stages of insight mirroring expectation?

C C C, modified 10 Years ago.

stages of insight mirroring expectation?

Posts: 946 Join Date: 3/9/10 Recent Posts
Is there any chance that the stages of insight occur because they are expected to occur, either by the practitioner or the teacher? After all, few would commence meditation without first reading about it somewhere, and embedded in that literature will be all manner of suggestions as to what is likely to happen.

Other traditions might have stages of their own, but some appear to just have a few. Why only a few? There are twenty or so stages described in MCTB. Are they necessary? Might this "stages fixation" be the mind creating a mountain to climb because it is afraid of experience the truth right this instant?

Changing tack slightly, and just to show how powerful expectation is...

Amongst the research on placebo, there is a lot of evidence to suggest that whole nations can have expectations about what drugs will work, and how well. cut/paste from the Economist: "The placebo effect is mysterious enough on its own. But there's more. It turns out that placebos work better in some countries than other others. It also turns out that ratings by trial observers vary significantly from one testing site to another. But what's most mysterious is that the placebo effect actually seems to be getting stronger over time. Not only are new drugs having a harder and harder time beating out placebos, but older drugs that have been retested are having problems too...".

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So what I'm getting at is this: I'm seeing a trend towards much more direct methods. Were 'stages' a prop, a deterrent, an expectation, a self-made mountain to climb? Will the 'stages of insight' be redundant in 5-10 years time? I suspect they will be.
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Eran G, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: stages of insight mirroring expectation?

Posts: 182 Join Date: 1/5/10 Recent Posts
The stages of insight As described in MCTB lasted for about 1500 years (give or take). I suspect they will last for a whle longer. They exist because they appear to be a common enough theme occurring for many practitioners who follow this path. You can find right here on the DhO posts from yogis who have never read anything about the stages of insight and yet describe experiences that seem to have been copied directly from the map. I dont think they describe everyone's experiences but they do show up quite a lot.
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Yadid dee, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: stages of insight mirroring expectation?

Posts: 258 Join Date: 9/11/09 Recent Posts
CCC,

You seem to be a very curious fellow, that's very good for practice,

But unless you stop making love to ideas about meditation and insight, you will never find out.
Why don't you go check your theory by doing some actual intensive meditation practice, and letting us know what you actually find out? (as opposed to just letting us know what your thoughts based on ideas are).

Because your thoughts about meditation and enlightenment are just fluff, clouds in the sky, and this post is a perfect example of that.

Do they mirror expectation? Yes/No? Go do the experiment and you may just find out.

People spend their whole lives thinking about these things and never getting a taste.. Do you want to ever get a taste? Because by reading this forum so much, you probably have a slight belief that some sort of progress can be made, more than what you already know.

Using the information on this forum, reading the experiences of advanced practitioners just to gain more information to juggle around ignorantly in the mind is just plain useless, you could just go read a good novel instead.

You mentioned several times that you are not able to get 'Mind and Body' - That's kid stuff, man. If you actually tried, you'd see it. And by actually trying I mean sitting down to do some real practice for lets say 45 minutes, even when your body hurts a bit, because your mind and body will conjure up many things to stir you away from practice, such as theoretical ideas about meditation and why you shouldn't do it until you get a strong and good "sense of self".

The day that I'll see you posting up a practice thread in which you honestly report some actual, real practice (doesn't have to be heroic - even an hour a day of practice goes a long way) - will be a hopeful day.

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C C C, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: stages of insight mirroring expectation?

Posts: 946 Join Date: 3/9/10 Recent Posts
So you're saying 'go and practice harder and longer'. That doesn't help me.

You're saying 'don't question the status quo'. Why not? I always question my own assumptions and those of others. The fact that the sytem is 1500 yrs old (thanks eran) doesn't concern me. Things evolve. Processes evolve. Human consciousness as a whole evolves.
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Meggo mu, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: stages of insight mirroring expectation?

Posts: 29 Join Date: 3/26/11 Recent Posts
Why do you find it difficult to practice?
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Yadid dee, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: stages of insight mirroring expectation?

Posts: 258 Join Date: 9/11/09 Recent Posts
C C C:
So you're saying 'go and practice harder and longer'. That doesn't help me.

