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"This Side" and "That Side"

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"This Side" and "That Side"
Answer
9/21/20 7:50 AM
What does Daniel Ingram mean when he says "this side" and "that side?" Is this a reference to the illusion of duality?


Thank you!

RE: "This Side" and "That Side"
Answer
9/21/20 8:41 AM as a reply to Kelly Gordon Weeks.
Yes. I always found that language confusing, but it has made more sense as insights progressed. If it's any consolation, these are only ever obvious in retrospect after some aspect has been permanently dissolved. I have some dissolving left to do myself.

"This side" refers to whatever feels like "you" as opposed to "that side" which refers to "other". It's more or less the same as becoming aware of the sensations of observer and observed. All of those separations are just subtle sensations that are identical from the vantage point of awareness, but the mind makes it feel like "this side" or "you" or "the observer" is somehow special.

An exercise to play with this: First relax for a while. Then see what comes to mind when you think of yourself, of Kelly. Is it a mental image? Is it a feeling somewhere in the body? Can you very quickly use your awareness to scan whatever comes up with increasing levels of detail (down to the cells if necessary) until your mind recognizes there is essentially no you and it results in a shift / feeling of openness? This could take a while, but if successful you've temporarily dissolved one aspect / level of "this side" and shifted into operating from awareness.

There are many such dualities in practice and they present in different ways across the sense doors. The objective is to recognize & dissolve them all.

RE: "This Side" and "That Side"
Answer
9/21/20 8:47 AM as a reply to mrdust.
Things that make you go hmmmmm. That's very interesting. Thank you for the clarification and the exercise! I'll try that today and see what happens.

RE: "This Side" and "That Side"
Answer
9/21/20 12:59 PM as a reply to mrdust.
mrdust:

An exercise to play with this: First relax for a while. Then see what comes to mind when you think of yourself, of Kelly. Is it a mental image? Is it a feeling somewhere in the body? Can you very quickly use your awareness to scan whatever comes up with increasing levels of detail (down to the cells if necessary) until your mind recognizes there is essentially no you and it results in a shift / feeling of openness? This could take a while, but if successful you've temporarily dissolved one aspect / level of "this side" and shifted into operating from awareness.


I am very much interestsed in exercises like this. Can you suggest others? Is this from Daniels's book? If so can you post a link? Is there somewhere in Daniel's book or elsewhere on-line with other such exercises?

(I'm aware of the 12 items in Daniel's chapter on "A Revised Four Path Model" but I find your style of writing (above) somewhat more understandable.)

Thanks

RE: "This Side" and "That Side"
Answer
9/21/20 4:12 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
This was a somewhat piecemeal regurgitation of a Mahamudra vipassana exercise I heard Dan Brown give in a guided meditation called Ocean & Waves practice. You may have to pay for a subscription to http://pointingoutway.org/ and search the archives to get access - it's a bit of a mission, but there's a lot there. The particular exercise in question started with concentration, continued with deconstructing the sense of self more or less as written above, then went on to pointing out aspects of awareness.

This Mahamudra Manual is free and has a lot of investigative exercises along similar lines: http://www.mahamudracenter.org/MMCMemberManualIndex.htm


The book Clarifying the Natural State by Dakpo Tashi Namgyal also has some very concise and direct instructions.

Loch Kelley's book Shift Into Freedom has a slightly more modern/western approach to this material. There are some short & free guided sessions on insight timer and youtube.

Michael Taft also has some excellent guided meditations along these lines on YouTube that are usually 50-60min long.

I've found both Taft & Kelly's approaches to be an excellent complement to straight up Mahasi style vipassana, which is what MCTB generally focuses on.

RE: "This Side" and "That Side"
Answer
9/21/20 4:53 PM as a reply to Kelly Gordon Weeks.
When mind operates in "dual" mode then you have two kind of focus processes. One is for external world and its objects and other is for you, the observer. Those are actually the same process handled by partially different and partially the same parts of your brain and the whole effect is sustained by brain quickly switching between these focuses. It is this switching which is quite tiring to this part of your your brain which is shared hence discomfort, dukkha, suffering, etc.

The quickest way to deal with this is to merge them together. Literally move external awareness and internal one for them to touch somewhere in the middle. Just do not try to be specific as to what need to happen because if you try to be specific you will use either side process to do it and strenghten it. They will kinda do something and it will move/fade away leaving no observer and no observed, just reality as it is. It will be again the same process but now fixed with completely different presentation and using all brain parts for both "sides". Just now there won't be any sides because illusion of there being side was caused by this switching between here and there.

