RE: First A&P to 4th path in one year

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Stephen, modified 3 Months ago.

First A&P to 4th path in one year

Posts: 15 Join Date: 11/26/20 Recent Posts
Bold claim, I know. But I hope this post and any responses I can give will help support it. This will be a bit lengthy but I feel like a certain amount of information is needed to give the full picture. I’m happy to expand on anything or answer any questions that may come up. The flip into non dual perception happened 6 weeks ago, and there have been no changes since. Considering the pace this all unfolded at that's a pretty long time for me with no changes but I’ve seen others mention “a year and a day” so I will happily come back and withdraw my statement if things flip back at any point.

I want to start by showing my immense gratitude to Daniel and other members of this forum for all the information provided, normalizing the process of awakening/enlightenment, states and stages, and giving me the confidence and motivation to keep pressing on. These words are nowhere near enough of a thank you but it’s all I can do right now. Although this is my first post I’ve been browsing over the last year whenever I needed clarification or guidance on where to go next. The third path threads were especially helpful for insight practises and general notes on what to look out for. My practise never seemed to stagnate for more than a few days so I didn’t felt the need to ask for guidance on here, I just kept my head down and kept practising.

My path was pretty unconventional. Psychedelics seemed to play a big role at key points in the path, so outside of saying thank you I’m not sure what this post will accomplish. I guess my hope is that someone stumbles across this thread at the right time and they find something useful in here for them, the same way certain threads were helpful for me along the way. 

I’m still blown away that this path and way of experiencing reality is possible. The incremental way it all unfolds and the gradual experiential understanding of the dharma is so beautiful. Despite the ups and downs of the last year I would do it many times over to get to this state. I also feel incredibly fortunate to live in a time where all these high level teachings from various traditions have been distilled down into practical instructions that we can access from the comfort of our homes. 

I’ll start with a list of the various practises that seemed to have a noticeable impact on different aspects of the path, a description of my current experience, and then an outline of the last year. Unfortunately I didn’t start taking proper notes until 3rd path so I’m going to do my best to remember the order things unfolded in. I’ll paste my third path notes in a reply in this thread so it doesn’t get too messy. I’ll also try to use my own language and speak from direct experience, but there will be a lot of familiar language used because of the sources I learned from. 

Last thing - I'm in Toronto, so if there's anyone reading this who's in the area and wants to chat about this stuff send me a message on here, I'd love to connect.

***To anyone reading this, please don't take this as encouragement to use psychedelics as a way to speed progress. They were ultimately helpful for me but they're also very unpredictable and left me destabilized multiple times. I was fortunate enough to have a partner who works in the mental health field that could bring me down to earth, but there were times when it took me weeks to recover.



PART 1 - METHODS / RESOURCES


Methods tried previously. I’m 30 now, and first tried meditation about 8 years ago after a psilocybin trip and being introduced to Ram Dass. These are methods I tried sporadically throughout the last 7-8 years. I wasn't consistent with them or doing more than 10-20mins per day, but I’m confident they laid a foundation. 

Transcendental Meditation 
Headspace App
Mantra

Methods used in the last year:
Waking Up App
Mantra 
Visualization 
Shamatha (The Mind Illuminated)
Somatic Practises (Reggie Ray)
Walking meditation
Jhanas
Fire Kasina
Noting + 3 Characteristics
Metta
Self Inquiry
Insight Practises (MCTB, DHO, Seeing that Frees)

Other tools used:
LSD
Psilocybin 
Wim Hof and Holotropic Breathwork
Psychotherapy
Qi Gong
Yin Yoga

Resources - I didn’t end up working with any teachers outside of a short conversation during the first dark night, and right before 4th path. My main teachers for technique and dharma were these books and resources. 

The Mind Illuminated 
MCTB / DHO
Right Concentration
Seeing that Frees 
Awakening to Reality website 
Adyashanti books and talks
10 Percent Happier Podcast
Buddhist Geeks Podcast
Deconstructing Yourself Podcast




PART 2 - CURRENT EXPERIENCE

-No self. There’s no longer a sense that there’s anyone inside that’s doing anything, it’s just this life unfolding. If I sit still in a room it feels like I become the entire room in a certain way, with no one there experiencing it. It’s as if I’ve hit pause on a dream or my life story, and then I’m reentering the dream as I get back up and engage in thoughts or actions. Honestly I found this fairly unsettling for the first few days as I couldn't help but keep looking back and not finding anyone there. Leading up to 4th it was just glimpses but to have this be the new default took some getting used to.

-Lack of solidity anywhere. All physical objects seem like they have no substance to them, like the mind isn’t projecting or assuming the solidity of anything. 

-Panoramic and luminous. Reality is incredibly vibrant and vivid, so much so that it looks digital. Space/seeing became slightly wider after stream entry or awakening, and then during third it expanded quite a lot. 

-Timeless/infinite. This isn’t always present, but if I stop whatever I’m doing and rest, there’s a deep sense of nothing happening. Nothing continuing and nothing about to happen, just this, the mind is fully at rest. Walking outside at times feels like I’m walking through infinity, like there’s absolutely nowhere to go. This one’s hard to articulate.

-Heart space is wide open, and I can rest in that space while sitting quietly or out for a walk.

-The mind feels vast/boundaryless, there’s only the sensations of a face or head but no imaginary boundary of the mind anymore. Earlier in 3rd their was a big dissolving away of the illusion of being inside the head, but at 4th this is pretty extreme. Mind or awareness is as big as whatever space you’re in so it feels pretty great being outside.

-Thoughts are so small and sort of like vapour floating around in a wide open space. This happened incrementally as I moved through 3rd. Because the mind feels so big and there’s no longer a sense of being confined to the head, there’s absolutely no tension whatsoever no matter what thoughts are appearing or what situation I'm in. There’s still sensations in the body that go along with frustration or sadness but no tension in the head. It's all felt as it happens, and disappears on its own without any added mental suffering.

-All sensations are incredibly immediate and vivid. They're automatically known where they are within the entire field of awareness, no longer a sense of anyone over here knowing them. Nothing leaves any trace, it's like all sensations immediately release on arrival, the mind doesn't hold on to anything.

-Non dual awareness is always present, no subject object split, no sense of an inside or outside. Everything is seen as one field of sensations arising causally. 

-“Void like fruition of Arhatship”, I saw this mentioned in the "Great Disciples of the Buddha" but I never saw it mentioned in other media that I came across. If I sit with my eyes closed it’s like the brain comes to complete rest. All sensations dissolve and become undefinable, like the body is just vague sensations floating in a void. It reminds me a lot of the 7th jhana.

-Deeper sense of connection and ease with anyone I talk to. As someone who used to have a ton of social anxiety this is pretty great. 

-Inescapable real time awareness of all mental activity and sensations. This hasn’t wavered through physical pain, difficult conversations, fast paced work days. It was actually one of the harder things for me to adjust to because now I’m seeing all my conditioning play out, and I can’t ignore any of it. Ultimately incredibly helpful but definitely an adjustment.  

I’m sure to some people reading this a lot of that sounds radical but it’s pretty normal now, even though I'm not completely used to it yet. It took some time to settle in and there are times where certain aspects are much more prominent, but it’s ordinary in a lot of ways. Incredibly beautiful and freeing, but ordinary. Life is a lot lighter, a lot more enjoyable, and I no longer feel the need to deny any aspects of it. Cutting out certain things was helpful for progress and for being a generally good human being, but the idea of some things being "it" or some things not being "it" is funny to me now. There’s absolutely nothing you could ever do or think or feel, and nowhere you could go that isn’t "it", it’s always been here. Not trying to be profound here, I just look back and laugh sometimes at how serious I took it and how hard we have to struggle to find what’s been here all along. What a strange journey. 




PART 3 - NOTES FROM A&P TO 3RD PATH

In 2019 a crisis in my personal life forced to confront a life long addiction. This led to me finding the motivation to dive deeper internally and start ramping up my meditation practise, going to therapy, and exploring things like yoga and body/energy work.    

I was mainly using guided meditations from Sam Harris’ Waking Up app before the A&P event on November 1st 2019. It came at the very end of 50ug LSD trip. I was walking across the living room when it felt like a lightning bolt hit me, and suddenly all sense of time fell away. I remember immediately thinking that this is the "present moment" that Ram Dass and others were always talking about. I was in the kitchen washing a dish and it was as if there was absolutely nothing else happening, just my hands and the water and the dish. The rest of the night was spent in a pretty manic state where I felt like I was tapped into the infinite knowledge of the cosmos. This was followed by about a week of toned down but still somewhat manic behaviour.

After that week I fell hard into the dark night. I had around 4-6 weeks where I was riddled with existential fear and anxiety, extreme dissociation, feeling like I was dying, paranoia and delusions. CBD Oil, wine, yoga, metta, and grounding visualizations got me through the worst of this. I suspected I caused a psychotic break through psychedelic use, or triggered a hidden bipolar disorder and was prepared to get a psych assessment at a mental health clinic. Luckily I came across the 10 Percent Happier podcast, and found my way to an episode where someone described a lot of what I’d been through. This led to me finding Daniels work, and the path of insight. My understanding of spirituality, dharma, awakening, and “the path” up to this point was next to nothing, so to have these things normalized changed everything for me. From then on I filled all my spare time with learning dharma, and practising anything I felt called to. I work as a freelancer so I have a lot of down time, and due to Covid I had 5 months with no work at all and poured that time into meditation and reading.
 
