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spatial's practice log, part 3

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spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 9/23/19 10:26 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 9/23/19 10:30 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 Bardo Cruiser 10/22/19 3:10 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 10/22/19 11:02 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 9/24/19 12:09 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/24/19 2:35 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 9/24/19 6:34 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 9/24/19 6:39 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 Chris Marti 9/24/19 7:25 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 9/24/19 12:55 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 Chris Marti 9/25/19 7:14 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/24/19 12:36 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 9/24/19 12:58 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/25/19 7:24 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 David Kyle Spencer 11/30/19 1:28 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 11/30/19 3:27 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 David Kyle Spencer 12/1/19 12:35 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 Chris Marti 12/1/19 12:46 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 9/26/19 4:31 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/27/19 12:28 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 9/27/19 1:00 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/27/19 5:27 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 10/13/19 7:33 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/14/19 3:49 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/14/19 5:58 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 10/14/19 10:50 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/14/19 11:18 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 10/15/19 5:55 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 Chris Marti 10/14/19 12:04 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/15/19 9:52 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 Chris Marti 10/15/19 11:50 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/15/19 12:39 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 10/15/19 6:08 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 10/15/19 5:51 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 10/16/19 8:51 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/16/19 3:44 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 10/20/19 1:08 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 Chris Marti 10/20/19 3:00 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 10/21/19 5:53 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 10/21/19 6:06 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/21/19 11:43 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 10/22/19 9:53 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 10/22/19 10:01 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/22/19 1:30 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 10/22/19 3:16 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/22/19 3:38 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 10/22/19 10:51 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/23/19 1:20 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 10/23/19 5:58 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 10/23/19 6:29 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 Chris Marti 10/23/19 7:11 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 10/23/19 9:36 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 Chris Marti 10/23/19 9:45 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 10/23/19 12:21 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 10/23/19 12:27 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 Chris Marti 10/23/19 1:40 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 10/25/19 9:41 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 10/28/19 9:38 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/28/19 11:42 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 10/28/19 6:13 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 Chris Marti 10/28/19 1:04 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 10/28/19 2:36 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 Chris Marti 10/28/19 2:45 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 10/28/19 6:18 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/28/19 6:52 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 Chris Marti 10/29/19 7:25 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 11/16/19 5:54 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 10/31/19 9:18 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 10/31/19 9:11 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 10/31/19 9:25 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 10/31/19 9:45 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 11/1/19 10:37 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/1/19 2:08 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 11/2/19 2:23 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 11/4/19 4:13 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 11/6/19 9:20 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/6/19 9:23 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 Chris Marti 11/7/19 6:42 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 11/7/19 10:08 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 11/11/19 11:58 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 David Kyle Spencer 11/30/19 1:30 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 11/30/19 10:33 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 Zachary 12/1/19 1:26 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 12/1/19 10:25 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 3 spatial 12/1/19 10:50 PM
spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
9/23/19 10:26 PM
(continued from part 2)

I wrote this earlier today, and I'm just going to post it, even though I'm in a different mood now than I was when I wrote it:

I suspect that I am currently working toward third path. I don't know this for a fact; it just seems that way to me. For all I know, maybe I haven't yet attained stream entry.

There are several things that are worrying me:

1. I've been thinking about the conversations that have been going on in other threads relating to the idea of "splitting in two". I worry that this is happening to me. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I see the tendency. I have been trying very hard lately to integrate my practice into the rest of my life. Over the past year, I have not been doing this, and I think there's a price I've paid for it in terms of emotional volatility.

2. I feel like meditation has in some sense "broken my brain". I recognize that this is a work in progress, but it's just really hard at times. My mind moves so fast. I can see so many possibilities, so many different ways of looking at things, that my mind often just can't latch on to anything. I have a hard time reading books. I have a hard time making decisions. I have a hard time caring about the content of a conversation I had just a few moments ago. The scary thing is that it sometimes doesn't bother me that much. But, I think it might bother other people...

3. I think I might have gotten a lot of insight quickly, without having had the necessary meditation practice to be able to handle it well. Certain concepts are really hazy to me:

- distinguishing between different jhanas
- sense of observer: I just have a really hard time telling whether I have this sense at any given moment. I'm fairly certain I can see it changing at times, but I just don't know what "normal" is supposed to feel like anymore.
- sense of body: I don't know if my body is solid, if I have a sense of body or not. Again, I forget what normal feels like.

I think I understand what is meant by "luminosity". This is an experience that comes and goes. Or, maybe it just comes and then I get used to it and forget about it until the next layer appears. I can't tell the difference.

Lately, three other phenomena have been showing up frequently:
- A strong sense of time. I can feel it centered at "now", and I can perceive a small window of time going back into the past, and another small window extending into the future. It feels like I can easily travel within that range: i.e., I can widen or narrow the scope of attention within that range. If I try to go outside of it, I can feel the tension created by that.
- A strong sense of the "interface" between me and the rest of reality. This interface is constantly changing. It manifests itself as certain sensations that seem to be "electrically charged" somehow...the parts of the body that I can feel, the thoughts that are my thoughts right now, the images of the objects that I'm looking at right now, etc.
- An awareness of when I am identifying with a specific sense door, and when I am simply observing "reality" as a whole. It's hard to explain what's new about this...of course I was always able to tell when I was "seeing something". But lately, it's been clear that it requires a massive amount of effort to filter reality into individual senses.

I suspect that what I'm trying to do is to get all of this to just converge once and for all.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
9/23/19 10:30 PM as a reply to spatial.
I had a very interesting sit this evening. It's hard to put it into words, but:

Instead of asking WHO AM I? (wtf is that even asking???), maybe I should be asking WHAT IS MINE?!!!!!!!!!!!!! (this is clearly pointing directly at a lot of unexplored territory)

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
9/24/19 12:09 AM as a reply to spatial.
Can't sleep. Overwhelming amounts of piti. 

Everything is "mine"...

I'm trying to trust that this is just what the mind needs to do in order to make it right.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
9/24/19 2:35 AM as a reply to spatial.
If everything is ”mine”, is there even a point to the notion of ”mine”?

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
9/24/19 6:34 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
If everything is ”mine”, is there even a point to the notion of ”mine”?


Yes!

The point of all of this is to uncover those patterns of sensations that seem to be hidden in the background. "The self" or "me", as they say.

Asking "who am I?" reveals nothing (to me, anyway). It just sounds abstract and philosophical to me.

But, it's clear that:

These are MY thoughts
These are MY memories
This is MY sense of hearing
You are MY online dharma friend
That is MY fear
This is MY face
This is MY meditation practice
This is MY problem which I'm going to have to deal with tomorrow
This is MY past or future

Whatever sensation I'm experiencing, noticing how it is MINE immediately brings my attention to how I'M ALREADY AWARE of that additional layer of self-ing which has been added to it.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
9/24/19 6:39 AM as a reply to spatial.
In other words, trying to look directly at the self seems futile, because it disappears as soon as I look at it.

But, I can catch it out of the corner of my eye, when I'm looking directly at any other object, if I notice how the self is related to that object.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
9/24/19 7:25 AM as a reply to spatial.
Not able to find a self, eh?  Shocking!  emoticon

I see this fabrication of a center point in relationships in space and time. My mental topographical map has as its origin... me. My mental sense of history has as its primary reference point ... me, "when I am" right now. Every object tends to be processed this way unless I'm focused a lot on a task or if I'm watching the so-called "selfing" process itself.

I'm trying to trust that this is just what the mind needs to do in order to make it right.

Yes.



RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
9/24/19 12:36 PM as a reply to spatial.
spatial:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
If everything is ”mine”, is there even a point to the notion of ”mine”?


Yes!

The point of all of this is to uncover those patterns of sensations that seem to be hidden in the background. "The self" or "me", as they say.

Asking "who am I?" reveals nothing (to me, anyway). It just sounds abstract and philosophical to me.

But, it's clear that:

These are MY thoughts
These are MY memories
This is MY sense of hearing
You are MY online dharma friend
That is MY fear
This is MY face
This is MY meditation practice
This is MY problem which I'm going to have to deal with tomorrow
This is MY past or future

Whatever sensation I'm experiencing, noticing how it is MINE immediately brings my attention to how I'M ALREADY AWARE of that additional layer of self-ing which has been added to it.


Oh, you mean it like that. Okay. I thought you meant that you could identify with everything outside ”you”. Unity with the entire world. Which leaves nothing on the outside if one draws it to its completion.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
9/24/19 12:55 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Not able to find a self, eh? Shocking! emoticon


Heh, yes...

I've long been disturbed by a lot of well-meaning standard advice: "to whom is this all happening?"

The self seems to have layers:

The first layer is a clear sense of a solid self backed up by clear, consistent narratives. This seems to be the only layer that our language is capable of pointing at. Once this is seen through, meditation instructions (for me, anyway) become horribly confusing.

Because, it's still obvious there is self-ing going on, because there is suffering. But it's not clear how to get a handle on it.

