Trying to understand my journey comming from different traditions.

Polaris, modified 6 Months ago.

Trying to understand my journey comming from different traditions.

Posts: 6 Join Date: 12/18/18 Recent Posts
Hello! So, I'm practicing meditation seriously for 1,5 years now (~800h of TMI and 2 Goenka 10 day retreats). But previously, I underwent a mystical development through western mystical systems and shamanism. This previous practice rendered me realizations that where permanent and changed everything. I turned to meditation because I crossed with MCTB while looking for resources to understand those changes. In order to better orient my practice right now and to understand a little bit more of my phenomenology by the lights of the 4 path model, I'm asking for some second opinion.

I will share a couple experiences (briefly) and some aspects of how I perceive the world. As I'm looking for opinions to better place myself at the maps, let me do a couple considerations. I do not claim any degree of attainment. In fact, I have always considered myself a post A&P (pre-SE) practitioner. But talking to more experienced meditators that pointed to me that I could be farther than that, I resolved to make this post. If what I describe sounds like a pre Mind and Body practitioner and you wish to tell me that, please, do that, you will not hurt my feelings. In fact, if I'm at the beginning, that would be kind of awesome (because, OMG, what waits for me?), but at the same time I will try to reevaluate my practice to make it more efficient. If what I describe sounds like something further along and you wish to tell me that, that information will be employed for the sake of a more efficient practice as well. If, in the case of lots of concordant responses, you tell me that what I describe sounds like x, I will not personally claim to have attained x. First because I think that such a placement should be something that I and a qualified teacher agree with and second because I'm aware that every map is, ultimately, false.

From 12 to 21 I played a lot with magick, divination and stuff that blurred the inside/outside boundary. Then I spent 3 years doing psychedelics in a mystical context every weekend, leading me to 1000+ hours in the psychedelic realm.

I experienced A&P like episodes a couple times during adolescence while playing with magick. In my psychedelic incursions, every trip left me with several insights. But there are 2 that clearly changed everything in a permanent way:

1) In my 4th trip, I felt a knot in my heart, that was always there, untie completely. The mind became crazy fast, with an amazing amount of rapture/bliss/ecstasy to the point where "everything" became represented by a bright white light. Then, an explosion occurred where subject/object, inside/outside, everything/nothing, or whatever form you like to give to the Duality, inverted and annihilated itself. I got what, at the time, I called "the Cosmic Joke". That non-conceptual non-dual understanding as well as the experience of the voidness of things (specially concepts). There was an afterglow that lasted for something like 3 months and every mystical text I've read so far became intuitive and crystal clear.

2) In my 100th or so trip, "I" lost language, self, everything deconceptualized (including time and space), and it felt like rising by the formless realms to a point where "I" went full "meta". The "field" (where phenomena manifest) decoupled, became perfectly homogeneous and shut down. Reality turned on again, but this "meta awareness", of pure consciousness, devoid from structure, that lies behind, remained. "I" saw the manifestation reconstructing itself from scratch, like a thought forming, or a dream. The self reconstructed itself in real time. After that, this "meta awareness" remained, the "field" became just the field in such a way that there is no sense of distinction of "mind/body" and the "room", for example. It's just the "field". Which is that "meta awareness" as well. One devoid of structure, the other full of heterogeneity, but this duality realized as illusory.

The first experience happened 7 years ago. And the second 4 years. I think that it's also relevant to say that I've never experienced a cessation outside of psychedelic context. And that's why I've never considered myself a stream enterer.

Now, to move away from past experiences, I will describe how reality feels on a daily basis.

- The "meta awareness", or "absolute", where is possible to abide, remained. I'm not there all the time equaly, however. I can chose to abide there and reality starts to flicker, become luminous, alive, equanimity explodes and it makes me feel kinda high. But then the default mode network activates again and I'm back to self-referential thoughts (with this meta abiding in the background, in such a way that after I "wake up" from the wandering, I can tell that "I" was there retrospectively). This state is more or less accessible depending on conditions.

- The intuitive perception of how every duality is ilusory remained. I can feel it as a sense of sameness (to some degree) in my senses and it's straightforward for conceptual objects.

- The sense of self is perceived as a concept to which thoughts refers to, a certain kind of bodily sensations (that change depending on the degree that a situation reinforces the sense of self) and a kind of spatial contraction.

- There is a sense of agencylessness. When awareness is low (like when absorbed by wanderings), it's possible to be unconscious of this. But, if I "wake up", there is just the field, doing its thing.

- The body is felt like a flickering of nonlocalized pixels. The distance between two pixels in the forehead and one in the forehead and another in the feet is the same/undetermined. I feel like if there is a function that maps those pixels in a spatial sense, giving rise to the body as it's regularly perceived. I can attune to a way of seeing or another.

- Meditation is not that special. In my best days, practicing TMI, I could rise to the 8th stage. I spent a week without meditating, so, if I sit now, I will probably be at stage 4. There are plenty of hindrances. But meditation feels "meta alright", even when pain or restlessness shows up. I just need to abide in that "meta awareness". Before this break I was trying to learn the jhanas (having relative success with the 1st one).

- I underwent serious trauma due to life stuff on the last year. I became really depressed and dysfunctional. It was hideous, but a sense of "meta peace" was there all the time and that prevented me at doing stupid things.

- Most of the plans and desires I had fell away. As I came to realize that what moved me to do most of my tasks were mostly some kind of existential suffering (that disappeared or was greatly lessened), I became a master procrastinator (but a much more efficient worker, on the other hand). Desire for material pleasure reduced a lot and most of the pursue for this kind of stuff is mostly result of habit. I still run away from painful stuff.

I think that this is enough text for a guy talking about himself already. Please, feel free to share any insightful thoughts as well as to ask me anything. And I hope that this post can be useful to anyone who share commonalities with me.

Thank you!
shargrol, modified 6 Months ago.

RE: Trying to understand my journey comming from different traditions.