Between January and June 2019 I progressed from stages 3 to 10 of The Mind Illuminated. During that time I did a 6 day self guided at home retreat with around 5 hours per day of various forms of meditation, and a 3 day at home retreat guided by a local Buddhist centre. Outside of that I was doing around 2 hours per day of formal meditation.

My insights up until this point were all mapped directly with what was explained in TMI. I knew about the four path model and knew that my experience of self and reality was different but I couldn’t quite articulate how. I just felt like I was more present and more “here” than I had in my life. My vision seemed to have widened out slightly as well, and things felt more spacious and more “there”. I hadn’t had any moments that I was confident saying were cessations, so I assumed I still hadn’t attained stream entry. 

After working through the path of TMI I started on some insight practises. I used a mix of practises from TMI, MCTB, and Seeing that Frees. I was also starting to get familiar with the first Jhana. 

June 2019 - 3g psilocybin - At the very end of this experience as I was coming back to baseline my mind was trying to attach words to what I experienced. I kept letting go and letting go at subtler levels, as if I was unwrapping the mind and mental activity. As I let go of the final thread of mental activity, reality completely blinked out. When it came back it felt like my entire being was reassembled and came back online, only I was back in a non-dual state far beyond my current one. This faded after about 5-10mins, but my baseline was now very different. My mind was left feeling much larger, mental activity quieter, and a deeper sense of clarity and presence. My best guess is this was Nirodha, or a shift into 2nd or 3rd path..maybe both. At the time I thought I had just now gotten stream entry. 

Shortly after that I started to teach myself the first few Jhanas using Right Concentration by Leigh Brasington. They came to me quickly so I worked on perfecting those and would move into insight practise after coming out of the 4th Jhana.

July 2019 - 50ug LSD. During the peak of the experience I felt time drop away again, and had this feeling like I was being pulled upward. My vision literally pulled up and widened out, and the imaginary walls of my mind dissolved. Everything became so panoramic and luminous that it was disorienting. From then on there was no longer any sense of being located inside the head. Closing my eyes was seen as just a sensation, and that everything is out there.

This was followed by a rough week at home, then a week where things felt like things were shifting very quickly. The boundary of my mind or awareness expanded further. I was able to hold awareness on everything around me. I had my first true experience of no self where I saw clearly all the sense doors operating on their own and no one there experiencing them, just all the senses known on their own. Thought space opened up, no longer any clenching in the mind when certain thoughts arise. Dependent origination became much more clear in daily life.

I learned the first three formless jhanas. 

Another dark night set in. I did a lot of deconstructing fear and negative emotions. Started consistent self love and metta practises and this helped me move through the dark night fairly quickly. 


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For the rest of third path I have more detailed notes that you can find in the next post. 
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Stephen, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: First A&P to 4th path in one year

Posts: 15 Join Date: 11/26/20 Recent Posts
Notes from 3rd to 4th path


August 2020

Thought space seems to have opened up, thoughts don’t feel localized inside my head, they’re more freely appearing in a larger space. There’s no longer a contraction around thought, positive or negative, they’re all just appearing in a larger field. Very relieving.

I can hold my awareness/attention on the entire field of experience and all senses at once with lots of effort.

When I sit to meditate my body feels empty, all that remains is the sensation of the cushion or hands on the legs.

Physical sensations and sound is known where it is. Those sensations seem to just be floating or arising and passing where they are without a “me” over here recognizing them.

Seeing dependant origination/causality much more clearly. 

Seeing more how the mind state is affecting clinging and suffering. Contracted mind state in dark night causing much more mental looping, making up stories to support negative view. Which colours the perception of external phenomena. Loving open mind state sees all as beautiful phenomena arising and passing, barely registering anything “negative” because the mind is vast and open.

Sense of boundary expanded further beyond the body. Physical sensations seem more equalized to the rest of sensations in the larger field. 

There’s no escaping awareness, it’s the sensation of moving fingers typing these words, it’s the thoughts themselves, the voice in my head saying the words. Everything, good or bad, memory of the past or thought of the future, any sensation in the body..it’s all “it” as it happens now. Even if it feels like you’re distracted, the distraction is also it and the remembering is it. 

Thoughts seem more “luminous”. More defined, harder to get lost in.

Practise got frantic, I started trying too many things. Need to relax into open awareness and let the mind do its thing again. Trying to stop any subtle “doing” that appears. 

Trying to sync up with the moment. Forgetting anything that happened before, any attainments or prior experiences. It’s just this.

Aware of the subtlest contraction / energetic movement around thoughts. Without that movement they disintegrate on arrival but if they gain energy they turn into a thought stream or ideas, starting the entire cycle of intention and action etc. Going to work on this.

The shift from engaging with thoughts to being aware of bare sensations where they are is much more subtle. It was a bigger energetic movement before but now is a very effortless shift.

Meditation moved from experiencing all from the head to shifting into the heart space and experiencing from there. Getting out of the head/mind. Never practised this before so it’s hard to stay there but the feeling of warmth and expansiveness in that space was beautiful.

Things have gone slightly more panoramic, and slightly more luminous. This shift wasn’t as profound as the previous but enough to notice.

Noticing how a self assembles in each situation or conversation, but when it’s over things shift back to a more spacious awareness.



September


Visual field - understanding of non dual. Not fully flipped by any means but understanding how concepts like looking, focusing, space, perspective are formed. 

Noticed thought space had flipped back, must have been this way a little while. Flipped it back open and immediately felt freeing again. But this time I realized I was attached to the idea of the head still.. so I tried pushing out or feeling into the space below, and to the sides of my body. Then merging that with the larger “mind” space above me that I thought was as big as it got. Now awareness or mind stretches to the entire knowable field. Took lots of effort to hold at first. Staying mostly on its own but I still step in to keep holding just in case. From this larger space, everything is known where it is, and bodily sensations or thoughts are dwarfed within the bigger space. 

Still working on keeping the space pushed way out. I find it really helpful being outside and walking around. More “space” to feel into and more sounds and sensations to notice.

The centre seems to be getting more transparent, extremely noticeable when sitting but still seems to be some contraction while up doing stuff. Also trying to stop reinforcing the centre by pushing out from it. Trying to shift straight to the entire field.

Sat this morning and centre seemed nonexistent at times, only when a thought would form was there any sense of location back in the middle. Sense of presence all moved outward more than normal. Also wow, finally get that in the seeing is just the seen. It’s just eye consciousness doing its thing on its own. 

So it seems more clear all the 6 sense doors and the awareness of them are all happening independently. There’s no thing stringing them together, no central awareness observing them all. They all have awareness built into them, and the flow of those things happening gets perceived as an experience or a self experiencing things. 

Managed to completely open thought or awareness space in all directions. Amazingly freeing. Thought I was done then while walking decided to try to notice every sensation in the entire field as it was happening. Felt like my brain was speeding up, like I flipped a switch. It started to stay processing on its own and my body or awareness felt like it was being pulled outwards. If I rested back in the middle it would auto flip back out to the entire field.

Feeling more worn out now and agitated. I have a feeling I was passing through A&P and am creeping into dark night. This lasted about 4-5 days

Seem to be back to a calm baseline now. The field of awareness is fully flipped out. I can’t find any aspect of thought or awareness space to move outward like I could before. Closing my eyes, my mind very much feels like it’s the entire field of experience. When eyes are open there’s a deeper sense of transparency in the body, everything is happening outside of “me”. Volume knob on thoughts also seems to have been turned down more to faint whispers. 

I’m gravitating back towards concentration practise and jhana. I can confidently say I found the 8th jhana now. What I thought was 8th before, was just a strong 7th. 

Attention is more on the visual field. Some strange moments walking and looking around, where it doesn’t feel like I’m a thing moving towards objects in the field, it’s more like the field is moving closer to me. Or like the field is moving together. Feels like this is just the first hint of something, still very subtle.

Center is definitely more transparent, this has happened naturally over the last couple months. As if before third, there was a thick rope tying the senses/sensations together. Now it feels like thin thread. And at points while sitting the thread is cut and all sensations are happening and known where they are. Noticed thoughts being known as they arise. Before I could see the thoughts happening on their own, but the fact that thoughts “know themselves” felt like a shift in perception. 

Thoughts are literally quieter. At many points throughout the day I can see that the old thought patterns are still happening, the ones that would typically lead to anger or stress etc. But it’s as if the mind is covered in non stick spray.. the thoughts occur and are heard as subtle whispers, but they’ve lost all power and have nothing to stick to. They don’t accumulate into any kind of negative mental state. The mind remains vast. Unbelievably positive shift. I’ve been in many situations where I typically would have been very stressed but it just doesn’t happen now.

Rough couple days, likely just life/work burnout. Sitting feels a lot like 7th jhana. Like the strings tying experience together are cut and everything is free floating. After some hours of sitting like this I noticed the subtle energetic shift to retying those strings and awareness seeming like it’s being directed from the head. The slightest shift dissolved that feeling, and awareness goes back out in all directions and stays, but now it’s without the idea that it’s centred around the head, it’s far more centre-less. And as I was walking around it seemed at times to move away from the body/head and lept out in front of me or around me. It also seems to go below the ground, like the sensations of feet are no longer the “bottom” of awareness. Luminosity increased even more. 

