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Why is awakening so great?

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Why is awakening so great?
Answer
4/26/19 8:41 PM
Besides the popular/traditional answer "awakening is good for nothing"... why should anyone pursue this?

I'm in need of some motivation. Please feel free to let it fly! 

RE: Why is awakening so great?
Answer
4/27/19 1:38 AM as a reply to Hibiscus Kid.
Hey Kiddo,

I really appreciated your good wishes a month or so ago, so I guess I owe you a reply  :-)  So here is one perspective on how the whole thing proceeds.

First
- Your certainty about yourself and the world gets exploded by some energetic rapture or glimpse of luminosity.  Which of course leads to all sorts of stuff coming up, as your carefully crafted defence mechanisms are also disrupted.

Then
- You get a glimpse of Truth that knocks the supports away from the central delusion in your life. Whole heaps of angst and suffering fall right away because they were based on that delusion. Those levels of angst and suffering will never ever return. It is an extraordinary milestone.

Then
- A whole series of false starts and shifts eventually culminate in thorough understanding and control of form, feeling, perception, voilitions and consciousness. It’s like you have finally been given the user manual to yourself!  There is some difficult stuff on the way as you figure out and rewire your control mechanisms, but eventually you break free of unconscious urges and can mostly choose your state of mind and actions (but only when you think to do so).

Then
- Then you work steadily through sensory development and the chain of dependent arising until the whole thing inverts, and that central subject (you) and object (the world) blends into something ineffable, with access to a blissful and unified expanded perception in a state of flow. This is an almost perfect state, except it comes and goes, and there is still a knot of something there, a nagging imperfection, a stone in the sandal, and your effort and identity get a bit devoted to being in this state of non-dual bliss.

And finally
- Unbinding. Seeing through the last knot of clinging and going to the state beyond states. This is the ordinary humanity. Back to the beginning.  Waking up happy every day, feeling completely liberated, not needing anything. It is The Cure - the death of the memetic virus that had been inhabiting your mind and pushing your buttons. It’s like you are  a giant steampunk factory with levers and dials and gears and belts and subsidiary machines, and the central powerplant just gets disintegrated. You are liberated.

There is still pain, and actually a little suffering as the subsidiary machines (sankharas) run on for a bit, and the dukka nanas seem to be have a bodily rhythm and so continue on in some way, but with much much less force. You can easily access whatever absorptions you had achieved, but being in an absoprtion (even non-dual bliss) becomes completely optional.

And you would rather be unbound and looking at the stain on the wall in a jail cell, than not be unbound and living with all the money, drugs, artworks, connections, cars, sex that you can imagine. Once you are rid of it, you don’t want that damn memetic virus back.  All it does is makes you suffer to get what it thinks it wants, but can never actually have. 

But you have no limits now, no fetters. So morality is the last training, if you want to live in society.

Just my ravings.

Malcolm

RE: Why is awakening so great?
Answer
4/27/19 4:13 AM as a reply to Hibiscus Kid.
If you're measuring against some inner or outer life dysfunction, the benefit of awakening is obvious.

If you're not, then it's likely less obvious.  But even beyond coarse 'issues', what else is there in life that permanently improves every moment of waking & dreaming experience, for the remainder of your time in life?  It's a pretty good deal.  It just feels good to be alive, to breathe, to exist & be not separate from experience/other people/nature/whatever.  It feels good to *know* this in the bones, moment by moment.  To directly percieve the fundamental situation of a continuos space of experience without that nagging tension of conscious points within the space fighting against each other, vying for supremacy.  Without that nagging itch for subtle permanence & completion.  A sense of allowing the gestalt to unfold is a type of thrill that muggles will never fully know.  

RE: Why is awakening so great?
Answer
4/27/19 6:08 AM as a reply to Hibiscus Kid.
If I were given two options:

1. Die tomorrow, which would mean just one more day with things as they are, or
2. Live another 50 years in good health plus winning the lottery but having to go back to things as they were

I would choose option 1 without hesitation.

What's going on with your practice, Kid?

