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Still point

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Still point
Answer
5/31/20 11:40 PM
There's an experience I have, and I'd like to understand how it relates to things I've read about.

Is the still point the same as the 7th jhana?
Is the still point the same for all objects?

I can give more detail if necessary.

RE: Still point
Answer
6/1/20 12:15 AM as a reply to spatial.
Name still point suggest it is something interresting but I guess more details would be useful to identify it.

RE: Still point
Answer
6/1/20 2:55 AM as a reply to spatial.
To me it sounds more like an experience of the Dharmakaya nature of mind, as that is often referred to in such terms. 

RE: Still point
Answer
6/2/20 11:36 AM as a reply to spatial.
spatial:
There's an experience I have, and I'd like to understand how it relates to things I've read about.

Is the still point the same as the 7th jhana?
Is the still point the same for all objects?

I can give more detail if necessary.
From another thread here, "still point" in at least one meaning, seems to be a term used by culadasa in his Mind Illuminated and different from what you're talkking about but I'm not sure.

RE: Still point
Answer
6/2/20 12:10 PM as a reply to Sam Gentile.
Sam Gentile:
spatial:
There's an experience I have, and I'd like to understand how it relates to things I've read about.

Is the still point the same as the 7th jhana?
Is the still point the same for all objects?

I can give more detail if necessary.
From another thread here, "still point" in at least one meaning, seems to be a term used by culadasa in his Mind Illuminated and different from what you're talkking about but I'm not sure.
https://soundcloud.com/culadasa/sit-breath-wake-up-still-point

RE: Still point
Answer
6/2/20 12:23 PM as a reply to spatial.
spatial:
There's an experience I have, and I'd like to understand how it relates to things I've read about.

Is the still point the same as the 7th jhana?
Is the still point the same for all objects?

I can give more detail if necessary.

At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.

T.S. Eliot, "Burnt Norton"


love, tim

RE: Still point
Answer
6/2/20 1:43 PM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
Tim Farrington:

At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.

T.S. Eliot, "Burnt Norton"


This makes me wonder about possible relationships between T.S. Eliot and Dzogchen teachers.

RE: Still point
Answer
6/5/20 7:04 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
Great poem, tim, thanks for the découverte.

Linda, real question : was jesus a dzogchen master ? Was meister eckhart ?

I would say yes.

RE: Still point
Answer
6/7/20 9:46 AM as a reply to Olivier.
Olivier:
Great poem, tim, thanks for the découverte.

Linda, real question : was jesus a dzogchen master ? Was meister eckhart ?

I would say yes.

this is presumptuous on my part, Olivier, since you asked Linda, but i have a vested interest in this Jew and this Catholic, and so bray my 2 cents worth, as well. Forgive me this hubris. It is one of my specialties.

Jesus was not a master at all, in my opinion, if one of the standards of real master-ness (masterhood?) is, as i see it, the passing along of the dharma (or Torah, in Jesus' case) to a buddha-field (which Jesus was fully cognizant of: the sower sows the Word) that blooms with an effective crop of fruit bearing disciples, mature, and masters themselves. this is the transmission in its ideal form. Jesus in his three year ministry never found a single person of the male persuasion among his entourage of fuck-ups, buffoons, political naifs, and generally out-for-number-one idiots, which he called disciples. A striking number of the gospel stories hinge on nobody among them having a fucking clue what he is saying. Forunately for them, he died, and they became the state of the art experts and authorities, and that was unfortunately for the world, as they botched the whole thing so badly that we ended up with the Jewish fratricidal sect we now call Christianity as a plague upon the world of a "new" "religion." I am ashamed to be a Roman Catholic, honestly. But i'll take that karma.

In a side note, i suspect that the women in Jesus' orbit actually did get it, often and perhaps even enough for the lineage to continue through them. Martha and Mary both seem to be way along the path, and there are others too. They certainly supplied most of the financial support and logistics, they got him buried properly against all odds, and it was women who found the stone rolled away the morning after the sabbath. It scared the shit out of them, to be sure; but there were not any men around at all at that point capable of having the shit scared out of them like that and handling it properly.

Jesus a Dzogchen Master? slam dunk: not a master at all. Very gifted fucking hotheaded political naif, probably enlightened but fucking clueless otherwise. Should have slowed way the fuck down and done a forty year ministry like Gautama.