While sitting I can effortlessly shift to a place where every single sensation, subtle or gross is known where it is. There is no thing linking them. Becoming more aware of the subtler shifts or contractions into “doing” or being a subject. Need to practise holding this and tapping into it throughout the day. 



October

Entire field feels like it’s becoming more vivid, more separated out but somehow more unified. Feels like it’s stretching out sometimes as I’m walking around, and a more obvious sense of the field moving as one. 

Boundary of awareness seems to have widened out further, and the panoramic way of seeing got a bit more exaggerated with it. Visual sense is so vivid that it's verging on looking digital. It’s incredibly bright and still. 

Practise has clearly shifted from analytical where I’d sit and ponder ideas and phrases, or typical Vipassana where I’d try to notice every sensation in the field. It’s now more of a letting go into awareness..a relaxing into whatever is appearing. I can tell there’s more letting go that needs to happen but this feels like the way to get there. Anything else is someone trying to achieve or attain something.

**Around this time I lost interest in reading about Dharma. I was so interested in high level concepts and posts, but I didn’t feel like I was getting anything from it anymore, and it felt like all that was left to do is to sit.

The sense of physicality of objects seems to have diminished. This makes no sense in words but experimentally is a really big change. First noticed it standing looking out the window.. the mind no longer seemed to be perceiving the wall and the window as a solid object. The space in front of me, the wall/window, and everything on the other side all felt like empty space. Solidity only shows up when sensations of “hard” are felt. This was exaggerated when driving around, I was hyper aware of only the physical sensations of driving. The car, inside and out, the road, and all other things seemed like a screen with no solidity. 

Clear dark night stuff. Tons of psychological stuff kicked up. Was unable to formally sit and meditate for almost a month because of health issues. The dark night was about 1.5 weeks. Feeling much better now, back to mind not sticking, little to no residue. A deeper sense of centre less-ness, before it was always about in front and to the sides of the body. It seems to be stretching back behind now. Moments of feeling very flat as well, like 2D. Continuous awareness seems to be present a lot more now. Much shorter gaps of forgetting.

Seeing is making much more sense now. The seen is already aware of itself, no need for a me over here seeing it. Mind doing more auto dependent origination stuff. Feeling more like I am my surroundings. 

The knowing of sensations is more vividly known where the sensation is. The sense of seeing through eyes is diminished significantly. The visual field is so much more intimate, like there’s nothing separating me from it. It’s almost creepily intimate while talking to other people. Feels like my head is completely empty and nonexistent, to where I sometimes notice it and intentionally force an expression because I’m worried I was blank faced. Reading a book shifted from eyes moving across the page to the visual field itself moving. Resting in spacious awareness for much longer periods of the day. The visual field also seems more seamless, less separation between objects.

Practise is entirely just sitting and letting go, but the letting go is automatic now. Resting in the open state happens more and more throughout the day. The emptiness of all things is so clear. Thoughts are gone for longer periods of time, and also quieter when they are present, they also release on their own. Much more of an instant surrendering to whatever arises. Doesn’t feel like there’s anything left to learn or do, just letting the process unfold naturally. 



First formal retreat

I went on my first formal 5 day retreat, where I attained 4th path. I took no notes during the retreat and approached it with the same method Daniel approached his final retreat. I tried to notice every sensation in the entire field from the second I woke up to when I went to bed. I also paired that with a lot of dependent origination stuff. Having never done this at a high level for more than an hour it was exhausting but I did my best. 

It felt like the retreat gave permission for the mind to ramp things up. By the time I arrived on the retreat grounds the visual field was getting more unified and more spacious. 

I don’t remember the exact order things unfolded but it felt like every few hours there were shifts in perception or understanding.

I was doing a lot of dependant origination stuff with all sensations. Doing this over and over quickly would make sound or sensations become really timeless and bubble like. It wouldn’t stick for too long though.

At one point I noticed how unbelievably vivid sounds were while outside. All sense of self was gone, and the sounds were so intimate and clear. It was spectacular. Also had a morning at breakfast where there was a total dropping away of self, and all that was left was the sounds of people’s forks on the plate. So crystal clear and vivid. Didn’t last. 

A lot of time spent dissolving dualities. Played with dissolving any sense of distance, or here/there. Once that duality was dissolved, sensations now consistently felt so immediate like they were happening right next to me yet simultaneously had no definable location whatsoever.

I met with the teacher and he suggested looking for the space experience arises from and to continue to look for fabrication anywhere.

Kept resting as awareness, trying to be the space that sensations arise from. Resting there over and over helped dissolve the body construct more. After that sit and one later in the day my experience widened out to where my felt sense was stretched past the arms and body. So now all body sensation were clearly seen as more stuff appearing within awareness. Very creepy at first.

I realized I was creating a separation between that space of awareness, and sensations happening within. Realized they have to be one, all sensations have to be known where they are with no sense of an observer. So I tried to rest in the knowing of all sensations as they were arising in the entire field, and tried catching any sense of movement of energy towards the sensation. This took some time to get a handle on but eventually the known space became way more vast. 

The emptiness aspect was also pretty extreme by this point. I’d stop and stand in the forest and there was just nothing solid anywhere, felt like a screen that could be swept away with a breeze. It was only sensations of feet and the crystal clear sounds of nature. The experience while eyes closed was also becoming a lot more void like, more of a field of sensations with no location. Had a moment around here while walking where I started crying at how beautiful it was. The entire field was empty yet so vibrant and alive, and time fell away. It was like I was walking through infinity with nowhere to go, it felt like I was home. This didn’t stick. 

Spent some more time walking and sitting outside, contemplating non duality, and where I was creating division. 

It happened in the evening of the 4th night, sitting in the dining hall. My mind got really busy for a minute, then as it quieted down, time fell out, and my perception did this weird flip/merge. Suddenly there was no separation anywhere between body and surroundings. My felt sense filled the entire space, and everything was seen as one field of experience. All sense of self was gone, and hasn’t returned. All the crazy energy that’s been propelling this thing forward for the last year fell away. There was no seeker left and nothing left to seek. This didn’t totally settle in until later the next day. I didn’t have to do much beyond this point though, it settled in on its own and hasn’t changed since. 
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J W, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: First A&P to 4th path in one year

Posts: 345 Join Date: 2/11/20 Recent Posts
Hey Stephen, thanks for sharing. I'm quite fascinated myself with the relationship between psyches and the more traditional maps and models of awakening. More specifically, how psyches can be used in a way that positively reinforces your practice (or vice versa).

To provide an answer to your claim, I have no idea. Whatever the correlation, sounds like you've got a good thing going. I look forward to this thread.



Mostly I'm just here to say, cheers to washing dishes on LSD. It's a wonderful thing.

Best wishes to you!

JW
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Stephen, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: First A&P to 4th path in one year

Posts: 15 Join Date: 11/26/20 Recent Posts
J W:
Hey Stephen, thanks for sharing. I'm quite fascinated myself with the relationship between psyches and the more traditional maps and models of awakening. More specifically, how psyches can be used in a way that positively reinforces your practice (or vice versa).

To provide an answer to your claim, I have no idea. Whatever the correlation, sounds like you've got a good thing going. I look forward to this thread.



Mostly I'm just here to say, cheers to washing dishes on LSD. It's a wonderful thing.

Best wishes to you!

JW

Hey JW, thanks for reading. I'm also pretty fascinated with that relationship - unfortunately I feel like we're a long long way from dialing things in to where people could intentionally use them to progress. I never even intended to use them that way, I must have just gotten very lucky with the timing of the experiences and where I was at with my meditation. I think it's inevitable though that more and more people will be stepping into this territory like I did with how mainstream psychedelics and meditation are becoming. Interesting times ahead...

Thanks for the well wishes!
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Oatmilk, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: First A&P to 4th path in one year

Posts: 81 Join Date: 7/30/20 Recent Posts
Hey Stephen, 

thanks for sharing! What makes me curious though - how's your affect, how is your nervous system doing and how is your body-mind in general? I'm qurious because I experienced the exact same thing as you did a while ago - it only lasted 2-3 months before it disappeared. I'm not doubtful, since there are a endless way's to awakening and I don't like limited belief's. Yet, the majority of people I know who went through a real transformation of consciousness, experienced severe periods of contraction, physical pain, dysfunction and voidness for several months. Just to make that clear, there's always a certain bias in regards to what is possible based on ones own experience - so take this with a grain of salt. I'm sure time will tell - anyway's good job, especially the mastery of Shamatha (if you really did it in that short amount of time)! 

-O
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Stephen, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: First A&P to 4th path in one year

Posts: 15 Join Date: 11/26/20 Recent Posts
Oatmilk:
Hey Stephen, 

thanks for sharing! What makes me curious though - how's your affect, how is your nervous system doing and how is your body-mind in general? I'm qurious because I experienced the exact same thing as you did a while ago - it only lasted 2-3 months before it disappeared. I'm not doubtful, since there are a endless way's to awakening and I don't like limited belief's. Yet, the majority of people I know who went through a real transformation of consciousness, experienced severe periods of contraction, physical pain, dysfunction and voidness for several months. Just to make that clear, there's always a certain bias in regards to what is possible based on ones own experience - so take this with a grain of salt. I'm sure time will tell - anyway's good job, especially the mastery of Shamatha (if you really did it in that short amount of time)! 

-O
Hey Oatmilk - thanks for the questions, I haven't really talked this through with anyone so I'm hoping this thread helps work out some ways of describing the experience. 

