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When does the path chill out?

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When does the path chill out?
Answer
3/17/20 9:50 PM
Hello everyone,

I'm curious about folks here who are long-term practitioners and who have made considerable progress. When does the path chill out?

Right now for instance, I have certainly crossed the A&P multiple times, and while I've done a fairly good job of keeping my everyday life in order (and since I've started practicing, my life really has gotten a lot better in the conventional sense, according to those close to me and around me), still my relationship to the path, to meditation and to the Dharma is incredibly wild and intense.
Constant mood swings, neurotically reading deep Dharma texts, immense existential angst which comes and goes constantly in mood swings, neurotic and obsessive thinking accompanied by existential angst...etc. You get the idea. It probably doesn't help that I'm not really a secularist, and I do believe in all the Buddhist stuff, so the religious concerns and all that comes with them are there in my conditioning (although I suppose everyone has their "stuff" to deal with).

For example, I listened to the Deconstructing Yourself Podcast episode with Tucker Peck, where he describes how pre-Second path everything was really wild for him, all he wanted to do was talk Dharma..etc, and how post-Second Path he found a sense of return to normality, and from then on things were smoother, more intuitive, less wild and intense. I'm wondering if anyone else here has had a path with a similar trajectory.

When does it calm down?

RE: When does the path chill out?
Answer
3/18/20 12:23 AM as a reply to WPCK.
Hello,

if u practice constantly and are aware of your sila, the path will lead to more peace and acceptance. I am by far no stage-100-cleanedallthefetters-pro-arahant-practicioner, but it is obvious even to me now that the path can do that. And I had the same worries as you, sometimes riding a cycle superchilled, while the next one was kicking me totally off the rails. Thats when you can get really pissed because there's the feeling of being stuck in a never ending, unforgiving and annoying fractal.

RE: When does the path chill out?
Answer
3/18/20 2:29 AM as a reply to WPCK.
This is an interesting post. Thank you. 

Im only post 1st Path since end of June 2019 and there was this "chill out" period which felt refreshing after being stuck for almost a decade in DN. 
There was no talk about Dhamma, no talk or thoughts about stream entry, or attaining new paths... only was concerned to find a job and fix my relationships which got hammered during DN. 

Since January this year I felt Dhamma related  thinking creeping in. Joined this forum, listening to Buddhist podcasts, reading Buddhist books, retreating more into myself and also getting pissed with all these experiences being put on a hyerarchical pedastal by this sticky self-validating habit. 

I'm certainly feeling like awakening is dead and I'm on the ride again. 
There is this thirst to plunge into battle again, armed with Satipatthana and Acceptance. 

I hope more folks will chime in on this and share. 

Will check that podcast. Thank you! 

RE: When does the path chill out?
Answer
3/18/20 6:48 AM as a reply to WPCK.
There really are no rules for this. 

Some people have fairly straightforward journey to first path -- still challenging and with deep changes, but not disruptive. Some people become dark night yogis for a decade. In general, it seems like those who have faith in dharma/meditation seem to do better. Those with big insecurities and doubts and spiritual ambitions have trouble (like I did emoticon ).

Most people have fairly wild journey to second path, this is very common. New energetic stuff starts happening and jhanas become many times stronger, so it's very strange and in the midst it's hard to map. Some people really freak out. Other people think "ooh, cool!", so even the same experience gets interpreted differently. But some people oddly quit completely after first path, so they seem to have no problems, I guess. In any case, they are off the radar! 

The journey to third path is very similar to the journey to first path. It can be a time of deep refinement and really saintly development... or it can oddly become a kind of spiritual dark night that people never quite crawl out of. These tend to be the scary dogmatic teachers that obviously know a lot, but who are obviously still struggling... obvious to everyone except themselves. People who tend to be dogmatic or intellectual have a real problem with this stage because it is all about direct experience, not "applying techniques" or "manipulating experience". A playful and appreciative attitude for life and mind really helps. Kindness is essential.

