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Fear of annihilation in the later stages

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For background and without making any particular claims, my typical waking experience is one of:

- Centerlessness: stuff happens where it is; body and thoughts automatically seen as part of the larger background
- Agencylessness: no do-er; no doing; no intention separate from that which arises on its own; no possibility of intention or doing; actions are seen to be the natural result of habit and condition
- Non-continuity: any sense of past or future is recognized as happening “now” in the form of a hollow "lo-fi" thought

These aspects of experience are not always at the forefront of attention, but each is deeply known and instantly verifiable. I still get "sticky" thoughts sometimes, but these tend to liberate automatically via the chain "oh, dukkha" > "must be stuck" > "vanished".  

So, this is all well and good and is reflected in my day-to-day experience as a profound sense of spaciousness, compassion, and progressive re-wiring of former habits.  Most excellent!

But it seems there’s more to unwind, and there’s an intuition about what’s holding the shell together -- namely, fear.  Seeing non-doership with clarity initially manifested as existential terror and intense grief (“my own death”).  And the clunky adjustment phase of “full automaticity” that followed left me questioning whether full-blown, always-on, emptiness-in-real-time is to be desired.

Additionally, there’s the sense that karmically, now would be a fine time to work out some of the moral kinks.  Much of this moral transformation seems to be happening on its own, but perhaps a bit more energy and resolve toward compassion, generosity, kind-heartedness, and the like is warranted.  Can the residual “dharmic ghost” be harnessed in some useful way to enact even greater moral transformation?  Or can that safely come later?

So in short the question is, press ahead with insight or take a side road? 

___________________

In case it’s helpful in understanding the current territory, below are a few elements that seem to still require more precise understanding: 

- A subtle, underlying, intermittent, sense of a watcher (though this is fairly easily dissolved)
- Division between the sense doors (which occasionally can be synced or merged in high concentration)
- Dwelling in the natural happening of phenomena isn’t yet fully automatic, by default, and without effort

Metta!

RE: Fear of annihilation in the later stages
Answer
2/4/20 2:08 AM as a reply to punto.
I will sub to this thread as some experience seems similar and you verbalize your experience so much clearer than I do. When I have time I will try and write some more. 

thank you for sharing it's sure is helpful. 

RE: Fear of annihilation in the later stages
Answer
2/4/20 2:35 AM as a reply to punto.
punto:


So in short the question is, press ahead with insight or take a side road? 


Neither.  Let go for a bit.  Just burn in what you have got.  There is definitely a time for a little more striving, but let the brain rewire a bit first. Let the neurobiology finish its tasks.  Enjoy it.  Absorb yourself in it - lightly.

Just my opinion.

Metta

Malcolm

RE: Fear of annihilation in the later stages
Answer
2/11/20 10:56 PM as a reply to curious.
Thank you, I took this advice to heart.  I've been generally just letting things play out without much effort.

Now something seems naturally inclined to investigate, though, and it would seem I need to let this too play out.

RE: Fear of annihilation in the later stages
Answer
2/12/20 1:20 AM as a reply to punto.
punto:
Thank you, I took this advice to heart.  I've been generally just letting things play out without much effort.

Now something seems naturally inclined to investigate, though, and it would seem I need to let this too play out.

Investigation - right! You've painted - what would be considered - a nice picture for some. The subtle remnants of self knows this niceness too! What seems to happen here is a subtle clinging of aggregates which convene around the experiences you describe. It can be so subtle that it is very easy to miss and that subtleness further hides-out in a relaxed and spacious attitude.

So, my approach has been to investigate, probe, and enquire with diligence. Yes, there's a sort of efforting in this but that effort is born of the enlightenment factor of investigation which should be quite developed for you in those regions. Often the investigation is automatic but the mind has become so curious through practice, not having found a place to call home, it seeks to land itself on a form-based object so it needs to be ever-so-slightly coerced into further and further points of investigation. One does not need to investigate all the time, just remember to investigate occasionally and try to look beyond your current abilities to investigate - the investigation should have this quality although not in clearly defined steps: from coarse to medium-coarse to fine and finer... and so on and so forth.

