Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

Polly Ester’s practice log 2

Posts: 5293 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Sat for one hour. Noting, breath as default but openness to other sensations.

Itching doesn’t bother me any more. Whole body showers of bliss were alternated with moments of calm blissful lightness. Some pain (mostly head ache) that didn’t bother me - waves of pulses (pressure sensations of varying intensity). For a brief moment that familiar perception of hands being turned the opposite direction again, as if I were two bodies sitting in front of each other. Some instances of mind wandering.

•••

I have found a Shambhala center in Stockholm that I plan to visit.
J C, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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How quickly were you noting? Did the frequency change throughout this sit?

What do you mean by the hands turning thing?
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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J C:
How quickly were you noting? Did the frequency change throughout this sit?

What do you mean by the hands turning thing?



The frequency is inconsistent for me. This is new to me and I’m still learning. Sometimes I can do a few notings per second, sometimes one per second, sometimes slower (if I stay with a set of sensations that can be noted the same way although they are in fact many individual sensations arising and passing I usually do not note each and every one of them). I think about two notings per second is rather common for me when I’m not dull, kind of the default mode, but I’m not sure.

The hand thing: That’s a weird thing that has happened to me a lot. It’s hard to explain but I’ll try. At a certain stage of the sitting something changes in how I perceive of my hands. First they pop up as figure instead of ground if I’m focusing on my breath (although if I intentionally shift my focus to them, they don’t stand out that way; I’m guessing that it could be a dark night thing, with a blurry center but clearer periphery, but I’m not sure). Then after a while the sensations are crosswired in a distorted way or something. I get the perception that someone who is also me sits in front of me, mirroring me, and the hands belong to that mirrored me. The fingers point to me instead of from me. Once I had the mental image of a whole body mirroring me like that, but mostly it’s just the hands. I feel the hands as if they were coming from the direction of someone sitting in front of me, but I feel them as if I were that person. Does that make any sense at all? I don’t think I can explain it any better than that. It’s a very distinct feeling.

EDIT: Since this was a breathing session, the noting was probably much slower, although I tend to add another layer of noting for sensations that I notice beside the breath, and also do some kind of continuous noting in order not to lose focus, like ”rising - dot - dot - dot - dot - dot, falling - dot - dot - dot - dot - dot”, so it depends on how you count.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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I have the strange feeling that I’m about to deliver a baby (from my head) and at the same time go through a divorce, deliver myself as a baby but also bury myself. The drains were blocked from my bathroom sink, and for the first time ever I was able to release that huge disgusting slimy blob of old hair from that upper part of the drains that cannot be reached because of poor design. It felt metaphorical. I enjoyed imagining that I was releasing layers of myself (which I probably was, literally... ugh...). Suddenly I felt the need to listen to music for the first time in a long while, and very specifically the tune ”Deliverence” by Mission UK. I have it on repeat now. I used to listen to Mission all the time when I went through my divorce, oddly enough since it was actually my ex-husband who introduced me to Mission. Oh, the rapture from this music... I’m celebrating and mourning at the same time. This is probably the closest I have ever been to stream entry. I’m thinking that if I’m ready it will happen, and if I’m not ready, unlike with child birth, there will be new chances to get ready. The flow knows what to do.
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Milo, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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Does starting the second log mean you have started into a new phase of practice?
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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Milo:
Does starting the second log mean you have started into a new phase of practice?



Nah... It just means that I have figured out what the hierarchic tree of posts does with the displayed text if I keep replying to the last post, and I got tired of it and decided to keep this log more readable.
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Andromeda, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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You probably already know this, but just FYI in case you didn't know Shambhala has been dealing with fallout from a pretty serious scandal.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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Andromeda:
You probably already know this, but just FYI in case you didn't know Shambhala has been dealing with fallout from a pretty serious scandal.



Oh no! I didn’t know. That’s horrible! Thanks for telling me!
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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Sat for 30 minutes at the office before I had to leave to meet somebody. I was ill (allergic reaction of sorts) and the air intake had been shut off because it was after office hours, but I did not space out, so I guess the fatigue has come to a break for now. I focused on the breath with relatively few distractions (stomach pain, noice, contemplation and discourse about observations). I kept the breathing within my awareness during these other notings, so I noted in separate layers. I noticed that I have some kind of mental image of these layers of noting (I neglected to note that with a word, but I was aware of noticing it). I filled out the breath notings with dots to stay alert, and I noticed that the dots tended to be synchronized with my pulse. No backward hands this time, but there was the beginning of a changed perception, if that makes sense. I also noted that it felt as if I was breathing into the area where my hands touched (thighs), as if I was holding a large ballon that was expanding and contracting. Also, I felt a fifferent kind of ”energy” in my hands while breathing in compared to while breathing out.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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Sat about 40-45 minutes, focusing on breath as default but with openness to other sensations. Conditions were unfavorable. Brain fog and some pain due to allergic reaction from medicine (it wasn’t food this time), and my partner watched youtube videos about ant farms next to me, haha. I started out dull and with mind wandering, but clarity increased. Vibrations at a high frequency, first in my hands and then throughout my body. Some irregular slow waves. Showers of bliss over and over again, first very subtle and then with somewhat increased intensity. Then calm lightness. Changed perception of my hands. Perception of having my arms crossed, then of having palms turned upwards holding a sphere (they were resting on my thighs, palms facing down, left hand resting on left leg, right hand resting on right leg).

