Message Boards Message Boards

Motivation and Results

When Cessation Is a Letdown

Toggle
When Cessation Is a Letdown
Answer
5/16/19 9:02 PM
With some recent posts on the DhO I've been thinking this could be a timely discussion. So, experiences of cessation are generally described as leading to insight or being self evidently profound, however I have to say my own experiences have been... Underwhelming at best. I mean that in the sense that, while somewhat interesting the first one or two times they occured and perhaps followed by a mildly pleasant afterglow, they generally seem no more insightful than getting punched in the head. Cessation doesn't seem like a particularly 'undesireable' state, but the 'final letting go' seems not really any different or less conditioned than unconsciousness, which is perfectly accessable without going through the rigamarole of the jhanas. Heck, it seems not particularly different from dullness or deep sleep even. Sort of profoundly unprofound. I get that this is supposed to be 'different' in that it is unconditioned and I accept that I may just not be there yet with letting go of attachment to formless states, but for the moment I'm left underwhelmed and unmotivated. Or perhaps I am simply viewing it wrong? Interested to hear your thoughts and experiences.

RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown
Answer
5/16/19 10:32 PM as a reply to Milo.
The most profound shifts and insights, in my experience, have not come after cessations or even path fruitions. A&P and EQ have unveiled the deepest insights. 

RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown
Answer
5/17/19 6:11 AM as a reply to Milo.
Milo, just building on what Nick O said ... something very useful for me was being ready for the 'aha' moment in daily life, and then diving deeply into that moment, wallowing in it, and keeping it going for as long as I could.

I would read widely so I would know roughly what to expect, but without investigating or intellectualising it too much. Instead, I would try to maintain a curious openness about experience. Then, when that insight moment arrived, maybe months later, I would get that moment of knowing directly for myself. Oh!  That's what is is! Rather than the dry intellectual knowing, I would grok the direct phenomenal experience of knowing for myself. I would revel in that direct knowledge, and extend it, and follow it to see if it could cascade to related insights.

There seems to be something about the surprise of the direct knowing suddenly presented that makes the brain plastic.

However, I found I needed well-developed concentration to make sure I didn't recoil in shock.

Then, if new perceptions or absorptions became available afterwards, I would spend lots of time in them for a few weeks until the novelty wore off.  I like to think of this as burning in the new wiring of the brain.

Your mileage may vary.  emoticon  Best of luck

Malcolm 

RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown
Answer
5/17/19 7:01 AM as a reply to Milo.
Heck, it seems not particularly different from dullness or deep sleep even.

Interesting. This has not been my experience. There is a profound difference between sleep and dullness and the nothingness of cessation. After cessation, it was profoundly obvious to me, upon further contemplation, that consciousness itself is contingent upon mind creating the observer and the observed. The occurrence of cessation itself does something to the mind, but that something seems to be variable depending on the person. 

RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown
Answer
5/17/19 7:24 AM as a reply to Milo.
For me, the blip itself was something of an anti-klimax most of the times, but in all instances either the build-up for it or the rebuilding of the world after it said something very significant, and they all resulted in great relief from previous hang-ups. The latter created a huge contrast, but not all of it stuck.

RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown
Answer
5/17/19 7:30 AM as a reply to curious.
curious:
Milo, just building on what Nick O said ... something very useful for me was being ready for the 'aha' moment in daily life, and then diving deeply into that moment, wallowing in it, and keeping it going for as long as I could.


Yup, those moments just kinda slap me in the face when least expected and mostly its off-cushion. I'll just be sitting somewhere, taking a break at work and something deep in the subconscious coalesces into a light bulb. Never an experience fit for language.  

RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown
Answer
5/17/19 9:07 AM as a reply to Nick O.
Yeah, that happens to me too. I think it’s important not to underestimate those moments just because they do not fit into certain ideas of when and how insights occur.

RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown
Answer
5/18/19 8:16 PM as a reply to Milo.
Totally not my experience. Cessation is nothing like dullness, the actual non-experience itself is not flashy but the obvious shift in state of mind before/after and the mind's imprint of what was just experienced is unmistakable. The actual insight is not contained in the nothingness of cessation, it's the mind moments immediately before and after the cessation. I mean, how much simpler can it get, the mind observes an object without craving and suffering, the mind, the self, and everything stops!  How is that not the most self evident, obvious experience of the second noble truth? That cutting the chain of dependent origination at craving stops the entire show? How is that not the most self-evident, profound and simple realization? 

If that's not true for you then incline the mind toward seeing the thing more clearly and getting the actual insight.  
 

RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown
Answer
5/18/19 8:24 PM as a reply to Nick O.
Nick O:
The most profound shifts and insights, in my experience, have not come after cessations or even path fruitions. A&P and EQ have unveiled the deepest insights.
Yes, I would agree, especially for EQ in my case.

RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown
Answer
5/18/19 8:27 PM as a reply to curious.
curious:
Milo, just building on what Nick O said ... something very useful for me was being ready for the 'aha' moment in daily life, and then diving deeply into that moment, wallowing in it, and keeping it going for as long as I could.

I would read widely so I would know roughly what to expect, but without investigating or intellectualising it too much. Instead, I would try to maintain a curious openness about experience. Then, when that insight moment arrived, maybe months later, I would get that moment of knowing directly for myself. Oh!  That's what is is! Rather than the dry intellectual knowing, I would grok the direct phenomenal experience of knowing for myself. I would revel in that direct knowledge, and extend it, and follow it to see if it could cascade to related insights.

There seems to be something about the surprise of the direct knowing suddenly presented that makes the brain plastic.

However, I found I needed well-developed concentration to make sure I didn't recoil in shock.

