RE: Effects of Insight and Meditation on Memory and the Experience of "Time

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Stirling Campbell, modified 2 Months ago.

Effects of Insight and Meditation on Memory and the Experience of "Time"

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In my experience practice, and attainment have had very real and persistent effects (not just experiences) on the perception of time and memory.  

In MCTB2 Daniel talks about these changes in the chapter: 37. Models of the Stages of Awakening > Time and Space Models

https://www.mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/part-v-awakening/37-models-of-the-stages-of-awakening/time-and-space-models/

Time and Space models, some of which I do find to be of value, have to do with alterations in our perception of those two basic aspects of reality. The general themes regarding time are the reduction and then elimination of the sense that there really is a past, that there really is a future, and that these are something different from the memories and expectations that occur now. It is not that practically there are no past and future, as practically there are, from cognitive, predictive, anticipatory, memory-based, and related functional perspectives, but that we can live more and more fully and naturally in this moment, a shifting moment of memories, expectations, etc. By increasing our sensate clarity through standard practices focused on what is happening right here and now, we can learn to perceive these reasonable mental functions which generally relate to time and space as immediate, as a continually unfolding present, however you wish to describe this.

This increasingly automatic clarity about how the sensations related to a sense of time—related to an anticipated future and memories of a past—are always just happening now, and this perceptual understanding leads to reductions in the sense of “time pressure”, meaning stress related to time. Reducing and then eliminating that stress is of real value due to reducing and then eliminating this aspect of suffering.

Related to this is the deconstruction of space, which involves more and more directly perceiving that space arises on the fly, and that various sensations are actually integrated with space, such that we might even reduce the number of sense doors to one, that being the space sense door, and notice that space itself has textures and qualities that we usually divide up into the other sense doors but really, when carefully investigated, seem to just be part of the integrated, fluxing, vanishing, reappearing quality-texture-volume thing. This way of perceiving cuts away a lot of boundaries and, when fully integrated into the way we perceive reality, causes profound alterations in perception that allow for levels of clarity to be naturally present, and these are hard to come by without that aspect of understanding.

My personal experience has been a gradual dialing up of a persistent "nowness", now being at the point where past and future events feel fictitious. Memory seems be noticeably impacted. How far does deepening in this vector go? Is there a point where everyday functioning becomes difficult? What are the consequences or benefits? What is your experience with this?
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Chris Marti, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Effects of Insight and Meditation on Memory and the Experience of "Time

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As I said in the other topic, I've had all manner of experiences along the path but none have managed to be debilitating or cause me to lose the ability to function for more than a few hours, usually minutes, in any meaningful way on a daily basis. If you were to ask me what the biggest benefit of the path has been I would tell you it is thus: knowing fully what I am, how the mind operates, and being grounded and far more self-aware by virtue of those first two things. 
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Stirling Campbell, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Effects of Insight and Meditation on Memory and the Experience of "Time

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Chris Marti:
As I said in the other topic, I've had all manner of experiences along the path but none have managed to be debilitating or cause me to lose the ability to function for more than a few hours, usually minutes, in any meaningful way on a daily basis. If you were to ask me what the biggest benefit of the path has been I would tell you it is thus: knowing fully what I am, how the mind operates, and being grounded and far more self-aware by virtue of those first two things. 

I'm sharing this thread from the past that I found, looking for other threads on this topic, in the interest of broadening the discussion.

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/view_message/2821207#_19_message_2821207

Coincidentally, you post to it and say:

I can relate to this, too. In fact, at one point years ago when this showed up I even called Kenneth Folk, upset that I could no longer focus on and recall details like I used to be able to. He said something like, "You probably didn't need those details anyway." He was right. I didn't, and don't. The phenomena is always present and it's a bit like being in a time bubble about ten seconds in duration, inside of which I can recall almost everything but outside of (after) which details start to get fuzzy.

This memory effect is not dependent on what practice I'm currently doing or any other external influence I can account for. It seems to be a permanent change that has taken hold because it's been in evidence for years, unchanged. It was, of course, more apparent when it started because my previous experience was very different. I can always feel the "foggy" nature of recalling detailed memories when I need to.

This is precisely what I am trying (and failing somehow) to elicit responses about. Are you saying that your experience is different now than it was when this was posted? How has it changed over time, then?
Nice citations.

Perhaps you could give me some guitar lessons, I'm crap.
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Stirling Campbell, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Effects of Insight and Meditation on Memory and the Experience of "Time

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Edward:
Nice citations.

Perhaps you could give me some guitar lessons, I'm crap.
Me too, at this point! emoticon

Chris Marti:
Stirling, turns out it's a mild form of dementia, or sort of dementia, called MCI. I'm old. So... age and illness and not a practice thing at all.

Sorry to hear that. Could be my issue too, who knows. We are really sure that a shift in "nowness" isn't the culprit, or that it might not impact others that way? Speaking solely for my own experience, I'm not. 

What about having an awareness of being in a continually unfolding now? Is that your experience?

Steph:
My point is - when the aspect of suffering is removed and there ceases to be suffering related baggage related to our memories - that might also impact how we remember things.

Yes. My feeling is that the emotional depth that often goes with thoughts and reinforces them is somewhat missing now, and that this is why they don't embed as deeply. Coupled with this was a shift that followed the realization that the past and future are always just thoughts happening now, so in a very real sense they are never "real" moments in the same way the present is, which led me to reading more Dogen, and some of Rupert Spira's work on the topic. Spira's expression that stuck with me was: "...time is what eternity looks like when viewed by the mind."
agnostic, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Effects of Insight and Meditation on Memory and the Experience of "Time

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Jumping in here again. My memory appears to have gotten worse because I'm not laying down so much new memory due to reduced emotional charge and also I'm not spending as much time ruminating over the past. But the memories I need still seem to be there. My wife is a very even-keeled person who works in a very detail-oriented job with a lot of people and I was always surprised how good her memory was with work versus how relatively poor it was for incidental people and places. Now I see that she was just using it where it was needed, whereas I was over-using my memory where it wasn't needed!

