Agnostic's Log 2

agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 1873 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
[EDIT: Adding link to previous log]

I am starting a new practice log with the explicit recognition that I suffer from strong narcissistic tendencies. To those of you familiar with my first log this will probably come as no surprise, possibly accompanied by mutterings of “about bloody time”.

In this log I will refer to myself as a narcissist as shorthand for having strong narcissistic tendencies. Of course we all have narcissistic tendencies to some extent and there is no clear demarcation between healthy and pathological, but I am reasonably confident that I am well to the right of center on the spectrum.

I haven't been diagnosed (yet) with full blown Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) but I am looking for a therapeutic diagnosis. My current therapist agrees that I have strong narcissistic tendencies, however it was me who initiated the subject and he is reluctant to classify me as a narcissist. Actually he is my sixth therapist in 15 years and none of my previous therapists brought it up either (obviously that’s not to say they didn’t think it). Part of the problem is that narcissists are very hard to treat. They only go to therapy if their situation deteriorates sufficiently and even then they find seeking help shameful and need to feel superior to the therapist. Narcissists are also experts at garnering sympathy. I went through several severe depressions and periods of suicidal ideation, but in retrospect they seem like elaborate bids for attention as my former sources of narcissistic supply dried up.

What really put me on track to recognizing myself as a narcissist was reading Sam Vaknin’s book Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited. It was both a shocking and uniquely insightful experience. At almost every page I had the thought “that’s me exactly”. I had the feeling that the author was inside my own mind and explaining what it was like to be me. Vaknin is himself a narcissist and says that the prognosis is poor – the narcissist will always be a narcissist and the best they can hope for is to understand their condition and try to avoid creating so much suffering for themselves and others.

My purpose in blogging about being a narcissist on the spiritual path is twofold:

1) To try and help myself by being honest about my problems.

2) Possibly to help others who may be narcissists or have relationships with narcissists.

Please feel free to comment on any narcissistic patterns you observe in me, especially if I don’t seem to be aware of them. I will try to take the view that “if it hurts, it helps”. Naturally this log and your views and comments is a source of narcissistic supply for me, but I am sincere in my desire to reduce the suffering caused by my narcissism (or at least, as sincere as it is possible for a narcissist to be).

This log will probably end up being more related to “stuff” than meditation. I have basically spent the last year on a kind of home meditation retreat. Whilst I have had some relatively deep meditation experiences and insights into the “ultimate nature of reality”, I am painfully aware that my basic personality as a source of suffering has not improved all that much (or maybe it has and I’m just more aware of it, but that amounts to the same thing).

I am actually somewhat ambivalent now about the value of heavy meditation as a narcissist at this point in my practice. Whilst the serenity and insight of meditation seem to be valid universal experiences, they might actually worsen my narcissism because they encourage me to feel special and different. The “personality is fabricated” message of Buddhism is like catnip to a narcissist, because that’s how they’ve always felt about themselves and others (having constantly had to create new personas to secure new sources of narcissistic supply). However as a narcissist my real feelings are so deeply suppressed that I may not even be accessing them at all even in meditation.

In simplistic terms, the narcissist creates a “false self” because they were taught to deny their “true self”. A healthy Buddhist will see that their true self is still a source of suffering and learn to penetrate that illusion. A narcissist will tend to think that they are more enlightened than they in fact are because they already know the false self is a sham. But in reality they haven’t even gotten their suffering down to healthy levels because they are in constant denial of their true self. Maybe that is overly simplistic, but I would rather err on the side of caution.
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 1873 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
I’ve been pretty busy the last 3 weeks, our kids nanny having finished and me taking over looking after the kids in the afternoons. My mind has been in turmoil digesting the realization that I am a narcissist. It seems like I’m going through a process described by Christine Hammond as Narcissism Awareness Grief, which is the grieving process which happens when someone becomes aware of narcissism. Most of the narcissism help genre is focused on the victims because narcissists rarely seek help, but I’ve been following it by imagining that I am the victim of my own narcissism (which is true but the irony is not lost on me!) Narcissists will only seek help if it is in their self interest - i.e. they become aware of their narcissism and are sick of the suffering it is causing themselves – so that is all I have to work with. As a narcissist I don’t recognize my own authentic self, so a fortiori I don’t recognize other people’s feeings/suffering. Anyway, here are the stages of "NAG" I’ve been going through.

1. Denial. I first started reading Sam Vaknin’s book 9 months ago and instantly recognized myself as a narcissist, yet I quickly put it on the back burner and told myself that meditation and the spiritual path would somehow dissolve the issue of their own accord.

2. Anger. Interactions with my wife and therapist 3 weeks ago brought me back to Vaknin’s book and the realization that I am a narcissist, leading to strong feelings of anger. Anger at my current and previous therapists for failing to diagnose it; anger at myself for failing to see it and then denying it; anger for the wasted years and needless suffering for myself and others due to my undiagnosed narcissism; anger at my parents for passing on their narcissism to me; and anger about receiving a life sentence with an “incurable disease”.

3. Bargaining. I’ve been questioning how my parents ended up as narcissists and why they got together and had 3 children who have all suffered and created suffering as a result. I’ve been questioning whether my meditation journey over the last year has all just been spiritual bypassing. I’ve been trying to cut myself a “bargain” where I say that the experiences on the cushion were valid and it’s how my off-cushion personality has used those experiences which is unhealthy, and that somehow I can keep the good and get rid of the bad.

4. Depression. I’ve already worked through a lot of depression over the last 10 years and accepted that my parents and upbringing will never change, so maybe I get a pass on this stage.

5. Rewiring. I’ve already done quite a bit of this in the past as well.

6. Acceptance. It seems too early to be thinking I’m here yet, but in the last few days I’ve started to recapture some equanimity. Radical acceptance through meditation has been quite a powerful tool.

My daughter was sick with the flu all last week and I was caring for her constantly, barely leaving the house. Actually we had a nice time together and I felt it deepened our relationship. I notice that I think about the effect on me first rather than what it’s actually like for her being sick, which is typical of a narcissist. However I feel like this kind of “enlightened narcissism” is the way forward for me. Based on my research, it seems unwise to hope that I will ever fully stop being a narcissist. But if I can focus on finding “me first” practices which help rather than hurt others then that seems like the best I can do with the selfish vessel I have. In retrospect my decision to start taking over the childcare 5 months ago seems to have been in the same spirit – it was motivated by a desire to reduce my own suffering by being less selfish, with the positive for my kids coming as a secondary benefit rather than being the main motivating factor. Maybe that is a bit harsh on myself, but I wouldn’t say it was better than 50/50 on the me/others motivation. After all, we’ve had a nanny for 7 years and I could have stepped in at any point but was too preoccupied with my work (which was barely successful). And I’m choosing to do it at a time when it’s much easier now the kids are both in elementary school together.

That having been said, I am painfully aware that I’ve passed on some strong narcissistic tendencies to my son (as well as possibly created some codependency in my daughter), so it is going to be a lot of conscious hard work over the next 10 years or so to try smooth those out as best I can. I’m still looking for the right therapist who can help me specifically with these issues. But it feels good to have finally identified the fundamental causes of suffering in my life and taking steps towards reducing them. It seems significant that I have decided to take on this role when my son is about the same age that I was when I was sent to boarding school. Whilst I had suffered basic insecure attachment, emotional deprivation and parental anger by that age (as has he to some extent), it wasn’t until I was sent away to fend for myself in a highly socialized afamilial environment that I developed a fully fledged narcissistic personality structure (false self) as a survival mechanism. Hopefully I can rewrite that chapter with my son. Taking a step back, narcissism is pure samsara in that it is such a faithfully self-replicating personality structure. I feel like this is probably the most important thing I can do before I die. My reasons for having a family were purely narcissistic, but running away from it will guarantee that the pattern repeats with my children.

In terms of meditation it’s been “quality over quantity”. There’s a clear dynamic pattern: more time caring for others => less time for meditation but deeper and more powerful meditation experiences. Kundalini is stronger than ever now. I have an extremely powerful headache which seems to be connected with the thought “I am a bad person”, but there’s a lot of flux around it and waves down into the heart and belly. The heart waves seem to be engender a vulnerable feeling of being connected to others and the belly energy (which I have barely tapped) seems to be more about a secure sense of simply existing without having to justify it or even think about it.

One of the things which really bugs me about accepting that I am a narcissist is that before I knew what NPD was I naively imagined that being a narcissist must be quite enjoyable. My thinking was something like - sure they leave a trail of destruction in their wake, but at least they are (or believe themselves to be) successful, attractive and powerful and can do whatever selfish and pleasurable things they like, damn the cost. But in reality being a narcissist is not at all like that. Narcissists really don’t love themselves at all, they hate themselves and have a hollow emotional core which they are desperately and futilely trying to fill with narcissistic supply. The hits of narcissistic supply are really fleeting and accompanied by an immediate comedown and feeling of dissatisfaction, because you know it’s all a fake, but still you can’t help looking for the next hit. It really is a crappy drug and I’ve had enough.
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 1873 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Kundalini is very strong now, almost overwhelming at times. I feel like my subtle energy body is being remade, accompanied by psychological shifts. The process seems to work best on an intuitive level, rather than thinking about what's happening and questioning what should be happening. I notice this during meditation when I get lost in some random thought chain and when I come back I'm surprised to find there has been some significant energy shift and kundalini is flowing quite pleasantly thank you. Whereas if I focus on the kundalini I get more painful blockages, presumably because I'm trying to control it on some level.

That still leaves me with the question of what higher authority I should or can trust during this process. The best answer I can come up with is just trust the process itself (kundalini shakti). It's how I imagine first time childbirth might be for a woman - trusting that the physical body will know what to do what it was designed to do. So I find myself thinking "ok, I give up, just do what you need to do". At a certain point I started to think about the lotus leaves opening in my head and wonder if that’s what’s happening with these energy waves in the head, but I didn’t feel ready to let that happen yet. I still haven’t felt much kundalini coming up the spine yet and my gut tells me that I need to let the kundalini work downwards through my heart and into my belly first.

Being a narcissist I naturally find it hard to trust higher authorities. They invoke in me jealousy, anger and suspicion. Whenever I consider gurus or deities I find myself adopting a critical attitude and thinking “why can’t I just do this myself”, probably because I have a narcissist need to think of myself as at least their equal. Of course self-realization has a long tradition and possibly narcissism can be transcended that way. But it’s dangerous because there’s always the risk that the part-realized narcissist uses that realization to secure new narcissist supply. Forewarned is forearmed.

My wife is travelling on business this week and I find myself missing her more than usual. I realize how much I take her for granted as a pillar of emotional and financial stability in my otherwise chaotic life. Of course that’s still a narcissistic point of view, it's all about what she does for me, I don’t actually spend much time thinking about her needs as a person in her own right. As I write these words I find myself cringing, but that’s more about being perceived as a shallow and manipulative person rather than remorse at actually being such a person. Anyway my goal is to be honest about what it’s actually like being a narcissist, so there it is.

I tend to find most of my past behavior pretty cringeworthy, and reviewing my previous log is no exception. It’s totally self-absorbed. I realize that I did myself a disservice by allowing myself to get seduced by the idea that soft jhana is much of anything. There’s not much you can take for certain in meditation but I’ve seen enough evidence to know that (i) hard jhana exists; (ii) I haven’t gotten anywhere near experiencing it; and (iii) the obstacles to hard jhana are the hindrances. After a year of relatively intense meditation I realize that I’m actually right back at the beginning. What’s going on with me now is basic morality, a.k.a. being less selfish. Anecdotally it seems to me that people who get into hard jhana easily have better morality (less guilt), whereas people like me with poor morality have painful energy blockages which prevent them from getting into hard jhana. This reply from Nicky was very helpful to me in assessing where I am on the path, i.e. right at the beginning. It’s humbling to accept that you are not all you thought yourself to be, but also very humanizing and it just feels good to accept the truth which in my heart of hearts I feared all along anyway. I do have a newfound respect for why the insight-first path is considered by some to be unwise/dangerous and it's better to work on your morality first and then concentration/serenity. Sure I got some insight despite being morally lacking and of unstable mind, but it alienated me from my family and caused new suffering. The reality at least for me seems to be that you can't get stable integrated insight without hard jhana and you can't get hard jhana without proper morality.
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Che Guebuddha, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 65 Join Date: 8/19/11 Recent Posts
I think Adyashanti once said  "Everyone's doing a dance. You must dance your dance all the way out." Such dances can be very draining almost bordering with insanity at times hence me writing you the next paragraph;

I was totally lost when I decided to contact Kenneth Folk last year. I needed some one to give me a push in the right dirrection. Kenneth Folk told me that one CAN NOT do Mahasi style Vipassana if one is not in the Human Realm (if the Mind is not in the Human Realm) as only humans can notice all the sensation. This acted on me like a slap in the face, like a total wake up call! It helped! He gave me a teaching on the 6 Realms and how to recognise them, when Mind gets into any of them and also how to use the Bardo to find my way back into the human realm so to be able to continue with Vipassana practice. BTW, his 6 realm teaching is not the same as the one Tibetans teach. Im not good at teaching this stuff. I can only warmly suggest you contact him and ask about it. He is a very helpful person and also Daniel Ingram's friend. They had the same teacher Bill Hamilton. (also Shinzen Young was a good friend with Bill Hamilton). This is a good line of people.

I have a strong feeling this might help you a lot so to bring you in the place where you can actually do the Vipassana to Investigate sensations that make up your reality.

I wish you and your familly all the best.



agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 1873 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Thanks for the advice. I had thought about contacting him a year ago but had gone with a kundalini therapist instead, however I might consider it again at a suitable juncture.
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 1873 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
I was listening to Tony Parsons again last night and I realized that I am falling into another dualistic trap with this narcissism thing. I’m falling for the idea that if only I could somehow fix my narcissism … then I would be happy. I’m forgetting that happiness is right here right now if I can give up the notion of I, the idea that there is a me who is lacking or incomplete in some sense. Suppose I was a healthy non-narcissist, I would still be subject to the vagaries of life, fortune and death. Presumably there are healthy people on the path as well, everyone is unhappy and seeking at some level. If I want to cause less suffering with my narcissism then it’s quite clear what I need to do – smile more, treat other people as if they really existed and their concerns and affairs are important, engage in more small talk and less big talk and constantly acknowledge my anger to avoid acting out on it.

My meditation yesterday morning was suffused with a basic feeling of happiness which was quite new for me. The pain in my forehead was gone and the strong painful/blissful sensations had subsided, I just felt happy and content, which is something I have basically never felt before. I attribute this shift to acknowledging my narcissism and seeing that my spiritual ambition is just as narcissistic as my former more worldly ambitions. Of course the happiness couldn’t last, it’s still too new and I feel like I don’t deserve it. By the end of the day I was back in fullblown personality crisis mode. I spoke with my therapist and we agreed that it was time for me to move on as he doesn’t really do the depth work and issues of transference. I had a session with a new therapist who does old school stream of consciousness listening. It felt cathartic and like the start of a new chapter … except do I really want or need to go down that route? Maybe, maybe not, I really don’t know at this point. I will probably have another session and see, but I want to avoid creating another dualistic ego trap.

Looking back, I think my depersonalization episode four months ago was a genuine taste of anatta but it was too much too soon for me to handle at the time. But it was enough to shock my ego that it really was under threat. So the ego devised a cunning plan: I’ll let you give up your business fantasies and look after the kids if that’s what you think will make you less selfish, just don’t fuck with my basic personality structure. Now I’ve broken the agreement and my narcissistic personality structure is coming under attack and my ego is pissed, hence the turmoil. It raises the question who is driving this attack on the ego? Is there a higher power (God/love/consciousness/the universe) guiding me to dismantle the ego? Or is there really nothing else and it’s just that I know in my heart of hearts that the ego is the cause of my unhappiness and suffering and therefore it has to be let go if that is to change. But how can the illusion let go of the illusion?

Kundalini is on the rise again and facial pains as I raise these unanswerable questions. I already know the answer – I can’t think my way out of this, I just need to let it happen – and yet I’m still not quite ready to let it happen. Just one more day my ego tries to bargain. Sure I’ll let you be awakened, just not quite yet. Meditation lately has been like an unpleasant medical procedure. I know there is a tumor in there and it needs to be removed, I’m resigned to go through with the operation, but still I’m too scared to let them take it out all at once.
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Che Guebuddha, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 65 Join Date: 8/19/11 Recent Posts
just my suggestions, brain storming if you wish. 

Instead of labeling your rich experience with "my ego", "the narcissist me" etc... instead of seeing them as opposing each other, maybe try to feel gratefull about them as they offer you so much clear material for investigation (sensate investigation). 

While at work today I've pondered about your experience and came to conclusion that the 6 Realm Model might not suit you that well. Such practice seeks to get out of other realms via Bardo back into the human realm. This way you can not learn about what your Narciss is made off. 

I feel Ingram's 5th Bend/Mode fit better your personality. Ingram invites us to get to know it rather than run away from it or eradicate it. Apparently all Bends/Modes have their Good and Bad side. Hence good to know them so one can act on them according to situations that arise. 

It might be helpful to drop the view of opposing sides and take on a view that these Modes/Bends go around and come around all the time. Even if an Arahant these maybe still go around and come around. 

ok. So this Narciss is gear to stay. Fine. As it's here to stay, in your home-Mind then get to know it well. 
how to know it? Noting technique would seem like your best option. Why? Because if indeed This is your Personality then you are mainly in the Deva-Azura Realm and these are realms of Jhanic absorption. Meaning they could just Solidify that persona even more. 

As you seem in a turbulent spot at the moment I think Noting Aloud would be of benefit to you. Why? It is very important to keep the stream of awareness unbroken during the Practice time so not to get lost in the objects hence reinforcing them more. 

I agree, you can not talk yourself out of this. emoticon 
but you can Notice yourself out of this emoticon 

take care. 

p.s. apologies if my writing sounds a bit off as I've had a hard (physically) day at work emoticon
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 3992 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
If the primary issue here is treating narcissistic tendencies then it's best to stick with therapy. All the suggestions and comments that address the pros and cons of a multitude of meditation practices should take a back seat. Treating a mental illness like this is not the purpose of meditation practice.
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Che Guebuddha, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 65 Join Date: 8/19/11 Recent Posts
My aplogies dear Sir. I will leave the room now emoticon
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 3992 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
My reply was to your post but it was meant as a general comment for everyone.
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Che Guebuddha, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 65 Join Date: 8/19/11 Recent Posts
No worries. I assumed the OP desired to find a meditation practice that can assist him in seeing the fabric of his condition. At times finding a stable footing to start walking on the path can be tricky so certain detours can help gain the clarity and resolution hence me suggesting such. 

i might have jumped to conclusions as this is a pragmatic meditation forum interested in awakening, moment to moment, sensation after sensation, matter of fact rather than doing psychoanalysis.

OP may have the last word of course as this is about his Mind. My respect to all. 
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 1873 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Thanks Che and Chris for your concern. I should say that since I am a narcissist there is probably a part of me which is enjoying the attention (and quite possibly seeking it as well).

I think both your points of view are valid.

Che thank you for taking time during your work day to think about my situation. You are right, I should face reality and investigate in every way possible what it is like really to be a narcissist. In the past I have applied noting practice on the bare sensate level (sense impressions and very basic “proto-thoughts”). Now I shall try to apply it to more complex narcissistical thoughts such as “I am a good/bad person”, “I am better/worse than this person”, “I am attractive/unattractive”, “I am good/bad at X”, etc.

Chris, you shocked me a little as I don’t think of myself as being mentally ill, but yes you are right, at least according to Freud’s definition of mental health as the ability to love, work and play. I can maintain passable impressions of those abilities periodically but they usually fall apart. I’m going to keep looking for a clear therapeutic assessment, although it is proving harder than I expected. Part of the difficulty is that I have given up most of my grosser external narcissistic behaviors but meditational awareness has magnified my internal narcissistic mindset. I present as less of a narcissist from the outside whilst I feel like more of a narcissist from the inside.

The first step to recovering from an addiction (in my case to narcissistic supply) is accepting that one is an addict. I think that is what is I am doing, hence the feeling of relief at knowing what my problem really is as well as the deepening of meditative experience and feelings of happiness, despite the fact that it is painful to accept.

Of course we all have some narcissistic tendencies and it’s a question of degree. Since my narcissistic tendencies are so strong they are hard to ignore, which might prove a blessing. The incidence of NPD is anywhere between 1-10% and spirituality is a very appealing arena for narcissists, hence there is probably a significant population of narcissists on the path who aren’t really admitting it to themselves. Trying to identify the narcissism in others is something I do quite often (“what kind of person abandons their wife and newborn child to go find themselves?”) however it is itself a narcissistic thought pattern for me (“hey at least I’m a better kind of narcissist”) and probably best avoided.

I think awakening and mental health are probably orthogonal. To me awakening is about seeing that there is not a real me and then integrating that insight into daily life. A lot of therapy seems to be about building up a healthy sense of self, but from a Buddhist perspective even a healthy self is still a cause of suffering and has to be seen through. One therapist looked like she was reaching for the panic button when I started to tell her “I don’t know who I am, I don’t think I’m anybody really, it’s just an illusion that I’m such-and-such a person with a past”. However I will keep trying to find the right therapist, whilst trying to avoid further reifying my sense of self. Thanks to you both again.
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 3992 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Part of the difficulty is that I have given up most of my grosser external narcissistic behaviors but meditational awareness has magnified my internal narcissistic mindset. I present as less of a narcissist from the outside whilst I feel like more of a narcissist from the inside.

This is exactly why a medical/therapeutic situation is what you probably need. Meditation can be a negative influence in some cases. It is not a cure-all for every mental condition.

I think awakening and mental health are probably orthogonal. To me awakening is about seeing that there is not a real me and then integrating that insight into daily life. A lot of therapy seems to be about building up a healthy sense of self, but from a Buddhist perspective even a healthy self is still a cause of suffering and has to be seen through. One therapist looked like she was reaching for the panic button when I started to tell her “I don’t know who I am, I don’t think I’m anybody really, it’s just an illusion that I’m such-and-such a person with a past”. However I will keep trying to find the right therapist, whilst trying to avoid further reifying my sense of self. Thanks to you both again.

What's missing from most people's notion of the relationship of therapy to meditation is that meditation requires a healthy sense of self to start. Another incorrect assumption some folks maintain is that meditation will somehow erase the sense of self, which is just not the case. So if you are having mental issues and you pursue mediation based on false premises you're just asking for more problems.
shargrol, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 1573 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Well said!
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 1873 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
What's missing from most people's notion of the relationship of therapy to meditation is that meditation requires a healthy sense of self to start.

I agree that ideally it would be better to have a healthy sense of self before starting to meditate. However the question occurs to me that if you really had a healthy sense of self then why would you start to meditate? Maybe you think you have a basically healthy sense of self and start meditating for relaxation or to help with some external life stressor or to get deeper in touch with yourself or because you have a nagging sense there must be something more to life etc. Then what if meditation starts throwing up all sorts of uncomfortable thoughts and feelings and you realize you may not be as healthy as you think? I guess that’s where therapy comes in. I think probably I have some sort of stigma about therapy due to narcissistic shame about needing help from another person.  Maybe it’s helpful to think about therapy as the lay-practitioner’s equivalent of the preparatory guidance that more experienced monks would provide to novices.

When I started reading Daniel’s book and got to the warning I remember thinking “well if I'm honest with myself I’m not in full health but I’m probably healthy enough to at least start on the path and I can back off and get help if necessary”. There was definitely some arrogance there, but there was also the sense that this was the way to real insight and I had to at least make a start, otherwise I would waste more years wallowing around in ignorance. And overall I would say the results have been as advertised. I’ve experienced strong anxiety and anger and some troubling psychological issues, but I feel like that stuff was there anyway and it required meditation to uncover it. I don’t think therapy alone would have done the same job from where I started, or at least not so fast.

I’m not sure I understand it when you say that erasing the sense of self is a false premise. The view seems pretty common across different spiritual traditions that the cause of suffering is the belief in a separate sense of self and the way to end suffering it to see this illusion for what it is and learn to drop it (i.e. “erase”  the sense of self). To quote MCTB:

With systematic debunking through insight practices of the illusion of some sense of a permanent, separate, independently existing self, we learn to perceive things as they are naturally.
...
I realize that most people go into meditation looking for stability, happiness, and comfort in the face of their own existence. I have just said that I have spent many years cultivating extreme experiential instability, careful awareness of the minutiae of my suffering and the clear perception that I don’t even exist as a separate or continuous entity. Why this would be a good idea is a very complex topic that I will try to deal with later, but I can honestly say that these practices are without doubt the sanest thing I have ever done in my life.


If debunking the self and adopting the perception that I don’t even exist as a separate or continuous entity is not erasing the self, then what is it?

You are right that I'm asking for problems, however to me that seems to me the purpose of the spiritual path – asking for more refined problems!
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Lars, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 420 Join Date: 7/20/17 Recent Posts
agnostic:

If debunking the self and adopting the perception that I don’t even exist as a separate or continuous entity is not erasing the self, then what is it?


When I watched Scooby Doo cartoons as a kid, the gang would be chased around the entire episode by a ghost or some other kind of monster. Lots of "jinkeys!" and "zoinks!" to be had as they ran around in a panic. Eventually one of them would grab the ghost, pull off the sheet and it turns out it was old man Jenkins the whole time wearing a bedsheet. When they realized this, old man Jenkins wasn't "erased", but the mistaken assumption that he was a dangerous ghost disappeared. As well, all the panic and suffering they experienced due to that mistaken impression also disappeared. I don't think it's so much about erasing the self, it's more about "seeing old man jenkins under the sheet" and realizing it wasn't what you thought it was (and the associated stress involved in that mistaken assumption is dropped as a result).
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 3992 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Nice, Lars.
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Bardo, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 260 Join Date: 9/14/19 Recent Posts
Really great analogy!