Then, there are other processes that started to show up:

- The sense of attention.
- The sense of liking/disliking objects.
- The sense of an enduring consciousness in which this is all taking place.
- The sense of the observer, who witnesses everything.
- The sense of free will.

It's not obvious that these are "self" (because when you look directly at them, they show up as gross bodily sensations), but they're still hard to see, and important to notice.

As these are deconstructed, things become really confusing and frustrating. Meditation instructions stop making any kind of sense, and seem to instead only be designed to taunt me.

OK, now I'm at a point where I've made at least some kind of peace with all of that.

What seems to be left is the stuff that is completely invisible when I try to look directly at it. This is really fascinating. It's as you say, there's a "primary reference point"... It's always there. It's what holds everything together. It's a totally wordless sense of self.

During a sit a few days ago, I had some experiences where it was somehow really clear that I was observing objects themselves, without an observer being involved. I was sitting on a bench in the woods, and I heard acorns or something falling on the ground, and it was just so obvious that the only thing in my universe was the acorn. Maybe there was some kind of observer...I don't really know. But, I could see the sense of perspective oscillating...it was just so much easier to experience the acorn when the universe just was the acorn, rather than having to filter everything back through the guy sitting on the bench.

I don't know to what degree this is locked in place. I think I still have a lot more work to do. But, I can see what it means to identify with the sense of self, and why Daniel says it's not necessary. That never really made sense until now.

I think that over the past few weeks, a lot of frustration has been caused by not respecting a certain order that this has to progress in. Each of these steps requires you to become a "bad meditator" in a certain way, in order to achieve it. That's why this is so immensely challenging... So, I'm just writing down here my interpretation of that order. Maybe it's wrong, or maybe I'll change my mind later. But, here's my current understanding:

1. Get clear on distinguishing between sense doors (give up control over thoughts and let yourself experience now)
2. Be able to rest in not knowing which senses door you are experiencing at any given moment (give up verbal noting)
3. Be able to see the attention oscillating on its own between sense doors and not knowing (give up control over the attention)
4. Be able to push through any physical discomfort that arises (give up the attachment to pleasant experience)
5. Get to the point where you can see time and space changing on their own (give up the attachment to making progress)
6. Let yourself fall completely in love with whatever moment is presenting itself currently (give up control over the future and the sense of separateness)

I hope no one takes my rambling too seriously. It's all a work in progress.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
9/24/19 12:58 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

Oh, you mean it like that. Okay. I thought you meant that you could identify with everything outside ”you”. Unity with the entire world. Which leaves nothing on the outside if one draws it to its completion.
Hmm....I'm not sure there's a difference....In a certain sense, I'm not sure there is anything outside of me. In another sense, of course there is. But you, Linda, are only a character in the story that I'm writing. As am I. The degree to which I'm not aware of this seems, to me, to be the degree to which I am severely deluded. Does that seem wrong to you?

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
9/25/19 7:14 AM as a reply to spatial.
During a sit a few days ago, I had some experiences where it was somehow really clear that I was observing objects themselves, without an observer being involved. I was sitting on a bench in the woods, and I heard acorns or something falling on the ground, and it was just so obvious that the only thing in my universe was the acorn. Maybe there was some kind of observer...I don't really know. But, I could see the sense of perspective oscillating...it was just so much easier to experience the acorn when the universe just was the acorn, rather than having to filter everything back through the guy sitting on the bench.

The mind is an inference-making machine. It's creating a lot of process, all the time. That's a lot of work, and for what?



RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
9/25/19 7:24 AM as a reply to spatial.
spatial:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

Oh, you mean it like that. Okay. I thought you meant that you could identify with everything outside ”you”. Unity with the entire world. Which leaves nothing on the outside if one draws it to its completion.
Hmm....I'm not sure there's a difference....In a certain sense, I'm not sure there is anything outside of me. In another sense, of course there is. But you, Linda, are only a character in the story that I'm writing. As am I. The degree to which I'm not aware of this seems, to me, to be the degree to which I am severely deluded. Does that seem wrong to you?

No. As long as you aren’t going all solipsistic, because I think that is deluded as well. There are other storywriters too. Although ultimately none of us are the authors, I guess.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
9/26/19 4:31 PM as a reply to spatial.
This is in response to this thread in Linda's practice log. I'm trying to describe my history with meditation as marked by changing visual phenomena. I've marked in bold a lot of the events that seem significant to me. (Ugh, this was exhausting to write, and I don't even know if I captured all of the important visual stuff I wanted to describe.)

Before June 2017 retreat:

Didn't really notice much about what I saw with my eyes closed. I knew there was stuff there, because I had been interested in it as a kid, but I didn't really associate it much with meditation.

During the June 2017 retreat (I believe I attained stream entry in October 2016):

On the 4th day, while sitting, I suddenly lost awareness of the body, and found myself fascinated by what I believe was a glowing nimitta (not clear on the terminology here, but I'll call it that). It was a circular pattern, like a galaxy. Shortly after that happened, I started developing weird tensions in my body which totally freaked me out for months afterward. The nimitta disappeared until June 2018, probably because I was so scared of meditation.

April-July 2018:

After discovering MCTB and the DhO, I made a determined effort to continue meditating, figuring that the only way out was through. The nimitta reappeared eventually, and I became interested in studying it. I noticed that I could intensify it with effort, and it started to expand and cover the whole visual field. When this happened, things looked more uniform, but still the overall experience was of vague sparkling light. At one point, deep in meditation, something weird happened to my sense of depth, and it suddenly felt like the visual field was closer to my face, and not so much in the distance.

Towards the end of this period, I noticed that, especially after sitting, things appeared to be vibrating: the sky, the floor, lights.

I believe I was having fruitions somewhat frequently during this period, but I had no concept that that's what they might be. I just knew that there were sudden discontinuities in my sense of sight. Sometimes preceded by odd visions.

During the July 2018 retreat:

This is where things got interesting.

PHASE 1 (First 4 days)

Getting really high concentration. The patterns in my visual field started to clearly reflect what I was experiencing in my other senses. I was feeling like my mind was starting to synchronize with the points of light, and they stopped seeming so chaotic. I was feeling pretty good at meditation...it was like I had clear awareness of almost everything that was happening to me.

On the morning of the 4th day, I was really feeling like I was "almost there". So, I lay down on my bed and tried to make everything sync up. I went through several rounds of intense fear, but eventually calmed down quite a bit. At one point, I started to see hints of a clear, flat, geometrical grid pattern. This freaked me out, but I brought it back several times (each time, it was just a hint, in the background). The pattern felt like it was trying to stabilize and solidify, so I gently encouraged it to do so. Suddenly, it dominated my visual field, and really scared me, because it was the only thing I had ever seen with my eyes closed that WASN'T MOVING. I forced my eyes open, hoping that I had stopped it in time.

I calmed down, went to lunch, and as I was eating, I started daydreaming, and I had the thought "you know, the only thing stopping me from enjoying that grid pattern is simply fear." I immediately felt "oh shit", and saw the pattern emerging with my eyes open, and I knew it would lead to my annihilation, but also knew there was no possible way to stop it. The fear came and went, the pattern came and went, and felt all the weird tensions that had been plaguing me converge through the top of my head. This led to PHASE 2.

PHASE 2 (lasting only about one hour, following lunch on the 4th day)

My body felt light and free. When I closed my eyes, the visual field was clearly separated into four quadrants of bright, uniformly sparkling light. I considered going home at this point, because I felt like I had accomplished what I came for. It felt like everything was synchronized, and I had no need to "be mindful" or walk slowly or anything. I went back to my room, lay down on the bed, and decided to test what my concentration felt like.

I started focusing on the uniformly sparkling light, which was vibrating quickly, but still at a reasonably nice, normal pace. It felt good to concentrate on it, so I kept my attention there, and suddenly it felt like I zoomed into one of those tiny lights. As I was zooming back out of it, it looked like perhaps the "flower of life" that Linda mentions above? There were a few of them, and it looked like I had just come out of one of them. This led to PHASE 3.

PHASE 3 (end of the 4th day until maybe the 6th day)

My visual field was incredibly chaotic again. It was like there was a whole new layer of vibrating light that was messing up the nice synchronized pattern I had worked for. This layer was much, much faster. The next couple days were totally hellish. The bodily tensions came back. At times, I was seeing fractal kaleidoscope patterns when my eyes were closed, including skulls. I felt like I couldn't keep up with reality at all, and it was impossible to sleep. One of those nights, I felt like I was watching myself dream while lying in bed. It was not restful and did not feel like sleep, but it really looked like hell in my visual field.

To make a long story shorter, on the 6th day I finally found a way to accept the fear I was feeling, and everything calmed way down. I could see two layers of vibrating light, the slow one and the fast one, but I was OK with it.