When I first saw through the emptiness/fabrication of the personal sense of space and time I thought 'wow this is the bomb living in the now'. Then I started to feel some stress when it slipped a little, until I realized I could conjure up that state on demand. I can maintain it somewhat during other activities, but the more complex the activity the harder it is without oscillating. I assume that with more practice it could be maintained more consistently, but that would conflict with my duties. I realized that stress of wanting/trying to maintain it is worse than the stress of letting it come and go. I guess it comes down to personal priorities and constraints. I know that it's a bit strange to call timelessness or spaciousness a state since in some sense it's ultimate reality, but unless you wake up to ultimate reality without ever having to make return trips then it seems you are stuck with having to negotiate it as if it were a state from a samsaric perspective. And the more I let go of the craving for it to be permanent, the less samsaric it is.
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Chris Marti, modified 2 Months ago.

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What about having an awareness of being in a continually unfolding now? Is that your experience?

That's everyone's experience. Some of us happen to notice it more often  emoticon


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Stirling Campbell, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Effects of Insight and Meditation on Memory and the Experience of "Time

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Chris Marti:
What about having an awareness of being in a continually unfolding now? Is that your experience?

That's everyone's experience. Some of us happen to notice it more often  emoticon



Haha! Nicely put. emoticon
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Chris Marti, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Effects of Insight and Meditation on Memory and the Experience of "Time

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Stirling, turns out it's a mild form of dementia, or sort of dementia, called MCI. I'm old. So... age and illness and not a practice thing at all.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Effects of Insight and Meditation on Memory and the Experience of "Time

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Chris Marti:
Stirling, turns out it's a mild form of dementia, or sort of dementia, called MCI. I'm old. So... age and illness and not a practice thing at all.

Sorry to hear this. I hope that your practice takes away most of the stress that it is often accompanied by. You seem to have great coping skills. 
agnostic, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Effects of Insight and Meditation on Memory and the Experience of "Time

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My experience with the attenuation of space and time is very recent, but I can see how attaching to this state could create problems in daily life situations. It's god realm, and gods and humans don't get along very well. I treat it like a cool place to hang out in my spare time but not get in the way of doing what I need to do in daily life.
Stirling Campbell:
In my experience practice, and attainment have had very real and persistent effects (not just experiences) on the perception of time and memory.  

In MCTB2 Daniel talks about these changes in the chapter: 37. Models of the Stages of Awakening > Time and Space Models

https://www.mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/part-v-awakening/37-models-of-the-stages-of-awakening/time-and-space-models/

Time and Space models, some of which I do find to be of value, have to do with alterations in our perception of those two basic aspects of reality. The general themes regarding time are the reduction and then elimination of the sense that there really is a past, that there really is a future, and that these are something different from the memories and expectations that occur now. It is not that practically there are no past and future, as practically there are, from cognitive, predictive, anticipatory, memory-based, and related functional perspectives, but that we can live more and more fully and naturally in this moment, a shifting moment of memories, expectations, etc. By increasing our sensate clarity through standard practices focused on what is happening right here and now, we can learn to perceive these reasonable mental functions which generally relate to time and space as immediate, as a continually unfolding present, however you wish to describe this.

This increasingly automatic clarity about how the sensations related to a sense of time—related to an anticipated future and memories of a past—are always just happening now, and this perceptual understanding leads to reductions in the sense of “time pressure”, meaning stress related to time. Reducing and then eliminating that stress is of real value due to reducing and then eliminating this aspect of suffering.

Related to this is the deconstruction of space, which involves more and more directly perceiving that space arises on the fly, and that various sensations are actually integrated with space, such that we might even reduce the number of sense doors to one, that being the space sense door, and notice that space itself has textures and qualities that we usually divide up into the other sense doors but really, when carefully investigated, seem to just be part of the integrated, fluxing, vanishing, reappearing quality-texture-volume thing. This way of perceiving cuts away a lot of boundaries and, when fully integrated into the way we perceive reality, causes profound alterations in perception that allow for levels of clarity to be naturally present, and these are hard to come by without that aspect of understanding.

My personal experience has been a gradual dialing up of a persistent "nowness", now being at the point where past and future events feel fictitious. Memory seems be noticeably impacted. How far does deepening in this vector go? Is there a point where everyday functioning becomes difficult? What are the consequences or benefits? What is your experience with this?
Daniel does not have any memory problems.
Nor, it seems did Mingun Sayadaw et al.

Do you have, or expect to have, any concomitant hand-eye co-ordination problems as you deconstruct space?
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Stirling Campbell, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Effects of Insight and Meditation on Memory and the Experience of "Time

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Edward:

Daniel does not have any memory problems.
Nor, it seems did Mingun Sayadaw et al.

Do you have, or expect to have, any concomitant hand-eye co-ordination problems as you deconstruct space?

Edward,

I think the quoted text from Daniel is in fact his alluding to some familiarity with the topic. In an effort to avoid too much duplication, a quick search of dharmaoverground yielded the following thread where Daniel talks a bit about his experience of it. My teacher is familiar with both aspects in herself and others with arhat-level attainment, but I thought it would be interesting to see discussion from a much larger group.

I don't have any hand-eye coordination problems whatsoever. I play drums sloppily as I always have, and can still play guitar competently, though less fluidly, most likely as a result of decreased practice. In terms of "deconstructing space" I do often notice a "2D" aspect to reality. Part of my Dzogchen Lojong training was visualizing reality as a "screen" at the end of my nose. I now see that this is actually how it often appears if I incline attention in that direction. This has no effect on interacting with the object in my field of vision.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Effects of Insight and Meditation on Memory and the Experience of "Time

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In terms of "deconstructing space" I do often notice a "2D" aspect to reality. Part of my Dzogchen Lojong training was visualizing reality as a "screen" at the end of my nose. I now see that this is actually how it often appears if I incline attention in that direction. This has no effect on interacting with the object in my field of vision.



This has been the case for me increasingly often since I started practicing Dzogchen too.

