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John's Journal John W 3/11/20 11:16 AM
RE: (Face Tingling) John's Journal John W 2/19/20 4:44 PM
RE: (Face Tingling) John's Journal Dustin 2/19/20 5:22 PM
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John's Journal
Answer
3/11/20 11:16 AM
Hey y'all, first time poster here. I've been meditating for about a year/year and a half now, just recently got into MCTB and must say it's one of my favorite books I've read so far.  From there I found this website and what a great community it is.  I've enjoyed reading others' experiences on here and thought maybe I would share some of my own experience, if nothing else just as a personal diary but maybe someone will indulge me and give some advice or tell me I'm doing it wrong or something ;)

I feel like I've made some progress over the past few days and gotten to a point now where I can, somewhat predictably get into some sort of mental state (maybe 1st Jhana?  2nd Jhana?  I'm really not sure).  I'll start by describing the physical sensation mentioned in the title: so probably for about a week now I've felt a light tingling on the left hand side of my nose, going up in and around my left eye socket.  Strangely enough - I happen to have a burst blood vessel on my nose right where the tingling occurs (which I've had for a long time, probably since I was at least in high school or much earlier).  I would not be surprised if there is some connection there.

So the basic stages I've been able to get through these past couple of days start with just breathing and concentration for maybe 5-10 minutes, once I achieve a calm state, I'll start to get more into very mild DN(?) territory.  Here I'll notice a lot more buzzing, vibrations, etc, and start to notice negative emotions, as well as loss of balance, dizziness and spinning, etc.  Also accompanying this can be some mild aches and pains and - the tingling in my face gets super intense! It would probably be pretty scary if I didn't remind myself that it's all a manifestation of emptiness.  So basically I just power through that part and continue with concentration on breath as well as insight meditation on these 'negative' symptoms.

After a few minutes of that, things will chill out and here's where it gets really cool (mini-Fruition?).  So first of all, there's usually a peaceful feeling accompying all of this.  I will usually recognize and tell myself "you can enjoy this, just enjoy this feeling for a minute".  So I try to soak in that peaceful feeling after the weirdness that I just got past.  Then I'll begin to try and do a little visualization.  2 nights ago was probably the most lucid visualizations I've had (still very basic, not super HD or anything like that, but visible).  
It starts with a light sort of in the shape of a diamond (I recognize this light as the supreme Being / Buddha / Christ / whatever you want to call it).  After focusing on that light, it sort of explodes into a more fractal or lightning like electic current sort of like one of those plasma ball lamps.  From there I can sort of zoom into each of the tendrils of the plasma ball and inspect these 'formations'(?)  
I remember at a certain point there was sort of a strobing effect, where the visualization would strobe in and out maybe 1-2 times a second.  And then at a certian point I noticed that and the strobing went away.  At this point I tried to do further insight meditation but lost my train of thought and got pulled back into normal reality.

So now back to the tingling sensation -- during this time it's now moved upwards away from the left side of my face and right smack dab in 3rd eye territory!  Feelings of balance and calm. Etc.

I've had other experiences kind of similar to this one but I won't go into that much more detail, the one above was probably the most vivid I've had so far though.

So my question, if anyone has any ideas, what's the deal with the tingling in the face?  My theory is there's some sort of energy blockage due to bad habits, bad practice, ignorance, or all of the above, (bad relationships?) which is resulting in this tingling sensation being off center, on the left side of my face rather than right where my 3rd eye is.  My meditations seem to validate this, as after the mini-DN the tingling becomes completely centered, and I can even feel the energy running more directly through my spine and feel more balanced.

Anyone had this sort of tingling before, any advice on how to progress?

RE: (Face Tingling) John's Journal
Answer
2/19/20 4:44 PM as a reply to John W.
Since my last entry I had another sort of breakthrough event that was one of the more pleasurable experiences I've had while meditating. I guess it was around a week ago when I had the above experience, which was one of the more visually stimulating experiences I've had.  For several days after that experience, I noticed increasing pressure in and around my nasal bridge area.  So I think the above experience would probably be classified as an A&P event, the pressure around the nose area being a more symptomatic of a Dark Night.  I wouldn't say the pressure was overly uncomfortable, since I was aware at the time that it was most likely DN symptoms, I was able to focus and alleviate / purify that pressure if it began to bother me.

On 2/15 I had another very pleasurable experience.  Prior to this experience I had not really experienced any intense feelings of bliss in any of my meditations, I did have some of these cool insight experiences like the one from 2/11.  But I had been longing for a more pleasurable blissful feeling.  And finally I got it, after a week or so of dealing with this weird face tingling and pressure.

I started my meditation with some breathing exercises (I like the Wim Hof technique, which I hear has some similarities to Tibetan tummo, which I haven't tried), and for the first time I tried listening to some music in headphones, something more upbeat and kind of trancy.  I do these exercises regularly and have not experienced anything like this before.  About 5 minutes in I began to feel waves of bliss and my concentration became very narrow although the sense of self was still very present.  I continued this practice for maybe 15-20 minutes (longer than usual due to the pleasurable feelings).
Now I started to notice, the bliss was becoming less pleasant and I knew that it was time for this kundalini blockage to be solved..
I stopped the breathing exercise and began sitting meditation. Now honestly I can't remember super well what happened, I think I started doing something like a Tonglen practice, where I imagined breathing in suffering and using that to purify the energy blockage in my head.  Should have made a better note of what I actually did earlier on.  But whatever I did, it was enough to purify and, this time, it was like the dam that was holding back all this energy was released and flowed freely through my entire body.
I remember pleasurable tingling going down my arms into my hands, feet, everywhere, felt completely carefree and satisfied, etc, complete bliss.
This lasted for maybe 15 minutes or so (i wasn't timing it).  Afterwards I took a cold shower (part of the Wim Hof method I've been working into my practice) which was also very pleasurable.  

Since then I haven't felt any sort of tingling or pressure in the head area, actually I feel like my meditations have been less intense, been falling asleep often, though my dreams have been slightly more lucid.  It feels like I'm in sort of a down-time/recharge time.  I did notice today and yesterday I've been more irritable than normal, though trying very hard to keep it to myself.  I do notice that noting practice seems to significantly improve my state of mind, I think moreso than it used to even a week or two ago.
Possibly leading into another A&P event of some sort?  Or maybe I am in a re-observation stage now and need to do further reflection on past events?

Anyway, felt very proud of myself when this happened since I was kind of starting to get down about the lack of blissful experiences I had up to this point, actualy I had just written a post about it on this site: https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/18749152

RE: (Face Tingling) John's Journal
Answer
2/19/20 5:22 PM as a reply to John W.
John W:

Anyone had this sort of tingling before, any advice on how to progress?

     Sounds like your making good progress. If the noting is working well I would keep doing that with a few minutes of concentration practice before it. You have all kinds of signs of being in a few different insight stages so whatever your doing seems to be working. The key is to just stay with whatever comes up. If i'm sleepy I know I'm sleepy, If i'm happy I know I'm happy and so on type deal. Present moment works well in comparison to trying to keep a stage or get out of a stage. More practice and more precise practice is the key. I find everything I told you hard to do most of the time but when I can stay with the moment I get really good breaks. 

How long are your sits?

RE: (Face Tingling) John's Journal
Answer
2/27/20 2:13 PM as a reply to Dustin.
Hey Dustin, thanks for the encouragement.  w.r.t. noting - I just picked up Mahasi Sayadaw's Practical Insight Meditation guide, very helpful so far for me, reading it in conjunction with MCTB.
My sits really vary day to day, I would say average of 20 minutes per session, but a few times a day for a total of maybe an hour. Though sometimes I will sit for an hour or more at one time.

I am slowly working towards building more of a routine for my practice. I actually have a lot of flexibility to take advantage of I think, since I work remote...
I did just sign up for my first weekend retreat (silent retreat) in April, so looking forward to that.


--

Since the last post I've been trying to stay very aware of where I'm at during my sits and just throughout the day.

After my experience from 2/15 I felt pretty subdued for about a week and honestly in a pretty bad mood for some time. Part of that might have had to do with external factors (having to travel for work, bad weather, politics, etc)
This week, really starting around Tuesday, I've been starting to feel back on another upswing.  Meditations have been more clear, vibrant, dreams more lucid, etc.  Definitely getting into some lower level Jhanic states, dare I say more reliably?  The tingling in the face is back.  This leads me to believe I'm due for another A&P event. 
I know Daniel talks about how he cycled through the same Jhanic states again and again for years (just as an example) before breaking through.  So I am trying to view this all as part of a larger process and note these events as what they are rather than as the end goal themselves.  

This time around seems like it's taken an even longer time.  Like I mentioned, I spent about a week/week and a half wallowing around in a depressive state, so this might just be unnecessarily slowing down my progress, or simply just downtime between cycles and not actually part of a cycle.  Though I was able to recognize it as a spiritual hangover during the time, therefore limiting how bad I actually felt about it, it still feels like I'm kind of going backwards during this time.  

On the positive side, I would like to think that I am getting better about recognizing delusion/duality as what it is, even if I am sucked into it, I can use these experiences as lessons and opportunity to purify myself rather than create more negativity.  My gut says it's just going to be a long road of cold hard practice to get this process down.  

Looking back over time I definitely feel much less aversion to many things.  But there's still a handful of things I feel strongly about for one reason or another, these are more difficult to not get sucked into.

I'm also aware that between the beginning of this month and now, I read MCTB, and therefore learned about the theories of Jhanic cycling, etc.  So, I want to also be aware of the possiblity that I might just be going through these cycles because I read about them and therefore am now interpreting my various moods as part of this framework.  
However, it's equally possible that these frameworks are perfectly valid and I've really been going through these cycles my whole life, just unaware of them.
I'm kind of leaning towards the latter just based on how my meditations can vary through the weeks, there may well be an internal mechanism which I can gain mastery of at some point which is controlling this but for the time being, it's outside my control, so the cycling framework is a good way to understand it.

RE: (Face Tingling) John's Journal
Answer
3/2/20 10:29 AM as a reply to John W.
Since last week things have followed a more or less predictable pattern I've noticed increased concentration, more of a desire to meditate and easier to do it for longer periods of time.  Friday and Saturday in particular I've felt very positive despite being under the weather with a cold.  Saturday I spent the morning at a Dharma talk + meditation at the local center as well as a puja/sadhana ceremony in the evening.  I think I could be very happy if I were able to dedicate myself to that type of a schedule more regularly.

The question is now, how am I going to feel this week.  The past 2 cycles the week after the positive experiences I've had a spiritual hangover.  This time I am trying to be more mindful, firstly not to get too distracted by the positive feelings and by trying to 'bliss out' but rather notice the positive experiences but not get too drawn into them.  Part of me thinks that this is what's causing me to regress into the DN effects.  So going for more of a slow and steady approach.  
Secondly, to be more mindful of delusions if/when and as they occur this week.  Hope to use the dualistic thoughts occuring in the mind as the object of meditation rather than something I get upset by.

So far this morning I have felt good. Reading Practical Insight Meditation interspersed with short meditations. 

RE: (Face Tingling) John's Journal
Answer
3/3/20 10:09 AM as a reply to John W.
Last night I had another experience similar to the one on 2/15 (intense waves of bliss, tingling throughout the body). This time it felt more controlled than the last time.  I also think I came out with some important realizations.  

Here's what happened:

Sat for 30 minutes with a timer. Spent most of this time observing the busyness/distractedness of my mind and watching my breath rise and fall.  Reset the timer to another 30 minutes (concentration has been increased this week).  

While my mind seems more distracted than usual and full of unpleasant thoughts and sensations, I sat with it, eventually starting to feel a tingling in my heart/chest area.  This has happened a couple of times before.  Accompanying that was some piti / happiness / however you want to describe it.  From there the feeling grew throughout my body into a very pleasant state.

It felt as if the Dark Night was a gateway which, with concentration, led into this more pleasurable state (is this 1st Jhana maybe?).
I also got the idea during this time that the fuel to handle the Dark Night is compassion.  I don't know exactly how they are related.  I need to read MCTB again.

I ended the session with 10 minutes of Wim Hof technique which was very relaxing, a bit different than the kundalini type effect but I definitely think the mental state I was in going into the breathing exercises had a synergistic effect and made them more powerful.

Weirdly, a couple of hours later I had a brief panic episode.  In full disclosure there was nicotine involved at the time, so I'm not sure if it was the substance or a reaction to the previous experience.  I will say I use nicotine frequently and never had that type of reaction from it before.

In any case, after laying down for a few minutes I was fine and went to bed peacefully.  

So far this week I have not noticed any overwhelming irritability like I have in the past.

