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The Middle Paths (2nd and 3rd)

How to stop skipping back to a previous path?

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How to stop skipping back to a previous path? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/11/20 4:11 PM
RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path? Jordi 1/11/20 5:04 PM
RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/11/20 11:36 PM
RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path? shargrol 1/12/20 7:15 AM
RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/12/20 9:42 AM
RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/12/20 1:47 PM
RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path? Nick O 1/12/20 8:33 AM
RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/12/20 9:56 AM
RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path? neko 1/12/20 8:41 AM
RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/12/20 10:28 AM
RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path? Jason Massie 1/12/20 5:42 PM
RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/12/20 7:23 PM
RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path? spatial 1/12/20 8:10 PM
RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/12/20 9:16 PM
RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path? spatial 1/12/20 10:07 PM
RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path? spatial 1/12/20 10:23 PM
RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/12/20 10:45 PM
RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/12/20 10:36 PM
RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/12/20 10:49 PM
RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/12/20 11:04 PM
RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path? Jason Massie 1/12/20 9:01 PM
RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/12/20 9:02 PM
RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/13/20 7:09 AM
RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path? Dustin 1/13/20 11:31 AM
RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/13/20 2:56 PM
RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path? Bardo 1/13/20 3:30 PM
RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/13/20 3:35 PM
RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path? Bardo 1/14/20 1:35 AM
I'm suspecting that I have for quite a while kept skipping back to the previous path instead of doing any "real" progress. If that's the case, it was probably necessary. Still, I'd appreciate any advice from experienced practicioners on how to move on and do some real digging. The thing is, I really love the third vipassana jhana in the later dukkha nanas (just like there are people who really love rollercoasters and other horrible stuff), so I don't think that's something I've been avoiding. On the contrary, I have been missing its former intensity. I'd suspect that the problem lies earlier than that. Possibly in the 3C nana or in fear (I have some avoidance issues in daily life that might be necessary to deal with) or misery (apathy and loathing myself for the avoidance issues and the apathy).

Before stream entry I used to think that dissolution was the worst nana of them all, because of the brain fog it would entail for me. I'd had brain fog on and off for several years and hated the total loss of clarity. I depend heavily on my brain in my working life. I don't know if I have found a more constructive way of dealing with it now or if it has been easier because I have skipped back to the previos path. From time to time I still fall asleep during meditation, just like I used to do in dissolution, but nowadays I remain aware, in lucid dreamless sleep. This has been quite interesting. Therefore, I don't think dissolution is the problem now, but then again, maybe I haven't even reached the dissolution of a new path. I don't know.

It could also be the case that I haven't been able to deal with the more happy nanas, because before stream entry I used to have a hard time dealing with happiness. I didn't really have any strategies for it as it was so unfamiliar, so it would give me anxiety. I feel like that's one of the greatest reliefs that came with stream entry, though, so I wouldn't bet on that being the problem. It could be the case that I'm clinging to more contractive forms of meditation experiences, I guess, but I have appreciated the more spacious feeling and the lightness and I would appreciate more of it in daily life.

What should I do? Is the obvious answer that I should deal with my avoidance issues in daily life in order to be able to proceed, or am I missing something else? I feel like it could possibly be easier to deal with my avoidance issues more efficiently if I could tune into more insight, but maybe that's just my avoidance issues talking... Anyhow, I'd appreciate input on how to proceed in formal meditation. I'll have to deal with avoidance anyway, because I have obligations that I take seriously, but meditation is what keeps me going. My avoidance issues are entangled with hardwired disability-related difficulties. I'm working on it, but it is hard. I have other arenas to turn to for input with regard to them in daily life, so I'd appreciate it if we could stick to the meditation here, unless you are convinced that they are the number one priority. 

I also wonder if there are any tells as for when one skips back to a previous path. Can one learn to spot it?

RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path?
Answer
1/11/20 5:04 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Make avoidence your meditation object.
Forget about maps, paths and models.

RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path?
Answer
1/11/20 11:36 PM as a reply to Jordi.
To focus on my procrastination and the anxiety related to it, as a meditation object, is probably a good idea. It could be a win-win for practice and daily life. It would be a goldmine for vipassana. I'll try to approach it as lowhanging fruit rather than as dwelling in my own failure. 

RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path?
Answer
1/12/20 7:15 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda, it seems like you are entering the middle area of the overall path to awakening. Things get a little different here. The older practices of really diving into sensations and the raw data of experience tends to yield less results at this stage. The progress of insight model tends to fall apart or at least is much less important...

In the middle area, "views" become the most important aspect of experience to investigate. Notice how a "worldview" creates a "world". Of course, this is already obvious to some degree, but this is time time for really refining things.

To make it simple, you could simply notice how "ill will" creates suffering.

Or you could learn and apply the 6 realms ideas.

Or you could learn some of the other mahayana type techniques in Wake Up To Your Life by Ken McLeod.

The main thing is to notice that "worldviews" creates suffering, not just resistance to raw sensations.

There is a lot more that could be said, but I hope these few statements help point you in a productive direction.

RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path?
Answer
1/12/20 8:33 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
In line with what Jordi says above, I've found that whatever feeling or issue that's bugging me or that I'm not facing directly at the time is the gateway to the next path. Just sit with that feeling of aversion or avoidance. It's sure to pull you into new territory.

Other than that, try to plan out some extended sitting time (power weekends!) to get some momentum.  

RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path?
Answer
1/12/20 8:41 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
From time to time I still fall asleep during meditation, just like I used to do in dissolution, but nowadays I remain aware, in lucid dreamless sleep. This has been quite interesting. Therefore, I don't think dissolution is the problem now, but then again, maybe I haven't even reached the dissolution of a new path. I don't know.

Practicing lucidity in sleep is great, but being able to banish dullness is also a very important skill.

I am not sure from your description if you have this down already, but if you still haven't, I would recommend working on that. At least for me it was really rather unpleasant, and it took me more time and effort than I would have liked... but once you learn to do it, it's one problem solved, and it's worth it.

As for your general question, to be totally blunt, I think you might be taking the paths model a bit too seriously. I wouldn't take for granted that it is necessarily a good descriptor of what you are going through.

RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path?
Answer
1/12/20 9:42 AM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:
Linda, it seems like you are entering the middle area of the overall path to awakening. Things get a little different here. The older practices of really diving into sensations and the raw data of experience tends to yield less results at this stage. The progress of insight model tends to fall apart or at least is much less important...

In the middle area, "views" become the most important aspect of experience to investigate. Notice how a "worldview" creates a "world". Of course, this is already obvious to some degree, but this is time time for really refining things.

To make it simple, you could simply notice how "ill will" creates suffering.

Or you could learn and apply the 6 realms ideas.

Or you could learn some of the other mahayana type techniques in Wake Up To Your Life by Ken McLeod.

The main thing is to notice that "worldviews" creates suffering, not just resistance to raw sensations.

There is a lot more that could be said, but I hope these few statements help point you in a productive direction.

Thankyou so much for this feedback! So it really gets different? That's normal? I thought maybe I was getting sloppy. I have been looking into other kinds of practices very much in line with what you suggest here, but I wasn't sure if I was spreading myself too thin, I guess one doesn't preclude the other, but at least it's a relief that I wasn't way out of line. At least it was all reasonable approaches. I'm going through a period of insecurity and was afraid that maybe I was just making a fool of myself (hey, fear right there, and world views making worlds too, for that matter).

You are most welcome to develop those more things that could be said, if you should feel like it, but yes, that helps. You have shared more about it in other threads. I always enjoy reading your advice to others as well. I just couldn't tell whether or not your advice to others in the middle area applied to me as well or if they were beyond me. 