I never really could grasp time very well, so it's hard to tell how much that has changed so far. Sometimes it feels like I'm in a stillness that is surfing on a wave of occurrings, but that isn't always subjectively accessible. I recognize the sense of space having textures of its own and the sense gates merging.
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Stirling Campbell, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Effects of Insight and Meditation on Memory and the Experience of "Time

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

In terms of "deconstructing space" I do often notice a "2D" aspect to reality. Part of my Dzogchen Lojong training was visualizing reality as a "screen" at the end of my nose. I now see that this is actually how it often appears if I incline attention in that direction. This has no effect on interacting with the object in my field of vision.



This has been the case for me increasingly often since I started practicing Dzogchen too.

I never really could grasp time very well, so it's hard to tell how much that has changed so far. Sometimes it feels like I'm in a stillness that is surfing on a wave of occurrings, but that isn't always subjectively accessible. I recognize the sense of space having textures of its own and the sense gates merging.

I'm always interested to see people trying Dzogchen practice - it really can be part of any tradition, since it is simply resting in Rigpa, which underlies all mind states. I spent 25 years working in it, and still probably would be if my teacher hadn't passed.

How are you liking it? Are you studying with someone?

Completely cracking the time insight happened after Stream Entry and strangely took research (!) - reading and re-reading Dogen's "Being Time", and writing myself an essay around a single quote from Neo-Advaita teacher Rupert Spira. The next morning it pinged like a bell in my mind while driving to work. Space was easier to crack because I had a lot of experience working with the visualization I mentioned previously. They are deeply intertwined in my experience.
agnostic, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Effects of Insight and Meditation on Memory and the Experience of "Time

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What's resting in rigpa like? Is it better than not being in rigpa? Can one comfortably stay in it most/all of the time? 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Months ago.

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agnostic:
What's resting in rigpa like? Is it better than not being in rigpa? Can one comfortably stay in it most/all of the time? 

In my experience it's like dropping lots of weight and tensions that one had not been aware of having in the first place. Technically we are alsays in rigpa, or rigpa is us, but we aren't always aware of it. I think it's possible to be awake to the experience as a default, but even highly realized rinpoches may drop out of it for instance if being tortured. I drop out of it from much less intense stressors.
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Stirling Campbell, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Effects of Insight and Meditation on Memory and the Experience of "Time

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agnostic:
What's resting in rigpa like? Is it better than not being in rigpa? Can one comfortably stay in it most/all of the time? 

Any time your meditation technique drops and the mind is quiet and empty you are likely resting in Rigpa. It helps to have a teacher point it out so that you are really sure of what it is you are looking for. 

What Linda says is correct. It is the clean, simple, quiet, non-conceptual, uncontrived, empty ground-nature of awareness, not different from shinkantaza in the Soto Zen tradition (my current tradition). Open awareness. For me, it is like a fresh class of cold water - refreshing, relaxing... like coming home.

I am fairly certain, based on Daniel's recent Monk on a Motorbike podcast interview, that this is what he sits in primarily, though I'd love to hear him verify this.

In the Dzogchen and Zen traditions, the goal is to bring this open awareness with you to all moments and experiences, but after stream entry, for me anyway, this is gradually, but precisely what has happened of its own accord.
agnostic, modified 2 Months ago.

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Thanks Stirling and Linda for the explanations. I'm wondering, do you have any thoughts how rigpa relates to jhana and nibbana?

I mean the clean, quiet, open awareness sounds like equanimity or soft fourth jhana, the emptiness reminiscent of the formless realms.

The dropping of tension one was not aware of sounds like nibbana, as does the fact that technically it's there even if you're not aware of it. But the difference seems to be that rigpa sounds more like a state whereas nibbana (for me at least) is independent of states - it's releasing the craving for whatever state I'm in to be different from what it is. Obviously open awareness sounds like a preferable state to getting angry, but if I get angry now it doesn't take long for me to be able to reflect and see that it was just a state that arose and then it's released (nibbana'ed). So in a sense there's no longer the craving not to get angry - anger is an equally preferable state to walking around in a nice soft fourth jhana (and believe it or not, this loss of preference or craving actually does seem to result in less anger arising). Is this example of getting angry and releasing it like falling out of rigpa and then remembering to come back? Or it's like remembering that we were in rigpa even when we thought we weren't? Do you find yourself craving to remain in rigpa deeper and longer, or it's letting go of that craving which enables it to happen? Sorry so many questions, I'm just curious whether different traditions are talking about essentially the same thing or there really are essential differences.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Effects of Insight and Meditation on Memory and the Experience of "Time

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It's not a state, but people often use the term wrong and thus make it sound like a state. Whether it's the same as nibbana depends on how one defines nibbana. I don't really care. It's just words. I do wish that I could stay in that awareness of the ground of being always, sure, and eventually I will need to let go of that idea, sure. I will when I'm ready for it. Convincing myself that I can do it now would only be spiritual bypassing. I have seen that it's always there and that the mechanisms of perception do not differ in it. Agnostic, for your own sake, don't get into yet another round of "I have seen through it all". Just do your practice. 
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Stirling Campbell, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Effects of Insight and Meditation on Memory and the Experience of "Time

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agnostic:
Thanks Stirling and Linda for the explanations. I'm wondering, do you have any thoughts how rigpa relates to jhana and nibbana?

I mean the clean, quiet, open awareness sounds like equanimity or soft fourth jhana, the emptiness reminiscent of the formless realms.

The dropping of tension one was not aware of sounds like nibbana, as does the fact that technically it's there even if you're not aware of it. But the difference seems to be that rigpa sounds more like a state whereas nibbana (for me at least) is independent of states - it's releasing the craving for whatever state I'm in to be different from what it is. Obviously open awareness sounds like a preferable state to getting angry, but if I get angry now it doesn't take long for me to be able to reflect and see that it was just a state that arose and then it's released (nibbana'ed). So in a sense there's no longer the craving not to get angry - anger is an equally preferable state to walking around in a nice soft fourth jhana (and believe it or not, this loss of preference or craving actually does seem to result in less anger arising). Is this example of getting angry and releasing it like falling out of rigpa and then remembering to come back? Or it's like remembering that we were in rigpa even when we thought we weren't? Do you find yourself craving to remain in rigpa deeper and longer, or it's letting go of that craving which enables it to happen? Sorry so many questions, I'm just curious whether different traditions are talking about essentially the same thing or there really are essential differences.