After the session I feel much better than before. Brain fog is gone. Pain too. Some energy restored. I’m grateful and somewhat surprised.
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Andromeda, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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Posted today on /r/streamentry https://www.reddit.com/r/streamentry/comments/agfqxk/practice_free_scholarships_for_oneonone/?st=jqzaeupl&sh=f70b7a67
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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Andromeda:
Posted today on /r/streamentry https://www.reddit.com/r/streamentry/comments/agfqxk/practice_free_scholarships_for_oneonone/?st=jqzaeupl&sh=f70b7a67



Thank you so much!
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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Andromeda:
Posted today on /r/streamentry https://www.reddit.com/r/streamentry/comments/agfqxk/practice_free_scholarships_for_oneonone/?st=jqzaeupl&sh=f70b7a67

Thanks again, Andromeda. I actually got one of those scholarships. I nearly missed it becuase my job’s server sorted out his email as junk mail, but he was kind enough to reach out for me on facebook.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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Sat for one hour. Breath as default focus. Noting.

Was exhausted so started out dull and spaced out and dozed off several times. After about 40 minutes dullness took off and then there was relative clarity. Even dullness is impermanent. Maybe after redirecting focus over and over again, and returning to a more mindful state over and over again, the brain eventually gets it. At that point there was the familiar perception of heightened awareness of sensations in my hands. This time I decided to investigate what those sensations really are. I guess I thereby shifted from clear peripheral awareness of these sensations to focused attention to them. That shift changed the sensations. They now seemed more binary than wavelike. Instead of waves moving through hands, I felt pressure sensations arise and pass on different points. The attention shifted rapidly between the hands and between different points of the hands. Each sensation stood out so distinctly that it felt as if the point of contact (with the thigh) braced itself against the surface. Maybe the waves are consciousness scanning through the body, and when directing focused attention to them they appear more the way particles do, that is, having specific locations)? And since attention constantly arises and passes, then so do the ”particles”?

There were moments of full body shower of piti (which at this point no longer feels like bliss, more like something that I recognize and let go of). Some kriyas, as if something needed to be evened out. I think this was the first time that I noticed such involuntary jerky movements locally in the throat/neck area.

Sudden noices did not startle me.

After the session I feel better than before it. More present, calm and clear.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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High frequency rough vibrations noticable even off the cushion, like my whole body was vibrating. Slower waves still there in the background, turning into binary sensations arising and passing in rapid succession when investigated. Have been sick all day, felt like I was mildly poisoned. A 90 minutes session of hatha yoga combined with pranayama took away the worst of it but left me feeling overwhelmingly tired. Have done a formal sitting but struggled with staying awake (in the mundane sense). Took a long nap afterwards. Healing. Need to sleep. What I had planned to do this evening will have to wait.

Off the cushion thoughts about dukkha and impermanence even in the best moments. Less clinging to non-binary identity since there is no separate self anyway. This body feels like a masquerade dress that I put on to play with. Today I saw matter vibrate off cushion, and I realized that I have seen that before. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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Did another sit, a short one (20 minutes). Sitting was comfortable, but was caught up in stories and old memories as if I were evaluating my life. Somewhat heightened sensations in hands.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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Off cushion reflections:

I think I’m starting to see more clearly where my attention deficit is playing tricks on me and what I need to work on to get past that. I really need to develop the ability to notice when I’m about to loose access concentration due to dullness. I have made some progress in this area as of late, but it has only made me realize the extent to which I’m not there yet. I’m planning to order and read Culadasa’s The mind illuminated to get a more firm grip on what is happening. There are also some indications that my mind sort of tries to cheat and skip steps, and I think it might be helpful to learn more about the basic skills from more than one perspective. I’ll go back to reading Mahasi as well.

I have noticed a reduced amount of cravings but also an increased awareness of at least parts of the craving that still remains. Some of these cravings I can handle with equanimity. With regard to others I can be equanimous about not being equanimous. I can see that they are conditioned and I can see how silly it is, and I’m kind of getting used to the idea of letting go of them eventually.

I have dips with more cravings, and I notice how the cravings are creating suffering. Even though giving into them may feel good for a short while, it’s never as pleasant as I used to imagine. I probably still do that, but it’s like I always know that it’s just chasing something that doesn’t exist. Also, I can feel that giving into cravings makes me lose balance. It makes me more prone to craving, and it forces my body struggle with the stress from it. I find myself more often than before deciding that I don’t want that kind of imbalance.