Eckhart is a much better case. Again, his effective disciples, students, whatever, are almost entirely women, and his vernacular oral preaching was spectacularly more risky, in Inquisition terms, that his careful Latin scolarship. He dodged an inquisition bullet at the end of his life, by either recanting his listed "heretical" views outright, or blowing sufficient smoke in his responses that he was able to die before they decided to burn his ass, as they had burned a more recalcitrant Beguine, Margreet Porete, during Eckhart's student years in Paris. It appears he took that lesson of a woman saying the same thing he was saying to heart, and he proved a canny survivor.

Meister Eckhart, "Dzogchen" master? Absurd question, on the face of it. Answer, with my 2 cents: yes.

RE: Still point
Answer
6/7/20 10:16 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
I don't know, the apocryphal gnostic gospel of St Thomas they found in Nag Hammadi, in the 40's, is pretty dzogcheny to me. 

RE: Still point
Answer
6/7/20 11:10 AM as a reply to spatial.
In any way, I know two mind states of perfect stillness where there is no movement.

In the first one nervous system is exposed and what is being experienced is like frames of nervous system connection and activation. In this mind mode neurons themselves are felt rather than sensual images their activation generate and project. It thus feels pretty weird. It is good for nervous system analysis and other such things. Generally good mind mode to develop your own custom mind states I would say and not so useful to actually use it in everyday life.

Second mind state is result of using the first one but also generating normal sensual experiences on top of it. Instead of stopping doing processing on each sensual experience and overwriting it with new one as stimuli from next moment is is to be processed this processing is always taken to new parts of nervous system and processing on all the active parts of nervous system continues until it is actually finished. Having more data points from various stimuli over time allows to process stimuli from previous moments. Data from all the active parts of nervous system is compared.

The first mind mode is something I discovered by accident. Second I developed to improve my eyesight. When it comes to it when you look at tiny objects from far away there isn't even that much photons hitting my retina and its resolution is also finite so the more data inputs I can get about what I look at the better. For that however to work I need not overwrite data from previous moments and make them participate in processing. There is also clear loss function which can be associated to it and change threshold to associate with finished processing.


How these compare to still point and Dzogchen states I am not sure. Unfortunately people do not try to understand their mind states and because of this cannot give meaningful descriptions. I however would suspect this being so obvious mind state to develop that at the very least some parts of it must be the same. What cast my doubt however is lack of descriptions of how these states improve sensual processing which in my case was main purpose for developing it and obvious side effect. Given however love for "emptiness" of folks who dwell in dharma stuff have they might just throw some junk empty data and experience similar "processing end" effect without actually using mind to improve perception amd because of all Vipassana nonsense their mind go in circles naturally so they need not worry about shifting parts of nervous system used for processing anything. This would be like taking dollar bills and wiping their ass with them... but hey, everything is empty so value of dollar bills is also, right? emoticon

RE: Still point
Answer
6/7/20 11:26 AM as a reply to Ni Nurta.
Experience is an emergence from bio-chemical processes ?

RE: Still point
Answer
6/7/20 12:27 PM as a reply to Olivier.
Olivier:
Experience is an emergence from bio-chemical processes ?
Our normal human experience is constructed by bio-electro-chemical processes in our nervous system and it is what controlls our actions so yes.

Anything that is to be observed need to be registered in consciousness by either directly causing neurons to fire or at very least affect action potential values sufficiently to change their firing patterns and change in this action potential can be detected, otherwise it won't be registered by mind that is constructed by our nervous system. However in the second case it might be missed so it is not so obvious. Registering subltler causes can be improved in various ways like changing action potential of neurons which experience change so that it is enough to trigger them or enough to make them not trigger when probing signal is sent through them.

In this way anything from internal things like other parts of nervous system affect other parts of nervous system (which include sensual organs which do generate action potential) to more external causes like electro-magnetic fields. Though in the second case humans are pretty dull to these fields because we evolved to not be very sensitive to them. Although our bodies will react it won't be obvious to us what is the cause because as I said previously for something to be directly observed need to cause neurons to fire. So either nervous system need to be specifically tuned and learn to detect subtle changes or sensitivity need to be increased somehow, or both.

Going all spiritually-phisolophical about whole idea "what we actually are?" is fine and dandy but except generating some nice (and some not so nice) spiritual experiences it doesn't add anything useful to understating how this marvelous body of ours work. And without understating essentials how can we hope to graps even greater truth about how universe work? One needs to be able to detect when one is fooling oneself and this is way too easy to be ignored.