PHASE 4 (6th day-8th day)

Once I felt like I had developed a good amount of equanimity, I stopped trying to calm myself down and started working on trying to get things to synchronize again. On probably the 8th day, after sitting for a couple hours, I started seeing something that felt like I was moving quickly through a tunnel for maybe a minute or so. In the middle of this, things went black for a moment. I felt like I had done it. I don't know if this was a path moment or not, but it just felt like I had caught up with myself finally.

Maybe a couple hours later, I decided to trying pushing my concentration again, and the same thing happened (I zoomed into one of the vibrations and found another layer inside).

PHASE 5 (end of 8th day-10th day)

My vision was chaotic again, with three levels of vibrating light. To recap: (1) the "slow" pulses that I had known all my life, (2) the fast vibrations that appeared in PHASE 3, and (3) the new, really fast pinpricks.

I felt irritable and agitated, but I knew the drill, and spent the next couple days trying to calm everything down.

Around this time, I started to notice that I had a new awareness of my emotions. I could tell pretty easily whether I felt positively or negatively toward any stimulus. This was new to me. Before this, I mostly went through the world viewing most things as basically neutral, and only objects which really grabbed my attention were seen as "good" or "bad". But now, I could do it with absolutely anything.

At some point on this retreat, I noticed that by focusing my attention tightly between my eyes, I could make reality slowly start to vanish into blackness. This freaked me out, so I stopped before it went all the way.

Toward the end of the retreat, as I started developing more equanimity, I started to feel more and more like reality was "thick", like I was simultaneously aware of large areas of my body and of the atmosphere. After the retreat, I would spontaneously start meditating whenever I had a free moment, because it just seemed like reality needed to be explored and understood further.

August 2018-June 2019:

I believe I went through many insight cycles and mood swings during this period (I feel funny saying this, because I actually have no clue...maybe I've just fallen asleep many times while meditating...)

June 2019 retreat:

Experienced a lot of fear, like in the 2018 retreat, but not as bad. Worth noting here is that when I felt like I was in Equanimity (mainly while walking outside), I started to notice a wideness in the visual field that wasn't there before. Looking at the trees in the woods, I felt like I could see every leaf simultaneously shimmering. This was a new experience. It came and went, and was clearly associated with my level of equanimity.

After the June 2019 retreat:

I've also noticed that I have increased ability to focus my eyes on any point of space I wish. This is new...previously there would have to have been "something" to focus on. But space seems really non-empty now.

The bodily tensions are still there, but they don't bother me. It's clear that something is working to synchronize itself, and I'm fine letting it do that. The grid pattern has reappeared a few times, never as strongly as it did that first time, and the fear is pretty much gone. Sometimes there's a sense of anticipation.

In the past few months, it has also been really easy for me to tune into the impermanance of the visual field, even with my eyes open, walking around. I can quite often feel like my seeing of the object is more real than the object itself (especially if it's not another person).

After meditating in the woods last week, I opened my eyes, looking up at a bunch of trees. It looked like I was staring at a tiled pattern. Whatever was right in the center of my vision was "real", and the rest of it was like an image that had been copied and pasted. I can replicate this experience. It's not literally copied and pasted...I can sense that it's not literally repeated, but it somehow "feels" that way.

CONCLUSION:

What is of particular interest to me is all of the phases that occurred during my 2018 retreat. Some of those phases were short, but I feel like they signified rather fundamental, discrete changes (some big, some small) in my perception of reality. They were marked mainly by visual phenomena, possibly because that tends to be what I notice most easily.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
9/27/19 12:28 AM as a reply to spatial.
Cool! I recognize a similar development for me, but you seem to have had more elaborate versions of vision, with the grinning skulls and the grid pattern appearing with eyes open. That is very very cool.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
9/27/19 1:00 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Cool! I recognize a similar development for me, but you seem to have had more elaborate versions of vision, with the grinning skulls and the grid pattern appearing with eyes open. That is very very cool.

The elaborate stuff happened mainly on retreat, after a few days of developing strong concentration. The stuff that has happened at home isn't nearly as dramatic.

I forgot to mention that the grid pattern changed after PHASE 1. At first, it was a pattern of maybe 20 or so large circles. After PHASE 1, it changed into a whole bunch more, maybe 100-200 tiny circles. The colors changed, too. The first pattern had a lot of yellow and red. The second pattern had colors that are harder to identify, exactly.

Also, while sitting this morning, I was thinking about the phrase "grinning skulls" that you used there, and I was like "wait, aren't all skulls grinning???" emoticon

The skulls were NOT cool when they happened...it was extremely frightening. I felt like I was going crazy, and went almost 2 nights without sleeping. I couldn't close my eyes without seeing weird things. But at this point I welcome that kind of fear, so yeah, it's cool now emoticon

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
9/27/19 5:27 PM as a reply to spatial.
So your patterns are in color? Cool. Mine are in black and white, execept for when I dream of meditating. When I see colors it is mostly as swirls or cloudy things or dots or sparks. On occasion, images show up in the murk or replace the murk and have color, but that’s not geometrical patterns. Sometimes they are symbolic scenes. That hasn’t happened for quite a while, though.

Yeah, I guess all skulls are grinning if they are detailed enough. Mine were too, but they were in such poor resolution that the grin didn’t stand out. I did see a smiling Buddha, though.

I would probably have freaked out too. For a while I had scary dreams about meditating with weird stuff happening, such as TV monitors growing out from the wall above me, sort of organically, and a hollow levitating balloon girl and a levitating green cat hovering over me. No skulls there, but it felt like anything could pop up anytime. Those was just dreams, regular night dreams, but I thought I was meditating. It felt so real. The TV monitors were creepy.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/13/19 7:33 AM as a reply to spatial.
I have found two places to direct my attention that seem useful:

1. The undercurrent of silence that underlies everything, from which all experiences arise and to which all experiences pass away. When my attention is here (which is hard to find), it is fascinating to observe what happens in the "background". (Is this related to the 7th or 8th jhanas? What is this?)

2. The broader context in which I exist. For example, "I am sitting here with my eyes closed and my hands clasped". Or, "I am walking to the end of this street and then I will turn around". Or, "I am upset now because of that interaction I just had". I suspect that this is helping balance a tendency I have to get way too subtle. It seems to be bringing me more in touch with my emotions, also.

I have had multiple sits over the past week where I experienced probably 10-20 fruitions each. Still not comfortable asserting that these are fruitions, but whatever.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/14/19 3:49 AM as a reply to spatial.
Cool. Which path is it?

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/14/19 5:58 AM as a reply to spatial.
Have you figured out how to stay in review long enough to let things settle and deepen? Or how to do shamatha without getting thrown into a new insight cycle that takes away concentration ability?

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/14/19 10:50 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Cool. Which path is it?


I'm really not sure about paths. I'm still very confused about all of that. I'm just taking it as a working assumption that I am currently trying to attain third path, because the stuff I've read about that seems interesting and relevant to me.


Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Have you figured out how to stay in review long enough to let things settle and deepen? Or how to do shamatha without getting thrown into a new insight cycle that takes away concentration ability?


I can only tell you my random thoughts about this, which you may want to take with a grain of salt:

I think perhaps the desire to "stay" anywhere causes more trouble than it's worth. Depending on where you are with insight at any given moment, it might be unrealistic to expect that you will be able to stay anywhere for any period of time, at least not until that insight material is integrated. I think maybe you want to embrace the process of going through new insight cycles, rather than resisting it. Embrace the fact that the body is uncomfortable again, that your concentration was thrown off, and that you are again confused about what you have control over and what you don't. 

Let me theorize a bit more about my previous post, because I think I'm onto something important there, and it might be related to what you're asking...

I think meditation has trained me to develop a certain kind of aversion to psychological content. When something psychological comes up, I have a tendency to immediately try to break it down into tiny pieces. This is good in one sense, because it means that I have unlocked subtler and subtler layers of perception. The problem, however, is that it seems to come at a cost of equanimity towards the psychological content itself.

This makes sense when I consider that the ultimate goal here is to balance awareness and equanimity. You want to get to a point where no matter what arises, you can see it arising, and also have the choice to not react to it, right?

If a difficult thought arises, and I immediately react by zooming in, then I'm never able to see the passing away of that thought. This is hard to notice, because it seems like "of course I'm seeing the passing away...I can see the passing away of the individual sensations that constitute the experience...", but something is wrong with that. My concentration is not staying on the wavelength of the original thought; it just keeps zooming in tighter and tighter. I think this is what causes Re-observation, when you keep reacting to your reactions.

It seems like the trick is to set intentions that encourage you to always be zooming back out. After a certain point in meditation, the mind knows how to zoom in and will do so automatically, so you don't need to worry about this. Also, expecting it to stay still is unrealistic, because you've trained it otherwise.

In those moments of wakefulness, you can gently encourage a broader awareness. I have found it useful to note very broad aspects of my experience:

"I'm sitting here meditating"
"My name is..."
"I was born on...and I will die someday, but I don't know when"
"I'm excited about my progress in meditation"
"My body is pressing against the cushion"
"Even though difficult experiences are arising, my eyes are still closed"
"Later today, I'm going to..."
"Yesterday..."