Old man Jenkins was a bit of a whizz with the sowing machine, making evermore intricate character's episode after episode seemingly reappearing time and again. He was a persistent little bugger!
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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You are right that I'm asking for problems, however to me that seems to me the purpose of the spiritual path – asking for more refined problems!

Well, my verison of the purpose of the path has changed over time but I'd say overall, the purpose is to discover what we, as human beings, really are. How do our minds work?
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 1873 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
There’s been a lot of sleep related disturbances the last few days and continuing kundalini process. I kept preparing posts but never had time to post. I was trying to edit everything into one long post and then I thought … why do I need to do this? Why do I need to give a blow by blow account of every little mental episode and energetic shift? They all seem like big deals to me at the time but a few days later and it’s all just water under the bridge.

I realize how self-absorbed and selfish I am in my practice. I start out with the best intentions of letting go, but the more I let go the more stuff bubbles up and then I get wrapped up in it all and forget it was letting go that got me to this point in the first place. And then just on a basic level I find myself grasping after the pleasant meditational experiences and resisting the unpleasant ones.

I take on board the comments above about not erasing the self but seeing old man Jenkins under the sheet (or the snake is just a piece of rope). The personality seems real on the relative plane of existence and inter-personal relationships, no point in denying that, but the more space I create in absolute existence the easier it is to step back and get some perspective on relative issues.

Rather than anatta or not-self I’m finding it more helpful to use words like “not mine” and “not me”, they have more of a personal impact for me. If I’m trying to focus on the breath and kundalini is distracting me then I say to myself “this energy is not mine, there is no permanent underlying me this is happening to, this is just an impersonal energy process liking watching a stream flowing around rocks”. If I’m getting frustrated looking after the kids and wish they were in bed then I say “these feelings are not mine, there is no solid underlying me they belong to, they are just feelings arising dependent on prior non-me causal conditions”. I’m not denying the feelings, if anything I’m feeling them more fully because I’m able to observe them without getting caught up in the story of “I’m suffering because of these feelings”. It seems to work in reducing suffering and I don’t think I’m disassociating, my external behavior seems better even if my head is a “total mess”.
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Thanks to Tony Parsons’ Open Secret, I am realizing that the feeling of being on a progressive path towards awakening is itself the main barrier to awakening. A lot of my though processes around awakening go something like this: “I will be free once my kundalini blockages are cleared”, or “I will be more awakened once I can let go enough to attain a hard jhana”, or “I will be free once I am less of a narcissist”. These thoughts all have the same pattern: “there is something wrong with me which needs to be fixed before I am free/awakened”. And they all reinforce the basic underlying assumption – there is a real solid existing me which needs to be worked on. But if right now I adopt the attitude that there is no real underlying me, that these issues are all just impersonal conditioned thoughts which don’t rely on an underlying me in order to keep playing and self-perpetuating, then suddenly they cease and I see that I am already free.
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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I was just waiting for my phone to be fixed, temporarily free of its hold on me, when suddenly it occurred to me that there's nothing really wrong with me at all. The only thing wrong with me is that I grew up believing there was something wrong with me and eventually started acting that way to confirm my belief. It's a very liberating thought - I don't need to impress or repel anyone any more to get attention, I'm fine just as I am. Then the thought occurs "but what next?" followed by the realization that "what next" is the problem and there doesn't have to be a what next. Everything is fine just as it is and taking care of itself. Past karma still needs to be burnt off but that's happening by itself anyway.
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Olivier, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Nice !
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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 The only thing wrong with me is that I grew up believing there was something wrong with me and eventually started acting that way to confirm my belief.

I feel as though you're lost in a hall of mirrors. You select the image that is most pleasing to you today, so today that's "you." Tomorrow, you might select another image because that one is pleasing.

Comments?
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 1873 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Chris Marti:
 The only thing wrong with me is that I grew up believing there was something wrong with me and eventually started acting that way to confirm my belief.

I feel as though you're lost in a hall of mirrors. You select the image that is most pleasing to you today, so today that's "you." Tomorrow, you might select another image because that one is pleasing.

Comments?

Well this is the first time that I've really accepted the thought there's nothing wrong with me. It seems like an improvement, but I get your point - "I'm a bad person" or "I'm a good" person, they are both just self-selected mirrors which are equally problematic from an anatta perspective.
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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I've been having more clear insight of anatta in daily life than meditating recently, which is a reversal for me. When I started this game it seemed relatively easy to see that sense impressions and thoughts were anatta, but I failed to notice that underlying it all was still the basic assumption that it was ME who was choosing to play the game of dropping the me-ness in everything else. Now that my core personality is wobbling I'm finding myself seeing anatta in all sorts of daily life situations where I wouldn't have before, however when I meditate it seems harder to let go of the sense that this is MY experience. If I had to speculate I would say that the ego is willing to let you play sensory anatta games when it still runs the whole show, however once it's power comes seriously under threat then it starts to clamp down.

Yesterday I was crossing the road and I had one of those "there really is no me" moments. Reality was just there as it was with no need for a me to be there. I see no-me several times a day but then find myself getting caught up in the dream of a me again and have to keep reminding myself to let it go. In the evenings no-me tends to bring on feelings of anxiety and dread. It's easier during the day when I know there is another me activity round the corner. At nights I start to get the fear that me is really going to disappear for good. Last night I woke up at 1:30am feeling pretty depersonalized and lay away for an hour freaking out. I was having trouble remembering who I was, where I was and what my life was. I tried to remember Zachary's advice from my first depersonalization episode - to focus on the freakout itself. I had a hard time finding the physical sensations but I remember thinking they were mild and basically seemed ok. As for the existential panic, I found myself saying "ok panic is happening but there's still no me who is panicking" and that seemed to take the edge off it. At a certain point I was able to laugh about it and fall back to sleep.

Is this kind of experience normal? Mostly when I read people's accounts of realizing anatta it's liberating, blissful, realizing they are unconditional love etc. However I remember Suzanne Segal's book where it took her years to get used to being nobody. I have a big ego and narcissism issues so I suppose it should be no surprise that my ego has to be dragged kicking and screaming out of the cinema. I guess there is a reporting bias because the published accounts are by people who "made it" whereas the more troublesome cases are probably under-reported because they're not good for business and those people are more likely to get scared off the path.

A simple remedy would be not to meditate before bedtime or lie on my side so that I fall asleep faster, but that seems like a cop out to me. I try to fall asleep on my back if I dare precisely so I can watch myself fall asleep slowly and see what bubbles up from my subconscious. I feel like these fears and neuroses are in there and if I don't face them now then they will continue subconsciously to drive my behavior and probably resurface when I'm dying, wherever that may lead. I'm going to dump a couple more nighttime experiences here which I didn't post before, in case anyone has any insights.

A few nights ago I was falling asleep and suddenly I became aware that I was thinking a totally alien thought stream, almost as if somebody else had taken control of my brain and was using it to think their thoughts. Usually when I fall asleep slowly I notice the thought stream becoming more random and disconnected and that’s the sign I’m about to fall asleep. But this time it was a more coherent thought stream that was developing as I fell asleep however the content was completely alien to me and I suddenly snapped awake thinking “that’s just not me who is having those thoughts”. It was somewhat like a dream, except when I wake up from a dream there is a definite sense of I was asleep, I had this dream, the content might have been alien to me and I might not have had a clear sense of myself being in the dream, however it was definitely a dream that happened to me while I was asleep. Because this falling asleep experience was more continuously connected with the preceding waking state, it felt more threatening to my sense of identity.

The same night at 2am my daughter came into my room with growing pains and I had to get her medicine and milk and an ice pack and massage her to sleep in my bed. Afterwards I lay there awake for an hour feeling much more calm and contented, relieved that however messed up my mind might feel at least I can adequately perform the basic tasks of parenting. At a certain point I started thinking about her and her stuffies and suddenly I had the sense that I was inside her mind looking at the world from her point of view. Actually this kind of thing has happened with a few people recently when I think about them and on a couple of occasions I have found myself “allowing” other people into my mind to have a look around. Maybe I’m just imagining it, or maybe since we are talking about mental space here then imagining it is the same thing as it actually happening.

The other morning I woke up spontaneously at 4am and lay on my back meditating. For the first time in weeks I found myself going through the nanas (recently I’ve been dominated by kundalini which I guess is A&P territory). I got to equanimity a couple of times, experience got real slow and granular, I started to become aware of the gaps between formations, I felt like I was in fruition territory but each time I fell back with fear and restlessness. After a couple of hours I got tired and turned on my side to sleep. Suddenly I found myself in the familiar situation of semi-awake but trapped in my paralyzed body vibrating harshly. This time I was able to relax and ride it out for longer, playing with it a little, semi-waking up, moving a hand and then falling back into it. At one point I was stuck vibrating too hard, freaking out, and became aware of  my wife getting up. I called out “help” several times but when I asked her about it later she hadn’t heard anything. It was definitely a lucid experience. I was able to zoom in and look at some plants and enjoy their beauty, then zoom out and fly a little. I saw a field of stars and zoomed in real close until they became little pinpricks of light and then vanished and some other weird hallucination popped up. At another point I say a young calf flayed and bloody and I had the idea that the vibrations were related to my past meat consumption and suffering animal toxins in my body. The overall tone of the trip was still harsh, but it was definitely more fun, pleasant and lucid than previous ones. I want to say this is a good thing as it seems I’m working the harsh vibratory energy out of my system and freeing up my subtle body, but I don’t want to read too much into it or get overly fixated on such experiences as they are a byproduct of purification and not the end goal.
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 1873 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
I woke up again last night after an hour and went through another anxious depersonalization experience. There was slightly less depersonalization than two nights ago and more anxiety, also bits of my body felt like they didn't belong to me.The anxiety reminded me a bit of how I would get anxious sometimes trying to fall asleep when stoned on marijuana, although this is much worse. That used to happen before I really got into meditation. I'm also on antibiotics which I read can cause hallucinations & delerium, although my first depersonalization experience was 4 months ago so the antibiotics are probably incidental. Interestingly my mother called me yesterday afternoon which I usually find uncomfortable and she had just arrived for her annual stay during the DP of 4 months ago, so that could be a pattern.

I think the anxiety which anatta causes me could be related to my insecure attachment style. I read somewhere that the infants primary attachment style becomes the model for its attachment to itself and whether it can form healthy self-esteem. My attachment style (from later self-obervation of relationship with mother and others) seems to be anxious-avoidant, so if the theory is true then that would explain why I get anxious when my self "leaves the room". I assume people with a more healthy relationship to self are more relaxed when they see their personality depart, because they are secure in the knowledge that it will come back when they need it. Anyone care to comment?
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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agnostic:

I think the anxiety which anatta causes me could be related to my insecure attachment style. I read somewhere that the infants primary attachment style becomes the model for its attachment to itself and whether it can form healthy self-esteem. My attachment style (from later self-obervation of relationship with mother and others) seems to be anxious-avoidant, so if the theory is true then that would explain why I get anxious when my self "leaves the room". I assume people with a more healthy relationship to self are more relaxed when they see their personality depart, because they are secure in the knowledge that it will come back when they need it. Anyone care to comment?


I have a very limited statistical foundations for saying anything in general, and that is an understatement, but I have an earned secure attachment style and I have learned to love it when the self dissolves. The people I know that look terrified just from talking about any kind of transcendence of the self have very insecure attachment styles. 
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

I have a very limited statistical foundations for saying anything in general, and that is an understatement, but I have an earned secure attachment style and I have learned to love it when the self dissolves. The people I know that look terrified just from talking about any kind of transcendence of the self have very insecure attachment styles. 

Hi Linda!

I just reread your insighful comment - sorry I never acknowledged it the first time around. I wanted to ask you a couple of questions to see if your experience might be relevant to where I'm at currently.

I keep waking up 1-2 hours after falling asleep with self missing (no sense of being me) and a swimming feeling. This triggers anxiety which sometimes is mild enough I can lie in bed with it for an hour and fall back to sleep, whereas other times it starts to feel overwhelming and I need to do some grounding activity for up to 4 hours to take my mind off it and allow the anxiety to settle before I can fall back to sleep.  

The first time it happened 6 months ago I really thought I might be going crazy and need psychiatric intervention, but I was able to ground myself by talking to my wife about it (tough for her) and fortunately I had Suzanne Segal's book to hand which I devoured in one sitting and recognized as approximately the same type of (non-)experience, just not immediately permanent. Since then there have been a few milder instances, but this week it has been happening almost every night and even during the day after naps, and the rest of the time there's still a subtler sense of not-me.

In a sense it's not a problem because it's seen that it's not happening to me, but it's spooky nonetheless. (I'm not trying to be clever with words here - saying "I see" just fails to capture what's happening, or rather not happening!) Zachary's advice to notice the sensations around the freakout has sometimes been helpful, although the "not happening to me" approach seems to work better at taking the edge of the anxiety first and then there's more relaxation to start noticing what's going on in the body. But sometimes the anxiety feels just too intense to start investigating and then I have to resort to grounding. Talking to my wife doesn't really work because she doesn't have a background at all in any of this stuff so it's alarming and confusing for her when I start talking about not being me.

The fact that it starts while I'm asleep suggests that there's something trying to happen if only I would get out of the way. On the other hand, it does seem to be triggered by stress such as sickness (currently the coronavirus) or intentionally possibly with the Dharma scuffles I've been starting lately on DhO. The fact that it seems to be caused by stress would tend towards a psychiatric interpretation (DP/DR), however I've read enough of other practioners' experiences to tend to believe that it's more likely just one more delightful fruit of the path. My gut sense is that this kind of thing is what is supposed or expected to happen on the path (at least to people with troubled backstories such as myself).

If you have the time or the inclination, here are my questions. Please don't feel the need to answer all of them, just whatever is relevant for you.

How did you learn to love it when the self dissolves?

Had you already earned a secure attachment style first, or that was part of the process?

When self dissolves for you, is it a sudden or a gradual experience? What are the triggers? Do you feel you have any control over it?

You mention transcendence of the self - when self dissolves for you, do you still feel like it's you having the experience of transcending something? Or merging into something? Or is it more like the complete loss of self I'm describing?

What was it like before you learned to love it?

Sorry this turned into a much longer question than I was expecting! I haven't logged in a while to I guess that's happening too.

If anyone else is reading and has insights or experience they want to share, please feel free to jump in!

For context, bigger picture right now there is fundamental questioning going on about whether I should be practicing at all. I seem to have managed to convince myself that self doesn't really exist and so there's no choice to practice or not to practice. Under this interpreation, the diminished illusory self is merely putting up resistance to what is known already to be the final outcome. Kundalini is so strong that I'm not meditating much for the time being, it's like throwing gasonline on the fire.

I'm also getting a sense of differing viewpoints within DhO about no-self vs not-self. MCTB talks about the "creepy" and "utterly disconcerting" depths of no-self, which seems closer to my experience, but other people are saying it's not-self in Buddhism not no-self (I'm not really clear on the difference). Practically speaking, I'm more interested in trying to find aligning experiential viewpoints than debating terms though.
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Zachary, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Zachary's advice to notice the sensations around the freakout has sometimes been helpful, although the "not happening to me" approach seems to work better at taking the edge of the anxiety first and then there's more relaxation to start noticing what's going on in the body. But sometimes the anxiety feels just too intense to start investigating and then I have to resort to grounding. Talking to my wife doesn't really work because she doesn't have a background at all in any of this stuff so it's alarming and confusing for her when I start talking about not being me.

That's right. Continue to gently be aware that the freakout isn't you. Grounding is great, I can personally vouch for forms of standing meditation like Zhan Zhuang. Do you have someone you can share these things with in person who can contextualize them for you in a skillful way? 
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Zachary:

That's right. Continue to gently be aware that the freakout isn't you. Grounding is great, I can personally vouch for forms of standing meditation like Zhan Zhuang. Do you have someone you can share these things with in person who can contextualize them for you in a skillful way? 

Hi Zachary!

Thanks for keeping an eye on my log and the reminder on grounding. I will try pacing my bedroom next time (where I am currently quarantined, probably adding to the intensity). I don't really have anyone to share with, apart from DhO. It's a tricky thing to talk about because it can seem threatening to people (myself included!)  On the most basic level it's not an experience that "I am having", hence it's ridiculous really to be trying to compare with somebody else's experience. Humor definitely helps, because it's literally the most absurd thing in the world.

Maybe I was just driving a little too fast. Tough balance to strike though. My practice would get stale, I would ramp up the intensity, leading to vanishing, leading to the realization that there is no one there to practice and nowhere to get to, leading to stale practice etc. Anyway, it seems to be more sustainable now and life is basically ok and appears to be the practice itself, so maybe this is the new normal and it will settle.

Cheers
agnostic
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
agnostic:
Zachary:

That's right. Continue to gently be aware that the freakout isn't you. Grounding is great, I can personally vouch for forms of standing meditation like Zhan Zhuang. Do you have someone you can share these things with in person who can contextualize them for you in a skillful way? 

Hi Zachary!

Thanks for keeping an eye on my log and the reminder on grounding. I will try pacing my bedroom next time (where I am currently quarantined, probably adding to the intensity). I don't really have anyone to share with, apart from DhO. It's a tricky thing to talk about because it can seem threatening to people (myself included!)  On the most basic level it's not an experience that "I am having", hence it's ridiculous really to be trying to compare with somebody else's experience. Humor definitely helps, because it's literally the most absurd thing in the world.

Maybe I was just driving a little too fast. Tough balance to strike though. My practice would get stale, I would ramp up the intensity, leading to vanishing, leading to the realization that there is no one there to practice and nowhere to get to, leading to stale practice etc. Anyway, it seems to be more sustainable now and life is basically ok and appears to be the practice itself, so maybe this is the new normal and it will settle.

Cheers
agnostic

You seem well within the speed limit to me, just dealing with the fact that your vehicle is now capable of going from zero to infinity in ten seconds and you're learning your touch with the gas pedal. The real key is not what's on the speed limit signs, but staying with the general flow of traffic, which is generally speed limit +5. And, as Bill Murray told the groundhog, Don't drive angry.

It does seem like this condition is "the practice itself," that no-self is kind of a pure non-stop vipassana noting without a noter, with no choice involved. 

Have you read Bernadette Robert's book, The Experience of No-Self? She is sticking to her cover story of being a Catholic contemplative, and there are few people better on John of the Cross and the dark night of the soul. But she thinks that John X did not go all the way, given her experience of no-self. I think he did, and was simply prudent enough to not want to get imprisoned or killed for heresy, in the charged climate of religion of the Counter-Reformation. But in any case, she goes there (and has been getting accused of various heresies since she was 18: the dharma mind-fuckers are a universal across all traditions). 
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Tim Farrington:

Have you read Bernadette Robert's book, The Experience of No-Self? 

I got a stack of books on my desk and hers among them, but my reading has gone way down. It sounded like a complicated story for her. Mostly I'm just trying square it up with the Buddha because if it's not the same thing then obviously he's right and I'm wrong.
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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I'm hoping you guys are aware that there is a difference between having literally no sense of self (DPDR in psych terms) and being aware that your sense of self is impermanent, causes discomfort, and is clearly not "you." The latter is the Buddhist version that I call "not-self." If you literally have no sense of self AT ALL it is indeed dislocating and alarming. This can happen for some short periods of time due to having an effective meditation practice but it should not be a permanent result. I 've had episodes of no self for short periods but they never lasted very long. They did help lead to a more permanent realization of not-self, however.

Just another piece of informaton to think about.
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Chris Marti:
I'm hoping you guys are aware that there is a difference between having literally no sense of self (DPDR in psych terms) and being aware that your sense of self is impermanent, causes discomfort, and is clearly not "you." The latter is the Buddhist version that I call "not-self." If you literally have no sense of self AT ALL it is indeed dislocating and alarming. This can happen for some short periods of time due to having an effective meditation practice but it should not be a permanent result. I 've had episodes of no self for short periods but they never lasted very long. They did help lead to a more permanent realization of not-self, however.

Just another piece of informaton to think about.

Hi Chris,

I'm trying to figure the distinction. When I started meditating hard again 16 months ago I learned to see how the sense/thought experience field was being manufactured on the fly and was impermanent, unsatisfactory and not-self. But it was still the same old me getting in and out of the meditation seat. Walking around I could also see the 3Cs in experience if I tried, though most of the time I was lost in the same old neurotic thoughts about myself (what should I be doing, what happened 27 years ago, what's going to happen in 5 years time etc.) I could take the bigger thoughts/issues and also break those down into the 3Cs. But it was still the same old ME running the show.

When I read and listened to Tony Parsons 10 months ago something clicked and I recognized that no-self is simply the way it is and anything else I ever tried to do would just be avoiding that. Actually, I didn't make the distincition between no-self and not-self. I just assumed that this was what anatta looked like when it got up close and personal, the kind of logical endpoint of continuing this process of breaking down the selfing experience.

Anyway, despite it being a revelation, I had my buddhist practice to worry about so I put it on the back-burner and went back to practice. Then 6 months ago, after heavy meditation and some personal stress, I had my first experience of no-self (which I assumed was ultimate anatta), the experience of just nobody being there at all and no idea who I was. Alarming, but it wore off and I assumed that's the way things were supposed to be headed and my anxiety was just a function of my conditioning, other people can and do it seems find this more enjoyable and that's how it would ultimately end up. Since then there's been more and more episodes of no-self and generally declining anxiety about it and more acceptance of the way it is.

Nowadays I really have no idea who I am anymore, and it's fine. I don't mean oh I'm lost in my life and don't know what I should be doing, I mean there's just no one here would could really decide to do anything much different from the way it already is. I can still respond to external demands (probably better because there's no resistance), I can still file my taxes, take care of my children, get angry if boundaries are crossed etc. When I'm filing my taxes I'm not saying "I'm not me" while I'm thinking about them, but it's kind of just happening by itself and if I stop for a second I can see it's the case. No-self means there's no inclination to make any alarming life choices, former conditioning still operates but without the acting out caused by the neuroses associated with self-identification. (Dharma skirmishes were a function of that conditioning, logical mind trying to reconcile models and tease out relationship between practice and no-self, because it can cause suffering. Communication was not very sensitive, also a function of conditioning.)

Here's a more concrete example. I made a major lifestyle change 10 months ago to give up my all-consuming and hopeless business efforts and look after my kids instead. For the "old me" that kind of thing would have been impossible without huge amounts of agonizing and resistance, but as soon as I had the idea the opportunity arose for it to happen and it's been happening just fine since then. The old me would have immediately created this new role of stay-at-home-super-dad and tried to make a thing about it, but now it's just dadding taking care of itself. I'm not the best dad, I lose my temper frequently, but that's fine it's just dadding doing it's thing. If I start thinking "I shoudn't lose my temper" then I get angry about that and it's worse. When dadding is doing itself there's just a certain minimum amount of anger that comes with this conditioning. If you asked me "do you love you your kids?" I would honestly have no idea how to answer (of course I tell them that I do). I do as much as I can for them and I would die for them in a heartbeat, but it's just dadding doing it's thing. I was watching a nature documentary last night about a polar bear and her cubs and it's just like that, the mother bear doesn't need to have the idea she loves her cubs or who she is in order to do her thing.

Bit of a tangent there, but my point is that no-self doesn't necessarily mean that life is a disaster (although sometimes that can happen for a while it seems 'til things settle down). Life can take care of itself just fine without there needing to be a me in charge of it. Even my business picked up a little when no-self started dabbling in it out of curiosity with no sense of "I must make it happen like this" any more.

My sense is that DP/DR is an unfortunate conditioning reaction that can arise to anatta/no-self/not-self. I think Suzanne Segal was in and out of therapy for 10 years after no-selfing, I don't think they had DP/DR then but that's probably what she would have been diagnosed with today. And then she met Jean Klein who recognized it and it was all fine, just life living itself. Until that unfortunate brain tumor caused some recontraction into self, which is understandable. But those other random public no-selfers walking around seem to get on fine until they die without creating any major public disturbances. If they are starting a cult then it's probably not no-self. Former conditioning does continue, so anything is possible in principle, but I think the mentality it requires to be a psycopath is quite incompatible with no-self revealing itself. Almost all of the no-selfers had some spiritual practice background, even if mostly they say it had nothing to do with no-selfing afterwards.

Long way of getting around to my question: How does "a more permanent realization of not-self" differ from no-self? It seems really hard for me to imagine we are talking about two different things here ...
Mathias, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Agnostic --
Long way of getting around to my question: How does "a more permanent realization of not-self" differ from no-self? It seems really hard for me to imagine we are talking about two different things here ...

I agree! We're not talking about two different things.

The difference lies in what "you" are identifying with. The sense of self is just another object that arises in the mind, like a chair, or a bed, or a bottle of beer. When I say "a permanent sense of not-self, I'm referring to the mind seeing this self-object arise in real time and seeing it's nature in three characteristics - it's not permanent, it's causing some discomfort, and it's not me. This impermanent, ever-changing sense of a subject is built into the nature of human perception. Without any subject-object distinction, there can be no perception. So at some level, no matter how minuscule, the mind is creating this duality, even if a person claims to have, literally, no sense of self. Thay may have lost their identity or otherwise think they have no self at all, but the process at play begs to differ. They are very likely not identifying very strongly at all with the object "I/me/mine" in their experience, and thus the perception of no self.






agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Chris Marti:
Agnostic --
Long way of getting around to my question: How does "a more permanent realization of not-self" differ from no-self? It seems really hard for me to imagine we are talking about two different things here ...

I agree! We're not talking about two different things.