Rigpa is the recognition of primordial awareness by primordial awareness. It is completely non-dual, and empty of doing and conceptual ideation or construct. 

The jhanas are states, not permanent things. Rigpa exists under all of the "doing", all of the time. Letting the mind settle out naturally allows rigpa to well up. In Dzogchen, one of the first things a teacher attempts to do for you is introduce you to the "nature of mind". That is rigpa. Resting in open awareness, when done correctly, is resting in rigpa, but it is like riding a horse without a saddle - you have to learn to balance and let the gravity keep you on/in. Eventually rigpa starts to arise spontaneously, or you allow the mind to quiet and it comes up when you remember it. Eventually, of course, there is no "I" that gets angry. Anger arises, then passes. It can be seen that rigpa is underneath that too.

I don't think there is a difference between nibbana and rigpa necessarily.
agnostic, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Effects of Insight and Meditation on Memory and the Experience of "Time

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Stirling Campbell:
I don't think there is a difference between nibbana and rigpa necessarily.

It could just be that nibbana uses negative language (the disappearance of something that isn't really there) and rigpa uses positive language (the appearance of something that is already there).

Is the initial recognition of rigpa a "fruition" like moment? (brain shift, what the hell was that?) Are there subsequent deeper "path" moments, or it's more of a smooth process?
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Stirling Campbell, modified 2 Months ago.

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agnostic:

Is the initial recognition of rigpa a "fruition" like moment? (brain shift, what the hell was that?) Are there subsequent deeper "path" moments, or it's more of a smooth process?

No, it's nothing like that. A technique you often see is that a teacher will clap, or shout and surprise the students then silently stare at them. In the silence and space that follows you (hopefully) notice that there is a simple awareness of awareness that is present there. If you are familiar with the Dzogchen practice of shouting "Phet!", the intention is the same.

This is not an insight exactly - ANYONE can see it - but having it labeled and knowing what it looks like means that when the mind is quiet and it wells up naturally you can recognize it and learn to allow it to just be, and just be present in it. It is the same as the space between thoughts, and ultimately, the same as enlightened mind as seen with or without insight.

The practice then is a simple resting in the completely non-dual awareness of awareness, just as it would be in Soto or Rinzai Zen. This then creates a moment where, having rested in the nature of mind without self/other, time, and space, there is a fruition moment where there is awakening and recognition. 
agnostic, modified 2 Months ago.

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Thanks, that's clear.
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Chris Marti, modified 2 Months ago.

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This is not an insight exactly - ANYONE can see it - but having it labeled and knowing what it looks like means that when the mind is quiet and it wells up naturally you can recognize it and learn to allow it to just be, and just be present in it. It is the same as the space between thoughts, and ultimately, the same as enlightened mind as seen with or without insight.

I'd say this is something we uncover. It lies underneath the cacophony of thoughts. It's the simple recognition of mind. Mind is attribute-less. It's like a mirror. It always reflects what's in front of it. You can never actually see the mirror, only the reflections, and we never actually see mind, but we can recognize its simple, wondrous clarity. There are hundreds upon hundreds of quotes from Buddhist masters that point to this. THIS.

I recall hearing a Korean Zen Master who gave a talk and who asked his students, "Can you show me your mind?" Show it to me right now." He stopped and waited. No one spoke up. He picked up a large book next to him and slammed it to the ground, making a huge BAM!

Waiting for a few seconds he then said, "That is your mind."
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Months ago.

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Chris Marti:
This is not an insight exactly - ANYONE can see it - but having it labeled and knowing what it looks like means that when the mind is quiet and it wells up naturally you can recognize it and learn to allow it to just be, and just be present in it. It is the same as the space between thoughts, and ultimately, the same as enlightened mind as seen with or without insight.

I'd say this is something we uncover. It lies underneath the cacophony of thoughts. It's the simple recognition of mind. Mind is attribute-less. It's like a mirror. It always reflects what's in front of it. You can never actually see the mirror, only the reflections, and we never actually see mind, but we can recognize its simple, wondrous clarity. There are hundreds upon hundreds of quotes from Buddhist masters that point to this. THIS.

I recall hearing a Korean Zen Master who gave a talk and who asked his students, "Can you show me your mind?" Show it to me right now." He stopped and waited. No one spoke up. He picked up a large book next to him and slammed it to the ground, making a huge BAM!

Waiting for a few seconds he then said, "That is your mind."

This is very much in line with what Lama Lena and Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche and Michael Taft teach and with my experience so far thanks to their teachings. 

--

As for what Daniel says about memory, if I recall it correctly, he has actually said to me that his memory has become more nebulous as a result of the practice, and that therefore he sets alarms. It was in the context of me talking about my difficulties with executive functioning and difficulties in managing time. I think Michael Taft has said something similar. I may have confused who said what. In any case, I found it a bit unsettling because at the time I had the naive hope that meditation besides leading to awakening might also help me with my poor executive functioning. Now I'm rather sort of hoping that I won't need it as much thanks to the universe unfolding on its own when I meddle with it less. 
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Stirling Campbell, modified 2 Months ago.

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Chris Marti:

I'd say this is something we uncover. It lies underneath the cacophony of thoughts. It's the simple recognition of mind. Mind is attribute-less. It's like a mirror. It always reflects what's in front of it. You can never actually see the mirror, only the reflections, and we never actually see mind, but we can recognize its simple, wondrous clarity. There are hundreds upon hundreds of quotes from Buddhist masters that point to this. THIS.

I recall hearing a Korean Zen Master who gave a talk and who asked his students, "Can you show me your mind?" Show it to me right now." He stopped and waited. No one spoke up. He picked up a large book next to him and slammed it to the ground, making a huge BAM!

Waiting for a few seconds he then said, "That is your mind."