RE: (Face Tingling) John's Journal
Answer
3/3/20 10:16 AM as a reply to Dustin.
Dustin:
John W:

Anyone had this sort of tingling before, any advice on how to progress?

     Sounds like your making good progress. If the noting is working well I would keep doing that with a few minutes of concentration practice before it. You have all kinds of signs of being in a few different insight stages so whatever your doing seems to be working. The key is to just stay with whatever comes up. If i'm sleepy I know I'm sleepy, If i'm happy I know I'm happy and so on type deal. Present moment works well in comparison to trying to keep a stage or get out of a stage. More practice and more precise practice is the key. I find everything I told you hard to do most of the time but when I can stay with the moment I get really good breaks. 

How long are your sits?

I think this advice was spot on.  If I am feeling effects of the Dark Night like irritability, distracted mind, panic, etc, I may also find that I have more of a reason to sit for longer periods of time, more sensations to analyze, more reasons to practice!  (That's what I tell myself at least emoticon )

RE: (Face Tingling) John's Journal
Answer
3/7/20 6:23 PM as a reply to John W.
It's been a few days, and been a bit of a rollercoaster but I think a worthwhile one. Nothing too crazy, I have noticed increased concentration and easier access into lower concentration states. Also accompanying this are physical phenomena, some on the unpleasant side but also some pleasant.
A few of these aren't unexpected - bodily pressure, tingling, bliss and/or dizziness. I have noticed some new symptoms as well, which I can only interpret as a sign that I am making some sort of progress although they can be a bit uncomfortable. I have felt dizziness before but this is more of a
gyroscopic type feeling, as if there is a magnet along my central channel which is trying to align itself. It feels as if I am in uncharted territory, becoming a little bit scary when I get into some deeper states but mostly just like physical symptoms like I mentioned.
For me I am finding that going for refuge to Buddha/Dharma/Sangha (or whoever else) in the times that it does get overwhelming can be helpful along with showing compassion to yourself and others. Analyzing the negative states also helps but takes effort.
Keeping a loose goal to practice at least 30 minutes-1 hr a day (more if I feel up to it), not push myself too hard and let the realignment/rebalance naturally over time I think is all I can do for now. I also want to work more on insight meditation into these physical feelings because that does seem to help.

John's Journal
Answer
3/11/20 2:12 PM as a reply to John W.
Looking back on the past week or so I feel like I've been relatively stable off the cushion, there have been a couple of days where I've felt depressed or overwhelmed or whatever, but I do think I'm getting better at recognizing duality as illusion and so when these spells come up I am able to limit the damage a little bit better.

I've been averaging around 1.5 hours a day of sitting, have not had any overtly impactful A&P type events, though I continue to notice increased stability in low level concentration states.  I try not to think too hard about mapping out my current state though it is interesting to think about, it can be pretty confusing.  

When I am following the stages of insight I feel like my meditations lately have been ending somewhere in the Fear/Misery phase. I distinctly remember visualizing the though of 'fear' and investigating it.  This theoretically would correllate with the 3rd Jhana.  However, comparing my normal meditation to the A&P and 2nd Jhana that I'm pretty sure to have experienced before on a couple of occasions, I am pretty sure that when looking at things from the concentration states, I am hovering somewhere between the 1st and 2nd jhanas, and usually towards the lower end of that spectrum.

When you throw on top of this the concept of macro and micro cycles, i.e. that the overall arch where someone is may not correspond to each of the stages of insight and concentration that they experience or do not experience on a daily basis, it gets really confusing.  I'm pretty sure my overall status would be something like (recovering) Dark Night Yogi, having had several A&P events going back to maybe 10-15 years ago (several of them quite scary but also some cool stuff).  
But as mentioned before, my meditation experience being somewhat limited, I don't think my 'micro' ability has advanced as far as my 'macro' status has.  

All of this of course is kind of theoretical and speculative, so take it all with a few grains of salt. Anyway, it's an interesting thought, maybe part of attainment / fruition / alignment / is when your 'micro' levels are totally in sync with your 'macro' levels, and that's really what paves the way for realization of no-self/true self.  Food for thought at least.

So for now I think patience is my best bet and re-reading MCTB has been exponentially more helpful now that I've had a little bit of actual experience putting it into practice.  Also I think i'm finally starting to 'get' insight meditation.

RE: John's Journal
Answer
3/30/20 12:24 PM as a reply to John W.
Been relatively quiet on here since I haven't felt any strong urge to post my progress but here I am.  Feels like I have been making slow progress, so for that I am grateful, any progress is good no matter what the speed.

I've been trying to keep better track of what techniques work better as well as to have more awareness over what I am spending my time doing during meditation.

Recently I've been mixing it up, different practices I've done include fire kasina, Mahasi style Vipassana, Social Noting (Vince Horn + Kenneth Folk inspired take on noting), Wim Hof breathing, simple breathing concentration, prayers and guided practice from the Tibetan Mahayana tradition, walking meditation. 

I've found Social Noting to be helpful to combine with concentration practices, as I find it a little less intense than the Mahasi style "machine gun" and allows you a little more flexibility in your concentration.  I've found prayer sessions with my Mahayana group to be pretty powerful as well, just listening to the sounds and the words provides a good object for concentration even though I wouldn't say I fully buy into all the dogma involved with it.  I think some sort of group setting, no matter what it is, is helpful if not essential to practice.

Really just trying to hone in to find that right combination that works with me. 

RE: John's Journal
Answer
4/8/20 10:18 AM as a reply to John W.
Practice continues and I notice very subtle changes. I feel like my overall mood day to day has improved, if I do feel depressed or angry it's easier to recognize and step back from.  I've been listening to some more of the Buddhist Geeks stuff and trying out other random techniques.  My wife has anxiety so we've started doing body scan type practices together, such as Yoga Nidra.  

Sometimes I feel like I am stuck cultivating jhanas like Daniel writes about, but feel like overall it's kind of the opposite, I don't cultivate them enough. I think it is harder for me to create bliss than others, though it does happen; when it does, I'm usually quick to begin investigation and questioning of any emotion.  I feel that with stronger concentration I might be better able to cultivate these states better and thus have more of a solid object to investigate.

So, it's still a balancing act of finding the right amount of concentration, with the right amount of insight, and finding the techniques that work best for you.  I found this podcast which talks about that specifically:

https://soundcloud.com/buddhistgeeks/meditating-in-the-goldilocks

RE: John's Journal
Answer
4/13/20 4:56 AM as a reply to John W.
Hi John! Great journal here, thank you so much for sharing it. Aren't you due to go on retreat sometime this month, or has the pandemic done for that one?

Take this for what it's worth, and i know that with a grain of salt is best for all suggestions, but I personally think it is a very good thing to have at least one daily practice sit/session, of a prescribed time. I tend to leave my prescribed times developmental, meaning that if i hit the mark in one session, i add a second to the next; if i bail out before full time, i subtract a second; but that is my own peculiar technology. But I do think it helps to have a relatively firm bottom-line benchmark for you practice. It is of the greatest value during gnarlier dukha nanas, for me, for also keeps your feet moving during the long plateaux in the sine curve of practice as well. Your approach as i understand it is very fluid (check out Linda, "Polly Ester" practice long for a similar spirit of high fluidity in practice), and tilts toward adding sessions spontaneously, which is pure wonderful gravy, of course. I am a slogger myself, and also somewhat volatile in moods, etc., so for me a nice rock bottom of basic ABC practice no matter what, just exercising the technique, iteration by iteration, for a minimum time, at a regular, relatively inescapable time, as an apppointment with practice i am committed to keeping, is just so crucial. I actually do three sessions this way daily, like a fucking clock: just walking on on the hour three times a day and saying my "cuckoo" mantra for x+1 seconds.

RE: John's Journal
Answer
4/13/20 11:36 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
Hey Tim,
Thank you for your interest and your suggestions, I do very much agree. I'll try to do at least one 30 minute sit per day as a baseline, usually before bed. Outside of that it is very fluid, perhaps too much so.  I think part of it is my relative lack of experience as I've only been seriously meditating for a couple of years, there's a lot of different thought and techniques out there that are new to me and I feel enthusiastic to try them all.  Though admittedly this can itself become a distraction.  Sometimes it's best just to remember that the paths are many, but the truth is one.  However I do find certain practices seem to work better for me and go together better than others.

Actually I plan on doing my first retreat this weekend, as I had one planned that got cancelled from the virus but still wanted to go through with it.  I am looking for resources on suggested schedule, there is plenty out there, but I'm thinking maybe something like alternating hours between sitting and walking, around 6 hours with a reading break in the middle... it's going to be on the short side, just 3 days or so.  I'm thinking it might make sense to just work on building my concentration since I feel that is one of the limiting factors of my practice today.  I would say my concentration and patience tends to taper after around the 30 minute mark.  


-John

RE: John's Journal
Answer
4/16/20 6:10 AM as a reply to John W.
John W:

Actually I plan on doing my first retreat this weekend, as I had one planned that got cancelled from the virus but still wanted to go through with it.  I am looking for resources on suggested schedule, there is plenty out there, but I'm thinking maybe something like alternating hours between sitting and walking, around 6 hours with a reading break in the middle... it's going to be on the short side, just 3 days or so.  I'm thinking it might make sense to just work on building my concentration since I feel that is one of the limiting factors of my practice today.  I would say my concentration and patience tends to taper after around the 30 minute mark.  


-John
I am doing what i've been calling a "sesshin," self-directed at home, with advice on DhO from friends and the kindness of strangers, on my fourth day now. I'm a hot mess in many ways, and my example has warning labels all over it. But if you put up a thread now calling specifically for input on home-cooked retreats, you've still got a couple of days to have people throw spaghetti strands at the wall, to see if anything helpful sticks. Like a post in the right category along the lines of "Planning 3-day Solo home retreat-- Help?" something clear and simple like that to maximize turnaround time, since i failed to properly digest this post on my first pass and your clocking is ticking. But simply being in "retreat" mindset will make a lot of things come clear. I would say the key no matter how you set it up is a gentle sustainable pace, no hurry, no ambition, gentle and open and luxuriating in truly understanding that the entire set-aside interval is already "retreat," and that you can afford to be slow and easy on letting the particulars emerge at a pace that won't fry you. That's been the main takeaway from my own sesshin so far.

Good luck, amigo! I'll follow your practice log with interest, you'll do your retreat entries here too, right?

RE: John's Journal
Answer
4/16/20 10:12 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
Hey Tim, nice to hear from you. Not a bad idea to post about it. I've been following along some of the other self-retreat logs (seems there is a lot of that going on right now, hmm I wonder why?)  I think I've got the basic plan but probably wouldn't hurt to ask anyway.

I'm a little nervous honestly because this is my first (mini)retreat but yes, I'll write some entries!

RE: John's Journal
Answer
4/16/20 10:15 AM as a reply to John W.
emoticon

RE: John's Journal
Answer
4/18/20 8:50 PM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
Ok, so first day and a half of self retreat is done and going good so far. I clocked around 6 hrs of sitting meditation today, an hour of reading, hour of walking meditation. During the break I've been reciting a mantra to try to keep the momentum up somewhat.

Morning was more strict concentration with breath as the object (as was last night). The walking meditation was a nice way to end things for the morning before the afternoon break.  The evening was a bit more scattered, facing some tiredness (partially from a little less sleep than hoped for) but eventually turned out to be quite nice.  The evening meditation was more of a non-directed mindfulness and relaxed noting session mixed in with some contemplation (somewhat unplanned).

Overall been feeling light and happy and relaxed, I definitely get the importance of keeping the momentum up.  Seems it really takes a good hour to get into things when you are doing these longer meditations.  

Tomorrow I'm going to try to focus the sessions more, hoping that the confidence I've built up today will help, knowing now that I can do the longer sits.

Night all!

RE: John's Journal
Answer
4/19/20 1:50 PM as a reply to John W.
Hello John,
Ok, so first day and a half of self retreat is done and going good so far. I clocked around 6 hrs of sitting meditation today, an hour of reading, hour of walking meditation. During the break I've been reciting a mantra to try to keep the momentum up somewhat.

Sounds like a serious schedule! keep on the good work...
The evening was a bit more scattered, facing some tiredness (partially from a little less sleep than hoped for) but eventually turned out to be quite nice.  The evening meditation was more of a non-directed mindfulness and relaxed noting session mixed in with some contemplation (somewhat unplanned).

Yes, and being more intense, when you switch to open awareness, you will tend to get more scattered. Like you build up some pressure in the cooker and then open at once... (my view, others may chime in...)

Anyway, very nice
Have a fruitful day... today/tomorrow (I guess it's afternoon already for you). You are doing fine.

with metta
smiling stone

RE: John's Journal
Answer
4/19/20 8:02 PM as a reply to Smiling Stone.
Hey Smiling Stone, wonderful to hear from you. And your comment seems to come in perfectly timed, as today, I feel like the afternoon sessions were much more directed and focused though still bounced around a few different concepts and techniques.