Still there are some cravings that feel more entangled with the illusion of self, and I can feel the self holding on to them.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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Meditating on the train while sleep deprived and on medication for motion sickness was not a good idea. Focus and clarity were there for maybe 10 minutes. The remaining 35 minutes were increasingly sleepy and dull. Now my shoulder hurts, too. Ouch! I should have slept instead.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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Woke up exhausted and in pain. Maybe there were some additives in that tea yesterday after all.

30 minutes. Mixed methods to keep track of my attention. Counted breaths but noted distractions. I managed to keep up the counting but I may have repeated a number once or twice. I started from one every five minutes (when there was a bell). Therefore I know that my breath turned faster and more shallow. I started out with 29 breaths and ended with 50.

Dullness is visually noticable. It manifests as murk all over the black screen. Mindfullness is brighter. Everytime there is a shift back to more mindfulness, the black screen subtly lights up. Sometimes there was murk only at the center of the screen. That came together with more peripheral awareness. It seems like trying to focus narrowly at this stage draws one into the murk. At other instances the whole screen was brighter and the mind was clearer both in the center and in the periphery, but that was only for brief moments. I was able to evoke a metacognitive aspect that kept track of how the rest of the mind went dull. I realized that seeing that metacognitive aspect as the self would be a trap. It was not more me than anything else. That reflection made the screen brighter. There is no integrated self. One aspect can reflect on how another aspect reflects on a third aspect. The subjective point of me jumps between different aspects. It’s all about identifying with thoughts and feelings and perceptions and so on. It is possible to just stop identifying with something, and then the point jumps. For the purpose of vipassana it is useful in this stage to have it jump into a metacognitive aspect and use that as a point of departure, but that doesn’t make it me.

I named that aspect several years ago. I gave her the name Ariadne because of the Greek myth where she helped Theseus find his way out of the labyrinth by following a thread, because I saw her as the narrator following a thread. This was outside of meditative practice. I knew that she was a theoretical construction along with other theoretical constructions covering other aspects of ”me”, and I found that helpful. At that time I believed that I needed more integration, but I came to realize that cooperation was more helpful. Each aspect had its purpuse, and if in balance they made no trouble. Seeing myself as a collective of different aspects helped me to become aware of reactive patterns and their triggers and choose to act in ways that made these survival mechanisms unnecessary.

The dull aspect had a name too, Aniara. She was the one who put all other aspects into cryo pods and put the ship into autopilot mode. I wasn’t aware that she still popped up so often. She is the aspect that has the least degree of self awareness. She is probably the one that will eventually have to face the void dakini.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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I just realized that I think I know exactly how equanimity can be a trap. I had a name for that aspect as well (I’m too embarrassed to tell you that name), and she had a counterpart that was all about impermanence in a ruthlessly eruptive way, sort of Kali-like.

Okay, so these were insights masked by their own stories. I guess I had to start from where I was.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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Something really scary is going on. I don’t know what this is. It seems to be full-blown panic but it’s also physical. First I tried to meditate in a seated position, but after maybe 12 minutes I had to interrupt because this unbearable panic spread through my body and grew more and more intense. It felt pretty much like that one time when I fainted due to a bursting ovarian cyst. The thing is, I have a cyst right now; I recognize the symptoms that started yesterday (I have had quite a few cysts over the years). Therefore it made sense that the panic attack was my body saying no, especially since the cyst was now also pulsating with pain and my whole body was shaking. As I lay down it got better, and I thought the cyst had either finally burst or the seated position put too much pressure on it. I then tried to meditate lying down but fell asleep. As I had now stopped shaking, I decided to meditate standing up. First it went well and I thought that I had just been silly to even consider this being a dark night thing, but then the panic returned. I opened my eyes and tried to ground myself in seeing and hearing ordinary things, but it didn’t help. I had to lie down and hug myself and just breath. In doing so, I felt that the cyst was pulsating with pain again. I don’t know if the cyst is causing this panic reaction or if the panic reaction is causing the increased pain in the cyst. I will consult with a doctor tomorrow. Now that I’m lying down I feel better again. It seems like the meditation triggers either the pain or the panic, and whichever comes first triggers the other one. Sometimes pain seems to manifest as panic for me, so it’s difficult to know what is what. I have never had such reactions to meditation before. I couldn’t even imagine it to be possible, although I have heard of it.

The first time I did try to just observe the sensations. It started as chaotic vibrations especially in the throat area. Then the panic came. I felt pressure around my heart, and showers of both cold and hot dots arising and passing rapidly on my skin. In doing these observations, the screen went brighter and clarity increased. I had a heightened awareness of my hands and at the same time they started to feel like they were not my hands and kind of dislocated. That is common for me and I don’t mind it at all. Still there was fear to such an extent that I was unable to stay at a sensate level. I was increasingly lightheaded, dizzy, and nauseous. I felt like I was about to throw up and at the same time felt like I was suffocating, as if somebody was strangling me. I felt that I was afraid of what would happen if I lost my sense of self, and thought that maybe this was what it felt like. Suddenly I wasn’t so sure that I wanted it. There were parts of me that did want it, who kept saying that this was just the self trying to defend itself, so I tried to just stay with what happened and embrace it, and it kind of drew me in, and that was unbearable. I couldn’t take it. And now I’m afraid of the panic.

