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A nudge, perhaps?
Answer
11/26/19 7:27 AM
Hello! 

I've been slinking around DhOfor some time very, very rarely posting. I have come bearing a question and hoping for a directional nudge from those of you who have been working at this long and hard. 

I make no claims to "attainment" and only describe my experience.

Toward the end of a particularly wondrous and highly focused sitting, in which I felt every single breath function, heard every sound to be heard without being drawn in, was unbelievably tuned in to every little thing occurring... my body was incredibly still, my mind was very still... I felt very tuned in and concentrated, though it wasn't something I was working to do. It was quite divine. My shoulder jerked and I have no idea what happened just before; there was a gap. I really don't care if it was a fruition or not, that's not where I'm going with this. I've certainly fallen asleep sitting before and this wasn't it. I'm just giving background.

After, I felt totally blown away with the expansion of my heart and was moved to do the Brahma Viharas and felt very overwhelmed with a love/compassion/empathy for the world. 

Since then - my experience tells me it is laughable that I am at the center of anything. Life is just happening and I make no effort whatsoever. That is not to say that I don't still feel some kind of... "me" perspective at all - far from it. It's just that the perspective of me is very much aware that it is hardly the center of anything in all god's creation aside from within my own head. The very idea makes me giggle. Considering topics I have hashed out with a counselor has made me laugh outright at the absurdity - of course "x" seemed in this way, I thought it had something to do with me; nothing has anything to do with me at the center! (queue my own laughter at the silliness).

So far so good. 

Sensationally, it is as if I can feel things move literally through me, but mostly in and around the heart, upper chest... somewhat like an actual flow as life occurs. Perhaps somewhat like the "headless way," except that it is as though I can actually feel it go through me and not stick in the least. Again - seems to be confined to my chest as a sensation of things simply passing through. Meetings at work are just happenings, in a way. The actions of others feel as if the space/time/whatever they occupy goes through me - whoosh - moment by moment. Driving in a car is kind of a trip - it is like the entire world is flowing through my chest atom by atom. It's pretty soothing and cool. 

That all lasted, without any effort whatsoever, for six days. Today, on day eight, I can still access it and remind myself quite easily, but it is less of a default. 

The nudge I am seeking is - can anyone offer a tidbit? Focus on the...; or, explore the...; or, bask in the feeling of...

Just feeling a little bit of, "damn. What now?" I have read enough of the forum and the suggested literature from various places to know to 'keep going!" but I am just looking for a word of guidance.

I have sat with the anicca and dukkha aspects of this as an experience in the last two days... but maybe not enough? 

Thank you all!
T.

RE: A nudge, perhaps?
Answer
11/26/19 11:00 AM as a reply to T.
Hi. Thanks for sharing. That sounds like a lovely experience. I'm tempted to say "put one big sticky note on it" but me and noting aren't getting along all that well at the moment.

When I first saw that there wasn't a centre things began to move quite quickly afterwards. The self would collapse more and more often. In Daniel parlance these are called A&P events. Usually, the typical course of things would follow a defined trajectory which I have been able to overlay onto Daniels Progress of Insight. These days though, I do not seem to follow such a trajectory. It seems to be a mish-mash of random stuff occurring whenever it pleases and it often throws me into a state of confusion.

I would say keep it simple. You've seen that there is no centre. Great. It's excellent when those heart openings come and compassion rains in. We can really make good use of those moments.

When you say you're feeling a little, "damn, what now?", this sounds like suffering knocking on the door. Another way to put it is, "I want that experience back", which translates into grasping. Only you will know if this is accurate though.

The nudge I would offer is to keep leaning into that experience of there not being a centre. Recall it time and time again. Incline your mind in that notion of centerlessness.

What is the dukkha you mention at the end? How is that showing itself? Look at the dukkha with as much acceptance as the pleasant experience that preceded it. 

RE: A nudge, perhaps?
Answer
11/26/19 2:36 PM as a reply to T.
Don't worry about the mind asking "so what now?". It likes to do that, having that feeling doesn't mean that your experience is invalid or you didn't get anything from it.

My advice would be, if there is now a space to watch the mind and feelings more easily. Do that. Watch the mind and see it's storys. See how the three characteristics (impermanence, suffering, not-self) pertain to the mind's story.

You might see this somewhat happing on its own at this point. All of that said, I could be wrong and nothing I have said is useful for you at this point. Give it a week or so and things might clear up for you a bit. It can take some time for shifts to settle.

Alternatively, you can't go wrong with just being with what is.