The difference lies in what "you" are identifying with. The sense of self is just another object that arises in the mind, like a chair, or a bed, or a bottle of beer. When I say "a permanent sense of not-self, I'm referring to the mind seeing this self-object arise in real time and seeing it's nature in three characteristics - it's not permanent, it's causing some discomfort, and it's not me. This impermanent, ever-changing sense of a subject is built into the nature of human perception. Without any subject-object distinction, there can be no perception. So at some level, no matter how minuscule, the mind is creating this duality, even if a person claims to have, literally, no sense of self. Thay may have lost their identity or otherwise think they have no self at all, but the process at play begs to differ. They are very likely not identifying very strongly at all with the object "I/me/mine" in their experience, and thus the perception of no self.





Agreed. Phew! Seems to be just a matter of semantics (thicket of views). The mind is creating a sense of subject-object duality but it's no more interesting, special, indicative of an actual duality or made of a different kind of stuff than a banana. Perception is no different or indicative of an actual duality than any other physical process such as a leaf blowing in the wind. Guess the semantics speak more to different methods of presentation in the gradual vs sudden schools.

Thanks for dragging me backwards through that thicket!

Cheers
ag
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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This stuff seems to always come down to semantics, at least once you start to grok it.

<<I think Tim somehow transmitted the typo virus to me. Holy crap (get it, holy crap?), my last few posts are full of them.>>
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Chris Marti:
This stuff seems to always come down to semantics, at least once you start to grok it.

<<I think Tim somehow transmitted the typo virus to me. Holy crap (get it, holy crap?), my last few posts are full of them.>>

Well, in the context of the non-self/no-self seminar in progress, i think of St. Paul, who said, "Not I, but Chris in me."
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Siavash, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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... typo .... my last few posts are full of them

Your writings look more emotional to me these two days! ;-)
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Siavash:
... typo .... my last few posts are full of them

Your writings look more emotional to me these two days! ;-)


It's that old time Kundalini shakipat zap, transmitted by agnostic, rippling through the community. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Something is definitely rippling through the community. Fascinating. Maybe the virus is text born? Maybe learning how to use code (yes, that helps) is risky business right now. We wouldn't want it to get into the code and have a complete IT collapse in the midst of everything now, would we? 
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curious, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Chris Marti:

The sense of self is just another object that arises in the mind, like a chair, or a bed, or a bottle of beer. When I say "a permanent sense of not-self, I'm referring to the mind seeing this self-object arise in real time and seeing it's nature in three characteristics - it's not permanent, it's causing some discomfort, and it's not me. This impermanent, ever-changing sense of a subject is built into the nature of human perception. Without any subject-object distinction, there can be no perception. So at some level, no matter how minuscule, the mind is creating this duality, even if a person claims to have, literally, no sense of self.


YEAH!  No need to fear the self and suppress it. And also no need to seek out the self and promote it. It just arises and passes away, constantly. Sometimes it can be asuric (manic and powerful). Sometimes human. Sometimes heavenly. Sometimes hungry. Sometimes filled with physical desire. Sometimes filled with pain. They all pass. None need cause clinging and suffering.

Sometimes we find deep absoprtion in something new, and that crowds out everything else. That too will passs. Causes and conditions eventually lead to ongoing arisings. We are human, and our bodies will have emotions. We are social, and our interactions will trigger behavioural tendencies. 

Yet before this, while lost in the no-self absoprtion, it is possible to form intentions. What characteristics do you choose to have? Metta?  Compassion?  Patience? Skillful work? Love? Honouring of long shared history? In time, love becomes less selfish than before (because it used to be about your own needs, right?), and then even more deep and satisfying but without clinging. You will recognise that we are all interconnected, and none more so than you and your loved ones. To some extent, they are you, and you are them. Compassion for them is compassion for yourself.

However, once you get these realisations, try not to use them as an excuse for excessive cocaine and wild sex, or getting drunk and driving your sports car into the window of a joke shop in Scotland while trying to impress a girl.
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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curious:

However, once you get these realisations, try not to use them as an excuse for excessive cocaine and wild sex, or getting drunk and driving your sports car into the window of a joke shop in Scotland while trying to impress a girl.

Guess there's something to be said for sowing your wild oats, if you have to, before ahem getting enlightened. No way I could have handled this shit when I was 18.
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Chris Marti:
I'm hoping you guys are aware that there is a difference between having literally no sense of self (DPDR in psych terms) and being aware that your sense of self is impermanent, causes discomfort, and is clearly not "you." The latter is the Buddhist version that I call "not-self." If you literally have no sense of self AT ALL it is indeed dislocating and alarming. This can happen for some short periods of time due to having an effective meditation practice but it should not be a permanent result. I 've had episodes of no self for short periods but they never lasted very long. They did help lead to a more permanent realization of not-self, however.

Just another piece of informaton to think about.
ChrisM (using that to address you to avoid possible mis-typings as "Christ," seriously), I'm just glad you're in the conversation, for starters. I may have kicked up my heels a bit too high at points, playfully, but I'm alert to the distinctions between DPDR, and various kinds of psychoses, and also of the very painful degree to which someone like Suzanne Segal was unable to sort it out a literal experience of no sense of self, as only a battered veteran of the no-man's land between psychiatry and spirituality can be. I think I've felt sort of exuberant here partly because it seems to me there's room to be, partly because agnostic's sense of humor seems fully operational, and partly because my sense of you as the jikijitsu here is that you're damn good at it, and i count on it, as I count on the DhO community to call me on shit when it seems, uh, called for. I've had episodes of no self, and i've had psychotic breaks, and i've had episodes of no self within psychotic breaks, and episodes of no self in stone cold sobriety, but i'm basically the kind of person who should not be allowed on a meditation retreat by any responsible organization, and my meditation practice at this point is to a certain degree against medical advice (AMA, as they said last time they let me of the locked ward because i had duly proved to a judge's grudging satisfaction that i was not a danger to myself or others) (five years ago, just for that info to be in the mix for anyone concerned). So all of my utterances can be taken with that gigantic grain of salt. My actual working vocabulary is of the soul seeking the kind of "union" that allows the "self" to do the will of the all-merciful God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jesus, so my cross translations can be sloppy, too. Thank you for the cautionary note. As I said, I count on you.
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Tim --

Thank you for the cautionary note. As I said, I count on you.

And I truly appreciate having your trust.

It's my intent that folks do have a sense of, well, safety here. I'm doing my best as this is just a non-paying side gig. Gig is not the right word, however. I used to make money doing this. Can you imagine that? Big companies paying some nerd like me real money to manage, or host, or moderate, their message boards.

agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Chris Marti:

It's my intent that folks do have a sense of, well, safety here. I'm doing my best as this is just a non-paying side gig. Gig is not the right word, however. I used to make money doing this. Can you imagine that? Big companies paying some nerd like me real money to manage, or host, or moderate, their message boards.


Thanks again Chris. You do an amazing job. Judging by the amount you put into carefully reading and responding where necessary on just the threads I've been involved in, it must take you a serious number of hours.

And what with all the craziness that can go down, it must seem at times like trying to herd chickens whose seed has been spiked with LSD and amphetamines. Still, must be more interesting than the IBM message board I would imagine.

Surely we must be able to figure out some way to get you paid. Don't people on DhO buy shit? Meditation cushions, plane tickets to far away meditation retreats, psychiatric medications, bucketloads of therapy ... Or maybe just a simple "Would you like to pay the moderator button" at the top?
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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agnostic:
Chris Marti:

It's my intent that folks do have a sense of, well, safety here. I'm doing my best as this is just a non-paying side gig. Gig is not the right word, however. I used to make money doing this. Can you imagine that? Big companies paying some nerd like me real money to manage, or host, or moderate, their message boards.


Thanks again Chris. . . . Surely we must be able to figure out some way to get you paid. Don't people on DhO buy shit? Meditation cushions, plane tickets to far away meditation retreats, psychiatric medications, bucketloads of therapy ... Or maybe just a simple "Would you like to pay the moderator button" at the top?

No no no. With all due gratitude and respect for Chris's gift of time and very skillful energy, I think even a penny would crash this site. Yes, meditators buy shit, but they don't buy it on DhO. and they don't spend it on DhO, and no one is making it, on DhO. One of the best things about Daniel Ingram is the way he doesn't make a penny from being an arhant, and indeed does his work at his own expense, as the gift to all sentient beings that it is. As Chris does. Chris wasn't complaining about how much money he could be making doing this for some corporation, he was laughing, because it is genuinely amusing. That's just not this gig. Yes, he could make tons of money just about anywhere, and he knows it. But God help us all, please, not here.
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Tim Farrington:
agnostic:
Chris Marti:

It's my intent that folks do have a sense of, well, safety here. I'm doing my best as this is just a non-paying side gig. Gig is not the right word, however. I used to make money doing this. Can you imagine that? Big companies paying some nerd like me real money to manage, or host, or moderate, their message boards.


Thanks again Chris. . . . Surely we must be able to figure out some way to get you paid. Don't people on DhO buy shit? Meditation cushions, plane tickets to far away meditation retreats, psychiatric medications, bucketloads of therapy ... Or maybe just a simple "Would you like to pay the moderator button" at the top?

No no no. With all due gratitude and respect for Chris's gift of time and very skillful energy, I think even a penny would crash this site. Yes, meditators buy shit, but they don't buy it on DhO. and they don't spend it on DhO, and no one is making it, on DhO. One of the best things about Daniel Ingram is the way he doesn't make a penny from being an arhant, and indeed does his work at his own expense, as the gift to all sentient beings that it is. As Chris does. Chris wasn't complaining about how much money he could be making doing this for some corporation, he was laughing, because it is genuinely amusing. That's just not this gig. Yes, he could make tons of money just about anywhere, and he knows it. But God help us all, please, not here.

Fair enough. I'm sure he will get a cushy rebirth from dealing with our crap all day long.
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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[quote=agnostic
"Fair enough. I'm sure he will get a cushy rebirth from dealing with our crap all day long."]

In the Pure Land, at worst. The bars will be open 24/7, drinks on the house, or on me (charged to my debit card in my hell bardo), no hangovers.
T, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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You asked! I know they are directed to Linda, but you also opened to others. 

This may not be relevant to what you mean, as I have only had... episodes of very clear seeing, we'll say. 
How did you learn to love it when the self dissolves?
I didn't, exactly, for my part. The very first time it happened, it was eerie, somewhat uncomfortable, and yet very freeing all at the same time. The direct experience of no control/controller was alarming. The funny thing is, it took me roughly... 4 minutes before it dawned on me it was being witnessed in that way. it lasted maybe 20 minutes. It is like what Daniel talks about in MCTB when he is heading to the bathroom in the night, during a retreat. The only difference is that I wasn't outside my body, that I noticed. I was still in the ordinary state of experience, except there wasn't anyone there, in a sense. I found it mildly alarming, and yet when it reverted to ordinary perception - I missed the freedom and openness. I read on here somewhere someone positing that the mind tries various perspectives as we meditate - like trying to find the right pair of jeans that fit just right. This can lead to alarming perspectives sometimes. I chalked it up to an odd-fitting pair of jeans and keep on meditating. Since, it has not been as dramatic. 
When self dissolves for you, is it a sudden or a gradual experience? What are the triggers? Do you feel you have any control over it?

No control over it. Just happened. Since then, it has only been in specific ways, like with sight. My vision has changed in a way that it feels less mine when I look around. Sitting in nature, looking at the forest, I have a sense of overwhelm with the beauty and magic, and depth. It doesn't feel like there's a me at all in those moments. I can make it happen by observing the forest or at least the outdoors. Inside, it doesn't give the same feeling. So kind of control. The trigger is witnessing natural existence in its glory. A tree standing in a meadow. In those times, it is just experienced that way. It happens when seeing. So... sudden. The one I mention above was also very sudden. I was watching Rupert Spira, got up to walk... only I wasn't there walking. 
You mention transcendence of the self - when self dissolves for you, do you still feel like it's you having the experience of transcending something? Or merging into something? Or is it more like the complete loss of self I'm describing?

I do not feel that I transcend anything in these instances. There's nothing to transcend. I feel like a false veil or view falls away and everything simply is; totally unfiltered. In both cases - despite the former 20 minutes being alarming in some regards, it also felt very natural, in a way. I had no thought of "me" whatever. When I "access" this vision I talked about, it also has absolutely nothing to do with "me," so there's nothing to transcend. It doesn't feel that way, anyway. It's sight happening and the result on my nervous system is huge appreciation, love, and amazement. 

...or intentionally possibly with the Dharma scuffles I've been starting lately on DhO.

I've enjoyed the dharma scuffles. It's helped me feel out certain ideas and things that have knocked around for a bit, and to see others chime in with explanations that are fascinating and different than they have explained them before. It's all very useful material. 
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Hi T,

Thanks for sharing your experiences. It sounds like a similar kind of thing and your conditioning reacts with less alarm hence more ability to enjoy it.

I'm definitely feeling a bit stupid for having gotten up on my high horse about it like it's something special. I mean, I know the experience (if that's what we can call it) is nothing special. I guess the "special" I'm trying to bring is squaring it against the beast of Buddhist logic, which is just a function of my programmer-type brain.

Do you see any consistent relationship between these experiences and your practice?

Thanks
ag
T, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Do you see any consistent relationship between these experiences and your practice?

Mmm... they only happened after I began practicing...?


I would say that the vision change is absolutely due to practice over time and trying to do some clear/direct seeing and tuning into that. 

Regarding the distinction Chris brings up and the one you mention not/no self. I get no distinct impression of vision being me, or that what was occurring when I was on... autopilot, I guess.... was me. There was definitely still a sense of being something. I'm not sure if that's what Chris was pointing to or not, but I've only had very mild bouts of feelings on DP/DR. 

EDIT: I re-read what Chris said and understand it better the third time. The sense of self is a fabrication and an experience; can't be me. So it's not self. That experience disappears on me from time to time... perhaps it's just seen through for a period of time. I'm not sure I can say. Generally, the sensations of self exist as normal and I'm regularly operating in a sense that I'm a self, despite the fact I have seen substantial evidence to suggest otherwise. That said, there's a fine line here because in that 20 minutes I didn't really have any sense of self at all. it was like... living as Zelda with something else entirely running the controller. I grabbed a chicken's legs and flew over a fence, in fact (no, I didn't) completely out of the blue. So... there wasn't even the sensations of self involved there. So perhaps it is a bit more murky than I thought after reading a third time.....
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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I will get back to replying more in this thread later, but while I remember I'd like to mention that I think that not only the concept of not self is misleading, but also the concept of self in itself (uhm, that sounded weird). I happen to know that there is a huge confusion about what self is in social sciences and philosophy. There is no consensus as to what it would supposedly be, but many different suggestions. Also, it is entangled with the concept of identity that suffers from the same problem. How can we even talk about whether or not there is a self when nobody knows what it is? There IS subjectivity. Subjectivity can take different shapes. What shape will be the baseline in the end, I don't know. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I will get back to replying more in this thread later, but […]

Oh, fuck it, I won't be able to adress any of that in any skillful way. I'll just say thankyou so much to both T and Tim for your very kind words. Much respect and love to the both of you. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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agnostic:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

I have a very limited statistical foundations for saying anything in general, and that is an understatement, but I have an earned secure attachment style and I have learned to love it when the self dissolves. The people I know that look terrified just from talking about any kind of transcendence of the self have very insecure attachment styles. 

Hi Linda!

I just reread your insighful comment - sorry I never acknowledged it the first time around. I wanted to ask you a couple of questions to see if your experience might be relevant to where I'm at currently.

I keep waking up 1-2 hours after falling asleep with self missing (no sense of being me) and a swimming feeling. This triggers anxiety which sometimes is mild enough I can lie in bed with it for an hour and fall back to sleep, whereas other times it starts to feel overwhelming and I need to do some grounding activity for up to 4 hours to take my mind off it and allow the anxiety to settle before I can fall back to sleep.  

The first time it happened 6 months ago I really thought I might be going crazy and need psychiatric intervention, but I was able to ground myself by talking to my wife about it (tough for her) and fortunately I had Suzanne Segal's book to hand which I devoured in one sitting and recognized as approximately the same type of (non-)experience, just not immediately permanent. Since then there have been a few milder instances, but this week it has been happening almost every night and even during the day after naps, and the rest of the time there's still a subtler sense of not-me.

In a sense it's not a problem because it's seen that it's not happening to me, but it's spooky nonetheless. (I'm not trying to be clever with words here - saying "I see" just fails to capture what's happening, or rather not happening!) Zachary's advice to notice the sensations around the freakout has sometimes been helpful, although the "not happening to me" approach seems to work better at taking the edge of the anxiety first and then there's more relaxation to start noticing what's going on in the body. But sometimes the anxiety feels just too intense to start investigating and then I have to resort to grounding. Talking to my wife doesn't really work because she doesn't have a background at all in any of this stuff so it's alarming and confusing for her when I start talking about not being me.

The fact that it starts while I'm asleep suggests that there's something trying to happen if only I would get out of the way. On the other hand, it does seem to be triggered by stress such as sickness (currently the coronavirus) or intentionally possibly with the Dharma scuffles I've been starting lately on DhO. The fact that it seems to be caused by stress would tend towards a psychiatric interpretation (DP/DR), however I've read enough of other practioners' experiences to tend to believe that it's more likely just one more delightful fruit of the path. My gut sense is that this kind of thing is what is supposed or expected to happen on the path (at least to people with troubled backstories such as myself).

If you have the time or the inclination, here are my questions. Please don't feel the need to answer all of them, just whatever is relevant for you.

How did you learn to love it when the self dissolves?

Had you already earned a secure attachment style first, or that was part of the process?

When self dissolves for you, is it a sudden or a gradual experience? What are the triggers? Do you feel you have any control over it?

You mention transcendence of the self - when self dissolves for you, do you still feel like it's you having the experience of transcending something? Or merging into something? Or is it more like the complete loss of self I'm describing?

What was it like before you learned to love it?

Sorry this turned into a much longer question than I was expecting! I haven't logged in a while to I guess that's happening too.

If anyone else is reading and has insights or experience they want to share, please feel free to jump in!

For context, bigger picture right now there is fundamental questioning going on about whether I should be practicing at all. I seem to have managed to convince myself that self doesn't really exist and so there's no choice to practice or not to practice. Under this interpreation, the diminished illusory self is merely putting up resistance to what is known already to be the final outcome. Kundalini is so strong that I'm not meditating much for the time being, it's like throwing gasonline on the fire.

I'm also getting a sense of differing viewpoints within DhO about no-self vs not-self. MCTB talks about the "creepy" and "utterly disconcerting" depths of no-self, which seems closer to my experience, but other people are saying it's not-self in Buddhism not no-self (I'm not really clear on the difference). Practically speaking, I'm more interested in trying to find aligning experiential viewpoints than debating terms though.

Interesting questions. I'll do my best to answer.

I don't believe anymore that it's accurate to make a clear distinction between psychiatric issues and spiritually-related distress. I think that's just different modes of sense-making, thus using different frameworks, and I think it can be helpful to use them in an eclectic way because changing perspectives can help when one gets stuck, just like switching language sometimes helps with writer's block bacause new metaphors invite new lines of thinking. Insecure attachment sounds to me like a perspective that could be helpful for you. It might be a good idea to remind yourself that you are filtering your experiences, or not-your experiences, from that lens, which might make them at least partly fear-based and thus distorted. I don't mean that in any condescending way. I think most of us, or probably all of us, distort our experiences in some way. Actually, I think it's inherent in any experience, even when there is knowing that there is no experiencer. I think that's what makes experience possible. And I think we could also call it creation instead of distortion. Experience is creation. I don't see emptiness as an abyss or cold void. I see it as the space or non-space that makes anything possible because nothing is yet born but the joyful and playful drive to be aware tends to pop up as it just can't help it. It loves to play. It loves to merge, and thus it has to separate itself in various ways. There is no plan to do it. It just arises from pure joy. 

It would start during sleep for me too, or when I was trying to sleep, the period just before stream entry. Mainly I had the experience of having my different senses turned inside out, if that makes any sense. I think that would have been spooky for many people, but I loved it. I guess it helps that I'm a bit of a masochist and love the feeling of surrender. Seriously. Also, I was really really tired of being me. I had wanted to throw up myself for many years. I even wanted to join the Borg collective. The feeling of total surrender is liberating. I highly recommend it. 

So how did I learn to love it when the self dissolves? Uhm... I think it may have been during sex. Hm, yeah. That and other kinds of overwhelm. I'm autistic so touch can be overwhelming for me. It used to give me sort of extatic seizures. I have had seizures from other kinds of sensory input as well, non-epileptic ones. Oh, I almost forgot! As a child I used to merge with sensory input. I guess it was something jhana-like. It would make me completely forget about existing as a separate formation for a while. Unfortunately that was seen as pathological by people in the environement so I had to un-learn that stuff, which led to many years of insecurities and anxiety. It was made very clear that I wasn't only separate but also divergent. So maybe I had secure attachment in the very beginning, before having to be separate. I'm not sure. I do know that I spent most of my life with an insecure attachment style, for several reasons that are irrelevant here. But somehow I found my way back. Sensory experiences were key. They are so much richer when the self dissolves. Nothing is lost but everything is gained. Have you ever merged to the extent of directly feeling somebody else's pleasure from meeting you intimately? Or the joy of the existence? Have you been the skye, or the ocean? It's amazing! Why would anyone want to limit themselves to being one separate single entity? That's just flat. 

I think this may have been part of the process of developing a secure attachment style. Something else that was key in the process for me was accepting the fact that I'm polyamorous and starting to embrace it (in a consensual way) without shame and guilt instead of living in denial and limiting my heart. When I threw away the norms that had kept me from embracing it, I threw away a bunch of other limiting norms about what relationships should be like, what happiness should be like, what kinds of pleasures were appropriate, and so forth. Yet another key component was that I had my diagnoses prior to that and threw away limiting norms about function. Also, I had some therapy, and I had sessions with a children's psychologist regarding parenting my child who is also neurodivergent. I wanted to learn how to be able to more fully meet her needs, but the psychologist taught me that I needed to take care of my own needs. That was revolutionary. Because my needs tended to manifest in ways that differed from norms, I had gotten so used to having them stepped over that I didn't even consider the possibility of them being valid. So I guess I worked on two fronts: establishing boundaries and surrendering boundaries. I think both were really important for me. Maybe I needed to learn that it is safe both to establish boundaries and to willingly give them up. And that giving them up doesn't have to be irreversible. They can be established anew. 

So yes, in the sense that control exists, I do have control of it. Not that there is any control ultimately, but that doesn't really matter. I'm safe. It can happen very suddenly, but that's because I let it happen, because I welcome it. Actually, I think that further along the path, the sense that there is an I that lets it happen will probably dissolve, but that doesn't scare me. Well, it probably does scare processes in the mindstream that thinks it's me; otherwise it would already be like that. But the main feeling is that I look forward to it. The lack of control that I expetience now is that is doesn't happen often enough. I want more of it. Which is a paradox, of course, as you already know. The I that seeks it is what needs to go. But that's okay. It's just a limited version anyway. The centerlessness is so much richer. Even the I knows that. It just doesn't know how to fully let go of the delusion yet. It can't imagine itself not being there, even though it isn't there and never was, and yet experience is. Does this make any sense? I'm trying to convey another lens to your experience. Of course it's still a lens, but it is a joyful lens. Since experience is created anyway, why not create it in a way that is blissful? We are free to do that.

What are the triggers? That depends. As mentioned, it used to be overwhelm. It could be both pleasant overwhelm and scary overwhelm. The scary overwhelm could lead to scary experiences of dissolution of the self. In fact, when I tried meditating as a teenager it scared the crap out of me and then I avoided it for twenty years. However, after sufficiently many experiences of pleasant overwhelm, I noticed that the dissolving self was really the same thing in both cases. I had just framed the experience differently. So I stopped doing that. And suddenly I had the possibility of having mental orgasms from intensely unpleasant experiences. That was a mindfuck. Now it's usually more subtle. It happens when awareness recognizes itself. My practice involves doing my best to enable that kind of recognition in basically any situation. And do you know what? Shargrol once mentioned in a much cited post that it's as mundane as being aware of wiping one's ass, and I have seen for my(not)self that it's true. 

Do I have the experience that it's me experiencing transcendence? Sometimes, sometimes not, I guess. Does it matter? All experience is self-aware. The experience is there. It's vivid. I don't care who's having it. When it is, it is. I never have any experience of not experiencing anything. There are different degrees of separation. Without any separation whatsoever, there would be no experience. But nobody would be there to know that. Merging presupposes separation. Separation is both the experience and the experiencer. Delusion is when we are unaware of that. When we are aware of it, it's a dance. The dance of stillness. The melody of silence. 

Something like that.

I think I already answered the last question.

I have been pondering for a while whether you would find joy and peace in so called soul retrieving practices. That's not soul in the Christian sense, not as any separate entity that can be reborn or judged upon death. The Tibetan concept of soul has to do with what we are free to manifest when are consciously responding instead of reacting. The practices are very free from guilt and shame and work with symbolic tools. I find that they give you something constructive to work with once the delusion is seen through. It goes beyond nihilism. Instead of stopping with the idea that everything is "just" a construction, it works with creation. We might as well construct something beautiful while we are at it, don't you think?
T, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 279 Join Date: 1/15/19 Recent Posts
Sensory experiences were key. They are so much richer when the self dissolves. Nothing is lost but everything is gained... Or the joy of the existence?

Gad dang, Linda! You fucking nailed it. Yes to this. If you read my reply to agnostic - this is what I'm aiming to articulate and experience with the vision now. You just woke it up by "speaking" about it and boy-o did it resonate. 