There aren't a lot of data points for fourth. This journey is hard to assess, because in this stage --- well, really during all of meditation, but it is very obvious at this stage because it is the "last" --- what becomes obvious is that each path insight is more like a "tipping point" rather a total and complete transformation. So some people seem to barely slip into a fourth path-ish realization and do no more work... and they tend to have ongoing challenges in life along with a fair amount of denial. They have stuff to clean up, but they refuse to see it. Others don't tip into fourth until they are nearly completely cleaned up and it seems like they are done done done. These people seem to be the ones that really struggled along the way. By the time they hit fourth, they are mostly cleaned up. Seems like there is everything thing in between, but like I said: not enough data.

As you can tell, this isn't a dogmatic view, just one based on the limited number of people I've met and my own experiences. And it's worth what you paid for it.

Overall, what really helps is a group of meditators that can help normalize the wierdness and challenges... otherwise, we're prone to thinking "I'm the only broken meditator that has to go through this", so a lot of pride and anxiety and negative psychology. Or we're prone to thinking "I'm the most awesome meditator in the world, no one has gone through this. I am the next spiritual avatar for all of humanity and all will bow to me!", so a lot of pride and manial and delusions of grandeur.  With the company/relationship with other meditators, you're more likely to say, "yup, that wierd stuff is happening to me too, it's kind of challenging but interesting and I'm learning a lot about my mind."

Hope this helps.

RE: When does the path chill out?
Answer
3/18/20 7:17 AM as a reply to shargrol.
Damnit!  emoticon

I typed in a long reply to this question and came back here only to find shargrol's great post. So I'm canceling my reply. His is better.

RE: When does the path chill out?
Answer
3/18/20 8:27 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
I would really like to see your reply, too, Chris. Have you deleted it entirely? 

RE: When does the path chill out?
Answer
3/18/20 11:45 AM as a reply to WPCK.
I wouldnt call myself a long-term practitioner but I relate to this so maybe a response will help in some way:

"Constant mood swings, neurotically reading deep Dharma texts, immense existential angst which comes and goes constantly in mood swings, neurotic and obsessive thinking accompanied by existential angst...etc. You get the idea. It probably doesn't help that I'm not really a secularist, and I do believe in all the Buddhist stuff, so the religious concerns and all that comes with them are there in my conditioning (although I suppose everyone has their "stuff" to deal with)."

I can relate to this and feel like I might be in a similar situation.  I was raised fundamentalist Christian so I have that whole religious trauma to deal with.  I found (still find) myself cycling through periods of increased delusion/dualistic thinking, through periods of happiness and increased focus and concentration, and everyting in between.

When I find myself thinking about things in dualistic terms I try to recognize the nature of that delusion as soon as it occurs.  I've found that it gradually gets easier every time I cycle through these stages.  Maybe that's the process, it's a slow upward spiral, you may fall into the same patterns over and over but each time you get slightly better at handling them and recognizing them vs. getting stuck in one particular mood or thought process.

Most of the world thinks in these dualistic terms constantly.  So you may not be as neurotic as you think emoticon

Anyway good luck and hope it goes well for you... I think many of us are on this same path.

RE: When does the path chill out?
Answer
3/18/20 1:07 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Alas, my reply arose and passed away quickly, like the sound of a foghorn in the harbor at dawn. It's gone, gone, gone.

RE: When does the path chill out?
Answer
3/18/20 2:00 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
But the sound of a foghorn is now going through my mind... how did you do that?

RE: When does the path chill out?
Answer
3/18/20 2:04 PM as a reply to shargrol.
I thought that "I'm the mighty meditator" only occurs once in the first A&P emoticon Are you saying this also happens in the 2nd A&P ? Oh gawd not again emoticon 

RE: When does the path chill out?
Answer
3/18/20 2:05 PM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:
But the sound of a foghorn is now going through my mind... how did you do that?

If I ask you not to think about a Pink Elephant, what do you think of? emoticon 

RE: When does the path chill out?
Answer
3/18/20 2:06 PM as a reply to shargrol.
... how did you do that?

Ear worms.