That's really interesting your experience lines up with mine, but that it faded after 2-3 months. From where things stand currently I can't wrap my head around the idea of this changing, something about it feels so final in a way that I'm unable to articulate. Though your experience and I assume the experience of many others is why I was hesitant to post this so soon..because I'm sure you felt the same way. I'm curious how the experience faded for you, was it a gradual fading away of certain aspects or more sudden?

As far as affect and nervous system, there's a deep sense of contentment and wholeness that's present throughout the day. That's something that was definitely not there throughout the last year. Everything is in much more of a flow state, like life is happening through me, there's an ease to it all unfolding even when what's unfolding isn't particularly pleasant. 

The meditation path also happened alongside my own psychological healing work. I did a lot of inner work during the last year as meditation was uncovering layers of my psyche. So it was quite a bit of confronting issues in my life, and discovering darker aspects of my upbringing that set the wheels in motion for all the core suffering that's manifested in my life. Maybe I could have bypassed some of that healing work and focused on strictly meditation, but the two aspects seemed to work hand in hand. I think both play a big role in that sense of contentment I'm experiencing now.

My post may have glossed over some of the rougher aspects of the last year. I had quite a few stretches where I was questioning my sanity, or was filled with fear and dread as certain truths were confronted, or as aspects of self were falling away. I never experienced any physical pain that I could attribute to this work. Luckily for me those periods didn't last much longer than a couple weeks. Perhaps developing the Shamatha aspect first helped smooth out those rougher patches, not sure!
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Zachary, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: First A&P to 4th path in one year

Posts: 196 Join Date: 3/16/18 Recent Posts
Stephen:

June 2019 - 3g psilocybin - At the very end of this experience as I was coming back to baseline my mind was trying to attach words to what I experienced. I kept letting go and letting go at subtler levels, as if I was unwrapping the mind and mental activity. As I let go of the final thread of mental activity, reality completely blinked out. When it came back it felt like my entire being was reassembled and came back online, only I was back in a non-dual state far beyond my current one. This faded after about 5-10mins, but my baseline was now very different. My mind was left feeling much larger, mental activity quieter, and a deeper sense of clarity and presence. My best guess is this was Nirodha, or a shift into 2nd or 3rd path..maybe both. At the time I thought I had just now gotten stream entry. 
 

Hey Stephen, I enjoyed reading your posts here. Have no idea myself about diagnosis but it sounds like a lot of good stuff has happened! 

It's interesting you suspect hitting a path moment using psilocybin. I've seen people discuss whether such a thing is possible on psychedelics, but what you've written is among the more compelling claims I've seen of it being so. 
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Stephen, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: First A&P to 4th path in one year

Posts: 15 Join Date: 11/26/20 Recent Posts
Zachary:
Stephen:

June 2019 - 3g psilocybin - At the very end of this experience as I was coming back to baseline my mind was trying to attach words to what I experienced. I kept letting go and letting go at subtler levels, as if I was unwrapping the mind and mental activity. As I let go of the final thread of mental activity, reality completely blinked out. When it came back it felt like my entire being was reassembled and came back online, only I was back in a non-dual state far beyond my current one. This faded after about 5-10mins, but my baseline was now very different. My mind was left feeling much larger, mental activity quieter, and a deeper sense of clarity and presence. My best guess is this was Nirodha, or a shift into 2nd or 3rd path..maybe both. At the time I thought I had just now gotten stream entry. 
 

Hey Stephen, I enjoyed reading your posts here. Have no idea myself about diagnosis but it sounds like a lot of good stuff has happened! 

It's interesting you suspect hitting a path moment using psilocybin. I've seen people discuss whether such a thing is possible on psychedelics, but what you've written is among the more compelling claims I've seen of it being so. 

I wish there was some way to get clarity on what exactly happened here. It was a definite turning point in the path and practise for me, but whether or not it was a path or just Nirodha Samapatti I'm not entirely sure. Some of the after effects lined up with Daniel and others descriptions of the hours following Nirodha, but there were definite permanent changes in mind space and sense of self that never disappeared. I'm curious if you can attain a path through Nirodha or if that's it's own thing entirely. Also, not having had a noticable cessation up to that point..maybe it was just a cessation that was greatly exaggerated because of the pscilocybin. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: First A&P to 4th path in one year

Posts: 5293 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
What I have heard about Nirodha Samapatti is that it only happens to arahants or to someone who is close to being an arahant, and that coming back from it there is arahantship. There are many experiences that have afterglow, so if it were me, I would be very careful about assuming that it was NS. I wouldn't know, though. 
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Stephen, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: First A&P to 4th path in one year

Posts: 15 Join Date: 11/26/20 Recent Posts
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
What I have heard about Nirodha Samapatti is that it only happens to arahants or to someone who is close to being an arahant, and that coming back from it there is arahantship. There are many experiences that have afterglow, so if it were me, I would be very careful about assuming that it was NS. I wouldn't know, though. 
I'd read read the same thing that only people of 3rd or 4th can attain NS, so it's likely that what I experienced wasn't NS given I was likely 2nd path at the time. At times I wish I was more familiar with the stages of insight and was mapping myself more closely so I could diagnos these things better. There's also a pretty significant afterglow from a psilocybin experience as well, so that makes it even messier. 
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Tommy M, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: First A&P to 4th path in one year

Posts: 108 Join Date: 12/1/20 Recent Posts
What I have heard about Nirodha Samapatti is that it only happens to arahants or to someone who is close to being an arahant, and that coming back from it there is arahantship. There are many experiences that have afterglow, so if it were me, I would be very careful about assuming that it was NS. I wouldn't know, though.
Nirodha Samapatti is only accessible to Anagami's and might be considered as constituting the 'gateway' to Arahatship. Complicated topic with much variation depending on models/maps being used, but certainly putting emphasis on the "afterglow" as being indicative of attainment would be a mistake.


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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: First A&P to 4th path in one year

Posts: 5293 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
I hope it lasts. Sounds beautiful. 
agnostic, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: First A&P to 4th path in one year

Posts: 1258 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Thanks for this Stephen - a really nice summary of the path. Good to be reminded that fast progress is possible. Congrats for keeping your shit together during this roller coaster ride! What next?
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Stephen, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: First A&P to 4th path in one year

Posts: 15 Join Date: 11/26/20 Recent Posts
agnostic:
Thanks for this Stephen - a really nice summary of the path. Good to be reminded that fast progress is possible. Congrats for keeping your shit together during this roller coaster ride! What next?

Thanks for reading! Keeping my shit together is a strong statement haha. I'm just very lucky I was in lockdown for a lot of the more difficult and somewhat manic stages, so minimal damage was done to my personal and professional life. What next is a good question. As far as my practise goes I'm feeling drawn back to more somatic work, heart practises, and getting my concentration back on track. The last few months were so heavily focused on vipassana and resting in the here and now that other aspects were neglected. Outside of meditation I'm feeling a strong urge to help share a lot of what I've learned, and I'm trying to figure out what that looks like given my personal skillset and place in the world.
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Tommy M, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: First A&P to 4th path in one year

Posts: 108 Join Date: 12/1/20 Recent Posts
Hey Stephen, welcome on board!

Great breakdown and descriptions here, and the sincere love of the Buddhadharma comes through in your words. I don't want to try to diagnose which Path you're at or whatever, but that's purely down to the complexity of different maps and models and me not wanting to complicate matters any further in that regard. Either way though, it's an impressive and commendable practice regime you've maintained!

What I'd like to get to is the psychedelics, since they've also played a role in my own Path and I think there's much to be learned through skillful usage of these compounds. I wrote a few posts on here years ago about LSD and insight, but in retrospect I made a lot of errors and have quite a different view of this at present. It's been a long time since I used any psychedelics aside from cannabis, but there are a few 'pointers' that may be helpful from one psychonaut to another...

50ug is a very light dose of LSD, in my opinion, and I'm more curious about the 3g of psylocybin: Which strain was it? Was it three dried grams or fresh fruit? I'm not implying that "oh, you didn't take enough" or anything like that, it's more a curiosity regarding threshold doses and how the field of awareness changed for you at that level.

Was there any sense of there being a sort of 'external controller' of your bodymind? Perhaps like it's 'plugged in' to your crown chakra and subsequently perceiving the world as pure appearances without essence?

Was there a sense of reality being akin to some sort of 'fully immersive VR'; like you're playing a super high quality, immersive version of The Sims and that sense of an 'external controller' was moving your bodymind around in three-dimensional space?

A sense of being both the bodymind nexus and that which moves it simultaneously? Or maybe not even a sense of being this bodymind at all, and instead existing purely as this sort of 'external controller' that's moving a 'game character' who isn't 'you'?

Do the paintings of Alex Gray make sense to you experientially? Any sense of a sort of boundless energetic/non-conceptual 'field' extending beyond physical and mental awareness, kinda like some of Gray's Vajrayana-influenced paintings?

Any sense of existing as this energetic field or conscious, boundless awareness, with the bodymind being the 'game character'?

Any recognition of why morality is so heavily emphasized and important in the Three Trainings?

Any clear understanding of the actuality of karma?

Any sense of 'letting go' of the entire mindbody and recognizing 'something'?

Any clearer insight into bodily fabrications and mental fabrications, and their relation to 'the game'?

Does the concept of the Three Bodies - nirmanakaya, sambogakaya and dharmakaya - make sense to you, experientially?