Agreed on all counts. Love the Korean Zen Master story... just like "Phet!". It sometimes takes a moment of shock dissipated to see where the Rigpa is.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Months ago.

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agnostic:
Stirling Campbell:
I don't think there is a difference between nibbana and rigpa necessarily.

It could just be that nibbana uses negative language (the disappearance of something that isn't really there) and rigpa uses positive language (the appearance of something that is already there).


Yeah, that's well put. And just like Stirling described, just hanging out there is a great practice. Being able to hang out there is not the end of the path, but the beginning of it. 
agnostic, modified 2 Months ago.

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
agnostic:
Stirling Campbell:
I don't think there is a difference between nibbana and rigpa necessarily.

It could just be that nibbana uses negative language (the disappearance of something that isn't really there) and rigpa uses positive language (the appearance of something that is already there).


Yeah, that's well put. And just like Stirling described, just hanging out there is a great practice. Being able to hang out there is not the end of the path, but the beginning of it. 

Though it might be interesting to speculate, what if this was the beginning and the end of it? (not trying to be clever, "beginner's mind" or something)
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Months ago.

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Well, "ultimately" there is no beginning and no end to anything, right? The mind is unborn and undying, and nothing really arises or passes as time is just a model. I was just talking about the course of my practice and your practice. I prefer to stay open to what the end "result" will be like, to see it as an empirical question rather than speculate much about it. It is what it is. On the other hand, I sure hope that it will be easier to hang out there, though, also in situations that are challenging now, and that it stops being a "there". 
agnostic, modified 2 Months ago.

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The way I see it, the only way it stops being a "there" is by accepting that it's here right now. I know that could sound like bypassing, so I'll say it here - I still have a bunch of personal issues to work on (in the here and now!) Actually I don't expect that process to have an endpoint other than death or incapicity, but I see that as unrelated to insights about the hear and now. I'm sure there will be lots of experiences, problems, challenges and personal insights along the way, but it's hard to imagine a more ultimate insight than 'this is it'. The only real difference it makes for me is the attenuation of the seeking urge to find 'the ultimate answer'. But I'm still curious and would be happy to discover that there's more to it than 'this'. emoticon
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Months ago.

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Maybe "This is it" means something more than what you are currently reading into it? emoticon

Or something less, and maybe less is more.
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I'm open to anything and curious to see how it plays out. Personally I also find it interesting to observe the resistance I still feel to the suggestion that there is nothing more to it than 'this is it'. That deep welling up feeling that protests "but surely there must be more to it than this!"
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Stirling Campbell, modified 2 Months ago.

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agnostic:
I'm open to anything and curious to see how it plays out. Personally I also find it interesting to observe the resistance I still feel to the suggestion that there is nothing more to it than 'this is it'. That deep welling up feeling that protests "but surely there must be more to it than this!"
Working through the paths after stream entry I had a LOT of people point out that I had resumed my seeking. The feeling and thoughts that there was a better way to understand it intellectually, or a better tradition, or practice to pursue to get me unstuck popped up again and again.

Always (speaking for myself) my earliest encounters with Dzogchen Lamas and teachings were like a glass of cold, clear water on a hot day. Nothing more than the simpleness of this teaching, and the technique-free technique of resting in Rigpa was EVER required.
agnostic, modified 2 Months ago.

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Stirling Campbell:
agnostic:
I'm open to anything and curious to see how it plays out. Personally I also find it interesting to observe the resistance I still feel to the suggestion that there is nothing more to it than 'this is it'. That deep welling up feeling that protests "but surely there must be more to it than this!"
Working through the paths after stream entry I had a LOT of people point out that I had resumed my seeking. The feeling and thoughts that there was a better way to understand it intellectually, or a better tradition, or practice to pursue to get me unstuck popped up again and again.

Always (speaking for myself) my earliest encounters with Dzogchen Lamas and teachings were like a glass of cold, clear water on a hot day. Nothing more than the simpleness of this teaching, and the technique-free technique of resting in Rigpa was EVER required.

I became a bit of an evangelist about it (whatever it is) for a while and generally acted like an arse and pissed some people off. I suppose it's natural to a certain extent - after going through such a saga looking for something and finally realizing it was already there all along - to want some external validation or to convince someone else about it (as a way of convincing myself of course). But yeah the more time I spend hanging out in "it" and confident in my ability to re-find it as needed, the less need I feel to validate it. It pains me when I see other people suffering in their quest to find "it", but there's also some arrogance there like I could be "the one" to point it out to them. It also annoys me when I see other people selling it, but maybe that's just guru envy ;-) And of course I'm far from perfect, so I can understand why talking about "it" can sound like bypassing and provoke sceptism and reaction in others (which let's face it must be to a certain extent what I'm still looking for, otherwise why wouldn't I just get on with my life and enjoy "it"). Anyway, it's all part of life's rich tapestry. emoticon
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Months ago.

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Agnostic, what I have seen is that you go back and forth between "I need to get stream entry" and "I have seen through it all" in a pretty rapid cycling. Maybe I'm just deluded here, but it seems like both you and me have pretty frizzy energetic entanglements to deal with in our hardwiring and as we haven't been at it very long (I started in September 2018 and you later than that, right?), maybe it is reasonable not to jump to conclusions as soon as things seem smooth for a while. It took me only six months to get to stream entry because there were lots of low-hanging fruit, but there's lots of stuck patterns that need to be liberated before what is already there is accessible in a reliable way. It's fabulous to hear that Stirling didn't need anything more than resting in rigpa. Maybe his predecessors in the mind stream (yours, Stirling - I don't mean to talk as if you weren't here) generated great karma. Still, he did Dzogchen for 25 years and other practices before that (? Did I get that right, Stirling?), so there is really no need to be in any rush to stop. That's how I see it anyway. Your mileage may vary. 

By the way, Agnostic, do you still have those nasty energetic headaches or have they settled down? 
agnostic, modified 2 Months ago.

