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Do I want to do any of this?
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2/12/19 4:49 PM
Hi all and thanks in advance for any thoughts!

I am a basically happy person ... by un-awakened standards anyway. My life is good, my marriage is good, my job is not too difficult, and is flexible, and yet pays me enough to live on. I have plenty of time to spend however I want. I'm almost 50 years old and I can even see retirement in the not too distant future. I am basically chill and happy most of the time.

Since last April I have been meditating. I have done almost 100% concentration practices. I started out my practice based on Meido Moore's book The Rinzai Zen Way. Then a few months ago I picked up The Mind Illuminated (along with several other books). TMI became my primary guide in November. I'm now up to practicing 2 hours +/- per day, virtually every day. I am pretty sure I am well into Stage 7 of TMI. I'm not breaking any meditation achievement speed records! But I find practice to be enjoyable, and so far frankly it has done nothing but improve my life.

The last few weeks I've started to notice some of the weird vibratory phenomena and such things - mostly they don't bother me too much. But this morning, for the first time, I had to stop a sit very suddenly. I was focusing on various body sensations and then I noticed a ringing in my ears ... nothing new, it comes and goes and has for years ... but this time as I focused on it, it got louder and louder and I was seized with a fear that it would only grow and would never leave my head for the rest of my life. So I got up! I started my day, and the ringing went back to its normal place (un-noticed most of the time, very background-y when present) ... and I learned, one more time, about impermanence.

So, no big deal, whatever. It happened, it's over, I'm fine.

But this is only a very early experience, obviously. And all the talk of Dark Nights and people falling into depression, throwing away their jobs and their marriages, even harming themselves and others ... it's scary stuff. As Daniel says, you can blow up your entire life if things go wrong. Frankly, I don't want to blow up my life! I like my life a lot! I really don't want to let down the people who count on me.

Cost/benefit analysis suggests ... well, what?

A few questions:

(1) Do I go forward?
(2) What can I do to minimize the possibility of encountering serious problems? (Books to read, practices to focus on, or anything at all.)
(3) What resources do I want to have in place, in case something serious does go wrong?

Thanks for any and all comments!

RE: Do I want to do any of this?
Answer
2/12/19 6:39 PM as a reply to Kent.
Hi Kent

What an interesting topic! I totally get where you’re coming from. Who was the renowned Tibetan master who reportedly said of the spiritual path: ‘Best not to begin, but once begun, best to finish.’ 

The short answer would be to stick to Concentration practices only, and avoid examining your vibratory sensations, etc, because that will lead to the A&P and all the rest of the interesting but somewhat difficult aspects of Vipassana. 

If you’re enjoying meditation and feel no need to ‘overcome’ or untangle anything, then good for you. For some of us, we’ve been driven since very young to find answers to questions we didn’t fully understand, and Vipassana seemed to deliver answers, hence the need to push on and explore it, despite the challenges that come up. 

As for how contented you are with your current life, allow me to paraphrase the traditional Buddhist response to that. Firstly, can you guarantee the current state of affairs will last forever, such as that your health will continue, your loved ones will always be there, etc? And if any of that changes, what will you go through? The path to liberation was originally conceived as a way to overcome these failings of our grasping, clinging mind, our source of suffering. So, I’m not having a go at you, just reiterating what the old teachers would point out, that your experience of happiness is based on some very shaky foundations.

As for the ringing in the ears, I’m glad to read someone else gets that too! It happens to me on retreat, and I used to feel some kind of fear about what it meant about my hearing, etc. Since then I’ve noticed it only happens when Mindfulness is very strong, so now I just take it as an indicator the practice is humming along, and try not to get too freaked out by how damn loud it is. 

So to sum up, stick to Concentration practices if you want to avoid the A&P and further developments along the Vipassana path. Having said that, our minds incline their own way, and so if you’re inclined to investigation, you’re going to find all that vibratory stuff interesting and will keep looking at it. In the end, Dark Night is about coming to terms with the reality we’ve kept in our blindspot all our lives. I don’t know about you, but I prefer reality over illusions any day, so I’m all about ‘shredding’ what happens and seeing what lies beyond. Maybe you will be too once you get a taste for it ;-)

All the best, Kent!