I think I understand what you are saying. I have noticed that there are more subtle things at play now, and at the same time more "macro" things. It just felt a bit too obvious. I mean, that's not far from what I look at in my research. I could easily slip into intellectual thoughts about that. How do I know it's still meditation? How do I know that my observations aren't just the storyteller taken to a new level? I guess it always is, in some sense, but there must be some difference between theory and practice, right? The practice must have some correspondence to empirical observations beyond content, right? So how do I refine it? That is, in a meditation way, not a social research analysis way. I have noticed expansion and contraction with regard to certain thoughts and yes, I have connected that to certain worldviews and their implications, how they open to some possibilities but close the door to so many others. I often notice how a thought pops up from a certain storyline and the rest of "me" wonders what the heck that came from, and then sees what it came from. I can see that there are so many different "truths" that are all products of their specific framing. Things like that. But that's just basics. How do I go beyond that? I have done quite a lot if mediating between people in conflicts, as I can often see where people are coming from and how it all makes sense to them from their perspective, and translate different sides to one another. I have often been able to predict the entire conflict early on because... well... people believe their stories and that makes them suffer. But that was before I started my practice. So there must be more to it, right?

I also have another question specifically for you, related to the differences in the practice from now on. You recently described the third vipassana jhana in another thread, and I recognized that very well from before stream entry. Not so much after stream entry. Will it never be like that again? If so, I'll miss it, and I'll have to work on letting go of that view of what meditation is supposed to be like. 

RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path?
Answer
1/12/20 9:56 AM as a reply to Nick O.
Nick O:
In line with what Jordi says above, I've found that whatever feeling or issue that's bugging me or that I'm not facing directly at the time is the gateway to the next path. Just sit with that feeling of aversion or avoidance. It's sure to pull you into new territory.

It sure can’t hurt. I do sit with the feeling quite a lot, though, and sometimes I wonder if I make excuses to sit with it, rather than actually dealing with it, as yet another level of avoiding. 

Other than that, try to plan out some extended sitting time (power weekends!) to get some momentum.  

I do that. A lot. I often do it instead of other things I should be doing. Meditation is one of the things I don't avoid. I promised myself early on that I wouldn't use meditation as an excuse not to do deal with stuff that I avoid. I have performance anxiety with regard to my research and sometimes also with regard to some of my social life, and I also have anxiety with regard to tasks that require much of my executive functioning; I'm pretty much scared of doing being adult. But meditation is something that I'm mainly doing because I love it, and so it is all too easy to do more of that and less of all other stuff. So practicing too little is not my problem (I don't always report on all my practice). I appreciate the thought, though, and I agree that power weekends are great stuff. 

RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path?
Answer
1/12/20 10:28 AM as a reply to neko.
neko:

Practicing lucidity in sleep is great, but being able to banish dullness is also a very important skill.

I am not sure from your description if you have this down already, but if you still haven't, I would recommend working on that. At least for me it was really rather unpleasant, and it took me more time and effort than I would have liked... but once you learn to do it, it's one problem solved, and it's worth it.

I agree. I’d say that I have but definitely not once and for all. I find that what solves the problem just fine in one period may not be nearly enough in another period. I think I have a relatively well functioning tool box for dealing with dullness, but that it’s sometimes sneaky and I’m sloppy enough to fall for it. I used to try to force myself to be alert no matter what. I had listened to Culadasa talking about the seductive dullness and I feared that I would build pathways leading to pleasant dull states and ruin my brain. In speaking to Daniel, he asked me what would be so bad if I were to fall asleep. He suggested that investigating the thresholds between sleep and being awake could be an interesting domain, if I remember correctly. I have also noticed that there seems to be a natural cycling to it; in my practice logs I can see that breakthroughs have often been preceeded by a period of sleepiness and worries that nothing seemed to work. Thus the pendulum has now swung over to the other side, I guess. Whether or not I have taken it too far, I cannot say.