This duality thing is actually whole class of effects that can happen in mind and manifest in different ways, like having two streams of the same experience but kinda two different version of it. They can happen even after enlightenment when you put too much stress on yourself eg. lack of sleep, substance abuse, dealing with really problematic situations, etc. It is not that big of an issue when the process of fixing this issue is known and is what maintenance from time to time is needed for.

I personally would suggest avoid getting in to any "self" related thinking when dealing with this and treat it as some internal brain desychnronization issue which need synchronization. It is more true to what happens and thinking about selves only strengthen this issue which is not what we want. After brain is synchronized and nothing flickers or moves any self related questions do not arise anymore or thinking about sides or whatever. It is kinda known how it all works like it is obvious how water flow when it is in laminar flow (non-dual mind) versus when it is turbulent flow (dual mind).

edit://
Also avoid thinking about any "liberation" or anything like that.
Do it like robot which knows what needs to be done and just do it. Just remove the arrow. Partying can be done later. When you are finished with fixing the issue you will get all your satisfaction from the experience which will result from fixing the issue.

RE: "This Side" and "That Side"
Answer
9/21/20 6:23 PM as a reply to mrdust.
mrdust:


An exercise to play with this: First relax for a while. Then see what comes to mind when you think of yourself, of Kelly. Is it a mental image? Is it a feeling somewhere in the body? Can you very quickly use your awareness to scan whatever comes up with increasing levels of detail (down to the cells if necessary) until your mind recognizes there is essentially no you and it results in a shift / feeling of openness? This could take a while, but if successful you've temporarily dissolved one aspect / level of "this side" and shifted into operating from awareness.


It seems to me that becoming adept at letting go of emotions ( by letting yourself feel emotional pain while relaxing, calming the mind and easing the pain with samatha skills, and maintaining the detatched attitude of observation so the emotions don't take over your mind - a complicated subject which takes time to learn ) is a useful skill in the process described above. 

Our ideas of self and other are so tangled up in emotions, letting go of attachment to self and aversion to other will involve many unpleasant emotions (maybe every unpleasant emotion you ever had in your life?). 

That plus the observation that everything (mental activity and sensory input) that comes into awareness (including ideas about self and other) arises from unconscious processes (are things we observe as if coming from outside, are not me or mine) would seem to be helpful in dislodging identity view.

It has an emotional component too, it's not simply an objective insight or realization.

How does one feel about giving up the distinction between self and other? How does one feel about giving up their preference for self over other? Can those emotions be let go of? Aren't those emotions the major obstacle that keeps "things as they really are" hidden (suppressed) from our conscious mind?

RE: "This Side" and "That Side"
Answer
9/23/20 8:50 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
I remembered another good resource on this. NLP trainer Connirae Andreas has a book / online course called Wholeness Process / Coming to Wholeness.

The technique is quite straightforward - sort of a more detailed / precise version Ramana Maharshi's "Who am I?" style of self inquiry. If you liked the self dissolution exercise I posted above I think you'd appreciate this, it's along the same lines.

The book is something like 99c on Amazon and there's a free intro video on her website.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42348332-coming-to-wholeness

https://wholenessprocess.org/

RE: "This Side" and "That Side"
Answer
9/23/20 9:47 AM as a reply to mrdust.
mrdust:
I remembered another good resource on this. NLP trainer Connirae Andreas has a book / online course called Wholeness Process / Coming to Wholeness.

The technique is quite straightforward - sort of a more detailed / precise version Ramana Maharshi's "Who am I?" style of self inquiry. If you liked the self dissolution exercise I posted above I think you'd appreciate this, it's along the same lines.

The book is something like 99c on Amazon and there's a free intro video on her website.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42348332-coming-to-wholeness

https://wholenessprocess.org/

I'm watching the video now:

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

RE: "This Side" and "That Side"
Answer
9/24/20 10:58 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim Smith:
mrdust:
I remembered another good resource on this. NLP trainer Connirae Andreas has a book / online course called Wholeness Process / Coming to Wholeness.

The technique is quite straightforward - sort of a more detailed / precise version Ramana Maharshi's "Who am I?" style of self inquiry. If you liked the self dissolution exercise I posted above I think you'd appreciate this, it's along the same lines.