This morning I spent 3 hours between single pointed concentration on breath and mindfulness of intention, finally relaxing into a mild jhanic feel (access concentration) which then became the object of concentration.

During the afternoon break my wife and I did a 30 minute guided meditation which was more Vipasanna, it was a short body scan that evolved into awareness of and relaxation into breath.  This was where I really started to feel things click, as if all the concentration I had built that morning and the previous days was being put to use.  Emerging from there felt very nice, things had a very 'zoomed in' and detailed look to them during our afternoon walk.

Coming back this evening, since the guided meditation from earlier seemed to really work, I went with the same one again, this time expanding the awareness of breath and holding that for as long as possible.  Was able to keep a fairly solid jhana (somewhere between 1st and 2nd?) for around an hour.  Ended with some prayers and dedication, ending with a little reading.

I'm technically at the end of the retreat, it was a short one.  I am encouraged to continue the momentum into my baseline daily practice, perhaps a couple of hours in the morning and/or at night.  A couple of takeaways while it's fresh in my mind:

- It was short and in some ways underwhelming, though in other ways it was exactly what I hoped for.  I guess I didn't expect that much out of it, since going in I knew it was going to be short.  But the main goal being to improve concentration (and confidence) I think was achieved.  Knowing now that I can sit for 2 hours+ at a time, and maintaining at least some degree of concentration for most of that time, definitely gives me the confidence to keep the practice up and try for longer sits during the week, as well as to try to maintain momentum during the break.

- It felt like I was starting to understand the relationship between the three trainings better and how they interact with each other during the last day. Something to continue to explore, a lot I don't think I'm able to fully put into words yet, but it definitely felt like by cultivating my concentration in the morning I was better able to focus and directing it into (what felt like?) a more insight based afternoon of mostly awareness and relaxation into the sensations of the breath. And then meditating on virtuous intention (also the Dharma readings I did and a couple of podcasts I listened to) helped with my motivation and understanding, and appreciation of it all.  
That said it did get a little confusing in the afternoon as the noticing of breath sensation and bodyscan felt like it was became more of a concentration or energy practice at times, especially when getting into samatha jhana territory.

All things considered I think it was great and looking forward to doing another one. I can only imagine what 10 days of more of this would be like. I feel that this weekend has been/will become a good catalyst to expand and improve my daily practice, that is at least my intention at this point.


-John

RE: John's Journal
Answer
4/20/20 11:11 PM as a reply to John W.
Evening log: did an hour in the morning (simple concentration breathing), short body scan in the afternoon and an hour in the evening.

In the evening meditation I was noticing a lot of fluidity still between the noting and the single pointed concentration. My mind started off pretty racing and active, and I found that noting the thoughts and sensations in quick succession was a great tool here.  So I did that noting for 30 minutes, feeling good about it, felt my body expanding at one point, I remember at one point the noting had become almost like a mantra, like I was singing or chanting, didn't even really matter what the words were.  And then I had the idea to switch it to single pointed concentration, just to see what happened.  With the idea to figure out how insight and concentration play off of each other.  In hindsight I probably should have just kept noting, but oh well.  So at the 30 minute mark, trying to relax and slow my mind into single pointed concentration, I was able to maintain concentration but lost some intensity. So I started with some energy breath practice (Wim Hof) and that was pretty effective, getting back to around the level of intensity as during the noting but kind of different.  There was more defined visuals during and after the energy practice.

Still many questions about how insight meditation (and I don't mean Insight itself) and concentration meditation are related. It's like, I feel like I partially understand it, but whenever I try to write out what I mean it doesn't really make sense. They're kind of the same thing in some ways.  But I guess, going back to that Goldilocks Zone BG podcast, it does feel like you're sort of zooming in and out of a telescope.  I can see how you would want to sort of start things off gently and ramp up the intensity and rapidity of the noting, that noting being essentially the object of concentration.  Also though, if you are in single pointed concentration on the breath, it doesn't matter how fast your mind is moving because in theory you wouldn't notice anything other than the breath (though you may notice it in the background if/when your concentration wavers, to the point where it may become a distraction and that's where the noting comes in).  

Anyway, I might be a little bit more sporadic on here for a while at least when it comes to writing logs, but I'll be keeping up with other posts.  I love reading all of the disussions on DhO, and others' logs, it's really been helpful in figuring all this stuff out and inspiring to practice.  Cheers to you all.

John

RE: John's Journal
Answer
4/21/20 6:24 AM as a reply to John W.
One thought on how insight and concentration meditation are related:

* "concentration" --or really "relaxing and centering"-- develops sensitivity to dukka

* insight -- or really "investigation" -- uses that sensitivity to determine causes of dukka.

But they are mutually supporting and intangled, because: 

*  determining the causes of dukka and dropping unhelpful habits will then allow for better relaxation and centering and even more sensitivity.

So it's sort of complete system rather than two separate things. Sort of a yin-yang symbol, concentration is never completely separate from insight nor is insight completely different from concentration.

RE: John's Journal
Answer
4/21/20 7:06 AM as a reply to John W.
John W:
Hey Smiling Stone, wonderful to hear from you. And your comment seems to come in perfectly timed, as today, I feel like the afternoon sessions were much more directed and focused though still bounced around a few different concepts and techniques. . . .

I'm technically at the end of the retreat, it was a short one.  I am encouraged to continue the momentum into my baseline daily practice, perhaps a couple of hours in the morning and/or at night.  A couple of takeaways while it's fresh in my mind:

- It was short and in some ways underwhelming, though in other ways it was exactly what I hoped for.  I guess I didn't expect that much out of it, since going in I knew it was going to be short.  But the main goal being to improve concentration (and confidence) I think was achieved.  Knowing now that I can sit for 2 hours+ at a time, and maintaining at least some degree of concentration for most of that time, definitely gives me the confidence to keep the practice up and try for longer sits during the week, as well as to try to maintain momentum during the break.

- It felt like I was starting to understand the relationship between the three trainings better and how they interact with each other during the last day. Something to continue to explore, a lot I don't think I'm able to fully put into words yet, but it definitely felt like by cultivating my concentration in the morning I was better able to focus and directing it into (what felt like?) a more insight based afternoon of mostly awareness and relaxation into the sensations of the breath. And then meditating on virtuous intention (also the Dharma readings I did and a couple of podcasts I listened to) helped with my motivation and understanding, and appreciation of it all.  
That said it did get a little confusing in the afternoon as the noticing of breath sensation and bodyscan felt like it was became more of a concentration or energy practice at times, especially when getting into samatha jhana territory.

All things considered I think it was great and looking forward to doing another one. I can only imagine what 10 days of more of this would be like. I feel that this weekend has been/will become a good catalyst to expand and improve my daily practice, that is at least my intention at this point.


-John

Awesome, man, awesome! You did it, and now have a working model of success, a footprint for the next step, with all the things you learned about pace, volume of sitting, balance of other elements, lectio divina (love that you did that), etc. 10 days, hell yeah! You go, amigo.

RE: John's Journal
Answer
4/21/20 9:11 AM as a reply to shargrol.
Hey Shargrol,
Thanks for the clear and succinct thoughts. That's an interesting way to define concentration which makes a lot of sense, I haven't thought about it in that way before. I do agree, and also view it as a complete system. In my case it seems to be even more fluid and confusing than I thought it would be, which in turn can become a bit distracting. Starting to think it's best to just let go and relax and not think about these things at least during the meditation itself... do thise type of investigation in the meditation break like we are doing.

I'm thinking about starting a post to talk about this from a practical standpoint.  I'm curious to hear how you and others build your practice around these two modes.



@Tim - Thanks man! 10 days is the next step for sure.  

RE: John's Journal
Answer
4/21/20 11:19 PM as a reply to John W.
One more quick one. 30 mins morning concentration. Evening power hour (felt like 4 hours). Rapid noting for 45 minutes and much more bodily sensations and pressures, giving way to contemplation around integral dharma and these things. Asking the question, how can you use energy practice in conjunction with insight meditation effectively? Did some energy breathing at the end, it was powerful again, did feel a synergistic effect.

RE: John's Journal
Answer
4/23/20 7:33 PM as a reply to John W.
Pretty sure I'm back in a mini-DN, lots of head pressure, even more so than last time. At the same time I feel like I'm having some good insights so there is progress.  Single pointed concentration and samatha seems to be working better for me right now.  But to get to a calming state requires much more noting due to all the buzzing sensations getting in the way.  Talking about energy practices, I feel like there's kind of a buildup of energy in my body right now, even though haven't done any energy breathing at all today.

RE: John's Journal
Answer
4/24/20 10:26 AM as a reply to John W.
John W:
Pretty sure I'm back in a mini-DN, lots of head pressure, even more so than last time. At the same time I feel like I'm having some good insights so there is progress.  Single pointed concentration and samatha seems to be working better for me right now.  But to get to a calming state requires much more noting due to all the buzzing sensations getting in the way.  Talking about energy practices, I feel like there's kind of a buildup of energy in my body right now, even though haven't done any energy breathing at all today.

Well, you know that's auspicious, right? The whole point of this shit is to hustle you through that bliss and gratutde for existence shit and get you asap back to just wanting all this shit to be over. DN R Us, should be the name of this operation.

Hang in there, amigo, it will get worse soon.

emoticon

RE: John's Journal
Answer
4/24/20 11:28 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
Tim Farrington:
Well, you know that's auspicious, right? The whole point of this shit is to hustle you through that bliss and gratutde for existence shit and get you asap back to just wanting all this shit to be over. DN R Us, should be the name of this operation.

Hang in there, amigo, it will get worse soon.

emoticon


Hehe, yeah, sounds like Desire for Deliverance... but the bliss part is so fun!  Yknow, that impermanent, fleeting, and deceptive static bliss stuff.  

In better news I had some interesting moments of clarity when I was half-asleep last night. Just very clean and clear stuff. The slightest inkling of formlessness, for a split second.

RE: John's Journal
Answer
4/24/20 11:35 AM as a reply to John W.
John W:
Tim Farrington:
Well, you know that's auspicious, right? The whole point of this shit is to hustle you through that bliss and gratutde for existence shit and get you asap back to just wanting all this shit to be over. DN R Us, should be the name of this operation.

Hang in there, amigo, it will get worse soon.

emoticon


Hehe, yeah, sounds like Desire for Deliverance... but the bliss part is so fun!  Yknow, that impermanent, fleeting, and deceptive static bliss stuff.  

I love bliss, man. I just happen to love suffering more. Call me crazy, I'm a professional.

In better news I had some interesting moments of clarity when I was half-asleep last night. Just very clean and clear stuff. The slightest inkling of formlessness, for a split second.


interesting and clear, now you're talkin'! Very clean and clear, lucid, is the standard pearl of ultimate value, accepted in every bardo and some that are not known yet. For everything else, there's MasterCard. 

RE: John's Journal
Answer
4/24/20 11:50 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
[quote=Tim Farrington
]interesting and clear, now you're talkin'! Very clean and clear, lucid, is the standard pearl of ultimate value, accepted in every bardo and some that are not known yet. For everything else, there's MasterCard. 

Haha. So I guess it was more of a hint of equanimity / 4th jhana rather than 'formlessness'. Still feeling that dukka nana though, not as bad as yesterday... Keep me in your prayers Tim!

RE: John's Journal
Answer
4/24/20 12:05 PM as a reply to John W.
John W:
[quote=Tim Farrington
]interesting and clear, now you're talkin'! Very clean and clear, lucid, is the standard pearl of ultimate value, accepted in every bardo and some that are not known yet. For everything else, there's MasterCard. 

Haha. So I guess it was more of a hint of equanimity / 4th jhana rather than 'formlessness'.

above my pay grade to make that distinction, 4th jhana is mostly against my religion.
Still feeling that dukka nana though, not as bad as yesterday...
yeah, we come into EQ like kites after a lightning hit, with our tails still smoking.
Keep me in your prayers Tim!
You, me, and all beings, until the burning stops, amigo.

emoticon

RE: John's Journal
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4/24/20 12:29 PM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
If there's not a 'best of' Tim Farrington's one liners, there should be... emoticon

RE: John's Journal
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4/24/20 7:47 PM as a reply to John W.
it's a solid EQ for sure, feeling like symptoms of both the A&P and the DN throughout the day but neither one is really that interesting or bothering, all i want now is to push through to a fruition. 

Sitting down for an hour just now it started pretty much in DN area immediately, could feel my self working through the stages of insight rather quickly and grinding through that, not really solidifying into Formations past that but, (with help from the fire breath - ok that's not a drug reference it's just energy breathing) getting through into a bit of an EQ state with some visuals, still not solidifying that much.