I don’t even know what I’m so afraid of. It’s not like things will just cease to exist. Either they already don’t exist or they do exist on one plane, and that will continue. I will still be in this body. I will still be able to love. What’s there to be afraid of? Am I clinging to a sense of normality? I don’t even believe in normality, and normality never believed in me.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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I managed to meditate lying down with my eyes opened for 20 minutes without falling asleep or panicking, although I did space out briefly three times. I focused on all breath sensations. One of the times I spaced out I remember images of bandaging a foot for some strange reason. Some thoughts came up about self. The thought of having no soul scares me. So does the thought of there being no higher power with a higher purpose. I felt guilt for bringing a child into existance if there is nothing there, no meaning. Then I realized that my son’s self is as much an illusion as everything else, and that scared me even more, and I felt bad for putting him in the position of having to deal with such an illusory existance. Then I realized that there is no me that can be blamed.

Even though I kept my eyes open, I got that strange perception about my hands. I have a hard time describing it. Maybe it’s like they are having their own awareness? Still, ”I” am aware of having that awareness, sort of. It’s like awareness is not tied to any center. Yet, there is still something there that interprets these perceptions and ties them together.
Jason Massie, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

Posts: 124 Join Date: 10/18/16 Recent Posts
Maybe chill out a bit and watch a movie. emoticon standup comedy on Netflix. Take some advil and meditate tomorrow .

There is a self. It is just not continuous or separate from anything else. Maybe there is a higher power or not. I would stick your with experience. Now doesn't sound like the time to form belief systems.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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Why? I actually prefer meditating and listening to dharma talks nowadays, which is kind of funny since I used to bingewatch netflix all the time. I did take a long nice walk yesterday after work and talk to a dear friend on the phone. I also did som photographing, which is a hobby of mine. I will spend the upcoming weekend with my two male partners and go to a party. Today I’ll work on a scientific poster for a conference and chaire a meeting for people with disabilities in need of a certain type of service (like myself). Then I will either go to a yoga class or do my laundry. No need to worry about me. I’m enjoying life, and I do have a life outside of DhO.

No, there is no self in the sense that people usually believes. There is a location of consciusness that manifests as both matter and a number of mental processes. The mental processes identify with each other and with a body, but are really connected to everything else, and that’s just fine. That’s actually the belief system I have had for more than a decade, so nothing new really, just a bit more detailed.

Is there anything in particular that made you draw the conclusion that I need to chill out and take some advil? I have come to realize that I use nuances of words differently than the majority, which probably has to do with being neurodivergent. I did have a cold for a few days, but I’m fine now. Thanks for caring, though.
Jason Massie, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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I saw some posts describing a difficult time, panic, pain etc. They looked like the latest posts. I dont see them now.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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Oh, I see. Then I understand. Thanks for caring! That feels like ages ago. This thread is getting too big to navigate. I plan to start a new practice log as soon as I have had my last coaching session tomorrow.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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Off cushion:

I don’t know if these are rough high frequency irregular vibrations or if I’m actually shaking with tremor. I recognize this from before, about ten years ago, nine maybe. I remember wondering what it was. I know that it was subsequent to having had something energy-like shooting upwards through the spine and exploding in the head. I cannot recall how much time had passed inbetween and what other sensations had occurred in detail. I’m pretty sure, though, that it had been very turbulent and panicky but with periods of exhaustion and brain fog. This was before I even tried Kundalini Yoga. It was that time when everybody seemed to die around me and I was waiting for a neuropsychiatric investigation and everything was quagmire, after getting divorced. I remember that it all started after I had said to a friend that I had given up on happiness and would settle with an interesting life. It seemed that I had evoked something there.

I don’t know if I can take this again.

I probably can. After all, I got through it last time. This too shall pass. But I don’t want this happening over and over again. I need to finish it this time.

I’m scared to meditate. It’s not that I’m afraid of what I might find within me; it’s what I may not find there. I’m scared that it’s nothing there. How can emptiness be a good thing? It sounds so meaningless. I need meaning. I need there to be meaning already. If it’s up to me to create meaning, what if I don’t have it in me? And if there is no me at all, how is it even possible to create meaning? If there is no agency and no purpose, how can there ever be any meaning?

I probably need to listen more to J. Krishnamurti. He seemed to get it and still not despair.

And I will meditate. I have decided once and for all that I will do formal practice at least 20 minutes per day without interruption. 20 minutes. That’s practically nothing. I will survive that. Jeeze, this is silly.
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Chris Marti, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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I’m scared to meditate. It’s not that I’m afraid of what I might find within me; it’s what I may not find there. I’m scared that it’s nothing there. How can emptiness be a good thing? It sounds so meaningless.

