Olivier's log 2

Olivier, modified 7 Months ago.

Olivier's log 2

Posts: 742 Join Date: 4/27/19 Recent Posts
  Happy new year all. May it bestow gifts of clarity and good work of the heart.
 
My first DhO practice log, covering about 2 years of practice, including... :

*probable SE at home (end of june 2019) after which I experienced many cessation like events over a month, which stopped with things coalescing again at around the end of july. The usual list of signs was there - quick acccess to all the ñanas and shamatha jhanas at a new level, being in 4th ñana as soon as mind inclines towards observation, fast intense cycling in daily life and utter faith and non-resistence... A honeymoon, basically, of total unstickiness, extremely apt and quick reactions to things in a kind of "reflex way", even physically, a bit like you would imagine in the movies - like being able to catch objects that you involuntarily dropped before they hit the ground each time, something like that... Which is actually an ability that has stayed, haha. The understandings that emerged from it were impressive in their fecundity, and in many ways challenging and unexpected. Left with the main change being much less sticky emotions and what I would call the end of rumination, something which has not budged a bit since then and has been accompanied by further perceptive shifts. Just for a bit of context, before this, I had already practiced diligently for three years, had in the previous years mostly resolved all DN related emotional issues and psychological stuff which had been occurring over the past ten years with certain regularity, been flying in well established equanimity for either months or about a year, had had a lot of impressive or deep meditative experiences, was basically living a heremitic lifestyle just to be able to fully direct my enthusiasm to meditation practice without distraction, had studied meditation theory including immersing myself in mctb and Burbea with intense interest and care, and by that point was just ravingly entranced with this new world of precise meditation practice and language such as ñanas and jhanas, which I would go on and on about to my poor friends and family... So, don't get the impression that this happened out of the blue.... It was an amazing period where it seemed I was finally understanding everything that had been a quest for years, without ever finding the right nutrition... I remember it very fondly emoticon Thx Daniel.

*a 10-day long dzogchen retreat led by Doug Veenhof, student of Alan B. Wallace (august 2019). During august and the first part of retreat, it seemed I went through a fresh progress of insight which deepened clarity, and hypothetical second path happened on the 4th or 5th day (didnt check my notes) . Then, on the 6th or seven day of the retreat, I had what has variously been desribed as A glimpse of Rigpa / A non conceptual experience / the natural state / recognizing the nature of mind / the luminosity shift / the entrance of the winds in the central channel. The detailed description of this radical opening into an unprecedented completeness and clarity of perception can be found in my previous log and has been included in AEN's guide to awakening under the section "intensity of luminosity". This left me with an extremely unsubtle, noticeable at all times clarity of perception, as if some filter had been taken off of perception. It was prepared by experiences of "timelesness" and "union of movement and stillness". It was spontaneously accompanied by deep philosophical reflections about the nature of time/movement/eternity/impermanence, a newfound understanding of the inherently logically contradictory notion that something like "impremanence" could be true, because it implies its dual opposite, and so deepened my intellectual understanding and experience of emptiness - as well as by a complete shift of interest and perspective towards practice, disinterest for ñanas and jhanas, and huge fascination for "rigpa" and the "non-intentional phenomenology" of Michel Henry, for instance. For a couple of weeks after the retreat, fast daily cycling was experiened, and it manifested most clearly as shifts in visual luminosity of objects, which for a few months, were actually glowing like mad, although ti tended to dilute back down after a while. Nowadays this has settled, but the clarity of perception has remained, and occasionally the mad luminosity will reoccur. 

*this was immediatly followed by a subsequent month-long Mahasi noting retreat in Panditarama Lumbini, during which I experienced many cessation-like experiences, usually following the classical review sequence  and offering much clearer "door moments" over a couple of weeks before and all throughout the beginning of retreat, for a total time of this second period of experiencing fruition-type events of about three weeks (the review phase roughly included the two week break between the end of dzogchen retreat, flying to nepal, and then the first few days of the panditarama lumbini retreat in september 2019). Interestingly, the beginning of this retreat, had none of the usual difficulties of beginning a retreat, but were very energetic and light. It was, I believe, a second review phase, although the fact that nobody was offering direct feedback on my practice except people on DhO, and my own scrupulous nature, still makes me be cautious in claiming this. Also, I was very hesitent to open up about this to the teachers there, which was probably a mistake. I did eventually, and then, seemingly for no reason, instructions changed and were much more appropriate for where I was. So, my advice is to be honest, as I really suffered from getting inappropriate instructions for where I was. During panditarama lumbini, although the dzogchen retreat had left me feeling like I should shift away from vipassana practice, because I intuitively understood that this attentional manipulation/intentional practice was NOT the point anymore, which retrospectively feels like it was the right intuition, I still practiced very diligently 12 h+ a day for 28 days. I went through a new cycle of insight, as confirmed by teachers at the end of retreat. This time, it was experienced with very high concentration from all that meditation, and so the ñana experiences were very clear and repeated passes throughout this time was somewhat very instructive, especially to understand previous experiences on the path, including from my pre-meditative life - my intuition was confirmed that I had indeed experienced the ñanas before I picked up a practice. This new insight cycle was accompanied by a very obvious broadening of attention, which happened quite suddenly the first time I broke through equanimity on the 7th day, and then occurred through subsequent passes through this new DN material (which was quite rough). I was struck, several times during this month, by new breadth of attention, which would yield very surprisingly broad and detailed perceptions.

*following practice confusion during a few months and deep questioning about the western consumerist lifestyle and its viability in the short/mid-term.......... See Chris' "Uncharted territory thread" for a lot more on this !

*mahamudra retreat lasting several days during which I found my way back to rigpa-like experiences which were much less saturated than the previously described opening (february 2020)

*subsequent developments, including easier access to the "natural state", deeper and lighter perception and recognition of the unfindability, non-locatibility, non-separation, interpenetration/just hanging there-ness of phenomena and self during a few months

*a tiny, subtle but profoundly effectful realization that I had been, all my life, basically, looking for a "pure" phenomenal experience, and understanding that this was just an illusion, as experience always manifests as what manifests and is none other than what manifests as it does, ie, symbols are what experience is too, are part of it too. This was the end of a more than a decade long, unconscious quest for the "true" reality "underneath" my conceptual experiences - a kind of quest for something glimpsed at "beyond" normal familiar reality, btw, which one can read about in detail in JP Sartre's book Nausea.