Also - I appreciate your peaceful energy and interactions here on the DhO. 

with as much metta as I can generate, 

T.


agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Hi Linda,

I saved the best 'til last :-) Thanks for your beautiful words and peaceful energy, which is a welcome antidote to the dharma testosterone which sometimes flows a little strong in these parts!

I don't believe anymore that it's accurate to make a clear distinction between psychiatric issues and spiritually-related distress.

I agree, although it has all sorts of inconvenient legal, social, economic and cultural ramifications, so we are unlikely to hear anyone with any degree of authority saying it any time soon. It sucks to be homeless in the West, I do what I can (b/s I could do more) but I still feel anger to see that suffering and know that in many cases the underlying "psychiatric" issues are culturally conditioned, which could lead to dramatically different outcome on say the Indian subcontinent. You know, living the blessed homeless life and all that. Obviously high infant mortality sucks too, but would the entire western democratic-capitalist structure collapse if we took care of the homeless? (which we could easily afford to do) Maybe, it's a strong incentive to keep people climbing the greasy pole, seeing a writhing mass suffering at the bottom. Dukkha, either way? (just rambling here, no need for anyone to respond)

Insecure attachment sounds to me like a perspective that could be helpful for you. It might be a good idea to remind yourself that you are filtering your experiences, or not-your experiences, from that lens, which might make them at least partly fear-based and thus distorted. I don't mean that in any condescending way. I think most of us, or probably all of us, distort our experiences in some way.

Not condescending at all, correct as I am coming to understand. At this point though it just doesn't feel like a big enough issue to try go refashioning my attachment style. What was that, something about clinging to self or no-self.

Experience is creation. I don't see emptiness as an abyss or cold void. I see it as the space or non-space that makes anything possible because nothing is yet born but the joyful and playful drive to be aware tends to pop up as it just can't help it. It loves to play. It loves to merge, and thus it has to separate itself in various ways. There is no plan to do it. It just arises from pure joy. 

Beautifully put, you could bottle this and sell it. Nothing appearing as something, just for the sake of playing with itself before disappearing back into nothing. Nirvana is samsara is nirvana. Etc. Etc. Etc.

I had wanted to throw up myself for many years.

Amazing, in just 10 words you summarized the last 10 years of my life!

So how did I learn to love it when the self dissolves? Uhm... I think it may have been during sex. Hm, yeah. That and other kinds of overwhelm. I'm autistic so touch can be overwhelming for me. It used to give me sort of extatic seizures. I have had seizures from other kinds of sensory input as well, non-epileptic ones. Oh, I almost forgot! As a child I used to merge with sensory input. I guess it was something jhana-like. It would make me completely forget about existing as a separate formation for a while. Unfortunately that was seen as pathological by people in the environement so I had to un-learn that stuff, which led to many years of insecurities and anxiety. It was made very clear that I wasn't only separate but also divergent. So maybe I had secure attachment in the very beginning, before having to be separate. I'm not sure. I do know that I spent most of my life with an insecure attachment style, for several reasons that are irrelevant here. But somehow I found my way back. Sensory experiences were key. They are so much richer when the self dissolves. Nothing is lost but everything is gained. Have you ever merged to the extent of directly feeling somebody else's pleasure from meeting you intimately? Or the joy of the existence? Have you been the skye, or the ocean? It's amazing! Why would anyone want to limit themselves to being one separate single entity? That's just flat. 

I sometimes get absorbed into pure sensory experiences (sky, trees, wall etc). As I kid I was happiest just pottering around on my own doing stuff (fishing, climbing trees, building camps etc.) I think I'm just a loner, which sounds lonely but actually I find the stress of interacting with other people too much makes me feel alone and separated from the world. Being with the kids is fine because they're like not ahem real people yet if you know what I mean (5 and 7). Being a loner was seen as pathological once I went to school, which is probably where the real separation started to set in. These days doing stuff is more of a pure sensory experience anyway without the sense of me doing it, so ultimately we probably end up in the same place here.

The most pleasure I was able to wring out of this body was freestyle masturbation where I just took as long as I wanted to do whatever the body wanted without thinking about it. All kinds of unusual stuff came up naturally which I could never imagine having happened if there had been someone else in the room. Maybe sounds lonely, but at the end of the day it's just a bunch of nerve endings being stimulated and a mind (possibly) thinking about stuff and there's any number of ways and combinations of bodies that could happen based on conditioning, the net result is the same.

And anyway, meditation has become so pleasurable (despite kundalini pains) that it's hard to imagine any kind of sex or drug even approaching the bliss. And then the bliss starts to get tiresome and there's just a pleasant abiding in the here and now. Damn that Buddha guy knew what he was talking about. So sad seeing people getting fucked up on drugs when you know they could have 1,000 times the pleasure for free and no suffering (ok, well apart from the slight jhana hangover).

So yes, in the sense that control exists, I do have control of it. Not that there is any control ultimately, but that doesn't really matter. I'm safe. It can happen very suddenly, but that's because I let it happen, because I welcome it. Actually, I think that further along the path, the sense that there is an I that lets it happen will probably dissolve, but that doesn't scare me. Well, it probably does scare processes in the mindstream that thinks it's me; otherwise it would already be like that. But the main feeling is that I look forward to it. The lack of control that I expetience now is that is doesn't happen often enough. I want more of it. Which is a paradox, of course, as you already know. The I that seeks it is what needs to go. But that's okay. It's just a limited version anyway. The centerlessness is so much richer. Even the I knows that. It just doesn't know how to fully let go of the delusion yet. It can't imagine itself not being there, even though it isn't there and never was, and yet experience is. Does this make any sense? 

Yes this is exactly the dynamic I was trying to allude to rather unskillfully in that dharma battle. EVERYTHING IS ALREADY HERE. The only thing that appears to happen is we start to think we've lost something and go looking for it and feel separated. And even when we feel separated and missing something, that's also just part of everything that's already happening and not a real separation or loss. Whether it's good or bad, it's all good.

I have been pondering for a while whether you would find joy and peace in so called soul retrieving practices. That's not soul in the Christian sense, not as any separate entity that can be reborn or judged upon death. The Tibetan concept of soul has to do with what we are free to manifest when are consciously responding instead of reacting. The practices are very free from guilt and shame and work with symbolic tools. I find that they give you something constructive to work with once the delusion is seen through. It goes beyond nihilism. Instead of stopping with the idea that everything is "just" a construction, it works with creation. We might as well construct something beautiful while we are at it, don't you think?

I know where you're coming from. I'm playing around with the idea of manifesting things in "my life". Actually becoming Dad was something like that. I've started incorporating that into my work a bit now. But I'm wary of getting too creative with it (given my conditioning). Since I don't see myself as really existing with free will and choice, there's nothing really to do other than respond to people's needs as they present themselves, which should lead to whatever manifesting is necessary.

It's been nice getting to know each other a bit better in front of tons of other people.

Take care
agnostic
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 5735 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
agnostic:
Hi Linda,

I saved the best 'til last :-) Thanks for your beautiful words and peaceful energy, which is a welcome antidote to the dharma testosterone which sometimes flows a little strong in these

[…]



For some reason I didn't see this until now. Did you save a draft? That makes it easy to miss, because when it's finally published, it's way back in the thread where the draft was oroginally placed. 

Hi! That's a lovely post! 

I totally agree about the homeless people. We spend a fortune on keeping mechanisms in play to make sure that nobody gets any more support than what they have "earned" according to some arbitrary norm. We could use those resources to actually help people, but instead we use them to prevent help. That's cold. It creates schisms and suspicion inbetween people. 

I'm glad you get what I'm saying. I often feel that language isn't my language. Sure, I can use fancy wordings, but they are all so... linear. My thought processes tend to branch off in many different directions, and then continue to branch off - and this practice-related stuff is beyond that as well, beyond thoughts. 

Wanting to throw up oneself sucks. You have my sympathies there.

That nerve-end stuff doesn't work for me. I think antidepressants killed some synapses there. I'm really glad that meditation leads to greater bliss, just like you said. Otherwise I would be totally dependent on others for my pleasure. I need to merge. Thankfully now I can merge with a pebble, and they never say no. 

Manifesting what is necessary without making too much fuzz about it has a seemingly simple beauty with depths to it hidden under the surface.


It's been nice getting to know each other a bit better in front of tons of other people.


I like your humor. And yes, it has. You take care too!
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Anyone up for a DhO in-post quote editing class? Raise your hands! Our quotes are getting so long I'm exhausted by the time I get to the new part.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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I know how to do it. I'm just lazy. Sorry. Or economic with my executive energy.

(Can I offer you a scrolling class? No?)
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curious, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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[quote=
]
Definitely.
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Chris Marti:
Anyone up for a DhO in-post quote editing class? Raise your hands! Our quotes are getting so long I'm exhausted by the time I get to the new part.

I know how to do it but sometimes (like today) for some reason the quote mark button isn't in the toolbar to make the quotes which is annoying if you want to do more than just one quote at the beginning. I have to open up an old post with inline quotes to edit and then copy one out into the new post.

Didn't realize that saving as draft creating an earlier timestamp, thanks Linda.

One more thing, is it possible to subscribe to individual threads which you did not create so you get latest posts by email? (I know how to do it on ones I created).
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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There. Fixed it.

Seriously, though, I think an educational thread about how to edit quotes is much needed. I have seen many broken quotes. It's a great idea.
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
Chris Marti:
Anyone up for a DhO in-post quote editing class? 

Yes, please!
Like, how you you break down the quote you are replying to into those wonderful discrete boxes I've seen masters of the form use in longer, specific response mode on multiple specific points?
do you have to using "code" somehow?


emoticon is it appropriate to bypass into an homage to Papa Che? Or what?


so yeah. as one of the worst offenders on the massive carryover of intricacies in reply-with-quote, definitely up for a learning session.

I am put in mind here of the Zen story of the two monks who hit a muddy patch of road. There is a nice woman there, well-dressed, unable to go on down the road without soiling her clothes. One monk just picks her up and carries her across the mud, violating multiple dharma protocols. He and his companion monk walk on, and a few miles down the road, the companion says, "What were you doing, back there, violating multiple dharma protocols to even touch that woman, much less pick her up?' And the other monk says, "I put her down right there on the other side of the mud, amigo. You're still carryng her."

The carry-over of reply-with-quote so far for me is like trying to get the woman across the mud, and carry her baggage too, and then ChrisM and everyone else has to go through the baggage over and over. Or maybe i am carrying the metaphor even beyond the muddy patch, and should have set it down a mile or two back. Or, or . . . 

Okay, maybe the zen story is too much of a stretch here, and has no salience. I just love that story. Let the lessons begin soon, amen, thank you, Reb Marti.
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

I guess it helps that I'm a bit of a masochist and love the feeling of surrender ... The feeling of total surrender is liberating. I highly recommend it.
...
Have you ever merged to the extent of directly feeling somebody else's pleasure from meeting you intimately?
...
And suddenly I had the possibility of having mental orgasms from intensely unpleasant experiences.

Hi Linda,

Somehow your words worked their magic on me!

I surrendered to Kundalini Shakti, just totally let her have her wicked way with me. Very liberating, as you say.

I've always framed the intense migraines as painful and unpleasant, but now they are a source of euphoric downwards energy release. I think you just did the impossible and enabled me to get out of my own head!

That's all it took - making the connection between meditation pain and other ahem pleasurable forms of pain!

I won't say I'm grounded now because I'm as high as a kite, but a grounding channel has opened.

Your polyamorous tentacles are far-reaching ;-)

Thanks,
agnostic
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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agnostic:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

I guess it helps that I'm a bit of a masochist and love the feeling of surrender ... The feeling of total surrender is liberating. I highly recommend it.
...
Have you ever merged to the extent of directly feeling somebody else's pleasure from meeting you intimately?
...
And suddenly I had the possibility of having mental orgasms from intensely unpleasant experiences.

Hi Linda,

Somehow your words worked their magic on me!

I surrendered to Kundalini Shakti, just totally let her have her wicked way with me. Very liberating, as you say.

I've always framed the intense migraines as painful and unpleasant, but now they are a source of euphoric downwards energy release. I think you just did the impossible and enabled me to get out of my own head!

That's all it took - making the connection between meditation pain and other ahem pleasurable forms of pain!

I won't say I'm grounded now because I'm as high as a kite, but a grounding channel has opened.

Your polyamorous tentacles are far-reaching ;-)

Thanks,
agnostic
Oh, cool! I suspected it might be worth sharing even if it was a bit personal. You're welcome. 
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Revolving Door
There are no awakened people.
Awakening arrives when the person goes out
And departs upon their return.
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Losing It
It feels like I’m losing my mind,
Except there is no me to lose it.
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Killer
People don’t get enlightened.
Enlightenment kills people.
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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I’m still curious as to the purpose of the illusion of self. Ultimately of course there is no purpose, but it’s interesting to see what thermodynamics and evolution have to say.

According to the second law of thermodynamics, life is just a local decrease in entropy which is statistically favored because it creates more entropy than it consumes (your body heat is more disordered than your food). It’s been estimated that the decrease in entropy required to support the evolution of life on earth is only one trillionth of the entropy throughput of the planet, so life is almost completely insignificant from that perspective.

We know that the evolution of life itself is full of accidents. Probably if it wasn’t for a chance asteroid hitting the earth in just the right spot 66 million years ago then there would still be dinosaurs instead of humans. There's no clear evidence that evolution necessarily produces increasing complexity. However due to some combination of factors an ecological niche opened ~100,000 years ago which supported the evolution of the social brain and thence the illusion of self.

In summary, the best evidence we have is that life is statistically insignificant and the evolution of the illusion of self was probably a result of a series of accidents.

Note to self: we're not that special, get over it.
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Arahants
People think they want to become an Arahant as if it were becoming CEO of their spiritual world. In truth an Arahant is nothing, a real nobody. An Arahant is not a person, it is what is left over after the illusion of personhood has fallen away. If a person knew what becoming an Arahant really meant they would run away as fast as they could.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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agnostic:

If a person knew what becoming an Arahant really meant they would run away as fast as they could.


Who is it that would know and run away?
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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There is nothing you can do or avoid to attain enlightenment, because there is no you. Once this appears to be accepted then there is no wanting to do or avoid anything in particular.
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Enlightenment is simply the realization that there is no one to become enlightened or even realize this.
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Enlightenment is simply the realization that there is no one to become enlightened or even realize this.

I think that's part of the deal, but certainly not the whole thing.


agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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I wish you were right because my investment in enlightenment is a write-off.
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Meditation is the ultimate drug. It's all about me, me, me, even when it appears not to be. In some monastries they send you to clean the toilets when you get too high on meditaiton.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Hm... I think that if you find that it's all about you, you are doing it wrong, at least if you let it stay there. 
shargrol, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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agnostic:
Meditation is the ultimate drug. It's all about me, me, me, even when it appears not to be. In some monastries they send you to clean the toilets when you get too high on meditaiton.


Where is this "me"? Is it a sensation, an urge, an emotion, a thought?
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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I'm finding it increasingly hard to find "me". There are sights but no one seeing them, thoughts but no one thinking them, feelings of pain & piti but no one feeling them. There's no urge to meditate because there's no one needing to get away from something or towards something else, life is perfectly fine happening just as it is. But when the illusion of me periodically returns then there is a feeling of loss and the urge to meditate arises to try to find something, to have some special kind of experience. After a bit this urge is seen as a source of discontentment and abandoned and then me is gone and everything is fine again.
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Ajahn Maha Bua, Arahattamagga Arahattaphala:
All allusions to oneself, to the true essence of one’s being refer specifically to this genuine avijjã. They indicate that it is still intact. All investigations are done for its sake. This self is what knows; this self is what understands. This self is radiant, light and happy. “I” and “mine”—the genuine avijjã lies here. Everything is done for its sake. Once it finally disintegrates, so too does the personal perspective. Things are still done, but not for anyone’s sake.
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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It's not what I expected. Fear, anxiety and pain are still happening (as well as bliss). The difference is that the sense of “happening to me” is missing from the experience. If anything the experience is fuller because there’s no filter. I just can’t find that special sense of being me any more. The strangest thing is that it's seen there never really was a me, just a habit of thinking that way. It’s neither good nor bad, it’s just the way it is, and there’s nothing that could be done about it anyway.
shargrol, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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good stuff!





(you might also like https://zugangzureinsicht.org/html/lib/thai/mun/munbio_en.pdf  if you haven't read it yet.)
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Thanks shargol, badasses both of them
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

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Depersonalization is liberation, it's just that "you" might not like it.
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Nibbana is not an experience, it is simply the abscence of the (assumed) experience of being someone. In that abscence, all experiences remain exactly the same ... even if the apparent experience of being someone should reappear. It's the most ordinary thing in the world. What a joke.
T, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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You don't make it sound very appealing to be aware of the truth
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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But if your socks are on inside out? Come on!
T, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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I have a bit of a perfectionist personality, so that would be a thing for me, certainly. Perhaps that's what's happening here - I don't clearly see me socks, mate. 

That said, some people want their socks inside out, some don't care, and some are simply blissfully unaware that their socks are not only inside out, but don't match. Doesn't bother them in the least. 
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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T:
I have a bit of a perfectionist personality, so that would be a thing for me, certainly. Perhaps that's what's happening here - I don't clearly see me socks, mate. 

That said, some people want their socks inside out, some don't care, and some are simply blissfully unaware that their socks are not only inside out, but don't match. Doesn't bother them in the least. 


I think we're on the cutting edge of fashion here.
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Chris Marti:
But if your socks are on inside out? Come on!


Yeah, but these are BRAND NEW SOCKS! 
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 1873 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
T:
You don't make it sound very appealing to be aware of the truth

Hi T-man, thanks for checking out my log!

You know what I have to say here don't you ... The truth is not appealing. That's what Hollywood is for (and feel-good Buddhism)
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
agnostic:
T:
You don't make it sound very appealing to be aware of the truth

Hi T-man, thanks for checking out my log!

You know what I have to say here don't you ... The truth is not appealing. That's what Hollywood is for (and feel-good Buddhism)

Well thank God, Hollywood, and Santa Claus (check out my Brand New website, "God, Hollywood, and Santa Claus: The Brand Fucking New Holy Trinity Path to Perfect and Idyllic Everything," which only costs--- well, i'm still working out how to make money off it, but . . .), anyway, thank all that is useless to deluded beings without actual problems or existence or meaningful delusion, that you checked in here. I was really afraid that your sense of humor might have disappeared with your self and the rest of that shit. But there appears to be a heartbeat here.
I've been thinking about you a lot, and decided that for now i'm just not going to fret about using basic language 101 with nouns and verbs, agents and actions implied, etc. I remember long ago reading the work of the linguist Benjamin Whorf, who had studied languages (I think Hopi might have been one of them) that have no nouns. The "nouns" in those languages are verbs, there is not lightning, there is lightnin-ing; there is no Tim, but here is Tim-ing. You are agnostic-ing to beat the band, but my Hopi is weak, so English it is, and American English at that (you seem to be somewhere in the British Isles, guessing by that "wanker" earlier).
The fact that you are sick with the corona virus is sort of too weird to get my head around, all things considered. I mean, how ironic is it that just when the self disappears entirely, the body (or the body-ing) gets sick as fuck (sicking to the fucking maximizing) with a potentially fatal disease-ing. If you existed, it might be an intense moment of mortality awareness, and it does seem possible to me that your body and psyche are hyper-mobilized in some way and that is a factor right now, on top of all those years of futile, wasted practice the Existence Formerly Known as agnostic-ing put in chasing bullshit before getting the absurd and cruel joke.
It was the joke thing, actually, that i wanted to talk about, as soon as i had the most flickering sense that it would be okay to do so with you (i only require a tiny critical mass of delusion to act, apparently). "Absurd" is easy for me--- I started somewhere near Camus, and one must imagine Sisyphus happy. And "joke," sure, even if it's just a pun and the whole creation just groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now over the fact that all the humor may have been lost in translation. But "cruel" is a lot of work, to keep it from falling into the abyss. I have suspected the same myself, often enough, (not for a while; five minutes ago, at least), but given that I still seem to be working through the knot that doesn't exist and never did, i have found a deeper void that is at least without any sense of cruelty in the cosmic joke. If you still existed, I would suggest considering that, as far as nothingness nothingness-ing. After you get your appetite back, of course, and have a banana.

love, tim
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
oh shit, i got myself confused with T. That's what happens when the self thing goes, maybe. Forgive me, both agnostic and T, if i have been a bull in the china shop of your actual conversation. I may be a little manic. I'm going to have a banana.
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 1873 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Tim Farrington:
agnostic:
T:
You don't make it sound very appealing to be aware of the truth

Hi T-man, thanks for checking out my log!

You know what I have to say here don't you ... The truth is not appealing. That's what Hollywood is for (and feel-good Buddhism)

Well thank God, Hollywood, and Santa Claus (check out my Brand New website, "God, Hollywood, and Santa Claus: The Brand Fucking New Holy Trinity Path to Perfect and Idyllic Everything," which only costs--- well, i'm still working out how to make money off it, but . . .), anyway, thank all that is useless to deluded beings without actual problems or existence or meaningful delusion, that you checked in here. I was really afraid that your sense of humor might have disappeared with your self and the rest of that shit. But there appears to be a heartbeat here.
I've been thinking about you a lot, and decided that for now i'm just not going to fret about using basic language 101 with nouns and verbs, agents and actions implied, etc. I remember long ago reading the work of the linguist Benjamin Whorf, who had studied languages (I think Hopi might have been one of them) that have no nouns. The "nouns" in those languages are verbs, there is not lightning, there is lightnin-ing; there is no Tim, but here is Tim-ing. You are agnostic-ing to beat the band, but my Hopi is weak, so English it is, and American English at that (you seem to be somewhere in the British Isles, guessing by that "wanker" earlier).
The fact that you are sick with the corona virus is sort of too weird to get my head around, all things considered. I mean, how ironic is it that just when the self disappears entirely, the body (or the body-ing) gets sick as fuck (sicking to the fucking maximizing) with a potentially fatal disease-ing. If you existed, it might be an intense moment of mortality awareness, and it does seem possible to me that your body and psyche are hyper-mobilized in some way and that is a factor right now, on top of all those years of futile, wasted practice the Existence Formerly Known as agnostic-ing put in chasing bullshit before getting the absurd and cruel joke.
It was the joke thing, actually, that i wanted to talk about, as soon as i had the most flickering sense that it would be okay to do so with you (i only require a tiny critical mass of delusion to act, apparently). "Absurd" is easy for me--- I started somewhere near Camus, and one must imagine Sisyphus happy. And "joke," sure, even if it's just a pun and the whole creation just groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now over the fact that all the humor may have been lost in translation. But "cruel" is a lot of work, to keep it from falling into the abyss. I have suspected the same myself, often enough, (not for a while; five minutes ago, at least), but given that I still seem to be working through the knot that doesn't exist and never did, i have found a deeper void that is at least without any sense of cruelty in the cosmic joke. If you still existed, I would suggest considering that, as far as nothingness nothingness-ing. After you get your appetite back, of course, and have a banana.

love, tim

Hi Tim,

Yeah having the virus has been weird (BTW I haven't actually been tested but I'm pretty confident, barely being able to get out of bed for 10 days). Funny how things happen "at the worst possible moment". Not going to say it's karma, but still there's cause and effect.

Definitely there's been a calm sense of acceptance due to the sense of "not happening to me" (alongside the anxiety of me not being around). Of course that looks an awful lot like denial, although what do they say about therapy ... I was happier when I was in denial.

I can't speak to your specific situation. I was depressed for a long time, started meditating and quickly realized that I was very angry, eventually figured out I was a narcissist and after that things appeared to get much better - there's nothing like knowing what's wrong with you :-)

In childhood I often had the sense that people (including myself) didn't really exist, that there was no free will and that life was completely absurd. I would look in the mirror and it was just obvious I had no idea who was looking back at me. All actions obviously had causes so clearly there was no free will. And wherever I looked there just didn't seem to be any meaning to life. None of this troubled me too much, it's just the way things were and I found a lot of stuff to interest and amuse me. As I grew up and tried to become a somebody, that's when the anxieties and neuroses started to set in. At some point I became unhappy enough that I either had to address it or kill myself and looking back so far that seems to have been rock bottom and now it's more like being a kid again.

Cheers
agnostic
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
agnostic:
Tim Farrington:
agnostic:
T:
You don't make it sound very appealing to be aware of the truth

Hi T-man, thanks for checking out my log!