This is a common fear and it can be debilitating, but emptiness in Buddhism doesn't mean non-existent. It means without permanence, without essence. You exist, just not in the permanent form you previously conceived of. And there is meaning, no matter what. It, too, isn't what we may have always thought it was, but it exists in a likewise impermanent form.

Buddhism is not nihilism.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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Thanks! I’m glad that it’s not nihilism. I kind of feel that it’s even more important to imprint right skills in the mind if the karma may end up in other people than a reincarnated me. I wouldn’t want them to suffer for my mistakes. In that sense, and because they affect other living beings in the here and now, I know that my choices matter, even though they are dependent arisings (and also because they are). I do know that I exist. It’s just... I guess I kind of hoped that there would be some sense of progression and some learning over time that would somehow remain together, not scattered over the entire existance. Still, the thought of individual souls reincarnating fosters victim blaming, so it makes sense for it to be a fallacy. I guess discontinuity scares me. On the other hand, the thought of subjective eternity is even more scary.
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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You nicely describe going through standard insight stages, A&P, Dissolution, Fear, so might read up on those, as you are having classic presentations of them. While some of them, such as Fear, can be very disconcerting, be reassured that they are normal and pass.

Might see here: https://www.mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/part-iv-insight/30-the-progress-of-insight/6-fear/
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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Thanks! I reread that section regularly. It is what keeps me going.

Damn, I was really hoping that this was re-observation. I thought I had already been miserable and disgusted and craving for deliverance. Wishful thinking, most likely.
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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Well, could be, actually, as the Dark Night can come “as a package”, meaning that the stages can overlap.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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Regardless, I will continue practicing.

I sat for thirty minutes now. No panic, lots of fierce vibrations. I imagined layers of me splintering. It actually felt good.
Erin, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

Posts: 27 Join Date: 8/30/18 Recent Posts
Your experience reminded me of the "Litany Against Fear" from Dune. Not sure if that's your thing but it might be helpful. :-)
I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.


I find it very helpful during Dark Night times! 
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Chris Marti, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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Erin:
Your experience reminded me of the "Litany Against Fear" from Dune. Not sure if that's your thing but it might be helpful. :-)
I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.


I find it very helpful during Dark Night times! 


Thanks! I’ll try that the next time something like this happens.

Thanks to Chris too, but the clip seems to have been removed. I have seen the film, though.
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Lars, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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Chris Marti:
This is a common fear and it can be debilitating, but emptiness in Buddhism doesn't mean non-existent. It means without permanence, without essence. You exist, just not in the permanent form you previously conceived of. And there is meaning, no matter what. It, too, isn't what we may have always thought it was, but it exists in a likewise impermanent form.

Buddhism is not nihilism.


Thanks for clarifying that point, I felt bad when Polly posted about the fear she was feeling. I should have been more clear, or perhaps just left the advice to the more qualified posters. emoticon
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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Lars:
Chris Marti:
This is a common fear and it can be debilitating, but emptiness in Buddhism doesn't mean non-existent. It means without permanence, without essence. You exist, just not in the permanent form you previously conceived of. And there is meaning, no matter what. It, too, isn't what we may have always thought it was, but it exists in a likewise impermanent form.

Buddhism is not nihilism.


Thanks for clarifying that point, I felt bad when Polly posted about the fear she was feeling. I should have been more clear, or perhaps just left the advice to the more qualified posters. emoticon



Where did you comment? I haven’t written about it anywhere but here as far as I can remember.
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Lars, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Where did you comment? I haven’t written about it anywhere but here as far as I can remember.


I made a comment in a thread about depersonalization/derealization right before your post in this thread about experiencing existential fear. It appeared to be related to my comment, if not happy to hear it lol.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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Lars:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Where did you comment? I haven’t written about it anywhere but here as far as I can remember.


I made a comment in a thread about depersonalization/derealization right before your post in this thread about experiencing existential fear. It appeared to be related to my comment, if not happy to hear it lol.



That was not my post, and no, it wasn’t related. I thought your advice there was great, though. It wouldn’t have helped very much with my panic, but it wouldn’t have done any harm either. Panic is what it is, all fluff and no substance. I got that wording from the MCTB2 chapter on re-observation. This probably wasn’t re-observation, but the wording is probably helpful for many things. Whatever it was, I needed to overwrite the experience with a positive one. That works for many things too. The mind is mainly a network of infrastructure. We need to build many entrances to the paths that we wish to trafic, and many turnoffs from the muddy old ruts that we keep sliding into. Then we need to keep directing the trafic in a way that keeps the wanted trails open while the unwanted trails are overgrown.
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Milo, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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The way I've usually seen this explained is nuanced as this is another concept westerners especially make mistakes with due to language and cultural barriers.

Emptiness of phenomena properly understood means they do not exist from their own side, without support from other phenomena. In other words phenomena do not exist inherently but depend completely on other phenomena for their (conventional) existence. What they do not have is atomic, unitary, independent existence. But that doesn't mean they don't (conventionally) exist.