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Agnostic, what I have seen is that you go back and forth between "I need to get stream entry" and "I have seen through it all" in a pretty rapid cycling. Maybe I'm just deluded here, but it seems like both you and me have pretty frizzy energetic entanglements to deal with in our hardwiring and as we haven't been at it very long (I started in September 2018 and you later than that, right?), maybe it is reasonable not to jump to conclusions as soon as things seem smooth for a while. It took me only six months to get to stream entry because there were lots of low-hanging fruit, but there's lots of stuck patterns that need to be liberated before what is already there is accessible in a reliable way. It's fabulous to hear that Stirling didn't need anything more than resting in rigpa. Maybe his predecessors in the mind stream (yours, Stirling - I don't mean to talk as if you weren't here) generated great karma. Still, he did Dzogchen for 25 years and other practices before that (? Did I get that right, Stirling?), so there is really no need to be in any rush to stop. That's how I see it anyway. Your mileage may vary. 

By the way, Agnostic, do you still have those nasty energetic headaches or have they settled down? 

Yeah you're right I've vacillated on SE ... because I genuinely don't know what it is any more! I thought I did at one point when I thought I got it, but the more I've gone on the more I've been inclined to keep an open mind as it were. Is SE a blip with some after effects? Is SE a dramatic mind inversion where reality recognize itself and personality, time and space are completely seen through? (and/or is that technical 4th path?) Should you recognize SE when it happens, or do you need someone to verify it? (and in that case what are their criteria?) Is SE more of an ideal in a lifelong project to loosen the fetters? (After all, the first fetter is self-identity view, so it seems kind of strange to think of SE as a personal attainment.) Or is SE just part of a quadripartite hierarchy to organize the sangha? After all the buddha didn't pass through SE, he checked out the prevailing wisdom and teachers of his time before resolving to sit down and figure his own way out of the hall of mirrors which is the mind. Can you really imagine him telling his followers 'ok everyone line up, stream-enterers over here, once-returners over here, non-returners over there and arahants over there'?! He seems to have been a pretty canny operator and I suspect he may have left it open-ended, with a few riddles and jokes in there, precisely to keep us open-minded and thinking for ourselves. And at the end of the day, what difference does it make whether one considers oneself to be a stream-enterer or not? Either way, one still has to get up each day and do the things one does.

I'm definitely not in any rush to stop sitting. I imagine I'll keep sitting for my mental health and general wellbeing as long as I keep brushing my teeth. The main practical benefit for me of the realization (mind flip, fruition, insight, delusion, whatever) that 'this is it and it will never be anything other than this' is that it brings a huge amount more acceptance to my experience. So for example yes, I do still have powerful energetic headaches. But I no longer think of it as being a "nasty" situation which I need to try to change or which needs to change before I can get to some imagined eventual better place with my practice (which is how I used to think). It's just like 'oh ok, this is just an ongoing energy rebalancing related to my particular conditioning and it will continue to do its thing as I allow awareness to drop deeper into locations of sadness and anxiety' (which it is also a huge relief to allow myself to feel).

Apologies Stirling for sidetracking your thread here!
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Months ago.

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I'm relieved to hear that you are not in any rush to stop practicing, Agnostic. As long as you do that I don't see any problem with oscillating with regard to your own assessments of where you are at, that is, unless you were to preach to others about how to do it or get so involved in positioning games that you put others down. I think that's something we all need to be careful about getting entangled in, including myself, because as social animals positioning games tend to creep up on us even if we don't like them. I don't feel put down here, just to be clear, so it's all good. I totally agree that at the end of the day we all have our chores to do (and to me they are often challenging due to my hardwiring; Daniel actually suggested that maybe I'm more wired for a monastic setting or something), and I'm no fan of hierarchy. I'll keep in mind that when you talk about quitting the search you are not talking about quitting the practice. Some do mean that, you know, and I think I have been misunderstanding you. (And of course, if someone were to chose to quit practicing, that's their choice - I just think it might be better to make an informed choice based on something else than prematurely thinking that one is done). So, sorry for this misunderstanding!

Another seed of thought that I meant to address if needed was that just sitting in rigpa is not always sufficient for everyone. If it is accessible to you at all times, then by all means, go ahead. If so, it's probably the only technique (non-technique) you need. I just see a risk that one can get into blind spots about how accessible it is and because of that gradually lose momentum in one's practice. In my practice log Stirling mentioned having done ngöndro for several years, for instance, which stirred up a lot. If I understand him correctly, he thinks that others could perhaps benefit from a gentler approach than that, and maybe that's true, but it seems like the ngöndro was what brought the awakening. MCTB2 makes points about how it might be a problem that teachers often try to take their students to awakening through other tracks than what actually did the trick for them because in retrospect they think that what they went through was unnecessary, but maybe it wasn't. I think this was the main point that I wanted to address, actually, but I trippled over myself and got sidetracked. 

As for the energetic headaches, it's good to hear that you don't find them nasty anymore. That's good news. I haven't been able to keep up with reading all the logs lately. I might be wrong about this, but Michael Taft said things that made me believe that I'm not: energetic phenomena causing problems in the body is usually less of a problem once we see through some idea of energies being contained. They are not limited to our physical body. They have no boundaries. That said, tampering with energetic stuff is still serious business. So my though is that maybe it might be a good idea to carefully investigate the solidness of whatever boundaries you perceive that make energies "get stuck" in your head (without pushing it in any way!). I recently found in a Kundalini yoga class that I didn't need to be cautious about pushing energy up through the spine, because they didn't stop in the head, so no pressure was building up. The energies just kept moving outward. The relevance for the topic of this thread may seem very far-fetched, lol, but it really has to do with how we relate to space. 

Acceptance is great, but if you can avoid building up pressures in your head, that's probably better for your health. 
agnostic, modified 2 Months ago.

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Thanks for the clarifications Linda. You are very good at being explicit about such things in a gentle way and it's something I am trying to learn from.