Posts: 1530 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Well, for what it's worth... sounds like a lot of great experiences but without a foundation of "basic sanity". Ultimately, it really doesn't matter what peak experiences we have if we wind up returning to a place of depression and apathy. (I'm not being mean, believe me, I'm very familiar with my own peak experiences and falling back into depression and apathy! emoticon emoticon )

I think it's worth focusing on finding a simple way to practice daily. Consistent, simple, non-heroic practice.

(Don't worry about that sounding really lame -- it's actually the quickest way to make solid progress.)

Any thoughts about what seems interesting to you as a daily practice?
Polaris, modified 6 Months ago.

RE: Trying to understand my journey comming from different traditions.

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Oh, hi, shargrol! I read the compilation of your posts they made here: https://shargrolpostscompilation.blogspot.com/p/blog-page.html a couple times. It's really useful! It's nice to have you here!

Please, by no means you are sounding mean. I'm not searching for an enlightened badge or something like that. And if you are saying that it is possible to get to a point where apathy and depression are impossible to happen, this is wonderful. I remember of people like Kenneth Folk and other accomplished guys reporting falling into mental health issues while far in the path, but I can't tell whether it's possible or not by my own experience. I suspect that it is possible. A matter of neurotransmitters seems to be beyond an enlightenment condition.

I would say that after those experiences life became much much much more enjoyable and suffering reduced a lot. And that pitfall was caused by actual stuff that messed up with early infancy psychological stuff. What seemed to happen, however, was that there was an amount of suffering that prevented me to cultivate mental qualities to get me out of the pit. I could still abide in awareness and watch stuff in a impersonal way (stuff happening in the field). But this state was less accessible, though.

About apathy, I feel that I can appreciate stuff more now, but I don't feel as much compelled for doing so. In a broader sense, I became much more sensible to "beauty", I would say. Lately I've not felt the drive to meditate, while just "being present" is feeling nice (will get back on track asap, anyways).

Concerning my practice: I do like to practice the TMI samatha-vipassana style. But there are things that bother me a little. First is the dependency of conditions to access higher stages. I need to be well rested, without stressful stuff going around, I need to be with an empty stomach and if a lose a couple days, it takes a loooot of time to get back on track. I've overcome dullness and it came back lots of times. I keep bouncing back and forth a lot. Also, as I have never experienced a cessation on cushion, I'm not quite sure of how effective this practice is for me. Still, after I sit, the peace and calm is amazing. And I'm very curious and looking forward to explore the jhanas.

I tried noting a couple times before I knew TMI. At the second or such tentative, I felt things going a little bit too edgy. Lots of luminosity, energy and vibration. At the time, I was afraid to hit on some dark stuff and be impaired to work. Because of that, I stepped back and went by a wetter route while I was practicing with no guidance.

My plan A is to do resume my routine of 2x1h sessions of TMI and maybe try to put less formal practices of other stuff in the mix. Like non-dual things.
shargrol, modified 6 Months ago.

RE: Trying to understand my journey comming from different traditions.

Posts: 1530 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Sounds good. It's the "daily" aspect that makes the biggest difference, so consistency is more important that total number of hours in any single day. Maybe commit to an hour a day of good practice and the rest is a bonus. emoticon
Polaris, modified 6 Months ago.

RE: Trying to understand my journey comming from different traditions.

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Nice to hear that! I will have that in mind.

Also, the TMI method says nothing about some of the stuff I reported coming with those experiences. Do you think that I should try to explore more these aspects of my experience or to just stick to the more simple "follow the breath" instructions?
shargrol, modified 6 Months ago.

RE: Trying to understand my journey comming from different traditions.

Posts: 1530 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Yes, that's true. In a way, TMI is sort of a sanitized version of what really tends to happen to most dedicated meditators... but everyone is different. It's really important for everyone to own their own practice and investigate ideas and approaches that are interesting. We all need to find out what works for us. There is no "one right way" for any of this stuff.
Mathias, modified 6 Months ago.

RE: Trying to understand my journey comming from different traditions.

Posts: 17 Join Date: 9/1/19 Recent Posts
Hello Polaris, 

You might be interested on more ''direct path'' than gradual kind of practice, here a website about it, there is a facebook group about it also.

 http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2007/03/thusnesss-six-stages-of-experience.html
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Angel Roberto Puente, modified 6 Months ago.

RE: Trying to understand my journey comming from different traditions.

Posts: 194 Join Date: 5/5/19 Recent Posts
     Hi, Mathias. We have a saying used a lot in PR, “tanto nadar para morir en la orilla”. It can be translated as, they swam so hard, only to
drown on the shore. This is the impression I get when I read all the descriptions of experiences and searches and stages. I read through
the article you posted and, surprise!, just as many in this thread have been saying, in the last stage this is said,
Stage 7: Presence is Spontaneously Perfected
After cycles and cycles of refining our practice and insights, we will come to this realization: Anatta is a seal, not a stage. Awareness has always been non-dual. Appearances have always been Non-arising. All phenomena are ‘interconnected’ and by nature Maha. All are always and already so. Only dualistic and inherent views are obscuring these experiential facts and therefore what is really needed is simply to experience whatever arises openly and unreservedly. However, this does not denote the end of practice; practice simply
moves to become dynamic and conditions-manifestation based. The ground and the path of practice become indistinguishable. (my
underline)  Why not make this the focus in the first place! This same assertion is found in the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, translation by Chip Hartranf, https://www.arlingtoncenter.org/Sanskrit-English.pdf . “Yoga is to still the patterning of consciousness. Then, pure awareness
can abide in its very nature. Otherwise, awareness takes itself to be the patterns of consciousness.”
     So, if at the end you are going to be doing the same thing you did at the beginning, and the only difference is that you will have seen a lot
of unusual sights on the way. Why not keep your eye on the ball?  Settle into the practice, see the sights but don't make a fuss about
them, just keep going. Don't wonder about where you are, it doesn't matter anyway. Look at where your life is getting better, accept
yourself completely, and relax. Life.
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terry, modified 6 Months ago.