RE: Do I want to do any of this?
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2/12/19 5:18 PM as a reply to Kent.
I’m one of the least experienced meditators here, so take my advice for what it is, but I would say that if you have crossed over into fear, the so called damage is already done. I don’t know if I should congratulate you or say that I’m sorry. You may find that the road from now on is a bit bumby. There are really cool things along the way, though, and much to be learned that will hopefully make your life better in the long run. My life actually improved a lot in many ways while I was still in dark night territory (I may very well return there again, but I’m not there now), but it didn’t always feel like it when I went through the challenges. I think it was worth it.

For me it was revolutionary to read Daniel Ingram’s book MCTB2 and recognize the pattern and learn about the challenges and pitfalls and accomplishments of the different nanas. Suddenly I had a road map. If you haven’t already read it, I highly recommend that you do so.

Very best wishes on your journey!

RE: Do I want to do any of this?
Answer
2/12/19 5:34 PM as a reply to Kent.
Kent:

And all the talk of Dark Nights and people falling into depression, throwing away their jobs and their marriages, even harming themselves and others ... it's scary stuff. As Daniel says, you can blow up your entire life if things go wrong. Frankly, I don't want to blow up my life! I like my life a lot! I really don't want to let down the people who count on me.

Cost/benefit analysis suggests ... well, what?

A few questions:

(1) Do I go forward?
I have never needed to ask this question for myself. Because it was already answered. I go forward because I need to. There is no alternative. What about you? Do you need to?
(2) What can I do to minimize the possibility of encountering serious problems? (Books to read, practices to focus on, or anything at all.)
Becoming really unbalanced and starting to meditate 16 hours a day without guidance starting tomorrow might be detrimental. Having your shit together to a certain degree probably helps. There will be hard phases, you can be pretty sure of that. You can also be pretty sure that no serious problems will occur. Those are rare. You shouldn't select your practices to focus on based on the criterion of safety because no one can tell you which practices are the safe ones. Of course, there is a very small risk that this endeavour goes horribly wrong. So what? Which endeavour doesn't come with its own risk? You might as well die in a car crash tomorrow and your house could burn down. Does this fact determine your big life decisions? In your experience, meditation only does good things to your life. You won't get more positive signs than that.
(3) What resources do I want to have in place, in case something serious does go wrong?
Best option: get a teacher. If something goes wrong, she may be able to spot it before you do. If it does, she can assess what to do.

RE: Do I want to do any of this?
Answer
2/12/19 6:23 PM as a reply to Kent.
Kent:
But I find practice to be enjoyable, and so far frankly it has done nothing but improve my life.


How so? If what you like about practice is a kind of escapism, then yeah mediation probably will probably blow up at some point and won't be an escape anymore. If what you like about practice is that you are seeing how the mind works and how you cause yourself unnecessary suffering, then yeah meditation will probably blow up at some point and you'll get even more understanding of how the mind works and how you cause yourself unnecessary suffering. 

I really don't know anyone who hasn't gone through difficult times as a result of practice. But that's really where the growth occurs. That said, it doesn't have to be a total psychological break --- and having accesses to meditation friends and teachers really helps prevent that. But it could happen, it honestly could. But for most people the difficulties are worth it because we grow beyond our past limitations. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees

Now that said, age is another interesting thing. If this is something you are really drawn to doing, then I want to be honest and say that in the same way that the body takes longer to recover from exercise when you are older, the mind is slightly slower to change when you are older. So it takes a particular dedication to see things through the older we get. Conversely, the maturity and life experience that can be brought to practice can help make things go more quickly. So both are possibilities, but I have noticed that it can be a challenge for older meditators to really see thing through --- afterall, they've gone through life without all these troubles, so why stick with it. And yet, sometimes the shortness of life really motivate people to go for it. 

So no easy answers. It really boils down to why you are practicing. 


Hope this is helpful in some way.

RE: Do I want to do any of this?
Answer
2/13/19 6:53 PM as a reply to Kent.
Hello,

I joined to take part in this thread.   You describe a very happy life, which seems a bit different to what most people describe when they first take up meditation.  It seems like most people start because life isn't quite as they'd hoped, and they want to delve deeper in order to get some answers, or escape, or get to another 'level' beyond suffering. 

All behaviours have a motive.  You made quite a strong commitment to practice and I'm very curious what drove that decision. 

You mention a fear of Dark Night and psychological breakdown.  Having read a lot of the threads here on Dho, my impression is that those unhappy occurences happen to people who are not fully integrated psychologically before they start meditation.  My impression might be incorrect, but that's how I see it.  It's very common to have painful and traumatic memories locked away and have no idea of their existence until meditation unlocks the door. 

