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What is Insight ?

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What is Insight ?
Answer
1/17/19 7:52 AM
Hi Everyone !

I was wondering if someone can explain to me what actually is an insight, is it when you gain some understanding while meditating, like some sort of powerful thoughts that just comes to your mind, can they arrive at any moments during the day or only when you are fully aware, or is it just when you meditate, you are aware of the three characteristics or when you realise the arising and passing away ?
 Also i would like to mention that i'm french so it might just be a language barrier..

Thank you very much, 
I wish you the best
Gab

RE: What is Insight ?
Answer
1/17/19 7:57 AM as a reply to Gabriel Gauthier.
Great question!

Insight is what happens when you are exposed to something through your senses that causes you to feel an "Aha!, so THAT'S what's going on in there" moment of mental clarity and understanding. In practice, we think of insights as things that help us grok something about how our mind works, about our spiritual nature. There are many levels of insight and they can happen at any time - when you meditate, when you eat, when you walk, while you work, while you sleep. Insight can come from a deliberate investigation, which is why insights occur during meditation, or from happenstance and serendipity, which is why they can happen at any time. 

RE: What is Insight ?
Answer
1/18/19 5:50 AM as a reply to Gabriel Gauthier.
Does realizing that thoughts come and go as they please and you don´t have control over them count as an insight?

RE: What is Insight ?
Answer
1/18/19 5:53 AM as a reply to alguidar.
alguidar:
Does realizing that thoughts come and go as they please and you don´t have control over them count as an insight?



I hope so.

RE: What is Insight ?
Answer
1/18/19 6:44 AM as a reply to alguidar.
Does realizing that thoughts come and go as they please and you don´t have control over them count as an insight?

Absolutely it does.

RE: What is Insight ?
Answer
1/18/19 9:12 AM as a reply to Gabriel Gauthier.
This is an opinion (and a recent one) from me, related to what happens:

Every sensation that we have, the mind goes to memory to "store it" or "make sense of it".

So it constantly loops to memory to get information about the sensation.

For example, if you have pain in the leg, the mind goes to memory to look for information about that pain.
In that process it gets information about the pain being "yours", about it belonging to your body, about it being located related to all things.
In that loop, a lot of wasteful attention is given to the sensation.

Insight (at least for me) is the mind conciously trying to be aware (and somehow control) this memory process by shifting attention moment to moment.

Naturally, as the mind discovers that most of the loop is repetitive, time wasting, requiring a lot of effort, etc, it begins to try to change it.

A path is a moment where the mind rewires itself to cut parts of this loop, so that for each sensation, the loop is shorter and less bagage is brought from memory.

After a path, a lot of memories, ideas, etc that were stored with "links" to a lot of "memory baggage" (ideas about the self, the body, solidity, etc) begin to be "rewritten" as moment to moment experience without the baggage begin to demolish them.

While I talk about "memory", I'm not talking only about long past memory.
For every sensation, the loop gets from memory the sensations that happened seconds before and links to it (creating the idea of continuity).

When a sensation happens, the mind has to "interpret it", to learn it. So it goes to memory (short and long).

So, insight is about the process of the mind learning to "learn" better emoticon.

Unlike learning math or others things, most of the process of categorizing sensations is like the breath (semi-automatic) and heavily regulated by unconcious processes.

So, basically, for each sensation, a lot of things are brought from memory which shift attention to other sensations (unconsiously). Usually that shift is from memory, so by the time attention shifts the sensation doesn't exist and there is a "miss".

So, reality is made with a mix-up of things that are there and things that "are not there" (and only exist as memories from seconds away).
Some part of the mind knows that this "reality" is made up mostly by our own memories. So, reality is "owned".

Anyway, I'm still working on it emoticonemoticon.

RE: What is Insight ?
Answer
1/18/19 12:16 PM as a reply to Ernest Michael Olmos.
Ernest Michael Olmos:


Insight (at least for me) is the mind conciously trying to be aware (and somehow control) this memory process by shifting attention moment to moment.

Naturally, as the mind discovers that most of the loop is repetitive, time wasting, requiring a lot of effort, etc, it begins to try to change it.

A path is a moment where the mind rewires itself to cut parts of this loop, so that for each sensation, the loop is shorter and less bagage is brought from memory.

After a path, a lot of memories, ideas, etc that were stored with "links" to a lot of "memory baggage" (ideas about the self, the body, solidity, etc) begin to be "rewritten" as moment to moment experience without the baggage begin to demolish them.


This is right on and matches my own experience - but the "rewiring" that cuts out part of the loop happens throughout the progress of insight, in particular at the A&P and in Equanimity, not just at path moments.

This has fooled a lot of people (including me) into thinking they've had paths when they haven't when there's been a clear rewiring.