How this has been dealt with in various schools of Buddhism is fascinating as it has been presented in different, provisional ways for different audiences. Perhaps we need a provisional version for modern Buddhists/mindfullness practitioners.
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Chris Marti, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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Emptiness of phenomena properly understood means they do not exist from their own side, without support from other phenomena. In other words phenomena do not exist inherently but depend completely on other phenomena for their (conventional) existence. What they do not have is atomic, unitary, independent existence. But that doesn't mean they don't (conventionally) exist.

IMHO the best way to understand emptiness is to experience it  emoticon

I think the nuance (complication) comes from trying to use language to describe something that isn't reducible to a concept or a construct that language can handle. It's like describing the taste of coca cola to someone who has never tasted coca cola.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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Chris Marti:
Emptiness of phenomena properly understood means they do not exist from their own side, without support from other phenomena. In other words phenomena do not exist inherently but depend completely on other phenomena for their (conventional) existence. What they do not have is atomic, unitary, independent existence. But that doesn't mean they don't (conventionally) exist.

IMHO the best way to understand emptiness is to experience it  emoticon

I think the nuance (complication) comes from trying to use language to describe something that isn't reducible to a concept or a construct that language can handle. It's like describing the taste of coca cola to someone who has never tasted coca cola.



That makes sense too.
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Milo, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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Agreed there is no substitute for direct experience. IMHO the problem is usually that the intellectual understanding happens but the direct experience part is missing, but sometimes the intellectual part can be useful to go back to when interpreting direct experiences.
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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Yeah, what Milo said.

This stuff is clearly intellectually fascinating for many when they get into it, all the weird happenings, the strange side-effects, the kundalini stuff and kriyas, the highs, the lows, but I like to think of this as training to be a sherpa, except that, in this case, the trail is the dharma path, and your own experiences of heart, mind, and body.

If you train to be a sherpa, you have to walk the same trails again and again for years. Each time you walk up and down the path, you learn something about it by just going there, just participating in the process, in a way that you could try to explain to someone, could talk about, could write something about, make maps of, but it would be nothing like the fact of just doing it.

You walk the trail at dawn, at midday, at dusk, at night. You walk it in rain and shine. Some days, the trail is easier. Some days, it is hard. Some days it is pouring hail on your head. Some days, lightning crashes around. Some days, wind threatens to blow you off the path. Some days the light breeze is so pleasant. Some days, it is utterly gorgeous. Some days, you feel lucky to have made it home. Sometimes the creeks you have to cross are low. Sometimes the creeks you have to cross are roaring torrents. Sometimes there is ice and snow. Sometimes it is blistering hot. Sometimes it is freezing cold.

From all of these varied direct experiences on the trail, having walked it literally thousands of times, you become a seasoned sherpa. You learn that trail so that you are an expert in it, have true, direct knowledge that comes from experience and handling various situations on that trail, so that you can guide people safely on that same trail in all sorts of conditions, however it presents that day or night. You know how to read the clouds, the wind, the smell in the air, the tracks on the ground, the leaves on the trees. You know the seasons and how they affect the journey. You know that, while you can explain all sorts of things to those sherpas in training that you are now teaching and to those you guide along the trail, they just have to walk that same trail again and again and again in all sorts of conditions and be present to them to really know it like you do now.

May your sherpa training go well,

Daniel
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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That's well put. Thank you!

And by continuously walking, you keep the trail from being overgrown with weeds. The more you walk it, the more accessible it gets. Meanwhile, other trails that used to lead you astray do gradually get overgrown if you manage not to slip back into the old muddy ruts.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

Posts: 5293 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Milo:
The way I've usually seen this explained is nuanced as this is another concept westerners especially make mistakes with due to language and cultural barriers.

Emptiness of phenomena properly understood means they do not exist from their own side, without support from other phenomena. In other words phenomena do not exist inherently but depend completely on other phenomena for their (conventional) existence. What they do not have is atomic, unitary, independent existence. But that doesn't mean they don't (conventionally) exist.

How this has been dealt with in various schools of Buddhism is fascinating as it has been presented in different, provisional ways for different audiences. Perhaps we need a provisional version for modern Buddhists/mindfullness practitioners.

Right. Dependent arisings. That makes sense. Thanks for reminding me!

Emptiness is a horrible word.
J C, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Milo:
The way I've usually seen this explained is nuanced as this is another concept westerners especially make mistakes with due to language and cultural barriers.

Emptiness of phenomena properly understood means they do not exist from their own side, without support from other phenomena. In other words phenomena do not exist inherently but depend completely on other phenomena for their (conventional) existence. What they do not have is atomic, unitary, independent existence. But that doesn't mean they don't (conventionally) exist.

How this has been dealt with in various schools of Buddhism is fascinating as it has been presented in different, provisional ways for different audiences. Perhaps we need a provisional version for modern Buddhists/mindfullness practitioners.

