Message Boards Message Boards

Motivation and Results

When Cessation Is a Letdown

Toggle
When Cessation Is a Letdown Milo 5/16/19 9:02 PM
RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown Nick O 5/16/19 10:32 PM
RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown Milo 5/18/19 8:24 PM
RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown curious 5/17/19 6:11 AM
RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown Nick O 5/17/19 7:30 AM
RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 5/17/19 9:07 AM
RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown Milo 5/18/19 8:38 PM
RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown Nick O 5/18/19 11:08 PM
RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown Milo 5/18/19 8:27 PM
RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown Chris Marti 5/17/19 7:01 AM
RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown Milo 5/18/19 8:33 PM
RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 5/17/19 7:24 AM
RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown Milo 5/18/19 8:36 PM
RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 5/19/19 1:26 AM
RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown SigmaTropic 5/18/19 8:16 PM
RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown Milo 5/18/19 8:40 PM
RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown SigmaTropic 5/18/19 9:11 PM
RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown Papa Che Dusko 3/17/20 3:35 AM
RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown Lewis James 3/17/20 6:02 AM
RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/17/20 6:09 AM
RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown Lewis James 3/17/20 6:15 AM
RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/17/20 6:17 AM
RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/17/20 6:22 AM
RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown Lewis James 3/17/20 6:40 AM
RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/17/20 7:23 AM
RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown Jim Smith 3/17/20 8:51 AM
RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown Jim Smith 3/17/20 9:01 AM
RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/17/20 9:57 AM
RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown Papa Che Dusko 3/17/20 11:50 AM
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.

RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown
Answer
3/17/20 3:35 AM as a reply to Milo.
I can't tell anything about the cessation at all. I simply have no memory of it. All I can remember is afterwards that something has gone missing, utterly and there was a surprised and genuine "what was that????".

No afterglow, nothing but an ordinary feel. There was a moment of meditator investigating body and mind sensations but nothing special was there. Cessation happened off the cushion while playing with my son.  

However, later there was a sense that something heavy has lifted and there was a strong feeling "I came back to myself".

Simile explaining the feel;
It's as if I was gone on a journey and at first I knew where I was heading to, then got totally lost trying to find the way again, then lost all hope and realized that I am utterly lost and there is no way back. Got up on my feet again and just kept walking without hope that I will ever come back home. Then suddenly around the corner I see my home again. There is such a relief. Such gratitude. 

Basically for me cessation was totaly not by the book. No doors, no repetitions, no experience that all this comes out of emptiness. 
As far as I know it could also be that all emptiness comes out of This-ness emoticon 

Which experience is the true one? emoticon 

RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown
Answer
3/17/20 6:02 AM as a reply to Milo.
I seem to get cessations on a spectrum. Most are extremely tiny, immediate, a snap, like cut frames from a movie, and they feel relieving. On the other end, I've had a few that were more dramatic, more prolonged, like sensations being slowly faded out like a mist, and whooshing back in. Actually there isn't much in between. I'm not sure if this is what was referred to above as "cessations" and "path fruitions" but I doubt it. I've wondered if the latter actually just some extremely stable formless jhana, but having done the formless realms practice with Michael Taft it wasn't the same.

The first cessation I noticed was kinda disappointing, compelling, but not very special feeling. Those more interesting experiences didn't start happening til a couple of years ago. But I'd say those small, disappointing ones changed my life direction a lot more overtly than the big ones, which seem to have more subtle effects in the world of sila/behaviour.

RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown
Answer
3/17/20 6:09 AM as a reply to Lewis James.
I have been wondering recently if the cessations are like restarting a computor. Sometimes that has a huge effect because it makes a huge upgrade of software integrate and come into play. Other times it's just a smaller upgrade, and most of the times, if repeated often, it just tidies things up a bit and that isn't even noticable. 

RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown
Answer
3/17/20 6:15 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
You know, I've had the same perception and even an energetic sense of things being changed around in the head, like code being rewritten. It's odd, I'm sceptical, but it makes sense.

RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown
Answer
3/17/20 6:17 AM as a reply to Lewis James.
That's my working theory right now.

RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown
Answer
3/17/20 6:22 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
It would explain why some of these seemingly anticlimactic blips make such a great difference whereas others seem to do less.

RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown
Answer
3/17/20 6:40 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I think in philosophy of mind the idea that the brain is a computer that produces some linear output has fallen out of favour, but for a meditation metaphor it works for me.

Whatever is happening during meditation insight seems to involve the brain, at least there's sensation there (which may be meaningless). I'm sure someone has data out there about the brain activity during fruition. I think Daniel even mentioned having DIY produced his own a while back.

One such experience I remember clearly that it felt like upon coming back into experience something 'locked' my observer point in mental space so that it couldn't be intentionally directed, and I felt what seemed like millions of beads running through the brain matter, moving in a kind of jerky, digital way, with the sense that they were doing some kind of important operation. Very strange. But fun emoticon

RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown
Answer
3/17/20 7:23 AM as a reply to Lewis James.
That was some great clarity of the coming back experience! Cool! 

RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown
Answer
3/17/20 8:51 AM as a reply to Milo.
Milo:
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.

Maybe it's because the insights are not always connected with the experiences the way people think they are. You might have the insight before the experience or you might have the experience without any insight. In either case the experience will be bland in comparison to what others describe.

In a couple of other threads in these forums, and on other forums, I've asked what the difference was between stream entry and the effects of life long regular meditation. I couldn't see any. Then I read Shinzen Young's explanation of gradual enlightenment and it all made sense. 

I know people here have had experiences that have coinsided with important insights and irriversible changes. But I also think that is the exception rather than the rule - contrary to popular (consensus) belief. And the result is a lot of people don't understand what is going on and they are practicing very hard trying to have something that they don't need when they might already have what they are looking for or are standing an inch away from it but looking in the wrong direction. 

Here is another post in my practice log on gradual enlightenment:
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/18666987#_19_message_18666987

.

RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown
Answer
3/17/20 9:01 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim Smith:
Milo:
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.

Maybe it's because the insights are not always connected with the experiences the way people think they are. You might have the insight before the experience or you might have the experience without any insight. In either case the experience will be bland in comparison to what others describe.

In a couple of other threads in these forums, and on other forums, I've asked what the difference was between stream entry and the effects of life long regular meditation. I couldn't see any. Then I read Shinzen Young's explanation of gradual enlightenment and it all made sense. 

I know people here have had experiences that have coinsided with important insights and irriversible changes. But I also think that is the exception rather than the rule - contrary to popular (consensus) belief. And the result is a lot of people don't understand what is going on and they are practicing very hard trying to have something that they don't need when they might already have what they are looking for or are standing an inch away from it but looking in the wrong direction. 

Here is another post in my practice log on gradual enlightenment:
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/18666987#_19_message_18666987

.


Pardon me for being blunt, but, really I think it's a huge scam they can't attract followers or make money selling books and retreats by saying "you still have emotions but you don't overreact" and "you still have emotions but they don't stick in your mind" which every long term meditator knows, so instead they say, "the end of suffering", nonduality,  stream entry, cessation, your true nature, not-self, blah blah BS.

RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown
Answer
3/17/20 9:57 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Why wouldn't that attract followers? It would attract me. Then again, I'm usually not very typical. 

RE: When Cessation Is a Letdown
Answer
3/17/20 11:50 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
I personally am getting tired of "special experiences". Since 2009 I have had experiences that where mind blowing and breathtaking and surprising and special ... 

Now I see all those as just another experience. Something that Is, then Was, and I then sing songs about them to myself or others. 

Im starting to feel more and more that mindfulness in this very moment Is awakening. As soon I start validating it Im off into the murky waters of story telling. 

I like Kenneth Folks idea of doing Interventions when one looses the cosmic joke (it can't be any other than this). 
Cosmic Joke representing the realisation that there is nothing outside of This conscious experience. 

what intervention? Profound Mindfulness. In seeing there is only the seen, referring back to no one. in itching only the itch, referring back to no one. In joy only the joy , referring back to no one. 

This is only my current understanding and perspective on what awakening is and if unusual/altered states/conditions have hierarchy.