PCE / not PCE?

End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago.

PCE / not PCE?

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
Hey guys,

I've been working on Kenneth Folk's "direct mode" (trying to cultivate EEs / PCEs) for a while and would like some feedback on what a recent experience I had was. I wrote about it in my practice journal (on KFD) but am copying the text here because I know there are a lot of people into AF here, who I imagine would be a good resource for this kind of question.

___
OK, I just had what I think may be a PCE (or at least extremely close to one), for 30-40 minutes. I see that the details are hard to recall properly once it ends (because it's such a different mode of experience), so I'm going to record them here now, because it will be important for me to figure out whether this is actually a PCE / direct mode practice, or some kind of epic confusion on my part.

I laid down and turned on some music while playing around with direct mode / state 6 / state 7. When I listen to really awesome music, I typically get A&P-like rushes, and so I watched how that developed in context of the different direct mode states I was familiar with. I got to a point where the sense of "being" (which is what I pre-path, might have thought of as a subject of sorts) flicked on and off; when on, things are normal, when off, "being" is just a body sensation. It struck me as funny in some way that something as rarefied as this, which might be called "self" or "spirit" or "being", could be as mundane as a body sensation, especially because all that was going on was a body, laying there, with music playing...nothing otherwordly at all.

Eventually the sense of "being" seemed to turn off, and there was just (as far as I could see) a body, music, and these intense physical rushes / tingling. Unlike A&P tingling, it seemed to be free of affect. Despite that, they were really amazing-seeming. After a while, I had some doubt that they could really be affect-free, so I wondered, "what if I incline towards something free of anything that might be affect?"

Very soon after, I entered a state where there were no body rushes, and just a kind of all-pervading wonderfulness (not the right way to describe it, but I can't do better) of the various senses, with various sensations in the body that seemed to be related to music.

It had the following features:

* Absolutely no detectable bodily vibrations. Absolutely no sense of out-of-syncness, which is one of the core features of vibrations as far as I can see.

* Visual field still has "static", visual junk, pulsation in it. (vibrations? just my visual field being quirky as always?)

*Instead of reacting to music in terms of emotion (imagined as a mental experience) or affect (pleasant sensations in the body), the music seemed to cause all kinds of interesting body sensations with no discernable affective quality, apart from "wonderfulness", whatever that is.

* Although I had an inclination to keep listening to music, if the song ended and I didn't turn anything else on, there was no sense of craving, missing the music, desiring that there should be more, or any difference in the basic impression of "wonderfulness". Just a change in the sounds that were being heard and the body sensations.

* The internal duplication of sounds seemed to be gone, though I "sang along" with the lyrics via thoughts at certain points.

* It seemed very clear that the only things in experience were the five traditional senses and thoughts. Just a body with senses, laying there.

Overall, the experience was not what I expected a PCE to be. The best description I can think up is "divine ecstasy of the senses," but that makes it sound as if it has some otherwordly, rarefied character, which it does not. It's completely mundane. Just this world. Just this body. But "divine ecstasy of the senses" gives some indication of how utterly amazing it is.

The only real reflection I have after this experience is that every emotion and every affect seems to be a poor and unhappy caricature of what experience would be like if those things were gone.

So, what do you think? PCE? Near-PCE? Confusion? Opinions, please!


I should also add that one of the most distinct things was the impression of immense richness in the music; the subjective perception of clarity and depth was remarkable.

Also, I find very little to say about this experience in terms of a change in or the absence of "self", "I", "me" and so on, because from my vipassana practice I no longer really think those are good ways to characterize any experience. As I said, I do recognize some sensations in normal experience that "being" seems to be a label that's as good as any for (but I don't think any label is really helpful for them). Pre-path, I might have described this experience as having absolutely no sense of self and absolutely no sense of "no-self", but at the moment I think that's more likely to be confusing than helpful, but I state it anyway.

___

Let me know what you think.
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: PCE / not PCE?

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
"State 6" and "State 7" are just my personal attempts to taxonomize various kinds of direct mode experiences, FYI.
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tarin greco, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: PCE / not PCE?

