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Zachary on the Middle Paths

Zachary on the Middle Paths
4/15/19 8:24 PM
4/5/19 8:53 PM

It's been a while since I've posted. Quite a bit has happened in the past few months, rather than bang out a long tome I'll just set up where things are at the moment.

For what it's worth, when I spoke to my teacher the other day they said, "knowing you over the time we've worked together, it sounds like you are in third path territory now." We discussed how it was likely I popped into 3rd Path at the end of my last retreat in December, though there still seems to be some 2nd Path-y stuff going on. This was the first time that this teacher made any sort of insinuation about path progress in my time with them, so it was surprising to hear. Another teacher I've been working with who doesn't go by any particular model (draws more from the Neo-Advaita stuff) also thinks my experiences in the past year are consistent with the awakening process.

My current practice is about 30 minutes of Qi-Gong/Standing Meditation in the morning, 1-3 hours of formal sitting and lots of just tuning in to what's happening throughout the day. At this point there is a feeling of very much being on the ride, awareness being always already the case and any attempt to do otherwise yields a sense of "messing with the field" of experience. 

Visual Perception
  • Visual perception is locked into a wide, panoramic view. Perception and what is perceived are synced up in a way it wasn't before. “Out there” follows and moves with “my vision”. When doing the fire kasina the other night I noticed there is no longer an "attention wave" moving from "in here" to "out there" implying an observer observing an object. 
  • Everything is extremely crisp and clear, equally at all areas of vision. There is nothing in the center to focus on. It's like a 4K High-Def movie. There is no longer any flickering or buzziness to vision.
  • Feels like vision is jacked up to a higher frame rate. For example at gas stations I can see blatant, long pauses between numbers as the digital price/quantity ticker rolls up. There is barely any blur when I move my head back and forth quickly. 
  • Visual perception is flatter, as if on a screen. There is a parallax effect. Things are kind of 2D and 3D at the same time. A screen that moves towards me almost as much as I move towards it. Sometimes this is more blatant, sometimes this is more subtle. It is more blatant when doing some sort of pre-meditated, directed activity (i.e. walking through Staples to a specific section to find a product).
  • Everything is very much where it is, in a way it wasn't before. The idea of focusing attention on something seems absurd. It's already there in vivid resolution. Things have their own awareness and are always already where they are. I remember when I first noticed this exclaiming to myself "That hair brush... it's so entirely where it is!" 
Bodily Perception
  • These past few months, I feel less like a brain from which a body happens to be dangling from and more like a whole body-sensory unit moving through the space of the world. The body is warmer, filled-out, grounded. I feel closer to the earth and "dropped in". The back of the legs and pelvic floor feel strong and solid. 
  • This increasing embodiment seems to be fed by constant purification that feels rote at this point. There is a cycle that brings an intense night or two of things popping, dissolving, vibrating, fizzing and warbling from the throat all the way down to the pelvic floor. This is followed by a reduction in anxiety and deepening stillness. 
  • Ongoing energetic pressure, tension and vibration in a variety of different gradations continues to happen day in and day out in the face, third eye, crown, back of head and back of neck. Seems to be going in the direction of increasing pleasure. 
  • A sense of perceiving more through the body, through the chest and abdomen. 
  • A deepening sense of stillness that can be tapped into whenever. A transpersonal therapist/energy-worker I've been seeing said, "I can feel the emptiness radiating out of your every pore." Not sure if that is a particularly rigorous assessment, but hey. 
  • It's more apparent that when things are wrong they aren't wrong "out there". If the body is anxious, the world and its objects appear terrifying and threatening. If the body is filled with joy and bliss, all is right with everything happening in the world and it is all perfect. If the body is tense and irritated, the world appears to annoy and obstruct my efforts. And so on.  

Psychological/Emotional Perception
  • More and more I am tapping into this sense of awe, a feeling of "Damn, I'm really out here in this". In these moments there is a creepy, massive sense of scale to everything and a sense that I am perceiving through less veils of conditioning and belief than before. 
  • Sexual craving is attenuating. I don't feel pushed or pulled by sexual desire so much, it's easy to watch it arise and pass without falling into it. This isn't to say that I feel that it is immoral or unethical, but that it just doesn't have much sway over me as it used to.
  • Short periods of intense fear and paranoid thoughts, but less of a problem. Short periods of inexplicable bursts of sobbing (I hear an arpeggiated minor chord in a song, time to cry! emoticon) and anger, but less of a problem. Short periods of intense love and gratitude, during which I instantly want to send it out to "all beings". 
  • In general I'm just happier and have less greed, hatred and delusion. When gross hindrances pop up they are so so obvious that I can ditch them in a moment. Interestingly though, those brief moments are infinitely more painful than they used to be. 
  • A handful of things still suck in my day-to-day life but they aren't that big of a deal. 


RE: Zachary on the Middle Paths
3/31/19 6:02 AM as a reply to Zachary.
Very cool! 

(There can be some emotional sensitivity and spookiness as you adjust to the "I'm really here, completely exposed" experience, which is a good thing, it points to the subtle reactivity that still exists.)

How is practice going? Do have a way to work with this latest development?

RE: Zachary on the Middle Paths
4/12/19 7:17 PM as a reply to shargrol.
How is practice going? Do have a way to work with this latest development?
Practice continues to be pretty straightforward. I show up, let things fall into place, gently investigate whatever is going on in experience. Current objects of investigation during a sit typically include a wide sense of stillness, a deepening "This is It"-ness, the fluxing presence of the body in space, the limits and edges of awareness in the 360-degree multi-dimensional area around the body, the sense of doing and non-doing, subtle movements attempting to make something happen, the sense of ownership and identification with all of the above. 

RE: Zachary on the Middle Paths
4/3/19 1:59 PM as a reply to Zachary.
Really looking forward to hearing about this phase of your practice and life. It was cool to meet you a few weeks ago and hope our paths cross again in the future!