RE: Why is awakening so great?
Answer
4/28/19 9:03 AM as a reply to Hibiscus Kid.
Peace, in a word.

Even very egoically fulfilling lives, as near as I can figure, appear to hide an inner life of suffering.  Do you want to lay down some burdens?  Stop pushing and pulling so much?

RE: Why is awakening so great?
Answer
4/28/19 4:11 PM as a reply to curious.
Hey Malcolm,

You don't owe me anything emoticon The fact that you kept a practice log at all was a boon to myself and others. I am bummed that you were not able to make it to the NYC meet up with Daniel. I really wanted to meet you since it seems like your practice log up until that point was getting the last knot to untangle. If you're ever available to Skype, I'd love to hear more about your path and how it unfolded. I'm sincerely happy for you!

As far as my question: that is pretty much what I wanted to hear/read. I really appreciate the framework you laid out. I am very familiar with the 4 path model, but your model seems very related to Western psychology in a way. I can relate to some of it, but I also have the feeling that I haven't even hit the first stage of your framework in a way (or not how you experienced it at least). Energetic rapture and luminosity would not describe my experience if I had to be honest, especially when luminosity seems to show up post 3rd path. 

This is what really does it for me though:   
And you would rather be unbound and looking at the stain on the wall in a jail cell, than not be unbound and living with all the money, drugs, artworks, connections, cars, sex that you can imagine. Once you are rid of it, you don’t want that damn memetic virus back.  All it does is makes you suffer to get what it thinks it wants, but can never actually have.  
At this point in my young life, I really want all of that stuff to some degree (sans drugs maybe), but I have seen how it doesn't really get it done. Even though all that stuff is sexy, one can still have/participate in that sort of lifestyle and be miserable. I suppose that is why that quote is so good for me to hear. 

My reason for making the post: The flip side is, I am only 25 and everyone around me is pursuing their careers, social lives, exotic vacations, nice things, etc. I have the means to pursue the same material stuff, but I am also afraid to invest multiple hours a day into this awakening project. It is pretty lonely as there are very few people who are pragmatic dharma oriented. There is a lot more to this point, more than I want to expand upon here though. 

Anyway, thank you for your response. It is super inspiring and I really hope that we can talk soon! Either via Skype or face to face since you don't seem so far from CT, although I could be wrong! Good luck with the sankharas you are probably working with now! I really hope to be able to experience the same territory some day!

Thank you for everything Malcolm! Please feel free to rave any time: I'll always read what you have to say! 

Warm regards,

Alex

RE: Why is awakening so great?
Answer
4/28/19 4:44 PM as a reply to Andromeda.
Hello Andromeda,

I've seen Shinzen Young say the same thing (and I have heard that quote before I ever discovered Shinzen). I've been skeptical however since Shinzen makes his living as a dharma teacher (although I do respect him and have benefitted greatly from his material). 

I really appreciate the fact that you validated the same sentiment. You've always had some good wisdom/instructions for me and I've seen you give other people here on the DhO some really lovely, pragmatic, gentle advice.

[As an aside: I'd really like to talk to you via Skype or phone if you're ever available/interested. emoticon I am always interested in hearing about the lives and spiritual paths of more experienced practitioners than myself given the fact that I am so new to the game.]

As far as my practice post reading MCTB for the first time (starting in August 2017): I spent about 8-10 months doing hardcore (persistent), informal noting off cushion for 3-12 hours a day. At some point (May 23, 2018 to be exact) I thought reality syched up: a complete moment, a 'fwip' was heard, and a bliss wave (traveling from my face towards my feet) which relieved all bodily tension that day, but has not happened since. 

I got lazy after that and super neurotic thinking that I was a streamenterer. Now, I am not so sure. Based on some people's descriptions: A&P... other descriptons: Stream Entry. At this point though, it doesn't really matter what it was. What matters is how I feel moment to moment....If I had to describe the last few weeks: Impatience and doubt were really huge. It felt like there was no point in meditiation. I'd rather be the 25 year old that I am and behave as such. I am at a weird point in my life where I just want to be an irresponsible 25 year old, but I really don't think I can ignore 'dharma practice'. 