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
welcome to the dho.

End in Sight:
Hey guys,

I've been working on Kenneth Folk's "direct mode" (trying to cultivate EEs / PCEs) for a while and would like some feedback on what a recent experience I had was. I wrote about it in my practice journal (on KFD) but am copying the text here because I know there are a lot of people into AF here, who I imagine would be a good resource for this kind of question.

___
OK, I just had what I think may be a PCE (or at least extremely close to one), for 30-40 minutes. I see that the details are hard to recall properly once it ends (because it's such a different mode of experience), so I'm going to record them here now, because it will be important for me to figure out whether this is actually a PCE / direct mode practice, or some kind of epic confusion on my part.

I laid down and turned on some music while playing around with direct mode / state 6 / state 7. When I listen to really awesome music, I typically get A&P-like rushes, and so I watched how that developed in context of the different direct mode states I was familiar with. I got to a point where the sense of "being" (which is what I pre-path, might have thought of as a subject of sorts) flicked on and off; when on, things are normal, when off, "being" is just a body sensation. It struck me as funny in some way that something as rarefied as this, which might be called "self" or "spirit" or "being", could be as mundane as a body sensation, especially because all that was going on was a body, laying there, with music playing...nothing otherwordly at all.

Eventually the sense of "being" seemed to turn off, and there was just (as far as I could see) a body, music, and these intense physical rushes / tingling. Unlike A&P tingling, it seemed to be free of affect. Despite that, they were really amazing-seeming. After a while, I had some doubt that they could really be affect-free, so I wondered, "what if I incline towards something free of anything that might be affect?"

Very soon after, I entered a state where there were no body rushes, and just a kind of all-pervading wonderfulness (not the right way to describe it, but I can't do better) of the various senses, with various sensations in the body that seemed to be related to music.

It had the following features:

* Absolutely no detectable bodily vibrations. Absolutely no sense of out-of-syncness, which is one of the core features of vibrations as far as I can see.

* Visual field still has "static", visual junk, pulsation in it. (vibrations? just my visual field being quirky as always?)

*Instead of reacting to music in terms of emotion (imagined as a mental experience) or affect (pleasant sensations in the body), the music seemed to cause all kinds of interesting body sensations with no discernable affective quality, apart from "wonderfulness", whatever that is.

* Although I had an inclination to keep listening to music, if the song ended and I didn't turn anything else on, there was no sense of craving, missing the music, desiring that there should be more, or any difference in the basic impression of "wonderfulness". Just a change in the sounds that were being heard and the body sensations.

* The internal duplication of sounds seemed to be gone, though I "sang along" with the lyrics via thoughts at certain points.

* It seemed very clear that the only things in experience were the five traditional senses and thoughts. Just a body with senses, laying there.

Overall, the experience was not what I expected a PCE to be. The best description I can think up is "divine ecstasy of the senses," but that makes it sound as if it has some otherwordly, rarefied character, which it does not. It's completely mundane. Just this world. Just this body. But "divine ecstasy of the senses" gives some indication of how utterly amazing it is.

The only real reflection I have after this experience is that every emotion and every affect seems to be a poor and unhappy caricature of what experience would be like if those things were gone.

So, what do you think? PCE? Near-PCE? Confusion? Opinions, please!


I should also add that one of the most distinct things was the impression of immense richness in the music; the subjective perception of clarity and depth was remarkable.

Also, I find very little to say about this experience in terms of a change in or the absence of "self", "I", "me" and so on, because from my vipassana practice I no longer really think those are good ways to characterize any experience. As I said, I do recognize some sensations in normal experience that "being" seems to be a label that's as good as any for (but I don't think any label is really helpful for them). Pre-path, I might have described this experience as having absolutely no sense of self and absolutely no sense of "no-self", but at the moment I think that's more likely to be confusing than helpful, but I state it anyway.

___

Let me know what you think.

ok, a few questions:

- did you note an utter safety/security, or the absence of any threat or harm?