It's hard to get the right words to describe this stuff because it can imply a duality that clearly isn't there in your experience, so my apologies if I'm just complicating things further. I've put scare quotes around the words and phrases so that it's clear that I don't mean them to be taken literally.

One of the things that I think a lot of people who use psychedelics miss is becoming absorbed in the visual aspects. Psychedelics can perturb consciousness in different ways and bring more subtle layers into view, but most people only care about the weird and wonderful hallucinatory aspects. In my experience so far, it's far more worthwhile to become aware of the 'spaces' that open up when consciousness is displaced from its habitual patterning.

Tryptamines, and specifically DMT seems very unique in exposing something fundamental about the nature of this world. I believe there's good reason as to why so many people report being told by "DMT entities" to not get lost in the visuals. A lot of reports from other, less spiritually inclined psychonauts include these sorts of communications: "Pay attention, don't get lost in the fascination" and stuff like that.

There's a lot I could add and ask about, but I don't want to muddy the waters any more than I already have...hahaha!

Thanks for sharing your experiences and I look forward to your continued contributions.
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Stephen, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: First A&P to 4th path in one year

Posts: 15 Join Date: 11/26/20 Recent Posts
Tommy M:
Hey Stephen, welcome on board!

Great breakdown and descriptions here, and the sincere love of the Buddhadharma comes through in your words. I don't want to try to diagnose which Path you're at or whatever, but that's purely down to the complexity of different maps and models and me not wanting to complicate matters any further in that regard. Either way though, it's an impressive and commendable practice regime you've maintained!

What I'd like to get to is the psychedelics, since they've also played a role in my own Path and I think there's much to be learned through skillful usage of these compounds. I wrote a few posts on here years ago about LSD and insight, but in retrospect I made a lot of errors and have quite a different view of this at present. It's been a long time since I used any psychedelics aside from cannabis, but there are a few 'pointers' that may be helpful from one psychonaut to another...

50ug is a very light dose of LSD, in my opinion, and I'm more curious about the 3g of psylocybin: Which strain was it? Was it three dried grams or fresh fruit? I'm not implying that "oh, you didn't take enough" or anything like that, it's more a curiosity regarding threshold doses and how the field of awareness changed for you at that level.

Was there any sense of there being a sort of 'external controller' of your bodymind? Perhaps like it's 'plugged in' to your crown chakra and subsequently perceiving the world as pure appearances without essence?

Was there a sense of reality being akin to some sort of 'fully immersive VR'; like you're playing a super high quality, immersive version of The Sims and that sense of an 'external controller' was moving your bodymind around in three-dimensional space?

A sense of being both the bodymind nexus and that which moves it simultaneously? Or maybe not even a sense of being this bodymind at all, and instead existing purely as this sort of 'external controller' that's moving a 'game character' who isn't 'you'?

Do the paintings of Alex Gray make sense to you experientially? Any sense of a sort of boundless energetic/non-conceptual 'field' extending beyond physical and mental awareness, kinda like some of Gray's Vajrayana-influenced paintings?

Any sense of existing as this energetic field or conscious, boundless awareness, with the bodymind being the 'game character'?

Any recognition of why morality is so heavily emphasized and important in the Three Trainings?

Any clear understanding of the actuality of karma?

Any sense of 'letting go' of the entire mindbody and recognizing 'something'?

Any clearer insight into bodily fabrications and mental fabrications, and their relation to 'the game'?

Does the concept of the Three Bodies - nirmanakaya, sambogakaya and dharmakaya - make sense to you, experientially?

It's hard to get the right words to describe this stuff because it can imply a duality that clearly isn't there in your experience, so my apologies if I'm just complicating things further. I've put scare quotes around the words and phrases so that it's clear that I don't mean them to be taken literally.

One of the things that I think a lot of people who use psychedelics miss is becoming absorbed in the visual aspects. Psychedelics can perturb consciousness in different ways and bring more subtle layers into view, but most people only care about the weird and wonderful hallucinatory aspects. In my experience so far, it's far more worthwhile to become aware of the 'spaces' that open up when consciousness is displaced from its habitual patterning.

Tryptamines, and specifically DMT seems very unique in exposing something fundamental about the nature of this world. I believe there's good reason as to why so many people report being told by "DMT entities" to not get lost in the visuals. A lot of reports from other, less spiritually inclined psychonauts include these sorts of communications: "Pay attention, don't get lost in the fascination" and stuff like that.

There's a lot I could add and ask about, but I don't want to muddy the waters any more than I already have...hahaha!

Thanks for sharing your experiences and I look forward to your continued contributions.

Thanks for the warm welcome Tommy, and for the extensive list of questions. Some I can answer much more clearly than others but I'll take a stab at all of them. 

50ug is a very light dose of LSD, in my opinion, and I'm more curious about the 3g of psylocybin: Which strain was it? Was it three dried grams or fresh fruit? I'm not implying that "oh, you didn't take enough" or anything like that, it's more a curiosity regarding threshold doses and how the field of awareness changed for you at that level.

Agreed that 50ug is a light dose. To be honest, I had a horror trip after a 200ug experience went south. It was my first encounter with an ego death and I strongly resisted it. Ever since then I was afraid to go into the deep end with that chemical, it was psychologically scarring for weeks to months. I’d be guessing at the psilocybin strain, but they were dried, ground to dust, and taken all at once. The experience was done at home laying down in the dark with eye shades on. This is how I’ve always done it, always with deep respect and with the intention of healing.  From my experience, it seems very clear there’s a direct correlation between someones progress in meditation and how sensitive they are to psychedelics. I had taken 3-4grams of the same exact batch on a couple occasions over the last few years before deepening my practise and it wasn’t even close to the same level of intensity as the 3g trip I referenced while I was (I think) 2nd path and had worked through the path of TMI. 


Was there any sense of there being a sort of 'external controller' of your bodymind? Perhaps like it's 'plugged in' to your crown chakra and subsequently perceiving the world as pure appearances without essence?

Since the entirety of the experience happened laying down with my eyes covered until the very end, I don’t have anything to add for this part. I have had that experience on LSD before though, and found it very uncomfortable because I felt like I was separated from the controls of my body. Like I was stuck in witness mode with no connection to the physical body. I also experienced that at various points in the path, the heightened lack of agency or doer. That’s where the normal day to day experience has settled now, just without the creepiness.


Was there a sense of reality being akin to some sort of 'fully immersive VR'; like you're playing a super high quality, immersive version of The Sims and that sense of an 'external controller' was moving your bodymind around in three-dimensional space?

Similar answer as the last question where my eyes were closed. That’s a good description of how reality is experienced now though, fully immersive VR, like it’s so alive and detailed enough to buy into it as a real solid thing that’s happening, but on investigation a lot of that solidity falls apart.


A sense of being both the bodymind nexus and that which moves it simultaneously? Or maybe not even a sense of being this bodymind at all, and instead existing purely as this sort of 'external controller' that's moving a 'game character' who isn't 'you'?

This is getting at the same sort of thing as the last couple questions but again that’s a good description of my current experience. It feels as if you’re simultaneously the entire space of experience, the external controller, the witness of it unfolding, and the being that’s experiencing the world. It’s all just one thing..and that thing is empty, ever changing and unfindable.


Do the paintings of Alex Gray make sense to you experientially? Any sense of a sort of boundless energetic/non-conceptual 'field' extending beyond physical and mental awareness, kinda like some of Gray's Vajrayana-influenced paintings?

Hah yes they do! I’ve got “Transfigurations” in front of me right now. That 3g experience took me so far beyond the ego and normal reality, a place that reminds me a lot of the front cover of his book. Different visually in many ways but also similar if you try to grasp the immensity of what he’s painted. I was experiencing something so immense and infinite that I was shaken and deeply humbled by it. It felt like it was a direct experience with the infinite intelligence/fractal of the cosmos for lack of a better description.. It was seen as if my entire reality and everything I’ve ever known was a blip in the midst of infinite realities and world systems and that the entire system is just experiencing and loving itself in infinite ways. Sorry for the overuse of that word but I never grasped the idea of infinity until that experience. I was also reluctant to expand on that experience in my post because I don’t feel like it’s particularly helpful, like most things it has to be directly experienced to have any sort of impact. My words are also an attempt to explain something that I have zero understanding of and could be interpreted in many different ways.


Any sense of existing as this energetic field or conscious, boundless awareness, with the body-mind being the 'game character'?

Similar answer to others, I didn’t experience that during the 3g trip but that describes my current experience. It’s just not to as extreme of a degree as I experienced on LSD, where the identification was much more strongly with the entire energetic field, and was only loosely hanging on to the body-mind. Not that I'm hanging on to the bodymind now but it's a much more cohesive blend of it all.


Any recognition of why morality is so heavily emphasized and important in the Three Trainings? Any clear understanding of the actuality of karma? Any clearer insight into bodily fabrications and mental fabrications, and their relation to 'the game'? 

I can’t attribute any of my understanding of those things to a psychedelic experience, the 3g experience was way too far out to get into any specifics about the workings of reality. 


Any sense of 'letting go' of the entire mindbody and recognizing 'something'?

If I’m understanding the questions right I think my answer to the Alex Grey question covers it. There was a definite letting go of the body-mind as I knew it and an experience of something much larger.  


Does the concept of the Three Bodies - nirmanakaya, sambogakaya and dharmakaya - make sense to you, experientially?

