating, so I’m going to continue with it.  I’m also going to ride this current wave as much as possible and see where it takes me.
 
:-)

RE: Dzogchening my Vipassana
Answer
11/14/18 5:18 AM as a reply to Teague.
Teague:
...I looked at two people walking on the sidewalk and I felt like they were not other people.  They felt like thoughts, or like mental phenomenon.  I’m wondering if this is a taste of non-dual perception.


Sure it's a taste... You could say that all experience is "of mind" of the "nature of mind". 

But feeling like "they" are thoughts or mental phenomenon sounds too one-sided to be a full-on non-dual taste, because it isn't being applied to you as the so-called observer. A stronger taste might be "I looked at two people and I forgot where I was and the whole scene was like one three-dimensional show where everyone was puppet show in the universe's mind and being moved according to some force including my thoughts and I couldn't believe how intimate and panoramic it all was."

It can help to sit outside, maybe watching people in a park, and feel like you are going "into" the scene before you. Then rather than looking at the scene like looking through a tube of focus, keep pulling the little frame of "my perceptive field" back and back to the edges of your perpherial vision. Widen and go in, widen and go in... Drop the frames and let it open, get initimately interested in the scene and go it.

Non-dual vision has a sense of equal weighting of focus and peripheral. When this happens the visual framing we normally use is gone and the sense of self becomes very vague. Normally we orient our sense of being an observer by identifying with focus or by identifying with wide-angle view. If the scene is focused then the scene is the subject and within our mind, we are the object. If the scene is being seen with wide-angle view, then it feels like we are an object within this scene, we are the subject. (Don't try to think this through, just play with how the sense of self changes as you change views).

Normally we can't hold the unframed field of vision for long, we freak out, and it collapses into either wide view (with a weak sense of center) or a narrow view (with a strong sense of center). 

So it takes some gentle repetition to kind of get used to "the edges of the view matter and the center of the view matters".

Most people are blown away by how panoramic it looks.

Another way to approach this is to "look at the space in the scene". To get a sense of space, imagine water filling up all the empty spaces in a scene (take your time, have fun with it, really imagine everything slowly becoming underwater, all the way up into the sky). Then look at that water and let it turn back into space. Look at that space. This is very helpful when you are in a boring or stressful situation, just tune into the space, nice simple space.


Anyway, hope this helps in some way. Have fun!

RE: Dzogchening my Vipassana
Answer
11/14/18 7:17 AM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:
Teague:
...I looked at two people walking on the sidewalk and I felt like they were not other people.  They felt like thoughts, or like mental phenomenon.  I’m wondering if this is a taste of non-dual perception.


Sure it's a taste... You could say that all experience is "of mind" of the "nature of mind". 

But feeling like "they" are thoughts or mental phenomenon sounds too one-sided to be a full-on non-dual taste, because it isn't being applied to you as the so-called observer. A stronger taste might be "I looked at two people and I forgot where I was and the whole scene was like one three-dimensional show where everyone was puppet show in the universe's mind and being moved according to some force including my thoughts and I couldn't believe how intimate and panoramic it all was."

It can help to sit outside, maybe watching people in a park, and feel like you are going "into" the scene before you. Then rather than looking at the scene like looking through a tube of focus, keep pulling the little frame of "my perceptive field" back and back to the edges of your perpherial vision. Widen and go in, widen and go in... Drop the frames and let it open, get initimately interested in the scene and go it.

Non-dual vision has a sense of equal weighting of focus and peripheral. When this happens the visual framing we normally use is gone and the sense of self becomes very vague...

Normally we can't hold the unframed field of vision for long, we freak out, and it collapses into either wide view (with a weak sense of center) or a narrow view (with a strong sense of center). 

So it takes some gentle repetition to kind of get used to "the edges of the view matter and the center of the view matters".

Most people are blown away by how panoramic it looks.


Another way to approach this is to "look at the space in the scene". To get a sense of space, imagine water filling up all the empty spaces in a scene (take your time, have fun with it, really imagine everything slowly becoming underwater, all the way up into the sky). Then look at that water and let it turn back into space. Look at that space. This is very helpful when you are in a boring or stressful situation, just tune into the space, nice simple space.



Anyway, hope this helps in some way. Have fun!