RE: What is Insight ?
Answer
1/18/19 2:08 PM as a reply to J C.
I'm not so sure there is rewiring of moment to moment before path.

Moment to moment perception makes the entire reality and before a path reality it isn't presented as different as it is after a path.

About being fooled by AP, I agree on that.
I'm not sure what path number I'm in emoticon. I had a lot of experiences that I thought were path and weren't.

RE: What is Insight ?
Answer
1/19/19 12:13 AM as a reply to Ernest Michael Olmos.
Ernest Michael Olmos:
I'm not so sure there is rewiring of moment to moment before path.

Moment to moment perception makes the entire reality and before a path reality it isn't presented as different as it is after a path.


What makes you say this? I have had frequent moments that were not path where reality presented in a completely different way, huge chunks of self dissolved, the visual field changed, motion changed, and so forth.

RE: What is Insight ?
Answer
1/19/19 5:06 AM as a reply to J C.
This is very interesting. I have had that fundamental rewiring with regard to tics (Tourette syndrome). Explaining insight as this kind of rewiring process makes sense to me. It is helpful.

As a newbie, I would appreciate if somebody would be so kind as to explain in an equally simple way what path is. I’m reading a lot of stuff so hopefully I will understand it eventually (at an intellectual level; really understanding will be a later issue, of course), but at this point it is very abstract for me.

RE: What is Insight ?
Answer
1/19/19 11:56 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Greetings from Cairo, Egypt.

Path in a very ultra-simplified nutshell: some specific layer of experience is now permanently hard-wired to auto-comprehend itself as it is, straightforwardly, directly, clearly, at a sensate level.

Initially, these layers are not that large, and what is changed can be hard to explain, though people will report various effects, with more extensive descriptions found places such as www.mctb.org. Later paths apply to broader layers of experience that are more obvious, more panoramic, more inclusive, and finally, at the last path, every sensation auto-comprehends its true nature automatically.

Paths are a complex topic, so this treatment is extremely superficial. It does, however, point to practidal points of method, and that's the important part.

By noticing ordinary sensations clearly, one begins to build the wiring, the habit, the tendency to have the ordinary sensations of one's current layer of mind be clear. By noticing the Three Characteristics of those same ordinary sensations, one takes that clarity and uses it to build the wiring, the habid, the tendency to have the sensations that occur notice their true nature.

When these have been done sufficiently for that layer of mind, it can suddenly flip to a mode where that carefully-built wiring comes to life, it seems, turns on, and, once it turns on, that layer of experience auto-comprehends itself. There are multiple layers, generally, though counting layers is often very unhelpful. What is helpful is simply practicing sensate clarity, and practicing comprehending the Three Characteristics directly, however one finds them best formulated.

There are lots of techniques for this, so hopefully you will find some that work for you.

Best wishes!

Daniel

RE: What is Insight ?
Answer
1/19/19 5:04 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Greetings from Stockholm, Sweden, here. Thanks a lot! That is actually understandable. I don’t know what I imagined it would be. More like envisioning a whole road ahead, maybe, and embedded in loads of symbolic fluff that would suddenly automagically make sense.

RE: What is Insight ?
Answer
1/21/19 9:33 AM as a reply to J C.
Well, this is coming from my experience (and maybe I have confused AP with paths).
It has all to do with confusing AP with path (which is a really hot topic) emoticonemoticon.

Again, this may not be "right" and is my take on the subject based on my experience:

When I talk about moment to moment, I'm really talking about the "continuous" experience of reality. All of it, all the time.

While I had a lot of experiences that changed reality, the change was morphing all the time. It had peaks and valleys. It had wow factors, realizations, etc.

And (I don't know about other people), but I didn't have any AP that didn't begin to fade. At some point it's like the shift is so good that somehow the mind tries to keep it going (but deep down it knows it isn't going to last).
Path moments don't (at least for me) include all those things.

In my home retreat I had a lots of wow experiences, really lots. Looking at the mirror and seeing an stranger, etc. But they didn't last.

Anyway, I'm not an expert in this thing, and I may be wrong. What I considered path may be AP.

How do I know what is path and what is not?:
Well, I take a small something that changed after a path (vision, sensations, etc) and try to remember how it was before and after. And I'm brutally honest about it. If the change holds it is path, if it doesn't it isn't.
For 2nd path something focus in the vision was different, for 3rd something about the sensations in my abdomen.

After a day or two I'm usually sure. In fact, the moment it happens deep down I know. If I have doubts, it usually isn't.

After some time, the path begins to change other things (that's my second reassurance).

My guess is that before path, attention plays with the memory loop, trying to know what it is and what it is not.
But whatever experience you have, it doesn't affect reality in the way a path does.

Again, this is my opinion based on my experience (which is not that much emoticon).