RE: Trying to understand my journey comming from different traditions.

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
Angel Roberto Puente:
     Hi, Mathias. We have a saying used a lot in PR, “tanto nadar para morir en la orilla”. It can be translated as, they swam so hard, only to
drown on the shore. This is the impression I get when I read all the descriptions of experiences and searches and stages. I read through
the article you posted and, surprise!, just as many in this thread have been saying, in the last stage this is said,
Stage 7: Presence is Spontaneously Perfected
After cycles and cycles of refining our practice and insights, we will come to this realization: Anatta is a seal, not a stage. Awareness has always been non-dual. Appearances have always been Non-arising. All phenomena are ‘interconnected’ and by nature Maha. All are always and already so. Only dualistic and inherent views are obscuring these experiential facts and therefore what is really needed is simply to experience whatever arises openly and unreservedly. However, this does not denote the end of practice; practice simply
moves to become dynamic and conditions-manifestation based. The ground and the path of practice become indistinguishable. (my
underline)  Why not make this the focus in the first place! This same assertion is found in the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, translation by Chip Hartranf, https://www.arlingtoncenter.org/Sanskrit-English.pdf . “Yoga is to still the patterning of consciousness. Then, pure awareness
can abide in its very nature. Otherwise, awareness takes itself to be the patterns of consciousness.”
     So, if at the end you are going to be doing the same thing you did at the beginning, and the only difference is that you will have seen a lot
of unusual sights on the way. Why not keep your eye on the ball?  Settle into the practice, see the sights but don't make a fuss about
them, just keep going. Don't wonder about where you are, it doesn't matter anyway. Look at where your life is getting better, accept
yourself completely, and relax. Life.




Humble living does not diminish. It fills.
Going back to a simpler self brings wisdom.

When a man makes up a story for his child,
he becomes a father and a child together,
listening.

~rumi
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Angel Roberto Puente, modified 6 Months ago.

RE: Trying to understand my journey comming from different traditions.

Posts: 194 Join Date: 5/5/19 Recent Posts
Aaaaaamen!
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Angel Roberto Puente, modified 6 Months ago.

RE: Trying to understand my journey comming from different traditions.

Posts: 194 Join Date: 5/5/19 Recent Posts
shargrol:
Well, for what it's worth... sounds like a lot of great experiences but without a foundation of "basic sanity". Ultimately, it really doesn't matter what peak experiences we have if we wind up returning to a place of depression and apathy. (I'm not being mean, believe me, I'm very familiar with my own peak experiences and falling back into depression and apathy! emoticonemoticon )

I think it's worth focusing on finding a simple way to practice daily. Consistent, simple, non-heroic practice.

(Don't worry about that sounding really lame -- it's actually the quickest way to make solid progress.)

Any thoughts about what seems interesting to you as a daily practice?
It's great to read this coming from somebody respected on this forum, I really wish more people would consider this,  "Basic Sanity" seems the least we should expect from practice.  We should also consider that everything cannot be fixed by meditation.  Normal developmental stages, a la Eric Erickson, has it's effect as does normal biology.  I never experienced any depression but I did experience rage.  Even though I could observe and deconstruct the origination of this rage it wouldn't respond.  It wouldn't go away.  A random medical exam showed that family diabetes had caught up with me. Controlling the diabetes eliminated the rage. It was just high blood sugar.
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terry, modified 6 Months ago.

RE: Trying to understand my journey comming from different traditions.

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
Angel Roberto Puente:
shargrol:
Well, for what it's worth... sounds like a lot of great experiences but without a foundation of "basic sanity". Ultimately, it really doesn't matter what peak experiences we have if we wind up returning to a place of depression and apathy. (I'm not being mean, believe me, I'm very familiar with my own peak experiences and falling back into depression and apathy! emoticonemoticon )

I think it's worth focusing on finding a simple way to practice daily. Consistent, simple, non-heroic practice.

(Don't worry about that sounding really lame -- it's actually the quickest way to make solid progress.)

Any thoughts about what seems interesting to you as a daily practice?
It's great to read this coming from somebody respected on this forum, I really wish more people would consider this,  "Basic Sanity" seems the least we should expect from practice.  We should also consider that everything cannot be fixed by meditation.  Normal developmental stages, a la Eric Erickson, has it's effect as does normal biology.  I never experienced any depression but I did experience rage.  Even though I could observe and deconstruct the origination of this rage it wouldn't respond.  It wouldn't go away.  A random medical exam showed that family diabetes had caught up with me. Controlling the diabetes eliminated the rage. It was just high blood sugar.


and not so great coming from someone not respected...

lol...


just wanted to say that my  7 yr old granddaughter was diagnosed at age 4 with type one diabetes...controlling the diabetes helped with her rages as well...

if only there were help for me...

t
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Angel Roberto Puente, modified 6 Months ago.

RE: Trying to understand my journey comming from different traditions.

Posts: 194 Join Date: 5/5/19 Recent Posts
As a trained warrior I know about using a shield. emoticon  I'm new to this forum and have posted very little. But I have witnessed the endless semantical discussions, they blow my mind. When most people hear, "I think it's worth focusing on finding a simple way to practice daily. Consistent, simple, non-heroic practice." ( yea, I picked up the shield again) they don't believe it. It takes a lot of time to really internalize that practice is "enlightenment".  It will probably be highly controversial for me to say that, although sitting may be the best way to establish the conditions for learning, you eventually have to let go the attachment to it.  By this point, living and practice are one. I've noticed your ability to quote from literature and songs, can you find an ode to everyday practice I can sing?
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terry, modified 6 Months ago.

RE: Trying to understand my journey comming from different traditions.