This is instead of using the awake moments to zoom in. 

It can be really frustrating, because it can feel like I'm intentionally ripping my attention away from where it needs to be. But, the fact is the attention was already being ripped away, which is why those thoughts occurred to me. And, I can't ignore the fact that the mind does immediately start vipassanizing that new reality. So, there's subtler awareness + broader equanimity.

I hope this helps you in some way.

Honestly, this whole process has been hell for me. The hardest thing for me has been figuring out how to get out of the way and let the mind do things on its own. 

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/14/19 11:18 AM as a reply to spatial.
Thankyou so much for your very thoughtful reply!

Yeah, I’m not planning on staying anywhere infinitely. It just seems that parts of my mind rush away too hastily. But that’s just an idea. What do I know, really? Maybe they just do what they need to do.

I think you helped me put things into perspective. I appreciate that.

My very best wishes for you wellbeing and practice. I hope the remaning process will be more peaceful and fulfilling for you.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/14/19 12:04 PM as a reply to spatial.
The hardest thing for me has been figuring out how to get out of the way and let the mind do things on its own. 

Let's create a gold-plated plaque of this and put it above the front door of every meditation hall.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/15/19 9:52 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
I guess what I find confusing with regard to this is those two assumed agents, me and my mind. I totallty get that something needs to get out of the way for the meditation to happen. But who is it that should get out of the way, and from what? I have heard others say that the mind is supposed to get out of the way. I assume they mean the same thing, namely that it is useless to try to control the process and be the doer. The problem is that the implications are rather fuzzy. In this case I was under the impression that something that sees itself as the doer rushes things in a way that interferes with the process, so I thought maybe I should interfere with the interference by way of making it relax. And, yeah, of course, that is futile. It would still be a doer trying to fix things. That leads to a neverending chain, like in two mirrors facing each other. So I guess as long as one tries actively to get out of the way, one is still in the way. Maybe I just need to accept that right now from where I stand it looks like I'm unconsciously rushing things and then let that happen and learn from however it presents itself?

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/15/19 11:50 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
But who is it that should get out of the way, and from what? 

Let that question soak for a few years. And while that sounds almost cruel, it's really not. That's ultimately where the practice leads. There is a resolution.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/15/19 12:39 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
I believe you. It was an expected answer and I don’t find it cruel. Not as an answer, anyway. That’s just one of those things that one cannot understand until it is directly experienced, right? Which is kind of paradoxical, since that sounds like there really is an experiencer and I’m assuming that the resolution offers a new perspective on that as well.

It would have been a relief to be able to postpone the start of a new insight cycle right now, though, as there are urgent and sensitive matters in my daily life and people depend on me. I really need to be strong for my kid. I tend to be quite the mess in the 3C nana, as far as I interpret the patterns correctly. Right now I feel like something one of the cats threw up.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/15/19 5:51 PM as a reply to spatial.
Today, I noticed that visual images reside in...big surprise...the visual field.

I was hiking in the woods, and I heard some people coming up behind me. I started contemplating: where is the sound? where is the image? how do I know they are behind me?

I so wanted to think that the image was behind me, because I could really feel that it was. But then I noticed that, no, the image is where all other images are (in front of me, I guess?). Then, I found that I could continue walking, hearing the sound of their voices, knowing the people are behind me, looking straight ahead, without the tension of trying to somehow look out the back of my head simultaneously.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/15/19 5:55 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

My very best wishes for you wellbeing and practice. I hope the remaning process will be more peaceful and fulfilling for you.

Thank you, you too!

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/15/19 6:08 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
The hardest thing for me has been figuring out how to get out of the way and let the mind do things on its own. 

Let's create a gold-plated plaque of this and put it above the front door of every meditation hall.

Something like this?

https://imgur.com/WZ2Wh61

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/16/19 8:51 AM as a reply to spatial.
Wow, I think I'm actually getting somewhere!

Last night, I was walking around and I suddenly had the sense that I wasn't suffering at the moment. And yet, I was still overwhelmed by all the work I had to do, still worried about money, still upset that no one likes me, still obsessing over how exactly I should be meditating, still feeling fat when I felt my clothes pressing against my body, and still feeling a pain in my toe when I walked. But something was missing. I had the sense that if the rest of my life were like this, there would be no problem. That was interesting, because it made it really clear to me that none of that stuff was in any way remotely connected to my suffering.

I also knew that the suffering was going to return, as soon as the mind went back in whatever direction it was bound to go in. And sure enough, it did, eventually. But for some reason, last night it stayed open long enough for me to contemplate it.

Regarding the sense of agency:

I have been suspecting for a while now that the sense of agency only occurs during certain points in the insight cycle (three characteristics, maybe?).

Sitting this morning, I could see it coming and going. I noticed that when there is a sense of agency, it feels like I'm really "connected" to reality. When there isn't, I feel detached.

That made me curious, because I was thinking "what, am I supposed to just detach myself from reality? what kind of enlightenment is that?" So, I paid more attention to what that connection felt like.

There's something weird about it. It feels like an aching. I can feel it in my mouth. It seems to precede the sense of agency itself. I had a fruition or A&P or whatever it was, and this feeling disappeared for a bit, giving me a very interesting feeling of relief. Then it came back.

If I may extrapolate from this experience, I have a suspicion that we don't have a sense of agency at all, but rather that this is a story we tell to explain a much simpler phenomenon.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/16/19 3:44 PM as a reply to spatial.
That was very inspiring. Thankyou! 

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/20/19 1:08 PM as a reply to spatial.
I suddenly realized while sitting today that there's a constant loop like this:

1. Intention to move
2. Lots of physical stuff which is due to inertia rather than intention.
3. Back to step 1.

This is in contrast to feeling like the intention to move is continued throughout the entire movement. So, the intention is what initiates the movement, and then I'm free to sit back and watch the rest of it happen on its own.

What stage is this?

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/20/19 3:00 PM as a reply to spatial.
That's the stage called "the way it works."

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/21/19 5:53 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
That's the stage called "the way it works."


Haha, I guess that makes sense...

I guess my question was: why did that aspect of my experience suddenly come to the foreground so strongly?

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/21/19 6:06 PM as a reply to spatial.
Two days ago, I was at a cousin's bat mitzvah, surrounded by family I hadn't seen in a long time, and a lot of strangers. During the service, it hit me really hard how much suffering everyone in the room was experiencing. I felt like I could look around at everyone's faces and body language and understand specifically what was going on with each person. It was a bit overwhelming.

Whatever happened yesterday with this intention thing seems to be pretty profound. I feel like before yesterday, 95% of my experience was off-limits to my investigation, but now it has been unlocked. 

Spending time with my family brought to the surface some deep patterns of mine, relating to my interactions with those I deem to be authority figures. Today was remarkable. I could see those patterns activate, and feel them as sensations, rather than simply as fear.

I feel like I'm falling through reality. Whenever I notice that I'm feeling stuck, I can just bring my attention to the fact that I'm a physical being subject to the laws of mechanics. And then I don't feel stuck anymore, because physical objects don't have agency. I don't know how else to explain it.

I'm sure I'm not done yet, and I'm sure that eventually my mind will claim this development as its own, leading to a new hell. But it feels good for right now.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/21/19 11:43 PM as a reply to spatial.
spatial:
Two days ago, I was at a cousin's bat mitzvah, surrounded by family I hadn't seen in a long time, and a lot of strangers. During the service, it hit me really hard how much suffering everyone in the room was experiencing. I felt like I could look around at everyone's faces and body language and understand specifically what was going on with each person. It was a bit overwhelming.

Whatever happened yesterday with this intention thing seems to be pretty profound. I feel like before yesterday, 95% of my experience was off-limits to my investigation, but now it has been unlocked. 

Spending time with my family brought to the surface some deep patterns of mine, relating to my interactions with those I deem to be authority figures. Today was remarkable. I could see those patterns activate, and feel them as sensations, rather than simply as fear.

I feel like I'm falling through reality. Whenever I notice that I'm feeling stuck, I can just bring my attention to the fact that I'm a physical being subject to the laws of mechanics. And then I don't feel stuck anymore, because physical objects don't have agency. I don't know how else to explain it.

I'm sure I'm not done yet, and I'm sure that eventually my mind will claim this development as its own, leading to a new hell. But it feels good for right now.

Yay! I needed some good news this morning, and the universe provided. I'm so happy for you!

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/22/19 9:53 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

Yay! I needed some good news this morning, and the universe provided. I'm so happy for you!

emoticon

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/22/19 10:01 AM as a reply to spatial.
Chris Marti posted this in part 2 of my practice log:

Chris Marti:
Hmmm... that's the ultimate question. You need to find out what "your" career is, and maybe even before that "who" you are.



I've been thinking a lot about this "career" thing since then. As of now, here's what I want meditation to do for me:

1. I want every single moment of my life to be practice: acquisition of skills, development of habits. I want to be an expression of my most important values. I want to treat my self as the creation of mine that it is.

