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Michael Taft and Tucker Peck

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Michael Taft and Tucker Peck
Answer
3/8/19 4:05 AM
I just listened to this excellent interview with Tucker Peck (who has had a path that has been almost identical to mine, including the "hellacious dark night"!). 

https://deconstructingyourself.com/podcast/meditation-madness-and-psychology-with-tucker-peck

At 1.07 Tucker describes where he is now, as being "everything is back to normal". This is also where I currently am. Am I correct in thinking he is referring here to pragmatic dharma 3rd path? (and maybe purist fetter model 2nd path?)

Question directed only at those who want to listen to the interview - don't listen on my account! ;) 

RE: Michael Taft and Tucker Peck
Answer
3/8/19 3:24 PM as a reply to Anna L.
Hello Anna,

At 1.07 Tucker describes where he is now, as being "everything is back to normal". This is also where I currently am.

That sounds like a very aspecific description. Not very easy to come up with a diagnosis from it. But if I had to venture one, "everything back to normal" sounds more like a stage (e.g. the Equanimity ñana) than an attainment, since it's the kind of thing that does not typically hold in the face of, well, life.

Am I correct in thinking he is referring here to pragmatic dharma 3rd path?

Like Tucker says so clearly in the interview when he quotes Sharon Salzberg's claim to attainment, unfortunately, there isn't a commonly accepted notion of paths. Take the way he describes what he calls his own second path, "my body dissolved into energy" and the things he said after that... based on that little information it is, again, hard to say anything, but it might sound more like some kind of peak experience from the point of view of MCTB than any kind of path attainment/moment... however, at the same time, Tucker might "have" a perfectly legitimate kind of second path by a different model, like the one that Culadasa uses.

What I am trying to say is, if you try to narrow it down to "pragmatic dharma" paths, there isn't one commonly accepted definition of that either. The definitions in MCTB and the old Contemplative Fitness draft by Kenneth Folk are very different, for example, particularly when it comes to 3rd and 4th path. I don't know if you count Culadasa as pragmatic dharma, but his definitions are also very different from both those two, certainly from 2nd path, and in part as early as 1st path already. Not to mention Shinzen, who does not really use a linear model for the most part.

Perhaps a more useful question for you to ask might be "what should I do?", rather than "what do I got?"

RE: Michael Taft and Tucker Peck
Answer
3/8/19 4:13 PM as a reply to Anna L.
Thanks for the link. Good podcast and I think I now understand the rationale behind the TMI approach better. 

I would say that I hear his report as being after third and before fourth. Sort of a back to normal with lingering hints of additional dharma to be discovered. I'm not getting that sense of "done and I can't be confused anymore". And it sounds like he still relates to the idea of the dharma being very subtle and currently being "on a personal path of purification". 

But who knows for sure? emoticon

RE: Michael Taft and Tucker Peck
Answer
3/8/19 4:29 PM as a reply to neko.
neko:
Hello Anna,

At 1.07 Tucker describes where he is now, as being "everything is back to normal". This is also where I currently am.

That sounds like a very aspecific description. Not very easy to come up with a diagnosis from it. But if I had to venture one, "everything back to normal" sounds more like a stage (e.g. the Equanimity ñana) than an attainment, since it's the kind of thing that does not typically hold in the face of, well, life.

Am I correct in thinking he is referring here to pragmatic dharma 3rd path?

Like Tucker says so clearly in the interview when he quotes Sharon Salzberg's claim to attainment, unfortunately, there isn't a commonly accepted notion of paths. Take the way he describes what he calls his own second path, "my body dissolved into energy" and the things he said after that... based on that little information it is, again, hard to say anything, but it might sound more like some kind of peak experience from the point of view of MCTB than any kind of path attainment/moment... however, at the same time, Tucker might "have" a perfectly legitimate kind of second path by a different model, like the one that Culadasa uses.

What I am trying to say is, if you try to narrow it down to "pragmatic dharma" paths, there isn't one commonly accepted definition of that either. The definitions in MCTB and the old Contemplative Fitness draft by Kenneth Folk are very different, for example, particularly when it comes to 3rd and 4th path. I don't know if you count Culadasa as pragmatic dharma, but his definitions are also very different from both those two, certainly from 2nd path, and in part as early as 1st path already. Not to mention Shinzen, who does not really use a linear model for the most part.

Perhaps a more useful question for you to ask might be "what should I do?", rather than "what do I got?"

Hey Neko

I relate to the phrase "back to normal" as a long term state change in the sense that early on in my path, everything felt completely different - perception, self, worldview - to the point that I thought I would end up unable to function in "normal" society again and spend the rest of my days as an ascetic! Then as the path progressed, this shifted into an integrated "new normal" that is strangely like the "old normal" but with some major qualitative differences (e.g. dropping away of fetters and attenuation of suffering). Similar to Tucker, whereas in the early stages of the path everything was dharma-related and I only wanted to hang out with dharma people and talk dharma. Now I am quite happy to "shoot the breeze" and talk about worldly non-dharma related issues (and as a result, am probably much easier to be around!). Another way of putting it would be to say that I no longer identifty as a "hardcore spiritual seeker". Everything is much more chilled emoticon This is a long term change that has held for the past couple of years.

Thanks for indulging my path question - the researcher in me is always curious to map it out ;) Sharon Salzberg's answer is fantastic! 

RE: Michael Taft and Tucker Peck
Answer
3/8/19 4:34 PM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:
Thanks for the link. Good podcast and I think I now understand the rationale behind the TMI approach better. 