*Immediately following that, a deep "refamiliarization with the world", indeed a very deep, simple and funny sense of coming home. Not that I felt estranged much, but even after all the meditative work and such, it still felt like there was "something" that was supposed to be found/seen. Seeing/trusting that this was not the case, that the familiar everyday reality was as deep as it gets, changed something. During the next few months, and in fact until now, my mood has been 95% of the time quite joyful and cheery, and very resilient without much intention having to be exerted for this to be so. This has stood the test of sustained time with family, lockdowns in small spaces with girlfriend, other life events emoticon...A burgeoning sense that the act of looking for something in meditation was the main source of the remaining resistance I would experience in meditation. In fact, perceiving that almost tactile-ly, if that makes sense. As in : "What is preventing this from being perfect right now ?" Answer : a slight tension that is a kind of mind-body intention manifesting as both a knot in space and an emotional dissatisfaction/intellectual curiosity, messing up the completeness, introducing contraction in the whole thing.

*a two-week self retreat in (october 2020), during which I practiced 4 days of shamatha/brahmaviharas, 4 days of a structured scaffolded hierarchy of practice devolving from just seeing things as they are, noticing attraction/repulsion/neutralness, etc. down dependent origination and down the levels of practice from just sitting to straight vipassana noting of sensations, urges, emotions, thoughts, 4 days of following the instructions in Clarifying the natural state. This all lead to interesting realizations, about the nature of mind and the nature of seeking, and how these relate to the higher fetters, how desire and looking and ignorance are connected one with the other. How meditation methods are part of experience which is realization. This was seen with profound clarity, and at the "right time", and seeing this would be understood, accepted and trusted wholeheartedly ; it seemed to me like there wasn't much to see beyond that. And indeed, this has seemed to put a kind of end to my quest - although that, according to our shargrol, is "the surest sign of third path". Since this retreat, during which I also read profusely, classical texts and others, which provided a lot of confirmation to what I seemed to have grasped, I basically stopped meditating. 

*However, I'm sitting again these days, and I'm about to do a four day home retreat with my gf, focusing on heart practices.

*poems.

...can be found here : Opinions welcome

Closing this first log, I want to sincerely thank all those who participated, benevolently or otherwise, helpuflly or not, and give a particular shout out to our main guys shargrol and chris marti. This has been a vivid part of my journey, sometimes bringing confusion, sometimes clarification, but vitally so throughout.

And this brings us to this new log, a new log for a new year, which I will start by quoting a wonderful poem by Rilke, which I want to thank Tim for - it's an excerpt from Rilke's "Turning point" :

Work of the eyes is done, now
go and do heart-work
on all the images imprisoned within you; for you
overpowered them: but even now you don’t know them.
Learn, inner man, to look on your inner woman,
the one attained from a thousand
natures, the merely attained but
not yet beloved form.
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Chris Marti, modified 9 Months ago.

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I am grateful!

EDIT: So very, very grateful.

emoticon
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Steph, modified 9 Months ago.

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Me too! The scrolling over in the last thread was killing me.

I don't think I knew most of your practice history, Olivier. Dang you've got alot of retreat time in. Good for you!
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Brandon Dayton, modified 9 Months ago.

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All of that work reading the previous log when I could have just waited for this...
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Pepe, modified 9 Months ago.

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Amazing and inspiring recap Olivier, congrats!!! 
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Stirling Campbell, modified 9 Months ago.

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Happy New Year to you, Olivier. Glad to see you are still around and working on the "Great Work".

There is a reason there is still the attention from "enlightened activity" on your thread, and I would posit that it is because you show great potential. 

( "Strictly speaking, there are no enlightened people, there is only enlightened activity." - Shunryu Suzuki Roshi )

The doc from from your Dzogchen retreat is utterly chockablock with excellent stuff. It's all anyone would need to "get it" honestly, but there is a door for every seeker.

You talk about wanting to do some "heart" work. Not sure if I am interpreting you properly but I would greatly recommend:

https://www.amazon.com/Untethered-Soul-Journey-Beyond-Yourself/dp/1572245379/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3FXEW7F15AL1G&dchild=1&keywords=untethered+soul+by+michael+singer&qid=1609907139&sprefix=untethered%2Caps%2C227&sr=8-1

Not a Buddhist book per se, but a greatly simplified (in a GOOD way) series of suggestions for working with surrender and "self".

In the Mahayana/Tibetan tradition, I personally got a LOT out of "7 Point Mind Training", specifically Ken McLeod's fabulous book:

https://www.amazon.com/Great-Path-Awakening-Commentary-Mahayana/dp/0877734208

This was the focus of my training when I was in my late 20's, working with Dave Newman and occasionally Gyatrul Rinpoche, and it created lasting and indelible change. 

Also worth a read is one of my lineage teacher's books, a more modern/Zen take on the same teaching:

https://www.amazon.com/Training-Compassion-Teachings-Practice-Lojong/dp/1611800404

My discussion group are currently working through the latter, with frequent referencing of the former... I still prefer the wording in some of the "slogans" from McLeod's book. Fischer's book is also available as an audio book, which I enjoyed being able to digest on my commute to work earlier this year... back when I had one. emoticon

Bows.
Olivier, modified 9 Months ago.

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LOL, sorry guys I didn't realize it was so hard to navigate, as I always use the "flat view" which just lays it all out chronologically. emoticon

--

Sterling, thanks for the suggestions. Just a few things : First, sorry to hear you lost your job. I myself don't have one either emoticon I've actually been considering doing meditation coaching.

On a side note but related, re:the links you sent. Guys, whether you are enlightened activity or a person, please please please boycott amazon. :p 1 amazon job got = 4 regular jobs lost...

Second, yes, I agree with you in that I actually have all the material I need on awakening already, and am not especially looking for new resources on that dimension. Just a matter of broadening now, there are some things I've become more curious about like sleep and death, but all in due time... 