2. I want to be a "karmic lightning rod." I want to inject myself in situations where there is misery and strife, and choose to not react when others are forced to react. I want to help others develop self-compassion and awaken. I want to break those chains of suffering, even if others don't notice I'm doing it. I want to treat the entire world as the creation of mine that it is.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/22/19 1:30 PM as a reply to spatial.
Oupsiedaisy... I don’t think I’m mature enough for such goals. In this end of the web of consciousness there is a persistent voice that says "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy". I’m definitely not implying that you are dull - you are very far from it, actually quite interesting - but I can all too easily imagine myself going berserk after a while with that kind of discipline. Maybe not like in The Shining, but enough for it to be contraproductive. I mainly meditate because I really like doing it, but at this point I can’t see myself being at my best in every single moment. Therefore, I’m not ready for that kind of goal. It would only make me feel like I were failing all the time, and that would make me seriously cranky. Please remember to have compassion for yourself! 

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/22/19 3:10 PM as a reply to spatial.
spatial:
I had a very interesting sit this evening. It's hard to put it into words, but:

Instead of asking WHO AM I? (wtf is that even asking???), maybe I should be asking WHAT IS MINE?!!!!!!!!!!!!! (this is clearly pointing directly at a lot of unexplored territory)


Who am I? is a little bit of a Zen thing, almost like a koan. If you contemplate this question and continue to arrive at concepts or difficult emotions then the mark has been missed. However, this is part of the journey with this question. We entertain and traverse the various notions of ourselves, we examine every facet of the self and come to a point where those notions and are completely exhausted; we back up against a wall and thus forced to go deeper than the conceptual thinking mind. In doing this we access a deep inner wisdom which is unfamiliar to most and it is that wisdom which offers further, more authentic guidance. It takes some staying power to maintain this stance but it is rewarding.

I like the "What is mine?" question. I recently moved through a phase where it seemed like I owned everything and everything owned me which cancelled everything out as being meaningless in some oddly meaningful way. There was no location for mind to be found and so determining ownership became nonsense. 

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/22/19 3:16 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Oupsiedaisy... I don’t think I’m mature enough for such goals. In this end of the web of consciousness there is a persistent voice that says "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy". I’m definitely not implying that you are dull - you are very far from it, actually quite interesting - but I can all too easily imagine myself going berserk after a while with that kind of discipline. Maybe not like in The Shining, but enough for it to be contraproductive. I mainly meditate because I really like doing it, but at this point I can’t see myself being at my best in every single moment. Therefore, I’m not ready for that kind of goal. It would only make me feel like I were failing all the time, and that would make me seriously cranky. Please remember to have compassion for yourself! 

I'm probably not mature enough either emoticon

I also meditate mainly because I really like doing it, so that requires no discipline at all. And every once in a while, I get a glimpse of a certain kind of play which seems to transcend all other kinds of play. I think it comes from realizing that since the self is a product of my own imagination, the most fun I can possibly have with the self is in the creative act of actually defining that self.

I mean, imagine that you could truly define yourself only by love, and not at all by fear. What would that look like? Imagine that you had the ability to be your own perfect teacher or parent. Anytime you noticed something about yourself you didn't like, you could train it to be different. If you think that your skills and habits are something that "belong to you", then this might sound tedious or threatening. But, if you can see that you simply are your skills and habits, then what could be better?

I have been toying with this idea for a few years now. I'm not sure where it will take me, but it does represent some kind of ideal for my own existence. And lately, it seems that it might actually be possible to realize it at some point. What else is the point of meditation? Tranquility and equanimity? A rock has those...

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/22/19 3:38 PM as a reply to spatial.
Good for you! Sounds awsome.

I do have an idea about defining myself from love rather than fear, actually. I have had it for about a decade. That I can relate to. Still not ready to give up mundane mammalian habits, though, such as simple sensory pleasures. The smell of rain, immersing myself in the soothing water of a forest lake, lying down with one purring cat on my chest or next to my head and another one on my legs, endulging in more primitive mammalian activities that make me forget about being separate... And I’m embarrassed to say that I’m not yet willing to completely and long-term give up on netflix, although I realize that it fosters escapism. But who knows where the path will take me?

I do share your aspiration for developing better qualities. May you always have spiritual success.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/22/19 10:51 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Good for you! Sounds awsome.

I do have an idea about defining myself from love rather than fear, actually. I have had it for about a decade. That I can relate to. Still not ready to give up mundane mammalian habits, though, such as simple sensory pleasures. The smell of rain, immersing myself in the soothing water of a forest lake, lying down with one purring cat on my chest or next to my head and another one on my legs, endulging in more primitive mammalian activities that make me forget about being separate... And I’m embarrassed to say that I’m not yet willing to completely and long-term give up on netflix, although I realize that it fosters escapism. But who knows where the path will take me?

I do share your aspiration for developing better qualities. May you always have spiritual success.

Who said anything about giving up simple sensory pleasures???

When I say defining yourself from love rather than fear, I mean totally 100% doing that. Love does not mean "I shouldn't watch netflix because it fosters escapism." That is fear. What would happen if you stopped defining yourself by that fear? What could you put in its place? 

This stuff scares me. My meditation practice is making it harder to keep my head in the sand. But in the center of all of it is just a small child who never got the acceptance or validation he needed. Everything seems to fall into place when I can connect with that. There's nothing wrong with the world.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/22/19 11:02 PM as a reply to Bardo Cruiser.
Bardo Cruiser:

I like the "What is mine?" question. I recently moved through a phase where it seemed like I owned everything and everything owned me which cancelled everything out as being meaningless in some oddly meaningful way. There was no location for mind to be found and so determining ownership became nonsense. 

Very interesting. I have a hard time feeling like I really get the experience you describe, but as you say, I think the point is to go deeper than the conceptual thinking mind. It's like the concepts that show up in the mind are just an echo of what's really going on.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/23/19 1:20 AM as a reply to spatial.
spatial:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Good for you! Sounds awsome.

I do have an idea about defining myself from love rather than fear, actually. I have had it for about a decade. That I can relate to. Still not ready to give up mundane mammalian habits, though, such as simple sensory pleasures. The smell of rain, immersing myself in the soothing water of a forest lake, lying down with one purring cat on my chest or next to my head and another one on my legs, endulging in more primitive mammalian activities that make me forget about being separate... And I’m embarrassed to say that I’m not yet willing to completely and long-term give up on netflix, although I realize that it fosters escapism. But who knows where the path will take me?

I do share your aspiration for developing better qualities. May you always have spiritual success.

Who said anything about giving up simple sensory pleasures???

When I say defining yourself from love rather than fear, I mean totally 100% doing that. Love does not mean "I shouldn't watch netflix because it fosters escapism." That is fear. What would happen if you stopped defining yourself by that fear? What could you put in its place? 

This stuff scares me. My meditation practice is making it harder to keep my head in the sand. But in the center of all of it is just a small child who never got the acceptance or validation he needed. Everything seems to fall into place when I can connect with that. There's nothing wrong with the world.

That was not the love vs fear part, but the part about fostering good habits in each and every moment and making every moment part of one’s practice. I probably read it too literally. Great then. That was why I worried about compassion with yourself - exactly because compassion with one’s not so good habits comes from a place of love. I didn’t write that because I wanted to see if that was something you would explain when I commented. I know that I have a tendency to read things too literally, so I kept it in mind and was hoping for it.

I found that kind of compassion for myself a decade ago because I had to in order to survive. My journey now involves finding a balance in it, because sometimes I’m curling myself and allowing myself to foster avoidance behavior that comes back to bite me in the ass with more stress than what I was initially avoiding. Sorting out what is genuine self-compassion also in consequence and what is merely contraproductive or even harmful avoidance reaction patterns is a tricky but necessary road ahead. Sometimes fear masks itself as love. It is obvious that my avoidance behavior is fear-based, because it culminates in the fear nana. I need to deal with it - in a genuinely compassionate way.

You seem to have a very skillful approach. Consider my misplaced worries gone! 

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/23/19 5:58 AM as a reply to spatial.
What is going on here? Is it possible that I have attained a path? I feel like all of the shit in my mind that has been bothering me for the past year is all still there, except that I have somehow "unhooked" from it, and my mind is now able to clean up the mess on its own. I don't feel drastically different, but something has changed.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/23/19 6:29 AM as a reply to spatial.
I guess what feels different is that I don't seem to freak out whenever the mind suddenly and abruptly changes course. It just feels like it's a natural physical process. Now I feel like I'm free to investigate those transitions, without having to react to them. This is why I say it's like 95% of my experience is suddenly open to investigation now.

Especially over the past several weeks, it has been increasingly irritating how many of those transitions I have been able to notice. I could see my mind switching rapidly between the body, the emotions, abstract philosophical reasoning, thoughts about meditation, etc. All out of my control, and very frustrating. But now I feel like I'm OK with it.