I would say that I hear his report as being after third and before fourth. Sort of a back to normal with lingering hints of additional dharma to be discovered. I'm not getting that sense of "done and I can't be confused anymore". And it sounds like he still relates to the idea of the dharma being very subtle and currently being "on a personal path of purification". 

But who knows for sure? emoticon

Yes, I really enjoyed Tucker's explanation of TMI - very useful!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, I always find them to be very helpful for understanding the nuances of my own current practice emoticon

RE: Michael Taft and Tucker Peck
Answer
3/8/19 6:49 PM as a reply to Anna L.
Well I listened to the whole thing. They are both very engaging speakers, and it was refreshingly honest, intimate and humourous.  

When it comes to the treacherous territory of discussing paths ... the whole second/third area seems really mucky to me, and people seem to do things in different combinations and different orders.  So not easy to say.  What I didn't hear was discussion of openess, spaciousness, existence in the whole field, non-duality and so on. What the Tibetans would call the increasing of the direct experience of reality.

On 'everything being back to normal' - you could tell from the discussion that it followed authentic experiences of no-self and emptiness.  And probably also seeing through resistance obsession, (not so clear on passion obsession, but probably not given the fading of jhana practice without first transcending it).  And it very much sounded like seeing through a certain level of ignorance through dependent orgination, but not seeing through the deeper levels of ignorance.  Seeing through ignorance at a deeper and more fundmamental level leads to a non-dual baseline that is extremely pleasant and naturally empty, rather than being flat and wordly.  So experiencing that baseline could not be described as being back to normal.

Anyway, I still think the best advice I have read is from Daniel Ingram, paraphrased, "Whatever you think you have got, deepen that."

So thanks for sharing the podcast Anna, I really enjoyed it.

Malcolm

RE: Michael Taft and Tucker Peck
Answer
3/8/19 7:11 PM as a reply to curious.
curious:
Well I listened to the whole thing. They are both very engaging speakers, and it was refreshingly honest, intimate and humourous.  

When it comes to the treacherous territory of discussing paths ... the whole second/third area seems really mucky to me, and people seem to do things in different combinations and different orders.  So not easy to say.  What I didn't hear was discussion of openess, spaciousness, existence in the whole field, non-duality and so on. What the Tibetans would call the increasing of the direct experience of reality.

On 'everything being back to normal' - you could tell from the discussion that it followed authentic experiences of no-self and emptiness.  And probably also seeing through resistance obsession, (not so clear on passion obsession, but probably not given the fading of jhana practice without first transcending it).  And it very much sounded like seeing through a certain level of ignorance through dependent orgination, but not seeing through the deeper levels of ignorance.  Seeing through ignorance at a deeper and more fundmamental level leads to a non-dual baseline that is extremely pleasant and naturally empty, rather than being flat and wordly.  So experiencing that baseline could not be described as being back to normal.

Anyway, I still think the best advice I have read is from Daniel Ingram, paraphrased, "Whatever you think you have got, deepen that."

So thanks for sharing the podcast Anna, I really enjoyed it.

Malcolm
"Seeing through ignorance at a deeper and more fundmamental level leads to a non-dual baseline that is extremely pleasant and naturally empty, rather than being flat and wordly.  So experiencing that baseline could not be described as being back to normal." - Nice! Yes, maybe "back to normal" is not the best way to describe things. Maybe it seems more "normal" as it is integrated and peaceful compared to the years where I really struggled to integrate the cycling of a&ps and dark nights. A new integrated baseline that allows for more skillful interaction with the world might be a better way to describe it. 

I really like the advice "Whatever you think you have got, deepen that." 

Thanks Malcolm, I am glad you enjoyed the podcast emoticon

RE: Michael Taft and Tucker Peck
Answer
3/9/19 6:59 AM as a reply to curious.
curious:
On 'everything being back to normal' - you could tell from the discussion that it followed authentic experiences of no-self and emptiness.  And probably also seeing through resistance obsession, (not so clear on passion obsession, but probably not given the fading of jhana practice without first transcending it).  And it very much sounded like seeing through a certain level of ignorance through dependent orgination, but not seeing through the deeper levels of ignorance.  Seeing through ignorance at a deeper and more fundmamental level leads to a non-dual baseline that is extremely pleasant and naturally empty, rather than being flat and wordly.  So experiencing that baseline could not be described as being back to normal.

Hmm... For what it's worth, I would actually be more skeptical if someone claimed 4th path and said "it's a non-dual baseline that is extremely pleasant and naturally empty." Obviously a lot of it depends on how people use words, but that doesn't sound quite right to me. 

Back to normal or mundane reality is a pretty good expression for completing 4th... but I'm just saying that I still hear that thread of "seeking" in his report. It's just the tiniest thing that separates late 3rd from 4th and I think I detect it in his report. 

But who knows for sure?

RE: Michael Taft and Tucker Peck
Answer
3/9/19 1:48 PM as a reply to shargrol.
"Hmm... For what it's worth, I would actually be more skeptical if someone claimed 4th path and said "it's a non-dual baseline that is extremely pleasant and naturally empty." Obviously a lot of it depends on how people use words, but that doesn't sound quite right to me"

Heh, not claiming 4th path. Definitely don't meet Daniel Ingram's criteria.  And yes that description could conceivably be an extended A&P or an extended review.  But for what it's worth, this is nicely described in the suttas - both living in emptiness, and that on the other side of ignorance the neither pleasant nor painful feeling is associated with a pleasant vedana {edit: and with ignorance it is associated with a painful vedana).

But as you say, who knows?  And honestly, it really doesn't matter too much.

Metta  emoticon