Been reading MCTB throughout the day to diagnose and reading on this forum, it sounds like the best thing to do right now is to just let go and let the mind go where it wants.  Even if it seems to hop back and forth across different stages (wormholing? fractaling?)

Any pointers for tonight/this weekend??


Love and Metta
John

RE: John's Journal
Answer
4/24/20 8:34 PM as a reply to John W.
John W:
it's a solid EQ for sure, feeling like symptoms of both the A&P and the DN throughout the day but neither one is really that interesting or bothering, all i want now is to push through to a fruition. 

Sitting down for an hour just now it started pretty much in DN area immediately, could feel my self working through the stages of insight rather quickly and grinding through that, not really solidifying into Formations past that but, (with help from the fire breath - ok that's not a drug reference it's just energy breathing) getting through into a bit of an EQ state with some visuals, still not solidifying that much.

Been reading MCTB throughout the day to diagnose and reading on this forum, it sounds like the best thing to do right now is to just let go and let the mind go where it wants.  Even if it seems to hop back and forth across different stages (wormholing? fractaling?)

Any pointers for tonight/this weekend??


Love and Metta
John
https://shargrolpostscompilation.blogspot.com/p/blog-page.html#transitiontoeq

RE: John's Journal
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4/25/20 9:24 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
This is great, thanks Tim. and Shargrol.

RE: John's Journal
Answer
4/26/20 11:17 AM as a reply to John W.
It's been an interesting couple of days. Feel myself waffling between Reobservation at points, then feeling the confidence and ease of a very calm A&P, scattered with hints of spaciousness and no-self mixed in.  At the highest EQ so far, a sense of consciousness expanding and folding outward into the mindstream.  A mix of calm and fear in the background... didn't last.  Overall it is easier to sort of perceive the distance between the watcher and the watched.

Reading Shargrol's post compilation has been extremely helpful.  

RE: John's Journal
Answer
4/26/20 11:28 AM as a reply to John W.
John W:
It's been an interesting couple of days. Feel myself waffling between Reobservation at points, then feeling the confidence and ease of a very calm A&P, scattered with hints of spaciousness and no-self mixed in.  At the highest EQ so far, a sense of consciousness expanding and folding outward into the mindstream.  A mix of calm and fear in the background... didn't last.  Overall it is easier to sort of perceive the distance between the watcher and the watched.

Uh, i know you're no DFS (=Dharma Fucking Scholar), just a blue collar meditator navigating actual landscape so beautifully mapped by the progress of insight (with all due awareness of the distinction between the two), but shut the fuck up about a & p, you're in goddamn EQ, you [all kinds of really ludicrous abuse, i just don't get what set him off, deleted as per DhO forum rules],

Reading Shargrol's post compilation has been extremely helpful.  

No shit, Sherlock. Now pray for him to show up and rectify my mistakes here.

love, t

RE: John's Journal
Answer
4/26/20 1:12 PM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
"Uh, i know you're no DFS (=Dharma Fucking Scholar), just a blue collar meditator navigating actual landscape so beautifully mapped by the progress of insight (with all due awareness of the distinction between the two), but shut the fuck up about a & p, you're in goddamn EQ, you [all kinds of really ludicrous abuse, i just don't get what set him off, deleted as per DhO forum rules],

Reading Shargrol's post compilation has been extremely helpful.  

No shit, Sherlock. Now pray for him to show up and rectify my mistakes here.

love, t
"

What I mean is, it feels all over the place, with characteristics of both AP and DN throughout the day.  That's kind of the nature of EQ as I understand it.
 And what mistakes? I deserve to be roasted emoticon

RE: John's Journal
Answer
4/28/20 1:00 PM as a reply to John W.
Thoughts on "Ego Death", Stream Entry, The Void, Non-Self, and "Mindstream":

First off, I'm not claiming to have attained to SE.  That would be incredibly naïve of me.  However, I think it would be equally naïve to assume that attainment is not within reach in the near future especially with my past history of ego death experiences.  More on that later.

I must admit I have gone back and forth about posting all of this but, for the sake of transparency, the MO of the DhO, I'm doing it. May it be helpful to my own practice and others' practice.



I would like to pose the question, is Ego Death the same thing as Stream Entry? 

A working definition for the Jungian term 'ego death' from Wikipedia: 

In Jungian psychology, Ventegodt and Merrick define ego death as "a fundamental transformation of the psyche. Such a shift in personality has been labeled an "ego death" in Buddhism or a psychic death by Jung.

Alnaes (1964) defines ego-death as "oss of ego-feeling.".
[10] Stanislav Grof (1988) defines it as "a sense of total annihilation [...] This experience of "ego death" seems to entail an instant merciless destruction of all previous reference points in the life of the individual [...] go death means an irreversible end to one's philosophical identification with what Alan Watts called "skin-encapsulated ego".[21] The psychologist John Harrison (2010) defines "emporary ego death [as the] loss of the separate self[,] or, in the affirmative, [...] a deep and profound merging with the transcendent other.[11] Johnson, Richards & Griffiths (2008), paraphrasing Leary et al.
 and Grof define ego death as "temporarily experienc a complete loss of subjective self-identity.

My understanding of any fruition, including the first true (by true, I mean 'permanent', non-deceptive) fruition of Stream Entry is that it must be experienced through one of the Three Doors which correspond to the three characteristics, and actually there will be a combination of any two characteristics.  From Daniel's description, the combination of the emptiness and impermanence seems to be the closest to how I've heard Stream Entry described by others.

So that said, Stream Entry may take on a different feel depending on which two characteristics present themselves during the fruition.

Searching DhO and MCTB there's not too much mention of Ego Death.  Some on DhO seem to associate it with the Dark Night (
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/view_message/5136248#_19_message_4296086),
others with A&P (
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/view_message/9153442#_19_message_9150818),
still others do associate it with Stream Entry
(
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/view_message/5777376#_19_message_5777376)

My thoughts are, perhaps it can be any of the three.  No-self is, after all, one of the three characteristics, therefore it can be experienced at any of the stages of insight, or from within any of the samatha or vipasanna jhanas. What I do feel relatively confident about, though, is that this phenomenon of "mindstream" is fundamentally different from either the A&P or the Dark Night.  

The characteristics of Mindstream (or the Dharma Stream) are mostly calm (although there can be fear associated with it which I will discuss next), surrender, and no-self.  Entering the mindstream basically feels like falling asleep.  There's also a sense of 'falling into' or 'flowing along with' the stream, the stream itself is something you have no control over.  A&P tends to be very impressive, blissful, explosive, etc.  DN on the other hand tends to be physically or mentally painful, buzzing, and annoying.

I have also noticed a fear associated with letting yourself go into the stream.  What I believe based on the teachings, going off of the assumption that all suffering is the result of the ignorant belief in the inherently existent self (self-grasping): the fear is the fear of losing the Self "I" that we believe exists.  If your belief in an inherently existent Self is too strong, letting yourself completely drop into the mindstream can be premature and result in trauma and psychological damage (DN).  (I have experienced this in the past).  You can think of it as Separation Trauma. 

On the other hand, if through practice, you have diminished your sense of self and worked on equalizing it with others, the letting go is less difficult and will actually be blissful.  

So I guess, the way I would answer my own question is... I don't know.  Egodeath and Stream Entry seem to have some similar characteristics, but there are subtle differences.  "Stream entry" seems to be a singular event, a 'snap' so to speak, after which your paradigm is permanantly shifted.  "Surrendering to the Void", falling in the the Dharma Stream, seems to have more in common with the late stages of EQ leading INTO fruition... but depending on how you define Ego Death, if this is referring to the actual moment you completely realize the ultimate truth of no-self, rather than the lead up and 'falling into' that truth, it could actually be the moment of fruition.  




My own experiences with Ego Death start from a relatively young age (around the age of 17), and subsequent experiences after that much later in life.  There are three experiences that I can think of from within the past 4 years.

The first time, without going into too much detail, it was psychedelics induced, I was way too young (too young to get a prescription from Doctor Robert).  I spent the next 10 years in a Dark Night, and all I will say is I consider myself very lucky to be where I'm at today and not locked up or worse.

After those 10 years I finally found the motivation to get myself on the right track and I'm happy to say I'm much healthier, probably in the best shape of my life both mentally and physically.  

I experienced Ego Death twice more before I formally got into meditation, no psyches involved.  The first time, it had the characteristics of "Awe" and "Fear", more of an "Ananta" feel rather than "Anatta".  It had the characteristics of omnipotence, but it seemed to be an external force.  I think it may be appropriate now to think of this in terms of Anatta, non-self.

The second time was more similar to what I have recently experienced, the feeling of being slowly sucked into the black hole of non-self.  I felt a sense of fear and trusted my mind that I was still not ready to let myself go completely, so I pulled away, but not without a sense of longing to understand this phenomenon.

The third time was relatively recently, it was an experience I had aroudn the time of first getting into MCTB so beginning of this year/end of last year.  I couldn't place it at the time, it didn't feel like an A&P.  It felt more like a lucid dream, and there was the black hole element, but the characteristics were different this time, not frightening at all but calm and relaxed, it felt like I was asleep.  I floated downstream for maybe a few minutes before I woke myself up.  Afterwards, there was an element of, "wierdness?" I don't know really how to describe.  But like my thought processes and experience had this sort of gooey or claymation type feel to it, including thought processes about other 'entities' which I don't fully understand.





Anyway, here I am now, with what I think is a better understanding of all these past experiences and somewhere in EQ, close to the mindstream.  The past few days have been quite exhilarating, pushing 5 hours every day without really thinking about it, yesterday a strong sense of dying, but with a sense of rapture and bliss attached to it, though no singular 'event' like Stream Entry.  I have noticed less fear recently than even a couple of days previously.  Yesterday I found that Metta was very helpful to the situation.  Feelings of gratitude, thankful for the DhO and our "teachers", the online sangha we have here, for the dharma that is so clearly expressed here, and in countless other sanghas and Dharma centers.  The thought of countless holy beings, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, encouraging you on your journey.

Metta to you all,
John









RE: John's Journal
Answer
4/28/20 12:41 PM as a reply to John W.
John W:
Thoughts on "Ego Death", Stream Entry, The Void, Non-Self, and "Mindstream":

First off, I'm not claiming to have attained to SE.  That would be incredibly naïve of me.  However, I think it would be equally naïve to assume that attainment is not within reach in the near future especially with my past history of ego death experiences.  More on that later.

I must admit I have gone back and forth about posting all of this but, for the sake of transparency, the MO of the DhO, I'm doing it. May it be helpful to my own practice and others' practice.



I would like to pose the question, is Ego Death the same thing as Stream Entry? 

A working definition for the Jungian term 'ego death' from Wikipedia: 

In Jungian psychology, Ventegodt and Merrick define ego death as "a fundamental transformation of the psyche. Such a shift in personality has been labeled an "ego death" in Buddhism or a psychic death by Jung.

Alnaes (1964) defines ego-death as "oss of ego-feeling.".
[10] Stanislav Grof (1988) defines it as "a sense of total annihilation [...] This experience of "ego death" seems to entail an instant merciless destruction of all previous reference points in the life of the individual [...] go death means an irreversible end to one's philosophical identification with what Alan Watts called "skin-encapsulated ego".[21] The psychologist John Harrison (2010) defines "emporary ego death [as the] loss of the separate self[,] or, in the affirmative, [...] a deep and profound merging with the transcendent other.[11] Johnson, Richards & Griffiths (2008), paraphrasing Leary et al.
 and Grof define ego death as "temporarily experienc a complete loss of subjective self-identity.

My understanding of any fruition, including the first true (by true, I mean 'permanent', non-deceptive) fruition of Stream Entry is that it must be experienced through one of the Three Doors which correspond to the three characteristics, and actually there will be a combination of any two characteristics.  From Daniel's description, the combination of the emptiness and impermanence seems to be the closest to how I've heard Stream Entry described by others.

So that said, Stream Entry may take on a different feel depending on which two characteristics present themselves during the fruition.

Searching DhO and MCTB there's not too much mention of Ego Death.  Some on DhO seem to associate it with the Dark Night (
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/view_message/5136248#_19_message_4296086),
others with A&P (
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/view_message/9153442#_19_message_9150818),
still others do associate it with Stream Entry
(
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/view_message/5777376#_19_message_5777376)

My thoughts are, perhaps it can be any of the three.  No-self is, after all, one of the three characteristics, therefore it can be experienced at any of the stages of insight, or from within any of the samatha or vipasanna jhanas. What I do feel relatively confident about, though, is that this phenomenon of "mindstream" is fundamentally different from either the A&P or the Dark Night.  