Time will tell, I guess.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/23/19 7:11 AM as a reply to spatial.
Path or not, this is a beneficial recognition that we don't control the mind. Never have, never will.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/23/19 9:36 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Path or not, this is a beneficial recognition that we don't control the mind. Never have, never will.


Is that sense of control completely gone for you? 

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/23/19 9:45 AM as a reply to spatial.
Is that sense of control completely gone for you? 

Well, I don't suffer under the illusion that I can control the stream of mental activity. Is that what you meant? If you think about it how could we, ever? If a sound occurs in my vicinity can I opt-out of hearing it? Nope. Same with all sense-based experiences. Same with ideation. Same with emotional content. Same, same, same.

The difference is in the perspective, and in eliminating this illusion (assumption?) of control.

emoticon

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/23/19 12:21 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Is that sense of control completely gone for you? 

Well, I don't suffer under the illusion that I can control the stream of mental activity. Is that what you meant? If you think about it how could we, ever? If a sound occurs in my vicinity can I opt-out of hearing it? Nope. Same with all sense-based experiences. Same with ideation. Same with emotional content. Same, same, same.

The difference is in the perspective, and in eliminating this illusion (assumption?) of control.

emoticon

I'm not even sure what I'm asking.

Right now, I do have the sense that there is some ability to control things. It's not really "bothering" me at the moment, because when I start getting bothered, I can just sit back and watch it all play out, without the sense that I need to interfere. But, there is still the sense that I could step in and interfere. I imagine that the day will come when I again feel like I must interfere. 

I guess I'm trying to figure out what I have to do next.

I'm feeling a lot of angst and tension around this issue. I can feel it mainly in my head. A week ago, I would have been totally stuck here, wishing so much that the headache would go away so that I would be able to think clearly again. What's bizarre is that right now, I don't feel stuck. I'm just watching the tension oscillate back and forth, in my head, throat, chest, just doing its thing.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/23/19 12:27 PM as a reply to spatial.
I don't think the angst around controlling the attention (which has plagued me since the beginning of my practice, as I know it plagues many others as well) is "natural". I think it's a result of being told to "pay attention!" as a kid. There is great fear underlying this. Getting in touch with that fear has liberated a lot for me.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/23/19 1:40 PM as a reply to spatial.
spatial, the reality of our condition in regard to control/not control is more complex than most folks in the dharma community would attribute to it. We do have some control over things and we don't have control over things. Nuance is king. The interaction and influence things have on other things is king. The fact that existence is process and not discrete is king.

What's important, in my experience anyway, is to get comfortable with not knowing. In many, many, many, many areas of our lives being comfortable with not knowing becomes a huge deal. 

Legend has it that even the historical Buddha gave up explaining this kind of stuff in favor of telling people to focus on the important things. In my humble opinion these issues are fun to investigate and talk about but they really aren't important in the grand scheme.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/25/19 9:41 AM as a reply to spatial.
What I seem to be fascinated with lately is the apparent fact that any continuous process is the mind's attempt at relieving suffering.
While sitting, sometimes there are pains or tensions that seem to increase in intensity over a duration of time. But that seems to be only one side of the coin. The other way of looking at it is that there is a sequence of attempts at relieving tension, each of which feels pretty good when you focus on it individually.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/28/19 9:38 AM as a reply to spatial.
Whatever shift happened last week seems to have been significant. I wouldn't be surprised if I have actually attained third path, because the stuff that Daniel wrote about it in MCTB ("A Revised Four Path Model") seems to make sense to me.

However, I still have energetic imbalances in the body (although it feels wrong to call them "energetic" at this point...they just seem like physical imbalances), I still get irritated with people, and I'm still addicted to junk food. So, I'm suspending judgment for now. I'm content to wait and see what happens...there's plenty of stuff to practice either way.

The images in my mind feel like they just stay where they are, without trying to pull me somewhere else. This is weird (because no one talks about this), and is an enormous relief. It's one of those things I never realized I was doing until I stopped doing it. However, I wouldn't say it has stopped 100%. I sometimes catch myself doing it, but as soon as I notice it, it stops.

The horrible existential angst around being a "bad meditator" seems to be gone. I can see that most of this is out of my control. I can watch my mind go into those places where I am evaluating my progress, etc., and it seems to be basically fine to just let it go there. Sometimes I start to get worried that I will lose this equanimity, but I am able to note that worry when it happens.

It feels like my main project at this point is to pay attention to whatever I'm aware of. To let the attention do its thing, and let it iron out whatever kinks there are in that process. Last night, I was walking and following my attention, when I noticed that I was getting frustrated because of the gaps where my attention suddenly got bored and shifted to something broader. I noticed that when this happens, it is possible to simply ride the wave and let the mind follow the attention across the gap. I think maybe this is related to vipassana jhanas. It seems necessary to give up all attachment to whatever the attention "feels like". Sounds cliche, but somehow last night something clicked with it.

(It's a bit confusing understanding the difference between attention and awareness here...the way I'm seeing it, "awareness" is the stuff that's happening, and "attention" is the act of observing it all. The fact that "attention" is itself part of the field of "awareness" is maybe what makes this confusing, but I sense that this is really important to sort out on an experiential level.)

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/28/19 11:42 AM as a reply to spatial.
It sure sounds like you have a new understanding of things. The part about having enormous relief with regard to something that you had no idea you were doing sounds especially promising, and I’m very happy to hear that you are no longer having angst about being a bad meditator. It’s a privilege to be able to follow your process like this. It brings faith. Hey, you are a spiritual lightning rod already. emoticon

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/28/19 1:04 PM as a reply to spatial.
spatial, how do you feel in your heart? I don't mean your physical beating heart but in your emotional center? What's going on there now?

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/28/19 2:36 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
spatial, how do you feel in your heart? I don't mean your physical beating heart but in your emotional center? What's going on there now?

Hmm...that's a pretty broad topic I guess...is there something specific you are asking about?

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/28/19 2:45 PM as a reply to spatial.
...is there something specific you are asking about?

You don't have to answer if you don't want to but let me ask this a bit differently: How are you feeling when you listen to music? See a movie? Is there anything that feels different now - different than it did before this last transition you were talking about earlier?

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/28/19 6:18 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
...is there something specific you are asking about?

You don't have to answer if you don't want to but let me ask this a bit differently: How are you feeling when you listen to music? See a movie? Is there anything that feels different now - different than it did before this last transition you were talking about earlier?



I'm not sure that those things feel significantly different since this last transition. At least, nothing really caught my attention in that area.

I am a professional musician, so the way that I perceive music is different from most people to begin with. But, over the past year, I have noticed some changes that I believe are meditation-related:

- Listening to music doesn't really "do it" for me in the way that it used to. I used to listen to music a lot, because of the emotional release that it provided. But now, I find that I can get 95% of that release on my own, without the need for music. It's not that I can't enjoy music, but it somehow seems lacking in real depth. Same thing with fiction. That sounds depressing maybe, but I really prefer it this way (it makes it a lot easier and rewarding to play music, actually).

- When I do listen to music, the music itself often takes a back seat to other sensory input, such as images evoked by the music. I was listening to the radio today, and the voice of the singer created an extremely life-like experience of being right there in his face, aware of every tiny movement inside his mouth as he sang the words. Kinda gross, but that sort of thing happens a lot.

Regarding emotions in general, I would say the biggest and most obvious change for me happened at my retreat last year. It's hard to explain it, but it was like the physical aspects of emotions became more prominent than the cognitive aspects. Since then, I would say that all of reality has been bit-by-bit becoming more visceral and less conceptual.

Over this past summer, I was really starting to feel that meditation was making me practically bipolar. When the Culadasa thing came out, I got very worried, and upped my practice time from 1-2 hours per day to 3-4 hours, plus walking meditation whenever I have free time, and just trying really hard to be mindful all the time. I think this has balanced out a lot of things.

This latest transition feels like it has a lot to do with the resolution of a particular problem which is hard to describe. It had to do with how I perceive reality on many different levels...any time I am frustrated by something, I can see it from so many different points of view...my mind kept trying to resolve problems by hopping around between these different points of view, but it kept getting stuck, looping around back and forth. A few weeks ago, I noticed that it was getting stuck in a place which is extremely intellectual, but also seems to be a place related to interpersonal relationships. It is hard to perceive physical sensation when I'm there, but when I do, the sensations are extremely subtle, and feel like they are on the outside of my body. This required going into a very non-verbal space, which felt extremely ungrounded and weird. So, exploring this for a while opened up some deep things...I started becoming very aware of loneliness and craving for connection with other people. At some point, I noticed that I could relieve my intellectual tension by feeling into those emotions. Now, I don't feel stuck there. The pressure builds up in my head, but I can pretty easily notice that "I'm feeling lonely", or "I'm feeling embarrassed", or "I'm envious of other kids who are getting the teacher's approval", or "I'm super-excited that I'm a great meditator", or whatever, on a physical level, and that puts things in perspective.