Third, when I said heart work, I had a few things in mind, but specifically here I was talking about the brahmaviharas and transforming suffering into joy (tonglen), which I have practiced quite a bit before, and during my last retreat felt like a very fecund venue of exploration and cultivation. I think I've read/reflected upon/understood/practiced enough about all that in the previous years to be pretty independent, and that now just doing the practices will reveal more than enough about them. 

I also meant trusting intuition even more, and letting the more magical side of things show up, which it has been... :p

Cheers and bows emoticon
Sam Gentile, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Olivier's Opinions II

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" I've actually been considering doing meditation coaching."
YES! You are aleady an excellent meditation coach/teacher who is among the best I have seen. You would do well. You have already been a huge help to me.
Olivier, modified 9 Months ago.

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Thanks for the kind words, Sam. That means a lot to me. 
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Stirling Campbell, modified 9 Months ago.

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Olivier:

Sterling, thanks for the suggestions. Just a few things : First, sorry to hear you lost your job. I myself don't have one either emoticon I've actually been considering doing meditation coaching.

Olivier,

I still have my job, actually, despite a move to another state - it is the commute I lost, since I work entirely remote at present. Sorry for any confusion.

Third, when I said heart work, I had a few things in mind, but specifically here I was talking about the brahmaviharas and transforming suffering into joy (tonglen), which I have practiced quite a bit before, and during my last retreat felt like a very fecund venue of exploration and cultivation. I think I've read/reflected upon/understood/practiced enough about all that in the previous years to be pretty independent, and that now just doing the practices will reveal more than enough about them. 

The McLeod and Fischer books are VERY MUCH about the work you are describing, since they are specifically about Lojong, which Tonglen (a wonderful practice) derives from. Working with Bodhicitta is key, and transformative. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lojong

I also meant trusting intuition even more, and letting the more magical side of things show up, which it has been.

A fantastic idea! The dharmakaya is AWAYS pointing back to its non-dual source. The fabric of Mind is teaching. Taking what arises as path is an INTEGRAL part of Lojong teachings, and the books I recommend.

Best of luck. emoticon
Olivier, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Olivier's Opinions II

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Well good news about the job ! Although i inagine the remote part is a pain in the B

Yes I realized this was the same direction, and I'm keeping a special place for these books on my very very long list of references, if i feel like i need some guidance later on emoticon For now, happy to keep exploring and let what comes up teach what it must, as you said.

--

These days I've felt a strong pull towards literature, which I hadn't in a long time, and knew clearly, for some reason, that I should start reading Proust again. His main work is 7 volumes long, 600 pp. each... I'd never gone further than the first one, which I'd forgotten everything about, it appears.

Well, I know why I wanted to go back there. The beginning of the first book is amazing, and superbly written.

Proust basically describes the process of falling asleep or waking up and the metempsychosis and confusion of identities which can happen there, the process of recreating the identity and the surroundings of the sleeper from the "kaleidoscope of darkness"... How memories and fragments from the past are put together by perception to construct the specific place in time and space that the sleeper is supposed to be in.

He seems to describe DO, but in terms which are closer to what Dudjom Lingpa calls "devolution", the "architecture of the impure mind" from the alaya, alaya-vijñana, etc., the stratas of mind up until the gross worldly identities. Something very buddhist, makes me think of the different things I read about dream yoga. Reality is also described very similarly by phenomenologist Michel Henry, as I've mentioned many times. In terms of The Father and The Son, of course...

The kaleidoscope of darkness, man...

Michel Henry, drawing on phenomenology, calls the DO process, the process of constructing the objects of the world : "the operations of transcendental subjectivity". And the world of things we inhabit, he calls "memory", in reference to Augustine. Augustine said that this world we live in where thing appear and die - if we take it from the perspective of truly existing things - is made up of memory. Identity, name, language, all rely on memory - and its correlate : time. Funny that we rarely talk about memory here, or in buddhist contexts for that matter.

Anyways, all this finds its way in an early twentieth century writer's novel, Proust's Looking for time lost. Very curious to see what else he's got. Of course, eveyody knows about that stuff. It's just reality. emoticon But it feels very good always, to find a fresh perspective, especially one so close from home (france, for me). I just today stumbled upon a book review by Greg Goode which argues that literature is a form of tantra. Well of course !

The kaleidoscope of darkness... Wouldn't that make a great book name ? Might have to read the whole thing, although it's also superbly boring at times...

This is a good illustration of intuition and magic : this book is connected to all the new concerns i've mentionned here in so many ways...

Oh, meaning.

Cool.
Olivier, modified 9 Months ago.

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Proust: It's up to the mind to find truth. But how ? Grave uncertainty, every time the mind feels overwhelmed by itself, when it, the seeker, is both the obscure landscape where it must look and when all its baggage will turn out to be of no use. Look ? not only : create. It is facing something which is not yet, and that it alone can realize, and then bring forth into the light.
Olivier, modified 9 Months ago.

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cmarti

May 31 2010, 6:54 PM EDT

There’s nothing to add and nothing to take away. This says it all. Raw acceptance of everything, as it is. Just IS.


Yeah.

Edit :

Reminds me of this, from my journal :
Meditation would bring about and deepen the sense that my experience was "complete", in the sense that there was absolute certainty than nothing could be added or subtracted from the thing. The completeness/stilness was in itself very impressive, but it wasn't, because it was like everything, every thought, image, etc., was seen just as it arose when it arose and thereby dissolved smoothly by itself, never causing contraction, ie attention pushing/pulling something and thereby ignoring something else.
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Chris Marti, modified 9 Months ago.

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<sigh>
Olivier, modified 9 Months ago.

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What ?
Tim Farrington, modified 9 Months ago.

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i think he meant that it was good for him. If he lights up a cigarette and blows the smoke at the ceiling dreamily, you can be sure.
Olivier, modified 9 Months ago.

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I'm collecting the main posts from my previous log into one text file, and re-reading some of your comments there now makes so much more sense emoticon
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Chris Marti, modified 9 Months ago.

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I'm humbled.