You're saying 'don't question the status quo'. Why not? I always question my own assumptions and those of others. The fact that the sytem is 1500 yrs old (thanks eran) doesn't concern me. Things evolve. Processes evolve. Human consciousness as a whole evolves.


Hey CCC,

I am definitely not saying `Dont question the status quo`, I am saying the exact opposite.
Question it! But question it in a way that really matters, by actually doing the experiment.
I am not saying 'Go practice harder and longer', I am saying that if you wish to understand this, you will have to actually practice, period, because if you haven't gotten to even the first insight knowledge, you're not doing it.

This forum provides great resources for either: 1) Excellent practice since you can get advice from advanced yogis. 2) Mental masturbation with plenty of information.
You have made almost 300 posts on the DhO, and less than 3 that I remember are about actual practice that you're doing.
If you actually try to practice what is being shared here, you may just understand these things at the level that actually matters.

When the mind is applied to the present moment, wholeheartedly, the insight stages show up.
It becomes more and more obvious as one progresses, and it is clear as day light once one crosses the Arising and Passing Away (Insight #4) and then the Dark Night, and even clearer once you get to Equanimity (11th Nyana) (And beyond that, but that's what I have personally seen).

Now, for a person who hasn't seen this, it remains in the realm of words and concepts, and thats when you can come up with things like:
C C C:
Might this "stages fixation" be the mind creating a mountain to climb because it is afraid of experience the truth right this instant?
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Because once the mind is applied to the 'truth right this instant' thats when the insight stages show up.
If one is obsessed, fixated on ideas and thoughts, not looking into the true nature of each sensation that arises, they do not show up.

And when I say 'they show up' I dont mean to say that these words come to your mind 'Arising and passing away!!', 'Mind and Body!!'. Each stage has a different flavor of experience, a different focus, etc. Sometimes it is not clear where one is, but that doesn't matter, because one's job is to keep applying the mind to the 'truth right this instant' , as you said, and then it becomes clearer.
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Yadid dee, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: stages of insight mirroring expectation?

Posts: 258 Join Date: 9/11/09 Recent Posts
I just thought that there is a slight point in what you are saying, which is:
After one knows about the insight stages, one's mind could mimic those, etc.

And that does happen. Thoughts such as "Where am I', "Is this the X nyana', etc.
But those thoughts can be seen as impermanent and impersonal noted as 'thinking thinking' as anything else, so it doesn't matter much.
One could get stuck in these mind loops equally as one could get stuck in mind loops about red zebras.
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Bruno Loff, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: stages of insight mirroring expectation?

Posts: 1094 Join Date: 8/30/09 Recent Posts
Hmm I'm a decent counter-example to this: although periods of my practice are obviously A&P, Dark Night, Equanimity, etc, I do not clearly cycle through the ñanas every day — which is not to say it doesn't happen, but rather that I do not notice it. And I do know what they are, and after stream entry I did expect them to arise in the manner Daniel described.

So it seems they don't always mirror expectation.

CCC I do agree with Yadid, I think you could really benefit from trying the damned meditation thing for yourself, with a persistent, disciplined, curious, adventurous attitude.

What exactly happens when you meditate? You have some posts that indicate you do practice meditation (1, 2, 3), and the general theme seems to be that you probably could use some suggestions from other practitioners on how to improve your practice... some fresh input to stir the mind in a deeper way... I know I've benefited from having such interactions.

It's been about 9 months since you joined, and I'm guessing by now you know you're not gonna give up until whatever is bothering you goes away... so will you go for the real deal — an interested, committed and dedicated practice? Would you like to start a practice thread?
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Yadid dee, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: stages of insight mirroring expectation?

Posts: 258 Join Date: 9/11/09 Recent Posts
It seems that, for most people, nothing but utter and complete commitment to whatever one is doing (with persistence over time) will cut it.
C C C, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: stages of insight mirroring expectation?