Right. Dependent arisings. That makes sense. Thanks for reminding me!

Emptiness is a horrible word.

Why do you think that?
People's different responses to the term fascinate me.

Dan Brown, who is a Tibetan, calls it "an unfortunate term" and said a good synonym would be "mental construction." He equates emptiness with the Western/postmodern idea of constructionism. I don't agree with that at all. He also distinguishes emptiness and no-self, saying (in his very Tibetan way) that no-self was the earlier version, and the Tibetans improved and refined the concept. I don't agree with that either.

At the other extreme is a comment I read on a forum somewhere, where the commenter stated that it seemed like it had always wanted to be called emptiness, like it was just begging to be called emptiness.

I tend to agree with that second commenter. I think emptiness is a perfect description because there's no center point.

I'm not sure where the term comes from - the Pali is 'anatta' which is literally an-atta (no-self).
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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Regarding why I think emptiness is a horrible word: maybe it’s because of the storylines that people use to describe frightening things. I’m a researcher in the field of dementia, and people with dementia diseases have often been described as empty shells, robbed of everything that makes them persons. None of that is true, of course. Emptiness is how psychological states such as depression, dissociation and depersonalization are described. It sounds as if nothing matters. It makes me think of apathy and of zombies and robots and clichés and false smiles and rituals the meaning of which nobody remembers anymore, or cares about, and of spams and bots and automatic routines that keep going after the last human being is long gone.
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Milo, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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I second this. In english, emptiness has lots of baggage in the form of negative connotations that obscure what's meant in a dharma sense. It's bad enough that when people new to dharma teachings encounter the term they will often dismiss the whole project as nihilistic. For this reason I'm in favor of keeping with the pali terms or finding some better terminology like "not independently existent" or similar, even though that is fairly cumbersome.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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Milo:
I second this. In english, emptiness has lots of baggage in the form of negative connotations that obscure what's meant in a dharma sense. It's bad enough that when people new to dharma teachings encounter the term they will often dismiss the whole project as nihilistic. For this reason I'm in favor of keeping with the pali terms or finding some better terminology like "not independently existent" or similar, even though that is fairly cumbersome.



Yup.

I’m thinking that it seems to resemble compatibilistic determinism much more than nihilism. I have also noticed similarities to what Derek Parfit talks about in On What Matters, at least in the first chapters that I have actually read.
J C, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Milo:
I second this. In english, emptiness has lots of baggage in the form of negative connotations that obscure what's meant in a dharma sense. It's bad enough that when people new to dharma teachings encounter the term they will often dismiss the whole project as nihilistic. For this reason I'm in favor of keeping with the pali terms or finding some better terminology like "not independently existent" or similar, even though that is fairly cumbersome.



Yup.

I’m thinking that it seems to resemble compatibilistic determinism much more than nihilism. I have also noticed similarities to what Derek Parfit talks about in On What Matters, at least in the first chapters that I have actually read.


It's interesting that you bring up both compatibilism and Parfit, since I've found both very relevant to awakening.

There was a point where the idea that I have some sort of personal identity just stopped making any sense. Before that point, I was obsessed with philosophy of personal identity, including Parfit - questions like "if you step into a duplicating machine, which copy are you? What if you make a copy and then destroy one of the two five minutes later? How does that affect personal identity?"

After that point, I looked at all the same stuff I had read and it looked completely different. It just seemed so obvious that there could not be any such thing as personal identity.

About compatibilism - I'm a firm non-compatibilist determinist. Again, this is something I can directly perceive, not something theoretical. There is no free will, since all decisions I make and all my intentions are the effects of earlier causes, not something I freely choose. Compatibilists just redefine free will to be decision making.

There's a great quote by Samuel Johnson on free will: "All theory is against freedom of the will; all experience for it.”
At a certain point, this stops being true, and all of a sudden your experience matches the theory and you see through the illusion of free will.

And yes, I really love your descriptions emoticon
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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J C:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Milo:
I second this. In english, emptiness has lots of baggage in the form of negative connotations that obscure what's meant in a dharma sense. It's bad enough that when people new to dharma teachings encounter the term they will often dismiss the whole project as nihilistic. For this reason I'm in favor of keeping with the pali terms or finding some better terminology like "not independently existent" or similar, even though that is fairly cumbersome.



Yup.

I’m thinking that it seems to resemble compatibilistic determinism much more than nihilism. I have also noticed similarities to what Derek Parfit talks about in On What Matters, at least in the first chapters that I have actually read.


It's interesting that you bring up both compatibilism and Parfit, since I've found both very relevant to awakening.

There was a point where the idea that I have some sort of personal identity just stopped making any sense. Before that point, I was obsessed with philosophy of personal identity, including Parfit - questions like "if you step into a duplicating machine, which copy are you? What if you make a copy and then destroy one of the two five minutes later? How does that affect personal identity?"