Keen to hear your reply.

RE: Do I want to do any of this?
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2/14/19 9:27 AM as a reply to Kent.
Thanks so much for all the replies! There is so much here to go through. Some super quick replies:

Paul: Thanks for sharing your experiences about the ear ringing. That is super helpful. If it's a sign I'm doing things well, that's great news. In fact, everything in Paul's reply is super helpful and I am working on processing all of it.

Shargrol brings up my age. Thanks man! I don't think of myself as being old! (Need a "pretend angry but also rueful" emoticon here.) I take your point. I feel like I'm much less "set in my ways" than most people my age ... so I'm hopeful.

Linda: I have read large chunks of MCTB2. I think I'm barely on the charts at this time. I have had strong experiences that seem very "Mind & Body" ... and in fact as I re-read that section, it's obvious that I'm doing Mind & Body stuff every time I sit these days. The "Cause & Effect" stuff, though, is pretty rudimentary in me right now. So I'm pretty sure Fear is a ways off in the future. But obviously self-diagnosis is hard!

Rhubarb asks if I need to go forward. And ... I don't know for sure but I suspect so. I kind of think by asking this question on this particular forum, I'm kind of inviting the answer "Hell YES you need to go forward." If I wanted another answer, I'd likely have asked somewhere else. emoticon 

Right on Track asks why I am so committed to practice. My first answer is what I've learned to say about a lot of things about myself: I don't know! A second answer is, I have free time and also a somewhat obsessive personality ... and also meditation is amazingly cool. I taught myself Spanish over a few years, and now I'm teaching myself meditation, and maybe this is a thing that I continue to do for the rest of my life, or maybe it gets replaced? Meditation definitely feels like a permanent thing that will be with me for the rest of my life, and I have a hard time imagining wanting to live without it ... but who knows? A third answer is: I have always been interested in religion, I did a freaking Ph.D. in Christian theology & ethics many years ago, and Buddhism was always interesting to me as well as a theoretical thing when I was in my 20s, but at that time it seemed very alien and not something that was realistic for me to even consider as a part of my own life.

Shargrol asks what is good about practice. I have had some of the typical benefits of practice: it's made me more patient, more aware, a better husband, a better friend, a nicer person to be around. I have a more accurate sense of what sort of a creature I am. When someone asks "Why did you do that unpleasant thing?" I can more honestly and realistically reflect on the question, and often the answer is not "I had a good reason you jerk!" but rather "I honestly and truly don't know" or "I was not practicing good awareness and I let my emotions run away with me" -- and in either case "I truly wish I hadn't done that and I'm sorry." I notice the world more, and find joy in it, and dwell less often in my own endless circle of boring thoughts. Things like that.

Rhubarb says: "You can also be pretty sure that no serious problems will occur." Right on Track concurs: "my impression is that those unhappy occurences happen to people who are not fully integrated psychologically before they start meditation." Well: this is what I very much want to be true! But Daniel Ingram, in various interviews, seems to say it's not true. I listened to his talk with Willoughby Britton, where the interviewers more or less said "Isn't it true that only people who bring a messed-up perspective to meditation will experience these problems?" and Willoughby said "No, it's worse than that, and here's why ..." and then Daniel said "No, it's even worse than Willoughby said, and here's why...." Basically, they both said that even people who seem pretty ordinary and with it, professional people with successful lives, can have serious problems that put their careers and relationships at risk. In another podcast, someone asks Daniel if he thinks everyone should meditate and he says, basically, hell no, because there are real risks involved. He compares it to the use of drugs in an emergency medicine context. He says (paraphrasing): "we tell patients, 'here are the ways this medicine can help you, and here are the things it can do that are bad and dangerous,' and that's why we have informed consent." (The same interviewer, earlier in the podcast, said something positive about use of hardcore psychedelic drugs, and Daniel gave basically the same answer.) Shargrol seems to agree with Willoughby & Daniel: every meditator is taking a serious risk and there are no guarantees. (Do I have that right?)

This is where the rubber hits the road. I am honestly not scared (not too scared) of going through some suffering periods, bad experiences, mental or emotional or physical pain along the way. What I'm scared of is blowing up my life: doing something that does permanent damage.

I'm hoping someone can tell me something like the following: "It is vanishingly unlikely that the insights or the painful stages of the path will cause you to toss aside your deepest commitments." But I feel like awakening is like a Forrest Gump style box of chocolates and there's no way to know what will happen.

Thanks again to all of you!