That is basically where I am: too young/inexperienced to have anything figured out, yet unable to ignore what I feel may make my life better/may make life worth living fully. 

Trying to find the balance between awakening quickly, yet still having a social life, and not burning myself out). 

Thank you for your words Andromeda!

RE: Why is awakening so great?
Answer
4/28/19 5:15 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah! 

I've seen what path shifts have done for you and your well-being. There is no denying that hardcore practice changed your life!

I'd love to talk to you some time! Your posts have given me so much good info in the past year or so. I also have messaged you under the name 'Redwood Rings' on reddit (so this is not the first time we are interacting!). I recently started posting under the name Hibiscus-Kid to keep it consistent...

I always consider you when I think about people and their off cushion practice. You seemed to have managed some amazing territory just through daily life noting: even surprising Ron Crouch when you were cutting into EQ. Basically, you taught me not to underestimate off cushion practice. It is seriously important and has become a huge part of my life!! Between you and Daniel, I really gave myself to noting. 

If you ever want to skype, I would really appreciate that! If I ever travel to Seattle, I would absolutely want to meet SPUDS! Your practice logs are always fun to read and I hope that I can hear more from you and maybe some other pragmatic SPUDS practitioners! Most of all, it seems like you're only a few years older than me. It is really awesome and inspiring to see someone so young having these insights/realiziations... I'm only 25, but it can feel weird when dharma-oriented person I interact with (in person) is already retired or decades older than myself. Maybe you can give me some pointers to start a sangha in CT (via reddit). Thank you for everything!!

RE: Why is awakening so great?
Answer
4/28/19 5:25 PM as a reply to Hibiscus Kid.
Hibiscus Kid:

Besides the popular/traditional answer "awakening is good for nothing"... why should anyone pursue this?

I'm in need of some motivation. Please feel free to let it fly!

If I had to describe the last few weeks: Impatience and doubt were really huge. It felt like there was no point in meditiation. I'd rather be the 25 year old that I am and behave as such. I am at a weird point in my life where I just want to be an irresponsible 25 year old, but I really don't think I can ignore 'dharma practice'. 

Trying to find the balance between awakening quickly, yet still having a social life, and not burning myself out. 



It sounds like maybe you are somewhat burned out with dharma practice.  It's always ok to relax your practice or take a break, there's no external judgement saying that "you need to practice meditation 100% all the time".

I have personally found that pursuing the path to awakening has been extremely worthwhile, and it has changed my life for the better very dramatically.  However, the success I had on the path was directly related to my burning desire to overcome the suffering that I felt.  

If you're not suffering dramatically, there's no reason to force yourself to practice.  Feel free to swing more towards the social life end of the balance, and then apply more effort towards meditation if that feels like something you want or need to do. 

If your practice is feeling stagnant, it is totally appropriate to back off and revaluate your goals and desires regarding meditation - relight the spark as it were.

RE: Why is awakening so great?
Answer
4/28/19 7:28 PM as a reply to T DC.
Hello T DC! 

I've seen your posts both here and on the reddit stream entry page! I suppose that I have been burned out for quite a while by some people's measures, but maybe pushing through some of the doubt is worthwhile...

From what I've seen, you progressed quite rapidly within a short amount of time which is really inspiring. At the same time, it induces a bit of fear in me since I feel that any break in practice will lead to regression! I feel that dharma practice will be a harder nut for me to crack than it was for you. These things vary from person to person. 

I feel a certain level of suffereing on a daily basis, mostly related to my lifestyle and the fact that I feel stuck and am afraid to make big changes in an effort to find more meaning in my career. I also notice the suffering inherent with the various issues that come up when living in society: the various things that cause contraction are endless. 

The irony here is that I want to get to a point with all of this where I can just carry on with my life. I have a feeling that it will take some time. 

Do you have any additional thoughts? If you're ever available to talk on the phone or via skype, please let me know! I'm interested in how this all unfolded for you!