For now I have chosen to investigate the sleep instead of fighting it. At the same time, I make sure that I do other kinds of practice as well. I often do reclining practice, and most of the time I don’t have that much of a problem with sleepiness or dullness specifically. At times when such problems occur, I take up a sitting practice. It has happened, though, that I haven’t done that immediately, for two rather embarrassing reasons: (1) that I’m vain enough to think that I can manage it without sitting, and (2) that I have these naive ideas about what the practice should be like, that it should just draw me in like it used to do and make me surrender (yeah, told you that it was embarassing...), and that has been more likely to happen while I have been lying down. So yeah, there are times when it probably wouldn’t hurt to fight dullness more actively, but I don’t think that’s a major issue. My ideas about what meditation should be like is probably a bigger problem, which leads me to the rest of your reply:

As for your general question, to be totally blunt, I think you might be taking the paths model a bit too seriously. I wouldn't take for granted that it is necessarily a good descriptor of what you are going through.

Okay! I appreciate your bluntness. That’s actually a relief. I was afraid that the thoughts that I have had about things being different now and more complex were just excuses because I didn’t want to see that I’m just totally deluded and have really screwed up bigtime because I’m not sure I can find the development on the maps anymore.

Being totally deluded is of course still an option. 

RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path?
Answer
1/12/20 1:47 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
shargrol:
Linda, it seems like you are entering the middle area of the overall path to awakening. Things get a little different here. The older practices of really diving into sensations and the raw data of experience tends to yield less results at this stage. The progress of insight model tends to fall apart or at least is much less important...

[...]



[...]

I also have another question specifically for you, related to the differences in the practice from now on. You recently described the third vipassana jhana in another thread, and I recognized that very well from before stream entry. Not so much after stream entry. Will it never be like that again? If so, I'll miss it, and I'll have to work on letting go of that view of what meditation is supposed to be like. 



I think I sort of adressed that question myself in my log just now, but I would appreciate your input on it, shargrol.

From my log:

Heh, I did a short session to tune into the sensory level of this mindracing. It is calming down now. I just couldn't help laughing out loud when I saw the chains of reactions, and that opened up another space. 

I saw the craving for something that I now know was just a beginner's illusions, and it was comical on so many levels. In the beginning of the session there were fierce vibrations and a loud whirling sound and a sense of a strong force to which I had to surrender, but it just doesn't work the same way since I realized a while back that it was just the attention system that fabricated that force. Part of me almost wished that I had chosen the other pill, just for the joy of the ride, but other parts compared it to that joke about the masochist begging the sadist to hurt them, whereas the sadist says no, which was even more ridiculous since I'm playing both parts but try to maintain the illusion that I'm not. Then I just couldn't take myself seriously anymore. That made it all calm down, both on a sensory level and on a content level, and I was actually just fine with it. I could take in the relief of it.

RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path?
Answer
1/12/20 5:42 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
A retreat. It actually has a name: Retreat reset. No matter where you are at after day two or three, you will find yourself in the first nanas if you are doing 12 or 16 hours.

Also the territory is murky. I would just focus on good practice. As many formal sits a day as you can and lots of effort at off cushion mindfulness. Balance the 7 factors and remedy the 5 hinderances. Working with those two lists is very pragmatic. 

That said, I tend to hit the gas when I should hit the brake.

I would separate insight practice and "issues" as much as you can. There is a time for content and a time for the 3c's of the phenomena that make up the content. 

Sometimes a simple map is better like: Arahant or nah? Another variation is: it will be good then bad and repeat an unknown amount of times because of, um, fractals, bro. Haha.

Also your post is kind reobs-y. "I am here but dont want to be." If you really boil it down. Maybe call it progress if you can say you have passed the a&p recently. emoticon 

RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path?
Answer
1/12/20 7:23 PM as a reply to Jason Massie.
Thanks, Jason, that makes a lot of sense. Very hands on. I like it.