The characteristics of Mindstream (or the Dharma Stream) are mostly calm (although there can be fear associated with it which I will discuss next), surrender, and no-self.  Entering the mindstream basically feels like falling asleep.  There's also a sense of 'falling into' or 'flowing along with' the stream, the stream itself is something you have no control over.  A&P tends to be very impressive, blissful, explosive, etc.  DN on the other hand tends to be physically or mentally painful, buzzing, and annoying.

I have also noticed a fear associated with letting yourself go into the stream.  What I believe based on the teachings, going off of the assumption that all suffering is the result of the ignorant belief in the inherently existent self (self-grasping): the fear is the fear of losing the Self "I" that we believe exists.  If your belief in an inherently existent Self is too strong, letting yourself completely drop into the mindstream can be premature and result in trauma and psychological damage (DN).  (I have experienced this in the past).  You can think of it as Separation Trauma. 

On the other hand, if through practice, you have diminished your sense of self and worked on equalizing it with others, the letting go is less difficult and will actually be blissful.  

So I guess, the way I would answer my own question is... I don't know.  Egodeath and Stream Entry seem to have some similar characteristics, but there are subtle differences.  "Stream entry" seems to be a singular event, a 'snap' so to speak, after which your paradigm is permanantly shifted.  "Surrendering to the Void", falling in the the Dharma Stream, seems to have more in common with the late stages of EQ leading INTO fruition... but depending on how you define Ego Death, if this is referring to the actual moment you completely realize the ultimate truth of no-self, rather than the lead up and 'falling into' that truth, it could actually be the moment of fruition.  




My own experiences with Ego Death start from a relatively young age (around the age of 17), and subsequent experiences after that much later in life.  There are three experiences that I can think of from within the past 4 years.

The first time, without going into too much detail, it was psychedelics induced, I was way too young (too young to get a prescription from Doctor Robert).  I spent the next 10 years in a Dark Night, and all I will say is I consider myself very lucky to be where I'm at today and not locked up or worse.

After those 10 years I finally found the motivation to get myself on the right track and I'm happy to say I'm much healthier, probably in the best shape of my life both mentally and physically.  

I experienced Ego Death twice more before I formally got into meditation, no psyches involved.  The first time, it had the characteristics of "Awe" and "Fear", more of an "Ananta" feel rather than "Anatta".  It had the characteristics of omnipotence, but it seemed to be an external force.  I think it may be appropriate now to think of this in terms of Anatta, non-self.

The second time was more similar to what I have recently experienced, the feeling of being slowly sucked into the black hole of non-self.  I felt a sense of fear and trusted my mind that I was still not ready to let myself go completely, so I pulled away, but not without a sense of longing to understand this phenomenon.

The third time was relatively recently, it was an experience I had aroudn the time of first getting into MCTB so beginning of this year/end of last year.  I couldn't place it at the time, it didn't feel like an A&P.  It felt more like a lucid dream, and there was the black hole element, but the characteristics were different this time, not frightening at all but calm and relaxed, it felt like I was asleep.  I floated downstream for maybe a few minutes before I woke myself up.  Afterwards, there was an element of, "wierdness?" I don't know really how to describe.  But like my thought processes and experience had this sort of gooey or claymation type feel to it.





Anyway, here I am now, with what I think is a better understanding of all these past experiences and somewhere in EQ, close to the mindstream.  The past few days have been quite exhilarating, pushing 5 hours every day without really thinking about it, yesterday a strong sense of dying, but with a sense of rapture and bliss attached to it, though no singular 'event' like Stream Entry.  I have noticed less fear recently than even a couple of days previously.  Yesterday I found that Metta was very helpful to the situation.  Feelings of gratitude, thankful for the DhO and our "teachers", the online sangha we have here, for the dharma that is so clearly expressed here, and in countless other sanghas and Dharma centers.  The thought of countless holy beings, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, encouraging you on your journey.

Metta to you all,
John









My best understanding of "ego death," as i think you are using it here, is that it occurs, effectively (by which i mean as an experience that leaves you genuinely changed, ignoring here linguistic quibbles about "you" for the moment) during the dark night, and that it comes at the moment when ego death is simply preferable to ego.

RE: John's Journal
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4/28/20 3:27 PM as a reply to John W.
Hey John (or is it Paul?),

Well, you are quite fluent at rambling "yourself".
I have this feeling that I am treading the same waters from a much more substancial self angle, ego death is quite above my pay grade... (it sounds quite dramatic, to be honest... like there was this self in the first place for it to die).
I really enjoy your mindstream framework, that's some serious letting go, I take notes!

Best of luck with your melting into the stream...

love and metta
smiling stone

RE: John's Journal
Answer
4/28/20 5:22 PM as a reply to Smiling Stone.
Hey Paul, actually I'll be George. May we all be more like the Bodhi Beatles. 
Would love to start a Magical Mystery Tour with you.  All we need is a school bus and some paint...
And yes, I was born a rambling man... never said I wasn't.



On a more serious note.  I think part of the reason I felt like sharing all of this stuff is to explore and demonstrate the role that "conditioning" plays in your practice. I think it's safe to say that my history with ego-loss or ego-death, which was never really intentional, in fact it kind of started with a fuck up, seems to play a large part in my understanding of things today.  It may be the case that I lean more towards No-Self when investigating things using the 3C's.  (to be determined)

From your logs, which I enjoy reading and take inspiration from, I get a sense that you have alot of clarity around Formations and bare sensations, which, I could be wrong but may be associated first with knowledge of impermanence and then suffering, though I have read that formations also provide insight into understanding the concept of No-Self as well.  This would make sense given your history with Goenka, seems that you have a very high level of proficiency here.  Forgive me if this is presumptuous.  My knowledge of formations is limited to vague outlines and inklings.  They are "there" but my practice isn't developed enough to really see them in detail.  In any case, you can't have 1C without the other 2, or maybe better put by Daniel, understanding of any 2 characteristics at once results in the simultaneous understanding of the 3rd... and so... the paths many, but the truth is one.

With Metta
John

RE: John's Journal
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4/28/20 7:12 PM as a reply to John W.
@Tim and I was thinking of you earlier, as I've found going for refuge (to Buddha Dharma and Sangha... and whomever else) during this time is very helpful, though I feel that I still have a long way to go in really understanding what 'going for refuge' is.

@Smiling and here's a question for you, with your Hubble telescopic vision... there was 'relaxing' and 'letting go'... how about 'surrender'?  Where does that fit in?

RE: John's Journal
Answer
4/29/20 3:25 AM as a reply to John W.
John W:
I think part of the reason I felt like sharing all of this stuff is to explore and demonstrate the role that "conditioning" plays in your practice. I think it's safe to say that my history with ego-loss or ego-death, which was never really intentional, in fact it kind of started with a fuck up, seems to play a large part in my understanding of things today.  

With Metta
John
Johnnie-dub! what an eerie coincidence, this is actually the working title of my spiritual autobiography:

Never Really Intentional, In Fact It Kind Of Started With A Fuck Up
And Spiraled Out Of Control From There:
One Seeker's Staggering Path To Getting Gored By The Zen Bull


RE: John's Journal
Answer
4/29/20 3:28 AM as a reply to John W.
John W:
@Tim and I was thinking of you earlier, as I've found going for refuge (to Buddha Dharma and Sangha... and whomever else) during this time is very helpful, though I feel that I still have a long way to go in really understanding what 'going for refuge' is.

St.Vincent Clip 'Bill Murray canta Shelter from the Storm di Bob Dylan' (2014) - Bill Murray:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KM92v4_QrOo


RE: John's Journal
Answer
4/29/20 9:36 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
Tim Farrington:
John W:
I think part of the reason I felt like sharing all of this stuff is to explore and demonstrate the role that "conditioning" plays in your practice. I think it's safe to say that my history with ego-loss or ego-death, which was never really intentional, in fact it kind of started with a fuck up, seems to play a large part in my understanding of things today.  

With Metta
John
Johnnie-dub! what an eerie coincidence, this is actually the working title of my spiritual autobiography:

Never Really Intentional, In Fact It Kind Of Started With A Fuck Up
And Spiraled Out Of Control From There:
One Seeker's Staggering Path To Getting Gored By The Zen Bull


Hah, "coincidence" indeed.... very cool Tim, I hope to read it someday soon.

-John

RE: John's Journal
Answer
4/29/20 4:14 PM as a reply to John W.
@Smiling and here's a question for you, with your Hubble telescopic vision... there was 'relaxing' and 'letting go'... how about 'surrender'?  Where does that fit in?

Hey George,

I love surrender! You are right to notice it has not made its way into my log... I guess it corresponds more to the macro-level of things. Or at least it needs a subject to surrender to... an enemy, love, god. In my way of seeing, it is really what gives its beautiful dimension to love.
There is an idea of sacrifice of the ego as well. I wrote something about Amma and Goenka in the Boddhisattva thread that I really meant: They did surrender their life to a higher purpose, those of this kind are playing a different game from the rest of us.
I can't say: "I surrender to my perceptions" (sounds a bit ridiculous, doesn't it?). "I surrender to experience, to life", yes maybe, but we are back on the macro-level. If you say you surrender to the mindstream (that's quite cool, by the way), you run the risk of reifying the said stream.
And what do you surrender? your freedom, your ego, the subject... do these really exist in the first place?
So I would say letting go, relaxing, merging, for our little personal experiences, and surrendering to the big stuff!

Well, that was ten lines of rambling... you cornered me!
with metta
john stoned

RE: John's Journal
Answer
4/29/20 8:55 PM as a reply to Smiling Stone.
Hey Stoner John, I love your rants. I wrote one out myself but the Internet Gnomes deleted it (twice), probably for the best. This log was getting too overdramatic anyway...

RE: John's Journal
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4/30/20 2:05 AM as a reply to John W.
Hey John,

To fight the internet gnomes, I write everything (well, most of it, not this one!) in a word document, then copy/paste... I recommend it!
It's cruel to be deprived of a pure outpour of wisdom...

Love and metta
smiling stone

RE: John's Journal
Answer
4/30/20 4:39 AM as a reply to John W.
John W:
Hey Stoner John, I love your rants. I wrote one out myself but the Internet Gnomes deleted it (twice), probably for the best. This log was getting too overdramatic anyway...

They've been doing that to me too, johnnie stoner (any relation to smiling stoner, a "friend" of mine who actually thinks he tooking the fucking Bodhisattva vow IN HIS LAST LIFE!).

Yeah, let's get this fucking melodramatic down to hard core practice levels. In my sit this morning, I noted, along with the belly tightening on the in-breath and the air in my left nostril (right nostril permanently damaged from my cocaine usage, though it does make certain pranayama techniques, esp. alter nostril breaking, way interesting, albeit potentially fatal).

Thought . . . PIA, muladhara pang sharp and clear. . . belly tightening . . . sex . . . drugs . . . rock and roll . . . cessation . . . nirmanakaya realm glimpsed, but only for a half an hour, state persisting post sit for several weeks . . .

RE: John's Journal
Answer
4/30/20 10:31 PM as a reply to Smiling Stone.
Smiling Stone:
Hey John,

To fight the internet gnomes, I write everything (well, most of it, not this one!) in a word document, then copy/paste... I recommend it!
It's cruel to be deprived of a pure outpour of wisdom...

Love and metta
smiling stone


Hey Smiling,
Surely, it was done on purpose by the creators of the site to give us all a reminder in the impermanence of all things ;)

It's a good tip.  Actually i wasn't able to post at all for the whole day but I'm trying again, so it's kind of 2 entries at this point.

So, I'll give just a quick update on my daily practice. It's been an emotional rollercoaster for me, not a bad one, there has been some fear but mostly a feeling of "longing" (not just in my meditations, but throughout the day).  I can't quite place it, I don't think it's Piti, as that is more of a blissful feeling.  This is more bittersweet, perhaps "acceptance"?  It kind of like Desire for Deliverance, except not quite, since I'm not really in a negative state of mind, (aside from the intermittent existential questioning and accompanying fear) just more of a searching state.

Starting late yesterday and today I feel that I’ve gotten past *some* of this fear of letting go, or at least, learning how to accept it. You made some good points about surrender, and I am aware of the paradox, “you cannot kill that which does not exist”. Though, I do not have a direct realization of non-self, so it’s more of a blind faith that I don’t exist at this point. My ‘conditioning’ that tells me that this “thing” needs to die (metaphorically). How much easier things would be if I had a more clear understanding that there is nothing to be afraid of, because there’s nothing to “do” anyway… there’s nothing to die, nothing to surrender to, all there is to do is just BE.

Well, so I’ve gotten a little better at it it seems, starting last night. Looking at things from the micro (personal) level, it’s easier to just think about it as No Goal. No attainment, no dying, no living for that matter.