- did you note a softness/a subtlety/a sensitivity/an intimacy in the experience? if so, was the intimacy a matter of being very, very close, or of an utter immediacy - was it partial or total?

- what, if anything, did you note about the past/present/future, or the passage of time?

- what, in your experience here and now, if anything, is most reminiscient of the experience (as you recall it)? how do 'you', as an identity (a feeling being), relate to its recall?

- how are you experiencing this moment of being alive?


tarin
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: PCE / not PCE?

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
tarin greco:

ok, a few questions:

- did you note an utter safety/security, or the absence of any threat or harm?


Not sure how to answer this. I don't know what this would refer to in normal experience (I observe nothing right now that corresponds to my understanding of those things or that corresponds to my understanding of the lack of those things), so I'm not sure what aspect of experience you're pointing to.

It's reasonable to say that I had no worries about whether anything bad would happen, even when thoughts about negative outcomes crossed my mind. (The thoughts were not negative, just practical reflections about things that might happen.)

I didn't have the sense of being protected, guarded, watched over as if by an angel, or wrapped up in the arms of a protector or protecting agency, or anything along those lines.

tarin greco:

- did you note a softness/a subtlety/a sensitivity/an intimacy in the experience? if so, was the intimacy a matter of being very, very close, or of an utter immediacy - was it partial or total?


"Softness" is a good way to characterize a quality of the experience. In EEs I've had I notice that there is the beginning of this; in the experience I'm describing there was drastically more. I don't know how to quantify it.

"Intimacy" is not a word I would normally use in this way, so I'll guess at what you mean and try to match up our terms. Normally, experience presents as if one part is some number of steps removed from another part; one part of my experience (some kind of executive / noticing function) appears to consider, reflect on, and regard other parts (sensory experience) as if from a distance, the magnitude of the distance being related somehow (I see now) to the intensity and magnitude of body vibrations. In the experience I described, this presentation of experience (parts separated from each other) was completely absent, as far as I can tell. Is that what you mean by intimacy?

"As far as I can tell" doesn't mean I say this perception of separation was completely absent, it means I don't put 100% confidence in my own discernment, but as far as I can discern, it was completely absent.


tarin greco:

- what, if anything, did you note about the past/present/future, or the passage of time?


Time didn't present as if it "passes," experience presented as if it was happening "now" with no segmentation into this passing moment / this arriving moment / past / future / other ways that I often think about time, as far as I can discern. Practical cognition about time ("this happened before that...this will happen in the future...") was completely unaffected.

Trying to recollect my experience, I don't think that the perception of time or of some feature of time was central to it. I didn't make any mental notes related to it, either because it didn't occur to me to or because I thought other aspects were more significant.

tarin greco:

- what, in your experience here and now, if anything, is most reminiscient of the experience (as you recall it)? how do 'you', as an identity (a feeling being), relate to its recall?


1) The thing most reminiscent of my experience is the sound of the music I was listening to (which I happen to be listening to now). What made the experience remarkable was that sensory experience itself appeared to be seen clearly, and it was that very fact which made it good. Right now, it seems to be the very same sensory experience presenting itself, albeit without clarity.

2) At this point, there is some kind of distortion of my memory and ability to conceptualize what the experience was about. I recognized that that was happening which is why I wrote my experience down at the time; now the sense that the experience was some kind of alien, incomprehensible thing is much stronger.

When I re-read what I wrote, a kind of disbelief arises, because I can't help but conceptualize the experience in terms of affect. I think, "obviously something must have been affectively enjoyable about it; why else would I go on about how great it was?" and I then imagine various affective things that seem reasonable to think may have occurred during it. On the other hand, I do recognize that *at the time* I was very certain that this was not the case and made a mental point of not forgetting that verbal claim because I thought it was important.

Other ways I relate to it...whether it was affective or not, I want to re-experience it, both to figure it out and because I remember it was very very good. There is an annoyance when I recognize that my experience is no longer like that and is instead tired / moody. I'm very annoyed that, as it ended and I entered what was clearly a form of EE that I previously had experience with, I didn't keep up the mindfulness and either extend the EE or try to return to the previous experience to get another glimpse. (At the time I decided I needed to do some "integration" but in retrospect I think this was a bad call on my part.)