I'm trying really hard to express in words something that is just so immediate and physical. I don't think I'm explaining it very well.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/28/19 6:13 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
It sure sounds like you have a new understanding of things. The part about having enormous relief with regard to something that you had no idea you were doing sounds especially promising, and I’m very happy to hear that you are no longer having angst about being a bad meditator. It’s a privilege to be able to follow your process like this. It brings faith. Hey, you are a spiritual lightning rod already. emoticon

Haha, thank you Linda. I'm glad I can bring some faith to you emoticon

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/28/19 6:52 PM as a reply to spatial.
spatial:

I'm trying really hard to express in words something that is just so immediate and physical. I don't think I'm explaining it very well.

Oh yes, you do. It’s fascinating to read.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/29/19 7:25 AM as a reply to spatial.
I'm trying really hard to express in words something that is just so immediate and physical. I don't think I'm explaining it very well.

You're doing just fine. Thanks for all the detail in your answer.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/31/19 9:18 AM as a reply to spatial.
There is another thing that's been happening recently which I want to write about...but I also don't feel like typing a lot, so I'm just going to make this short.

I sorta feel like I'm developing psychic powers.

A couple months ago, I started practicing taking and sending as described in "Wake Up to Your Life", by Ken McLeod (I haven't read too much of this book...but I think it's probably worth looking at more closely). This is where you practice taking in other people's suffering, and sending them your happiness. This had some profound effects in general.

The other day, I was walking and thinking about a difficult situation I was having with someone. I suddenly felt like I became her. I felt like I could think her thoughts, and I felt like the "real me" was "over there". It was scary, because it was so easy to do (and also because of how little empathy I felt like I had for the "real me"). It was so much simpler than I thought that kind of thing would be.

A couple days ago, I was meditating, and thought about another argument with another friend. I noticed that I could see things from her point of view if I tried, and of course I could also see them from my point of view. But I couldn't see both at once. I struggled with this for a while, and then stood up. Something clicked, and I saw how to hold both views in mind simultaneously (and I saw why it was so hard to do that before). This totally changed my view of human relationships.

I was with my sister two days ago, and I told her this story, and demonstrated becoming her. It totally freaked her out. She said she felt like she really was looking at herself.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/31/19 9:11 PM as a reply to spatial.
I just told a really good friend of mine that I have feelings for her, over the phone. I didn't want to do that. I couldn't stop myself. I hate this so much. I can't lie to myself anymore. My reactions are plain as day. I know when I want something, and I know when I'm afraid of rejection. I don't want to risk rejection. Just really don't want it. I don't care about being rejected...I just don't want to be forced into playing this game. I didn't make this choice. It just made itself. I hate hate hate hate hate this. I don't want to mess up our friendship. But I can't continue being controlled by this flawed agenda that's been controlling me forever. It's not compatible with the rest of me. I don't want to make her feel uncomfortable. I don't want to put her in the position of having to decide how to respond to me, and thinking that I'm somehow asking for a response. I'm not asking for a response. I just had to say it, because I had to. This does not fit any paradigm I'm familiar with. I don't mind the feelings, but I hate being out of control. Sounds are very loud. My face is tingling. I'm inspired, too, btw...

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/31/19 9:25 PM as a reply to spatial.
I hope she is wise enough to appreciate it. You are being genuine. That's beautiful. 

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
10/31/19 9:45 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I hope she is wise enough to appreciate it. You are being genuine. That's beautiful. 

She's very wise, and she understands exactly what I'm going through. She is my best friend, and she spent an hour on the phone with me helping me work through this tension. Then, I told her this right before she had to go, so I don't know her reaction.
We've had some explosive fights in the past. I told her about my recent insights, about how I saw why the fighting was happening. It made us really close. She's the only person I know in real life with whom I can really discuss myself on a meta-level.
I feel so embarrassed. I don't want a new relationship right now. I only wanted to be genuine, and that was the way my body decided to be genuine. I resent this.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
11/1/19 10:37 AM as a reply to spatial.
Big insight this morning!

Question: Why is it so hard to let go of things I want to hold on to? Why is it so hard to grieve for the loss of something that's probably gone forever?

Answer: Because it's not gone. It's right here. Instead of trying to alternate between the worldviews of (a) "I wish I could have what I want", and (b) "I need to put it behind me", let yourself construct a single worldview that says "I am excited at the thought of having what I want, and I'm also disappointed that I don't have it." You can this without making any decisions regarding whether you should pursue that thing.

Frustration is like waking up from a good dream. It was never real. You didn't lose anything. You don't have to give up anything. It's just an image. It feels good when you see images of something you like. It feels bad when you see images of the absence of something you like.

How have I never noticed this?

---

I sometimes feel like there another person pressed up against the front of my body, and I can't get rid of him. It is so embarrassing!!! My personal space is being constantly invaded.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
11/1/19 2:08 PM as a reply to spatial.
spatial:

Instead of trying to alternate between the worldviews of (a) "I wish I could have what I want", and (b) "I need to put it behind me", let yourself construct a single worldview that says "I am excited at the thought of having what I want, and I'm also disappointed that I don't have it." You can this without making any decisions regarding whether you should pursue that thing.

Frustration is like waking up from a good dream. It was never real. You didn't lose anything. You don't have to give up anything. It's just an image. It feels good when you see images of something you like. It feels bad when you see images of the absence of something you like.


That is wisdom!

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
11/2/19 2:23 PM as a reply to spatial.
I've had some kind of incredibly powerful energetic event over the past couple days. I just sat for an hour and it was incredibly weird. It seemed like I had a fruition every 30 seconds or so, or maybe I was just spacing out. I feel like my mind is trying really hard to shed the whole outer layer of me, and it's doing it automatically.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
11/4/19 4:13 PM as a reply to spatial.
I'm kinda wondering if I'm having some sort of manic episode lately, or if certain blockages really have just been removed, or if it's the same thing.

Here's my basic understanding of human relationships right now:

When people say things, it's because they have a need to say those things.
My job is to give them space to say what they need to say, in a safe environment.
I can use the people I'm close to to help me practice saying the things I need to say.

I can write more, but it will confuse the issue. It's a simple concept, and everything else flows from that. This is a totally different way of looking at the world.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
11/6/19 9:20 AM as a reply to spatial.
Every once in a while, I have this sense that I have suddenly jumped outside of the fractal and landed in the present moment, and there is a huge feeling of relief. This is accompanied by the sense that this is the final, ultimate insight: that there is no fractal, that the fractal is made up by my mind and is the cause of all my suffering. But, this only lasts for a few moments, and I can't seem to produce it at will.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
11/6/19 9:23 AM as a reply to spatial.
spatial:
Every once in a while, I have this sense that I have suddenly jumped outside of the fractal and landed in the present moment, and there is a huge feeling of relief. This is accompanied by the sense that this is the final, ultimate insight: that there is no fractal, that the fractal is made up by my mind and is the cause of all my suffering. But, this only lasts for a few moments, and I can't seem to produce it at will.



This happens to me too!

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
11/7/19 6:42 AM as a reply to spatial.
... the fractal is made up by my mind and is the cause of all my suffering.

emoticon


RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
11/7/19 10:08 PM as a reply to spatial.
I'm starting to get suspicious of anything that feels like an epiphany. Not that they're wrong...I think most of them are probably right. I just don't think they are what they say they are. I'm suspecting that they are some way of avoiding being in that uncomfortable space where epiphanies don't happen.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
11/11/19 11:58 AM as a reply to spatial.
For a while now, I've been noticing that my experiences fall into a rather small number of categories. I'm at a point in my practice where almost everything feels very physical.

I think...the 5 elements might be a description of what I've been noticing...

Here's how I see it:

Earth: things which are fixed, stationary, heavy, body pressing against the floor, tension in my neck, feeling of safety, not wanting to move

Water: slow movement, shifting weight, trying to rebalance myself, energy currents moving through the body, attention moving through the body

Fire: texture, sparkling, hot, cold, rapid vibration in place, pain, pleasure, richness, vividness

Air: fast movement, thoughts that come and go so quickly I can't grab on to them

Void: the opposite of whatever's here, the impulse to be something else, what's left over when things disappear, the desire to fill it with something

I've been playing around with this for a few days. I wish I had heard about this a year ago.

This seems related to the latest transition I went through. I don't know what it was, but it feels like it was big, and permanent. It's like I now have the ability to see chains of these elements. How they transform into each other, and how my attention gets caught up in them. I kinda feel like I'm almost done...like I just need to sit here for a while and let my mind categorize everything a bit more. Not sure. But that's the feeling.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
11/16/19 5:54 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
...is there something specific you are asking about?

You don't have to answer if you don't want to but let me ask this a bit differently: How are you feeling when you listen to music? See a movie? Is there anything that feels different now - different than it did before this last transition you were talking about earlier?