It seems like I have taken a lot of things too literally. Will a retreat take somebody back to the lower nanas even very soon after a fruition? A path moment? Does home-based "power weekends" qualify as a retreat in this regard? Do fractals occur before third path too? Cause that's not what I usually see people write, but I have always wondered, because it seems like the kind of thing that wouldn't be binary. Sometimes I wish everything would come with an autistic translation. 

I think it was more of a fear-based post* because I'm weird enough to actually have a thing for reobservation (it makes things happen - it has that Kali quality of destruction that enables new beginnings) but I definitely see your point. 

Actually I think I would be okay with being basically anywhere on the maps if two criteria were being met: (1) My experiences would make sense so that the journey ahead is fairly predictable, and (2) the journey went along without stagnation. Maybe I should add a third critera if I were to be completele honest: that I haven't completely made a fool of myself, at least not in any way that offends other people. Those three criteria are even more laughable than not wanting to be where one is, and I do see the problems with them. I mean, they are practically everything that I'm supposed to uproot with my meditation. I also see that critera 1 is stereotypically autistic whereas criteria 2 is stereotypically ADHD, which is funny because I am autistic and have ADHD (the third critera is basically because I have my pride, which I guess is stereotypically human).

When you say that I should separate practice and issues, do you mean like separating the observation of chains in the dependent origination from taking measures to choose which chains I should make a habit of and which ones I need to avoid (morality work)? I can definitely see how that makes sense, especially with regard to separating the absolute from the relative. I know that MCTB2 emphasizes this as well, and I can see why. I can't really see it as if there would be firewalls between those aspects, though. The practice definitely has implications for daily life, and the way I see it, ignoring that completely would require a hefty dose of cognitive dissonance. In a similar vein, if I allow myself to revel in reactive behavior, without restraint, that would certainly hamper my practice, right?


*) It's pretty obvious that I'm in reobservation now, though, and that it's not the first time around since I wrote the first post in this thread, so now I can at least stop fearing that I'm currently stuck. 

RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path?
Answer
1/12/20 8:10 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Nice! Those criteria seem like they are probably pointing to what you need to work on. The fact that you are worried about offending other people in this way suggests to me that you are somewhat unaware of how this is affecting you. Speaking for myself, I have found that past that worry is (1) anger towards others for forcing me to avoid offending them, and (2) loneliness. And probably a bunch of other things as well. Yeah, pride. But pride is not a sin. It's a defense mechanism. Try to see that. (ps: are you truly worried about offending someone? or, are you worried about being seen as prideful?)

I don't know how to perfectly balance content and 3C's. I'm still trying to figure that out, I guess. I think it's probably good to spend some time doing both. It seems to me that sometimes the 3C's are easier to see when the content has loosened up a bit and you're not so reactive. And the content is easier to work with when you see it in light of the 3C's.

Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Do fractals occur before third path too? Cause that's not what I usually see people write, but I have always wondered, because it seems like the kind of thing that wouldn't be binary. Sometimes I wish everything would come with an autistic translation. 

I hear frustration behind your words, probably because I've found myself saying similar things. If so, that's a good thing to let yourself feel as much as possible (rather than trying to mask it as a request for information). I don't mean this as a criticism at all. Again, I'm definitely projecting here, so if it doesn't apply to you, feel free to ignore it.

RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path?
Answer
1/12/20 9:01 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Daniel's writings has shaped my philosophy on content and insight so I will link and quote him. My experience has confirmed. I will add that another trick I have learned is seeing the tough content as purification. All I have to do is investigate without judgement. I am not sure how real that is but you can get to a point where you welcome it. Burning off karma, sin, sankara or whatever type of thing.

https://mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/part-ii-light-and-shadows/24-from-content-to-insight/

https://mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/part-iv-insight/30-the-progress-of-insight/10-re-observation/

"The main key here is to continue to acknowledge and accept the content but also to see the true nature of the sensations that make up these natural phenomena. "


RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path?
Answer
1/12/20 9:16 PM as a reply to spatial.
Thanks for your feedback, Spatial! You always ask good questions, the kind that makes one look at things from different perspectives.