Another way I relate to it...when I look at bodily vibrations in my experience now, there is a kind of perplexity about how their presence could be responsible for not being in that state and their apparent absence be the cause of that state, as (when I was in that state) it did seem that it was vibrations, as some kind of "perception of internal movement", that were the very things that had previously stood in the way of that experience. (Not sure I can explain that further at the moment.)

tarin greco:

- how are you experiencing this moment of being alive?


Tired, confused, interested.

Thanks for taking the time to talk with me about this. I should let you know that my familiarity with AF terms is extremely rudimentary, and so many questions you may ask me are questions I may not be able to answer until I figure out the terminology you're using.
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tarin greco, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: PCE / not PCE?

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
End in Sight:
tarin greco:

ok, a few questions:

- did you note an utter safety/security, or the absence of any threat or harm?


Not sure how to answer this. I don't know what this would refer to in normal experience (I observe nothing right now that corresponds to my understanding of those things or that corresponds to my understanding of the lack of those things), so I'm not sure what aspect of experience you're pointing to.i

the existence of an affective identity (a feeling being) is by default an uneasy one. indeed, it is this core malaise, via its abeyance in a pure consciousness experience (a pce), which enables one to consider the possibility of a life in its total absence ... and which gives such absence meaning (one has a vital interest in the matter).

to borrow a buddhist context which may be rendered aptly:

there is this knowing: 'this is the truth of suffering'.


End in Sight:

It's reasonable to say that I had no worries about whether anything bad would happen, even when thoughts about negative outcomes crossed my mind. (The thoughts were not negative, just practical reflections about things that might happen.)

I didn't have the sense of being protected, guarded, watched over as if by an angel, or wrapped up in the arms of a protector or protecting agency, or anything along those lines.

in the pce which recall 'i' was to use as 'my' lodestone towards an actual freedom (until 'i' no longer needed such guidance), one of the most obvious qualities was the utter safety. it was evident, in full apperceptive perfection, that nothing could ever go wrong. about the experience, i once wrote:
tarin:

The infinitude of the universe was so clearly apparent then, as it was that now is the only moment there ever has been. The character of this world is so completely unassumingly friendly, that nothing could ever go wrong, and in light of such evident benignity, it is such a joke, such a comedy, to consider that it could ever have been seen another way, as either good or evil, or divine. Walking, alone, as I was, it was clear to me that 'alone' as such did not exist - I am these senses that are this world, as is everyone else, and we are all here together in this world, as the universe itself. The infinitude is the eternal is the benignity is the security is the peace is the freedom is the universe itself.



End in Sight:

tarin greco:

- did you note a softness/a subtlety/a sensitivity/an intimacy in the experience? if so, was the intimacy a matter of being very, very close, or of an utter immediacy - was it partial or total?


"Softness" is a good way to characterize a quality of the experience. In EEs I've had I notice that there is the beginning of this; in the experience I'm describing there was drastically more. I don't know how to quantify it.

"Intimacy" is not a word I would normally use in this way, so I'll guess at what you mean and try to match up our terms. Normally, experience presents as if one part is some number of steps removed from another part; one part of my experience (some kind of executive / noticing function) appears to consider, reflect on, and regard other parts (sensory experience) as if from a distance, the magnitude of the distance being related somehow (I see now) to the intensity and magnitude of body vibrations. In the experience I described, this presentation of experience (parts separated from each other) was completely absent, as far as I can tell. Is that what you mean by intimacy?

yes.. to the extent that the experience of separation's absence is a sensate experience, resplendently active, and alive.


End in Sight:

tarin greco:

- what, in your experience here and now, if anything, is most reminiscient of the experience (as you recall it)? how do 'you', as an identity (a feeling being), relate to its recall?


1) The thing most reminiscent of my experience is the sound of the music I was listening to (which I happen to be listening to now). What made the experience remarkable was that sensory experience itself appeared to be seen clearly, and it was that very fact which made it good. Right now, it seems to be the very same sensory experience presenting itself, albeit without clarity.