Olivier, I was sighing at the quote of mine that you posted. I can recall that period of time so clearly (May 2010) - like it just happened. The feelings were so deep and clear.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Olivier's log 2

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"May 2010"

Wow, memories here too. The very month and year I started with Buddhist meditation for the very first time (Shamatha as in calm-abiding). 
Jeez, time is passing emoticon 
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 9 Months ago.

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"There’s nothing to add and nothing to take away. This says it all. Raw acceptance of everything, as it is. Just IS."

Both for Chris and Olivier; 
what do you think about Kenneth Folks explanation on This is It? He said that This either is or isn't. Saying something like "this is it ... but only if I have equanimity, is ridiculous" emoticon or in this case "this is it ... but only if I have raw acceptance of everything" or "this is it ... but only if the experience is complete" emoticon Otherwise This is not It emoticon emoticon 
Olivier, modified 9 Months ago.

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For me the difference is the certainty. I could have understood the notion intellectually that this is it (i did actually) and believed it, but it was different to really see precisely how and why the search obscures the finding, and then being utterly free of the drive or notion that there is anything other than what is, it's qualitatively different and to me the difference is the certainty and the freshness and abse'ce of tension which comes from the lack of push and pull at the root of ignorance...

In a way it's more of a heart thing than clarity or perception thing.

It's like gow SE drives some kind of understanding deeper, you know ? Beyond mental understanding.

But i don't know, maybe for others it's easier to access that certainty.  
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 9 Months ago.

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"In a way it's more of a heart thing than clarity or perception thing."

emoticon Ok so "This is It ... but only if it's a heart thing" otherwise This is not It/This emoticon emoticon 

I hope you can sense my friendly kidding here emoticon I find all this stuff rather fascinating and defeating at the same time. 

I better go play with my son now as he keeps telling me "stop staring at your phone!!!" emoticon 
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Chris Marti, modified 9 Months ago.

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Kenneth is probably describing the difference between being in a state and not being in a state, or remarking on folks applying conditions to their experiences. I can't be sure without reading or listening to the whole diatribe.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 9 Months ago.

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shargrol, modified 9 Months ago.

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Most of us can relate conceptually to the ideal of "this is it" and maybe we even have moments that touch on it... maybe it was even moments of clarity that sent us on this meditation journey... it surely was for me, that moment of clarity when I was ~17 years old and I was walking across a floor in my home and could understand why monks walked and why it could be a road to enlightenment, and I remember realizing in my bones how simple life could be and how I was making my own life so needlessly difficult....

But if we are honest, what we experience is a tiny bit of "this is it" and a whole lot of greed, aversion, and indifference/ignorance mixed in. Maybe we get to 50% this is it during a good sit, but wow, the mind is still filled with greed for something different, aversion to what is already occuring, and indifference to all the things that are part of experience that don't seem to be related to our sense of identity as a meditator trying to make progress on the path. Our sense of self is so small and petty...  

Even when we worry, "how can they mean "this is it"? this isn't much of anything and it's definitely not spiritual or wisdom or enlightenment" --- well that's worth investigating. How much greed, aversion, and indifference is in that view? 

Here's a koan: "how is this not it?"

emoticon 
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 9 Months ago.

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shargrol:
Most of us can relate conceptually to the ideal of "this is it" and maybe we even have moments that touch on it... maybe it was even moments of clarity that sent us on this meditation journey... it surely was for me, that moment of clarity when I was ~17 years old and I was walking across a floor in my home and could understand why monks walked and why it could be a road to enlightenment, and I remember realizing in my bones how simple life could be and how I was making my own life so needlessly difficult....

But if we are honest, what we experience is a tiny bit of "this is it" and a whole lot of greed, aversion, and indifference/ignorance mixed in. Maybe we get to 50% this is it during a good sit, but wow, the mind is still filled with greed for something different, aversion to what is already occuring, and indifference to all the things that are part of experience that don't seem to be related to our sense of identity as a meditator trying to make progress on the path. Our sense of self is so small and petty...  

Even when we worry, "how can they mean "this is it"? this isn't much of anything and it's definitely not spiritual or wisdom or enlightenment" --- well that's worth investigating. How much greed, aversion, and indifference is in that view? 

Here's a koan: "how is this not it?"

emoticon 

Yes totally on with all what you said hence me being a huge fan of that Kenneth Folk's CONR Model emoticon as in Cosmic Joke vs CONR. However This is It moments can be anything, all from greed arising to aversion arising and compassion arising and ... any arising  ANY experience in consciousness IS THIS emoticon It cant be anything BUT This emoticon There is nothing else if we are to really be honest and see it for what it is (not past, not future but only this unfolding or even better yet, this Satipatthana Momentary experience which off cushion has more of a flow/unfolding sense because concentration is not as good as on cushion where stuff can have more JUST THIS . JUST THIS . JUST THIS . JUST THIS . feel if we reflect on it which again is nothing other than JUST THIS ... ). 

What you are bringing about here is a "good work". Work that focuses on these arisings and to deal with them deeper and deeper to untangle them as to disolve those seeds of Dukkha which have maybe not even begun to sprout or have done so and then here is what we do with it (WUTYL etc). This is part of the CONR Model which is dealing with Suffering by either getting rid of Consciousness (C), or disolving the sense of self or Ownership (O), or getting rid of Negativailance (Word?) by going into Jhanas (but these are fragile states especially not much use off cushion) or getting rid of Realness (R) by Vipassanizing all experience to its bits and pieces hence all this flip flopping and popping in and out is not really real as its in utter flux. Your work with WUTYL would also fit well in one of these here Im sure or? As an Intervention for Suffering,becoming a better sane person amongst fellow beings (This aint good enough must be worked on which is valid and why not, of course)
So if we are not ok with This really being IT then we go into these Interventions according to our preference I guess and we even test them all and see how they hold up emoticon And they ARE GREAT work and we ought to be grateful for such teachings!

But ALL of this is still and ever will only be THIS in any shape or form and we cant do shit about that emoticon as in RIGHT NOW emoticon It is what it is. And it can be anything as we all here have seen again and again , as you say on the cushion especially and yet for some reason its hard to accept that THIS IS IT as This might not be what I hoped for emoticon (shit!)