RE: Why is awakening so great?
Answer
4/29/19 5:07 AM as a reply to Hibiscus Kid.
Thanks for the kind words, Kid. 

There's a lot I could say, but actually what you're writing reminds me of a verse that I passed along to someone else at a similar age/stage. She found it very helpful, so I'm going to copy it for you here. It's from Ken McLeod's translation of Tokme Zongpo's Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva, aka Reflections on Silver River. Let me know if it stirs up anything for you.

Verse I

Right now you have a good boat, fully equipped and
available--hard to find.
To free yourself and others from the sea of samsara,
Day and night, constantly,
Study, reflect, and meditate--this is the practice of
a bodhisattva.

Commentary:

You are standing on a wooden dock. It is old and falling apart. In front of you, the open expanse of the ocean extends to the horizon. Below your feet is a boat, well stocked and fully equipped. You know it is, because you took care in preparing it. 

It is the only boat at the dock. The other moorings are empty, forgotten.

You are not exactly sure how you came to be here, but you do know you cannot turn your back on the ocean. Yet you hesitate to step into the boat.

What stops you?

From the town behind you, you hear a constant hum of activity: cars, buses, people crying their wares in the market, the faint wail of an ambulance, a police car or a fire truck racing to the next emergency. You know that your friends, your colleagues and your relatives are all busy--providing for their familes, moving ahead in their lives, making their mark on the world.

You are here looking at the ocean, the boat gently bobbing at your feet as waves lap against the dock.

The world behind you seems simultaneously full and empty. There are many enjoyments and rewards. You have tasted them. But you cannot escape a sense of futility and a gnawing insistence that wonders, "Is this all there is?" Your friends sometimes touch the same feeling, but they turn away from it quickly--a gap in the web of life that is never explored.

You cannot turn away. You wonder how they can. And you wonder what, if anything, you can do for them so that they do not turn away. You wonder because you are pretty sure that you are missing something, and that is why you prepared the boat. And you think they might be missing something, too. But you do not know what.

What will it take for you to step into the boat?

RE: Why is awakening so great?
Answer
4/30/19 1:47 PM as a reply to curious.
I am curious about the post by "curious " if this is your personal experience?

RE: Why is awakening so great?
Answer
5/1/19 2:23 AM as a reply to Devinder Makker.
Well a mix of my experience and my interpreation others' experiences.  I think these things can present a bit differently for different people, and some of them repeat or cycle in and out.  And in the case of the third and fourth parts of my five part analysis, they are overlapping clusters that develop partly in serial and partly in parallel.  So, as I said, one perspective.  emoticon

RE: Why is awakening so great?
Answer
5/1/19 2:30 AM as a reply to Hibiscus Kid.
Hibiscus Kid:
Hey Malcolm,

You don't owe me anything emoticon The fact that you kept a practice log at all was a boon to myself and others. I am bummed that you were not able to make it to the NYC meet up with Daniel. I really wanted to meet you since it seems like your practice log up until that point was getting the last knot to untangle. If you're ever available to Skype, I'd love to hear more about your path and how it unfolded. I'm sincerely happy for you!

As far as my question: that is pretty much what I wanted to hear/read. I really appreciate the framework you laid out. I am very familiar with the 4 path model, but your model seems very related to Western psychology in a way. I can relate to some of it, but I also have the feeling that I haven't even hit the first stage of your framework in a way (or not how you experienced it at least). Energetic rapture and luminosity would not describe my experience if I had to be honest, especially when luminosity seems to show up post 3rd path. 

This is what really does it for me though:   
And you would rather be unbound and looking at the stain on the wall in a jail cell, than not be unbound and living with all the money, drugs, artworks, connections, cars, sex that you can imagine. Once you are rid of it, you don’t want that damn memetic virus back.  All it does is makes you suffer to get what it thinks it wants, but can never actually have.  
At this point in my young life, I really want all of that stuff to some degree (sans drugs maybe), but I have seen how it doesn't really get it done. Even though all that stuff is sexy, one can still have/participate in that sort of lifestyle and be miserable. I suppose that is why that quote is so good for me to hear. 

