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modifying perceived reality, interconnectedness, indras net

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Dear dharma overground community.

The "insights" I had the last few days were kind of strange and I am not sure, what to make of them.
I do not want to stretch the story too far. But what I experienced in chronological was this:



-A few mind orgasm

-A voice in a dream I perceived of coming from God saying: "Adam all of your friends are tired"  I could see myself at a club in the dream (I was clubbing some weeks before), then I bowed down to a light, and in the light was Jesus. End of dream and I woke up.

-Two weeks later I went clubbing again. I really got sad, I had no will-power anymore, a person took my hand and another person gave me water, then I must have passed away, afterward the club was totally empty

-The next day was fine

-I had a deep "feeling" / seeing / insight, that "I" am in everything and everything is at the same time in me

-One week later I went clubbing again, I was really, really happy. Everything fine. Went home early, after a good dance.

-I had the feeling of being able to stop the outworld time (creepy).

-The next days were a total mess. All my energy was sucked out. A relative came to my apartment, took me home with her because she was worried.

-A lot of "synchronicity" (for example: I met the first girl I ever was in love to; only met her twice in 15 years or so, she was worried and invited me to have a tea with her some time and that I was always so happy as a adolescent)

-All my energy was gone, people around me told me, that they felt, that I was having a real burden on myself. That I was sucking their energy too somehow.

-After sleeping for almost 2 days I entered into a very quiet and very equanimous state. Sleeping was really damn hard, not to get to sleep, but it was kind of a battle going on. Between what? I am not sure; something like letting go of the self, but wanting to live...no I am not quite sure. Can not describe with the right words. It was slightly frightening but definitely extreme exhausting.

-Walking the dog. I see myself in others, or the supreme (Hindu terminology) in everybody.



Also:
I had the feeling, of being able to control the clouds. I had the feeling of being able to stop the outworld time (creepy). I had the feeling, that everything reflects in everything, like mood, lust etc. pp. (indras net, or hermetic law: Principle of Correspondence (As above, so below; as below, so above)). I somehow could grasp Jesus in a very deep way, not intellectual but with my whole being.



A few moments ago:
I was really relaxed.
But somehow I believe, that clinging to something keeps the world running. The world of: you can't have the sweet without the sour. And I am not quite sure if samsara is really worse then nirvana. After all: samsara has to spring from nirvana.
Well, maybe I am just a complete messed up wreck. I just don't get it. And I believe if I really get it, then it is finished.



Questions:
Any ideas, input?
Is this the best way: always be truthful but stay silent before hurting someone?
Does it make sense in the long run to keep one last fetter/delusion? What is with children laughing, what is with friendship, what is with music, what is with all the good in the world? Why chase total enlightenment?


Thank you!

ps. what is saurons ring? (seriously)

RE: modifying perceived reality, interconnectedness, indras net
Answer
2/6/19 12:47 AM as a reply to Jonas.
Hey Jonas,

I read your intro and noticed that you mentioned having multiple episodes of psychosis followed by depression.  Just curious, did those previous episodes of psychosis start with events like you describe in your message (very happy, interesting dreams, energetic effects, lots of thoughts about duality, etc)? 

If so, be wary if any warning signs of psychosis start happening and get psychiatric help if you need it.

I noticed that the stuff that led to mania/psychosis for me had a lot of similarity to the stage of insight called the "knowledge of arising and passing away (A&P)."  Does any of that sound similar to what you're currently experiencing?  You can read more about it here: https://www.mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/part-iv-insight/30-the-progress-of-insight/4-the-arising-and-passing-away/

If it does, then don't be surprised or dismayed if the depression returns soon.  You might notice that the next stages of insight have names like dissolution, fear, misery...etc.  But these things are natural and normal and you know how to get through them, right?

Some people call the A&P a "false enlightenment," because it really can feel great and as though you are enlightened.  But unfortunately, that passes away all too soon and then you feel terrible.  But when you go through it, you really do experience something interesting, and may develop a fascination with duality and nonduality.

-Walking the dog. I see myself in others, or the supreme (Hindu terminology) in everybody.

I have also experienced this.  It's a great state where it's very natural and easy to be kind to everyone.  You also see directly that you can't hurt anyone else without also hurting yourself.  This has been very helpful to remember when I've been angry and tempted to harm others.