And please, anybody else with anything to share, no matter how minimal, I would be very grateful for your thoughts.

RE: Do I want to do any of this?
Answer
2/14/19 10:12 AM as a reply to Kent.
Kent:
...
I'm hoping someone can tell me something like the following: "It is vanishingly unlikely that the insights or the painful stages of the path will cause you to toss aside your deepest commitments." But I feel like awakening is like a Forrest Gump style box of chocolates and there's no way to know what will happen.
...

Your Milage Will Vary.  I felt like the path was nothing but an interesting path upward for a couple years.  Now it's as if I'm just coming unglued sometimes.

I like the saying, "It's a tortuous journey best not begun. Once begun it must be finished". Don't forget the stage (I call)  "I'll never finish and that sucks, and I'm OK with that"

RE: Do I want to do any of this?
Answer
2/14/19 3:19 PM as a reply to Kent.
Have you seen the film Matrix? If so, which pill would you have chosen?

RE: Do I want to do any of this?
Answer
2/14/19 4:49 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I think everybody would make the same choice Neo did in the movie. I certainly would! But then, in the movie, they say it's guaranteed to work. What if Morpheus told Neo that there was a chance - and Morpheus can't say how high the chance is! - that the pill will kill Neo instead?

I'm not worried about awakening. I'm worried about trying, and failing, and being worse off for having tried.

RE: Do I want to do any of this?
Answer
2/14/19 4:51 PM as a reply to matthew sexton.
Hi Matthew,

I would love to hear more about both "coming unglued" and "I'll never finish and it sucks but ...."

(If you've already written up some of your experiences, please put up a link & I will be sure to read it.)

RE: Do I want to do any of this?
Answer
2/14/19 5:02 PM as a reply to Kent.
Kent:
I think everybody would make the same choice Neo did in the movie. I certainly would! But then, in the movie, they say it's guaranteed to work. What if Morpheus told Neo that there was a chance - and Morpheus can't say how high the chance is! - that the pill will kill Neo instead?

I'm not worried about awakening. I'm worried about trying, and failing, and being worse off for having tried.



I think realizing that one’s entire life had been an illusion like Neo did in the movie matches the insights leading to dark night pretty well. Not everyone would be able to handle the truth.

RE: Do I want to do any of this?
Answer
2/14/19 6:17 PM as a reply to Kent.
I can only speak for myself, but the risk as far as career and relationships go is not necessarily that you’ll do horrible things that get you fired or divorced or broken up with, but that your priorities will shift in a way that makes you want to drop your career and start over in another field, or that the person you’re in a relationship with will have some discomfort with the “new and improved” version of you and some subtle sense of alignment has been thrown off. Why we feel instantly or quickly connected to a person who was recently a stranger and yet can spend years alongside other people and feel no desire to get closer is a bit of a mystery, and I think the fundamental changes which can occur from meditation practice or other spiritual technologies can impact that.

Perhaps a partner could also be disturbed by some of the turbulence that you underwent in the process of getting there, but I honestly think this is less of a concern as partners in committed relationships can usually overlook anything so long as things “feel” right. That you’re tampering with yourself and may give off a different feel seems the relationship risk, unless the ways you are changing are also aligned with your partner’s ideals and aspirations.

I went deep while unemployed (with no money concerns) and in a committed relationship. If I had a job I never would have gone where I went, and if I had a different partner I also don’t think I would have gone as deep, but also, in terms of job and partner, I can see potential for total implosions if one goes deeper than these situations can tolerate. The relationship ended years later and it is impossible to say if the changes not in my personality but in my general state of being were a cause, but I do feel they were, at least in part. We’re still great friends, just were not in the same place anymore, which can happen in many ways other than meditation, of course. The process of decoupling hearts is horribly painful and difficult but if I had the power to go back I wouldn’t change a thing.

RE: Do I want to do any of this?
Answer
2/14/19 7:05 PM as a reply to Kent.
Hi, Kent, I think chapter 35 of MCTB2 has some stuff to say that seems to me relevant to what you're dealing with. You said you've read big chunks of it, so this may already be familiar to you. I'm thinking specifically of passages like

The maps .... warn of the numerous difficulties that may be encountered in the Dark Night stages, as well as provide lots of information about how to deal with them. The most common mistake is failing to investigate the truth of sensations deemed undesirable or unpleasant. It is hard to get on more intimate terms with reality when we feel a bit too emotional, vulnerable, raw, openhearted, or shaken, and so progress through the insight stages that make up the Dark Night is not always easy.