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
Angel Roberto Puente:
As a trained warrior I know about using a shield. emoticon  I'm new to this forum and have posted very little. But I have witnessed the endless semantical discussions, they blow my mind. When most people hear, "I think it's worth focusing on finding a simple way to practice daily. Consistent, simple, non-heroic practice." ( yea, I picked up the shield again) they don't believe it. It takes a lot of time to really internalize that practice is "enlightenment".  It will probably be highly controversial for me to say that, although sitting may be the best way to establish the conditions for learning, you eventually have to let go the attachment to it.  By this point, living and practice are one. I've noticed your ability to quote from literature and songs, can you find an ode to everyday practice I can sing?

a lotta guys chant the heart sutra...

more better the sound of one hand clapping, or the wind through the woods when the trees are perfectly still...


I don't sing when I sit, I don't have insights, and in my practice the act of sitting itself internalizes that "practice is enlightenment," or as close to it as I am likely to get.

Sitting establishes the conditions for unlearning. Meditation is the practice of not knowing, and it helps establish the conditions for the acceptance of not-knowing in all situations, the letting go of attachment to knowing,

What I say is not meant to be authoritative or even true, only to stimulate a campfire of dialog from which truth may arise like the aroma of smoke.

If you really want something to sing, just as a peg, you can't do much better than the mantra:


Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate
Bodhi Svaha
Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate
Bodhi Svaha
Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate
Bodhi Svaha




t



The Heart Sutra
(as recited in the Triratna Buddhist Community)

The Bodhisattva of Compassion,
When he meditated deeply,
Saw the emptiness of all five
skandhas
And sundered the bonds that caused
him suffering.
Here then,
Form is no other than emptiness,
Emptiness no other than form.
Form is only emptiness,
Emptiness only form.
Feeling, thought, and choice,
Consciousness itself,
Are the same as this.
All things are by nature void
They are not born or destroyed
Nor are they stained or pure
Nor do they wax or wane
So, in emptiness, no form,
No feeling, thought, or choice,
Nor is there consciousness.
No eye, ear, nose, tongue, body,
mind;
No colour, sound, smell, taste,
touch,
Or what the mind takes hold of,
Nor even act of sensing.
No ignorance or end of it,
Nor all that comes of ignorance;
No withering, no death,
No end of them.
Nor is there pain, or cause of pain,
Or cease in pain, or noble path
To lead from pain;
Not even wisdom to attain!
Attainment too is emptiness.
So know that the Bodhisattva
Holding to nothing whatever,
But dwelling in Prajna wisdom,
Is freed of delusive hindrance,
Rid of the fear bred by it,
And reaches clearest Nirvana.
All Buddhas of past and present,
Buddhas of future time,
Using this Prajna wisdom,
Come to full and perfect vision.
Hear then the great dharani,
The radiant peerless mantra,
The Prajnaparamita
Whose words allay all pain;
Hear and believe its truth!
Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate
Bodhi Svaha
Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate
Bodhi Svaha
Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate
Bodhi Svaha
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Angel Roberto Puente, modified 6 Months ago.

RE: Trying to understand my journey comming from different traditions.

Posts: 194 Join Date: 5/5/19 Recent Posts
You are absolutely right.  Having practiced Rinzai Zen in it's clasical form I am still drawn to the Heart Sutra in Sanscrit:


Maka Hannya Haramita ShingyoKan ji zai bo satsu. Gyo jin han-nya ha ra mi ta ji. Sho ken go onkai ku. Do is-sai ku yaku. Sha ri shi. Shiki fu i ku. Ku fu i shiki. Shiki sokuze ku. Ku soku ze shiki. Ju so gyo shiki. Yaku bu nyo ze. Shari shi. Ze sho hoku so. Fu sho fu metsu. Fu ku fu jo. Fu zo fu gen. Ze ko ku chu. Mu shiki mu juso gyo shiki. Mu gen ni bi ze-shin ni. Mu shiki sho ko mi soku ho. Mu gen kainai shi mu i shiki kai. Mu mu myo yaku mu mu myo jin. Nai shi mu ro shi. Yakumu ro shi jin. Mu ku shu metsu do. Mu chi yaku mu toku. I mu sho toku ko. Bodaisat-ta. E han nya ha ra mi ta ko. Shin mu kei ge mu ke ge ko. Mu u ku fu. On riis-sai ten do mu so.Ku gyo ne han. San ze sho butsu. E han-nya ha ra mi ta ko.Toku a noku ta ra san myaku san bo dai. Ko chi han-nya ha ra mi ta. Ze dai jinshu. Ze dai myo shu. Ze mu jo shu. Ze mu to do shu. No jo is-sai ku. Shin jitsufu ko. Ko setsu han-nya hara mi ta shu. Soku setsu shu watsu.Gya tei gya tei hara gya tei.Hara so gya tei bo ji so wa ka.Han-nya shin gyo.

I'll go ahead and light the logs for the campfire.  Let the flames burn the incomplete self and the smoke make Dharma become visible.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 6 Months ago.

RE: Trying to understand my journey comming from different traditions.

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Angel Roberto Puente, modified 6 Months ago.

RE: Trying to understand my journey comming from different traditions.

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terry, modified 6 Months ago.

RE: Trying to understand my journey comming from different traditions.

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
Angel Roberto Puente:
You are absolutely right.  Having practiced Rinzai Zen in it's clasical form I am still drawn to the Heart Sutra in Sanscrit:


Maka Hannya Haramita ShingyoKan ji zai bo satsu. Gyo jin han-nya ha ra mi ta ji. Sho ken go onkai ku. Do is-sai ku yaku. Sha ri shi. Shiki fu i ku. Ku fu i shiki. Shiki sokuze ku. Ku soku ze shiki. Ju so gyo shiki. Yaku bu nyo ze. Shari shi. Ze sho hoku so. Fu sho fu metsu. Fu ku fu jo. Fu zo fu gen. Ze ko ku chu. Mu shiki mu juso gyo shiki. Mu gen ni bi ze-shin ni. Mu shiki sho ko mi soku ho. Mu gen kainai shi mu i shiki kai. Mu mu myo yaku mu mu myo jin. Nai shi mu ro shi. Yakumu ro shi jin. Mu ku shu metsu do. Mu chi yaku mu toku. I mu sho toku ko. Bodaisat-ta. E han nya ha ra mi ta ko. Shin mu kei ge mu ke ge ko. Mu u ku fu. On riis-sai ten do mu so.Ku gyo ne han. San ze sho butsu. E han-nya ha ra mi ta ko.Toku a noku ta ra san myaku san bo dai. Ko chi han-nya ha ra mi ta. Ze dai jinshu. Ze dai myo shu. Ze mu jo shu. Ze mu to do shu. No jo is-sai ku. Shin jitsufu ko. Ko setsu han-nya hara mi ta shu. Soku setsu shu watsu.Gya tei gya tei hara gya tei.Hara so gya tei bo ji so wa ka.Han-nya shin gyo.