We can get sidetracked by thinking that This ought to be very precise, very deep, very complete, very much disolving but in in experience This can be anything from the sensations of me taking a shit to some deep Jhanic stuff or else. It only ever chages shape and form and fiddles between all these sensations, feelings and mind states/thoughts. Its a theatre show in consciousness and its always new with us being able to reflect that some stuff seems to be cycling and was similar to what there was "before" (more thoughts in memory).

Also that sense of self you mention emoticon of course its small and petty but as we all know, its NOT THERE in that momentary Satipatthana when we practice emoticon right? However if we are lifeing these selfings will arise inevitably (maybe not for you or others here, what do I know) and these CAN be seen/known as This. This can be glitchy, and slippery and very clear and all of it ... yes always chages shape and form even the Knowingness of This is subject to fluxing.

But yes, even if This Is IT, there is absolutely no reason for not working on those deeply ingrained patterns of greed, aversion and illusion, for as long as one is alive. Its a good work for anyone. 

Sorry for making this so long emoticon  I guess Im in a funky mood again emoticon 
shargrol, modified 9 Months ago.

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Papa Che Dusko:
shargrol:

Also that sense of self you mention emoticon of course its small and petty but as we all know, its NOT THERE in that momentary Satipatthana when we practice emoticon right?


I'm going to zone into this point because it is essential. The sense of self IS ABSOLUTELY THERE when we do mindfulness practice. Just because we're practicing doesn't mean there isn't a lot of egotism. There can be lots of small self pride, ambition, greed, force, spiritual bypassing, aggression, elitism, etc. in the midst of practice. If we don't see how we bring the small self into practice, we'll never see subtle greed, aversion, and indifference.

Another Koan: how can we practice mindfulness without egotism?
shargrol, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Olivier's log 2

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We need to work with some kind of framework to remind us to look and see how we avoid dealing with the false small self even during dharma practice itself.

We could use the psychological frame work of defense mechansism: to what extent to we repress, project, deny, aspects of "this is it"? Is our attitude toward experience fundamentally pathological, immature, neurotic, or mature? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defence_mechanism

We can use the simple three poison framework of greed, aversion, indifference.

We can use the 6 realm framework of anger, greed, obeying, desiring, jealousy, pride.

We can use the 5 element framework of solidifying, avoiding, intensifying, busyness, and confusion.

We can use the mahamudra framework of no distraction, no practice, no control

We can use the fetters framework of: attachment to formulatic activity, attachment to sensual desire, attachment to ill will, attachment to jhana, attachment to superiority, attachment to restlessness, attachment to indifference

But it's important to see that the small self is very much present... until it isn't. emoticon
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Olivier's log 2

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Edit; post removed as I realized this is Oliviers log and my reply was anyway of no benefit to anybody really emoticon my apologies.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Olivier's log 2

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"We need to work with some kind of framework to remind us to look"

I think this is quiet right and the safest way to go about this stuff otherwise it can get rather slippery and one could fall and hit one self bad without even realizing emoticon However this whole meditation thing does look like a dog chasing its own tail emoticon in circles we go on and on ... It's a good chase though. 
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Chris Marti, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Olivier's log 2

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Just because we're practicing doesn't mean there is a lot of egotism. 

I think you really meant to type "isn't."

Anyway, the point of mindfulness is to see it all as it happens. No worthwhile mindfulness teacher says "Pay attention to what's going on right now, but ignore all those selfish and ugly thoughts as you do it."

emoticon
shargrol, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Olivier's log 2

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yes, isn't  (correction now made above -- thanks) emoticon
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Chris Marti, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Olivier's log 2

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Scroll down it's almost towards the end. 

Papa, can you just copy the pertinent parts of the conversation here? I'm happy to answer questions but I don't want to have to guess which part of the conversation I'm supposed to respond to.

Thanks!
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Olivier's log 2

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Will try later as my partner would like us to watch Star Trek now emoticon 

(but right now it doesn't seem relevant so if you dont insist I might foget about it emoticon  )
Tim Farrington, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Olivier's Opinions II

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Olivier:
Proust: It's up to the mind to find truth. But how ? Grave uncertainty, every time the mind feels overwhelmed by itself, when it, the seeker, is both the obscure landscape where it must look and when all its baggage will turn out to be of no use. Look ? not only : create. It is facing something which is not yet, and that it alone can realize, and then bring forth into the light.

Proust really is an exquisite phenomenologist. And he clearly sees that there is no way from the emptiness into form that is not in some way constructed by the mind. 

You said also---
Michel Henry, drawing on phenomenology, calls the DO process, the process of constructing the objects of the world : "the operations of transcendental subjectivity". And the world of things we inhabit, he calls "memory", in reference to Augustine. Augustine said that this world we live in where thing appear and die - if we take it from the perspective of truly existing things - is made up of memory. Identity, name, language, all rely on memory - and its correlate : time. Funny that we rarely talk about memory here, or in buddhist contexts for that matter.

Augustine owes his concept of memory to Plato, I think: anamnesis, remembering, is remembering the Truth of the ideal reality. Learning the Truth, for Plato, is a re-discovery of something already known. Proust's madeleine is a trigger for a more sophisticated "remembering," he realizes that he is re-membering, re-assembling, putting something together "again"--- but that thing re-membered has never been, in the form it now takes. It is made, and Proust, as well as anyone ever has, makes the process of the making transparent at points.

But this is very non-Buddhist, lol. The Buddhists are with Joyce, that other modernist giant, who said, "History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake." Not re-membering, but un-membering, maybe. 
shargrol, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Olivier's log 2

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For what it's worth, most of the metaphor/words for meditation in early buddhism are agricultural... like "cultivation" being used for meditation. So kinda an organic re-membering. Heh, so there is a garden too, it's not all weeds to un-member. emoticon
Olivier, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Olivier's log 2

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Yeah, i think culture is a good general term for the organic thing. And interedtingly, cultivation/bhavana is linked with root -bhu, which gave both Being, and Physics, through greek phusis. Meditation as existential, or ontological, flowering...