You know what I have to say here don't you ... The truth is not appealing. That's what Hollywood is for (and feel-good Buddhism)

Well thank God, Hollywood, and Santa Claus (check out my Brand New website, "God, Hollywood, and Santa Claus: The Brand Fucking New Holy Trinity Path to Perfect and Idyllic Everything," which only costs--- well, i'm still working out how to make money off it, but . . .), anyway, thank all that is useless to deluded beings without actual problems or existence or meaningful delusion, that you checked in here. I was really afraid that your sense of humor might have disappeared with your self and the rest of that shit. But there appears to be a heartbeat here.
I've been thinking about you a lot, and decided that for now i'm just not going to fret about using basic language 101 with nouns and verbs, agents and actions implied, etc. I remember long ago reading the work of the linguist Benjamin Whorf, who had studied languages (I think Hopi might have been one of them) that have no nouns. The "nouns" in those languages are verbs, there is not lightning, there is lightnin-ing; there is no Tim, but here is Tim-ing. You are agnostic-ing to beat the band, but my Hopi is weak, so English it is, and American English at that (you seem to be somewhere in the British Isles, guessing by that "wanker" earlier).
The fact that you are sick with the corona virus is sort of too weird to get my head around, all things considered. I mean, how ironic is it that just when the self disappears entirely, the body (or the body-ing) gets sick as fuck (sicking to the fucking maximizing) with a potentially fatal disease-ing. If you existed, it might be an intense moment of mortality awareness, and it does seem possible to me that your body and psyche are hyper-mobilized in some way and that is a factor right now, on top of all those years of futile, wasted practice the Existence Formerly Known as agnostic-ing put in chasing bullshit before getting the absurd and cruel joke.
It was the joke thing, actually, that i wanted to talk about, as soon as i had the most flickering sense that it would be okay to do so with you (i only require a tiny critical mass of delusion to act, apparently). "Absurd" is easy for me--- I started somewhere near Camus, and one must imagine Sisyphus happy. And "joke," sure, even if it's just a pun and the whole creation just groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now over the fact that all the humor may have been lost in translation. But "cruel" is a lot of work, to keep it from falling into the abyss. I have suspected the same myself, often enough, (not for a while; five minutes ago, at least), but given that I still seem to be working through the knot that doesn't exist and never did, i have found a deeper void that is at least without any sense of cruelty in the cosmic joke. If you still existed, I would suggest considering that, as far as nothingness nothingness-ing. After you get your appetite back, of course, and have a banana.

love, tim

Hi Tim,

Yeah having the virus has been weird (BTW I haven't actually been tested but I'm pretty confident, barely being able to get out of bed for 10 days). Funny how things happen "at the worst possible moment". Not going to say it's karma, but still there's cause and effect.

Definitely there's been a calm sense of acceptance due to the sense of "not happening to me" (alongside the anxiety of me not being around). Of course that looks an awful lot like denial, although what do they say about therapy ... I was happier when I was in denial.

I can't speak to your specific situation. I was depressed for a long time, started meditating and quickly realized that I was very angry, eventually figured out I was a narcissist and after that things appeared to get much better - there's nothing like knowing what's wrong with you :-)

In childhood I often had the sense that people (including myself) didn't really exist, that there was no free will and that life was completely absurd. I would look in the mirror and it was just obvious I had no idea who was looking back at me. All actions obviously had causes so clearly there was no free will. And wherever I looked there just didn't seem to be any meaning to life. None of this troubled me too much, it's just the way things were and I found a lot of stuff to interest and amuse me. As I grew up and tried to become a somebody, that's when the anxieties and neuroses started to set in. At some point I became unhappy enough that I either had to address it or kill myself and looking back so far that seems to have been rock bottom.

Cheers
agnostic

I've seen your latest on the advaita/buddhism thread, and just had to laugh. I haven't checked in there with anything in response yet, but i intend to. That is, to me, a completely manic thing to do, by the way, consciously taking on the role of the villain in what is essentially, as you noted, a made-for-tv event akin to World Wide Wrestling. But it seems like jumping into the center of the furnace like that has actually been good for you. That's how precious metals get refined, of course. And how bullshit burns up, and everything in between. I am no-nonsense bipolar myself, including multiple involuntary hospitalizations for mania, so i am hypersensitive to mania sysmptoms (like that typo, for instance). My own surefire standard for knowing i'm in a mania and need a banana bad is when the cops show up to take me away, though i'm trying to stay alert in general to keeping things short of that unambiguous feedback, studying the finer grain of my neural phenomenology. For what it's worth, in terms of the blind advising the merely-briefly-blurred, you seemed fine, banana-wise, well within the navigational buoys all along the way, if a bit over-the-top theatrically at certain moments. But it's a new skill, and you're clearly learning it, in the furnace of experience. (And fuck you if you say there's no one to learn, and nothing to learn, or whatever, you non-existent wanker. You're getting better at it, give me a break.) (you taking that as humor is a test, is only a test, of the emergency banana system.)

T, it appears your subthread has been crashed without recourse. Apply the keisaku, as necessary, amigo.
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 3992 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Ya'll need to make sure Handsome Monkey King gets a banana, too. 'Kay?
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
Chris Marti:
Ya'll need to make sure Handsome Monkey King gets a banana, too. 'Kay?


I've had Handsome Monkey's King's back ever since his abdication. That boy don't need no banana, he needs some of Shargrol's whisky, and some time under a beach umbrella. He's going to be fine, once the dust settles from the bullshit he decided to finally explode.
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 3992 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Sure, but Monkey's still gotta eat.
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
I said whisky!
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 3992 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Maybe we can settle on Bananas Foster.
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
Done. I was advocating a margarita for His Highness earlier, but the key here is the incomparable nourishment of alcohol. The Foster's will give him some carbs, which I suspect is what you were trying to address. But BrunoA offered him substantial fare, and I'm telling you, the guy needs to tie one on.
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 3992 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
I'd like to see HMK fat and happy. Let 'er rip, HMK.
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 1873 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Tim Farrington:

I've seen your latest on the advaita/buddhism thread, and just had to laugh. I haven't checked in there with anything in response yet, but i intend to. That is, to me, a completely manic thing to do, by the way, consciously taking on the role of the villain in what is essentially, as you noted, a made-for-tv event akin to World Wide Wrestling. But it seems like jumping into the center of the furnace like that has actually been good for you. That's how precious metals get refined, of course. And how bullshit burns up, and everything in between. I am no-nonsense bipolar myself, including multiple involuntary hospitalizations for mania, so i am hypersensitive to mania sysmptoms (like that typo, for instance). My own surefire standard for knowing i'm in a mania and need a banana bad is when the cops show up to take me away, though i'm trying to stay alert in general to keeping things short of that unambiguous feedback, studying the finer grain of my neural phenomenology. For what it's worth, in terms of the blind advising the merely-briefly-blurred, you seemed fine, banana-wise, well within the navigational buoys all along the way, if a bit over-the-top theatrically at certain moments. But it's a new skill, and you're clearly learning it, in the furnace of experience. (And fuck you if you say there's no one to learn, and nothing to learn, or whatever, you non-existent wanker. You're getting better at it, give me a break.) (you taking that as humor is a test, is only a test, of the emergency banana system.)

T, it appears your subthread has been crashed without recourse. Apply the keisaku, as necessary, amigo.

And with that, I am officially a fan. I haven't laughed so hard in ages you heartless bastard, my virus-weakened internal organs feel like they are bleeding out.

And all of you, thanks for pissing all over my precious log and ruining my image.
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
agnostic:
Tim Farrington:

I've seen your latest on the advaita/buddhism thread, and just had to laugh. I haven't checked in there with anything in response yet, but i intend to. That is, to me, a completely manic thing to do, by the way, consciously taking on the role of the villain in what is essentially, as you noted, a made-for-tv event akin to World Wide Wrestling. But it seems like jumping into the center of the furnace like that has actually been good for you. That's how precious metals get refined, of course. And how bullshit burns up, and everything in between. I am no-nonsense bipolar myself, including multiple involuntary hospitalizations for mania, so i am hypersensitive to mania sysmptoms (like that typo, for instance). My own surefire standard for knowing i'm in a mania and need a banana bad is when the cops show up to take me away, though i'm trying to stay alert in general to keeping things short of that unambiguous feedback, studying the finer grain of my neural phenomenology. For what it's worth, in terms of the blind advising the merely-briefly-blurred, you seemed fine, banana-wise, well within the navigational buoys all along the way, if a bit over-the-top theatrically at certain moments. But it's a new skill, and you're clearly learning it, in the furnace of experience. (And fuck you if you say there's no one to learn, and nothing to learn, or whatever, you non-existent wanker. You're getting better at it, give me a break.) (you taking that as humor is a test, is only a test, of the emergency banana system.)

T, it appears your subthread has been crashed without recourse. Apply the keisaku, as necessary, amigo.

And with that, I am officially a fan. I haven't laughed so hard in ages you heartless bastard, my virus-weakened internal organs feel like they are bleeding out.

And all of you, thanks for pissing all over my precious log and ruining my image.

Your image is toast man, all you can hope for now is that there's an image of Jesus burned onto it somewhere.
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
agnostic:
Tim Farrington:

I've seen your latest on the advaita/buddhism thread, and just had to laugh. I haven't checked in there with anything in response yet, but i intend to. That is, to me, a completely manic thing to do, by the way, consciously taking on the role of the villain in what is essentially, as you noted, a made-for-tv event akin to World Wide Wrestling. But it seems like jumping into the center of the furnace like that has actually been good for you. That's how precious metals get refined, of course. And how bullshit burns up, and everything in between. I am no-nonsense bipolar myself, including multiple involuntary hospitalizations for mania, so i am hypersensitive to mania sysmptoms (like that typo, for instance). My own surefire standard for knowing i'm in a mania and need a banana bad is when the cops show up to take me away, though i'm trying to stay alert in general to keeping things short of that unambiguous feedback, studying the finer grain of my neural phenomenology. For what it's worth, in terms of the blind advising the merely-briefly-blurred, you seemed fine, banana-wise, well within the navigational buoys all along the way, if a bit over-the-top theatrically at certain moments. But it's a new skill, and you're clearly learning it, in the furnace of experience. (And fuck you if you say there's no one to learn, and nothing to learn, or whatever, you non-existent wanker. You're getting better at it, give me a break.) (you taking that as humor is a test, is only a test, of the emergency banana system.)

T, it appears your subthread has been crashed without recourse. Apply the keisaku, as necessary, amigo.

And with that, I am officially a fan. I haven't laughed so hard in ages you heartless bastard, my virus-weakened internal organs feel like they are bleeding out.

And all of you, thanks for pissing all over my precious log and ruining my image.

Well, shit, it's been very interesting since you disappeared, mate.

I was thinking about you this morning. I actually think you make a good point with suspecting that there's a certain kind of defensive reaction among committed seekers to the kind of discourse you've been, uh, emitting. Emanating? Manifesting? Anyway, taking that seriously, any unease I'm dealing with could, in my conditioned view of my ongoing practice, be placed quite recognizably as somewhere in the dukkha nanas, in the third jhana of the Knowledges of Suffering: Knowledge of Dissolution, for openers, shading into Knowledge of Fear. So first of all, thank you for precipitating another dark night loop for me, as I spiral ever deeper into hell.

I was also thinking, or, in my rudimentary Hopi, "thinking-ing," thinking occuring, that I can translate your point of view tentatively as a diagnosis of a disease of unreality, an unreal disease: call it "insight disease," call it the seekers' virus, or enlightenment fever, whatever, it's a condition of misery without reality in the Unconditioned. If we can get that far in this language, the entire spiritual path could be seen as an auto-immune response to this disease. Your own auto-immune system has apparently reorganized into immunity. So the question becomes, how did that occur? Is it a spontaneous remission, or were you making antibodies somehow all along the way of your "practice," until the cure manifested, and the disease was seen as unreal? 

And one more point, possibly presumptuous on my part, and even off-base and out of line: I don't think you have any business, at this point, being active on a thread like the nama-rupa scholars' thing. In the simplest of conditioned terms, I think it's rude; I think it's bad karma, to come at it from a different angle of conditioned reality; I can see no possible good coming from it, and it is easy to see it doing harm in the sense of provoking ill will, resentment, etc.; and at worst, it can seem to smack of a kind of obnoxiously aggressive evangelization for the Unconditioned, the amazing grace that didn't need to save a non-existent wretch like you, the good news of no news being preached. I can have your back all the way, if you want to develop your skills, vocabulary, learning curve, whatever, or just kick up your heels, on the advaita/buddhism thread; as you noted, you serve a World Wide Spiritual Wrestling function there beautifully, and the entire sangha should thank you. You could start a thread of your own and take on all comers. And you can go way off the wall here, on your ruined practice thread, and I promise to get hot under the collar enough to keep you amused, and will do my best to be a dharma mind-fucker, will even go so far as to suggest burning you at the stake or nailing you to a cross, if you like, though I won't light any fires or bang any nails. But I really do think, in whatever terms you can relate to it, and speaking in what I truly hope is a spirit of genuine friendship, that you pick your spots right now with as much discernment and clarity as you can bring to it. So fuck me, if I can't take a joke. But seriously, mate.
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 1873 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Tim Farrington:

And one more point, possibly presumptuous on my part, and even off-base and out of line: I don't think you have any business, at this point, being active on a thread like the nama-rupa scholars' thing. In the simplest of conditioned terms, I think it's rude; I think it's bad karma, to come at it from a different angle of conditioned reality; I can see no possible good coming from it, and it is easy to see it doing harm in the sense of provoking ill will, resentment, etc.; and at worst, it can seem to smack of a kind of obnoxiously aggressive evangelization for the Unconditioned, the amazing grace that didn't need to save a non-existent wretch like you, the good news of no news being preached. I can have your back all the way, if you want to develop your skills, vocabulary, learning curve, whatever, or just kick up your heels, on the advaita/buddhism thread; as you noted, you serve a World Wide Spiritual Wrestling function there beautifully, and the entire sangha should thank you. You could start a thread of your own and take on all comers. And you can go way off the wall here, on your ruined practice thread, and I promise to get hot under the collar enough to keep you amused, and will do my best to be a dharma mind-fucker, will even go so far as to suggest burning you at the stake or nailing you to a cross, if you like, though I won't light any fires or bang any nails. But I really do think, in whatever terms you can relate to it, and speaking in what I truly hope is a spirit of genuine friendship, that you pick your spots right now with as much discernment and clarity as you can bring to it. So fuck me, if I can't take a joke. But seriously, mate.

Hi Tim, thanks for watching my back. I acutally read your post before Nicky's and I was worried I must have really blown something up, but he handled the whole thing very professionally and some imporant points are being clarified in the discussion. But yes, in general, in true narcissistic style, I tend to wade in way too strong without any sense of social niceties or approriateness of time and place. So anything you can do to save me from myself (literally) is much appreciated!
Cheers
ag
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
aahh, thank God, with all due qualifications, nuances, obliterations of the boundaries of meaning, etc., or maybe, in the pidgin dialect of neo-Hopi-Nounlessness-in-the-Unconditioneding-of-no-selfing, gratituding.

I hope you will have my back here too, as i am presently on red alert for mania, largely because i have got a sort of energetic contact high from your condition. You didn't mention your, uh, very high degree of energy or your, umm, unusual sleep patterns before, or i would have brought up the banana much sooner. Grounding, you know, especially if you take four hours to eat the banana. I have been the bull in enough china shops in my time, and i do my absolute determined best these days to stay alert to the sound of breakage in my environment, and i try to stop and take as long as i can stand to eat a banana at the slightest crash. So i am counting on you to point out any breakage noises I miss.

I ordered a copy of Collisions With the Infinite this morning, for the third time in my life. I read Suzanne Segal for the first time around 1997, and was living in the SF Bay Area then, and I knew she had studied at JFK University in the East Bay, and at the Wright Institute in Berkeley, so i tried to seek her out, and learned that she had died of a brain tumor. This was around the same time of my first hospitalization for mania, and she was the one i thought i would be able to talk to. One of the things I wanted to discuss with her was the same thing i want to discuss with you, which is the meditation-prelude to the dawning of the no-self condition. Like you, she seemed to be discounting her previous meditation practice as a relevant factor. She had a full decade at least of utter disorientation and no one to really give her perspective, which is heartbreaking. You're six months in, as far as I can tell, from the early waves, and inside of a couple of weeks in on the full blown condition manifesting, so unless it's all just a brain tumor leading us all on a merry chase, i'm hoping we can explore the experience. My own experience with things in this region of discourse is tainted seriously by my very real and clinical bipolar condition , of course, and it would be easy enough to write everything off to psychosis, which i've been advised often enough to do. unfortunately, i'm one of those genuine deep gray area people where the clinical and the spiritual can't be sorted out at bottom. And so, as a recurrently psychotic bull in the china shop of the world, i have been working my ass of to develop hearing like a bat's for breakage, wherever i am. I've spent years believing that doing no harm might be the best I am capable of. And it is the absurdity of practice, the finite algorithm of 1-2-3 by-the-numbers meditation, body, breath, word, that has kept me from suicide, because it is easier to sit in nothingness than it is to kill myself, and also, there is less clean-up for other people to do. It is my best way of ground, whether i can't sleep from mania or can't lift a finger from depression.

I'm saying i have a dog in this hunt, i guess. I really have been fascinated by your condition, i want to keep exploring it. And just to reassure you, since your practice log2 has been so thoroughly pissed on and your image so thoroughly besmirched, as far as highly-energized no-self bulls in china shops go, i don't see that you've actually broken anything, across the board. And any number of times you've shown yourself to be capable of hearing, and heeding, not the sound of breakage, but warnings about possible imminent breakage. That's state of the art, in my eyes. So try not to die from the virus, if only so that i can keep taking notes while you collide with the unconditioned.
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 1873 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Morning Tim!

I don't think I'm going to die from the virus, although a couple of times it struck me as possible and how ironic that would have been, you know like just right now.

Apologies for the accidental kundalini transmission. I guess you can quarantine from the conronavirus but there's nothing that can prevent the spread of the red devil.

i'm one of those genuine deep gray area people where the clinical and the spiritual can't be sorted out at bottom

I think this probably applies to most people on some level (and I have absolutely zero qualification for saying that, just in case, you know, someone tries to sue me). It's a bit of a chicken-and-egg question and a lot of it has to do with how the whole thing is framed. If you were born in India you might have your own Ashram by now and people peeling your bananas for you whenever you wanted. Just sayin'.

I never really had full blown mania (well apart from when you gave it to me last week you bastard), but from where I'm sitting it looks like you have a handle on the bull and the china shop. It seems like you are scared of the past repeating, but you might have a better handle on things than you give yourself credit for. Sometimes when we have problems we've actually already solved them, but we just haven't let ourself believe it yet because we're so used to identifying with the problem state and we can't imagine what life would be without it.

The question of cause-and-effect is really tricky. Logic says that the unconditioned has no cause and so nothing intentional can bring it about. And those who have vanished say the same thing. But looking from the conditioned perspective where everyone has skin in the game, this seems to be an outrageous proposition. From my perspective, you think it's all about the personal narrative and the practice, until it happens, and then you see that the practice was what was keeping you from seeing something that was there all along. And remember, I don't have anything here that you don't have. This has got nothing to do with having something. 

Look at it from another perspective. Most young kids have an immersion in the world and a state of wonder, which gets replaced by separation as they have to grow up and become somebody. The ones who strive the most feel the most separation, experience the most suffering and sometimes end up on the spiritual path if it gets bad enough. I mean did anyone who was not unhappy ever take up a spiritual path? The spiritual path sounds like it's going to deliver what they think they want, but it ends up being just another implementation of that conditioning. Once it's over it's seen that the solution really was the problem it was trying to solve. There's no way to bring it about, but recognizing the mind-bending logic and absurdity of the situation might just cause a wobble. At the end of the day it's about recognizing something which was already known in childhood. Maybe "most enlightened people" are those who never started looking in the first place. Think about that.

Suzanne Segal was really a ground-breaker in the public awareness of this kind of thing, for me at least. I think her former personality came back when she got sick, which shows you even "after liberation" 
anything is possible . David Carse is another. There's a whole host of these disreputible characters outside any organized tradition, which should tell you something right there. Who knows, maybe in the monastries this stuff is commonplace and they all just sit around laughing about it all the time. Some of them appear to, but lots of them appear to be uptight strivers as well.

Tony Parsons' book the Open Secret really showed me how the logic worked and his YouTube talks are great to see how it works in action. You'll probably recognize where I got my wording from, but I'm not just parroting. It's a kind of Red Pill, you know you don't want to take it but something is recognizing that you have no choice and then it's done. He's also happy to chat about it on the phone for free (imagine that).
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
agnostic:
Morning Tim!

I don't think I'm going to die from the virus, although a couple of times it struck me as possible and how ironic that would have been, you know like just right now.

Apologies for the accidental kundalini transmission. I guess you can quarantine from the conronavirus but there's nothing that can prevent the spread of the red devil.

i'm one of those genuine deep gray area people where the clinical and the spiritual can't be sorted out at bottom

I think this probably applies to most people on some level (and I have absolutely zero qualification for saying that, just in case, you know, someone tries to sue me). It's a bit of a chicken-and-egg question and a lot of it has to do with how the whole thing is framed. If you were born in India you might have your own Ashram by now and people peeling your bananas for you whenever you wanted. Just sayin'.

I never really had full blown mania (well apart from when you gave it to me last week you bastard), but from where I'm sitting it looks like you have a handle on the bull and the china shop. It seems like you are scared of the past repeating, but you might have a better handle on things than you give yourself credit for. Sometimes when we have problems we've actually already solved them, but we just haven't let ourself believe it yet because we're so used to identifying with the problem state and we can't imagine what life would be without it.

The question of cause-and-effect is really tricky. Logic says that the unconditioned has no cause and so nothing intentional can bring it about. And those who have vanished say the same thing. But looking from the conditioned perspective where everyone has skin in the game, this seems to be an outrageous proposition. From my perspective, you think it's all about the personal narrative and the practice, until it happens, and then you see that the practice was what was keeping you from seeing something that was there all along. And remember, I don't have anything here that you don't have. This has got nothing to do with having something. 

Look at it from another perspective. Most young kids have an immersion in the world and a state of wonder, which gets replaced by separation as they have to grow up and become somebody. The ones who strive the most feel the most separation, experience the most suffering and sometimes end up on the spiritual path if it gets bad enough. I mean did anyone who was not unhappy ever take up a spiritual path? The spiritual path sounds like it's going to deliver what they think they want, but it ends up being just another implementation of that conditioning. Once it's over it's seen that the solution really was the problem it was trying to solve. There's no way to bring it about, but recognizing the mind-bending logic and absurdity of the situation might just cause a wobble. At the end of the day it's about recognizing something which was already known in childhood. Maybe "most enlightened people" are those who never started looking in the first place. Think about that.

Suzanne Segal was really a ground-breaker in the public awareness of this kind of thing, for me at least. I think her former personality came back when she got sick, which shows you even "after liberation" 
anything is possible . David Carse is another. There's a whole host of these disreputible characters outside any organized tradition, which should tell you something right there. Who knows, maybe in the monastries this stuff is commonplace and they all just sit around laughing about it all the time. Some of them appear to, but lots of them appear to be uptight strivers as well.

Tony Parsons' book the Open Secret really showed me how the logic worked and his YouTube talks are great to see how it works in action. You'll probably recognize where I got my wording from, but I'm not just parroting. It's a kind of Red Pill, you know you don't want to take it but something is recognizing that you have no choice and then it's done. He's also happy to chat about it on the phone for free (imagine that).

Thank you for this. I would reply in great length and depth, but I'm on notice from Linda to tread lightly in these dancing shoes of mine right now, and am taking her as seriously as possible. But I noticed that you were doing some poetry, back in February, during the run-up, and it put me in mind of a comic work of my own poetry, little short shit things, that you might find funny and a propos at this point, and even strangely heartening in light of the fact that it was written in 1996 and i am still alive on the planet and often able to pass among the sane, although clearly i'm close to the limit of that at the moment. so there a this-too-will-pass aspect to it. This is not tooting my own horn, at all; this is actually literally the only time i have ever recommended this book to anyone, i just got it into print for the akashic records, and i am generally humiliated and ashamed every time i think about that period. But anything for a non-existent mate.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1726898741/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i8
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 5735 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Tim, I could sense already several days ago (? I'm not sure about the time perspective, but it was when you started to reply to agnostic's posts in the advaita amd buddhism thread) that you were picking up something that triggered something possibly manic in you. I hope it's okay that I say so. I tend to see those things, as I'm sensitive to picking stuff up myself. Can you shift your focus to somebody who is currently in a more peaceful state? Do you know how to do that? If you wish, you are welcome to tune into me. I'm currently peaceful, and I can let you know if that changes. I think I could take it without being thrown off balance myself, at least if I'm prepared. Now we are getting into the woo woo stuff, and I don't have any formal training for any of it, but since you are already tapping into energies I doubt that it would make anything worse. So decide for youself. It's an offer. I'm probably less intriguing, though. And that's kind of the point. Also, ground yourself! 

EDIT: Although exactly right now I suddenly feel a bit exhausted, so I need to find my way back to the stillness and silence, so maybe I'm a bit of risky business too. But seriously, you have created yourself a hook that I think you need to let go of for a while. Breath it out and tune into the earth.
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Tim, I could sense already several days ago (? I'm not sure about the time perspective, but it was when you started to reply to agnostic's posts in the advaita amd buddhism thread) that you were picking up something that triggered something possibly manic in you. I hope it's okay that I say so. I tend to see those things, as I'm sensitive to picking stuff up myself. Can you shift your focus to somebody who is currently in a more peaceful state? Do you know how to do that? If you wish, you are welcome to tune into me. I'm currently peaceful, and I can let you know if that changes. I think I could take it without being thrown off balance myself, at least if I'm prepared. Now we are getting into the woo woo stuff, and I don't have any formal training for any of it, but since you are already tapping into energies I doubt that it would make anything worse. So decide for youself. It's an offer. I'm probably less intriguing, though. And that's kind of the point. Also, ground yourself! 

EDIT: Although exactly right now I suddenly feel a bit exhausted, so I need to find my way back to the stillness and silence, so maybe I'm a bit of risky business too. But seriously, you have created yourself a hook that I think you need to let go of for a while. Breath it out and tune into the earth.

Thank you so much for your brave and deeply caring words. I truly appreciate you having an eye on me.

I doubt that tuning into your wavelength could ever constitute "risky business"! lol, really, i've seen you work quite a bit already, and you are a goddess avatar of compassion in action, without faultless logic to boot. Of course you're exhausted at the moment, and in need of a good refreshing taste of no-self yourself (paradoxical, that), you just wrote a significant treatise on spiritual sanity and the love that spins the galaxies for our friend here. That's work, putting thoughts into linguistic coherence, head work and heart work to keep it true and precise, and there are limits to how much anyone can work. 