The “Big Deal” and all the narratives I lose myself in are still there, of course. Most of that is the culture that we live in and the conditioning. Doesn’t mean it’s the right approach, it’s just the way it is.

If I do feel overwhelmed or fearful that’s where the Metta and the “Big Stuff” seems to help. Contemplating things like Bodhichitta, exchanging self with others, going for refuge, that kind of thing.

---

Today I'm feeling a bit exhausted, it's been kind of an emotional rollercoaster honestly.  It's been a stressful and kind of shitty day just in the real world.  On top of that, I ate too much pizza so I'm feeling kind of nauseated from that.  Have not had as much time today for meditation but I just sat down this evening for an hour.

Thinking about the Big Deal stuff, I feel aware of the 'savior complex' which is, in my view, very prevalent and sort of built into our society (just look at our elected leaders), and into our Western religious thought (though I would say it exists in Buddhist thought as well), certainly was prevalent in my upbringing.  There's a huge shadow side attached to this, though there's a good side as well.  It's certainly bit me in the past and surely it still does every day.  If I didn't have such a big ego I wouldn't have to deal with these grandiose narratives of dying and what not, which would be ideal.  But, to some extent, it's just something I have to deal with and meditation is probably one of the best ways to do that.

My sits lately have had sort of this lucidity to them that is new to me.  I think there's a connection between what we think of as 'lucidity' and No Self, though I'm not sure about it.  I know there is the concept of Subtle Self and the Very Subtle Self which manifests in dream states. So this leads to my question:


What’s a lucid dream? Like, I know what it is, but what IS it? How does it relate to meditation, what does it mean. It’s a very simple feeling, there’s a sense of non-self in that, I feel more like I am watching my own existence, but I am aware. Is it a Jhanic state? How exactly would you describe a lucid dream state phenomenologically (or any dream state for that matter)?


With Metta
John

RE: John's Journal
Answer
5/1/20 12:31 AM as a reply to John W.
emoticon
John W
So, I'll give just a quick update on my daily practice. It's been an emotional rollercoaster for me, not a bad one, there has been some fear but mostly a feeling of "longing" (not just in my meditations, but throughout the day).  I can't quite place it, I don't think it's Piti, as that is more of a blissful feeling.  This is more bittersweet, perhaps "acceptance"?  It kind of like Desire for Deliverance, except not quite, since I'm not really in a negative state of mind, (aside from the intermittent existential questioning and accompanying fear) just more of a searching state.
Poignant, maybe, the feeling tone?

This sounds a lot like Reobservation to me. Shargrol said recently: "reobservation is full of that bittersweet feeling of purification, like a hard massage, it kinda hurts so good... "   cf. https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/19521371

love, tim

RE: John's Journal
Answer
5/1/20 11:20 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
Tim Farrington:

This sounds a lot like Reobservation to me. Shargrol said recently: "reobservation is full of that bittersweet feeling of purification, like a hard massage, it kinda hurts so good... "   cf. https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/19521371

love, tim

That would make sense... feels kind of like I'm being kicked around between high DN (reob) and various stages of EQ, just my mind going on autopilot trying to fix all my bugs emoticon

RE: John's Journal
Answer
5/4/20 2:19 AM as a reply to John W.
and now?

RE: John's Journal
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5/4/20 9:54 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
Tim Farrington:
and now?

And now, there is slacking.  Just a little bit.  Going back into last week I was kind of debating whether I should back off or keep pushing, (or maybe a better way to think about it is "Could" i back off or "could" I keep pushing), I was so emotional.  Thursday/Friday life got in the way so it gave me my answer.  I was so drained at that point anyway.  So yeah, been pushing back up to around 3 hours a day lately, trying to get back into the groove, I found that doing 4-5 hours a day really lets you start tapping in.

There's definitely still a sense of kind of working my up through the stages throughout the day, when I was slacking (not meditating much, maybe an hour a day) it was as if I sunk "backwards" so to speak, noticing more head pressure and whatnot.  The pressure is just sensation, and I find if I give it attention in meditation, it will blossom into clear awareness.  But, if I don't give it that attention, yeah, gets to be a little annoying.

Overall a greater sense of clarity, awareness or 'lucidity' in my meditations. Also seems, on a good day at least, I'm able to get into the zone rather quickly.  Less thoughts and having the mind wander.  I suppose the prescence of the meditation is clear enough where I can focus on that.

Last night, a weird thing, subtle but noteable, the pressure in my nasal bridge just started oscillating between the left and right sides of my face.  It was a small point, and rather slow so it wasn't disorienting, but it was interesting, I've never really felt that before.  I take it as a sign that things are happening (who knows what?)

As far as what to do next, I've found that keeping to the No Goal philosphy is the best bet for now.  The narratives of egodeath and existential fear are just that, narratives.  It doesn't mean they don't exist conventionally, but, they don't need to bother your sense of prescence during meditation. Just "letting go", relaxing, all that good stuff.  I've been sitting before bed in the hope that I can drift off in my meditation and remain lucid.  Get's pretty trippy (I don't remember what happens most of the time).


Metta
John

RE: John's Journal
Answer
5/5/20 1:06 PM as a reply to John W.
Feeling a bit more in the groove, getting my consistency up and been able to average over 3 hours the past few days. Today I did a 45 minute sit in the morning, a calming anapana. 20 minutes at various times throughout the day as time allows, to try to keep the momentum going.  At night I've been doing my more intnse session, 1-2hrs.  The night session seems to be more effective when you've been doing some concentration work throughout the day.  Trying to say my mantras at least a little bit throughout the day as well.

Today the mind is a little more distracted than usual, but I do notice that it's easier to put the thought in the background so that meditation awareness is still there, though maybe not quite as strong as it could be.

Last night, a rather intense and good session sort of working up through various states; most vividly, I remember at one point a sudden shift and it was like I was 'waking up' to the mindstream, but it was so sudden that it kind of gave me a spook.  I was quickly able to subside that fear, but, it was too late.  My concentration was shook, I wasn't able to get back to that clarity.  It was a feeling of floating downstream, I'm still not quite sure what that is, maybe it's "Intro to J4"?  I suppose the goal, if any here, would be to smooth that shift into the stream-state so that i'm better able to adjust.

Metta
John

  

RE: John's Journal
Answer
5/6/20 3:33 PM as a reply to John W.
Keeping practice relatively steady, 45 minutes in the morning and afternoon, hoping for a longer sit tonight. I've been leaning more towards samatha and anapana practices lately, especially in the mornings.  I will switch to noting sometimes but my mind kind of gravitates back to the object, whether that is the breath or a point of awareness, or any spot in the mind.  Also noticing a ton of tingling in the face, really encompassing the whole forehead and nasal region, not really uncomfortable, more of a strong sensation feeling.  Still keeping with my Just Let Go mantra.  I've been doing this exercise where, on the in-breath, there is awareness, on the out-breath, relaxation and deepening of awareness.

I've been restraining my activity on other posts aside from my own log, partly as an experiment, partly out of caution, due to my tendencies to overassert myself at times and I don't want to make the mistake of assuming any attainments that I don't have.  However, a few recent posts have sparked some thought for me, mostly related to feelings around not making progress and whether the technique you are using is the right one, etc so I thought I would write those out.  

And these thoughts are very things I'm currently working out, they very well could be wrong, but that's why I'm posting it here (see above):

"Insight" itself is simply referring to the process leading to wisdom. Wisdom here means understanding the true nature of reality and perception. So what this means is, investigating reality from a Dharma perspective, which is analogous to using the 3 characteristics which define the ultimate nature of all things, which is emptiness. In my view, you don't need to be necessarily be on the cushion to be performing an investigation. Part of the reason I think that I see people recommending more concentration practice now is that with everything going on, we’re constantly faced with having to deal with these issues and investigate them whether we want to or not. In my view this is all insight practice. So maybe for that reason it makes sense ‘on the cushion’ to be open to more relaxation, letting go, concentration to balance out the craziness that we have no choice but to face.
(Ok, that's not to say that insight meditation is not essential, it is, because that type of insight - into bare sensation at the smallest level - requires a certain level of focus and stillness which you can't do when you're folding the laundry - or maybe you can, idk emoticon

So, all this said, it might be helpful to question the question itself, “am I making progress?” I would say the truth is, we don’t actually know what progress is and isn’t without some direct realization of that progress. We may find that we are making progress in ways that we didn’t think about initially. Or, rather than truly questioning, you may doubt. Doubt too can be a great object for investigation.

Ok, I’ll try to cut the rambling short before it gets out of hand.

Love to y’all
John

RE: John's Journal
Answer
5/6/20 3:57 PM as a reply to John W.
John W:
Keeping practice relatively steady, 45 minutes in the morning and afternoon, hoping for a longer sit tonight. I've been leaning more towards samatha and anapana practices lately, especially in the mornings.  I will switch to noting sometimes but my mind kind of gravitates back to the object, whether that is the breath or a point of awareness, or any spot in the mind.  Also noticing a ton of tingling in the face, really encompassing the whole forehead and nasal region, not really uncomfortable, more of a strong sensation feeling.  Still keeping with my Just Let Go mantra.  I've been doing this exercise where, on the in-breath, there is awareness, on the out-breath, relaxation and deepening of awareness.

I've been restraining my activity on other posts aside from my own log, partly as an experiment, partly out of caution, due to my tendencies to overassert myself at times and I don't want to make the mistake of assuming any attainments that I don't have.  However, a few recent posts have sparked some thought for me, mostly related to feelings around not making progress and whether the technique you are using is the right one, etc so I thought I would write those out.  

And these thoughts are very things I'm currently working out, they very well could be wrong, but that's why I'm posting it here (see above):



yowsa! I'm restraining my activity too.

"Insight" itself is simply referring to the process leading to wisdom. Wisdom here means understanding the true nature of reality and perception. So what this means is, investigating reality from a Dharma perspective, which is analogous to using the 3 characteristics which define the ultimate nature of all things, which is emptiness. In my view, you don't need to be necessarily be on the cushion to be performing an investigation. Part of the reason I think that I see people recommending more concentration practice now is that with everything going on, we’re constantly faced with having to deal with these issues and investigate them whether we want to or not. In my view this is all insight practice. So maybe for that reason it makes sense ‘on the cushion’ to be open to more relaxation, letting go, concentration to balance out the craziness that we have no choice but to face.
wow. I think there's a lot to that angle.
(Ok, that's not to say that insight meditation is not essential, it is, because that type of insight - into bare sensation at the smallest level - requires a certain level of focus and stillness which you can't do when you're folding the laundry - or maybe you can, idk emoticon

Don't worry, half a dozen people will weight in soon to tell us seven different answers, re: "Insight: Can It Be Done While Folding the Laundry?"

The roshi replied, "Not without a large flat surface."
So, all this said, it might be helpful to question the question itself, “am I making progress?” I would say the truth is, we don’t actually know what progress is and isn’t without some direct realization of that progress. We may find that we are making progress in ways that we didn’t think about initially. Or, rather than truly questioning, you may doubt. Doubt too can be a great object for investigation.

Thank God. If it weren't for doubt, i'd have nothing to investigate at all.
Ok, I’ll try to cut the rambling short before it gets out of hand.

Love to y’all
John
The incredible discipline to stop yourself just as it threatens to get interesting is a qyality that will serve you well in this hellhole, my friend.

love, tim

RE: John's Journal
Answer
5/6/20 4:02 PM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
Tim Farrington:
yowsa! I'm restraining my activity too.

The incredible discipline to stop yourself just as it threatens to get interesting is a qyality that will serve you well in this hellhole, my friend.

love, tim
Haha, good to hear from you as always Tim.  To be clear I don't mean to suggest anything about anyone's habits.  I'm actually finding that getting involved in these online discussions is a positive stimulant towards meditation and insight and can be beneficial to practice. But, there's reasons to take a step back sometimes.  You know me, I'm a dabbler emoticon

RE: John's Journal
Answer
5/7/20 10:41 AM as a reply to John W.
Ok, a couple of things, first something I left out from yesterday which I should mention, there has been some anger and frustration this week. Not at meditation really but just at the world.  Normal stuff actually, but I've been trying to act as an observer as much as possible, to varying degrees of success.  Overall, though, I think, progress.  And I mean progress in a holistic sense here.  For me this is one of the reasons I meditate: to lessen my aversion and anger.  It's been a huge problem to me in the past (and still).  But when I look back over 5 years, or 10 years, there's definitely progress. But, it comes back from time to time, and when it does, it's interesting to try to understand why it happens.