RE: Still point
Answer
6/7/20 1:16 PM as a reply to Ni Nurta.
Ni Nurta:
Olivier:
Experience is an emergence from bio-chemical processes ?
Our normal human experience is constructed by bio-electro-chemical processes in our nervous system and it is what controlls our actions so yes.

So "matter" exists and is primary ? How did you find that out ?

Anything that is to be observed need to be registered in consciousness by either directly causing neurons to fire or at very least affect action potential values sufficiently to change their firing patterns and change in this action potential can be detected, otherwise it won't be registered by mind that is constructed by our nervous system. However in the second case it might be missed so it is not so obvious. Registering subltler causes can be improved in various ways like changing action potential of neurons which experience change so that it is enough to trigger them or enough to make them not trigger when probing signal is sent through them.

In this way anything from internal things like other parts of nervous system affect other parts of nervous system (which include sensual organs which do generate action potential) to more external causes like electro-magnetic fields. Though in the second case humans are pretty dull to these fields because we evolved to not be very sensitive to them. Although our bodies will react it won't be obvious to us what is the cause because as I said previously for something to be directly observed need to cause neurons to fire. So either nervous system need to be specifically tuned and learn to detect subtle changes or sensitivity need to be increased somehow, or both.

Imagine a big machine, with many bolts in it. One of these bolts is a vital part of the whole, and when it breaks, the whole thing stops working. Does studying the bolt tell you anything about the machine ?

Going all spiritually-phisolophical about whole idea "what we actually are?" is fine and dandy but except generating some nice (and some not so nice) spiritual experiences it doesn't add anything useful to understating how this marvelous body of ours work. And without understating essentials how can we hope to graps even greater truth about how universe work? One needs to be able to detect when one is fooling oneself and this is way too easy to be ignored.

When you say "add understanding", what do you mean exactly ? If I talk about the difference between theoretical and practical knowledge, or said another way, the difference about objective knowledge and know-how, do you conceptually understand that ?

How did you ever know how to breathe in the first place ?
How did you know how to learn how to talk ?
How do you know how to divide your cells into newer daughter cells through myosis ?
How do you know how to make you heart beat ?
How do you know how to produce gametes and how do they know how to merge with other opposite sex gametes to produce another human being your offspring ?
Where is this knowledge ? And who knows it ?

Can it be thematized, objectivized, exteriorized, put into equations and models ? If so, is that what you mean by adding knowledge ? Should that be pursued ? Why ?

This knowing that you are is the only power. What has any power of action is this non-manifest form of knowledge called praxis which is life in you, a greater and perfect and infinite knowledge, always perfectly embodied, impossible to externalize. What can put objective, exterior understanding which you seem to be refering to, into action if not this always interior know-how ? Objective knowledge is always derived. It is a mirror. Scientific theories are mirrors of what we already know.

This other, more primary, kind of knowledge, praxis, is not different from being. How could you possibly explain action from this kind of knowledge ?

How do you know what is right and what is wrong ? Do you need a theory to feel that ? 

What is this universe you speak of if not you, Ni Nurta ? The greater truths are already known.

How has life been able to maintain itself for millions of years without the kind of knowledge you speak of ?

Has life started a few centuries ago ?

Isn't it rather the case that it's only since we have started trusting rational knowledge more than other kinds of knowledge, dimmed incomplete, unreliable and obscure by our dear Galileo, that we humans have stopped knowing how to live ? After all, it is because we developed this objective knowledge so much that we are now on the verge of self-destruction.

What do you mean by understanding essentials ? Did our ancestors not understand them ? Or is it rather us who don't ? 

Do you have some rebuttal of Nagarjuna's dialectical dissolving of conceptuality that the world needs to know about ?

RE: Still point
Answer
6/8/20 1:57 AM as a reply to Olivier.
Olivier:
I don't know, the apocryphal gnostic gospel of St Thomas they found in Nag Hammadi, in the 40's, is pretty dzogcheny to me. 

Olivier, you know what an Orthodox Pre-Nicene Jewish Splinter Sectarian I am, lol. I am still trying to answer that great koan of Jesus: "Who do men say that I am?" I have not heard a good answer yet, to tell you the truth.

RE: Still point
Answer
6/21/20 9:50 AM as a reply to Olivier.
So "matter" exists and is primary ? How did you find that out ?
Matter is not so much primary as it is not secondary to anything you can possibly conceive and we as a species are not even done discovering what our material reality is made out of so my advice is to not dismiss matter as some second grade thing with better options awaiting us.

Imagine a big machine, with many bolts in it. One of these bolts
is a vital part of the whole, and when it breaks, the whole thing stops
working. Does studying the bolt tell you anything about the machine ?