I’m not familiar with the concept, I never really ventured into Mahayana while reading about dharma. I just skimmed over the definitions of each of the three bodies and I don’t really feel comfortable making any kind of statement about it yet. 

Sorry man, I feel like I dropped the ball on the last handful of questions but if anything comes to mind in the next few days I’ll let you know.
 

One of the things that I think a lot of people who use psychedelics miss is becoming absorbed in the visual aspects. Psychedelics can perturb consciousness in different ways and bring more subtle layers into view, but most people only care about the weird and wonderful hallucinatory aspects. In my experience so far, it's far more worthwhile to become aware of the 'spaces' that open up when consciousness is displaced from its habitual patterning.

My experiences in the past with psilocybin were always centred around my personal life, healing, or getting lost in the wonder of the visuals. Something shifted after that first A&P event and diving into dharma and practise. People have always explained psychedelics as an amplifier of whatever mental state or mind stuff your bringing into it, so from the A&P onward all my trips were far less about anything personal. No matter what dosage, even when it wasn’t my intention, the trips always ended up centred around a dissolving of the idea of being an individual, and a deeper questioning of reality. 
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Tommy M, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: First A&P to 4th path in one year

Posts: 108 Join Date: 12/1/20 Recent Posts
Interesting! Excellent! Appreciated! Onwards, ho!

You've practiced Wim Hof. Did you notice anything specifically about this practice?

200ug horrorshow: What was "an ego death"? How was it different/the same/both/neither as 4th Path?

Current experience aligns with the analogy of a 'fully-immersive VR': Could you describe what the 'simulator-it-runs-on' looks like?

Is your current sense of space/location/orientation the same/different/both/neither as it was on the 3gram/Alex Gray trip?

What is all just one thing? What is the thing that is all just one? Metaphor/Analogy is fine.

You said "fractal of the cosmos": Love it. What do the fractals of the cosmos do/relate to/indicate? What are they, in your view?

Current experience: "just not to as extreme of a degree as I experienced on LSD."? How is it different/same/both/neither as that "extreme degree"?

3 gram possibly-non-conceptual-realization: How do the fractals relate, if in any way at all? I know you can't 'tell me', but throw a few vague mental fabrications out there and we'll see what's what.


You said: "a definite letting go of the body-mind as I knew it". How was this the same/different/both/neither to your current understanding/direct experience of "body-mind as I knew it"?

Don't worry, you haven't "dropped the ball" in any way, my friend! I'm asking these questions purely for 'external data' and phenomenological comparison based on what's happening on this side. I've phrased them in the way I have because your answers will make whatever we discuss next far more fruitful for both of us.

Consider it guerrilla Hardcore-Dharma-anthropology...hahahaha!

Much love.
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Stephen, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: First A&P to 4th path in one year

Posts: 15 Join Date: 11/26/20 Recent Posts
Thanks for the brain stretch man, I haven't been forced to pick these experiences apart in so much detail before so I appreciate it. I wish this conversation was happening 6 months ago when that 3g experience was a bit more fresh (or 16 months ago for the 200ug one), it's like trying to remember an old dream at this point. 



You've practiced Wim Hof. Did you notice anything specifically about this practice? 


This practise served a few purposes for me. I'd do it first thing in the morning before my first sit and it would help wake me up in a more productive way than coffee. I always found too much caffeine got my mind spinning out thoughts at a much higher rate. Great for Vipassana but not so much for Shamatha. The breath work would also help bring me into the body which gave the sits a much more grounded start. The last thing is it would help clear out emotional or energetic blockages. As someone who spent most their life unable to emote in a healthy way, this helped me connect with my body and really feel emotions and release whatever was bubbling under the surface.. which again leads to more clear headed productive sits. In case you or anyone is curious I would do 3-5 rounds of 30-40 breaths, and do a breath hold after each round for as long as I could. During the holds I would bring my attention to the body, scanning around for any blockages.



200ug horrorshow: What was "an ego death"? How was it different/the same/both/neither as 4th Path? You said: "a definite letting go of the body-mind as I knew it". How was this the same/different/both/neither to your current understanding/direct experience of "body-mind as I knew it"?

Ego death almost doesn't seem like a strong enough term, it was more like a complete reality death. At the height of that experience I lost all grounding in this reality, everything "solid" became completely see through, on the other side of the walls was just a vast infinite space. Then it zoomed out further and it seemed as though my reality was a part of a web of many other realities (or memories?) happening simultaneously. I freaked out a bit and tried to come back to my body, but there was no body or person to come back to, that was all seen to be a dream that I'd never return to, and that's about when it went south. Again I'm trying to be careful with the language because I truly have no idea what the experience was, there's endless interpretations and as meditation progressed into the later stages I kind of lost interest in psychedelics and those wilder experiences. For me personally they became a distraction. 

In relation to 4th path, the ego or sense of self has been fully seen through. It's clear that it was always just a "dream", or a habitual tendency to cling to and identify with thoughts and sensations. But I'm still here in this reality, in this body...and I can't see through walls.



Current experience aligns with the analogy of a 'fully-immersive VR': Could you describe what the 'simulator-it-runs-on' looks like?


Hmm, I'm realizing now that calling it fully immersive VR might imply that I'm in completely control of this "VR character". I don't feel confident saying that. As for the "simulator" I guess we're just talking about reality.. or the causal field, which is just lawfully unfolding. 



Is your current sense of space/location/orientation the same/different/both/neither as it was on the 3gram/Alex Gray trip?

Radically different than that trip. Similar to the 200ug trip, I was so far gone from this body and normal sense of reality that there's really no way to compare it. I really didn't take anything productive back from it, outside of the fact that It lead to what I think was a path moment in the end. But the 5 hours before that was too far out.



What is all just one thing? What is the thing that is all just one? Metaphor/Analogy is fine.

I'm going to paste my last answer here so I can build off of it.

"This is getting at the same sort of thing as the last couple questions but again that’s a good description of my current experience. It feels as if you’re simultaneously the entire space of experience, the external controller, the witness of it unfolding, and the being that’s experiencing the world. It’s all just one thing..and that thing is empty, ever changing and unfindable."

As for what that one thing is, I'm referring to reality or the causal field. There is no witness, no controller, no one doing anything. It's just sensations arising causally that are all known completely on their own where they are. So it's like the entire field of energy is one thing and that thing is aware of whatever arises. 

It's amazing how tricky the language is with this stuff. I had read similar things to what I'm saying while working through 3rd, and I couldn't wrap my head around it at all. Now here I am spewing the same stuff haha.



You said "fractal of the cosmos": Love it. What do the fractals of the cosmos do/relate to/indicate? What are they, in your view? 3 gram possibly-non-conceptual-realization: How do the fractals relate, if in any way at all? I know you can't 'tell me', but throw a few vague mental fabrications out there and we'll see what's what.

Once again I'll preface this with the fact that I know absolutely nothing and I wouldn't mind one bit if I found out it was all just some silly visuals. But I'll explain what my subjective experience was at the time, or the meaning that was found amongst the chaos. It seemed as though the endless fractal or web of realities that were being created, were being created because they could. It was some sort of infinitely powerful, creative, loving intelligence that was spinning out webs of experience just because. How those fractals or whatever they were relate to each other I have no idea!   



Current experience: "just not to as extreme of a degree as I experienced on LSD."? How is it different/same/both/neither as that "extreme degree"?

On my way to the peak of that 200ug LSD experience I remember looking at my body and it was only vapour, completely see through. Moving my hand created a stream of trails with no trail being the "real" hand. Empty space also seemed to be made up of particles or a visible energy. Then there was an untethering of connection to the body and egoic mind. It became pure experience at that point, almost entirely identified with the boundless awareness. That's right before it went a layer deeper and let go entirely of the "game character" and the reality it was experiencing. 

The current experience - I'm still grounded in this reality and experiencing the world as this "game character", and the boundless awareness or pure experience is always present. It's just far more natural than anything experienced on psychedelics. Psychedelics seem to throw these states of consciousness at you that seem really extreme because of where your baseline is, but when you get there naturally it's so much more ordinary than you'd think.
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Tommy M, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: First A&P to 4th path in one year

Posts: 108 Join Date: 12/1/20 Recent Posts
Excellent, thank you so much for the detailed replies. For some reason, I didn't see this reply yesterday or I would have responded sooner!

Re. Wim Hof: 

The last thing is it would help clear out emotional or energetic blockages. As someone who spent most their life unable to emote in a healthy way, this helped me connect with my body and really feel emotions and release whatever was bubbling under the surface.. which again leads to more clear headed productive sits.

Man, I totally feel you on this and I'm so glad that you've connected with the body again. In my experience with the WHM, the breath holds at the exhale and the subsequent overcoming/burning off of that deeply rooted fear feel very much like certain aspects of Tummo. Do you feel like you're more aware of those energetic centres (chakras) in a different way to how you were aware of them before?

Re. Psychedelic Delights & Terror:

Then it zoomed out further and it seemed as though my reality was a part of a web of many other realities (or memories?) happening simultaneously.

This is some really deep experiential insight into some very important, and it's guaranteed that the terror you felt was rooted in a deeper level of clinging to self-as-bodymind. On a related note, there's a specific reason why I use the term "bodymind" without the hypen and I suspect that you've had direct insight into why this is.