Tim, yes it seems to me that there's a crucial point in the different relationships with time/memory here, holding the DOed world and its inhabitants as sacred (the temple of god) VS wanting to escape it (architect, the raftpole of this house has been broken)... But in the end, as all dualities, i think they can be reconciled. It might say something about judeo-christian as contrasted with buddhist cultures, though...

As for the re-membering... Yes, plato !

Do you know, the pre-socratic term a-lethe-ia, "truth or revelation", or even even "reality" - contemporary greeks use the word casually as in "really ?" : Ie "I like you -aletheia ?", It literally means non-forgetfulness. The lethe river.

Well the similarity between aletheia in heraclitean thought and in the himalayan bon traditions rigpa and taoism, have been argued to  share historical origin - Elias Capriles for instance says that.

Another cool etymological thing : smrti/sati are cousins with memoria and martyr. A martyr is someone whi remembers, who practices smrti. emoticon

But IMO there is something deeper, beyond what we said, about this whole time and memory and awakening business... 
Olivier, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Olivier's log 2

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When...

The arrow of time
Crosses the heart

From the depth of the dark
Comes light

- Marcel Pérès
Tim Farrington, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Olivier's log 2

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"Remembering" is also huge, biblically speaking: to remember God is close to the central action, the only meaningful move. I think the Hebrew זׇכַר zakar, to rememberis related to the Arabic dhikr(also spelled ZikrThikrZekr,or Zikar),  which in Islam is the mantra-like remembrance of God--- "Oh you who have believed, remember Allah with much remembrance." (Surah Al-Ahzab, 33:41). The heyschasm tradition in Eastern Orthodoxy can be seen as a striving to remember God in prayer with every breath, again mantra-like practice (although a lot of people get pissed off when you say mantra-like, but that's politics).
Olivier, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Olivier's log 2

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My favorite fruit is the mango !! And the innate mind-essence. 
Tim Farrington, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Olivier's log 2

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emoticon

Try a mango-innate-mind-essence smoothie, it's da bomb.
Olivier, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Olivier's log 2

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Will do sir !
Olivier, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: Olivier's log 2

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From having hung out in the music thread, I wanted to share a few musical things I really like.

Warning, this is an extremely eclectic list, and each of these pieces has a very specific and kind of intense power, each exists within its particular space, which might feature strange horizons and unusual colors :p

Maybe best not to listen to this in sequence !

(easy listening, yet complex, extremely upbeat) An early piece by music extraordinaire Jacob Collier, 17 year-old at the time I believe : The Road not taken

(less easy, darker) An acousmatic piece by my composition teacher Denis Dufour (featuring wierd english texts recited by a woman with a sexy french accent) : Rivages de la soif

(deep, rich and flamboyant) From a mass called Missa ex tempore, composed by Marcel Pérès whom I study medieval singing with : Credo

(contemplative, poignant) Another scottish poem, put to music by Arvo Pärt : My Heart's in the highlands

(energetically soft) Rich and complex DnB like pop from british band Knower : Like a Storm

(mysterious, profound) Old roman chant, from the first millenium singing a midnight mass communion chant with actual magical powers... Very advised to listen to this a lot, but maybe not after the funky stuff from before. This might best be appreciated from the fiery depths of mid-EQ or from some serious contemplative depth emoticonIn splendoribus sanctorum

Tim Farrington, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Olivier's log 2

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shargrol:
For what it's worth, most of the metaphor/words for meditation in early buddhism are agricultural... like "cultivation" being used for meditation. So kinda an organic re-membering. Heh, so there is a garden too, it's not all weeds to un-member. emoticon
yes, and a lot of the Biblical metaphors likewise. The parable of the sower ("The sower sows the Word") is a sort of schematic of the varieties of wrong and right practice, and the fruit metaphor is pervasive. Faith itself is a mustard seed. (I've always enjoyed the counterpoint of the Buddha's mustard seed, which in the end, as a cure for grief, literally doesn't exist; there's actually a great potential for exegesis in comparing those mustard seeds, an illuminative compare and contrast. Because faith, technically speaking, is also nothing, empty, for one thing.)

I'm interested in fruits, lol. Who isn't? 
Olivier, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: Olivier's log 2

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Wow, that non-chronological posting is really... ...

Here is a music which I was inspired to post here after reading about the fun forum history stuff ! In the name of nik bartsch, I dedicate it to the DhO !

​​​​​​​https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-myiMTOkPU
Tim Farrington, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: Olivier's log 2

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Olivier, nice to see you, mon ami! Wow, what an absorbing and inspiring meditation from Ronin. That's the way to live, lol, those guys all so beautifully, deeply, competely tuned in. It reminds me a lot of the best of my old ashram chants, the slow contemplative build from the simplest elements, and the seemingly spontaneous dawning of new dynamics, the surge and ebb of energy, and the general build to sustained heights that seem to keep rising. Everybody disappears, quite expertly, lol. Damn, these guys are so good. I love what they're doing. The looks between the musicians are priceless, awesome communication and a lot of sheer shared joy. And the lighting guy is clearly in on it, and possibly stoned, but very good at what he does. Beautiful, thank you for the introduction. There are so many strands of wildly variant tradition digested and synthesized there to a whole new thing: I can see why it felt right to you to dedicate it to DhO. We aspire, anyway. (I'm working on my opening rhythm riff, a spoon on a coffee cup, give me ten years and I'll be ready for you to come in on piano. You might want to start without me, actually, lol, but the rest of the DhO band will be right with you.)
Olivier, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: Olivier's log 2

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Early morning thoughts. For those who have an interest in reconciling different spiritual perspectives and phenomenology/philosophy. PDF attached.

There are two modes of manifestation : intentional consciousness and non-intentional consciousness (see Michel Henry).

The first is dualistic perception, which one could dim "exteriority", the other is radical immanence, self-knowing affectivity.

Many activities can lead one to shift from mode 1 to mode 2, and this unifying dimension that one sometimes finds in the practice of the arts, sports, love, etc., is something many people are naturally drawn to, for mode 2 feels right somehow. Seen that way, many cultural activities can be seen, among other things, to possess an intrinsically mystical dimension. They can actively be pursued from that conscious perspective.