2) At this point, there is some kind of distortion of my memory and ability to conceptualize what the experience was about. I recognized that that was happening which is why I wrote my experience down at the time; now the sense that the experience was some kind of alien, incomprehensible thing is much stronger.

When I re-read what I wrote, a kind of disbelief arises, because I can't help but conceptualize the experience in terms of affect. I think, "obviously something must have been affectively enjoyable about it; why else would I go on about how great it was?" and I then imagine various affective things that seem reasonable to think may have occurred during it. On the other hand, I do recognize that *at the time* I was very certain that this was not the case and made a mental point of not forgetting that verbal claim because I thought it was important.

it can be difficult for an affective identity to grasp just how pleasant its absence actually is.


End in Sight:

Another way I relate to it...when I look at bodily vibrations in my experience now, there is a kind of perplexity about how their presence could be responsible for not being in that state and their apparent absence be the cause of that state, as (when I was in that state) it did seem that it was vibrations, as some kind of "perception of internal movement", that were the very things that had previously stood in the way of that experience. (Not sure I can explain that further at the moment.)

this is difficult to put into words - or even get a clear idea about - isn't it?


End in Sight:

Thanks for taking the time to talk with me about this. I should let you know that my familiarity with AF terms is extremely rudimentary, and so many questions you may ask me are questions I may not be able to answer until I figure out the terminology you're using.

you're welcome. as for the terminology issue you bring up, i recommend reading at least a bit of the actual freedom trust website, particularly richard's section (entitled 'the third alternative'), and particularly the following articles: 'this moment of being alive', 'attentiveness, sensuousness, and apperceptiveness', and 'a precis of actual freedom'.

tarin
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: PCE / not PCE?

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
tarin greco:

the existence of an affective identity (a feeling being) is by default an uneasy one. indeed, it is this core malaise, via its abeyance in a pure consciousness experience (a pce), which enables one to consider the possibility of a life in its total absence ... and which gives such absence meaning (one has a vital interest in the matter).

to borrow a buddhist context which may be rendered aptly:

there is this knowing: 'this is the truth of suffering'.


OK. Got it. I recall thinking that the experience would be the absolute end of suffering if it persisted. Whatever unhappiness there may be that is a default condition of existence seemed to be completely gone.

tarin:

in the pce which recall 'i' was to use as 'my' lodestone towards an actual freedom (until 'i' no longer needed such guidance), one of the most obvious qualities was the utter safety. it was evident, in full apperceptive perfection, that nothing could ever go wrong. about the experience, i once wrote:
tarin:

The infinitude of the universe was so clearly apparent then, as it was that now is the only moment there ever has been. The character of this world is so completely unassumingly friendly, that nothing could ever go wrong, and in light of such evident benignity, it is such a joke, such a comedy, to consider that it could ever have been seen another way, as either good or evil, or divine. Walking, alone, as I was, it was clear to me that 'alone' as such did not exist - I am these senses that are this world, as is everyone else, and we are all here together in this world, as the universe itself. The infinitude is the eternal is the benignity is the security is the peace is the freedom is the universe itself.



You know, I have had an experience like you describe in the past (I almost literally went through the same words in my head), in which the concept of unhappiness or negativity seemed like it was completely nonsensical, my previous belief to the contrary being some kind of enormous confusion perpetuated by an illusion that made no sense at the time, and which seemed like it may as well have been instilled in me by someone intending to play a practical joke (which was quite funny because nothing, including it, could have been bad). I believe it lasted for 1-2 hours. I have recalled that experience many times but always (after I learned about the progress of insight) thought of it as a really crazy A&P that I wandered into by accident long before I took up proper vipassana.

I don't know if that means the previous experience was actually a PCE but got distorted in my recollection, or was an A&P but my psychology and conceptual framework is so different from yours that I would generate that description for a non-PCE but not for a PCE.

With respect to the question of this recent experience, I'm not sure how to find out whether I would describe it in a similar way to what you did, apart from trying to cultivate the PCE again with the goal of finding out, because my recollection is too distorted right now to offer any accurate opinion.