There's more further down in the chapter that may be of use to you. I hope so. I wish you well on your journey.

Tom

RE: Do I want to do any of this?
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2/14/19 7:50 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Thank goodness somebody mentioned The Matrix - Linda/Polly Ester! emoticon

Perhaps the question should be - could you really resist eating the blue pill?

(Actually some awakening teachers - such as Adyashanti, say you can only do it "for a really long time", not forever!) 

RE: Do I want to do any of this?
Answer
2/18/19 3:43 AM as a reply to Kent.
Kent:
I'm hoping someone can tell me something like the following: "It is vanishingly unlikely that the insights or the painful stages of the path will cause you to toss aside your deepest commitments." But I feel like awakening is like a Forrest Gump style box of chocolates and there's no way to know what will happen.

Hi Kent,
I'll go ahead and say it! I think it is vanishingly unlikely that the insights or the painful stages of the path will cause you to toss aside your deepest commitments. I feel like this is valid statement and it feels right for me to say it. The fact that you consider this and apparently hold deep commitments is a positive sign for me. I've never been a fan of ditching your family to move to India to be closer to some guru, so maybe my comment stems from that. I have never myself felt that strong pull, but I suspect that as a person I am of the type who would be able to resist those urhes in favour of my deeper commitments.

Keep a humble mind and remember that you are not forced to go along any whims you come up with. Your thoughts are not you, they are just thoughts. When you gain insights and clarity of mind, you will still be for the longest time this karmic bag of flesh with all it's personality attributes. You just see it more clearly emoticon

RE: Do I want to do any of this?
Answer
2/19/19 9:22 AM as a reply to Jehanne S Peacock.
Thanks, Jehanne. I appreciate your forthrightness! This is super helpful.

RE: Do I want to do any of this?
Answer
2/19/19 9:53 AM as a reply to Kent.
Daniel Ingram wrote (my emphasis in bold):


"Well, these debates go on and on and on.

A few simple points:

I still very much recommend my criteria as helpfully posted above. They have merit and value, and achieving those really shifts reality to something much better, having myself tried the before and after, I can tell you that from my point of view there is nothing more important that I achieved and attained than the total elimination of all sense of doer, watcher, controller, center point, observer, etc. True and total elimination of duality was a massive step up from the near total elimination of it: no comparison at all. It is hard to imagine that anyone else wouldn't value it the same way I do, but then tastes differ.

There are many axes of development: insight, concentration (and it has many axes within it), morality (an endless festival of axes to develop, including emotional and psychological health). Insight stands alone in that it is all basically towards one goal, and that goal does transform the relationship to all of the rest of it in ways that provide global improvement at the core sensate and paradigmatic levels of intrinsic processing. The rest are all also important, but nothing does what that does.

I really appreciate the chapter in Chögyam Trungpa's Journey Without Goal about the Five Buddha Families. This is a video of that chapter by the crazy old dead perverted but helpful genius himself: The Five Buddha Families

His embracing of the wide range of experience in all its human glory is so valuable, and that helped empower me to really take on everything that was going on in my experience. I still must warn against the limited emotional range models and what they can do to practice: beware becoming like those who follow those: so many complexities occur.

Is my emotional life transformed by my insights? Vastly transformed, no question.

Do I still manifest all the standard emotions: definitely, and some even more strongly than I did before.

Is there vastly less suffering in them as a result of their happening totally on their own just like qualities of space? Absolutely.

Is this anything like the disconnect feared by a poster above? Not in the least: there is no disconnection, because there is no longer any imagined thing to be disconnected.

The field lights up itself totally, without division, without restraint, without any barrier or gap, so disconnection is impossible. Does really honestly feeling what is going on help with emotional transformation more than models that imply that we shouldn't feel what we are feeling? I definitely think so.

Would I trade this for anything? Maybe world peace, but I would have to think about it. Until then, this totally rocks, and missing out on it would be barking crazy from my point of view.

Best wishes, and practice well,"

RE: Do I want to do any of this?
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2/19/19 10:15 AM as a reply to Paul.
Paul:
Hi Kent

What an interesting topic! I totally get where you’re coming from. Who was the renowned Tibetan master who reportedly said of the spiritual path: ‘Best not to begin, but once begun, best to finish.’ 

Chogyam Trungpa Rhinpoche

RE: Do I want to do any of this?
Answer
2/22/19 9:44 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
if you have crossed over into fear, the so called damage is already done. 