I'll go ahead and light the logs for the campfire.  Let the flames burn the incomplete self and the smoke make Dharma become visible.
aloha angel,

   I used to work in the woods, live in the woods, and I've worked milling machines and pulled greenchain, cut a half million trees and planted a million (almost literally); done about everything there is to do in the wood products industry in the northwest. You might think experienced woodsmen like us would know how to build a campfire. And, indeed, I could build you a fire with nothing but a single match in the midst of the coast range (say, vernonia - shudder) in january when it has been raining for months (the trick is to find a downed cedar). But the way we actually built campfires after a long day of killing trees was to chainsaw up a dead tree into huge biscuits, pile them higher than we could stand, douse them with chain saw gas and whoosh! That was the good old days, when dead trees didn't simply burn themselves.


terry





FIRE AND ICE
(robert frost)

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 6 Months ago.

RE: Trying to understand my journey comming from different traditions.

Posts: 1667 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
My favorite chant from my past Zen-wannabe days was Kanzeon (my local Zen center chanted this one only it was in Swedish)

https://www.vermontzen.org/Chants/Kannon%20Sutra.mp3
Tim Farrington, modified 6 Months ago.

RE: Trying to understand my journey comming from different traditions.

Posts: 2437 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
Angel Roberto Puente:
As a trained warrior I know about using a shield. emoticon  I'm new to this forum and have posted very little. But I have witnessed the endless semantical discussions, they blow my mind. When most people hear, "I think it's worth focusing on finding a simple way to practice daily. Consistent, simple, non-heroic practice." ( yea, I picked up the shield again) they don't believe it. It takes a lot of time to really internalize that practice is "enlightenment".  It will probably be highly controversial for me to say that, although sitting may be the best way to establish the conditions for learning, you eventually have to let go the attachment to it.  By this point, living and practice are one. I've noticed your ability to quote from literature and songs, can you find an ode to everyday practice I can sing?

Bueno dias, Angel,

I think the sing-along sangha around the campfire is a great idea. Polaris can do some golden oldie shamanic chants, Papa Che can sing in Japanese, accompanying himself on on a guitar with the amp turned up to 11, and you and terry can harmonize on the heart sutra in several languages.

I am thinking of my old old hitch-hiking favorite, from my dharma bum zen days, perfect for desolate country two-lane roads with no ride in sight, and for zendos everywhere, "Me and Bobby McGee":

Freedom's just another word
for nothing left to lose.
Nothing ain't worth nothing, but it's free.
Feeling good was easy, Lord, when Bobby sang the blues.
Feeling good was good enough for me,
good enough for me and Bobby McGee.

love, tim

p.s. Also, re: the shield. I was raised Marine Corps green by a career warrior, to fight for right and freedom from the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli. Maybe we could could also go spiritual around that wet wood fire lit by terry from a single soggy match: 

"Gonna lay down my sword and shield
down by the riverside,
gonna study war no more."
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Angel Roberto Puente, modified 6 Months ago.

RE: Trying to understand my journey comming from different traditions.

Posts: 194 Join Date: 5/5/19 Recent Posts
Hey Tim.  As always, you paint a wonderful picture. That would be a magical campsite indeed! I don't imagine you as an American warrior, more like an ingenious Don Quijote charging at the windmills (of the mind).  Your replies in this and other threads are a real treat.  Your irreverence makes you dear to my heart and sometimes has me laughing all day. Let's light that fire!
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terry, modified 6 Months ago.

RE: Trying to understand my journey comming from different traditions.

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
Tim Farrington:
Angel Roberto Puente:
As a trained warrior I know about using a shield. emoticon  I'm new to this forum and have posted very little. But I have witnessed the endless semantical discussions, they blow my mind. When most people hear, "I think it's worth focusing on finding a simple way to practice daily. Consistent, simple, non-heroic practice." ( yea, I picked up the shield again) they don't believe it. It takes a lot of time to really internalize that practice is "enlightenment".  It will probably be highly controversial for me to say that, although sitting may be the best way to establish the conditions for learning, you eventually have to let go the attachment to it.  By this point, living and practice are one. I've noticed your ability to quote from literature and songs, can you find an ode to everyday practice I can sing?

Bueno dias, Angel,

I think the sing-along sangha around the campfire is a great idea. Polaris can do some golden oldie shamanic chants, Papa Che can sing in Japanese, accompanying himself on on a guitar with the amp turned up to 11, and you and terry can harmonize on the heart sutra in several languages.

I am thinking of my old old hitch-hiking favorite, from my dharma bum zen days, perfect for desolate country two-lane roads with no ride in sight, and for zendos everywhere, "Me and Bobby McGee":

Freedom's just another word
for nothing left to lose.
Nothing ain't worth nothing, but it's free.
Feeling good was easy, Lord, when Bobby sang the blues.
Feeling good was good enough for me,
good enough for me and Bobby McGee.

love, tim

p.s. Also, re: the shield. I was raised Marine Corps green by a career warrior, to fight for right and freedom from the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli. Maybe we could could also go spiritual around that wet wood fire lit by terry from a single soggy match: 

"Gonna lay down my sword and shield
down by the riverside,
gonna study war no more."