As for the unusual abilities and stuff, who knows?  Did any of your previous psychoses involve delusions?  If so, then you know that you should always be a little bit skeptical of your interpretations of reality, because things that might seem 100% true might later turn out to be a wrong interpretation of what was happening.  And unless you're an Arhat, your worldview is definitely a result of delusion.  So just wait and see what survives the test of time.  That said, reality does allow for some things beyond what most people would believe is possible.  Really unusual things happen all the time, but just like we do in dreams, people quickly just brush it aside and continue on with their lives.  This reality is strange.

Whatever is apparently happening, try to practice good morality with it.  So maybe don't suck other people's energy if it's something you can control. emoticon  If you can't control it, just do the best you can and don't worry too much about it.

Why chase total enlightenment?

According to the Theravada map, most people will go through four stages of enlightenment.  I don't want to presume, but if you haven't gone through the first stage, then maybe it's premature to worry about complete unexcelled enlightenment.  Maybe instead think about what they refer to as "stream entry?"

The problem with crossing the A&P (assuming that has happened) is that it's the point of no return.  Congratulations, you are fucked.  You will cycle again and again through the progress of insight for the rest of your life.  If your experience is like mine, the fundamental pain of existence will become more and more noticeable and all worldly diversions (even wholesome ones) will utterly fail to help.  Eventually, you just want the suffering to end.  If you reach this point, stream entry is the relief you're looking for.  I can't really imagine why else anyone would be interested.

ps. what is saurons ring? (seriously)

This is a big stretch, but you could think of the sense of self as the One Ring--a heavy burden that seems to promise great power, but actually brings enslavement and suffering.  An arduous journey must be undertaken to bring it back to the precipice of annihilation, and then it must be let go of.  Seriously though, don't get too fascinated with dualistic stories and such at this time.

Please make sure you get plenty of sleep and watch out for any troubling psychosis.  I apologize if I have misread your message and none of this applies to you.

All the best!

RE: modifying perceived reality, interconnectedness, indras net
Answer
2/6/19 1:22 PM as a reply to dave m.
Hi Dave.

Thank you for your reply.

very happy, ... , energetic effects, lots of thoughts about duality, etc
Yes. My first episode started like that. It started with being very happy, energetic effects and a nonduality experience, which freaked me kind of out. The basic problem with the nonduality atm is to integrate it in a healthy way: Because I feel a heavy burden because the boundaries disappear and I feel responsible for everything that happens. To completely control my thoughts and eliminate every "bad" thought is very exhausting. It sometimes is not healthy anymore.

If so, be wary if any warning signs of psychosis start happening and get psychiatric help if you need it.
Thank you. I started taking actions in the right direction.

(A&P)
I definitely was lucid dreaming or rather being awake while at sleep in a kind of weird way. Also at times was the world and the dreams very sexual loaded; I also had the feeling of being able to manipulate emotions. Also, I believe I had out of body experiences. And a whole lot of other stuff going on. The heaviest burdens are those many synchronicities. A thought comes so often into action in the "outer" world I just can not believe in coincidences anymore. Or maybe it is not the thoughts becoming reality, maybe it is the ability to see into the future to some vague degree. Can't make any sense out of it and although fascinating, I really do not want to mess with this kind of stuff. But to be aware of one's thoughts, without being in them the whole day, even when tired, is for me not possible.

You also see directly that you can't hurt anyone else without also hurting yourself.
Yes. Most definitely. Even unskillful thoughts are painful. But the golden standard in Buddhism is the intention, right?

 If so, then you know that you should always be a little bit skeptical of your interpretations of reality, because things that might seem 100% true might later turn out to be a wrong interpretation of what was happening.

[...]

Really unusual things happen all the time, but just like we do in dreams, people quickly just brush it aside and continue on with their lives.  This reality is strange.
Yes and yes. Really strange and one forgets also really quick, but maybe for the better, who knows?

Whatever is apparently happening, try to practice good morality with it.  So maybe don't suck other people's energy if it's something you can control. emoticon  If you can't control it, just do the best you can and don't worry too much about it.
I try my hardest and give my best. More than that I can not do. I don't know how to control it, do you? Maybe I will have to experience with it.