It is easy to understand the difference between what Shargrol here describes as small and wide frames (3D) but in my exp, not that easy to drop the frames (0D). It is difficult because 1. doing is a strong trait and 2. there are subtle layers of mind that are not easy to detect. I've seen a lot of folks believing they are recognising the natural state, when they might be having "feather light mindfulness", which is faulty, and/or clouded by these subtle fogs of mind. For these reasons, I recommend doing a few sharp shouts, to cut through the layers of mind, then just relax and see the difference in your being. This is what is done in trad dzogchen too. This is a fast and effective way to recognise the dharmakaya, and when that is properly done, it gives a very different spin on vipashyana, illumination of objects. 

@Shargrol. With the exercise described in the last paragraph are you suggesting that this is the basic space that is discussed in dzogchen?

RE: Dzogchening my Vipassana
Answer
11/14/18 8:16 AM as a reply to Kim Katami.
I'm not an expert in dzogchen terminology, but I'm very sure that is not "the" space. The last paragraph is a very dualistic observing of space as a thing. 

RE: Dzogchening my Vipassana
Answer
11/14/18 11:03 AM as a reply to shargrol.
@Shargrol. Right. That is shamatha practice.

RE: Dzogchening my Vipassana
Answer
11/15/18 10:25 PM as a reply to shargrol.
Hey Shargrol, that was a great description.
 
I can expand on my experience, because two sentences does fall short of describing it.  When I looked at those two people my jumping off point was the question, “what’s makes those two people, those two people, and me, me?”  That’s when my mind shifted and those two people, along with everything else, became things just happening.  There was still body and mind, but they were a mere part of the entire scape of experience so that a thought would not really be different from any other occurrence and vice versa, and body sensations were just a particular facet of that mélange of reality.  You mentioned it as a three-dimensional show, but there is another aspect to my experiences that is almost like a flattening of the visual field into two-dimensions, like looking at a scene in a mirror; everything is just forms and colors, and the construct of 3D-ness falls away.
 
It lasted for about two or three seconds and then collapsed back to the status quo.

RE: Dzogchening my Vipassana
Answer
11/16/18 6:50 AM as a reply to Teague.
Okay, "just happening" and "part of entire landscape of experience" is good stuff. 

The flattening aspect is _usually_ more of a distancing/protecting thing. It often happens right after a moment of opening up. There will be a 3-d experience which very subtly freaks the mind out (which might not be obvious) and then it goes 2-d. The 2-d can last longer becuase it feels nice and safe with reality held neatly at a distance. 

That's my own experience of it, but that doesn't mean it's right!!

It might be worth playing more with 2-d and 3-d and see what happens for you (?)

RE: Dzogchening my Vipassana
Answer
11/16/18 1:55 PM as a reply to Teague.
[quote=Teague

]In my sit tonight, there was one of the little pop sensations in my head that in the past I associated with potential fruitions.  I don’t know if they actually are, but they always accompany strong bouts of sitting.  I really have no idea where I am on the maps at this point.  I don’t cycle noticeably, except that I can tell when I get to EQ.  My concentration is decent but not overly jhannic.  My life is good, and I attribute a lot of that to meditating, so I’m going to continue with it.  I’m also going to ride this current wave as much as possible and see where it takes me.
 
:-)

aloha teague,

   Maybe you are off the map.

terry



Having slept, the cat gets up,
yawns, goes out
to make love.

issa

RE: Dzogchening my Vipassana
Answer
11/16/18 2:23 PM as a reply to terry.
from 'the gates of eden':


At dawn my lover comes to me
And tells me of her dreams
With no attempts to shovel the glimpse
Into the ditch of what each one means
At times I think there are no words
But these to tell what's true
And there are no truths outside the Gates of Eden

Songwriters: Bob Dylan

RE: Dzogchening my Vipassana
Answer
11/16/18 3:43 PM as a reply to terry.
Love it

RE: Dzogchening my Vipassana
Answer
11/19/18 11:08 PM as a reply to Teague.
Awareness doesn’t think. Awareness doesn’t intend. Awareness doesn’t choose.  But it damn sure feels like it does.  I sit to meditate, and I focus on my thinking.  I intentionally think the word: “thought”. And then I think it again.  “Thought.”  And then I wait, and think it again.  “Thought.”  Each time it feels like I am intending to think it, and it feels like I am choosing when exactly to think it.  Those feelings are so convincing.
 