I've got myself on the shortest leash possible right now, since acquiring my dose of kundalini fever through the shaktipat of advaita's disappeared self. One thing to know about me is something I used to tell the cops when they would come to pick me up and put me into custody after calls from my neighbors or something during a mania: I would say, "Honestly, Officer, I just don't think the people around here are getting my humor." Sometimes the cop would laugh, one of them told me, "Yeah, it's a little dry for most tastes," and sometimes, after they had exercised their professional first-responder discernment, they would with all due diligence put me in the back of the patrol car and take me off to a locked ward that I could not get out of until I had convinced a judge that I did not constitute a danger to myself or others. I am taking your feedback gratefully and very seriously, as a step still short of the cops showing up, so there is a good learning curve in process here. I have every possible grounding practice and slow-down protocol going, and had a wonderful long bath this morning, a good stretch of not even making a wave in the tub. 
T, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 279 Join Date: 1/15/19 Recent Posts
You know what I have to say here don't you ... The truth is not appealing. That's what Hollywood is for (and feel-good Buddhism)

Well, I suspect that depends upon no one's impossible-to-have perspective. 

I get the gist of the joke without experiencing it directly in any perceptual way, in a moment-to-moment way. It's beautiful.

Literally everything is balanced with everything else. Even we nobodies who think we're somobodies. A microbe's actions (or a virus perhaps) can have just as much global impact as this no person - maybe more.

Is that not amazing and repulsive simultaneously??!!

Makes me think it's worth having some framework of guidance, despite it all being horseshit. 
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 1873 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
T:
You know what I have to say here don't you ... The truth is not appealing. That's what Hollywood is for (and feel-good Buddhism)

Well, I suspect that depends upon no one's impossible-to-have perspective. 

I get the gist of the joke without experiencing it directly in any perceptual way, in a moment-to-moment way. It's beautiful.

Literally everything is balanced with everything else. Even we nobodies who think we're somobodies. A microbe's actions (or a virus perhaps) can have just as much global impact as this no person - maybe more.

Is that not amazing and repulsive simultaneously??!!

Makes me think it's worth having some framework of guidance, despite it all being horseshit. 

Good Morning T!

You're right, I overplayed my hand.

The problem I had with "direct perceptual" insight method is that I'm not a monk and can't do retreats so I could only do it on the cushion (several hours a day sometimes, mind you) and in limited walking around cirumstances. That was fine for taking the edge off suffering (although it brought up new shit) but it didn't really address the main problem the rest of the time - what's wrong with me? At some point I just had to take the gloves off and get to grips with that.

Guidance definitely appeared to be really helpful "at first", but you are the only authority on your own experience of being yourself and once I really started to address that then guidance started to feel less helpful (if not counterproductive). That having been said, MCTB is very up-front about the craziness that can happen (which is what drew me to it) and DhO has lots of people who aren't afraid to be candid about their experiences so at least I got an array of perspectives.

Amazing and repulsive, like that.

Cheers
agnostic
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
agnostic:
Nibbana is not an experience, it is simply the abscence of the (assumed) experience of being someone. In that abscence, all experiences remain exactly the same ... even if the apparent experience of being someone should reappear. It's the most ordinary thing in the world. What a joke.


may i address you as The Experience Formerly Known as Agnostic? What a fascinating arc this log chronicles. 
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 1873 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Tim Farrington:

may i address you as The Experience Formerly Known as Agnostic? What a fascinating arc this log chronicles. 

Oh hey Tim mate, sorry haven't been checking on my log recently.

Love Prince, though the name change was a bit of wanker move LOL.

Don't forget, the journey is irrelevant!
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
agnostic:
Tim Farrington:

may i address you as The Experience Formerly Known as Agnostic? What a fascinating arc this log chronicles. 

Oh hey Tim mate, sorry haven't been checking on my log recently.

Love Prince, though the name change was a bit of wanker move LOL.

Don't forget, the journey is irrelevant!
This is where my two cents should have gone. What a wanker I am. Sorry, T, for crashing your sub-thread.
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 1873 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Enlightenment
Enlightenment does not exist.
Enlightenment is existence.
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
agnostic:
Enlightenment
Enlightenment does not exist.
Enlightenment is existence.


I knew you'd get back into poetry soon! That, or get locked up.

Back atcha:

Existence

Existence does not enlighten.
Existence is enlightening.
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 1873 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Uncle Joe
Stalin was right when he said "no man, no problem".
But only a man would act on such knowledge.
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
agnostic:
Uncle Joe
Stalin was right when he said "no man, no problem".
But only a man would act on such knowledge.


Uncle Joe Is My Teacher

I am no man,
i am becoming no problem,
here in this ashram in the gulag archipelago.
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 1873 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Tim Farrington:
agnostic:
Uncle Joe
Stalin was right when he said "no man, no problem".
But only a man would act on such knowledge.


Uncle Joe Is My Teacher

I am no man,
i am becoming no problem,
here in this ashram in the gulag archipelago.

guru archipelago no?
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
agnostic:
Tim Farrington:
agnostic:
Uncle Joe
Stalin was right when he said "no man, no problem".
But only a man would act on such knowledge.


Uncle Joe Is My Teacher

I am no man,
i am becoming no problem,
here in this ashram in the gulag archipelago.

I think that's a typo, surely you meant guru archipelago no?

lol, if you were yanking my chain, and cf. solzhenitsyn's 3-volume masterpiece on Stalin's gulags, The Gulag Archipelago, otherwise.
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 1873 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
It is tautologically true that reality (everything that exists) is nondual (one), because there is nothing which can exist outside of reality.

Instead of Reality one can use alternative words such as Existence, Everything, The One, Universe, World, Samsara, God, Spirit, Consciousness, Mind, Matter, Energy, Stuff and also Nothing, Emptiness, The Unconditioned or Nirvana.

This sounds either vacuously true or a contradiction, but then so is reality. What is the one thing we can be most sure of? That something appears to exist, but when we look hard enough we find nothing.
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 1873 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Yesterday I found myself meditating heavily again for the first time in a while. I hadn’t really planned to, the opportunity arose and it seems to be coming from a conditioned fascination with jhana (which I have not and may never attain). Anyway, over 6 hours on-and-off, I went about as deep as I could before my third eye felt like it was going to rip open and my head explode.

Sleep came easier than I expected and although I woke up after an hour with the usual depersonalization episode, the panic subsided quickly and I fell back asleep. This theory about developing secure attachment to myself seems to be working. The less I cling to myself (my idea of who I am), the less freaked out I get when it leaves the room because I’m secure in the knowledge that I’m fine without it for a while and it will come back when I need it.

Early morning I had a long semi-lucid dream involving familiar themes of work, sex and violence. I’ll spare you the details, but it’s amazing how efficient the subconscious is at warehousing every fantasy and graphic image you’ve ever experienced. The difference now is that it doesn’t really trouble me, it’s just cause and effect working itself out. A certain amount of shit went into the cesspit and a certain amount of shit will come out, better this way than any other.

I’m feeling much more equanimous this morning. It’s funny, in the last year or so and around 1,000 hours meditating, I can’t have spent more than 5 hours total in equanimity, which says a lot about my highly aversive personality. Most path-like events or fruitions for me were basically hacks, hence my lack of faith in the necessity of following the instructions to a T.

I’m in the last few days of recovering from the coronavirus now, so it’ll be interesting to see how these latest (last?) insights bear up under the stresses of getting back to daily life again.
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
agnostic:
Yesterday I found myself meditating heavily again for the first time in a while. I hadn’t really planned to, the opportunity arose and it seems to be coming from a conditioned fascination with jhana (which I have not and may never attain). Anyway, over 6 hours on-and-off, I went about as deep as I could before my third eye felt like it was going to rip open and my head explode.


remind me again, is the third eye ripping open and the head exploding good or not?


The less I cling to myself (my idea of who I am), the less freaked out I get when it leaves the room because I’m secure in the knowledge that I’m fine without it for a while and it will come back when I need it.


now that is worth putting on a T-shirt.

Enjoy your remaining sick days, mate.
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 1873 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Tim Farrington:

remind me again, is the third eye ripping open and the head exploding good or not?

Hey Tim,

I don't think it's good or not, it's just what's happening. It seems to be connected with activity on DhO. I get into a really nice calm state meditating and then something prompts me to check DhO and before I know it I'm getting involved and my 3rd is flaring up!

Cheers
agnostic
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
emoticon
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 1873 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
I think about quitting DhO, which is what I would do if I was craving equanimity. But since dropping craving, things just haven’t been the same.

Come to think of it, duking it out on DhO is starting to feel pretty peaceful. Weird.

Metta bitch
agnostic
 

PS I love you

PPS I started reading Finnegans Wake again last night to get a break from your practice log.
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 3992 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Agnostic, you should be reading Gravity's Rainbow if you want better-than-Joyce prose.
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 1873 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Chris Marti:
Agnostic, you should be reading Gravity's Rainbow if you want better-than-Joyce prose.

Looks interesting, although the subject matter ... Are you signaling something to me?
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 3992 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Are you signaling something to me?

Nope. Just making a silly suggestion.
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
agnostic:
Chris Marti:
Agnostic, you should be reading Gravity's Rainbow if you want better-than-Joyce prose.

Looks interesting, although the subject matter ... Are you signaling something to me?


He's signalling SEVERAL things to you, man, and that's without even getting into what he's signalling to . . . others.
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 1873 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Tim Farrington:
agnostic:
Chris Marti:
Agnostic, you should be reading Gravity's Rainbow if you want better-than-Joyce prose.

Looks interesting, although the subject matter ... Are you signaling something to me?


He's signalling SEVERAL things to you, man, and that's without even getting into what he's signalling to . . . others.

That's what I thought. I think I'm gonna work on a rocket project with the kids today.
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
be sure to wear your tinfoil hat.
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 3992 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
I think I'm gonna work on a rocket project with the kids today.

Nice! I like that. My father was a real rocket scientist. He worked on the rocket fuel part - solid rocket fuel. He would bring some home once in a while. Little one-inch long things the diameter of a pencil. We kids found innumerable uses for them.

agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 1873 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Chris Marti:
I think I'm gonna work on a rocket project with the kids today.

Nice! I like that. My father was a real rocket scientist. He worked on the rocket fuel part - solid rocket fuel. He would bring some home once in a while. Little one-inch long things the diameter of a pencil. We kids found innumerable uses for them.


You still got any of that stuff? I could use some in my jhana practice.
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
Chris Marti:
Agnostic, you should be reading Gravity's Rainbow if you want better-than-Joyce prose.

In the late 1970s, I actually spent about three months writing in my own version of that n-dimensional stuff in Finngans wake. Every word meant fifteen things, in twenty languages. That was the period when i was reading all those guys, and letting it ripple through, and writing as like them as i could manage for the duration of the study phase.
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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I think about quitting DhO...

Me too.
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
Chris Marti:
I think about quitting DhO...

Me too.

Not me, i'm like a pig in shit here. Seriously, like a pig in shit.
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
agnostic:

PPS I started reading Finnegans Wake again last night to get a break from your practice log.


If you can't stand the heat, baby, stay out of the fucking kitchen, we're cooking with gas here.
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 1873 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
There still seems to be some kind of cycling or progression going on “post 4th” (conventionally speaking, I don't believe anyone actually reaches 4th since realizing that the seeker and the search are illusions that were never really happening anyway).

There was heightened energy the last 3 weeks associated with this realization (and also having the coronavirus). As usual, my morality and samatha lag my insight. There’s still some anxiety and aversion to equanimity, although both of those seem to be trending down. I’ve been getting into some scrapes on DhO and upsetting a few people, again tapering. I used to think I would be perfect by this point lol, but actually my basic aversive narcissistic personality structure is still pretty much intact. There does seem to be less neurosis due to lack of self-identification and clinging. E.g. I’ll get angry but then apologize quickly and not hold onto it. But it’s early days and I’ll leave that for you lot to judge (call it when you see it please) and my family will let me know pretty quickly if I’m fucking up. Kundalini is still strong and there's all kinds of 3rd eye craziness, but I see this as a relatively impersonal process now which is just taking its course. It's important to bear in mind though that this is coming at the end of an unusual 3 week period where I've been quarantined in my bedroom (it was the meditation retreat I could never have!) so I'm curious to see how it holds up under real-world testing.

How confident am I about this self-diagnosis? I wanna say 100% but obviously that’s asking for trouble and in reality anything is possible. What I mean to say is that it’s hard to imagine a deeper insight is possible once you’ve really seen that there’s no one home and life is just happening fine by itself with no need for user intervention. What seems more possible is that I could go back to sleep, meaning the dream of me restarts. But at the moment when any convoluted thought trains involving me or I start to arise, they just seem ridiculous and run out of steam pretty quickly.  But to reiterate, even if indeed this is “it”, there’s still plenty of room for development along the other two axes. And I’m not enlightened and I’m not an Arahant ok! I really mean that, no false modestly or reverse psychology. The most fundamental insight has been that these things don’t happen to people, they are what’s left once the person has left the room.

The remnants of my conditioned seeker mindset throw up the thought that it’s been too fast (although not too easy because I gave it my all, willing to go crazy or die at certain points). I came off therapy/meds about 20 months ago and started meditating casually (every day). About 15 months ago I picked up MCTB and got much more serious, with stream entry occurring about 12 months ago. All this is self-diagnosed by the way, you can read my logs and challenge me if you want. 2nd path occurred a few weeks later, at which point I parted ways with the standard model. You see I only had 1-2 possible MCTB-style fruitions, and wasn’t able to replicate them because I never had retreat conditions and I was pushing so hard that I wasn’t able to spend much time in equanimity either. It sounded like 3rd path because I was flailing around all over the place wondering what was the point of practice or anything since by that point the illusion of an individual with free will and choice was starting to crumble. The key moment for me on 3rd path was reading Tony Parsons' Open Secret, which I found an intellectually unassailable presentation of nondualism that just kind of stopped me in my tracks and made me realize that the game was over, although it took me a few more months for that to actually manifest. 3rd path fruition I diagnosed (later) as occurring 6 months ago with my first nighttime depersonalization episode. Since then those have been increasingly frequent, until 3 weeks ago engaging in the Advaita and Buddhism thread led to a more sustained kind of mind-flip which reduced the distance between ordinary walking around experience and total nighttime depersonalization.

There is still some anxiety and fear around total depersonalization (which still occurs) so there is still a gap there which I expect to continue reducing and join up over time. But it doesn’t feel like an insight gap anymore, it feels like the body/mind catching up with what seems to be the final insight. Anyway, make of it what you will, I’m not claiming “I attained 4th” anyway and I’m still curious and would not be unhappy to be proved wrong. Because quite frankly the day-to-day experience is still quite harsh a lot of the time, even although the bliss pockets are deepening and I can’t see any reason why the ride wouldn’t continue to get smoother. But just to be clear, the harshness isn’t really a problem for “me” anymore. It’s not like I’m saying to myself damn I wish this ride would get smoother and I need to practice something or get somewhere so that will happen. I just accept that it’s a function of my conditioning, it is what it is, and life is basically ok just as it is and wherever it appears to be going.

Assuming this diagnosis is correct, why did it happen relatively fast in my case given that I never went on retreat? As a bit of backstory, aged 5 I did have a kind of infinite space/consciousness experience followed by fall from grace. Since that point I always felt like I was seeking something, and in my teens I got into philosophy and eventually mysticism and advaita and some yoga/meditation. At that point I intellectually recognized nondualism as the ultimate truth, even although I had no moral basis or meditation practice. For the next 25 years I chased worldly success and pleasure, but it was really just an extension of the same seeking pattern and deep down I knew it was all just empty. I think getting severely depressed and hating my life and feeling suicidal “helped”, because it meant that I felt like I didn’t have anything to lose by completely letting go of my life and personality as I imagined them to be at that point. And I think that having a certain kind of bullshit detector and intellectual honesty helped, basically the willingness to question all intellectual authority and develop and reject your own ideas as quickly as possible without attachment. I think that paradoxically it also helped that I wasn’t party of any spiritual practice group and didn’t have any dharma buddies (apart from here on DhO where we can remain anonymous), so there wasn’t any dharma competition with anyone I really knew to get in the way. Suffice to say, I was working undercover. The funny thing is that my day-to-day routine and relationships haven’t really changed that much from an external viewpoint. Even my wife doesn’t know that I am a fully enlightened one, imagine that LOL.

Anyway, longer post than I intended but it all just sort of came out that way. And if I’m totally wrong about all of this then I look forward to working on the DhO towards stream entry proper in the near future!
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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I don't doubt that there has been a rapid development for you. It really seems like it. However, I am sceptical about 4th path. I suspect that there are still more goodies in the goodiebag for you. What I have heard is that it is very common to be convinced about being done when reaching 3rd, for instance, and there are many many full insight cycles to go through between second and fourth. It is also possible to have repeat fruitions and shifts that aren't path moments. After stream entry I had a period of trying to explain to my closest people that there really wasn't any me. It faded. Could it be that not being able to imagine that deeper insights are possible speaks to the limitations of imagination? I don't know, of course. Have you spoken with Daniel about this? Anyway, I'm happy to see that you are in a good place. Give it some time and continue being honest with yourself. 
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I don't doubt that there has been a rapid development for you. It really seems like it. However, I am sceptical about 4th path. I suspect that there are still more goodies in the goodiebag for you. What I have heard is that it is very common to be convinced about being done when reaching 3rd, for instance, and there are many many full insight cycles to go through between second and fourth. It is also possible to have repeat fruitions and shifts that aren't path moments. After stream entry I had a period of trying to explain to my closest people that there really wasn't any me. It faded. Could it be that not being able to imagine that deeper insights are possible speaks to the limitations of imagination? I don't know, of course. Have you spoken with Daniel about this? Anyway, I'm happy to see that you are in a good place. Give it some time and continue being honest with yourself. 

Thanks for the feedback Linda, you may be right. I can imagine plenty of deeper experiences if not any deeper insights, but as you say this could just be a failure of imagination. Anyway it should show up pretty quickly if I'm wrong. I'm not planning any major lifestyle changes so it doesn't really make any difference to anyone ... let's see what happens :-)
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Yeah, sounds like a good approach. Best wishes for your continuous wellbeing.
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Not two, not one, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Let me know if you would like some input - as food for thought, rather than persuasion.

Malcolm (the entity formerly known as curious).
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Not two, not one:
Let me know if you would like some input - as food for thought, rather than persuasion.

Malcolm (the entity formerly known as curious).

Hi Malcolm,

Love the name change. What are you going to be next? Trinity? Null?

Sure, let me know what you've got!

Cheers,

agnostic-appearing-as-nothing-appearing-as-agnostic-fooling-no-one
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Not two, not one, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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agnostic:
Not two, not one:
Let me know if you would like some input - as food for thought, rather than persuasion.

Malcolm (the entity formerly known as curious).

Hi Malcolm,

Love the name change. What are you going to be next? Trinity? Null?

Sure, let me know what you've got!

Cheers,

agnostic-appearing-as-nothing-appearing-as-agnostic-fooling-no-one

So, here are some things, in the nature of abbreviated notes. Happy to expand on any that catch your eye.

1. If you have developed sufficient concentration, serious illness gives the opportunity to practice exactly what is in the satipatthana sutta - seven days and nights of mindfulness (particuarly of the body), for which the promised outcome is liberation, or non-return is there is still a little bit of clinging.

2. There seem to be several dimensions of development required for the path. Definitely getting the energetic apects of the body flowing, ironing out enough of the sahkharic kinks (which are both mental and physical), breaking down barriers between perceptions, perceiving emptiness, and deeply understanding not-self. But there is still a final insight after that.

3. There are eight types of people. Those on the road to first, and those with first path. Those on the road to second, and those with second.  Those on the road to third, and those with third. Those on the road to fourth, and those with fourth. I laughed like a drain for 15 minutes after I saw through the seeker. But it took a few more weeks to finish. Sometimes it seemed like the path had as many endings as The Return of the King.

4. Terms like enlightenment and Arahant all involve contractions and subtle pride. Liberation maybe?  Or awakening (although that seems portentious too).  Or, just ... human? 

5.  Emotions are of the body, not the mind (the binding to emotions, and reactions to emotions, are of the mind). So as long as we have a body we will have emotions. However, the emotional system can get switched off by very big insights. But it reboots and returns over time. If it doesn't return over time, you're not finished.

6. Steve James had a nice interview with an irasicible american monk in Thailand, I think it was. He made a couple of interesting points, including taking a year or two before concluding someone had reached the end (this is related to point 8, below), and that stuff will naturally grow back, but is very easily cleaned up again (as you already know, as there is not a self to anchor all the clinging to).

7. You might now clearly see the aggregates that make up your process of living. Notice how history and conditioning act as causes and conditions for your ongoing behaviour, and these are recorded in your remaining sanhkharas. Now notice that these feedback loops also reside in your environment, and in particular in your loved ones. Seeing this clearly give the potential for love to be better and more menaingful than ever before. 

8. Related to this point, there are still other sankharas to run down after not-self. The reinforcers have may have been killed but the sankharas still take time to calm down. This happens in two stages - your own sankharas, and then the sankharas of your loved ones that you had been reinforcing through your own unskilful behaviour. They will become happier too, as you stop exciting some of their sankharas. But it will take time and is a subtle process.

9. Chris's descriptions are really exact. The final step is not about getting more deep, but less deep. A letting go of the dharma (you thought you did that seeing through the seeker, but there may be a tiny bit more), followed some time later by a shimmer in reality and a final giving up of all the frames of reference. All that dharma and deepness is a final subtle clinging. If you haven't seen it yet, and have the courage, look behind the seeker.  Ask yourself, what caused it the first place, and can you stop that final resistance, have a final embracing, a final letting go? This is not easy, and requires really substantial effort, using all the skill developed on the path, and all the determination that there is available in the world.

Much love

Malcolm


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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Those comments are gold. I need to get back to those later. 
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Not two, not one:

1. If you have developed sufficient concentration, serious illness gives the opportunity to practice exactly what is in the satipatthana sutta - seven days and nights of mindfulness (particuarly of the body), for which the promised outcome is liberation, or non-return is there is still a little bit of clinging.

Funny you should say this, because I’ve been locked in my bedroom with the coronavirus for 4 weeks, being mindful of the body, and this is the period during which liberation seems to have occurred!

2. There seem to be several dimensions of development required for the path. Definitely getting the energetic apects of the body flowing, ironing out enough of the sahkharic kinks (which are both mental and physical), breaking down barriers between perceptions, perceiving emptiness, and deeply understanding not-self. But there is still a final insight after that.

I find it hard to imagine that further insights are possible after realizing that all insights are predicated on the existence of a cognizer who does not really exist. But maybe as Linda says that just speaks to the limits of my imagination :-)

3. There are eight types of people. Those on the road to first, and those with first path. Those on the road to second, and those with second.  Those on the road to third, and those with third. Those on the road to fourth, and those with fourth.

I think that to say that a person attains fourth path is just a convention, because 4th path is the end of the personal perspective on life.

I laughed like a drain for 15 minutes after I saw through the seeker. But it took a few more weeks to finish. Sometimes it seemed like the path had as many endings as The Return of the King.

So seeking is finished then?

4. Terms like enlightenment and Arahant all involve contractions and subtle pride. Liberation maybe?  Or awakening (although that seems portentious too).  Or, just ... human?

I agree that claims to be enlightened, liberated, awakened or an Arahant would seem to entail some self-identification, unless they are just used as conventional shorthand for more accurate statements like “this body here with no self-identification is an Arahant”. I'm not making any such claims, except to being human! I realize I said above that liberation seems to have occurred, but that’s not the same thing as saying that I am liberated (which I'm not).

5.  Emotions are of the body, not the mind (the binding to emotions, and reactions to emotions, are of the mind). So as long as we have a body we will have emotions. However, the emotional system can get switched off by very big insights. But it reboots and returns over time. If it doesn't return over time, you're not finished.

My emotional system didn’t get switched off over the last 4 weeks, all the usual emotions are there. Yes it seems there will continue to be emotions as long as there is a body. The only thing missing is self-identification with the emotions. It’s “oh, anger is here” rather than “I am so angry”.

6. Steve James had a nice interview with an irasicible american monk in Thailand, I think it was. He made a couple of interesting points, including taking a year or two before concluding someone had reached the end (this is related to point 8, below), and that stuff will naturally grow back, but is very easily cleaned up again (as you already know, as there is not a self to anchor all the clinging to).

I don’t believe that anyone reaches the end, because the end is the realization that there’s no one really to reach it. I’m sure all sorts of cleaning up will continue though.

7. You might now clearly see the aggregates that make up your process of living. Notice how history and conditioning act as causes and conditions for your ongoing behaviour, and these are recorded in your remaining sanhkharas. Now notice that these feedback loops also reside in your environment, and in particular in your loved ones. Seeing this clearly give the potential for love to be better and more menaingful than ever before. 

I'm aware how conditioning continues to operate via the khandhas, both in my body/mind and environment. Relationships with loved ones have been working better over the last 6 months with the reduction in personal agenda (no more “this is what I want from my life”). There’s a lot more laughter, love and happiness because it’s not all about me anymore, which was a drag. Relationships with old friends have rekindled after languishing during the period of self-obsessed seeking. I've even stopped resenting my mother, indeed I find it hard to remember why I was so angry with her.

8. Related to this point, there are still other sankharas to run down after not-self. The reinforcers have may have been killed but the sankharas still take time to calm down. This happens in two stages - your own sankharas, and then the sankharas of your loved ones that you had been reinforcing through your own unskilful behaviour. They will become happier too, as you stop exciting some of their sankharas. But it will take time and is a subtle process.

I imagine this process will continue as long as I live.