After that point, I looked at all the same stuff I had read and it looked completely different. It just seemed so obvious that there could not be any such thing as personal identity.

About compatibilism - I'm a firm non-compatibilist determinist. Again, this is something I can directly perceive, not something theoretical. There is no free will, since all decisions I make and all my intentions are the effects of earlier causes, not something I freely choose. Compatibilists just redefine free will to be decision making.

There's a great quote by Samuel Johnson on free will: "All theory is against freedom of the will; all experience for it.”
At a certain point, this stops being true, and all of a sudden your experience matches the theory and you see through the illusion of free will.

And yes, I really love your descriptions emoticon


Me too! And I recently realized that there is no I that will seize existing. That still scares the shit out of me, but I’m trying to get used to the idea.

Me too. It’s the only theory that makes any sense. Most people don’t seem to get it.

:-)
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Milo, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Milo:
I second this. In english, emptiness has lots of baggage in the form of negative connotations that obscure what's meant in a dharma sense. It's bad enough that when people new to dharma teachings encounter the term they will often dismiss the whole project as nihilistic. For this reason I'm in favor of keeping with the pali terms or finding some better terminology like "not independently existent" or similar, even though that is fairly cumbersome.



Yup.

I’m thinking that it seems to resemble compatibilistic determinism much more than nihilism. I have also noticed similarities to what Derek Parfit talks about in On What Matters, at least in the first chapters that I have actually read.


Interesting. I hadn't heard of compatibilistic determinism before, but after reading up on it, it does sound related. A version of this could be viewed as a logical corollary of annata/emptiness, or more specifically, of dependent origination.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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Yes, exactly. And that doesn’t scare me. I have been a compatibilistic determinist for 24 years now, so I’m pretty used to that idea.
J C, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Yes, exactly. And that doesn’t scare me. I have been a compatibilistic determinist for 24 years now, so I’m pretty used to that idea.

A little confused. I was saying I was a NON-compatibilistic determinist.. compatibilists think we have free will even with determinism, which makes no sense to me. You think that?
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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Oh, sorry, I misread.

What they are saying is that the only way to have a free will is if it is determined. Otherwise it is no will at all, but mere coincidence.

If you don’t think your choice of action matters, then why do you attempt to do anything?

Will can coexist with determinism the same way that emptiness coexists with somethingness/suchness. Will belongs to the dual reality. It may be an illusion, but it’s the only reality we will ever experience. As I see it, anyway.

Then again, an awakened person sees through the illusion and knows that there is no ”I” that has a will. As long as you still keep going, eat your dinner, pay your bills, etc, there is still a will of sorts.

Freedom of will is being able to form attentions according to one’s personality. The construction of you still has a personality, even though you know that it consists of independent arisings.

Compatibilistic determinism is practically the theory of independent arisings.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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That’s how I have always interpreted it, anyway.

I guess it would make even more sense to say that the question whether or not the will is free is irrelevant. If it is free, in the sence of being independent, it’s not a will.

I believe that to be their main point: the dependence is what makes it a will. You can’t be free AND independent, because if you are independent, you are a slave to coincidence.
J C, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Oh, sorry, I misread.

What they are saying is that the only way to have a free will is if it is determined. Otherwise it is no will at all, but mere coincidence.

If you don’t think your choice of action matters, then why do you attempt to do anything?

Will can coexist with determinism the same way that emptiness coexists with somethingness/suchness. Will belongs to the dual reality. It may be an illusion, but it’s the only reality we will ever experience. As I see it, anyway.

Then again, an awakened person sees through the illusion and knows that there is no ”I” that has a will. As long as you still keep going, eat your dinner, pay your bills, etc, there is still a will of sorts.

Freedom of will is being able to form attentions according to one’s personality. The construction of you still has a personality, even though you know that it consists of independent arisings.

Compatibilistic determinism is practically the theory of independent arisings.

I would say that determinism is practically the theory of dependent arisings. The compatibilistic part is just an error.

I think of will as being the same as intentions. Intentions and attempts to do things just arise dependent on past causes, including personality. As you say, otherwise they would just be random coincidences.

You say free will is "being able to form \[intentions\] according to one's personality." That's not possible. Intentions just form on their own, and there is no self that is able to form or not form them. It's not a choice, just cause and effect.

Compatibilists understand all this, but then they say that there's "free will" because our intentions derive from our personality. But there are no free choices involved.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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It seems to me that we agree to the substance of the matter but disagree semantically. The determinists that I have read don’t seem to take responsibility seriously, whereas the dharma does, hence the eightfold path. I do agree, though, that determinism is compatible with dependent arisings. The problem with determinism is that it can be demoralizing.

What personality is can be discussed. There is probably no consensus on the matter, wherefore conclusions may differ radically. I don’t think it’s necessary for the person to have an essence in order for them to have a personality. The person is a formation that exists within dual reality, and personality as I define it is a set of behavioral patterns. That makes compatibilistic determinism a tautology, but then again, that’s the point.

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