Practices of awakening entail learning to transition from mode 1 to mode 2 reliably, and understanding what causes which mode to occurr. 

In the end, it is also learning to recognize that these two modes, aren't really two at all, but rather, mysteriously neither-one-nor-two. This requires lots of familiarity with both, though.

Hypothesis : The Progress of Insight (POI) is the way the field of consciousness modalizes as it transitions from mode 1 to mode 2. 

Exploring and understanding this requires depth and width of experiential intelligence, as well as openness and detachment of the heart.

Thus, learning to shift the conscious and perceptive habitus from mode 1 to mode 2 will usually entail developing clarity and acceptance. It will also involve conquering, or healing, or seeing-through any resistances to operating from the broader and more open perspective of mode 2.

Strangely enough, it seems that there is a predictable sequence of modalizations of the mind-body that will accompany this transition: the POI. This sequence involves changes in specific things such as the shape, width and configuration of attention, feeling-tone, perceptual clarity, and more.

From the clear knowing, spacious affectivity and intimate perspective of mode 2, deeper letting-go may occur. This may lead to an unweaving of phenomenal reality, to the point that it mostly vanishes (formless realms) or completely stops (cessation).

For the individual who repeatedly engages in such practices, they can lead both to shifts in the habitual way of operating in the world (baseline shifts in sensitivity, sense of self, emotional reactivity, etc.) and to deep understandings about the nature of consciousness and desire - ie, his "essential" nature, and the "essential nature" of manifest reality. Thorough understanding of the workings and nature of Intelligence (Mind, Psyche, Spirit, Logos...) and of the full range of the Heart (Eros...) is, simply put, - wisdom.

Alternatively, we may also see the whole process of transitioning from mode 1 to mode 2 to cessation, as one spectrum of ever-deeper letting-go (unclinging, detachment) which deconstructs the habitual way in which we experience the world, leading to progressive unfabrication of experience. 

This non-grasping, non-clinging, combined with clarity of knowing, could also be called with the greek name of épochè, used during antiquity and by the phenomenologists throughout the XXth century : it describes a suspension of judgment to deeply examine things as they appear in this moment. There is something intrinsically existential/ontological about practicing such unbinding (buddhism), épochè, detachment or non-grasping (christian mysticism) : we could call it developing insight into interest, as well as, most importantly, know-how and mastery of dis-interested perception. Why is that ?

Because the word interest comes from latin inter- (between) and -esse (being). Interestingly enough, Thich Nhat Hahn translates "dependent origination", - which is the formulation that was given by the buddha of the process of fabrication of perception, dualistic or less dualistic, that one learns to play with through insight practice, - as Interbeing. He calls it "the insight of interbeing".

Thus, the notion of Dis-inter-est then reveals deeper nuances of meaning : it does express something to the effect of learning to move beyond a state of in-betweeness and towards a more ontologically unified mode of existing - ie, using the technical framework we've used so far, something akin to transitioning from mode 1 to mode 2. Notice that disinterest is often seen as an inherent quality of love.

Also notice that the further realizations concerning the non-duality of those two modes of perception, implies the ability to recognize and exist - both a question of trust and intelligence - within, or as, a deep, or even complete, ontological ambiguity. This resonates well with what french phenomenologist Henry Maldiney called "the ambiguity of the real", something we can liken to the way Burbea talks about the deeper implications of dependent origination/emptiness : us, the world, as well as all things, are neither-real-nor-not-real.

Different practice schools will place emphasis on different aspects/phases of this whole thing, according to different world-views and associated goals, thus producing different descriptions of the path : love, intelligence, detachment, clear-knowing, precise descriptions and practical mastery of the particulars of the transition from mode 1 to mode 2 as a fundamental aspect of the process, dismissal of these specifics to focus on the qualities of the resulting effects on consciousness and wisdom as a guideline, mastery of mystical states, getting rid of desire by living in detachment all the time, unity stuff, emptiness stuff, non-dual stuff, naturalness stuff, spontaneity stuff, …

In effect, though, all practices which imply a deep familiarization and curiosity about the present-moment, have the potential to lead to partial or full awakening - this includes non-formally meditative practices such as the arts.

In pragmatic dharma parlance, all this explains why the focus start with but eventually moves away from being about the specific exploration of different states of consciousness, particularly those that mark the transition from mode 1 to mode 2 initially (first path) - or even the exploration of how clinging and unclinging lead to creating more experience or unfabricating it to the point of its complete remainderless ceasing (first and second paths) -, to something more subtle and beyond "the cycles, paths and states", which has to do with the heart of knowing who we are - a knowing which is a know-how, a knowing how to be in this most fluid way (more like third and fourth-path stuff).

There is no end to the possibilities of exploration that this life reserves, but the specific practice of developing insight into the nature of manifest reality, is what contemplative practices are about, and this insight can be taken to a certain finality.

 
shargrol, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: Olivier's log 2

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Olivier
Early morning thoughts. For those who have an interest in reconciling different spiritual perspectives and phenomenology/philosophy. PDF attached.

There are two modes of manifestation : intentional consciousness and non-intentional consciousness (see Michel Henry).

The first is dualistic perception, which one could dim "exteriority", the other is radical immanence, self-knowing affectivity.
For what it's worth, I tend to think that the fundamental challenge of awakening is identification with the narrative mind.

A psychologist friend of mine pointed out how ~4 year olds start developing the habit of narrating their life "I go to there, I pick this up, I eat this food", almost a constant running narration as they develop both language and identity as an independent agent.

This becomes automatic after a while and soon we have an internal narrator running at all times and we think our thoughts are ourself. During meditation, we re-connect with non-narrated reality... but amazingly slowly. It is clear that the visceral fear of annihilation is associated with the absense of thinking --- moments of non thinking are wonderfully present, yet quickly become terrifying.

My sense is that what happens over all of the paths is the survival instinct that is associated with the narrative mind drops away, and indeed there is the ability to go to wordless perception without feeling vulnerable or "lacking". We don't need a labelled reality to feel whole and to know "who we are". Most of the phenominology of the mind in POI and Jhana, too, are manifestation of the natural protective instinct of the mind.