9. Chris's descriptions are really exact. The final step is not about getting more deep, but less deep. A letting go of the dharma (you thought you did that seeing through the seeker, but there may be a tiny bit more), followed some time later by a shimmer in reality and a final giving up of all the frames of reference. All that dharma and deepness is a final subtle clinging.

I now feel that the dharma is profoundly shallow.

If you haven't seen it yet, and have the courage, look behind the seeker.

Hmm. Looking for something is what the seeker would do, but the seeker has collapsed ...

Ask yourself, what caused it the first place

The seeking came for the apparent sense of separation (I’ve given my best explanation for what causes that at the end of my response to T above).

and can you stop that final resistance, have a final embracing, a final letting go?

The seeker is what resists, embraces or lets go. Without the seeker none of these things are possible.

This is not easy, and requires really substantial effort, using all the skill developed on the path, and all the determination that there is available in the world.

It seems to be the hardest thing in the world when you are committed to seeking and the path, because so much time and effort has been invested and yet there always seems to be further to go. When the seeker collapses and is seen never to have been real in the first place, what more can you say? It seems to be hard because it is actually too easy for the seeker, which is attracted to hard problems to work on because they perpetuate its apparent existence. Seeker is as seeker does!
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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agnostic:


I find it hard to imagine that further insights are possible after realizing that all insights are predicated on the existence of a cognizer who does not really exist. But maybe as Linda says that just speaks to the limits of my imagination :-)



I’m not saying that it does. I couldn’t possibly know. I’m just suggesting that it might be a good idea to give it some time, just in case some further insight remains. But this is beyond where I am at, so that’s just based on what I have heard from others, not on my own experience.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Maybe you actually did manage to let go fully and I'm just envious, which would be pretty stupid, as the separation is merely a construction and the world is better off with more liberation. If you did, that's fuckin' amazing, and I'm happy for you (yes, I can be both happy and envious at the same time because this cluster/continuoum contains multitudes). Regardless of whether or not there is still some remaining insight to uncover, you have been a rock lately, supporting Tim and helping me to come out from a fear reaction, and obviously inspiring T, and I appreciate that and wish you all the best. If you happen to have a hunch about what I need to do (or not-do) to let go, feel free to comment in my log, because obviously I'm somehow resisting it and you have shown that you can be sensitive to my boundaries, which is necessary for it not to set of defenses. 
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Maybe you actually did manage to let go fully and I'm just envious, which would be pretty stupid, as the separation is merely a construction and the world is better off with more liberation. If you did, that's fuckin' amazing, and I'm happy for you (yes, I can be both happy and envious at the same time because this cluster/continuoum contains multitudes). Regardless of whether or not there is still some remaining insight to uncover, you have been a rock lately, supporting Tim and helping me to come out from a fear reaction, and obviously inspiring T, and I appreciate that and wish you all the best. If you happen to have a hunch about what I need to do (or not-do) to let go, feel free to comment in my log, because obviously I'm somehow resisting it and you have shown that you can be sensitive to my boundaries, which is necessary for it not to set of defenses. 

Hi Linda,

Thank you for your kind words which I really appreciate, and also for all your support. I just want to make a couple of points in response which might seem ungrateful, but I think they are really important.

When you see yourself as on the path then it is natural to compare yourself with other people and try to figure out who is behind, who is ahead and who may have even won the prize of liberation. But liberation is not like that all because nobody actually becomes liberated! To the extent that you self-identify and compare from the personal perspective then you are suffering. Liberation is just the realization that this personal self-identification is a stubborn illusion.

Yes liberation is fuckin’ amazing, but it’s not amazing for me or you or anyone else. LIBERATION IS THE WAY THINGS ALREADY ARE, EVEN WHEN THEY APPEAR NOT TO BE, AND THAT REALLY IS AMAZING!. Obviously saying that in the wrong context can be uncompassionate or irresponsible, but putting those objections aside it can be seen and shared that liberation is already here. Separation appears to be a very painful construction yes, but in reality it’s a false viewpoint so the world doesn’t need more liberation, it’s already fully liberated (even when it appears not to be).

Being happy for me is a lovely sentiment, but it can only be defined relative to some other state of presumed unhappiness. And like you say, it’s also bound up with envy which is a source of dissatisfaction. So thank you, but there’s no need to be happy for me in particular, one can just be happy with the world as it already is even with all its apparent failings.

I’m happy to keep reading your log and commenting where I can, but unfortunately I can’t tell you what you need to do or not do to “let go” because that would solidify you in your sense of being someone who needs to let go of something! The only way to “let go” in my experience is to recognize that there really is no one here to let go of anything. Not bypassing, not denial, but recognition of the way things really are (even when they appear not to be). Remember I didn’t let go of anything, it was me that was let go.

When you hear that you might think “that sounds nice, I would like that for myself, what can I do go get that?” But that’s just the seeker mindset starting to look for something which prevents it from seeing the liberation that’s already here inherent in everything just the way it is. Then you might start to think “Well how can I ‘be let go’ then? Do I need some sort of special divine grace? It seems a bit unfair that agnostic got let go first when he’s only been on the path a year and his karma was worse than mine”. But again that’s just the illusory individual perspective operating which is the cause of all your other suffering as well. The “grace” if you will (I think of it more as a bad joke) is simply the fact that liberation is already here and it’s only our looking for it which causes it to appear to be out of reach.

With love
agnostic
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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And yet I am happy. Maybe it is the universe being happy for itself as always, but the feeling is accessible. 

I don't think it's ungrateful. You took your time to answer what I wrote, and I appreciate that. Yeah, I know that it's me that needs to be let go of and that I can't do that. I have given the very same advice to others. I guess it will happen when it happens, and when it does, it will have been like that the whole time. 

I don't really believe in individual karma. Dependent origination seems to be much more interconnected.
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

And yet I am happy. Maybe it is the universe being happy for itself as always, but the feeling is accessible. 

I'm happy for you, you deserve it! On a relative basis you are probably a lot happier than I am given my lousy karma, which is as it should be.

I guess it will happen when it happens, and when it does, it will have been like that the whole time. 

The thought that liberation is something that will happen to you at some point in the future is the only thing that prevents it from being recognized RIGHT NOW. Liberation is not something which is going to happen to you in the future ok!
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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I think being happy for others enables a lot more happiness, simply because there is more to be happy about. I don't think happiness is something that either is or isn't deserved. It just doesn't work that way. I know lots of unhappy people with hearts of gold.

Actually, I think this may be key to what I need to not-do. I don't have to deserve awakening (like I have said to others before). Thanks!

Well, I guess whatever happens always happens in the now. 
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

Actually, I think this may be key to what I need to not-do. I don't have to deserve awakening (like I have said to others before). Thanks!

Well, I guess whatever happens always happens in the now. 

Beautifully put emoticon
T, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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The “grace” if you will (I think of it more as a bad joke) is simply the fact that liberation is already here and it’s only our looking for it which causes it to appear to be out of reach.

So if not-Linda simply says to her (not)self, "Alas, this seeking is such and such tomfoolery. I shan't pursue it another instant!" Thenceforth, not-Linda acknowledges that it's a farce and tells her(not)self that seeking is over. It's here. At that point, all meditation is discontinued. 

Is the flame doused in actual experience for not-Linda?


This is really the crux of the whole thing, for me. Totally giving up and saying fuck it sounds pretty easy, though it's likely not. My best guess tells me I'll identify pretty hard with self and burn, since that's what was happening before. There again - whatever false progress made has resulted in changes that would likely persist in some dimensions. 

Edit: agnostic - I'm not being contrary simply for grins and giggles. I do ponder our discussions quite a bit. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

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Exactly. The liberation that allegedly already is there isn't accessible for this subjective experience, which can't seem to be shaken off more than momentarily, and entirely only during cessations, which means that is isn't accessible anyway. Since reaching fourth doesn't automatically assimilate the former person into some Borg collective or make them vanish, apparently some kind of subjectivity still remains. There are differences in perspectives, albeit it with less attachment to it. The perspective available "over here" differs from others. I don't understand quite how that will change. Is it only the attachment that changes?
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Exactly. The liberation that allegedly already is there isn't accessible for this subjective experience, which can't seem to be shaken off more than momentarily, and entirely only during cessations, which means that is isn't accessible anyway. Since reaching fourth doesn't automatically assimilate the former person into some Borg collective or make them vanish, apparently some kind of subjectivity still remains. There are differences in perspectives, albeit it with less attachment to it. The perspective available "over here" differs from others. I don't understand quite how that will change. Is it only the attachment that changes?

You are right, liberation is not a subjective experience in my opinion, because it is the recognition that the subjective viewpoint is an illusion ("the subject does not really exist"). Cessations "pre-4th" seem to get construed as "glimpses of liberation" from within the subjective narrative which appears to restart post-cessation. It's frustrating because you can't live in cessation all the time until you are dead!

For me, the subjective viewpoint is more pervasively recognized as an illusion "post-4th". Subjectivity still appears to arise but it's no longer "sticky". For example, I might wake up feeling bad after an unpleasant dream and start thinking "oh, I feel bad, maybe I'm getting depressed again". Then immediately I am reminded "it's not me that is feeling bad, it's just a bad feeling that is arising from an unpleasant dream which was the result of some prior conditioning". That causes the bad feeling to pass pretty quickly and then I go and have breakfast. So yeah, I guess you could call it lack of attachment or clinging to subjectivity.

Liberation is always accessible so long as you are not looking for it or trying to experience it!
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Not two, not one, modified 1 Year ago.

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Hey Agnostic, sorry I've been out of circulation a bit.  Just wanted to acknowledge your recent comments and say 90% of them really resonate with me. Whether the other 10% matters, who knows. emoticon. Regardless, well done and enjoy. The last bit might just be semantics, or might occur of its own accord, or might not, or might not matter.  Not worth getting hung up over.

Happy for (not) you.

Malcolm
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

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Not two, not one:
Hey Agnostic, sorry I've been out of circulation a bit.  Just wanted to acknowledge your recent comments and say 90% of them really resonate with me. Whether the other 10% matters, who knows. emoticon. Regardless, well done and enjoy. The last bit might just be semantics, or might occur of its own accord, or might not, or might not matter.  Not worth getting hung up over.

Happy for (not) you.

Malcolm

Thanks Malcolm.

I've also been thinking about what might be missing and one thing stands out. This is a bit of a long post, but I would appreciate comments from anyone else who recognizes this territory ...

I’m still drawn towards “hard” jhana (full absorption in the nimitta followed by thought-less and volition-less absorption in the jhana for an extended period). I have never experienced that, but my conditioning (curiosity about unusual experiences) seems to pull me in that direction. I recognize that it is not “me” who will ever experience hard jhana, given that thought and volition are not present (or if it is me then it’s the knower rather than the doer, as Ajahn Brahm says). I’ve heard that access to the jhanas is supposed to improve post-3rd, although it’s also a function of conditions. In my case, concentration has improved but I am unable to go on retreats or meditate for more than a few hours at a time due to family and work commitments.

I have progressed through "soft jhanas" like the ones described by Leigh Brasington, but they didn't last long and there was still some thinking and volition. I decided that soft jhanas are really just playing with the arising jhana factors within preparatory concentration (parikamma samadhi) and that I was short-changing myself by accepting them as real jhana, so I should just keep practicing until the nimitta arises. Since then my samadhi practice has remained within preparatory concentration pre-nimitta.

A year ago, by chance, nodding off during meditation, I suddenly found myself falling into a very bright white nimitta. My mind was immersed in the whitest white you could imagine everywhere, there was no specific visual light source, it felt like “going to heaven". It was the most unusual experience of my life, but it was so shocking that I panicked and immediately bounced out. It was enough to convince me that the nimitta is real, however I have not been able to repeat the experience since then.

I get to the point where the mind starts to brighten up, but waves of strong and painful piti (originating from the 3rd eye) tend to throw me back. As I understand it, the painful piti blockages are a function of my particular conditioning (history of self-destructive behavior and poor karma due to mistreatment of others). The more I relax and ignore the piti by focusing back on the breath, the stronger and more painful the piti gets, until it dominates my awareness. Sometimes I become so fully absorbed in the piti that it starts to vanish … and then I get tired! There seems to be some progress, but it is slow (months) and I accept that it might not happen in my lifetime due to my conditioning.

I can’t find any jhana writers who really describe the strength of painful piti as I experience it. Brahm talks about the acceptance of pain in meditation, but he always refers to piti as pleasant. Brasington talks about headaches due to “stuck piti” and says that a few sweeps of attention should clear it, but that actually intensifies it for me. My guess is that the jhana teachers are generally calm people with good karma, which is why they find getting into jhana relatively easy. In the Visuddhimagga, Nanamoli translates piti as “happiness” but it is described as being “powerful enough to levitate the body and make it spring up into the air”, which comes closer to my experience. Relaxing and ignoring the piti (which only makes it stronger) feels like trying to land a light aircraft in a hurricane. Sometimes the piti subsides down into the body and I feel myself getting grounded and the body automatically assumes a more erect posture, then the piti surges back up through the body and it feels like I am strapped to a rocket taking me back to where I started.

I’m using the breath as meditation object. I experimented with watching the breath at different locations like the nose or abdomen, but what seems to work best for me is what Brahm recommends, which is to focus on the overall experience or “knowledge” of the breath. I find that works best because it is closer to the “center of the mind”, which is where the nimitta seems to want to arise. When it’s going well it’s almost like I’m focusing on “nothing” (i.e. ignoring all sensate signals) and just having a pure experience of the mind itself. Apart from the piti, the other main distraction is thoughts about the practice itself (internal dialogue about how it's going and what needs to be done, controller mind). Sometimes I try a bit of metta practice which makes the experience more pleasant, although the piti is still strong.

What has changed though is my attitude towards the jhanas. I used to think that I wouldn’t “reach 4th” until I had attained jhana, so I was grasping after them. Now that I realize 4th to be the lack of a personal viewpoint and attainments, my attitude is more “nice if it comes, ok if it doesn’t and deepening samadhi is still beneficial”. I see how jhana is a process of letting go, so wanting jhana is counter-productive. What happens when I let go though is that I feel myself being pulled towards jhana, but the letting go releases my conditioning in the form of the strong piti which knocks me back. It feels like I'm a bit stuck, although I accept this is just the way things are and am curious to see how it plays out (or doesn't). Maybe it's just a lesson in patience and acceptance of pain that I need to learn.

I am not sure whether this “curiosity” about the jhanas counts as “attachment” (fetters 6-7, pre-4th). It doesn't really matter, and I already received some excellent jhana advice from Nicky which pretty much tells me what needs to happen, so I'm wondering now why I even wrote this post! I'll leave it as a practice marker and in case anyone has a different perspective or any tips ...

Thanks,
agnostic
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Agnostic, this is my experience. Yours may differ:

I find the most accessible way to enter jhana is through a physical sensation of piti (pleasantness). The most obvious physical sensation for me is the butt, the hind end, the place where my ass meets the floor or the chair. That physical sensation can be focused on and seems to automatically grow, first slowly, then like a freaking rocket, into full-blown ecstatic jhanas.

So question is - have you ever tried to focus on a physical sensation? If not, you might want to give it a whirl.
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

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Also, when accessing jhana it is commonplace to deal with fear. This is normal. I don't know if this is an issue but what you describe sounds like some form of aversion. The only way through that kind of thing that I found was just to keep going, even slowly if necessary until the mind gets used to the phenomena being induced. Besides resisting things for various reasons the mind is quite malleable and it quickly acclimates to new phenomena.

Just some more random thoughts.
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Hi Chris,

Thanks for your feedback and suggestions.

Focusing on pleasant physical sensations is how I started out a year ago following Leigh Brasington. I would focus on a pleasant sensation (tingle) somewhere in the abdomen and before long it would grow and spread into full-blown physical euphoria/ecstasy. Afterwards I would be walking around tripping out and in love with everything and everybody.

It was then that the really painful headaches started and I had to step back and do more research, which is when I discovered the distinction between hard and soft jhana. I realized that this was probably soft jhana and I was just amping up the piti factor. The state was too excited to allow a nimitta or stable absorption. It seemed to be tainted by the hindrances like sensual desire (I was addicted to it) and restlessness (it was not stable). I started to doubt that this was the way into hard jhana …

That’s when I started to ignore the physical sensations, which paradoxically causes them to accentuate now. There’s still euphoria mixed in with the pain, but it’s clear to me that the high energy is preventing the nimitta from arising. Maybe I should try your suggestion of focusing on pleasant sensations lower down at least to divert attention from the head.

Re. fear/aversion, yes it seems to be an issue. There’s aversion to the pain, which I’m trying to accept more. When I sit in the evening and the intensity keeps building, I find myself gauging how far I dare to let it run and still be able to sleep afterwards, although usually I get tired and sleep. Sometimes I feel like I might black out from the intensity of the head rush, although I don’t really think there’s a physical risk and I did have a brain scan to make sure there’s nothing wrong. I haven’t had good practice conditions in the day recently to allow for really letting it rip Maha Bua style.

There’s definitely a process of acclimatizing to the increased levels of intensity, after which it always seems to ramp up yet another notch. I find myself wondering how much more powerful it can get. There’s also the fear of annihilation (which shouldn’t be a problem right now I’ve grokked anatta lol). That’s what bounced me out of the first nimitta, I feared that I wouldn’t come back. I think letting go of that fear has helped, it will be interesting to see if I can let myself fall in to the nimitta if it occurs again.

Thanks
aggie
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

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There’s also the fear of annihilation (which shouldn’t be a problem right now I’ve grokked anatta lol). That’s what bounced me out of the first nimitta, I feared that I wouldn’t come back. I think letting go of that fear has helped, it will be interesting to see if I can let myself fall in to the nimitta if it occurs again.

To state the obvious, fear never goes away. It can be seen through, and that's what happens as your mind acclimatizes to it. You can do this. It took me a long time, too.


agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Thank you Chris. Focusing lower down seems to be working, drawing piti away from the head and tapping into a more grounded sukha feeling. It seems to be a shift from pc.j2 to pc.j3 (where pc = preparatory concentration). I realize that I must have turned the piti knob up to 10 a few months ago and forgotten how to turn it down. Thanks for reminding me!
agnostic
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
agnostic:


I find it hard to imagine that further insights are possible after realizing that all insights are predicated on the existence of a cognizer who does not really exist. But maybe as Linda says that just speaks to the limits of my imagination :-)



I’m not saying that it does. I couldn’t possibly know. I’m just suggesting that it might be a good idea to give it some time, just in case some further insight remains. But this is beyond where I am at, so that’s just based on what I have heard from others, not on my own experience.

No worries, I wasn’t accusing you of bringing up the limits of my imagination, I was acknowledging that I had read your post and you made a good point! And remember, no one is beyond where you are at. What you hear from others is fine, but your own experience is all that you will ever have access to. And yeah, there's plenty of time probably for me to be proved spectacularly wrong!
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

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I find it hard to imagine that further insights are possible after realizing that all insights are predicated on the existence of a cognizer who does not really exist. But maybe as Linda says that just speaks to the limits of my imagination :-)

So you're the first yogi to achieve omniscience! You're The One.  emoticon

agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Chris Marti:
I find it hard to imagine that further insights are possible after realizing that all insights are predicated on the existence of a cognizer who does not really exist. But maybe as Linda says that just speaks to the limits of my imagination :-)

So you're the first yogi to achieve omniscience! You're The One.  emoticon


Busted! Ok so about that cult, what's the best way to get started?
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

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Blue pills, at dawn!
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

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agnostic:
Chris Marti:
I find it hard to imagine that further insights are possible after realizing that all insights are predicated on the existence of a cognizer who does not really exist. But maybe as Linda says that just speaks to the limits of my imagination :-)

So you're the first yogi to achieve omniscience! You're The One.  emoticon


Busted! Ok so about that cult, what's the best way to get started?

Say no more, my friend, I'm here for you. For a mere 15% of the ultimate gross, i can have us both rolling in the lucre within months, with my special I Am God, Or God-like, or In That Ballpark form-your-own cult package, for a nominal starter fee. ROGER IS THE ONE. I've already got the T-Shirts printing the first run. Is that "Roger" with a capital letter, or lower case, like agnostic?
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

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Tim Farrington:

Is that "Roger" with a capital letter, or lower case, like agnostic?

It's Roger as in Roger the Dodger.
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Roger Dodger, you old codger. (there's a joke behind that, but i refuse to tell it. This is a practice log, for fuck's sake.
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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Chris Marti:
I find it hard to imagine that further insights are possible after realizing that all insights are predicated on the existence of a cognizer who does not really exist. But maybe as Linda says that just speaks to the limits of my imagination :-)

So you're the first yogi to achieve omniscience! You're The One.  emoticon


I'd like to buy some of the IPO shares on The One, please. My buy order is on record. This guy IS IT. Sorry to talk about like like you're not here, agnostic.

oh, that's right. You're not. No harm, no foul.
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

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There still seems to be some kind of cycling or progression going on “post 4th” (conventionally speaking, I don't believe anyone actually reaches 4th since realizing that the seeker and the search are illusions that were never really happening anyway).

Can you describe the cycling you refer to here? How do things go now when you sit and meditate?
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

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Chris Marti:
There still seems to be some kind of cycling or progression going on “post 4th” (conventionally speaking, I don't believe anyone actually reaches 4th since realizing that the seeker and the search are illusions that were never really happening anyway).

Can you describe the cycling you refer to here? How do things go now when you sit and meditate?

Hi Chris, sure!

The third eye activity makes it hard to concentrate on the breath when I meditate. It feels like one of those plasma balls, with fluctuating waves of energy radiating out across the face, over the head and down the body. It feels like there is a ball of contracted energy in my head which needs to be birthed down through the chest and into the belly. It’s quite intense, I find myself panting as if I’m actually giving birth, but it’s not moving anywhere much. Some sits it keeps increasing in intensity and if I overdo it at night then I often wake up after an hour or two feeling completely depersonalized (lost, not knowing who or where I am) which causes anxiety until I relax or ground myself. Other sits it’s not so strong and it mostly dissipates and then I’m in equanimity. If I spend long enough in equanimity then I can start to feel anxious or depersonalized as well sometimes, especially at night. Broadly speaking the meditation style is samatha, although occasionally I find myself slipping into vipassana for a bit. I used to do vipassana more when I was “looking for fruitions”, but now that’s lost its grip on me and calmness seems to be the objective (even if it’s not always happening). Overall I feel much less need to meditate because the desire to “reach the end of the path” has gone. I’ll still meditate 1-2 hours per day but I’m not obsessed with it like I used to be.

Off-the-cushion experience has a broader but less intensely depersonalized quality to it. This is new since 3 weeks ago and is more pleasant and makes whatever I’m doing less irksome than it used to be. The morning after a nighttime depersonalization is especially pleasant. Generally experience has lost the sense of “happening-to-me-ness”, which makes it less stressful even when it’s unpleasant. I’m finding it increasingly hard to recall the sense of “what it was like to be me”, which is a bit weird but not unpleasant. It feels like I woke up from a vaguely unpleasant 40 year dream which started when I was 5, although there’s no one who has actually woken up (sounds plagiarized, but that’s really the way it is). My family relationships and responsibilities seem to be taking care of themselves fine, although that's subject to verification as I come out of quarantine. I wouldn’t say experience is “better” than before because that would imply that the dream of me was real and there is an element of choice to it, whereas it has much more of a final recognition feeling, like “oh this really is the way it is and always was, even when it felt like it was not, just like the corny books say”.

The energetic process has been going on for a year now in waves with steadily increasing intensity. I used to think that I wouldn’t be “done” until the energy was more freely flowing and I was always looking for “the big wave” which would take me over the edge, but I’ve lost that perspective as well now. I just think of it as an energetic embodiment of past and current actions/thoughts which will probably continue to some extent for the rest of my life. I would be surprised it doesn’t attenuate at some point, but who knows.

In terms of cycling, I was referring to my behavior pattern on DhO over the last few days. I started in equanimity and then got involved in some robust exchanges where I behaved like a bit of an ass and now that seems to be fading. I think that’s why I posted, it felt like an explanation was appropriate. The last 3 weeks on DhO have been quite surreal, starting with my participation in Malcom’s Advaita and Buddhism thread. I think I knew I was getting into something there, like here was my chance to present a nondual perspective which had been crystallizing in me for months, but I underestimated how powerful and transformative (tantric?) it would be. I feel like it developed without much personal choice on my part, my responses seemed to be becoming increasingly robust “by themselves”. I was aware of this as it was happening though, so it doesn't feel like I was bypassing. This never happened to me before, it felt like I was “channeling something”, to use another corny phrase. I know from some people’s perspectives it looked forced, but it didn’t feel forced for me the way my “latest next big thing” has in the past when I espouse it. It felt like the responses weren’t coming from me personally but they were somehow recognized, if that makes any sense at all.

I feel that my behavior on DhO has become more natural, for better or worse, like I don’t need to pretend to be a certain way or script my experiences to some expected pattern. Not that there was a lot of that going on before, but the spectre of one's role models does play a part. I know I’ve probably upset a few people - I apologize for that. Please don’t be afraid to let me know if I upset you (in public or via message) and I will soften it as necessary. I really respect this sangha, if I haven’t always acted that way, and I think it’s incredible that there’s a group of people like you who are willing to support and accommodate each other’s deep shifts and craziness!

Sorry this has been a long reply to a short question, but I wanted to give as complete a picture as I can.

Thanks
agnostic

EDIT: That please let me know if I upset you is addressed to everyone reading, not just Chris.
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

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Hi, Agnostic. I suggest you wait for a good while before assuming anything major happened. Maybe a few months? 
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

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Chris Marti:
Hi, Agnostic. I suggest you wait for a good while before assuming anything major happened. Maybe a few months? 