RE: Fear of annihilation in the later stages
Answer
2/12/20 2:00 AM as a reply to punto.
Just to add to Bardo's lovely comments ... as you adapt to this new view of reality, occasionally things well up (or gently arise) that make you go "hang on, if things work this way, why do I think/perceive that?"  When this happens, notice the dissonance and dig into it a little - it will be a source of insight.  Not big crashing insight, but some more little small peelings of the onion, getting closer and closer to the thing that is left once every single layer of the onion has been removed.

Now personally, I wouldn't search for those moments (too much striving). But I would be diligent about noticing them when they arise, and then really digging in to see what is behind him.  Otherwise, just enjoy the ride, and stay mindful.

Also, some of those wee insights may still have the capacity to shock you a little.  If so, you are on the right track.

Malcolm

RE: Fear of annihilation in the later stages
Answer
2/12/20 9:57 AM as a reply to curious.
curious:
Just to add to Bardo's lovely comments ... as you adapt to this new view of reality, occasionally things well up (or gently arise) that make you go "hang on, if things work this way, why do I think/perceive that?"  When this happens, notice the dissonance and dig into it a little - it will be a source of insight.  Not big crashing insight, but some more little small peelings of the onion, getting closer and closer to the thing that is left once every single layer of the onion has been removed.
I second this. Often as "a meditator" we can train ourselves to automatically overlook the content of our thoughts in favor of noticing the way they arise and pass, where they direct attention, etc. But noticing the actual content of perception - beliefs or habits themselves manifesting as particular thoughts or behaviors - in relation to these shifts can be fruitful for finding those remaining areas of non-integrated-ness. Relaxing these contradictions can bring very satisfying small-scale relief, like relaxing a finger you didn't know was tensed, third-noble-truth style.

RE: Fear of annihilation in the later stages
Answer
2/12/20 3:25 PM as a reply to punto.
punto:
For background and without making any particular claims, my typical waking experience is one of:

 Can you make some claims for those of us that aren't as far along as you? Maybe not claims but background of your story. What your practice is, how long you have been practicing, meditation times in daily sits, daily life practice, and retreats you have been on? I think for myself it would be interesting to know what brought you up to this point. If you don't mind sharing.

RE: Fear of annihilation in the later stages
Answer
2/12/20 8:58 PM as a reply to Matthew.
Thank you Bardo, curious, and Mathew for your wonderful comments -- all resonate and are quite helpful in providing a bit of the flavor of where things might head.  I suspect I'll be returning here from time to time to check in with these suggestions and see how they sink in, recognizing there's further depth to grok.

To replay a bit, I can envision how digging into (in subtler and subtler ways) the dissonance between how things work and what happens may be quite useful.

Metta and thank you for your generosity!


RE: Fear of annihilation in the later stages
Answer
2/12/20 9:26 PM as a reply to Dustin.
@Dustin

Happy to share in case you might find it useful.  Practicing about 5 years, the last 3 or so with a serious vipassana practice, typically sitting around 45 minutes per day, no singular teacher, not many retreats, lots of focused experimentation and intuitive investigation vs. following any rules.  For whatever reason, it seems this mind is naturally endowed, pre-practice, with very high levels of concentration -- not to boast but just to acknowledge a formidable ally.

Practice from near the start really honed in on the specific qualities of non-self and not much else -- this has manifest as understanding some things perhaps a bit on the premature side (aka a 'bumpy ride').  

Would be happy to share anything further that might be of use.

RE: Fear of annihilation in the later stages
Answer
2/13/20 12:17 PM as a reply to punto.
Thanks for sharing. It's cool to here about others journeys and know others are out there plugging away to get free. Really good stuff!