Thank you but there's really no need to apologize for misunderstanding - for a while I thought that quitting the search meant quitting the practice, and I've said stuff to that effect at times. It's an easy pattern to fall into under the influence of the neo-advaita crowd. This conversation has helped clarify the issue in my mind. What I've been calling "the search" is probably just some version of insight, whereas "the practice" is more morality/personal development and absorption/serenity. It's a bit confusing because we start out doing "insight practice", but once you've noted the hell out of everything and vipassana-ed your sensory field then it seems that insight moves into a less practice-heavy mode. The later stages of insight (from what I've seen of them) seem to be more about allowing (or tricking) yourself to see something that's so obvious you really don't want it to be true, because it thwarts the seeking drive.

It seems like it's a complex relationship between insight and morality-concentration. There's obviously the point that Daniel makes in MCTB about insight having an "endpoint" whereas morality-concentration has no endpoint and is a lifelong practice. There's the fact that insight is in some sense "easy" (allowing yourself to accept something you already know on some level) whereas morality-concentration is hard work (dealing with your stuff, hours on the cushion). But there's also the non-linear aspect of the relationship. To a certain extent morality-concentration prepares the ground for insight, but it also seems like sometimes the practice can become its own barrier to insight. When is the best time for insight? Too early and it can be destabilizing, too late and it might not happen. But then again, maybe it's not really an issue at all. Since we already "get" insight on some level, maybe our bodies just know when is the right time to let it happen and this is what people mean when they talk about "eventually" being ready for insight. I don't know, it's an endlessly fascinating topic in itself. But yeah I've definitely been too heavy-handed in the old 'what works for me should work for you' approach (to the extent that anything did actually work for me and I'm not just deluding myself!)

I would guess that 90% of my practice has been morality-concentration and 10% insight. The insights do seem so obvious when they come that it's easy to forget all the hard work that went into it (and there is also the narcissistic element of bragging 'look how easy it was for me'). But yeah the blood, sweat and tears was all stuff like reorganizing my life, changing my priorities, lowering my psychological defenses (work in progress) and learning to work with sometimes painful and alarming energy stuff. My sense is that the energy stuff is a "physical" manifestation of the underlying emotional-psychological process. But it's one of the few observable metrics we have for assessing where we are. Insight is tricky because anyone can just say the words and fake it. But you can't fake your way out of a headache (at least not that I know of!) The other metrics I see are depth of jhana and quality of relationships. Jhana is obviously self-certified, but if you're honest with yourself and read about others' experiences you know where you are (I'm still pretty shallow). Relationships you can also deceive yourself, but one of the nice things about DhO is we can all kind of see how we behave towards each other and get feedback on that if we are willing (again very much work in progress in my case). And yes boundaries are an important area which I've also overlooked because I'm not very good at them in meatspace and it's even easier on the internet to wade into sensitive spaces and underestimate the impact you can have on someone with some thoughtless comments.

That was a bit longer and more personal than I expected (sorry Stirling!) maybe not the right place for it or maybe in some sense the issues are related to the discussion at hand.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Months ago.

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Just a quick reply now to clarify a possible misunderstanding: I meant your own boundaries, in terms of ideas of being contained and separate on the energetic level. 

Need to practice now. Best wishes!
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Stirling Campbell, modified 2 Months ago.

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
agnostic:
Stirling Campbell:
I don't think there is a difference between nibbana and rigpa necessarily.

It could just be that nibbana uses negative language (the disappearance of something that isn't really there) and rigpa uses positive language (the appearance of something that is already there).


Yeah, that's well put. And just like Stirling described, just hanging out there is a great practice. Being able to hang out there is not the end of the path, but the beginning of it. 

Robert Thurman once opined that it is the "actualization of the path" and no practice at all. It is, as Shunry Suzuki would call it, "enlightened activity" - in essence, the entire path happening in this moment, empty of any subject.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Months ago.

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Stirling Campbell:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
agnostic:
Stirling Campbell:
I don't think there is a difference between nibbana and rigpa necessarily.

It could just be that nibbana uses negative language (the disappearance of something that isn't really there) and rigpa uses positive language (the appearance of something that is already there).


Yeah, that's well put. And just like Stirling described, just hanging out there is a great practice. Being able to hang out there is not the end of the path, but the beginning of it. 

Robert Thurman once opined that it is the "actualization of the path" and no practice at all. It is, as Shunry Suzuki would call it, "enlightened activity" - in essence, the entire path happening in this moment, empty of any subject.

Sure. In that moment. But as long as time remains (phenomenologically), other moments will follow. If they don't, cool. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Months ago.

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I'm loving it. I'm not formally studying with a lama, but I'm receiving teachings from Lama Lena and to some extent Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche. My formal teacher is Michael Taft, thanks to generous scholarships. 

I have had fruitions with sound effects too, but more like a beep than a bell. 

For me the visual field unexpectedly started to warp into 2D automatically after I had received pointing out instructions on youtube recordings.

I have had several experiences with regard to time collapsing, turning into space, being an infinite now, being constantly newborn and so forth, but I still find myself getting caught up in planning and being overwhelmed by everything that I need to do, in a samsaric way. 

I'm sorry for your loss.
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Stirling Campbell, modified 2 Months ago.

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I'm loving it. I'm not formally studying with a lama, but I'm receiving teachings from Lama Lena and to some extent Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche. My formal teacher is Michael Taft, thanks to generous scholarships. 

I have had fruitions with sound effects too, but more like a beep than a bell. 

For me the visual field unexpectedly started to warp into 2D automatically after I had received pointing out instructions on youtube recordings.

I have had several experiences with regard to time collapsing, turning into space, being an infinite now, being constantly newborn and so forth, but I still find myself getting caught up in planning and being overwhelmed by everything that I need to do, in a samsaric way. 

I'm sorry for your loss.

I'm really glad to hear it working out for you. Finding a Dzogchen teacher is worthwhile, if you can, though I realize it isn't always easy based on location. There aren't many where I am located at present. 

Most of my fruitions haven't had a sound effect - but this one certainly! If you have stream entry, the 2d aspect is not hard to snap into place. It followed easily for me while working on panoramic view. Working with time and space for me had a LOT to do with trusting insight into non-duality, and experimenting with it. 