The problem with crossing the A&P (assuming that has happened) is that it's the point of no return.  
Can one be entirely 100% sure about that? Is there really a possibility to be certain about that. How?

 [...]I can't really imagine why else anyone would be interested.
I did not get this point fully. Could you give it another try?

Please make sure you get plenty of sleep and watch out for any troubling psychosis.  I apologize if I have misread your message and none of this applies to you.
Thank you for that advice. I will give it a hard try to sleep more. Nothing to apologize, rather I am grateful.

I too which you all the best!





Question:
Any Idea how to loosen up 
egocentrism / the sense of somehow being the center of the universe?
With strong awareness: thoughts are not fully "born", right? / or can be melted



ps. yes, the explanation to Saurons ring makes sense. But if the self is a delusion, then how could it be destroyed?
By dissolving ignorance? Right?

RE: modifying perceived reality, interconnectedness, indras net
Answer
2/7/19 9:26 AM as a reply to Jonas.
Jonas:
Question:
Any Idea how to loosen up 
egocentrism / the sense of somehow being the center of the universe?
With strong awareness: thoughts are not fully "born", right? / or can be melted


ps. yes, the explanation to Saurons ring makes sense. But if the self is a delusion, then how could it be destroyed?
By dissolving ignorance? Right?

Jonas, it sounds like you are pushing things a bit hard at the moment and could benefit from grounding. Releasing or dampening energy through masturbation, taking a hot shower or bath, eating oily, calorie dense meals, avoiding drugs, and taking part in strenuous exercise (do you have a physical discipline?) are some simple and accessible options for grounding that often work for people. Backing off from meditation for the time being could also help.

When you are more grounded you will also be less likely to see yourself as the center of the universe. It may also help to remind yourself that if you view yourself as the center of the universe, it is equally valid that every other individual and sentient creature could view themselves as the center of the universe, thus you alone are not special, while at the same time, all life is special.

From your post history it sounds that you do not have trouble achieving states that are high energy but unstable. Perhaps a good goal would be to learn to recognize the early signs of these states and how to reverse them or chill them out until you can approach them with more stability. One thing I find helpful when these states occur is to not consider synchronicities or any other weirdness to be special or worthy of any more attention than mundane things. If it occurs, fine, but if it does not occur, this is fine too. If you are interested in the extraordinary, working to achieve balance and stability so you can realize and offer your gifts to the world, whatever those may be, insight or otherwise, is perhaps the most extraordinary thing a person can do.

As for destroying the self because it is a delusion, consider that you are a human being and the self can be quite helpful in the life of a human being. If the self is a delusion then destroying it is unnecessary. You don’t have to do anything to the self for it to be what it is.

There is no rush. Slow and steady wins the race.

RE: modifying perceived reality, interconnectedness, indras net
Answer
2/7/19 3:42 AM as a reply to Jonas.
I try my hardest and give my best. More than that I can not do. I don't know how to control it, do you? Maybe I will have to experience with it.

No, I don't.  This stuff can make you feel like a baby again.  You just want to move from here to there, but instead your limbs flail about randomly.  There are some people here who do energy practices and may be able to suggest some things if it becomes a lasting issue.

Can one be entirely 100% sure about that? Is there really a possibility to be certain about that. How?

I don't know if you can be certain that a particular mental state is actually the A&P, even if there are a lot of similarities.  If you're a meditator on retreat practicing constant mindfulness and something like this happens, then you can be pretty confident.  But if it just happens in normal life, it can be less certain.  Also, the descriptions tend to be written in a way that strong meditators would experience, but in normal life, you might not notice the same things that a meditator would.

You can read the description and see if it applies.  You can familiarize yourself with the whole cycle and see if your mental states that come next are similar to the stages of insight.  You can also see if it seems to apply to your previous experiences with psychosis and depression.  Depression isn't a monolithic state.  If you pay attention to how you're feeling in one of those episodes, you'll find a variety of different states at various times.  I was very surprised to find that the states I repeatedly experienced matched closely with the descriptions in the progress of insight.  If you also notice similarities, then it may be that what they're talking about here is something you could benefit from.