Now, this is where it gets interesting...I've had that happen too, both with and without psychedelics. It's happened on DMT several times (which I was using in a strictly contemplative context) and it was the familiarity gained with that 'space' that allowed me to incline the mind towards it again without tripping balls. I've also heard others describe very similar experiences, both with and without psychedelics so I suspect that this points to the possibility of psychedelics as "skillful means" to recognizing something very important about the nature of samsara.

In relation to 4th path, the ego or sense of self has been fully seen through. It's clear that it was always just a "dream", or a habitual tendency to cling to and identify with thoughts and sensations.

100%. 

The main reason why I'm so interested in your perspective on this is because you've attained 4th Path and also have experience with psychedelics in a meditative context. I've mentioned before how there is much to be done post-4th Path, but in my experience so far it seems that these sorts of difficult psychedelic experiences can somewhat 'prepare' you for the continued dissolution of the whole bodily fabrication and beyond. In having glimpsed 'beyond the veil' in this way, the mind has had a taste of its true nature and it becomes a lot easier to identify the increasingly subtle layers of identification/clinging.

Have you tried doing the practice of seeing the world as being like a dream? Or conversely, deliberately trying to see the world as if it's real? Lucid dream as practice for recognizing the illusory appearances of samsara and the nature of mind?

Re. VR: 

Hmm, I'm realizing now that calling it fully immersive VR might imply that I'm in completely control of this "VR character". I don't feel confident saying that. As for the "simulator" I guess we're just talking about reality.. or the causal field, which is just lawfully unfolding.

Don't worry about that, I'm painfully aware of how dualistic language creates semantic spooks so your descriptions are fine. I just wanted to check that we're on the same page.

What I find most interesting, and which also relates to the question about fractals, is that you used the term "lawfully unfolding". That makes total sense to me, and what my own experiences and speculations have suggested is that this "lawfully unfolding" relates directly to the reality of karma, and also the 'algorithm' at play in the construction of samsara. Again, total speculation so take from it what you will, but your replies are very useful in helping me to better understanding something deep about this thing.

Re. 'Shrooms & Alex Gray:

Radically different than that trip. Similar to the 200ug trip, I was so far gone from this body and normal sense of reality that there's really no way to compare it. I really didn't take anything productive back from it, outside of the fact that It lead to what I think was a path moment in the end. But the 5 hours before that was too far out.

Understood. This is related to why I believe there's more to be done beyond 4th Path. Even other vehicles of the Buddhadharma state that Arahats, while having eliminated emotional obscurations, are still subject to the subtle cognitive obscurations that prevent the attainment of full Buddhahood.

My current theory is that the space that opens up via tryptamines might be some sort of 'chemical doorway' to practices beyond the senses. Without having developed increasingly subtle orders of release, emptiness and non-conceptuality, it's very difficult, and maybe even impossible, to recognize this. It also ties back into my question about Wim Hof and what you noticed about it, because I believe that the overcoming of that primal fear of death - through recognizing that strong desire to breathe while the lungs are empty and continually letting it dissolve into deep awareness - is related to ones ability to go beyond the senses in the first place.

Re. Oneness:

So it's like the entire field of energy is one thing and that thing is aware of whatever arises.

Great stuff! Have you tried looking directly for what appears to be aware? Like, not "I" but the sense of awareness itself and how it arises?

And lastly:

Psychedelics seem to throw these states of consciousness at you that seem really extreme because of where your baseline is, but when you get there naturally it's so much more ordinary than you'd think.

My current theory: Psychedelics don't throw states of consciousness at you, but actually disturb the normal functioning of consciousness itself which then sends the conceptual mind into a frenzy as it tries to cling to the familiarity of clinging itself. Unless we've "killed the I-Maker" entirely then there'll still arise that tendency to try to understand non-conceptual experiences according to the habitual patterns existent within the mindbody complex. Could be totally fucking wrong about that, so don't quote me on this...hahahaha!

Thanks again for taking the time to reply with such patience, I value it greatly and I'm really glad to see someone with such high level practice on here who can help others with the nuts and bolts of this thing. I wouldn't discuss this stuff so openly unless I knew that you would understand my flailing linguistic fits and flights of fancy, which you clearly do and so I am grateful.

Much love.
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Chris Marti, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: First A&P to 4th path in one year

Posts: 3775 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Great stuff! Have you tried looking directly for what appears to be aware? Like, not "I" but the sense of awareness itself and how it arises?

Can I assume from this comment that you see the sense of awareness as dependently arising?


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Tommy M, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: First A&P to 4th path in one year

Posts: 108 Join Date: 12/1/20 Recent Posts
Can I assume from this comment that you see the sense of awareness as dependently arising?

Definitely not, but I can understand why it might seem that way. I'm thinking more about the whole "ground-of-all-being" being misperceived as awareness itself. 
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Chris Marti, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: First A&P to 4th path in one year

Posts: 3775 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
So then - what do you suspect awareness is?
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Tommy M, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: First A&P to 4th path in one year

Posts: 108 Join Date: 12/1/20 Recent Posts
Luminosity. That'd be the simple answer. emoticon
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Chris Marti, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: First A&P to 4th path in one year

Posts: 3775 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
I won't ask the question that answer begs  emoticon
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: First A&P to 4th path in one year

Posts: 5293 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
I have had some meditative experiences which I afterwards thought of as showing me that awareness is an inherent tendency of the emptiness because of a pure joy of liveliness that just can't help happening. Trying to describe it in words distorts it, and Therevadans might say that it's bullshit, I don't know, but it sure seems to fit into the versions of Dzogchen that I'm getting familiar with. 
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Chris Marti, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: First A&P to 4th path in one year

Posts: 3775 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
There are some truly amazing qualities of mind, aren't there? It's hard sometimes to sort it all out. But do we have to? Why bother?
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Tommy M, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: First A&P to 4th path in one year

Posts: 108 Join Date: 12/1/20 Recent Posts
Chris Marti:
There are some truly amazing qualities of mind, aren't there? It's hard sometimes to sort it all out. But do we have to? Why bother?

100% agreed.

It's become very clear that I really do talk far too much, and that it's not helpful to myself or anyone else. Hence my increasingly short replies, inspired by your own pithiness, so I'm grateful for that . Hahaha!

Also, your poem is beautiful. Thanks for sharing!
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Chris Marti, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: First A&P to 4th path in one year

Posts: 3775 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Also, your poem is beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

It's not mine, it's Dogen's.
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Tommy M, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: First A&P to 4th path in one year

Posts: 108 Join Date: 12/1/20 Recent Posts
It's not mine, it's Dogen's.

And there was me thinking you were sharing profound dharma from your own heart! Shows how much I know about quotes and texts, doesn't it? Hahahaha!
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Chris Marti, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: First A&P to 4th path in one year

Posts: 3775 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
I mistakenly assumed you'd heard that one before and would recognize it. It's ubiquitous but I got sloppy. So no problem - I'll use the local system quotes with proper attribution in the future.
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Tommy M, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: First A&P to 4th path in one year

Posts: 108 Join Date: 12/1/20 Recent Posts
Not at all, it was entirely my misunderstanding and no fault of yours.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: First A&P to 4th path in one year

Posts: 5293 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Chris Marti:
There are some truly amazing qualities of mind, aren't there? It's hard sometimes to sort it all out. But do we have to? Why bother?
There sure are. And no, we probably don't need to. Why bother? Karma, I guess. emoticon 

"It's not my fault! Dependent Origination started it!" emoticon
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Ben V., modified 2 Months ago.

RE: First A&P to 4th path in one year

Posts: 339 Join Date: 3/3/15 Recent Posts
There are a very few Theravada suttas that seem quite non-dual/Dzogchen-like although I'm not that familiar with Dzogchen so I could be wrong.

But here it is: a passage from the Kevaddha Sutta, where the Buddha answers the question of where does the material elements (4 elements) have no footing, and where long and short, coarse and fine, name and form (dualities?) brought to an end. His answer is:

Consciousness without feature,[1]
without end,
luminous all around:
Here water, earth, fire, & wind
have no footing.
Here long & short
coarse & fine
fair & foul
name & form
are all brought to an end.
With the cessation of [the activity of] consciousness
each is here brought to an end.'"

There is another sutta (MN49) where the Buddha repeats this expression: Consciousness without features (i.e. non-manifestative), without end, luminous all around.

I have wondered sometimes how 4th pathers in the Pragmatic Dharma world would see/understand this passage.
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Stephen, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: First A&P to 4th path in one year

Posts: 15 Join Date: 11/26/20 Recent Posts
Ben V.:
There are a very few Theravada suttas that seem quite non-dual/Dzogchen-like although I'm not that familiar with Dzogchen so I could be wrong.

But here it is: a passage from the Kevaddha Sutta, where the Buddha answers the question of where does the material elements (4 elements) have no footing, and where long and short, coarse and fine, name and form (dualities?) brought to an end. His answer is:

Consciousness without feature,[1]
without end,
luminous all around:
Here water, earth, fire, & wind
have no footing.
Here long & short
coarse & fine
fair & foul
name & form
are all brought to an end.
With the cessation of [the activity of] consciousness
each is here brought to an end.'"

There is another sutta (MN49) where the Buddha repeats this expression: Consciousness without features (i.e. non-manifestative), without end, luminous all around.

I have wondered sometimes how 4th pathers in the Pragmatic Dharma world would see/understand this passage.

Hey Ben, I’ll take a stab at this. 

From this state, when the mind is at complete rest and the moment to moment experience is naturally unfolding, their can't really be said to be anything happening. Although it's all still completely luminous and alive it's not until you engage the mind in concepts and stories that anything starts to seem like it has solidity.

