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Breaking the Curse of the Kazoo Player

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Breaking the Curse of the Kazoo Player
equanimity noting kazoo player
Answer
3/7/19 9:46 AM
No doubt that by now most of you have read Daniel’s metaphor of the Kazoo Player in MCTB2...if not, it’s great!

Anyway, I am post-A&P/pre-SE and I believe I am somewhere in Equanimity. I am trying to hold the wide, spacious field of awareness while noticing the much slower but steady phenomena that arise. If I make a mental label, it seems like I'm already caught in the Kazoo Player's Curse. If I just watch the phenomena arise/pass/repeat with a light touch...trying to see that the phenomena 'know themselves', I too easily get caught by some random thought and forget my object. It's like I'm teetering on the fence between too much and too little effort, but I also wonder if there may be a better technique or approach to use altogether.

Thanks in advance for your help!

RE: Breaking the Curse of the Kazoo Player
Answer
3/7/19 12:13 PM as a reply to Walter_Sobchakheit.
Hi! I’m pretty much in the same situation, although I’m not focusing on slow and steady phenomena. I’m not sure what kind of phenomena you are referring too. Could you give an example?

The only times that I belive that I have been able to let go of that kazoo player has been when focusing on something that is in constant flux in such a way that I forget myself for a while. In those instances I have been able to stay alert without doing noting, because my mind is too occupied with all sensations to bring up content. Maybe that is cheeting, I don’t know. I still need to come to that point where awareness is widened for it to work, and then build up my concentration to the point where my senses are altered in a way that is hard to describe but has become a landmark for me. It seems to be a no self component to it. For me it begins with the sense of touch in my hands. It feels as if they are turned backwards, as if they belonged to somebody else sitting in front of me, mirroring me, but I can still feel the sensations. It is kind of a collapse of the subject-object division, or at least a blurring of the division. So when I reach that point, I know that the kazoo player is resting. For me this is easiest to access with touch. Only recently similar experiences have been available with other senses.

RE: Breaking the Curse of the Kazoo Player
Answer
3/7/19 12:21 PM as a reply to Walter_Sobchakheit.
I’d say don’t get too hung up on the kazoo player while you’re doing noting practice. The practice itself, even with the labels, is a powerful tool for doing what you want; in other words, the lessening of the kazoo’s noise is a product of the practice. Be careful of the 5th hindrance, skeptical doubt. You can’t will pristine perception into existence. 

RE: Breaking the Curse of the Kazoo Player
Answer
3/7/19 12:24 PM as a reply to Laurel Carrington.
Laurel Carrington:
I’d say don’t get too hung up on the kazoo player while you’re doing noting practice. The practice itself, even with the labels, is a powerful tool for doing what you want; in other words, the lessening of the kazoo’s noise is a product of the practice. Be careful of the 5th hindrance, skeptical doubt. You can’t will pristine perception into existence. 



Good point. Michael Taft adviced me not to try to change anything with regard to that kazoo player, now that you mention it.

RE: Breaking the Curse of the Kazoo Player
Answer
3/7/19 12:55 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda:
Last week on retreat I was having the exact same experience as you described. Building concentration then shifting to tingling body sensations and expanding the awareness to all senses (mostly feel and hear). The senstations would get so rapid that the sense of the body's outline began to blur and there was almost no room for self-referencing. Eventually it got very intense and I felt like something may 'pop' or even break, and then my inner visual field flashed a few times and I was immediately left in an 'empty' state. The sensations vanished and the mind was super calm for the next hour or so.

Now, off retreat, the rapid sensations are mostly gone and slow enough to label, but the labeling feels like a strain or an effort that I don't want to do...but without it I'm bound to drift off in thought.

Laurel:
I think you have nailed it! My biggest problem, especially when new experiences come up on the path, is doubting myself and the approach I'm taking...eventhough, I've seen over and over again that almost every big shift has come when I wasn't pushing so hard and second-guessing myself.

Thank you both!

RE: Breaking the Curse of the Kazoo Player
Answer
3/7/19 1:39 PM as a reply to Walter_Sobchakheit.
I know the feeling... wanting so badly for it to happen again - and also knowing that the only way to have it happen again is to let go of that craving. Easier said than done.

RE: Breaking the Curse of the Kazoo Player
Answer
3/7/19 2:07 PM as a reply to Walter_Sobchakheit.
Daniel gives some instructions here for going beyond the kazoo player:
https://vimeo.com/250616410

I try to hold the awareness of the visual and audio doors in the periphery and the tactile door in the foreground. When trying to percieve that much at one time, dukkha is easy to see as a tension or suckiness that increases with inclusiveness. It is almost like an anti-jhana. I find that mind wandering is so seductive because the dukkha goes away when mindfulness does. Haha.

If I get lost in thought, I resolve to stay with sensation. If I continue to get lost in thought, I stick with noting. Maybe you are still dark nighting. Disatifaction with my level of concentration is a dn symptom for me.

RE: Breaking the Curse of the Kazoo Player
Answer
3/7/19 2:49 PM as a reply to Jason Massie.
Jason:
Thanks for the video link! It's so simple and cuts straight to the point.

It's possible that it's DN symptoms...I'm starting to feel like Sisyphus I go up and down so much. The only things that make me think it's Equanimity are: concentration almost immediately (within minutes) shifts into a calm, peaceful, full-body awareness that makes single-pointed concentration practice feel like too much effort AND I definitely don't have the emotional symptoms of the DN.

The suffering here with the labeling is definitely that 3C's irritating dukkha that makes the practice feel off. The extra suffering is me thinking that the practice needs to be other than how it is, and especially that I'm not doing something right. Also, I feel like there's a wanting for retreat-paced results but I'm no longer on retreat so some factors are a bit out of balance with others.

It sounds like noting is the way to go, and if it's irritating well, there's suffering so I can note that as well.

Thanks!