   I have used money before to start a fire when it was the only dry paper I had. And often "mountain money" was more valuable than cash.

t


ps how about from the halls of minneapolis to the shores of portland...keep the homeland secure from folks with soggy matches...

pps I wasn't proud then (I was drafted, and ducked certain combat by joining the navy) and I'm not proud now...
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terry, modified 6 Months ago.

RE: Trying to understand my journey comming from different traditions.

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
Polaris:
Hello! So, I'm practicing meditation seriously for 1,5 years now (~800h of TMI and 2 Goenka 10 day retreats). But previously, I underwent a mystical development through western mystical systems and shamanism. This previous practice rendered me realizations that where permanent and changed everything. I turned to meditation because I crossed with MCTB while looking for resources to understand those changes. In order to better orient my practice right now and to understand a little bit more of my phenomenology by the lights of the 4 path model, I'm asking for some second opinion.

I will share a couple experiences (briefly) and some aspects of how I perceive the world. As I'm looking for opinions to better place myself at the maps, let me do a couple considerations. I do not claim any degree of attainment. In fact, I have always considered myself a post A&P (pre-SE) practitioner. But talking to more experienced meditators that pointed to me that I could be farther than that, I resolved to make this post. If what I describe sounds like a pre Mind and Body practitioner and you wish to tell me that, please, do that, you will not hurt my feelings. In fact, if I'm at the beginning, that would be kind of awesome (because, OMG, what waits for me?), but at the same time I will try to reevaluate my practice to make it more efficient. If what I describe sounds like something further along and you wish to tell me that, that information will be employed for the sake of a more efficient practice as well. If, in the case of lots of concordant responses, you tell me that what I describe sounds like x, I will not personally claim to have attained x. First because I think that such a placement should be something that I and a qualified teacher agree with and second because I'm aware that every map is, ultimately, false.

From 12 to 21 I played a lot with magick, divination and stuff that blurred the inside/outside boundary. Then I spent 3 years doing psychedelics in a mystical context every weekend, leading me to 1000+ hours in the psychedelic realm.

I experienced A&P like episodes a couple times during adolescence while playing with magick. In my psychedelic incursions, every trip left me with several insights. But there are 2 that clearly changed everything in a permanent way:

1) In my 4th trip, I felt a knot in my heart, that was always there, untie completely. The mind became crazy fast, with an amazing amount of rapture/bliss/ecstasy to the point where "everything" became represented by a bright white light. Then, an explosion occurred where subject/object, inside/outside, everything/nothing, or whatever form you like to give to the Duality, inverted and annihilated itself. I got what, at the time, I called "the Cosmic Joke". That non-conceptual non-dual understanding as well as the experience of the voidness of things (specially concepts). There was an afterglow that lasted for something like 3 months and every mystical text I've read so far became intuitive and crystal clear.

2) In my 100th or so trip, "I" lost language, self, everything deconceptualized (including time and space), and it felt like rising by the formless realms to a point where "I" went full "meta". The "field" (where phenomena manifest) decoupled, became perfectly homogeneous and shut down. Reality turned on again, but this "meta awareness", of pure consciousness, devoid from structure, that lies behind, remained. "I" saw the manifestation reconstructing itself from scratch, like a thought forming, or a dream. The self reconstructed itself in real time. After that, this "meta awareness" remained, the "field" became just the field in such a way that there is no sense of distinction of "mind/body" and the "room", for example. It's just the "field". Which is that "meta awareness" as well. One devoid of structure, the other full of heterogeneity, but this duality realized as illusory.

The first experience happened 7 years ago. And the second 4 years. I think that it's also relevant to say that I've never experienced a cessation outside of psychedelic context. And that's why I've never considered myself a stream enterer.

Now, to move away from past experiences, I will describe how reality feels on a daily basis.

- The "meta awareness", or "absolute", where is possible to abide, remained. I'm not there all the time equaly, however. I can chose to abide there and reality starts to flicker, become luminous, alive, equanimity explodes and it makes me feel kinda high. But then the default mode network activates again and I'm back to self-referential thoughts (with this meta abiding in the background, in such a way that after I "wake up" from the wandering, I can tell that "I" was there retrospectively). This state is more or less accessible depending on conditions.

- The intuitive perception of how every duality is ilusory remained. I can feel it as a sense of sameness (to some degree) in my senses and it's straightforward for conceptual objects.

- The sense of self is perceived as a concept to which thoughts refers to, a certain kind of bodily sensations (that change depending on the degree that a situation reinforces the sense of self) and a kind of spatial contraction.

- There is a sense of agencylessness. When awareness is low (like when absorbed by wanderings), it's possible to be unconscious of this. But, if I "wake up", there is just the field, doing its thing.

- The body is felt like a flickering of nonlocalized pixels. The distance between two pixels in the forehead and one in the forehead and another in the feet is the same/undetermined. I feel like if there is a function that maps those pixels in a spatial sense, giving rise to the body as it's regularly perceived. I can attune to a way of seeing or another.

- Meditation is not that special. In my best days, practicing TMI, I could rise to the 8th stage. I spent a week without meditating, so, if I sit now, I will probably be at stage 4. There are plenty of hindrances. But meditation feels "meta alright", even when pain or restlessness shows up. I just need to abide in that "meta awareness". Before this break I was trying to learn the jhanas (having relative success with the 1st one).

- I underwent serious trauma due to life stuff on the last year. I became really depressed and dysfunctional. It was hideous, but a sense of "meta peace" was there all the time and that prevented me at doing stupid things.

- Most of the plans and desires I had fell away. As I came to realize that what moved me to do most of my tasks were mostly some kind of existential suffering (that disappeared or was greatly lessened), I became a master procrastinator (but a much more efficient worker, on the other hand). Desire for material pleasure reduced a lot and most of the pursue for this kind of stuff is mostly result of habit. I still run away from painful stuff.