Yes, it can tell you something even if not everything.
When you study machine from outside you might only see these bolts but when you unscrew these bolts more interesting things might appear inside.

When you say "add understanding", what do you mean exactly ? If I
talk about the difference between theoretical and practical knowledge,
or said another way, the difference about objective knowledge and
know-how, do you conceptually understand that ?

There is issue in whole theoretical/conceptual vs practical/experiential knowledge thing: Our minds have this bad tendency to check if we understand something by the feelings alone and if concept evoke strong experiences it seems very valid and real. Thus it is possible that we can lead ourselves astray by accumulating meaning of concepts that make little to no sense by associating strong meditative experiences with these concepts. It is thus best not make too much of such concepts and experiences (the so called "practical knowledge") and rather concentrate on concepts and associated experiences that would make sense outside experience. When we talk about "how body and mind work" different questions arise and different concepts. Experiences related with these concepts tend to be closer to what I would call proper understanding.

How did you ever know how to...
My body knows these things. If it didn't I would not be here =)

This other, more primary, kind of knowledge, praxis, is not
different from being. How could you possibly explain action from this
kind of knowledge ?

I do not assume existence of some primary perfect knowledge. You do not need any knowledge to just do this "being" thing.

How do you know what is right and what is wrong ? Do you need a theory to feel that ? 
Each case need to be considered separately taking all relevant facts and input from all sense doors. In the end it is always a guess.

What is this universe you speak of if not you, Ni Nurta ? The greater truths are already known.
It is me and like any part of me it might or mingt not be immediately known. I like explore and discover myself. It helps to kill some time.

How has life been able to maintain itself for millions of years without the kind of knowledge you speak of ?
Life was able to maintain itself just fine without many of traits that we homo sapiens sapiens have.

Has life started a few centuries ago ?
False

Isn't it rather
the case that it's only since we have started trusting rational
knowledge more than other kinds of knowledge, dimmed incomplete,
unreliable and obscure by our dear Galileo, that we humans have stopped
knowing how to live ? After all, it is because we developed this
objective knowledge so much that we are now on the verge of
self-destruction.
If not for the objective scientific knowledge we would have much lower standard of living and be forced to knee before some imaginary god.

What do you mean by understanding essentials ? Did our ancestors not understand them ? Or is it rather us who don't ? 
Take a look at science: we do not know everything but we have basic framework of how to study things figured out and our understanding constantly improves. When someone have basic knowledge about jim/herself figured out along basic framework how to study oneself and his/her knowledge constantly improves by the way of self observation and experiments then this I would call having essentials figured out.

Do you have some rebuttal of Nagarjuna's dialectical dissolving of conceptuality that the world needs to know about ?
Conceptuality is like sense of self.
Dissolving it is needed in the sense that it should be useful tool and not hard limit.
Take a look at religion: in some parts of the world you will have your head cut if you say something against local deity. For people their concepts are like this, not passable. And in either way: to consider them or not to consider them. Free man is one who can do with any concept that fit the thought process that is going on and can also do without concepts completely when they are not needed.

RE: Still point
Answer
6/21/20 10:10 AM as a reply to Ni Nurta.
Honestly I don't share in the progressist view on scientific knowledge. If that wasn't obvious emoticon
 
It seems more to me, to be progress in some directions, regression in others. Kind of like the way Foucault talked about "épistemè" as a kind of grid which characterizes knowledge at a certain time periode : some parts become hidden, others shown light on. Move the grid, and you get something totally different, but talking about progress from the previous state of knowledge is inadequate. 

I think the essentials of life have always been known by our ancestors, otherwise we would not be here.

Yet today, it seems we are on the verge of collective annihlation as a species.

So, my question remains : have we ever been farther away from the essentials than today ? Following my logic, it would seem natural : we know extremely complex stuff about nano technology and all that crap. To discover that, we have had to move the epistemological grid and covered up... the stuff necessary for survival.
If not for the objective scientific knowledge we would have much lower standard of living and be forced to knee before some imaginary god.

(1) We are kneeling before imaginary gods as we speak. It is inevitable... Today it might be "the market", or "the brain", but metaphysics remain. 
(2) I believe there has never been less of a sense of purpose in history than these past centuries. Does that get compensated by the fact that each person now has the energetic equivalent of 500 slaves working for them every day ? 

Allow me to doubt this. The values we use to judge the quality of life are perhaps not the same.

Cheers, Ni.