RE: When does the path chill out?
Answer
3/18/20 3:53 PM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Papa Che Dusko:
I thought that "I'm the mighty meditator" only occurs once in the first A&P emoticon Are you saying this also happens in the 2nd A&P ? Oh gawd not again emoticon 

Oh, it can happen many many many times... There's a series of seven points mind training by Tashi Nyima on youtube that I sometimes return to in order to deal with hubris and other embarrassing traits. It's a treasure. 

RE: When does the path chill out?
Answer
3/18/20 3:54 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Alas, my reply arose and passed away quickly, like the sound of a foghorn in the harbor at dawn. It's gone, gone, gone.


At least I got myself some poetry. You are forgiven. emoticon

RE: When does the path chill out?
Answer
3/18/20 6:38 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
The banter between the two of you is as entertaining as the solid advice the two of you tend to provide.

If I didn't know any better, I'd think that you both are friends outside of this forum (wink wink). emoticon

RE: When does the path chill out?
Answer
3/19/20 2:05 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Thank you, will check that on tube land (must google hubris, I hope it's not some bad illness, wouldn't want to get that emoticon

RE: When does the path chill out?
Answer
3/19/20 2:13 AM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Excessive pride and excessive optimism about one's abilities. It is only contagious for a certain risk group of people who are prone to competetive behavior or to social mimicking, or who already have the trait latently. emoticon

RE: When does the path chill out?
Answer
3/19/20 9:19 AM as a reply to WPCK.
I don't know where I am in terms of absolute progress (probably further along than most, but definitely not as far as many). I will say that as I've progressed, my relationship to the rest of the world has chilled out more, but my relationship to my practice has gotten more intense and edgy. Although, lately I haven't had as much of a compulsion to do sitting practice, but I am practicing constantly throughout the day. Also, it seems to go in waves and cycles.

RE: When does the path chill out?
Answer
4/8/20 9:38 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Alas, my reply arose and passed away quickly, like the sound of a foghorn in the harbor at dawn. It's gone, gone, gone.

Gate gate

para gate para sum gate bodhi swaha.


Shargrol really is a pain in the ass that way. Comes in, blows away the crowd, blows out all the amps, breaks every guitar, sets the fucking stage on fire, and walks away clean. How are you going to follow that act? But still, this is a great thread.


RE: When does the path chill out?
Answer
4/8/20 9:41 AM as a reply to WPCK.
WPCK:

Constant mood swings, neurotically reading deep Dharma texts, immense existential angst which comes and goes constantly in mood swings, neurotic and obsessive thinking accompanied by existential angst...etc. 

Oh shit, I thought this WAS chill, and was inclined to bask in my attainments. You mean, it gets better?

RE: When does the path chill out?
Answer
4/8/20 3:37 PM as a reply to WPCK.
Without claiming anything specific, for me it chilled out in the "May 2018" entry described on this page: http://noahsmonthlyupdate.blogspot.com/2017/12/milestones.html

Since then it's been more downhill, process of reconciling all the different aspects of my life to be more aligned with what has been learned.

RE: When does the path chill out?
Answer
4/12/20 7:25 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah D:
Without claiming anything specific, for me it chilled out in the "May 2018" entry described on this page: http://noahsmonthlyupdate.blogspot.com/2017/12/milestones.html

Since then it's been more downhill, process of reconciling all the different aspects of my life to be more aligned with what has been learned.


I have to say, this is pretty chill:

Noah D, 5/2018:

It wasn’t just that the object was awake in its own quadrant. Rather, the attentional correlate on “my side” was dancing with it - meeting it perfectly as it arose & passed away.  [...]  

I realized ‘the camera always moves with the movie frame.’  In other words, I can’t tell what comes first: the thing witnessed or the witness.

  

They effortlessly swing to & fro together.  [...]  

Like my sensory apparatus is a wormhole/vortex bending outwards/inwards to reality but also reality collapses back into my lens from behind.  

Like the light of sentience shining through “me” as a magnifying glass which then refracts into the inner & outer world, displaying them



RE: When does the path chill out?
Answer
4/12/20 10:05 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
Lol thanks