I think that this is enough text for a guy talking about himself already. Please, feel free to share any insightful thoughts as well as to ask me anything. And I hope that this post can be useful to anyone who share commonalities with me.

Thank you!

aloha polaris,

    All experience both reveals and conceals. Your psychedelic experiences provide you with enthusiasm, but they hold you back. The memory of god's kiss obscures god's presence. Let the peak experiences go. Have new ones without drugs, they last longer.

   The sense of meta peace you speak of is all sufficient.

   I agree entirely with shargrol. Go back to the cushion, an hour a day is plenty. Do it every day. In the same posture. No words really matter.

   You know this, it is implicit in what you wrote.

   You're doing fine. Even occasional depression and life traumas are perfectly normal, life sucks after all. 

   Beware of mental objects as simply a finer version of the materiality you see through. All dharmas are conditioned. All are attachments.

   Stay with us, you fit right in.

terry





tao te ching, trans witter bynner


73

A man with outward courage dares to die,
A man with inward courage dares to live;
But either of these men
Has a better and a worse side than the other.
And who can tell exactly to which qualities heaven objects?
Heaven does nothing to win the day,
Says nothing - Is echoed,
Orders nothing - Is obeyed,
Advises nothing - Is right:
And which of us, seeing that nothing is outside the vast
Wide-meshed net of heaven, knows just how it is cast?
Tim Farrington, modified 6 Months ago.

RE: Trying to understand my journey comming from different traditions.

Posts: 2437 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
terry:
Polaris:
Hello! So, I'm practicing meditation seriously for 1,5 years now (~800h of TMI and 2 Goenka 10 day retreats). But previously, I underwent a mystical development through western mystical systems and shamanism. This previous practice rendered me realizations that where permanent and changed everything. I turned to meditation because I crossed with MCTB while looking for resources to understand those changes. In order to better orient my practice right now and to understand a little bit more of my phenomenology by the lights of the 4 path model, I'm asking for some second opinion.

I will share a couple experiences (briefly) and some aspects of how I perceive the world. As I'm looking for opinions to better place myself at the maps, let me do a couple considerations. I do not claim any degree of attainment. In fact, I have always considered myself a post A&P (pre-SE) practitioner. But talking to more experienced meditators that pointed to me that I could be farther than that, I resolved to make this post. If what I describe sounds like a pre Mind and Body practitioner and you wish to tell me that, please, do that, you will not hurt my feelings. In fact, if I'm at the beginning, that would be kind of awesome (because, OMG, what waits for me?), but at the same time I will try to reevaluate my practice to make it more efficient. If what I describe sounds like something further along and you wish to tell me that, that information will be employed for the sake of a more efficient practice as well. If, in the case of lots of concordant responses, you tell me that what I describe sounds like x, I will not personally claim to have attained x. First because I think that such a placement should be something that I and a qualified teacher agree with and second because I'm aware that every map is, ultimately, false.

From 12 to 21 I played a lot with magick, divination and stuff that blurred the inside/outside boundary. Then I spent 3 years doing psychedelics in a mystical context every weekend, leading me to 1000+ hours in the psychedelic realm.

I experienced A&P like episodes a couple times during adolescence while playing with magick. In my psychedelic incursions, every trip left me with several insights. But there are 2 that clearly changed everything in a permanent way:

1) In my 4th trip, I felt a knot in my heart, that was always there, untie completely. The mind became crazy fast, with an amazing amount of rapture/bliss/ecstasy to the point where "everything" became represented by a bright white light. Then, an explosion occurred where subject/object, inside/outside, everything/nothing, or whatever form you like to give to the Duality, inverted and annihilated itself. I got what, at the time, I called "the Cosmic Joke". That non-conceptual non-dual understanding as well as the experience of the voidness of things (specially concepts). There was an afterglow that lasted for something like 3 months and every mystical text I've read so far became intuitive and crystal clear.

2) In my 100th or so trip, "I" lost language, self, everything deconceptualized (including time and space), and it felt like rising by the formless realms to a point where "I" went full "meta". The "field" (where phenomena manifest) decoupled, became perfectly homogeneous and shut down. Reality turned on again, but this "meta awareness", of pure consciousness, devoid from structure, that lies behind, remained. "I" saw the manifestation reconstructing itself from scratch, like a thought forming, or a dream. The self reconstructed itself in real time. After that, this "meta awareness" remained, the "field" became just the field in such a way that there is no sense of distinction of "mind/body" and the "room", for example. It's just the "field". Which is that "meta awareness" as well. One devoid of structure, the other full of heterogeneity, but this duality realized as illusory.

The first experience happened 7 years ago. And the second 4 years. I think that it's also relevant to say that I've never experienced a cessation outside of psychedelic context. And that's why I've never considered myself a stream enterer.

Now, to move away from past experiences, I will describe how reality feels on a daily basis.

- The "meta awareness", or "absolute", where is possible to abide, remained. I'm not there all the time equaly, however. I can chose to abide there and reality starts to flicker, become luminous, alive, equanimity explodes and it makes me feel kinda high. But then the default mode network activates again and I'm back to self-referential thoughts (with this meta abiding in the background, in such a way that after I "wake up" from the wandering, I can tell that "I" was there retrospectively). This state is more or less accessible depending on conditions.

- The intuitive perception of how every duality is ilusory remained. I can feel it as a sense of sameness (to some degree) in my senses and it's straightforward for conceptual objects.

- The sense of self is perceived as a concept to which thoughts refers to, a certain kind of bodily sensations (that change depending on the degree that a situation reinforces the sense of self) and a kind of spatial contraction.

- There is a sense of agencylessness. When awareness is low (like when absorbed by wanderings), it's possible to be unconscious of this. But, if I "wake up", there is just the field, doing its thing.

- The body is felt like a flickering of nonlocalized pixels. The distance between two pixels in the forehead and one in the forehead and another in the feet is the same/undetermined. I feel like if there is a function that maps those pixels in a spatial sense, giving rise to the body as it's regularly perceived. I can attune to a way of seeing or another.