Posts: 946 Join Date: 3/9/10 Recent Posts
It's not as if I do nothing Bruno/yadid. Mainly I read, then question my own experience in relation to the material, or question the material itself if it sounds a bit 'off'. I've done a lot of this over the years. I've experienced occasional deep peace and spaciousness, peak states and quite a few unusual interpersonal energy exchanges. But these are just temporary states and are probably not all that different to what a large percentage of the population experience.

For the moment I've decided that the progress of insight (ending in enlightenment) is not something I want to begin. My best guess (based on my readings) is that losing one's self is a lot bigger process than is often touted in here, and one that may take many years to properly adjust to. I tend to believe that to really experience no-self, one has to first face the utterly terrifying prospect of surrendering to complete oblivion and non-existence...surely something more daunting than physical death. I've had a few experiences of waking in the night and feeling like I don't exist; a feeling of 'not knowing anything'. I sit bolt upright and madly start patting myself down, reassuring the existence of my physical self and repeating "this is me". Not a nice experience.

If I'm asleep in the dream world right now, (I can only assume I am), then I want to firstly make the dream a good dream. Some writers indicate that to live in the darkness of Plato's cave is a bad thing, but I suspect it may be possible to use thought control to make it quite a fun and comfortable, if temporary, abode.
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Bruno Loff, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: stages of insight mirroring expectation?

Posts: 1094 Join Date: 8/30/09 Recent Posts
CCC:
It's not as if I do nothing Bruno/yadid. Mainly I read, then question my own experience in relation to the material, or question the material itself if it sounds a bit 'off'. I've done a lot of this over the years. I've experienced occasional deep peace and spaciousness, peak states and quite a few unusual interpersonal energy exchanges. But these are just temporary states and are probably not all that different to what a large percentage of the population experience.


Oh, I didn't imply you do nothing!

CCC:

For the moment I've decided that the progress of insight (ending in enlightenment) is not something I want to begin. My best guess (based on my readings) is that losing one's self is a lot bigger process than is often touted in here, and one that may take many years to properly adjust to. I tend to believe that to really experience no-self, one has to first face the utterly terrifying prospect of surrendering to complete oblivion and non-existence...surely something more daunting than physical death. I've had a few experiences of waking in the night and feeling like I don't exist; a feeling of 'not knowing anything'. I sit bolt upright and madly start patting myself down, reassuring the existence of my physical self and repeating "this is me". Not a nice experience.


Well, it is complete oblivion and non-existence as a psychological entity, not complete oblivion and non-existence per se, as most of what you are (and all of what you actually are) remains. "Feeling that you don't exist," and "feeling of not knowing anything" is existence as such. "Being" is usually not a nice experience, and even when it is nice, it's never completely satisfying.

Of course, it is and always will be your call, so what are you afraid of? Could it be that deep down it's actually what you want and seek?

CCC:
I want to firstly make the dream a good dream.


How will you accomplish that? The better off you are, the more the dream fades! emoticon

In any case, if you ever decide to take the plunge, you won't be the first, and you could benefit from a practice thread.
C C C, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: stages of insight mirroring expectation?

Posts: 946 Join Date: 3/9/10 Recent Posts
I do see some risk in that the better the dream, the more likely I will forget about Freedom/Truth/Enlightenment. But if my theory turns out to be correct, a good dream leads fairly seamlessly to insight without too much work and strong dark night stuff.

If I can't make the dream into a good dream, then I guess I'll find my way through some 'back door'! Not my preferred choice atm.
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Bruno Loff, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: stages of insight mirroring expectation?

Posts: 1094 Join Date: 8/30/09 Recent Posts
C C C:
I do see some risk in that the better the dream, the more likely I will forget about Freedom/Truth/Enlightenment. But if my theory turns out to be correct, a good dream leads fairly seamlessly to insight without too much work and strong dark night stuff.

If I can't make the dream into a good dream, then I guess I'll find my way through some 'back door'! Not my preferred choice atm.


Do you think that meditation practice is going through some sort of back door?

Do you think that the goal of meditation practice is not to be as well as it is possible to be ("to make the dream into a good dream")?

If any of your answers is yes, then why do you think that?
C C C, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: stages of insight mirroring expectation?