Then, if new perceptions or absorptions became available afterwards, I would spend lots of time in them for a few weeks until the novelty wore off.  I like to think of this as burning in the new wiring of the brain.

Your mileage may vary.  emoticon  Best of luck

Malcolm 
That makes sense. It could be that I am not prepping for these experiences effectively. Thank you : )

RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown
Answer
5/18/19 8:33 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Heck, it seems not particularly different from dullness or deep sleep even.

Interesting. This has not been my experience. There is a profound difference between sleep and dullness and the nothingness of cessation. After cessation, it was profoundly obvious to me, upon further contemplation, that consciousness itself is contingent upon mind creating the observer and the observed. The occurrence of cessation itself does something to the mind, but that something seems to be variable depending on the person. 

Interesting indeed. The mind creating the observer/observed seems evident at the end of the formless jhanas, when there is a complete unity of raw awareness. Cessation doesn't usually add much of an 'aha' moment for me. Again, not setting aside the distinct possibility that I just haven't achieved sophisticated enough discernment to make it out. Could be I am back here in a month feeling like Homer Simpson again.

RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown
Answer
5/18/19 8:36 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
For me, the blip itself was something of an anti-klimax most of the times, but in all instances either the build-up for it or the rebuilding of the world after it said something very significant, and they all resulted in great relief from previous hang-ups. The latter created a huge contrast, but not all of it stuck.

That's good to hear. Can you put into words what kind of hangups you mean?

RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown
Answer
5/18/19 8:38 PM as a reply to Nick O.
Nick O:
curious:
Milo, justbuilding on what Nick O said ... something very useful for me was being ready for the 'aha'moment in daily life, and then diving deeply into that moment, wallowing in it, and keeping it going for aslong as I could.


Yup, those moments just kinda slap me in the face when least expected and mostly its off-cushion. I'll just be sitting somewhere, taking a break at work and something deep in the subconscious coalesces into a light bulb. Never an experience fit for language.  


Does that mean these insights are delayed in your experience? I wonder if I'm just not linking them to the cessation.

RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown
Answer
5/18/19 8:40 PM as a reply to SigmaTropic.
SigmaTropic:
Totally not my experience. Cessation is nothing like dullness, the actual non-experience itself is not flashy but the obvious shift in state of mind before/after and the mind's imprint of what was just experienced is unmistakable. The actual insight is not contained in the nothingness of cessation, it's the mind moments immediately before and after the cessation. I mean, how much simpler can it get, the mind observes an object without craving and suffering, the mind, the self, and everything stops!  How is that not the most self evident, obvious experience of the second noble truth? That cutting the chain of dependent origination at craving stops the entire show? How is that not the most self-evident, profound and simple realization? 

If that's not true for you then incline the mind toward seeing the thing more clearly and getting the actual insight.  
 


What is dullness like for you, as opposed to cessation?

RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown
Answer
5/18/19 9:11 PM as a reply to Milo.
Milo:
SigmaTropic:
Totally not my experience. Cessation is nothing like dullness, the actual non-experience itself is not flashy but the obvious shift in state of mind before/after and the mind's imprint of what was just experienced is unmistakable. The actual insight is not contained in the nothingness of cessation, it's the mind moments immediately before and after the cessation. I mean, how much simpler can it get, the mind observes an object without craving and suffering, the mind, the self, and everything stops!  How is that not the most self evident, obvious experience of the second noble truth? That cutting the chain of dependent origination at craving stops the entire show? How is that not the most self-evident, profound and simple realization? 

If that's not true for you then incline the mind toward seeing the thing more clearly and getting the actual insight.  
 


What is dullness like for you, as opposed to cessation?
In dullness for me there can be hazy periods where it seems like something was missed but it's not clear when the oblivion began or ended. In dullness I'm just not clear on anything happening, there's really low awareness and the bandwidth of consciousness is very small. 

With cessations the thing blinks in a snap and during the mind moments before there's an awareness of the mind itself. There's a tranquil bliss wave and I'm clearly in a different mind state after.  

RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown
Answer
5/18/19 11:08 PM as a reply to Milo.
Milo:
Nick O:
curious:
Milo, justbuilding on what Nick O said ... something very useful for me was being ready for the 'aha'moment in daily life, and then diving deeply into that moment, wallowing in it, and keeping it going for aslong as I could.


Yup, those moments just kinda slap me in the face when least expected and mostly its off-cushion. I'll just be sitting somewhere, taking a break at work and something deep in the subconscious coalesces into a light bulb. Never an experience fit for language.  


Does that mean these insights are delayed in your experience? I wonder if I'm just not linking them to the cessation.
Insights, in my experience, haven't always come packaged with a cessation. In fact, more often they're not. Insights in general are hard for me to pin down. People often speak about them as these tangible moments. I've always seen them happen more like changing lighting scenes on a stage untethered to time and once you try to size them up into a communicable idea all you get is the last handful of dust as it slides through your fingers.

I digress, but the genius ability to which many people on this forum are able to put these experiences to words is beyond me. I'm continuously blown away. Nine out of ten times when I make an attempt to share experiences on this forum I end up closing the browser mid-sentence. Words just don't...hmmm...emoticon  

RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown
Answer
5/19/19 1:26 AM as a reply to Milo.
Milo:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
For me, the blip itself was something of an anti-klimax most of the times, but in all instances either the build-up for it or the rebuilding of the world after it said something very significant, and they all resulted in great relief from previous hang-ups. The latter created a huge contrast, but not all of it stuck.

That's good to hear. Can you put into words what kind of hangups you mean?


Social anxiety, need for mental preparation in a new social situation, feeling overwhelmed by eye contact, being self-conscious and therefore not open... things like that. Self-related stuff.