In the end, the same skills that were trained by the 4 year old are de-trained by the 4th Pather.  The 4 pather doesn't forget how to think and feel  symbolically, but they recognize the symbolic nature of all thinking and feeling. And there is a recognition that simple existing doesn't require a symbolic overlay. 

​​​​​​​So very similar to your thoughts, I think  emoticon
Olivier, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: Olivier's log 2

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Funny synchronicity Tim ! Do you know that I listened back to my piano improv named "Tim Farrington" yesterday for some reason ?
/oh, edit : I realize you answered while I wrote the previous post, not synchronously, but only because my thread got upposted when I edited my previous post from a few weeks back just before ! Nevermind me and proceed .../

Anyways, yes, Nik and his friends are great. They have done a concert every monday for the past decade+ from what I can tell, in this small club in Zürich called "Exile", which Nik Bärtsch half-owns - cunning rich swiss fella. He also does workshops and I did one and then saw the monday concert. It was perhaps, very honestly, the best and most entrancing concert I've been at, and I've been lucky enough - now that he cannot play anymore due to a double stroke... - to see Keith Jarrett live on three separate occasions ! A bit like joy-inducing hard-drugs with no side effect.

Hope you are doing well my friend.
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Chris Marti, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: Olivier's log 2

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Olivier, glad to see thou hast not forsaken us. It's nice to see you hereabouts.


​​​​​​​There is no end to the possibilities of exploration that this life reserves, but the specific practice of developing insight into the nature of manifest reality, is what contemplative practices are about, and this looking-in can be taken to a certain finality.

I love that last paragraph in your attached PDF!
Olivier, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: Olivier's log 2

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 Hi guys, I was on retreat, as usual, and as usual fantasizing about not using the internet anymore. well... emoticon

This time it was to accompany and advise my gf who is starting to get serious about meditation and is aiming for SE. She has very interesting experiences, very vivid imagery in Kasina practice apparently, it's been really fascinating to follow her progress. First meditation we did last year, she entered a jhana, and I'm pretty sure she was already kind of established in EQ by that point, although some bouts of DN still somehow stick to this day, as happened once during this past week. Baya ñana kept us up for a couple of hours of nighttime terror emoticon

Chris - thanks for the kind words ! Nice to see you too !

Shargrol - First, let me say that IMO, my thinking is similar to yours, more than the other way around emoticon I love how down to earth and practical your explanations are.

It's funny, because what you said specifically about the identification with narrative mind is the main thing I took from this week. It was an insight that occurred repeatedly during the first four days of this small retreat, and it felt quite subtle yet simple, but I had to see through it several times there. It each time came to dissolve a very subtle, hard to find but pervasive and atmospheric unease that was there. Very psychological and simple insight of : identifying with an "Olivier" who is a certain way and has to do certain things, is the root cause for this unease.

​​​​​​​Question : do you still have to have the insight sometimes or has it become totally automatic ?

And finally - I really liked this bit : "In the end, the same skills that were trained by the 4 year old are de-trained by the 4th Pather. "

emoticon

 
George S, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: Olivier's log 2

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 Olivier - I love your POI table emoticon

Shargrol - am I wrong in thinking that identification with the narrative mind is first fetter?
 
shargrol, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: Olivier's log 2

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Olivier
 It's funny, because what you said specifically about the identification with narrative mind is the main thing I took from this week. It was an insight that occurred repeatedly during the first four days of this small retreat, and it felt quite subtle yet simple, but I had to see through it several times there. It each time came to dissolve a very subtle, hard to find but pervasive and atmospheric unease that was there. Very psychological and simple insight of : identifying with an "Olivier" who is a certain way and has to do certain things, is the root cause for this unease.

​​​​​​​Question : do you still have to have the insight sometimes or has it become totally automatic ?

Well Olivier, the brutal truth is I still have to have the insight sometimes. I still get suckered into thinking I'm "some thing" at times emoticon  I still have latent blindspots that aren't obvious until some combination of conditions shines a big spotlight on it so life continues to be interesting!  

99% of the time, simply noticing it is enough for the machinery of my mind to disindentify, it's a baseline habit you could say. But I definitely still find knots in my psyche that need intentional untying. When things are really resilient, my go-to methodology is the 5 elements training --- which is great for teasing out emotional/reactive knots --- and Alan Chapman's dialectic analysis (which isn't posted anywhere that I can find... it was posted on his "foundtainhead" website, can anyone find the old PDFs???) --- which is great for teasing problems of "meaning/interpretation".

The most interesting about the dialectic work is that the subconscious often "sees" a problem as the mirror image/reverse of what the actual problem is... and usually the problem winds up being "the problem I thought I had turns out to be not a problem" kind of knot. It's great for dream analysis and those kind of subtle free-floating worries that haunt the psyche.
Olivier, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: Olivier's log 2

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That table is Dan Ingram's work.

For a good discussion of the fetters model : mctb2 four paths model as well as previous chapters.

The middle way.
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Chris Marti, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: Olivier's log 2

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Well Olivier, the brutal truth is I still have to have the insight sometimes.

​​​​​​​Shargrol, that's what I call "the human truth." I find that distraction and more powerful emotional responses have the effect of requiring me to slow down, step back, reflect and see what's going on more deliberately.
shargrol, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: Olivier's log 2

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It's the human truth, but it's a terrible thing to say if you're trying to create a cult. Oh well, I had my chance... and I blew it.  emoticon
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Chris Marti, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: Olivier's log 2

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I having some trouble here imagining what your cult might be like emoticon
shargrol, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: Olivier's log 2

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Chris Marti
I having some trouble here imagining what your cult might be like emoticon

The cult of the green chile smothered breakfast burrito, of course. emoticon
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Chris Marti, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: Olivier's log 2

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Ah - yeah. That's the one.
Tim Farrington, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: Olivier's log 2

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If the cult has room for tequila, I'm in.
George S, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: Olivier's log 2

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Any permanent perceptual upgrades in this cult?

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