Posts: 946 Join Date: 3/9/10 Recent Posts
......then again, Buddha had all the money, women, power, wine and food and luxury any man could want.... Unless his story was some sort of parable and not literal truth. I guess that's possible too.

Not sure about 'back door' bruno but it feels wrong. Feels like a struggle.

I see the end goal of insight practice as awakening from the dream into non-dual awareness.
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Bruno Loff, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: stages of insight mirroring expectation?

Posts: 1094 Join Date: 8/30/09 Recent Posts
C C C:
Not sure about 'back door' bruno but it feels wrong. Feels like a struggle.


Well, my experience is that the bad stuff that keeps coming up was there anyway, and as I meditate on it (using various techniques), it goes away for good. The feeling of struggle is just part of the self-junk that eventually subsides.

I see the end goal of insight practice as awakening from the dream into non-dual awareness.


Ah, well, actually the goal of (my) insight practice is to end suffering — to lead a fulfilled and interesting life. It seems to be working quite well.
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Yadid dee, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: stages of insight mirroring expectation?

Posts: 258 Join Date: 9/11/09 Recent Posts
C C C:

Not sure about 'back door' bruno but it feels wrong. Feels like a struggle.

I see the end goal of insight practice as awakening from the dream into non-dual awareness.


I see the struggle as something which exists and underlies my consciousness during much of the day, and practice is about facing that struggle which already exists, looking into it clearly, what causes it, how it operates, so it may stop.
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Yadid dee, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: stages of insight mirroring expectation?

Posts: 258 Join Date: 9/11/09 Recent Posts
Hi CCC,

Here's a quote from Jack Kornfield's "A Path with Heart", which I think is relevant here:

A Path with Heart, page 205:
Dissolving the sense of self or experiencing this selfless nature of life is only one side of the coin in our spiritual life. As I said in the beginning of this chapter, there are two parallel tasks in spiritual life. One is to discover selflessness, the other is to develop a healthy sense of self, to discover what is meant by true self. Both sides of this paradox must be fulfilled for us to awaken.


So Kornfield for example would probably disagree with you that you must first "develop a strong self" and then dissolve it. It would appear he says both can be done at the same time.

In regards to your latest post:

CCC:
Leads fairly seamlessly to insight without too much work and strong dark night stuff.

Speculation speculation, man emoticon Those are just thoughts, and the process has a way of doing its own thing despite how we may plan it.
C C C, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: stages of insight mirroring expectation?

Posts: 946 Join Date: 3/9/10 Recent Posts
I'm glad you said that yadid because it reminded me of something very important that I've been writing about in my own journal.

To get what I want (and make the dream a good dream), I have to adopt the particular personality that attracts that thing. I drop my existing personality and adopt that of someone who has an abundance of that thing I want, whether it be money, relationships, health, career, family, etc. By totally changing my personality (and witnessing/reflecting on the process), I simultaneously free myself from the idea that "I am my personality", because I can be the rich guy one day, the confident guy the next, the hippy the next, the emo-goth the next, the skater the next, the nerd the next.... and so on. All interchageable. All have their own postures, ways of speaking, ways of dressing, ways of interacting, speaking......how could I possibly be my personality? Twofold benefit.
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Nipuna Ross A., modified 10 Years ago.

RE: stages of insight mirroring expectation?

Posts: 123 Join Date: 6/15/11 Recent Posts
This is the power of suggestion, and, it is real. That is why a its so essential to have access to a qualified teacher. I'm pretty sure in Mahasi Sayadaw's Book, Practical Insight Meditation, he recommends utilizing a teacher/student relationship over just memorizing the maps. But, he acknowledges that many don't have access to a good teacher and therefor advises in that case that one have some knowledge of the maps. also, there are risks of your teacher misdiagnosing you. So ultimately we must know for ourselves.
The mind is more personal than your fingerprints. actually it is impersonal (anatta) and so its so easy to miss. A very good thing about the maps is that it shows, that what may seem like digression or backsliding ie, bhanganupassana-ñana or dark night is actually a natural part of progress. its always darkest before the dawn.
one part of the maps I find indispensable is the information on the ten corruptions of insight. Its so easy to get addicted to piti because it feels so awesome being in an orgasmic vibratory light show. emoticon

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