The book is something like 99c on Amazon and there's a free intro video on her website.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42348332-coming-to-wholeness

https://wholenessprocess.org/

I'm watching the video now:

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

This video is interesting.

Maybe the feelings of spaciousness that come from meditation, and the 5th and 6th jhanas are what we experience as infants before we create a small "I" - the adult sense of self that is separate from non-self? Can we find our way back to an original awakned state simply by practicing, by spending time thinking of our self as expanded beyond our bodies into the space of awareness outside our body?

Its interesting that she believes simply expanding your sense of self to the awareness space outside your body has psychological healing effects that accrue without having to focus on a specific problem. If that's true, then people maybe doing that part of her technique without knowing it, when they feel spaciousness and the higher jhanas in the course of their practice. But understanding these healing qualities might allow people to do it more intentionally and get more benefits.


I've only seen the free video not read her books or the paid training videos, or looked into her previous (NLP?) work, but I think she is getting close to something else, and that is what I call reverse dreaming. In a dream, the unconconscious mind communicates with the conscious mind. In a reverse dream the conscious mind communicates intentionally to the unconscious mind using dreamlike expressions (imagery, feelings, knowingness, symbolism etc) of information.

RE: "This Side" and "That Side"
Answer
9/25/20 1:41 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim Smith:
Maybe the feelings of spaciousness that come from meditation, and the 5th and 6th jhanas are what we experience as infants before we create a small "I" - the adult sense of self that is separate from non-self? Can we find our way back to an original awakned state simply by practicing, by spending time thinking of our self as expanded beyond our bodies into the space of awareness outside our body?

Its interesting that she believes simply expanding your sense of self to the awareness space outside your body has psychological healing effects that accrue without having to focus on a specific problem. If that's true, then people maybe doing that part of her technique without knowing it, when they feel spaciousness and the higher jhanas in the course of their practice. But understanding these healing qualities might allow people to do it more intentionally and get more benefits.
When you do not feel this mind that you refer to (eg. because you did not use it for too long) but you remember it then it is not so much that you expand your sense of self outside your body but what you simply need to do is completely ignore this sense of self and directly start using this more direct mind.

Without feeling this direct mind you need to do it kinda blindly. Just like when you move your hand you do not expand the thing on which you are focused on right now to start feeling where the mind part for the hand is. You just move hand and using any mind state or mind functionality or mind type is exactly like that.

When you do start using this direct mind then the sense of self mind or "small I" mind will have much lower priority and will fade away by itself. It will be viewed as something created by direct mind. I would even say that it is visualized in it. And with this "visualized" in mind there is a suggestion that you can actually visualize something like it but do it differently. I even practiced it and called this practice as "mind state visualization". And like with direct mind all the visualized minds can be accessed directly just by simply using them.

This here of course creates an issue "If all visualized minds can be accessed like this then how do I know which is most direct mind?" and the answer is simple "All minds are visualized" and it is not so much about getting to any "real" mind because there is actually none. What we can however do is to get more information about what is there and figure out ways it can be used. Either more directly as it presents itself or to visualize nice mind states which can be useful in specific scenarios. The most direct mind states with most stuff exposed and directly available are extremely useful for meditation but eg. when interacting with other people?... not so much. It is better to have "small I" of some form for that. It just doesn't need to be the one that formed when we were children/teenagers but it can be the one which we create for this purpose which is more skillful and doesn't have as many flaws and issues. For example imho any visualized mind state should have in it pointers to where the more direct mind is and where other mind states are in the mind so that when there is a need to switch these minds it is easier to switch to those mind states. While it is always possible to do it directly it also at times feel rather "hacky" to do it as it all these cases you basically force mind states and it lead to situation where two or more sets of mind states exist at the same time.

For the purpose of finding all the mind parts practice of formed and formless jhanas is very good. Also body scanning and basically any practice you can do where you feel yourself and try to use parts of the mind which you normally do not use. Personally I view formless jhanas as having specific functions in the mind and when you get to use these functions they kinda seem "ridiculously overpowered" with ability to really change how brain works and do it in persistent fashion. I mention this so because it might seem (or rather "it WILL seem") that when you use these you do more discovering when it is more like you do more shaping your mind than discovering it. It is best to not assume any shape to be real. Even if it feels super real and direct it is just a visualization. What is real is how the brain actually works and if you know that and know what causes issues like suffering then you can use this knowledge to construct your mind in a way that has least amount of issues. Otherwise any mind state should be treated as an illusion of sorts.