Yeah, there are totally self-protecting aspects lurking behind the concern about others. No point in denying that. In fact, I added the part about not offending others because a thought popped up that people might otherwise think that what I wrote was offensive (busted). I do believe that comes around to bite its own tail, though, or that it's like two sides of the same coin. That's still more of a view than an actual observation, I'd guess, but empirically speaking, or close to it at least: I wouldn't feel good about being seen in a favorable way if it was false even if I could be sure that nobody would find out. I don't want "me" to think that I'm offending others, if that makes any sense? And I wouldn't want to be in denial about it either. Thinking about those options causes sensations that I tend to assess as very uncomfortable at the content level. But I would also feel very uncomfortable with the option of being really noble and kind while having people thinking the opposite (of course I'm simplifying now - there are no inherently noble and kind qualities in essence). 

I agree about the balance thing.

There is frustration there, yes, definitely. I'm frustrated with people in general because they so often leave gaps in the information without metacommunicating it, as they don't see the need for metacommunicating it but just take for granted that their way of ordering things is the natural way... and I'm frustrated with myself for not metacommunicating my need for metacommunication with regard to specific aspects because I don't see that I have that need - because I, too, just take for granted that my way of ordering things is the natural way, which I would really not like to admit (but I would rather admit that than have people think that I'm the kind of person who only gets frustrated with others, obviously). And I get frustrated with others because when I do figure out what I really do need to know in a literal way, usually nobody answers that very specific question, but instead people assume that I really need the answer to something completely different, or that it was just a weird rhetorical question. And I get frustrated with myself for being such a stuck-up petimeter, and with others for making me feel that way, and with myself for being petty enough to think that.... and then it goes on and on. (This is one of the chains of thoughts that used to make me wish that I could join the Borg collective, by the way.)

It would be great if someone that I trust could just say, straight and explicitly, that there are fractals to the cycling all the way down, and so there could be infinite insight cycles to every step of every insight cycle from the start, and that the steps are really infinite too. It's all just an estimation of what most relatively avanced practitioners can agree on as a compromise model, based on the limitations of their capacity for making distinctions and before they get so tired of debating the whole thing that they would risk displaying all of their remaining defilements in a way that they all silently agree would not serve the greater good. If that's sufficiently near the truth. And that it's all a matter of how you zoom in and how you categorize and with what dimensions in mind. 

Sorry for all the editings.

RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path?
Answer
1/12/20 9:02 PM as a reply to Jason Massie.
Thanks for clarifying, Jason. Then I understood what you meant. That's good to know. 

RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path?
Answer
1/12/20 10:07 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
There is frustration there, yes, definitely. I'm frustrated with people in general because they so often leave gaps in the information without metacommunicating it, as they don't see the need for metacommunicating it but just take for granted that their way of ordering things is the natural way... and I'm frustrated with myself for not metacommunicating my need for metacommunication with regard to specific aspects because I don't see that I have that need - because I, too, just take for granted that my way of ordering things is the natural way, which I would really not like to admit (but I would rather admit that than have people think that I'm the kind of person who only gets frustrated with others, obviously). And I get frustrated with others because when I do figure out what I really do need to know in a literal way, usually nobody answers that very specific question, but instead people assume that I really need the answer to something completely different, or that it was just a weird rhetorical question. And I get frustrated with myself for being such a stuck-up petimeter, and with others for making me feel that way, and with myself for being petty enough to think that.... and then it goes on and on. (This is one of the chains of thoughts that used to make me wish that I could join the Borg collective, by the way.)


I can totally relate to this chain of thought.

Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

It would be great if someone that I trust could just say, straight and explicitly, that there are fractals to the cycling all the way down, and so there could be infinite insight cycles to every step of every insight cycle from the start, and that the steps are really infinite too.


The way that I've been looking at things lately, the chain of thought you outlined above is not random or completely arbitrary. I suspect that it actually maps onto the fractal. As you traverse that chain, notice what arises. I find it helpful to do this kind of work while walking.

RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path?
Answer
1/12/20 10:23 PM as a reply to spatial.
This is good, too:

"Fixating on thoughts about what stage we are in is guaranteed to cause some degree of suffering that is worth investigating, especially in the in-between stages, though a gentle awareness of the maps can be useful if those sensations can be investigated. You might note “mapping, mapping” when thoughts of mapping arise. There can be a sort of fork in the path for a while, when the meditator is seemingly able to choose whether to review previous stages or press on. It can seem as though the background is solidifying and the mind is growing noisier as well as less predictable, less stable, and less skillful. More of our stuff may suddenly bubble to the surface. We may notice subtler thoughts and mental images, many of which we may wish we hadn’t. We may feel less “awakened”, as if our realization was fading. Clear and consistent insight practice, that is, understanding the three characteristics of all types of sensations, including thoughts regarding maps and goals, is the only thing that finally helps, just as before."


https://mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/part-iv-insight/36-beyond-first-path-what-next/

RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path?
Answer
1/12/20 10:36 PM as a reply to spatial.
spatial:

I can totally relate to this chain of thought.

”My heartfelt condolances!” or ”Cool. Nice to meet ya!”, depending on from where in the fractal chain I’m looking at it.


The way that I've been looking at things lately, the chain of thought you outlined above is not random or completely arbitrary. I suspect that it actually maps onto the fractal. As you traverse that chain, notice what arises.

I just did. I found that it mapped to reobservation;disgust;cause and effect (the latter one because it was either somatized into a stomach flu or it was an adverse reaction to ibuprofen being psychospiritualized into this nana; I would guess that it was a little bit of both. I hope that it was more the latter than the former (it would actually be quite predictable due to histamine intolerance).

I find it helpful to do this kind of work while walking.

Personally I find it more helpful to do it in the vicinity of my own bathroom. emoticon

RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path?
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1/12/20 10:45 PM as a reply to spatial.
spatial:
This is good, too:

"Fixating on thoughts about what stage we are in is guaranteed to cause some degree of suffering that is worth investigating, especially in the in-between stages, though a gentle awareness of the maps can be useful if those sensations can be investigated. You might note “mapping, mapping” when thoughts of mapping arise. There can be a sort of fork in the path for a while, when the meditator is seemingly able to choose whether to review previous stages or press on. It can seem as though the background is solidifying and the mind is growing noisier as well as less predictable, less stable, and less skillful. More of our stuff may suddenly bubble to the surface. We may notice subtler thoughts and mental images, many of which we may wish we hadn’t. We may feel less “awakened”, as if our realization was fading. Clear and consistent insight practice, that is, understanding the three characteristics of all types of sensations, including thoughts regarding maps and goals, is the only thing that finally helps, just as before."


https://mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/part-iv-insight/36-beyond-first-path-what-next/

Yes, that was a very welcome reminder of a great paragraph. Ironic that one should need a map for being prepared to let go of the map, isn't it? I'm especially grateful for the part starting with "It can seem as though" and ends with "as if our realization was fading" because I had forgotten that part and it sure as hell seems exactly like that. Thankyou!

RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path?
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1/12/20 10:49 PM as a reply to spatial.
I actually for once do feel grateful that people chose to answer something differently from what I literally asked. Very grateful. I guess there's an upside to being a predictable human being too. 

RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path?
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1/12/20 11:04 PM as a reply to spatial.
spatial:
Nice! Those criteria seem like they are probably pointing to what you need to work on.


Yup. And I have noticed that I have a tendency of doing that by way of trolling myself with threads like this one until I get so much of both predictability and things going round and round until I’m fed up with it and just prefer the stillness and silence for the sake of mercy. It is almost too efficient. I’m awfully easy to manipulate.

Of course that's not a long time solution. (Until it is, perhaps.)

RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path?
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1/13/20 7:09 AM as a reply to Jason Massie.
Jason Massie:

A retreat. It actually has a name: Retreat reset. No matter where you are at after day two or three, you will find yourself in the first nanas if you are doing 12 or 16 hours.

 

I really appreciate finding out about this, because it explains a lot, and I like the concept. I think I have my own slightly perverted version of this, namely reobservation reset. It's not something I have been doing consciously, but I think I may have unconsciously used it as a strategy when I get stuck. It's like reobservation is a portal, in my experience. It offers low budget travelling with poor safety and lousy working conditions, kind of like the Ryanair of meditation. Because it is basically inherently unstable, it works pretty much like this for me: I can easily get to reobservation, and I can rather easily get out from it. I can't get out quite as easily as I can get there - let's just say that it offers limited options for transfer journeys to civilization - but sooner or later I'll be thrown out of it. 

RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path?
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1/13/20 11:31 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I'm suspecting that I have for quite a while kept skipping back to the previous path instead of doing any "real" progress. If that's the case, it was probably necessary. Still, I'd appreciate any advice from experienced practicioners on how to move on and do some real digging. The thing is, I really love the third vipassana jhana in the later dukkha nanas (just like there are people who really love rollercoasters and other horrible stuff), so I don't think that's something I've been avoiding. On the contrary, I have been missing its former intensity. I'd suspect that the problem lies earlier than that. Possibly in the 3C nana or in fear (I have some avoidance issues in daily life that might be necessary to deal with) or misery (apathy and loathing myself for the avoidance issues and the apathy).


Hey Linda, you say in this paragraph that you want advice on how to move on and do real digging. It sounds to me like you already are. The thing I have seen in the past year after getting to somewhere in the middle is exactly what Jason said "Sometimes a simple map is better like: Arahant or nah? Another variation is: it will be good then bad and repeat an unknown amount of times because of, um, fractals, bro. Haha." It gets good than bad than good then bad again and seems to get confusing but the confusing part is where I seem to learn exactly what I need. The thing that Ive noticed is the path (insight stages) seems to open me up, kinda makes me feel more broad and happier. Lighter on my feet so to say but that also has shown me that aversion rules my life. Not that I just avert from life now but I always have and the path has shown me the truth. My problem has been that I thought more cycles would take me to more freedom and they have but they also show where I tend to suffer. So anyway I think it has become less about going back a path or forward a path and just really trying to see how I show up in daily life and how I can work on all the stuff that plagues my realtionships and interactions with other humans.

RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path?
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1/13/20 2:56 PM as a reply to Dustin.
Thankyou for your wise words! I believe you are right. I just freaked out. I freaked out bigtime. I'm very grateful for all the help that I have received through this thread. 

RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path?
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1/13/20 3:30 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I'm going through a similar experience. Brain is very foggy. Seems like I'm a thoughtless zombie for the most part. Meditation is utterly dead. 

Fortunately, it's familiar territory for me. I keep mindfulness buoyant, allow it to float above the deadening features of whatever this is. This has been an absolutely critical approach for me. Mindfulness throughout the day along with inspection of views; views towards myself and societal views. It's very difficult to force-in 3C contemplation here. Sometimes there is an opening for 3C stuff but otherwise, it's wide, panoramic and baron, so baron that a tumble weed would be a welcome addition to break the monotony of the entire scape. I don't even think Amazon deliver to these regions!

With mindfulness, strive on. 

RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path?
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1/13/20 3:35 PM as a reply to Bardo.
Much compassion to you, Bardo, and thankyou for sharing! It's good not to be alone. May the process be kind to you and at the same time be helpful and fruitful. We are going to get through this, right?

RE: How to stop skipping back to a previous path?
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1/14/20 1:35 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Yes, for sure. It's just another phase and will soon pass. Sometimes it helps to scan through all your previous phases very quickly like flicking the pages of a book. If you can do this you'll notice that you cannot possibly define yourself from all of that static noise. If you can do it with the aggregates, even better.

Much compassion back to you.