If you were asking if the A&P is really a point of no return, then yeah, it seems so.  I've cycled ever since what I believe was my first A&P (2005).  This is also true for those I know with similar experiences.  The people here talk about it quite a bit.  Even fully enlightened people have said that the cycles still happen for them.

I did not get this point fully. Could you give it another try?

I interpreted your question to basically be, "Why pursue enlightenment when there are pleasant and good experiences to be had?"

My experience was that a fundamental pain, tension, struggle, dissatisfaction or however you want to call it became apparent at all times.  It sucked the happiness out of any pleasant experiences, made unpleasant experiences much worse than they needed to be, and led to an intolerable boredom and restlessness during neutral experiences.  It also became obvious after much trial and error that there was no experience to be had that would fix this thing.  I assumed it was just due to mental illness and I was stuck with it until I died.  Then I very fortunately read MCTB, recognized a similarity between the fundamental suffering that Buddhism talks about and my problem, and also noticed that if I was mapping correctly, I had apparently gotten to low equanimity multiple times over the preceding decade, but never got past it.

This suffering, coupled with the idea that there may actually be a solution and methods to do it were what motivated me.  The relief when it worked was beyond measure.  I can only speak from my experience, but that relief is what you get from it.  I don't understand why anyone would pursue enlightenment for any reason other than to end that fundamental suffering.

Question:
Any Idea how to loosen up 
egocentrism / the sense of somehow being the center of the universe?
With strong awareness: thoughts are not fully "born", right? / or can be melted



ps. yes, the explanation to Saurons ring makes sense. But if the self is a delusion, then how could it be destroyed?
By dissolving ignorance? Right?

In my opinion, thoughts of destroying yourself aren't helpful and can lead to some unfortunate behaviors.  The way out is just to see clearly.  It is true that the problem has something to do with what you think of as "you," but what happend for me was that in this process, what I thought of as me "died" or passed utterly away and immediately afterwards I just knew that I wasn't that and never had been.  There wasn't really any thinking about this or figuring it out or trying to dissolve the ego or anything.  To be honest, I didn't care at all about not being a self or changing my ego or anything like that.  I was just looking to end that suffering and it turned out to involve the "not self" stuff.

I don't know about the thoughts question.  If it is possible to prevent "pre-thoughts" from bubbling up into consciousness, that's an advanced skill, and I don't know if you could do it in real time as you go about your day.  That's way above my paygrade, anyway.  The standard advice on thoughts is just to notice them come and go on their own, and don't give them too much attention or get absorbed in them.  When your mind is throwing out a lot of junk, it can be really helpful to de-emphasize thoughts and focus on sensations in your body.



















RE: modifying perceived reality, interconnectedness, indras net
Answer
2/10/19 3:32 AM as a reply to dave m.
I don't know if you can be certain that a particular mental state is actually the A&P, even if there are a lot of similarities.  If you're a meditator on retreat practicing constant mindfulness and something like this happens, then you can be pretty confident.  But if it just happens in normal life, it can be less certain.  Also, the descriptions tend to be written in a way that strong meditators would experience, but in normal life, you might not notice the same things that a meditator would.

I don't know why I didn't think of this earlier, since you're going through it now, but there is one way you might be able to tell for sure if what you're experiencing is the A&P.  It's called the A&P because you are able to see sensations appearing and disappearing at the same time, though you may not notice this unless you're looking for it.

I once went a bit crazy and found myself walking barefoot down a highway while staring at a street light and trying to get absorbed.  I would start getting close, but then pain in my foot would grab my attention and I would fail.  This was irritating, so I focused my full attention on my foot.  It felt like an array of tiny, invisible jackhammers was there instead.  The sensations were just flickering dots, sort of like little bubbles that pop as soon as you look at them.

Considering the experiences you're having, your concentration is very likely through the roof at the moment.  If you haven't started feeling very low energy and like a couch potato yet, you could try gently focusing your attention on something (physical sensations are probably better) and keeping it there.  Then you can just notice if it seems solid and stable or not.  If you accidentally enter a state of absorption, you've gone the wrong way in your looking.

If you notice that what you look at flickers very quickly when you keep your attention there for any length of time, it is almost certainly the A&P.  If you somehow manage to avoid noticing that, it may or may not be.  For what it's worth, I went through it multiple times, but only consciously noticed the flickering once.