Well God DAMN it I think I might be in fear after all. 

If so then I had the worst A&P event ever ... I don't think I even noticed any specific event ... and I want my money back please.

RE: Do I want to do any of this?
Answer
2/22/19 11:48 AM as a reply to Kent.
I believe you are. My best advice for the dark night is to really acknowledge what it is, observe it without trying to convince yourself that it is anything else than what it is, and simultaneously really take in that this is not you, and not your doing, and that it will pass. Remember this throughout your daily life! Take care of yourself, maintain practice, and stay away from conflicts. Take care of your body too. If you develop physical pain, it will most likely go away once you get through this. It’s not as real as it feels, but nevertheless you may need to be careful. I have just come out from dark night. It lasted only a week this time, and I went through three dukkha nanas while in the shower. It fitted exactly into the map. It was ridiculously predictable.

My first (???) A&P was terrifying, with exploding energy shooting up through my spine and exploding with a loud bang in my head. It wasn’t joyful at all. Next time around it wsas almost orgasmic and at the same time so pure and filled with love of the entire existance. Some A&P:s are hardly noticable. You will get more chances to experience it, as the path to awakening leads you in circles, or an upward spiral.

Also remember: there are things to appreciate about each and everyone of the nanas. You will learn how to navigate and make the best of them. I think that’s what really leads to awakening. It can be humbling but it provides plenty of opportunities to develop skillful qualities, such as compassion and bravery.

RE: Do I want to do any of this?
Answer
2/22/19 8:42 PM as a reply to Kent.
A&P's vary widely in their quality, but TMI stage 7 is basically the A&P, and so, I agree that it is likely too late, as the A&P has likely has already happened, hence the concerns and reaching out here. All the standard advice applies, and so the question is not, "Do I want this?" but "How do I skillfully handle a process that has already started and regarding which there is no going back?" Education and following standard advice tends to help.

Best wishes and practice well!

Daniel

RE: Do I want to do any of this?
Answer
2/23/19 8:46 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
An update.

First, I need to revoke my complaint about the quality of the A&P. I went back to the practice journal I'm keeping and ... yeah. Wow. If I had to nominate one specific event, it would be when I had a series of 3 extremely vivid dreams, including 1 in which I was flying, 1 in which I had a big dinner with current family members as well as 3 family members who died years ago -- and in which I said the memorable line, "Dad, you're dead, I don't think it's legal for you to drive the Prius." (The 3rd dream in the group was by far the most vivid and weird and disturbing of the 3 but I can't summarize it at all.) Then after that very powerful night of dreaming (and vivid dreams are not normal for me), I had about 2 weeks of occasional strong and useful dreams and almost daily strong meditation practices that revealed things about myself and/or meditation that I had not previously known. Oh, and I also brought about 250% more awareness to daily life than normal for part of a day during this period.

Second, where I am now. Yesterday I spent the entire day in a place I had clearly not been before. It started out as a bit painful and weird, but once I realized it was probaby a stage, I let it happen. It was, by far, the best awareness day I have ever had. Pretty much the only thing I did all day other than notice things and be aware ... was to obsess abut where I was on the map. My best guess by the end of the day was Dissolution, and I was just hoping it was somewhere in the DN because I did NOT want this all to be just 3C territory. (For a brief minute I even worried it was actually part of the A&P because I was enjoying myself so much, and I hypothesized it might be impossible to really enjoy a DN day.)

Then at 1:30 or so this morning I woke up and OH MY GOD the clarity of the Fear experience was perfect. I want to thank Daniel so much!!! It would have been, I'm sure, a terrifying and awful experience if it had just happened. But I knew 100% what it was, right away, and I just lay in bed and let the fear course through my body and paid attention to the sensations of it ... and it wasn't scary. At all. I mean, it was nothing but scary, but I positively enjoyed the experience. When it was over, I even got up and went to meditate in hopes that maybe a tiny bit of fear might remain that I could investigate further. (No such luck.)

In retrospect, I must have been starting to come down off the high of the A&P when I wrote the original post. I was not in any specific dukkha stage at that point yet. But Daniel was right, and Linda Polly was right: it was already too late for me when I started writing.

Thanks again to all of you! But especially to Daniel, who has officially earned a place on my list of dharma heroes who have radically improved my life. 

RE: Do I want to do any of this?
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2/23/19 10:06 AM as a reply to Kent.
Good work!!!