Only recently I’ve peeled a layer or two of that onion back.  Choosing to think a thought, is only a thought itself.  Intending is only another kind of thought too.  Thinking that you’ve pulled your awareness back to be aware of thinking itself, is just more thinking.  Thinking that you’re “just aware”, is just thinking.  The array of selfing thoughts is really quite amazing. It’s like awareness has I-colored glasses on, bathing every input with I-ness that’s hard to find flaw with.
 
In a lot of spiritual teachings, the best they can do to explain anatta is that there can’t be a self, because everything is always changing.  It’s like, anicca, therefore anatta.  But the fact that my mind is always changing doesn’t address the fact that it really really feels like there is an I pulling all the levers.  It’s pretty easy to focus on anicca in the mind and quickly realize that yeah, there’s nothing stable here, but that didn’t really do squat for my understanding of anatta.
 
I guess this stuff isn’t for beginners though.  At least it wasn’t for me.  I probably needed that 8 or whatever years of focusing mostly on anicca before the anatta stuff seemed significant.  Still most of the non-dual language makes my eyes glaze over, but some of it is starting to stick.

RE: Dzogchening my Vipassana
Answer
11/20/18 12:07 AM as a reply to shargrol.
panoramic is 2d, when you actually nail it  you usually get the goodies of color saturation, paralaxx and acuity. The 3D sense is due to the stereoscopic information getting unfiltered and speeding up to make perception "immediate".
The final shift of the visual sense door is when the sense of presence/knowing/consciousness inhabits all the external objects, and you're merged with that, flowing. NonDual.

RE: Dzogchening my Vipassana
Answer
11/20/18 9:03 PM as a reply to Teague.
Teague:
Awareness doesn’t think. Awareness doesn’t intend. Awareness doesn’t choose.  But it damn sure feels like it does.  I sit to meditate, and I focus on my thinking.  I intentionally think the word: “thought”. And then I think it again.  “Thought.”  And then I wait, and think it again.  “Thought.”  Each time it feels like I am intending to think it, and it feels like I am choosing when exactly to think it.  Those feelings are so convincing.
 
Only recently I’ve peeled a layer or two of that onion back.  Choosing to think a thought, is only a thought itself.  Intending is only another kind of thought too.  Thinking that you’ve pulled your awareness back to be aware of thinking itself, is just more thinking.  Thinking that you’re “just aware”, is just thinking.  The array of selfing thoughts is really quite amazing. It’s like awareness has I-colored glasses on, bathing every input with I-ness that’s hard to find flaw with.
 
In a lot of spiritual teachings, the best they can do to explain anatta is that there can’t be a self, because everything is always changing.  It’s like, anicca, therefore anatta.  But the fact that my mind is always changing doesn’t address the fact that it really really feels like there is an I pulling all the levers.  It’s pretty easy to focus on anicca in the mind and quickly realize that yeah, there’s nothing stable here, but that didn’t really do squat for my understanding of anatta.
 
I guess this stuff isn’t for beginners though.  At least it wasn’t for me.  I probably needed that 8 or whatever years of focusing mostly on anicca before the anatta stuff seemed significant.  Still most of the non-dual language makes my eyes glaze over, but some of it is starting to stick.

aloha teague,

   Consider that the conscious mind does not regulate our heart beat, digest our food, or perform any of the habitual activities we sleep through in a normal day. Awareness has this illusory sense of continuity, because when we are unconscious - the vast majority of the time - we are totally unaware of it! Like a whirling torch appearing to be a wheel of fire. The discontinuous flow of awareness seems to us seamless; as when we nod out through half of our meditation and think it went by quickly because we were so absorbed.

   Ask someone, "are you aware right now," they will always honestly say "yes, of course," because at the moment you ask them they are aware of your question and so are aware of the answer. But just walk down any street on any day and look at the passersby; the number who look back inquisitively is vanishingly small as they are virtually all absorbed in some daydream or other and walking automatically with no awareness at all. They arrive at their destinations with a handful of images and no real memory of what has occurred as they sleepwalk through their lives.

  Simply being awake is the fundamental practice of buddhism. Mindfulness.

   Beginner's Mind is the Way. We always begin with a wakeup.


terry



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