My reason for making the post: The flip side is, I am only 25 and everyone around me is pursuing their careers, social lives, exotic vacations, nice things, etc. I have the means to pursue the same material stuff, but I am also afraid to invest multiple hours a day into this awakening project. It is pretty lonely as there are very few people who are pragmatic dharma oriented. There is a lot more to this point, more than I want to expand upon here though. 

Anyway, thank you for your response. It is super inspiring and I really hope that we can talk soon! Either via Skype or face to face since you don't seem so far from CT, although I could be wrong! Good luck with the sankharas you are probably working with now! I really hope to be able to experience the same territory some day!

Thank you for everything Malcolm! Please feel free to rave any time: I'll always read what you have to say! 

Warm regards,

Alex

Thanks Alex. emoticon Sure PM me on the DhO message system and we can arrange to chat sometime.  But I am actually in New Zealand ... a looong way away.  It might take a while to coordinate a time as I am pretty busy at the moment - but let's try!

What I have described as raptures or glimpses of luminosity present in all sorts of ways, but yes I am pointing to A&P type experiences. I had a couple of strong glimpses of luminosity as a young man, and a couple more mild ones a few years ago. I didn't really know what they were at the time, but now I know they were indeed somewhere on that non-dual luminious spectrum.  That's what I understand the Tibetan's to say too, that you can get glimpses, and then later develop it, and then have it fully developed, and then (in some systems) go beyond it.

Malcolm

RE: Why is awakening so great?
Answer
5/1/19 3:04 AM as a reply to Hibiscus Kid.
Hello! 
I saw your post, so I thought I'll answer.
For me, awakening is about getting to "understand the self" (or no self, or no permanent abiding self -- or whatever -- words don't capture it likely) -- let us say, to get to the truth of the "self".
Is anything else more important than understanding the true nature of the ourselves? In other words, what is more important than solving the problem of our very own existence? These are some things that, when I think about, I get motivated some times.

RE: Why is awakening so great?
Answer
5/3/19 11:26 PM as a reply to Hibiscus Kid.
Hibiscus Kid:
Hello T DC! 

I've seen your posts both here and on the reddit stream entry page! I suppose that I have been burned out for quite a while by some people's measures, but maybe pushing through some of the doubt is worthwhile...

From what I've seen, you progressed quite rapidly within a short amount of time which is really inspiring. At the same time, it induces a bit of fear in me since I feel that any break in practice will lead to regression! I feel that dharma practice will be a harder nut for me to crack than it was for you. These things vary from person to person. 

I feel a certain level of suffereing on a daily basis, mostly related to my lifestyle and the fact that I feel stuck and am afraid to make big changes in an effort to find more meaning in my career. I also notice the suffering inherent with the various issues that come up when living in society: the various things that cause contraction are endless. 

The irony here is that I want to get to a point with all of this where I can just carry on with my life. I have a feeling that it will take some time. 

Do you have any additional thoughts? If you're ever available to talk on the phone or via skype, please let me know! I'm interested in how this all unfolded for you!

Hey HK, I'm happy to skype sometime, I'll send you a pm.  One thing I thought of with your post, specifically regarding suffering around your career, is that there is a certain tension between meditative progression and action in the world.  Call if the eightfold path if you like, but the point is that although meditative progression can indeed make us happier, more functional individuals, our real world actions and situation also have a very significant bearing on our life satisfaction.  One way I have heard this put is, what kind of life do you want to wake up to?

Another angle - personally I was driven on the path because I felt I would not be able to find genuine satisfaction in life without overcoming my mental delusion.  I found that progress on the path greatly enhanced my ability to live a productive and satisfying life, but as they say, "Let go a little, find a little peace.  Let go all the way, find complete peace".  I really could not take no for an answer and was driven to fully eradicate my suffering, so that I could truly live a complete and happy life.  

What the path may bring for you, and how success on path will impact your life is for you to discover however, everyone's different.  emoticon