With respect to the question of whether it was a PCE, do you have a suggestion other than cultivating it again to see whether I can go "deeper" or not, or can discern faults that were previously indiscernable, or would describe it along the lines that you did in the past if I had a different psychology?




tarin greco:

yes.. to the extent that the experience of separation's absence is a sensate experience, resplendently active, and alive.


Maybe, leaning towards yes. Again, I am wary of not being able to accurately recall the parts of the experience that I did not specifically note for later reference.



tarin greco:

End in Sight:

Another way I relate to it...when I look at bodily vibrations in my experience now, there is a kind of perplexity about how their presence could be responsible for not being in that state and their apparent absence be the cause of that state, as (when I was in that state) it did seem that it was vibrations, as some kind of "perception of internal movement", that were the very things that had previously stood in the way of that experience. (Not sure I can explain that further at the moment.)

this is difficult to put into words - or even get a clear idea about - isn't it?


Yes. I really have no clear idea.

tarin greco:

End in Sight:

Thanks for taking the time to talk with me about this. I should let you know that my familiarity with AF terms is extremely rudimentary, and so many questions you may ask me are questions I may not be able to answer until I figure out the terminology you're using.

you're welcome. as for the terminology issue you bring up, i recommend reading at least a bit of the actual freedom trust website, particularly richard's section (entitled 'the third alternative'), and particularly the following articles: 'this moment of being alive', 'attentiveness, sensuousness, and apperceptiveness', and 'a precis of actual freedom'.


Will do. Not sure it will help much, as I believe I've browsed through the website before and probably those articles. The terminological divide is likely to be the trickiest part for me. It's not that I find the AF terminology and claims "confusing" or "wrong." Rather, the whole psychology and manner of conceptualizing things that seems to generate it is absolutely *alien* to me. I hoped that having a PCE or something PCE-like would shed some light on this, but it has actually given me very little insight into anything AF-related, apart from thinking that I found a way to translate "'I' am my feelings and my feelings are 'me'" into terms that were sensible and clear to me (which I wrote about on my KFD practice thread and will not reproduce here due to length).

But I will try again.
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: PCE / not PCE?

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
End in Sight:

You know, I have had an experience like you describe in the past (I almost literally went through the same words in my head), in which the concept of unhappiness or negativity seemed like it was completely nonsensical, my previous belief to the contrary being some kind of enormous confusion perpetuated by an illusion that made no sense at the time, and which seemed like it may as well have been instilled in me by someone intending to play a practical joke (which was quite funny because nothing, including it, could have been bad). I believe it lasted for 1-2 hours. I have recalled that experience many times but always (after I learned about the progress of insight) thought of it as a really crazy A&P that I wandered into by accident long before I took up proper vipassana.


Let me say a little more about this. The reason I thought it was a "really crazy" A&P instead of the common or garden variety was because, unlike every other A&P I experienced via meditation, this one had what I considered to be "gross distortion of cognition", i.e. being unable to figure out why anything could ever be wrong with anything, in the strongest possible sense of "unable," which has always been absent from A&Ps experienced via meditation.

Reflecting on this, I came to believe that too much bliss leads to some kind of cognitive breakdown, and in fact have had similar experiences of bliss that led to similar thoughts.

On the other hand, I recognized features of the possible-PCE of two days ago as things that had occurred randomly to me (perhaps not as strongly) at various points in my life, often in the presence of what I would retrospectively identify as bliss (as if affective bliss, past a certain point, would start to lose its affective character to a greater or lesser extent.

I don't know if the problem is that my ability to retrospectively categorize things as affective has been deficient (possible; I only had the affective / not affective framework to work with very recently), or what. It is possible that what I recall as "bliss" was actually not, but, by virtue of being so far out of the ordinary, I had no other label with which to understand it after the fact and so my recollection has always been distorted.

It seems like this both complicates and simplifies things for me.
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: PCE / not PCE?