When the mind begins to engage in dualistic and conceptual thinking, things like long and short, course and fine etc start to come into existence. Something can't be course without having an opposite to compare it to, so if the mind isn't busy comparing to the opposite then all that's left is whatever sensation is arising in that moment, nothing else is being layered on top to paint a story of the experience.

If you're looking from an insight or present moment perspective, the material elements aren't seen to have any inherent existence. They're just concepts we've assigned to a certain set of sensations, sensations that are ungraspable and always changing.

That was a bit repetitive but hopefully it helps!
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Ben V., modified 2 Months ago.

RE: First A&P to 4th path in one year

Posts: 339 Join Date: 3/3/15 Recent Posts
Makes sense.

Thanks.
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Tommy M, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: First A&P to 4th path in one year

Posts: 108 Join Date: 12/1/20 Recent Posts
I won't ask the question that answer begs  emoticon

Emptiness and form; form and emptiness.
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Chris Marti, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: First A&P to 4th path in one year

Posts: 3775 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Emptiness and form; form and emptiness.

I have one of those this morning, too:

First, mountains are mountains and waters are waters
Then, mountains are not mountains and waters are not waters
Eventually, mountains are once again mountains and waters once again waters



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Stephen, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: First A&P to 4th path in one year

Posts: 15 Join Date: 11/26/20 Recent Posts
Tommy M:
Excellent, thank you so much for the detailed replies. For some reason, I didn't see this reply yesterday or I would have responded sooner!


Sorry to leave this thread hanging for so long! I tried responding earlier but when I hit publish it would never actually go through. 

Man, I totally feel you on this and I'm so glad that you've connected with the body again. In my experience with the WHM, the breath holds at the exhale and the subsequent overcoming/burning off of that deeply rooted fear feel very much like certain aspects of Tummo. Do you feel like you're more aware of those energetic centres (chakras) in a different way to how you were aware of them before?

Reggie Rays somatic practises are also pretty powerful for connecting with and living in the body, so definitely give those a shot if you haven’t explored that world yet. I used his “Your Breathing Body” series as my guide for that work. I wouldn’t say I’m any more aware of the energy centres than before 4th path. Honestly I kind of lost touch with my body in the few months leading up to 4th. So much time was spent dissolving the body construct and resting in/as wide open awareness that I lost a lot of connection to the energy body. I’ve been getting back into it in the last few weeks though and it’s been really nice to build those connections back up. 

I've had that happen too, both with and without psychedelics. It's happened on DMT several times (which I was using in a strictly contemplative context) and it was the familiarity gained with that 'space' that allowed me to incline the mind towards it again without tripping balls. I've also heard others describe very similar experiences, both with and without psychedelics so I suspect that this points to the possibility of psychedelics as "skillful means" to recognizing something very important about the nature of samsara.

That’s fascinating that you’ve gotten to the same territory with DMT that myself and others have on multiple other substances. It gets pretty hard to ignore when they’re all inclining the mind towards the same experiences. I think my explorations of that space are done now, so I look forward to what insights you and others bring back haha. I may change my mind in the the future but I feel like I got what I needed to get from them, and the desire to discover more has entirely vanished for now.

In my experience so far it seems that these sorts of difficult psychedelic experiences can somewhat 'prepare' you for the continued dissolution of the whole bodily fabrication and beyond. In having glimpsed 'beyond the veil' in this way, the mind has had a taste of its true nature and it becomes a lot easier to identify the increasingly subtle layers of identification/clinging.

Totally agreed. Having multiple experiences of complete surrender and letting go of everything you thought was self or solid has some pretty profound impacts when you return back to baseline. It really shakes loose a lot of your deeply held views for a while. I wouldn’t say it causes aspects of self to drop away (I know you’re not claiming this), but the process of letting go of aspects of self through the meditation process became easier in my experience. Especially when it’s a lot more subtle and incremental compared to the complete blasting away of self on psychedelics.  

Have you tried doing the practice of seeing the world as being like a dream? Or conversely, deliberately trying to see the world as if it's real? Lucid dream as practice for recognizing the illusory appearances of samsara and the nature of mind?

I never tried any practises like that. At one point I was listening to a podcast about Magick and I vaguely remember the reality as a dream stuff, but at the time I found it a bit too unsettling and never pursued it. Same with the lucid dreaming. I grew up in an environment where spirituality was nonexistent and my world view was always hardcore scientific materialist. The shifts that happened through meditation and psychedelics were so shattering to my psyche and world view that I had to be careful not to go too far into what I considered the “weirder” aspects or I’d get super ungrounded and a ton of fear would show up. That said, reality is very dreamlike now. It’s hard to articulate why, but the summary of my current experience in my initial post give a good outline.

This is related to why I believe there's more to be done beyond 4th Path. Even other vehicles of the Buddhadharma state that Arahats, while having eliminated emotional obscurations, are still subject to the subtle cognitive obscurations that prevent the attainment of full Buddhahood.

I’m not too familiar with the distinction between Arahat and Buddhahood. Is there any kind of agreed upon description out there? Or is it just assumed that there must be another state you can abide in beyond 4th path. I could be remembering this wrong but in “Great Disciples of the Buddha” or “In the Buddha’s Words” I thought the Buddha referred to someone who is a Buddha to be someone that arises causally once every however many eons that discovers the path to liberation on their own. Which by that definition would mean there can only be one person to attain true Buddhahood within this current stretch of time? I’m not well versed at all in the ancient buddhist teachings and terminology so I could be butchering all this.   

My current theory is that the space that opens up via tryptamines might be some sort of 'chemical doorway' to practices beyond the senses. Without having developed increasingly subtle orders of release, emptiness and non-conceptuality, it's very difficult, and maybe even impossible, to recognize this. It also ties back into my question about Wim Hof and what you noticed about it, because I believe that the overcoming of that primal fear of death - through recognizing that strong desire to breathe while the lungs are empty and continually letting it dissolve into deep awareness - is related to ones ability to go beyond the senses in the first place.

I’m curious about the overlap between the astral realms and psychedelic experience. I don’t have any experience with out of body travel or those other realms, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a lot of similarities. The chemicals being a more fool proof way of accessing those spaces, where like you said, it would take a lot more work to reliably access those without chemical assistance. 

Great stuff! Have you tried looking directly for what appears to be aware? Like, not "I" but the sense of awareness itself and how it arises?

That was something I was trying to do during second and third but it’s clear now that it’s not possible. Awareness is already here no matter what, there’s nowhere to look for it, who or what would be doing the looking? The intention to look, and the looking itself is inseparable from awareness. 

My current theory: Psychedelics don't throw states of consciousness at you, but actually disturb the normal functioning of consciousness itself which then sends the conceptual mind into a frenzy as it tries to cling to the familiarity of clinging itself. Unless we've "killed the I-Maker" entirely then there'll still arise that tendency to try to understand non-conceptual experiences according to the habitual patterns existent within the mindbody complex. Could be totally fucking wrong about that, so don't quote me on this...hahahaha!

No man I agree with your explanation completely! Love it. 
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Ni Nurta, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: First A&P to 4th path in one year

Posts: 564 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
Hello Stephen,

From the descriptions I would say it is a strong case for 1st path emoticon

What worries me it is not is 4th path claim emoticon
Imho there are some loose fetters which were not removed completely and since they are loose it might seem like they are not there. Investigate.
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Stephen, modified 10 Days ago.

RE: First A&P to 4th path in one year

Posts: 15 Join Date: 11/26/20 Recent Posts
I figured I’d leave an update here for anyone interested in some of the aftermath and some of the difficulties that maybe aren’t talked about as much. The non dual state is still very much locked in, no changes to sense of self or time etc, but as I said before I have no issues with coming back and saying it faded. Integration has been fairly rocky. Although it’s beautiful and freeing in ways I still can’t articulate, it’s also very weird. An example being while sitting around chatting with family, I’ll slip into this mode of seeing the room or reality interacting with itself, void of any “selfs” in the room. This happens all the time while walking around the city as well. At times it’s stunning, and other times It’s just odd and takes me a second to reset and participate again. I find the more I work with the heart and body, the more grounded I stay and the less those moments are interpreted as strange.

I had a small energetic tension release a couple weeks ago while sitting in traffic. It took me a bit to try and understand what happened. It seems like although experience was centreless before, there was still a habitual referencing from or to a centre. After this release, all sense of the physical body or referencing to what was perceived as a physical body is gone. All that’s left is vague sensations mapped to the visual screen. Along with that release thoughts got even quieter than they already were, making experience in general more quiet and still. Definitely an adjustment period for this because I feel utterly transparent. Again, working with the heart and energy body is helping smooth this.

Seeing everything as a process is a bit mechanical at times. I find myself doing things because I know it will have a positive effect on me in the future, rather than doing it based out of a strong desire in that moment. I guess that’s not far off how most people move through life but there’s something about it that’s a bit more deliberate than how I used to do things. It’s like I’m approaching it from a bigger picture and through the lens of causality or “planting seeds” as Jack Kornfield says.
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Chris Marti, modified 10 Days ago.

RE: First A&P to 4th path in one year

Posts: 3775 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Nice report! Please keep us informed on how this plays out.
George S, modified 10 Days ago.

RE: First A&P to 4th path in one year

Posts: 1258 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
My family don't get nonduality either emoticon 

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