Sure, no problem!

Re-reading my post, it looks like I'm making a big deal about something that happened, but that's not it. The fundamental realization is that nothing personal is happening or has ever happened (despite appearances to the contrary). There’s no one really here for anything to happen to, life is just happening to itself (as it always has, incredibly).

Don’t worry, I’m not planning to start a cult or become a spiritual teacher or leave my wife and kids!

Cheers
agnostic
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

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I’m not planning to start a cult or become a spiritual teacher or leave my wife and kids!

Well, that happens much later.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

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You do know that stream entry would qualifiy as rapid development, right? You haven't even had time to let that possible attainment settle and reality check. I found that stream entry was quite a big deal. It changed a lot of things. 
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
You do know that stream entry would qualifiy as rapid development, right? You haven't even had time to let that possible attainment settle and reality check. I found that stream entry was quite a big deal. It changed a lot of things. 

Yeah stream entry felt like a big deal and brought some changes. This doesn't change anything.
T, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

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agnostic:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
You do know that stream entry would qualifiy as rapid development, right? You haven't even had time to let that possible attainment settle and reality check. I found that stream entry was quite a big deal. It changed a lot of things. 

Yeah stream entry felt like a big deal and brought some changes. This doesn't change anything.

I like this - doesn't change anything. 

As I was reading through (and I appreciate the length and depth, ifyaknowwhatimean) I was struck by parts of if resonating with me quite a lot. Laughing like hell as I realized I wasn't anyone to the world and trying to explain it to my therapist, whom I promptly no longer needed. I don't think of anything having changed from that moment - in fact it was the most obvious and clear thing to be seen and I felt like a total tool for missing it. 

BUT

Here is where I get bound up, and I'd be glad to hear your take. 

It's clear that I'm nobody in the world. I never was, though it was certainly perceived that way. So meditating has, in fact, made that obvious to me. Sort of undone the conditioning that made it appear so. Does that make sense?

So it seems to me, from a seeker perspective, that it's very possible there are more obvious things like that, and to see them I should continue sitting. However, I recognize the statements that there's no doer, so nothing is being undone as having validity in their way. YET - I didn't see the obvious thing I already know BEFORE sitting. 

Certainly a conundrum. I don't want to get stuck in seeker mode and just roil for years in waves, yet I also see how that can keep one from actually seeing. 

I don't know that there's a question here - but you get what I'm asking your perspective on?

Thanks!
T.
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

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Hi T!

Laughing like hell as I realized I wasn't anyone to the world and trying to explain it to my therapist, whom I promptly no longer needed.

You should continue your therapeutic process to a satisfactory outcome.

{EDIT}

it was the most obvious and clear thing to be seen and I felt like a total tool for missing it. 

This seems to be a common reaction.

{/EDIT}

It's clear that I'm nobody in the world. I never was, though it was certainly perceived that way. So meditating has, in fact, made that obvious to me. Sort of undone the conditioning that made it appear so. Does that make sense?

Yes, meditation can reveal that there is no self apart from the 5 clinging aggregates (khandhas).

So it seems to me, from a seeker perspective, that it's very possible there are more obvious things like that, and to see them I should continue sitting. 

Yes that’s how the seeker perspective operates, it will always believe that there is something more to see and it should continue looking for it. So long as the seeker is believed to be real then seeking will also be believed to be real and necessary. But in reality the seeker perspective is not real, because there is no vantage point outside of experience from which a seeker could possibly operate. The insight that the seeker/individual is not real is the final insight in my opinion, because beyond that there is no entity which even could be having insights.

However, I recognize the statements that there's no doer, so nothing is being undone as having validity in their way.

These statements are valid but there is no you who recognizes them.

YET - I didn't see the obvious thing I already know BEFORE sitting. 

It appears that the insight arose as a result of sitting, but that is just how the apparent seeker explains it to itself “afterwards”. In reality there is no seeker/individual hence there is also no causation or time (which are just mental constructs of the individual).

Certainly a conundrum. I don't want to get stuck in seeker mode and just roil for years in waves, yet I also see how that can keep one from actually seeing. 

Yes it is a conundrum - this is the existential dilemma of the seeker who wants to solve the problem caused by its own apparent existence. The seeker will always appear to be stuck in seeker mode, preventing one from “actually seeing”. But in reality there is nothing actually to be seen. Conventionally speaking, let’s say that "reality manifests itself for a moment". This is both wonderful and shocking. Wonderful because it means that suffering and seeking are not real; shocking because it means that the seeker/individual is not real. What tends to happen is that the individual reasserts its illusory form of control by telling itself that something has been seen and needs to be seen again by looking for it. This is just the dream of seeking rebooting. After a while it becomes old hat.

I don't know that there's a question here - but you get what I'm asking your perspective on?

In reality there are no questions or perspectives, but we can keep playing this game until questions and perspectives run out :-)

cheers
agnostic
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

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Yes that’s how the seeker perspective operates, it will always believe that there is something more to see and it should continue looking for it. So long as the seeker is believed to be real then seeking will also be believed to be real and necessary. But in reality the seeker perspective is not real, because there is no vantage point outside of experience from which a seeker could possibly operate. The insight that the seeker/individual  is not real is the final insight in my opinion, because beyond that there is no entity which even could be having insights.

I'm sorry but I have to weigh in here: this "real" and "not real" language doesn't describe the actuality of the human situation adequately. It's all real and it's all happening. To assert otherwise is incorrect. This can lead to a simplified, nihilistic view. The view of the actual situation us human beings find ourselves in is more nuanced, complex and beautiful. It is not binary. It isn't anything at all, but what IS.
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

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It's easy to get confused by these things - until it's just obvious. If it's not obvious, then there's more to do.
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

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Chris Marti:
Yes that’s how the seeker perspective operates, it will always believe that there is something more to see and it should continue looking for it. So long as the seeker is believed to be real then seeking will also be believed to be real and necessary. But in reality the seeker perspective is not real, because there is no vantage point outside of experience from which a seeker could possibly operate. The insight that the seeker/individual  is not real is the final insight in my opinion, because beyond that there is no entity which even could be having insights.

I'm sorry but I have to weigh in here: this "real" and "not real" language doesn't describe the actuality of the human situation adequately. It's all real and it's all happening. To assert otherwise is incorrect. This can lead to a simplified, nihilistic view. The view of the actual situation us human beings find ourselves in is more nuanced, complex and beautiful. It is not binary. It isn't anything at all, but what IS.

I agree that the human situation appears to be nuanced, complex and beautiful.

I think it’s a matter of presentation here. You can start by saying that the individual doesn’t really exist, which sounds nihilistic, but does actually lead to everything being beautiful because there’s no perspective from which any one thing could be less beautiful than another. Or you can start by saying that everything is beautiful, which sounds wonderful, but tends to solidify the individual in its expectations about what enlightenment will be like for it personally, which never happens and is a source of suffering.

Going around saying “nothing is real” or “you don’t exist” is irresponsible and leads to all sorts of bad situations as we know. I hope that no one thinks this is what I’m trying to do here. I’m trying to show how meditation and logic point in that direction, but it’s up to each (apparent) individual to make their own decisions and no one should take anyone’s word for anything (unless it’s the cops or the taxman).
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

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I think it’s a matter of presentation here. You can start by saying that the individual doesn’t really exist, which sounds nihilistic, but does actually lead to everything being beautiful because there’s no perspective from which any one thing could be less beautiful than another. Or you can start by saying that everything is beautiful, which sounds wonderful, but tends to solidify the individual in its expectations about what enlightenment will be like for it personally, which never happens and is a source of suffering.

It's not just a matter of presentation. Your perceptions, your experience, are what they are. To say, "This particular one's not real" isn't accurate. The ability to see beauty, or ugliness, or anything that uses judgment, is not going to disappear.


agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

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Chris Marti:
I think it’s a matter of presentation here. You can start by saying that the individual doesn’t really exist, which sounds nihilistic, but does actually lead to everything being beautiful because there’s no perspective from which any one thing could be less beautiful than another. Or you can start by saying that everything is beautiful, which sounds wonderful, but tends to solidify the individual in its expectations about what enlightenment will be like for it personally, which never happens and is a source of suffering.

It's not just a matter of presentation. Your perceptions, your experience, are what they are. To say, "This particular one's not real" isn't accurate. The ability to see beauty, or ugliness, or anything that uses judgment, is not going to disappear.



Yes seeing still happens even when it's recognized that there is no one seeing. It's like the Bahiya Sutta - "In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen". Judgements still occur even when it's recognized that there is no one making those judgements ("In reference to the cognized, only the cognized"). Even the thought of "me" can still arise without there being anyone to have that thought.
T, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 279 Join Date: 1/15/19 Recent Posts
You should continue your therapeutic process to a satisfactory outcome.

Oh, I did! That's just it. There was no satisfactory outcome... well.. that's not true. Let me come at this differently. 

All the things "ruining" my life and making it complicated and a mess were based entirely on a foundation of... kind of me carrying the world, and the world giving a damn about what was happening to me (specifically). However, I had an illustrative series of mind moments while sitting quietly by myself, early one morning, watching the breath tickle my nostrils.. in which it became abundantly clear the absurdity of that very notion. At which time, I was startled into regular alertness by the dramatic reveal of.... the painfully obvious. The issues I was seeking guidance on became immediately irrelevant. I was creating that entire drama myself and it was, at once, entirely undone. I felt the need to at least share it with "my guy" for a couple of reasons 1.) I really like him. He's a good guy. 2.) He's a long time meditation practitioner of the pragmatic bent. 3.) I wanted to see if he'd be willing to continue corresponding about meditation techniques, at least. 

As for the rest of it! I thought I might at least get a curveball out of you! ;) 
EDIT: I don't think what you're saying is nihilistic and I'm not taking it that way. I see your comments and am reading your reply with a small grain of salt (not just because it's you). 

I think where your specific comments about seeker/no seeker make more sense to me is where one tries to prove a negative. So, from this angle, it appears that meditating and learning about the dharma brought the obvious to bear. You're saying that's an illusion - and I'm open to the fact you could be 100% correct.

However, I think what you're possibly saying is that if I hadn't started meditating at all, at the precise same moment, though in a different manner, the obvious thing could have become obvious, regardless.

The facts of the situation are such that it isn't what happened in the case of this unfolding (per storyline), and so it appears as if seeking brought some goods. Therefore, other people seeing the seeker with "success" may equate that with a path taken and begin seeking. 

However, that in itself creates a goal-oriented mentality which makes the obvious harder to find simply because there's no seeking required.


Or is there?

agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 1873 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
T:

All the things "ruining" my life and making it complicated and a mess were based entirely on a foundation of... kind of me carrying the world, and the world giving a damn about what was happening to me (specifically). However, I had an illustrative series of mind moments while sitting quietly by myself, early one morning, watching the breath tickle my nostrils.. in which it became abundantly clear the absurdity of that very notion. At which time, I was startled into regular alertness by the dramatic reveal of.... the painfully obvious. The issues I was seeking guidance on became immediately irrelevant. I was creating that entire drama myself and it was, at once, entirely undone.

This sounds like a fairly typical insight.

I felt the need to at least share it with "my guy" for a couple of reasons 1.) I really like him. He's a good guy. 2.) He's a long time meditation practitioner of the pragmatic bent. 3.) I wanted to see if he'd be willing to continue corresponding about meditation techniques, at least. 

This is the seeker reappearing to confirm that something "really did just happen" from its apparent perspective within the narrative of seeking. The desire for confirmation is common, but it's never going to happen. There is nothing to confirm because everything is just as it already is (including the narrative of seeking).

 I see your comments and am reading your reply with a small grain of salt (not just because it's you). 

This is very healthy (even if too much salt is bad for you).

I think where your specific comments about seeker/no seeker make more sense to me is where one tries to prove a negative. So, from this angle, it appears that meditating and learning about the dharma brought the obvious to bear. You're saying that's an illusion - and I'm open to the fact you could be 100% correct. However, I think what you're possibly saying is that if I hadn't started meditating at all, perhaps at the precise same moment though through a different manner, the obvious thing could have become such, regardless. The facts of the situation are such that it isn't what happened in the case of this unfolding (per storyline), and so it appears as if seeking brought some goods. Therefore, other people seeing the seeker with "success" may equate that with a path taken and being seeking.

Yes, in the continuing narrative of seeking it appears that something special happened as a result of seeking. In reality seeking is just what appeared to be happening, but you didn't have any choice in the matter (even if it felt like you did). Seeking is a very common problem which appears to start sometime in childhood when a sense of individual separation from the world develops. Seekers tend to make a lot of noise and follow paths, so that it looks like progress is happening, but in reality seeking is itself the problem. In reality (unconditioned/nibbana) nothing is happening and no one is getting anywhere. When the seeker is gone then the problem is gone and there is no more sense of separation. Even that is not accurate though, because the seeker and the sense of separation are only apparent, it can be seen that they never really were happening (but saying this annoys some people and appears to be uncompassionate, even if it really is the end of suffering).

However, that in itself creates a goal-oriented mentality which makes the obvious harder to find simply because there's no seeking required.

Exactly, the obvious appears to be hard to find because it doesn't require any seeking, whereas seeking is what the seeker has to do in order to appear to survive. The problem with the obvious is that it is too EASY to find - it is everything that already is (including the idea that it is hard to find). The obvious is uninteresting and commonplace, whereas the seeker wants to find something interesting and special, which creates the tension inherent in seeking.
T, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 279 Join Date: 1/15/19 Recent Posts
Awesome! Thank you! I have an additional question about the following:
Exactly, the obvious appears to be hard to find because it doesn't require any seeking, whereas seeking is what the seeker has to do in order to appear to survive. The problem with the obvious is that it is too EASY to find - it is everything that already is (including the idea that it is hard to find). The obvious is uninteresting and commonplace, whereas the seeker wants to find something interesting and special, which creates the tension inherent in seeking.

The obvious is most definitely uninteresting and commonplace, but shattered my previous conception of the obvious and commonplace, releasing a relative barge-load of suffering that was created from not plainly seeing the obvious. Of course, one assumes that the perceived separation beginning while very young (as you noted) makes it harder and harder as time passes to see it clearly. Therefore, it appears lost, which drives all sorts of odd behaviors and actions (sex addictions, drug use, types of violence),  that bring various people back to ways of learning to cope more skillfully (meditation, therapy)

Does this comport?

If so, I'm not sure how I'd have come back in touch with the obvious and commonplace without being on death's door or actually dying (from the perspective of this "fathom long corpse). This of course assumes that dying is actually a thing, which as far as I am currently aware - it is. This body deteriorates and disappears, which we conventionally know as dying - and equates a very real existential fear in most. It's a series of wormholes, I guess. All this is, is. If seeking weren't going to happen and wasn't necessary - it wouldn't have. 
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 1873 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
T:

The obvious is most definitely uninteresting and commonplace, but shattered my previous conception of the obvious and commonplace, releasing a relative barge-load of suffering that was created from not plainly seeing the obvious.

This has been my experience as well. It is tempting to start by telling people that the commonplace is amazing, which is often what they want to hear. But when I used to hear that I would immediately start looking at the commonplace and trying to have the experience of just how amazing it was, which works for a bit but fades because the seeker was still intact and would never be satisfied with anything for long. For some people, telling them that the commonplace is amazing upsets them because they are suffering and quite understandably resent being told that their suffering is amazing. Starting with the non-existence of the seeker can be unpleasant at first but it “does the job”. It’s the medicine you don’t want to take. This is just pedagogy though, since in reality no one is starting with anything. But yes, the commonplace is amazing (including the thought that it might not be amazing) and realizing this does tend to shatter one’s assumptions about the world and what's special.

Of course, one assumes that the perceived separation beginning while very young (as you noted) makes it harder and harder as time passes to see it clearly. 

I’m not sure about this. Some people appear to give up seeking quite young whereas others seem to be wired to have careers and/or families first. As time passes the sense of separation can grow, but then so does the sense of dissatisfaction (which may eventually appear to lead to the abandonment of seeking).

Therefore, it appears lost, which drives all sorts of odd behaviors and actions (sex addictions, drug use, types of violence),  that bring various people back to ways of learning to cope more skillfully (meditation, therapy)

Agreed, with the feeling of separation comes the idea that something has been lost and needs to be found again. Pursuit of sex, drugs, violence, money and even love are all forms of seeking, looking to fill the hole created by what has supposedly been lost. Eventually these objects of seeking may be seen to be unsatisfactory, then the seeker may move on to religion, therapy, spiritual practice, meditation etc. These look like the “real deal” at first and create a new wave of expectation about filling the hole. Eventually it may be seen that even these more skillful practices are just extensions of the previous pattern of seeking. Occasionally it may be seen that the sense of separation is an illusion, so the seeking is for something which was never even lost in the first place. I pissed myself laughing at this point, upon realizing the absurdity of all this seeking which had meant so much to me and defined the trajectory of my supposed life.

If so, I'm not sure how I'd have come back in touch with the obvious and commonplace without being on death's door or actually dying (from the perspective of this "fathom long corpse). This of course assumes that dying is actually a thing, which as far as I am currently aware - it is. This body deteriorates and disappears, which we conventionally know as dying - and equates a very real existential fear in most.

The body deteriorates and dies but the assumed individual does not really exist and so cannot die. This is why nibbana is sometimes translated as the “deathless”.

It's a series of wormholes, I guess. All this is, is. If seeking weren't going to happen and wasn't necessary - it wouldn't have.

{EDITED 4/21 FOR MORE CLARITY}

Necessary? Hmm. The seeking arises from the sense of separation, which seems to be due to the process of social individuation necessary for groups of more complex animals to survive. But evolution doesn’t necessarily lead in the direction of increasing complexity (orthogenesis). I wrote a bit about this here. Complexity is just a chance adaption to a particular ecological niche (e.g. changing climate and food sources) and it's not even clear that it enhances evolutionary fitness overall. Yes complexity leads to larger and apparently more successful social groups, but it also leads to mental illness, global warming and nuclear weapons. Complexity/seeking might just be what's known as a "spandrel" - a chance evolutionary byproduct which is neither particularly advantageous nor harmful for the species as a whole (despite the fact that it feels so important to us as individuals).

If life itself even necessary? According to the second law of thermodynamics (which is the best large scale theory we have about the evolution of the universe), life is merely a local decrease in entropy which is statistically favorable on habitable planets because it creates more entropy than it consumes (“your body heat is more disordered than your food”). But the negative entropy (sunlight) required for the evolution of life on earth is statistically insignificant compared with the totally entropy throughput of the planet itself. So from a large-scale scientific perspective, life is completely insignificant and doesn't seem particularly necessary. Of course it certainly feels special to us to be alive and conscious, but this is just the illusion of being an individual and that’s also what appears to cause suffering. It sounds a bit cold, but the Buddha never said that the end of suffering was all about warm fuzzy feelings. It's absurd, but thankfully we can laugh about it while we are here and, after all, laughter is very healthy! emoticon
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 5735 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
agnostic:

It is tempting to start by telling people that the commonplace is amazing, which is often what they want to hear. But when I used to hear that I would immediately start looking at the commonplace and trying to have the experience of just how amazing it was, which works for a bit but fades because the seeker was still intact and would never be satisfied with anything for long. For some people, telling them that the commonplace is amazing upsets them because they are suffering and quite understandably resent being told that their suffering is amazing. Starting with the non-existence of the seeker can be unpleasant at first but it “does the job”. It’s the medicine you don’t want to take. This is just pedagogy though, since in reality no one is starting with anything. But yes, the commonplace is amazing (including the thought that it might not be amazing) and realizing this does tend to shatter one’s assumptions about the world and what's special.

This is a really good point (or cluster of points). 
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts

Wanker:
According to the second law of thermodynamics (which is the best large scale theory we have about the evolution of the universe), life itself is merely a local decrease in entropy which is statistically favorable on habitable planets because it creates more entropy than it consumes (“your body heat is more disordered than your food”). But the negative entropy (sunlight) required for the evolution of life on earth is

statistically insignificant

compared with the totally entropy throughput of the planet itself. So from a large-scale scientific perspective, life is completely insignificant. Of course it certainly feels special to us to be alive and conscious, but this is just the illusion of being an individual and that’s also what appears to cause suffering. It sounds a bit cold, but the Buddha never said that the end of suffering was all about warm fuzzy feelings. It's absurd, but thankfully we can laugh about it while we are here and, after all, laughter is very healthy! 

emoticon



i am starting here almost at random, you sweetheart, you endless fount of controversy, you well of interest and fascination, you [absolutely shocking epithet deleted, per DhO forum rules]. This heartless mindless meaningless materialism thing is just one faith among every other cosmic myth that humans espouse. I am going to take your ass to the cleaners on this one, I promise. Soon, I mean. Watch your back, mate, I'm coming for you.

love, tim
T, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 279 Join Date: 1/15/19 Recent Posts
 So from a large-scale scientific perspective, life is completely insignificant. Of course it certainly feels special to us to be alive and conscious, but this is just the illusion of being an individual and that’s also what appears to cause suffering. It sounds a bit cold, but the Buddha never said that the end of suffering was all about warm fuzzy feelings. It's absurd, but thankfully we can laugh about it while we are here and, after all, laughter is very healthy! emoticon

Alright. I think I'm tracking what you're saying better now. At least for me, it doesn't sound cold. Perhaps, rather, reality is cold in the way nature is cold. I've said before I live in a rural state and spend a lot of time in nature. Growing up, I had a lot of brushes with the reality of unforgiving wilderness.

People cry and get angry when, say... a fox nabs a chicken from the local coop and noshes it up. Well - the fox is hungry. That's just the way it is - whether it's unfair to the chicken is completely irrelevant and not the least bit considered in the grand scheme.

Suffice it to say, I understand what you mean by "cold" and why some people would freak out at that. Fortunately, nature/reality, as an unforgiving brute, is overcome in many ways by this ridiculous brain power humans seem to possess. Unfortunately, it also screws with one's understanding of reality/nature. 
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 1873 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
T:
 So from a large-scale scientific perspective, life is completely insignificant. Of course it certainly feels special to us to be alive and conscious, but this is just the illusion of being an individual and that’s also what appears to cause suffering. It sounds a bit cold, but the Buddha never said that the end of suffering was all about warm fuzzy feelings. It's absurd, but thankfully we can laugh about it while we are here and, after all, laughter is very healthy! emoticon

Alright. I think I'm tracking what you're saying better now. At least for me, it doesn't sound cold. Perhaps, rather, reality is cold in the way nature is cold. I've said before I live in a rural state and spend a lot of time in nature. Growing up, I had a lot of brushes with the reality of unforgiving wilderness.

People cry and get angry when, say... a fox nabs a chicken from the local coop and noshes it up. Well - the fox is hungry. That's just the way it is - whether it's unfair to the chicken is completely irrelevant and not the least bit considered in the grand scheme.

Suffice it to say, I understand what you mean by "cold" and why some people would freak out at that. Fortunately, nature/reality, as an unforgiving brute, is overcome in many ways by this ridiculous brain power humans seem to possess. Unfortunately, it also screws with one's understanding of reality/nature. 

I think the Buddha was as a radical empiricist who was really interested (by the standards of his day) in how the world and the humans in it worked. If he had been alive today I’m sure he would have educated himself in the rudiments of evolutionary biology, cosmology, physics etc.

I think you’re right about nature, I grew up on a farm myself. There’s a reason why the Thai forest monks left the monasteries and went to live in raw nature. There's no life without disease and death.

I often see “cold” as a defensive reaction coming from people who think that scientists are arrogant in claiming to have all the answers, when clearly they don’t have nearly the same understanding of how to relieve suffering as more spiritual types. But you don’t need a PhD in physics these days to get an understanding of the basics of science. You can spend a weekend on YouTube and get access to better more accessible explanations than were available to all but a handful of the most elite scientists 50 years ago.

Also, I edited my post above about evolution and entropy to make it a bit clearer.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 5735 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
agnostic:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
You do know that stream entry would qualifiy as rapid development, right? You haven't even had time to let that possible attainment settle and reality check. I found that stream entry was quite a big deal. It changed a lot of things. 

Yeah stream entry felt like a big deal and brought some changes. This doesn't change anything.

What changes? I think I missed that somehow. 

If it doesn't change anything, what makes you think this is it?
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 1873 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
agnostic:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
You do know that stream entry would qualifiy as rapid development, right? You haven't even had time to let that possible attainment settle and reality check. I found that stream entry was quite a big deal. It changed a lot of things. 

Yeah stream entry felt like a big deal and brought some changes. This doesn't change anything.

What changes? I think I missed that somehow. 

If it doesn't change anything, what makes you think this is it?

Sorry Linda, I missed your questions.

After stream entry I made a conscious decision to behave more ethically and I also made some healthy changes around work/family.

This is "it" precisely because it doesn't change anything! The idea that there is a big IT which is going to change something is the dream of enlightenment which keeps the seeker on the path, in my opinion.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 5735 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
agnostic:


After stream entry I made a conscious decision to behave more ethically and I also made some healthy changes around work/family.

This is "it" precisely because it doesn't change anything! The idea that there is a big IT which is going to change something is the dream of enlightenment which keeps the seeker on the path, in my opinion.



Those are great changes, and I think they show here on the forum as well. I was referring to other kinds of changes, though, having to do with sense of self, suffering, hooks in stuff, and perceptual changes, as well as sudden changes in access to jhanas and energetically.

It is possible that it’s just a limitation of language, but how does that differ from anything else?
T, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Agnostic's Log 2

Posts: 279 Join Date: 1/15/19 Recent Posts
Hiiiii Lindaaaaaaa, 

I've heard you mention your experience with this - is it in one of your logs? Mind directing me?

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