RE: A nudge, perhaps?
Answer
11/26/19 2:46 PM as a reply to T.
T:
Sensationally, it is as if I can feel things move literally through me, but mostly in and around the heart, upper chest... somewhat like an actual flow as life occurs. Perhaps somewhat like the "headless way," except that it is as though I can actually feel it go through me and not stick in the least. Again - seems to be confined to my chest as a sensation of things simply passing through. Meetings at work are just happenings, in a way. The actions of others feel as if the space/time/whatever they occupy goes through me - whoosh - moment by moment. Driving in a car is kind of a trip - it is like the entire world is flowing through my chest atom by atom. It's pretty soothing and cool. 

[...]

The nudge I am seeking is - can anyone offer a tidbit? Focus on the...; or, explore the...; or, bask in the feeling of...


To me, this sounds like the perfect jumping-off point for Vajrayana-like practices, precisely that sensation of experience moving through you. From here there are a couple of ways to go. Explore and see what resonates! Some traditional options include:
  • Focus on the luminous quality of what is moving through; that is, the positively-appearing experiential aspect, that it is an experience which "illuminates" itself
  • Focus on the impermanent quality of what is moving through; that is, that any particular form is only every present for an instant, and when it's gone, it's gone forever
  • Focus on the empty quality of what is moving through; that is, how the arising, changing, and vanishing of experiences is too fluid to have any separate or circumscribed identity
  • Focus on how you (insofar as there is an observer) relate to what is moving through; that is, what does it mean to be compassionate/equanimous/loving/celebratory, or to grasp/have aversion, in light of the above?
More complicated Vajrayana practices like deity yoga are essentially elaborated versions of these investigations - when experience seems to flow through space rather than arise from a graspy center point of an imagined self, the deity is a methodical way to personify where it is flowing "from."

RE: A nudge, perhaps?
Answer
11/26/19 10:59 PM as a reply to T.
Stunning, thank you for posting. It is the natural state of young children to indiscriminately pay attention to everything. In fact, most of this meditation shiesta aims to return us to a natural modality. In truth, these wonderous states are more natural than our "regular" conditioned behaviors. This is the effortless way of being, regarded by Shiva. 

"And he opened his third eye, and the whole world burned" The dialectic way of speaking implies that everything in this reality became abundantly clear to him, every mental and physical sensation within his boundaries

Though modern times unfortunately require you to scope your awareness. There are times when this is healthy to indulge in, like when you are trying to exercise creativity. Also being in connection with your physiology promotes homeostasis. This is good to access during times of disease. From my experience, when this happened, learning anything new suddenly became so joyous. It's the fascination for life we all had as a child. Every new bit of knowledge absorbed was like experiencing my first kiss again over and over again as if knowing this reality explicitly was akin to knowing myself. What now? The veil has been pulled, and the choice is yours. I can't really give much guidance with my meager knowledge of you or your practice, but It can help to better penetrate phenomena. Have you already developed a positive world view or follow a proper diet? it might be for the best to look at those first and analyze yourself objectively. Anyway, the healthier your body, mind, and brain are, the more supercharged your meditations can be.

That gap... as I said, I only have a meager understanding of you, so I can only make an estimated guess. Meditation allows us to manipulate the brain. Areas can be shut down or enhanced, that's the gist. When the default mode network is turned off, the ego is no longer an obstacle so information coming from all angles is free to flow. The default mode network is responsible for the experiential and biographical self, it is also involved with speculation about the past, present, and future. Likewise, time and space must be deconstructed before this center can be shut off. 

... you are at the center of your own experience, isn't that wonderful enough? Though anthropocentrism is a plague on this existence, It would be wise of you to drop assumptions and remember that not everything in this creation will fall under the parameters of human logic. Rather than type another essay I'll just leave the investigation on to you... emoticon

RE: A nudge, perhaps?
Answer
12/1/19 11:14 AM as a reply to Bardo.
Bardo Cruiser:
When you say you're feeling a little, "damn, what now?", this sounds like suffering knocking on the door. Another way to put it is, "I want that experience back", which translates into grasping. Only you will know if this is accurate though.

The nudge I would offer is to keep leaning into that experience of there not being a centre. Recall it time and time again. Incline your mind in that notion of centerlessness.

What is the dukkha you mention at the end? How is that showing itself? Look at the dukkha with as much acceptance as the pleasant experience that preceded it. 
I would say there is definitely some dukkha peeking. I would say that it is showing itself by a sort of "bummed out" nature knowing that the feeling isn't as obvious as it was for nearly a week and worrying it will go away. It does hit on its own from time to time, though, and certainly life is still much "easier" than it was before. I've never been much of a note-r, though I've given it a bit of a try. I will sit and label everything I notice, as prescribed, I just don't seem to get much out of it. Usually I concentrate the heck out of sitting and see what interesting territories come and go. Yesterday that included some pretty intense feeling at the heart and a sense of urgency and "something needs to happen" that resulted in bupkis! ha. Today was very... bland. 