Last night, a very cool sit where I felt like I was going through the textbook stages of insight.
Started with the body feeling full of energy, almost visible and pulsing sensations, kind of like the cover of MCTB.  From there the focus turned into kind of a VR screen where I was watching this 'energy space', with a clear sense of separation between the object and the watcher.  From there, kind of abstracted away and the object became my body itself (though it was an abstraction of the body - it felt like my body) though I was outside of my body, viewing it.  My first out of body experience! 
It lasted just for a few seconds and then I realized what was happening and got excited.  This kind of threw me off, (or maybe this is part of the process) so I lost the object.  Head pain arose, which became the object.  Then, focus and clarity, calm.  A small spinning object, sort of cross shaped, colorful, turning and spinning and kind of morphing into more of an hourglass(?) shape. Could this be one of the "Three Doors"?
Also somewhere in here I remember a feeling like this sort of warm, electric honey all throughout my body, that I was just kind of sopping around in, kind of like Winnie the Pooh I guess.

Maybe someone can offer up a diagnosis.  To me it seems like this was a clear A&P (out of body feeling), DN (head pain), EQ (the spinning door), but not a full fruition, so perhaps what Daniel would call a "near miss".

In any case, practice continues.

Cheers
John

RE: John's Journal
Answer
5/8/20 2:33 AM as a reply to John W.
John W:
Ok, a couple of things, first something I left out from yesterday which I should mention, there has been some anger and frustration this week. Not at meditation really but just at the world.  Normal stuff actually, but I've been trying to act as an observer as much as possible, to varying degrees of success.  Overall, though, I think, progress.  And I mean progress in a holistic sense here.  For me this is one of the reasons I meditate: to lessen my aversion and anger.  It's been a huge problem to me in the past (and still).  But when I look back over 5 years, or 10 years, there's definitely progress. But, it comes back from time to time, and when it does, it's interesting to try to understand why it happens.


Last night, a very cool sit where I felt like I was going through the textbook stages of insight.
Started with the body feeling full of energy, almost visible and pulsing sensations, kind of like the cover of MCTB.  From there the focus turned into kind of a VR screen where I was watching this 'energy space', with a clear sense of separation between the object and the watcher.  From there, kind of abstracted away and the object became my body itself (though it was an abstraction of the body - it felt like my body) though I was outside of my body, viewing it.  My first out of body experience! 
It lasted just for a few seconds and then I realized what was happening and got excited.  This kind of threw me off, (or maybe this is part of the process) so I lost the object.  Head pain arose, which became the object.  Then, focus and clarity, calm.  A small spinning object, sort of cross shaped, colorful, turning and spinning and kind of morphing into more of an hourglass(?) shape. Could this be one of the "Three Doors"?
Also somewhere in here I remember a feeling like this sort of warm, electric honey all throughout my body, that I was just kind of sopping around in, kind of like Winnie the Pooh I guess.

Maybe someone can offer up a diagnosis.  To me it seems like this was a clear A&P (out of body feeling), DN (head pain), EQ (the spinning door), but not a full fruition, so perhaps what Daniel would call a "near miss".

In any case, practice continues.

Cheers
John
sit on, you raging dabbler!
Maybe someone can offer up a diagnosis.  To me it seems like this was a clear A&P (out of body feeling), DN (head pain), EQ (the spinning door), but not a full fruition, so perhaps what Daniel would call a "near miss".

no, man, i'm afraid it's much worse than that. That was actually It. Keep your fucking mouth shut now and just keep practicing, or you're going to end up getting constant waves of shit from every direction that will force you to either master your rage or kill everyone you meet.

love, tim

RE: John's Journal
Answer
5/8/20 11:04 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
Tim Farrington:
no, man, i'm afraid it's much worse than that. That was actually It. Keep your fucking mouth shut now and just keep practicing, or you're going to end up getting constant waves of shit from every direction that will force you to either master your rage or kill everyone you meet.

love, tim

Hmm, I'm not quite sure what you're suggesting here, maybe I'm being too enthusiastic again?  Overly confident maybe?  Anyway I appreciate you looking out for me, Tim.  

On this note, yesterday again I was kind of bitter and distracted, but my meditations have been going really well, which is kind of surprising. In the past I've had 'down periods' where my meditations were duds and also I was frustrated.  But this time, the bitterness doesn't seem to affect my meditations.  What is the bitterness? Causes and conditions... i'm mad at my computer for freezing. I'm frustrated at all the bad stuff going on in the world.  Whatever.  It's the ripening of negative karma.  So today hoping for some positive karma to ripen.  If it doesn't, hoping for patience in knowing that by fully feeling my anger but not acting on it, i am purifying my negative imprint.  How unrealistic of me!

Last night was good, started with WHM combined with noting, this led to some cool visuals with sort of neon electric sensations, as I focused on them they kind of bloomed and got brighter, and kind of like i was passing through them, almost 3D.  Visualizations in general seem to be getting a little bit more defined.

45 minutes this morning, trying more noting since the mind has been more distracted.

Cheers!
John

RE: John's Journal
Answer
5/10/20 1:48 PM as a reply to John W.
5/9—

Well seems I am back on the rollercoaster, yesterday was all about dealing with negative emotions (you may have called it, Tim), also there is a sense that I’m kind of stuck on a moving train in that if I don’t keep my practice up I can feel it. It’s a good motivation to keep practicing but a little annoying as well. As far as what I’ve been frustrated about, trying to keep it to what’s relevant here, in the abstract sense looking at it from a Dharma perspective I think it’s contemplation around the shadow sides of spirituality and how those are reflected into society etc. (Open up Facebook to just see a real time demonstration of Horseshoe Theory and how self-grasping ignorance will absolutely destroy any semblance of true practice). And so I think about how to properly handle those feelings (of aversion, anger, fear), in a way that’s not retaliatory and a way that’s not going to harm my practice, trying to maintain awareness of the dangers of judgement. I am definitely not claiming that I handle things super well. But I can at least think about how I might do it and that’s a good start. Also I think I have improved in my handling of things over the long-term. In the past I would argue with people or try to prove my point (to what purpose?). Now, not as much. So I mean, really all I have control over is my own practice, so as these shadow stereotypes exist in what we view as external (but which is actually only our internal perception of them), they can be used to bring awareness to those same parts of yourself like a mirror, so you help make sure you don’t fall into the same traps.

Other than that, slacked a little bit, kind of a busy day with both the distracted mind and having to run errands and stuff like that. Finally got a good sit in the evening, where it was very centered towards no-self and suffering… experimenting with the “jaded warrior” mentality (“Hello darkness my old friend”) and how that can be a useful tool towards better understanding suffering from more of a vantage point of ‘reobservation’ (bittersweet). That’s not to say that someone should strive to go through any sort of physical abuse to understand this state of mind, maybe that’s why albums such as Exile on Main Street exist (Wild Horses anyone?).


5/10—
Today the skies are looking more clear, outside and inside. I’m able to work with gentler concentration, 45 minutes in the morning and then 30 minutes of mantras so far. Still some contemplation of some of yesterday’s thoughts. Playing with the idea of setting a simple intention around anger. Something just like “no matter what harm is inflicted on me by any person or non-living thing, I will not retaliate” and then from there thinking about how that’s actually developing a mind of renunciation, tying into Bodhichitta, lovingkindness, other Metta concepts.

Thinking about what it means to ‘not retaliate’ from a practice perspective, a lot of it I think is just keeping your head down. Not to get distracted too much by what people say you should or shouldn’t be doing… though at the same time finding a way to be aware and open to advice.

So, now may try to keep this a little more sporadic for a while… thank you all for the inspiration as always.


With love
John

RE: John's Journal
Answer
5/10/20 3:21 PM as a reply to John W.
I know that I might at some stage get out of here if shit happens to hit the fan again as I dont do well in my practice where there is too much chit-chat, as it is so on all forums really. Im more of a "ok I've had enough of this suffering and Im either going to plow through it or die trying" emoticon but I really need that solitude and just let that Tsunami hit me as hard as it has to and Acceept it all.

What I thik CAN help is to have a person related to this practice to check in once or twice a month (in case you want to step out the forum for now that is). This will keep you honest and dedicated as you will want to show up with some flesh and bones to present it next time you meet.

Either a teacher or some one else you trust. There must be someone here on the forum willing to step in. You can ask I guess.

RE: John's Journal
Answer
5/11/20 3:23 AM as a reply to John W.
John W:
5/9—

Well seems I am back on the rollercoaster, yesterday was all about dealing with negative emotions (you may have called it, Tim), also there is a sense that I’m kind of stuck on a moving train in that if I don’t keep my practice up I can feel it. It’s a good motivation to keep practicing but a little annoying as well. As far as what I’ve been frustrated about, trying to keep it to what’s relevant here, in the abstract sense looking at it from a Dharma perspective I think it’s contemplation around the shadow sides of spirituality and how those are reflected into society etc. (Open up Facebook to just see a real time demonstration of Horseshoe Theory and how self-grasping ignorance will absolutely destroy any semblance of true practice). And so I think about how to properly handle those feelings (of aversion, anger, fear), in a way that’s not retaliatory and a way that’s not going to harm my practice, trying to maintain awareness of the dangers of judgement. I am definitely not claiming that I handle things super well. But I can at least think about how I might do it and that’s a good start. Also I think I have improved in my handling of things over the long-term. In the past I would argue with people or try to prove my point (to what purpose?). Now, not as much. So I mean, really all I have control over is my own practice, so as these shadow stereotypes exist in what we view as external (but which is actually only our internal perception of them), they can be used to bring awareness to those same parts of yourself like a mirror, so you help make sure you don’t fall into the same traps.

Other than that, slacked a little bit, kind of a busy day with both the distracted mind and having to run errands and stuff like that. Finally got a good sit in the evening, where it was very centered towards no-self and suffering… experimenting with the “jaded warrior” mentality (“Hello darkness my old friend”) and how that can be a useful tool towards better understanding suffering from more of a vantage point of ‘reobservation’ (bittersweet). That’s not to say that someone should strive to go through any sort of physical abuse to understand this state of mind, maybe that’s why albums such as Exile on Main Street exist (Wild Horses anyone?).


5/10—
Today the skies are looking more clear, outside and inside. I’m able to work with gentler concentration, 45 minutes in the morning and then 30 minutes of mantras so far. Still some contemplation of some of yesterday’s thoughts. Playing with the idea of setting a simple intention around anger. Something just like “no matter what harm is inflicted on me by any person or non-living thing, I will not retaliate” and then from there thinking about how that’s actually developing a mind of renunciation, tying into Bodhichitta, lovingkindness, other Metta concepts.

Thinking about what it means to ‘not retaliate’ from a practice perspective, a lot of it I think is just keeping your head down. Not to get distracted too much by what people say you should or shouldn’t be doing… though at the same time finding a way to be aware and open to advice.

So, now may try to keep this a little more sporadic for a while… thank you all for the inspiration as always.


With love
John
love
Today the skies are looking more clear, outside and inside. I’m able to work with gentler concentration, 45 minutes in the morning and then 30 minutes of mantras so far. Still some contemplation of some of yesterday’s thoughts. Playing with the idea of setting a simple intention around anger. Something just like “no matter what harm is inflicted on me by any person or non-living thing, I will not retaliate” 

I love the idea of simplifying what you're trying to accomplish in your practice; that, any narrowing of focus into a truly finite and specifi technique/mantra and relaxing in the committment to keep that simple date, in that imple way, with each breath, allows us more freedom from the haunting by vague big stuff and urgent pacing caused by worrying about not realy quite knowing what to do, but feelng intensely that Something Must Be Done!
So, now may try to keep this a little more sporadic for a while…

Papa Che gave you some wise counsel on this, just above. He is a unique combination of balls-to-the-wall practice like a man with his hair on fire and no time for small talk on his way to the water, and one of the best i ever met at encouraging, allowing, and validating his fellow practitioners in finding whatever pace and timing and intervals and intensities of practice they truly need at any given point. He's saved my ass several times in that way, and you could do worse that having that smiley angel drop in our of his burning hair days once in a while to tell you its okay to slow down and simplify even further still.

Your own hair will eventually burst into flame too, of course, if it has not already, and then you will have to learn to go slower still!

Rumi says: 

“Fire is what of God is world-consuming.
Water, world-protecting.
Somehow each gives the appearance of
the other. To these eyes
you have now, what looks like water
burns. What looks like fire
is a great relief to be inside.”


love, tim

RE: John's Journal
Answer
5/11/20 9:59 AM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Hey Che, TIm,
Thanks, I appreciate you both. I do think it would be wise for me to hunker down and "go find a nice cave" right now. It seems for now, the train is rolling and I just have to ride it through to the end.  Keeping strict daily goals, intentions, etc.  