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
One more thing related to this which I just remembered, and which I will write down here for my own benefit (in terms of not forgetting it), is that in the midst of these experiences that were near the level of "cognitive breakdown," I would often think something like "this is so good, but what about it is good? I seem to be confused about finding it good, because it does not actually seem like there is any feeling of pleasure in it."

This is really wild. I have to re-evaluate a lot of things.

Unfortunately, I have no way to compare the recent experience with the previous ones in terms of judging whether they were similar or not. All the older experiences are not recent, and the memory distortion is too much. Even if If I ask myself about the recent experience whether it was at the level of "cognitive breakdown" that I experienced in the past, or higher, or lower, I have no idea; I haven't thought about things in those terms for a long time.
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: PCE / not PCE?

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
tarin:

as for the terminology issue you bring up, i recommend reading at least a bit of the actual freedom trust website, particularly richard's section (entitled 'the third alternative'), and particularly the following articles: 'this moment of being alive', 'attentiveness, sensuousness, and apperceptiveness', and 'a precis of actual freedom'.


I read those three articles and (given the accuracy of the result of attempting to work out a translation of 'me' / etc. into my terms) they were actually straightforward and easy to read. Nice change. I'll try reading more and seeing how it is.
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: PCE / not PCE?

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
OK. Working on cultivating a PCE. Let me relate my experience to you...you will see why I was so concerned (and still am) to make sure that my efforts are heading in the right direction, and not leading me to confusion.

When I tune into the senses and the present sufficiently such the senses become extremely clear and it reminds me of the PCE but isn't there yet, the most salient symptom at the beginning is not "interestingness," but "pseudo-rapture". (Interestingness is there too but not as strong.) Regular rapture is a jhana factor and is a feeling; during hard second jhana there is a very powerful perception of being the subject of that rapture (which is the same as the feeling itself).

Pseudo-rapture is like regular rapture (tingling, rushes, hairs on the skin raise up) but the sense that it is a feeling is very thin. There is much less "me", although there is some. As if feeling-rapture could be transmuted in steps into something that isn't a feeling, and this is halfway along the way to that non-feeling.

If I listen to music in this state, the music causes pseudo-rapture, and the 'me' that is left relishes it to the extent that there is a 'me' left. On the other hand, if I tune into it as much as I can as a sense experience, I see it, the music causing it, and everything else in my experience as rather wondrous, everything (almost) equally good by its nature, and without any real capability to conjure up a 'me' to feel it.

Why this matters. Most people talking about what a PCE is like and how to get one go on about cultivating innocence, carefree-ness, the perception of being a body right now, and the clarity or perfection of the senses right now. But speaking from my own experience, if I assume that my experiences point to a PCE or near-PCE, I would use a different method. The (highly simplified) progression towards a PCE for me is something like

feeling sufficiently positive -->
sort of perceiving being a body now -->
innocence and carefree-ness -->
beginning of sensory clarity -->
pseudo-rapture and sensory richness -->
wonderfulness and more sensory richness -->
no affect, perfection, ecstasy of 6-senses-only

so I would go straight for pseudo-rapture because it seems so easy to find for me. But pseudo-rapture is sufficiently reminiscent of the feeling of rapture that I'm worried that there is something about the whole progression afterwards that has a affective component that I can't see. Today, for instance, at one point a person on crutches walked by me, and the clicking sound their crutches made on the ground was so delightful and rich and wonderful that my whole body was filled with immense pseudo-rapture and shivers down the spine for a few moments, with very little feeling that I could find...is this REALLY in the direction of the PCE, or is it and everything I described that comes after it somehow feelings that are masquerading as affectless?

I'm torn between thinking that the things that seem emphasized in my experience are different due to the idiosyncrasies of my mind (of which there are many), and worrying that I'm deeply confused about things. I mean, I understood that 'feelings' are identical with 'me', the not-self-but-still-apparent subject of those feelings, only after I had what I thought was a PCE. So it seems like I can't have been too confused about what a PCE is. But I would really appreciate an expert outside opinion. I don't want to waste time in my practice and find out that I've been aiming at some dead end or delusion after all.