- Meditation is not that special. In my best days, practicing TMI, I could rise to the 8th stage. I spent a week without meditating, so, if I sit now, I will probably be at stage 4. There are plenty of hindrances. But meditation feels "meta alright", even when pain or restlessness shows up. I just need to abide in that "meta awareness". Before this break I was trying to learn the jhanas (having relative success with the 1st one).

- I underwent serious trauma due to life stuff on the last year. I became really depressed and dysfunctional. It was hideous, but a sense of "meta peace" was there all the time and that prevented me at doing stupid things.

- Most of the plans and desires I had fell away. As I came to realize that what moved me to do most of my tasks were mostly some kind of existential suffering (that disappeared or was greatly lessened), I became a master procrastinator (but a much more efficient worker, on the other hand). Desire for material pleasure reduced a lot and most of the pursue for this kind of stuff is mostly result of habit. I still run away from painful stuff.

I think that this is enough text for a guy talking about himself already. Please, feel free to share any insightful thoughts as well as to ask me anything. And I hope that this post can be useful to anyone who share commonalities with me.

Thank you!

aloha polaris,

    All experience both reveals and conceals. Your psychedelic experiences provide you with enthusiasm, but they hold you back. The memory of god's kiss obscures god's presence. Let the peak experiences go. Have new ones without drugs, they last longer.

   The sense of meta peace you speak of is all sufficient.

   I agree entirely with shargrol. Go back to the cushion, an hour a day is plenty. Do it every day. In the same posture. No words really matter.

   You know this, it is implicit in what you wrote.

   You're doing fine. Even occasional depression and life traumas are perfectly normal, life sucks after all. 

   Beware of mental objects as simply a finer version of the materiality you see through. All dharmas are conditioned. All are attachments.

   Stay with us, you fit right in.

terry





tao te ching, trans witter bynner


73

A man with outward courage dares to die,
A man with inward courage dares to live;
But either of these men
Has a better and a worse side than the other.
And who can tell exactly to which qualities heaven objects?
Heaven does nothing to win the day,
Says nothing - Is echoed,
Orders nothing - Is obeyed,
Advises nothing - Is right:
And which of us, seeing that nothing is outside the vast
Wide-meshed net of heaven, knows just how it is cast?

hi North Star, and welcome to DhO!

I'm adding my amen to what terry and shargrol have said. I've had my share of drug experiences and depression/despair time, along with a saving thread of recurrent meditation practice throughout, and in the long run what the practice has offered is in large part the space for integration of the wilder ecstatic stuff (God's kiss, as terry so beautifully put it) and the space of deconstruction for the patterns underlying the depressive/despair stuff, the chance to see just how miserable I have been making myself (and everyone around me, worse) all along, and to let go of some of that compulsive baggage. Practice, and the mindset that comes with good strong steady unambitious practice, is still my best chance at becoming a decent human being, lol. And seriously. And this forum for serious meditation practitioners has been a source of inspiration, support, and camaraderie, in priceless fashion.

Again, welcome. I hope you will find a fruitful home in this sangha, and I look forward to seeing how your journey continues here.

love, tim
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terry, modified 6 Months ago.

RE: Trying to understand my journey comming from different traditions.

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
Tim Farrington:
Thank you!

aloha polaris,

    All experience both reveals and conceals. Your psychedelic experiences provide you with enthusiasm, but they hold you back. The memory of god's kiss obscures god's presence. Let the peak experiences go. Have new ones without drugs, they last longer.

   The sense of meta peace you speak of is all sufficient.

   I agree entirely with shargrol. Go back to the cushion, an hour a day is plenty. Do it every day. In the same posture. No words really matter.

   You know this, it is implicit in what you wrote.

   You're doing fine. Even occasional depression and life traumas are perfectly normal, life sucks after all. 

   Beware of mental objects as simply a finer version of the materiality you see through. All dharmas are conditioned. All are attachments.

   Stay with us, you fit right in.

terry





tao te ching, trans witter bynner


73

A man with outward courage dares to die,
A man with inward courage dares to live;
But either of these men
Has a better and a worse side than the other.
And who can tell exactly to which qualities heaven objects?
Heaven does nothing to win the day,
Says nothing - Is echoed,
Orders nothing - Is obeyed,
Advises nothing - Is right:
And which of us, seeing that nothing is outside the vast
Wide-meshed net of heaven, knows just how it is cast?

hi North Star, and welcome to DhO!

I'm adding my amen to what terry and shargrol have said. I've had my share of drug experiences and depression/despair time, along with a saving thread of recurrent meditation practice throughout, and in the long run what the practice has offered is in large part the space for integration of the wilder ecstatic stuff (God's kiss, as terry so beautifully put it) and the space of deconstruction for the patterns underlying the depressive/despair stuff, the chance to see just how miserable I have been making myself (and everyone around me, worse) all along, and to let go of some of that compulsive baggage. Practice, and the mindset that comes with good strong steady unambitious practice, is still my best chance at becoming a decent human being, lol. And seriously. And this forum for serious meditation practitioners has been a source of inspiration, support, and camaraderie, in priceless fashion.

Again, welcome. I hope you will find a fruitful home in this sangha, and I look forward to seeing how your journey continues here.

love, tim




from "101 zen stories," paul reps




57.


A soldier named Nobushige came to Hakuin, and asked: ‘Is there really a paradise and a hell?'

'Who are you? ' Inquired Hakuin.

‘I am a samurai,' the warrior replied.

‘You, a soldier!’ exclaimed Hakuin. 'What kind of ruler would have you as his guard? Your face looks like that of a
beggar.'

Nobushige became so angry that he began to draw his sword, but Hakuin continued: 'So you have a sword! Your weapon
is probably much too dull to cut off my head.'

As Nohushige drew his sword Hakuin remarked: ‘Here open the gates of hell!’

At these words the samurai, perceiving the master's discipline, sheathed his sword and bowed.

'Here open the gates of paradise,' said Hakuin.

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