Perhaps a check-in every 1-2 weeks either with a teacher, or just doing a summarized weekly log.  I'm not sure how I would go about getting in touch with a teacher, just make a new post asking?  

And yes, I spent about 10 years with my hair on fire, it is a bit easier to just sit back and laugh at myself now when the rain falls! I must admit though, I have a habit of making things sound a lot more dramatic than they really are ;)

With love
John

RE: John's Journal
Answer
5/12/20 6:21 AM as a reply to John W.
Yes just make a new post and ask for a teacher or even throw a PM at Chris Marti just make sure it doesn't hit him in the head or god forbid spill his Latte into his lap emoticon 

RE: John's Journal
Answer
5/13/20 4:34 AM as a reply to John W.
John W:
Hey Che, TIm,
Thanks, I appreciate you both. I do think it would be wise for me to hunker down and "go find a nice cave" right now. It seems for now, the train is rolling and I just have to ride it through to the end.  Keeping strict daily goals, intentions, etc.  

John, you go, man, ride on.
Perhaps a check-in every 1-2 weeks either with a teacher, or just doing a summarized weekly log. 

or a chck in with a friend. I'm at tim_farrington@msn.com

I'm not sure how I would go about getting in touch with a teacher, just make a new post asking?  

Just wave a hundred dollar bill in the air for a moment.

And yes, I spent about 10 years with my hair on fire, it is a bit easier to just sit back and laugh at myself now when the rain falls! I must admit though, I have a habit of making things sound a lot more dramatic than they really are ;)

With love
John
good man. Now you can wake up to the inferno of the fact that it's the whole fucking world that has its hair on fire.

love, tim

RE: John's Journal
Answer
5/13/20 4:09 PM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
[quote=Tim Farrington

]good man. Now you can wake up to the inferno of the fact that it's the whole fucking world that has its hair on fire.

love, tim

Unfortunately, not the hardest realization to come upon, these days...


And now, to quote the Bodhisattva Steve Harwell, from the famous band Smashmouth:

"My world's on fire, how about yours?
That's the way I like it and I never get bored"

RE: John's Journal
Answer
5/14/20 3:48 AM as a reply to John W.
John W:
[quote=Tim Farrington

]good man. Now you can wake up to the inferno of the fact that it's the whole fucking world that has its hair on fire.

love, tim

Unfortunately, not the hardest realization to come upon, these days...


And now, to quote the Bodhisattva Steve Harwell, from the famous band Smashmouth:

"My world's on fire, how about yours?
That's the way I like it and I never get bored"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gklwYGHYeGU&list=PL3KU7_vkKrAmBCksSCjxOtQ9bhfhDY515&index=38


When was the last time you clocked-in?
There is a race to be run and a song to be sung
There is a fine line wearing thin

So don't look back the past has past
The future is coming fast
You better make room, we're coming through
Loud and clear


We got the hands to turn this around
We got the plan to make it go down
We got the voice filling this room
We got the minds, the minds that go boom
Get up get out get on that train
It's becoming so insane
This tiny blue marble is rolling away


Have ya checked out the temperature lately
There's a fever that's about to break
There is a game to be won and a song to be sung
This is our battle cry, make no mistake
So don't look back the past has past
The future is coming fast
You better make room, we're coming through
Loud and clear


We got the hands to turn this around
We got the plan to make it go down
We got the voice filling this room
We got the minds, the minds that go boom
Get up get out get on that train
It's becoming so insane
This tiny blue marble is rolling away


 
So don't look back the past has past
The future is coming fast
You better make room, we're coming through
Loud and clear



RE: John's Journal
Answer
5/14/20 12:37 PM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
Tim Farrington:
Yesss.

Now I hope to become That Mad Rambler who only comes down from his cave once a full moon to yell Smashmouth lyrics at random villagers.

Ok, back into my cave I go emoticon

RE: John's Journal
Answer
5/28/20 8:53 AM as a reply to John W.
Been a couple of weeks since my last post, I'm trying to keep these sporadic but still at regular intervals.

The name of the game has been consistency for me the past 2 weeks. Averaging 3-4 hours a day, technique-wise, it's kind of a mixture of contemplation and investigation on various Dharma and Metta concepts, concentration and relaxation into awareness.  I've been off and on attending an online retreat this week on Vajrapani - the Vajra holder - which I have found really awesome.  The prayers and mantras seem to work well with my concentration practices.  Also with my Tibetan group we've been doing many meditations on the emptiness of the body, which I think also complements things well.

Still, there seem to be many kinks which need working out.  I seem to keep cycling through various stages of insight on a weekly or biweekly basis.  This week, for example, after a few days of powerful meditations and very relaxing experiences, just yesterday I was facing more difficulty, acting irritably even outside of meditation, at one point I remember just thinking that I was doing something wrong, that I was just going to snap.  Nothing I can't handle, or that I haven't handled already, but still, leaves me thinking that I have quite a way to go before attaining path.

Not to say there is not progress being made, I think there certainly is.  But though the glimpses and the phenomena occur, with greater frequency and clarity, I wouldn't say there has been any major event like stream entry.  That is the obvious short term goal, but my understanding is the best way to approach that goal is to be as far away from SE oriented practice as I can right now.  It could be months or years, it's really outside of my control. 

In the past week, there's been some feelings of spaciousness of the body, with the body sort of feeling like running water at times, or, playing with 'merging' the body with the external, sort of expanding and questioning exactly where the body ends and where space begins.  So I think of this as a good sign, pointing towards formlessness, which I still haven't had a totally solid experience with.

Love!
John

RE: John's Journal
Answer
5/30/20 3:14 AM as a reply to John W.
John W:
Been a couple of weeks since my last post, I'm trying to keep these sporadic but still at regular intervals.

The name of the game has been consistency for me the past 2 weeks. Averaging 3-4 hours a day, technique-wise, it's kind of a mixture of contemplation and investigation on various Dharma and Metta concepts, concentration and relaxation into awareness.  I've been off and on attending an online retreat this week on Vajrapani - the Vajra holder - which I have found really awesome.  The prayers and mantras seem to work well with my concentration practices.  Also with my Tibetan group we've been doing many meditations on the emptiness of the body, which I think also complements things well.


amen.
Still, there seem to be many kinks which need working out.  I seem to keep cycling through various stages of insight on a weekly or biweekly basis.  This week, for example, after a few days of powerful meditations and very relaxing experiences, just yesterday I was facing more difficulty, acting irritably even outside of meditation, at one point I remember just thinking that I was doing something wrong, that I was just going to snap.  Nothing I can't handle, or that I haven't handled already, but still, leaves me thinking that I have quite a way to go before attaining path.


to tell you the truth, some of the most ornery asholes i've ever met have attained more paths than they have wall space for the certifcates. Path and ornery go together like rain and wet.

Not to say there is not progress being made, I think there certainly is.  But though the glimpses and the phenomena occur, with greater frequency and clarity, I wouldn't say there has been any major event like stream entry.  That is the obvious short term goal,
"short term goal"? thank God you already respinded to this ---
but my understanding is the best way to approach that goal is to be as far away from SE oriented practice as I can right now.  It could be months or years, it's really outside of my control.  

you genius, you paragon, you right practitioner, you Master of Attitude.
.
In the past week, there's been some feelings of spaciousness of the body, with the body sort of feeling like running water at times, or, playing with 'merging' the body with the external, sort of expanding and questioning exactly where the body ends and where space begins. 
stick here as long as you can, it only gets worse from here.

So I think of this as a good sign, pointing towards formlessness, which I still haven't had a totally solid experience with.
 oops, there you go. See? "Good sign." You're gonna pay for that one, big time. Spot a bad sign as soon as you can, and angst furiously about it, loudly, as if in penance, and perhaps you will be spared a few minutes in the eternal fires of hell.

Love!
John

love!
tim

RE: John's Journal
Answer
5/31/20 10:02 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
Tim Farrington:
So I think of this as a good sign, pointing towards formlessness, which I still haven't had a totally solid experience with.
 oops, there you go. See? "Good sign." You're gonna pay for that one, big time. Spot a bad sign as soon as you can, and angst furiously about it, loudly, as if in penance, and perhaps you will be spared a few minutes in the eternal fires of hell.

Hah, yes well there have been plenty of bad signs this week, or should I say, mistakes, and believe me, I do my own version of penance and purification. You know me, I'm the eternal optimist, to the point where it gets me in trouble sometimes. Personally I think one of the great things about the pragmatic approach is the empowerment that comes with it, and part of what it means to be empowered is that there is no set-in-stone timeline of awakening. 

One of the issues, which I perceive to exist in many mainstream circles, is stifling of progress due to self-imposed restrictions of 'I've only been practicing for 5 years/10 years/20 years, so I can't attain X in this short amount of time'.  On the converse, obviously expecting things to happen unrealistically quickly is problematic as well.  The truth is that anything is possible so we shouldn't rule out any possibility.

With the empowered approach does come responsibility, which is I think what you are getting at.  Awakening to this great potential that we all have and maintaining a since of humility about it is a delicate balance which I have yet to find. I see why some people choose not to even take the risk and never claim any attainment publicly.  But, we're all here because we think this can be done, yes?  We see the immense potential benefit in it.  But, for this to work, it requires diligence from all of us and part of that is understanding that it's a work in progress for all of us. That should go without saying.

Buddha himself attained full enlightenment in only 7 years, and he taught that full enlightenment could be achieved in as little as one week. If he can do it, so can we.  Is it realistic to think that?  No.  But, is it helpful?  I think so, yes.  Maybe you feel differently.  In any case, you should get some more sleep Tim ;) though I am thankful for your thoughts here.

RE: John's Journal
Answer
6/8/20 2:16 AM as a reply to John W.
John W:
Tim Farrington:
So I think of this as a good sign, pointing towards formlessness, which I still haven't had a totally solid experience with.
 oops, there you go. See? "Good sign." You're gonna pay for that one, big time. Spot a bad sign as soon as you can, and angst furiously about it, loudly, as if in penance, and perhaps you will be spared a few minutes in the eternal fires of hell.

Hah, yes well there have been plenty of bad signs this week, or should I say, mistakes, and believe me, I do my own version of penance and purification. You know me, I'm the eternal optimist, to the point where it gets me in trouble sometimes. Personally I think one of the great things about the pragmatic approach is the empowerment that comes with it, and part of what it means to be empowered is that there is no set-in-stone timeline of awakening. 

One of the issues, which I perceive to exist in many mainstream circles, is stifling of progress due to self-imposed restrictions of 'I've only been practicing for 5 years/10 years/20 years, so I can't attain X in this short amount of time'.  On the converse, obviously expecting things to happen unrealistically quickly is problematic as well.  The truth is that anything is possible so we shouldn't rule out any possibility.

With the empowered approach does come responsibility, which is I think what you are getting at.  Awakening to this great potential that we all have and maintaining a since of humility about it is a delicate balance which I have yet to find. I see why some people choose not to even take the risk and never claim any attainment publicly.  But, we're all here because we think this can be done, yes?  We see the immense potential benefit in it.  But, for this to work, it requires diligence from all of us and part of that is understanding that it's a work in progress for all of us. That should go without saying.

Buddha himself attained full enlightenment in only 7 years, and he taught that full enlightenment could be achieved in as little as one week. If he can do it, so can we.  Is it realistic to think that?  No.  But, is it helpful?  I think so, yes.  Maybe you feel differently.  In any case, you should get some more sleep Tim ;) though I am thankful for your thoughts here.
You're at the point where it could happen between one breath and the next, i think. Or in 5 eons. Yes, it is realistic to think both, lol. No, it is not in the least bit helpful. (wol, weep out loud)

I need sleep so bad my pillows are crying out to me constantly, like mermaids, singing, each to each, and seagirls wreathed with seaweed red and brown, til human voices in our head wake us, and we drown.

love, tim

RE: John's Journal
Answer
6/8/20 2:32 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
"I need sleep so bad my pillows are crying out to me constantly, like mermaids, singing, each to each, and seagirls wreathed with seaweed red and brown, til human voices in our head wake us, and we drown."

I will so use this in my new tune!!! It just fits! Can I? Can I? Please emoticon 


RE: John's Journal
Answer
6/8/20 2:52 AM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
emoticon

Papa-ji, it's a mish-mash pastiche, heavy on T.S. Eliot, but hell yeah, go to town. emoticon

RE: John's Journal
Answer
6/8/20 3:51 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
My apologies or highjacking John's thread. Im mvving this over to Tim's Bar ... (lyrics already recorded roughly )

RE: John's Journal
Answer
6/8/20 10:30 AM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
It sounds like it was inspired by the intriguingly disturbing movie The Lighthouse starring Robb Pattinson and Willem Dafoe. Highly recommend it...

BTW Che, we should exchange music links. I am a bit of a dabbler myself.