Thank you for the thoughtful reply. I'm going to give it a better go at noting. 

RE: A nudge, perhaps?
Answer
12/1/19 11:20 AM as a reply to Mista Tibbs.
Mista Tibbs:
The veil has been pulled, and the choice is yours. I can't really give much guidance with my meager knowledge of you or your practice, but It can help to better penetrate phenomena. Have you already developed a positive world view or follow a proper diet? it might be for the best to look at those first and analyze yourself objectively. Anyway, the healthier your body, mind, and brain are, the more supercharged your meditations can be.
[...]
That gap... as I said, I only have a meager understanding of you, so I can only make an estimated guess. Meditation allows us to manipulate the brain. Areas can be shut down or enhanced, that's the gist. When the default mode network is turned off, the ego is no longer an obstacle so information coming from all angles is free to flow. The default mode network is responsible for the experiential and biographical self, it is also involved with speculation about the past, present, and future. Likewise, time and space must be deconstructed before this center can be shut off. 
Yes, I've long held an essentially positive world view. Long before undertaking the meditative and/or Buddhist path. I'm an optimist by nature. I am pretty healthy, though I could always eat somewhat better. I have dabbled with doing some mild fasting to enhance my focus, but I've only found seemingly random results. 

The gap! A friend of mine who has been sitting zen for many, many years was excited for me and just told me to sit down with the idea of revisiting and investigating the gap. I really haven't figured out how to get that sorted when I sit - "oh! check out the gap in experience! concentrate." hasn't been cutting it... ;-)

Thank you for taking the time to walk through some things. 

RE: A nudge, perhaps?
Answer
12/1/19 12:43 PM as a reply to Mista Tibbs.
Mista Tibbs:
Stunning, thank you for posting. It is the natural state of young children to indiscriminately pay attention to everything. In fact, most of this meditation shiesta aims to return us to a natural modality. In truth, these wonderous states are more natural than our "regular" conditioned behaviors. This is the effortless way of being, regarded by Shiva. 

"And he opened his third eye, and the whole world burned" The dialectic way of speaking implies that everything in this reality became abundantly clear to him, every mental and physical sensation within his boundaries

Though modern times unfortunately require you to scope your awareness. There are times when this is healthy to indulge in, like when you are trying to exercise creativity. Also being in connection with your physiology promotes homeostasis. This is good to access during times of disease. From my experience, when this happened, learning anything new suddenly became so joyous. It's the fascination for life we all had as a child. Every new bit of knowledge absorbed was like experiencing my first kiss again over and over again as if knowing this reality explicitly was akin to knowing myself. What now? The veil has been pulled, and the choice is yours. I can't really give much guidance with my meager knowledge of you or your practice, but It can help to better penetrate phenomena. Have you already developed a positive world view or follow a proper diet? it might be for the best to look at those first and analyze yourself objectively. Anyway, the healthier your body, mind, and brain are, the more supercharged your meditations can be.

That gap... as I said, I only have a meager understanding of you, so I can only make an estimated guess. Meditation allows us to manipulate the brain. Areas can be shut down or enhanced, that's the gist. When the default mode network is turned off, the ego is no longer an obstacle so information coming from all angles is free to flow. The default mode network is responsible for the experiential and biographical self, it is also involved with speculation about the past, present, and future. Likewise, time and space must be deconstructed before this center can be shut off. 

... you are at the center of your own experience, isn't that wonderful enough? Though anthropocentrism is a plague on this existence, It would be wise of you to drop assumptions and remember that not everything in this creation will fall under the parameters of human logic. Rather than type another essay I'll just leave the investigation on to you... emoticon

Mista Tibbs - I can't tell you how much I enjoyed reading this. emoticon

RE: A nudge, perhaps?
Answer
12/15/19 8:11 AM as a reply to T.
Whelp. I located my current strata. I was poring over this link that someone had shared up from Daniel Ingram's website this morning, because I've been seriously, seriously touchy uncomfortable and otherwise difficult to articulate this deep-seated awfulness for the past couple of days. 

9, 10.1-ish areas. Desire for deliverance and/or Reobservation (well before any acceptance). Reading the piece about physical and mental manifestations was like "wowza" and made me feel slightly better to have something to relate to. I'm glad it's out here for consumption.

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5037f52d84ae1e87f694cfda/t/5475825de4b0ac156d2453a4/1416987229931/Nanas+and+jhanas+tablep1.pdf