Not sure that this has anything to do with meditation, but the latest episode of American Horror Story made me cry twice last night, and again in the shower this morning emoticon

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
11/30/19 10:33 AM as a reply to spatial.
This transition still feels permanent. I explained in another thread that it's like I have given up my attachment to "the senses as objects". I think that's a good way to describe it. I don't fully understand what it means. I feel like there's a lot more that needs to be done in order to become really comfortable looking at the world this way.

There are a new set of fascinations now:

- how pain is an illusion
- how attention seems to be affected so much by the laws of motion, and yet there's still of sense of being in control of it
- how the fractal is an illusion
- how the mind is drawn to objects of all sorts, and how it falls away from them, and how it wanders around looking for them
- how I often seem to be in multiple jhanas simultaneously

I get what it means to ask "who is hearing?", "who is seeing?", etc. This never really made sense to me before, but now I get the question.

I want to develop my psychic power of empathy more. 

I'm not sure if this practice log is useful. I don't know if it's helping me... But, maybe it will help someone else someday, and that's why I keep writing.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
11/30/19 1:28 PM as a reply to spatial.
spatial:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
If everything is ”mine”, is there even a point to the notion of ”mine”?


Yes!

The point of all of this is to uncover those patterns of sensations that seem to be hidden in the background. "The self" or "me", as they say.

Asking "who am I?" reveals nothing (to me, anyway). It just sounds abstract and philosophical to me.

But, it's clear that:

These are MY thoughts
These are MY memories
This is MY sense of hearing
You are MY online dharma friend
That is MY fear
This is MY face
This is MY meditation practice
This is MY problem which I'm going to have to deal with tomorrow
This is MY past or future

Whatever sensation I'm experiencing, noticing how it is MINE immediately brings my attention to how I'M ALREADY AWARE of that additional layer of self-ing which has been added to it.

1. Your intuition about delving too deeply into insight meditation without cultivating the jhanas is correct. 

2. You are mistaken when you flatter your Self into thinking that consciousness is something "in you": "You", my dear Self, are in Consciousness. Therefore, Consciousness is not and has never been "yours".You and everything else can dissappear, but Consciousness persists. "You" is just a similcrum, a Pinnoccio that convinced itself that he was a real boy one day, and nevermind the exposed zippers and strings. 

Not even the Observer, the desireless "I" that you think is located somewhere dead center right behind your eyes because there's a ghost-limb kind of feeling in that spot, is real. It's just another construction, a reference point your brain required as a co-ordinate plan "X" for things like proprioception and hunter gathering. That "Observer" dissolves too. Not quite as easily as Self, to be sure, but it will deconstruct.  

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
11/30/19 1:30 PM as a reply to spatial.
spatial:
For a while now, I've been noticing that my experiences fall into a rather small number of categories. I'm at a point in my practice where almost everything feels very physical.

I think...the 5 elements might be a description of what I've been noticing...

Here's how I see it:

Earth: things which are fixed, stationary, heavy, body pressing against the floor, tension in my neck, feeling of safety, not wanting to move

Water: slow movement, shifting weight, trying to rebalance myself, energy currents moving through the body, attention moving through the body

Fire: texture, sparkling, hot, cold, rapid vibration in place, pain, pleasure, richness, vividness

Air: fast movement, thoughts that come and go so quickly I can't grab on to them

Void: the opposite of whatever's here, the impulse to be something else, what's left over when things disappear, the desire to fill it with something

I've been playing around with this for a few days. I wish I had heard about this a year ago.

This seems related to the latest transition I went through. I don't know what it was, but it feels like it was big, and permanent. It's like I now have the ability to see chains of these elements. How they transform into each other, and how my attention gets caught up in them. I kinda feel like I'm almost done...like I just need to sit here for a while and let my mind categorize everything a bit more. Not sure. But that's the feeling.

The Void is not Empty.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
11/30/19 3:27 PM as a reply to David Kyle Spencer.
David Kyle Spencer:

2. You are mistaken when you flatter your Self into thinking that consciousness is something "in you": "You", my dear Self, are in Consciousness. Therefore, Consciousness is not and has never been "yours".You and everything else can dissappear, but Consciousness persists. "You" is just a similcrum, a Pinnoccio that convinced itself that he was a real boy one day, and nevermind the exposed zippers and strings. 


To clarify, the post that you quoted was not an expression of what I believe to be "true". It was, rather, an attempt at sneaking up behind Pinocchio's thoughts without scaring them off. In any case, that post doesn't really represent my present experience, as I seem to have resolved whatever was bothering me then.

David Kyle Spencer:

The Void is not Empty.


Could you elaborate on what you mean by this?

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
12/1/19 12:35 AM as a reply to spatial.
The Void is Not Empty

"The Void is not Empty!" refers to an ecstatic observation I made upon attaining my first fruition. Most people pull back at the edge of the Abyss that precedes the Other Shore because they fear they will become Voids themselves, non-entities with nothing left to cling to. It induces the sort of raw terror one imagines that an unborn child feels just before the moment of birth. For an unborn child, their mother's womb is the universe, and out there is the Void. What the child cannot know is that there is a new and profound existence outside the comfort zone of the smaller "universe" it has always known.

The same observation could be applied to The Two Wrong Views (micca ditthi), particularly the Annihilationist View that we are nothing but psychophysical organisms and will be annihilated at death.

Form = Emptiness, Emptiness = Form 

One thing I've always found interesting is how the mind inevitably prefers to categorize spatial objects in terms of the presence of something, when they can just as accurately be categorized by it's absence. This applies equally to spatial configurations of matter as well as other empty spaces or "voids". When we see an empty room we can never just leave it that way; we feel compelled to fill it with pictures, televisions, rugs, lamps, paintings and the like, or it feels "lifeless". And yet, this very absence is what makes the world beautiful. When there is enough empty space, a dancer performs beautifully. When a void is just the right size, we build a new home to fit it. It is the arrangement of emptiness within the home that brings forth beauty. 

What we percieve to be solid matter is in fact almost nothing but empty space; 99.9999999% of the matter that makes up our bodies and everything around us is made up of empty space ("voids"). In fact, if we were to remove this empty space out of every human on Earth, we could compress the entire human population down to an object smaller than a sugar cube. "Form is emptiness; emptiness is form."

No Emptiness Anywhere, Emptiness Everywhere 

And yet, even all that empty space is not really empty, but filled with virtual particles fluctuating in and out of existence in accordance with the uncertainty principle. And so just as The Void is not Empty, the voids are not empty; and yet according to Avalokiteshvara in T
he Heart Sutra,

all dharmas are marked with emptiness...they do not appear or dissappear...in emptiness there is no form, feeling, cognition, formation of consciousness; no eyes, no ears, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind; no sights, no sounds, no smells, no tastes, no objects of touch....


RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
12/1/19 12:46 PM as a reply to David Kyle Spencer.
What if existence (objects) and absence ("empty" space) are the same thing?

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
12/1/19 1:26 PM as a reply to spatial.
how I often seem to be in multiple jhanas simultaneously


How is this presenting itself experientially? Is the quality of energy in your body kind of all over the place in terms of granularity and ease? Do different parts of the body feel different energetically? 

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
12/1/19 10:25 PM as a reply to Zachary.
Zachary:
how I often seem to be in multiple jhanas simultaneously


How is this presenting itself experientially? Is the quality of energy in your body kind of all over the place in terms of granularity and ease? Do different parts of the body feel different energetically? 


Yes, it's all over the place. Everything is constantly shifting, and it's hard to describe it. When I wrote the thing you're quoting, I had just finished a sit where a good portion was spent feeling like I was (a) in the 3rd jhana with respect to my surroundings, since I was very aware of things flickering in and out of the background, (b) in the 2nd jhana with respect to the breath, since my attention seemed locked onto the breath and the breath was happening on its own, and (c) in the 1st jhana with respect to "the present moment", since it felt really good to focus on whatever I was focusing on, and it took effort to do so. 

RE: spatial's practice log, part 3
Answer
12/1/19 10:50 PM as a reply to spatial.
My sit this evening was different. I feel like I kinda get what's going on here. The reason jhanas are useful to practice for insight is because the jhanas are the very things we are trying to deconstruct, right??? That is, the mechanism of attention. That is, the fractal itself. That is, the sense of "there is a me to whom this is happening." That is, the meditator who feels like he isn't quite seeing it clearly, and needs to practice. That is, the sensations inside my head which, when my attention is turned directly toward them, make me feel at one with the universe. It's all the same thing, isn't it???

I wonder if this is at all useful to think about this stuff. Something tells me it is...

I can feel very clearly how I try to put myself in the center of my head. There were several events that seemed like fruitions, but I don't think they were, because there was no discontinuity. I could feel myself disappearing, and then reappearing, and then the urge to locate myself in the head. I played with that for a while.

I worked through a lot of fear in this sit. I don't even know what the fear was about. But, it felt good to reside in those spaces and let my mind figure it out.

Oh, and I also had a weird sense several times that the tension in my head is not really a "knot". Instead, it seems more like it's just something I do. I don't know what it all means.