I appreciate your kind thoughts. I seem to have a way with connecting with short-lived teachers. I'm happy to say Lama Tharchin passed into paranirvana, but has been with me these intervening years anyway... feel free to ask him for help if you are stuck. emoticon

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Months ago.

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I do have stream entry and something beyond that, but some hardwiring is hard to get beyond while being alive as a mammalian with this particular brain and the chemistry and wiring that comes with it. Let's not get into a discussion about that again please, lol. I am working on it to the best of my ability and I have people to ask that I trust. 

What a lovely genuine smile in that picture! Exactly how do you go about connecting to teachers beyond time and space? I believe it to be possible. I have met with the yogini I'm sponsoring in the dreamtime and received something that I don't know how to define. Do you just ask? Is there any way to prepare?

I do zoom retreats and communicate with teachers online and in writing. Lama Lena usually travels to Europe, so hopefully it will be possible to receive teachings in person eventually. She has a tradition of letting potential students check her out for three years and then she checks them out for three years before any personal student-teacher commitments are made. 
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Stirling Campbell, modified 2 Months ago.

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I do have stream entry and something beyond that, but some hardwiring is hard to get beyond while being alive as a mammalian with this particular brain and the chemistry and wiring that comes with it. Let's not get into a discussion about that again please, lol. I am working on it to the best of my ability and I have people to ask that I trust. 

That's all that matters.

What a lovely genuine smile in that picture! Exactly how do you go about connecting to teachers beyond time and space? I believe it to be possible. I have met with the yogini I'm sponsoring in the dreamtime and received something that I don't know how to define. Do you just ask? Is there any way to prepare?

There are formal methods to connect with buddhas and masters, but I think these riturals are unnecessary. If you have some connection with a teacher, try just reach out by repeating their name and perhaps visualizing them, and asking for help in seeing things as they are, or with a particular aspect you might be stuck with... or light a candle and make it more ritualistic if that formality seems more appropriate. Really you are never NOT connected with with whatever teachers you are looking to connect with, right? As I like to say, the eyes are not windows onto the world, they are mirrors of the mind. IMHO, whatever you most need to wake up is always right in front of you.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Months ago.

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Stirling Campbell:

There are formal methods to connect with buddhas and masters, but I think these riturals are unnecessary. If you have some connection with a teacher, try just reach out by repeating their name and perhaps visualizing them, and asking for help in seeing things as they are, or with a particular aspect you might be stuck with... or light a candle and make it more ritualistic if that formality seems more appropriate. Really you are never NOT connected with with whatever teachers you are looking to connect with, right? As I like to say, the eyes are not windows onto the world, they are mirrors of the mind. IMHO, whatever you most need to wake up is always right in front of you.

Thanks for your reply! You basically said what I was hoping for. I do have texts for invoking the lama but sometimes a more personal touch feels more connecting. I'm learning a smoke offering ritual which I find beautiful and powerful as it sets the mood effectively and makes me more in tune, but when I need it the most I probably can't muster up the energy for such a complex ritual. A while ago I did ask the Buddhas of all times for help with my depression as I was doing the altar routine, and that day there was an abundance of depression related advice coming from my teacher Michael and from Lama Lena in her public teachings (which weren't supposed to be about that and yet for some reason she devoted a lot of the time to that) and from dharma friends, and in my practice I could clearly see how transient and unsolid even the depression is (which didn't take it away but helps with dealing with it). So yeah, the universe provides. And it does communicate with me. I usually call it "the process". I wouldn't mind if it were to manifest more clearly, though, like a vision with an audible voice. That would be nice. Maybe it could more directly point me to see what it is that is both needed and provided. 

But I'm digressing from the topic. Sorry for that!
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Stirling Campbell, modified 2 Months ago.

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

So yeah, the universe provides. And it does communicate with me. I usually call it "the process". I wouldn't mind if it were to manifest more clearly, though, like a vision with an audible voice. That would be nice. Maybe it could more directly point me to see what it is that is both needed and provided. 

But I'm digressing from the topic. Sorry for that!

I know what you mean about clarity, but that doesn't seem to be "on brand". I think there would have to be story for things to manifest that way. In my experience it DOES tend to have a sense of humor, though. What is needed happens anyway in my experience.

Digression is great. This thread is MY digression into what I actually found interesting about the Culadasa drama! emoticon
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Months ago.

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Stirling Campbell:

I know what you mean about clarity, but that doesn't seem to be "on brand". I think there would have to be story for things to manifest that way. In my experience it DOES tend to have a sense of humor, though. What is needed happens anyway in my experience.

Nothing wrong with stories as long as we realize that they are stories, I’d say. Stories can contain pretty powerful symbolism, especially if we listen to them with our vajra sense. I know of people who meet teachers in the dreamtime, lucidly. Isn’t personal encounters with archetypes sharing the dharma how Dzogchen teachings are said to have originated? That’s what I have heard.


Digression is great. This thread is MY digression into what I actually found interesting about the Culadasa drama! emoticon

Oh, okay, lol. I didn’t see the Culadasa trace in it even though I’m usually good at spotting how thoughts are branching off from something. You were subtle.
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Stirling Campbell, modified 2 Months ago.

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

I know of people who meet teachers in the dreamtime, lucidly. Isn’t personal encounters with archetypes sharing the dharma how Dzogchen teachings are said to have originated? That’s what I have heard.

IMHO all appearances are dharmakaya (truth body), and the whole body of its emanations/appearances (nirmanakaya) are teaching, so, naturally, I agree with you!
To throw another wrench in this... memory deteriorates with age, so over a longer span of time it might be difficult to discern whether any reduction in memory recall is related to attainment or the natural process of aging.

Another aspect that I find even more interesting perhaps is how memory recall changes as attachment and clinging get reduced over the course of practice, or eliminated altogether with higher attainments. What I mean by this is that our memories are often colored with a great deal of attachment & baggage related to how those events which we remember made us suffer (regardless of whether we have positive or negative associations with that event). We have what people would call selective memories and what we recall years later can often be a game akin to memory telephone - we keep zooming in on very specific aspects of events - attach to that specific recollection no matter how closely it represents or misrepresents the actual events. And so, in repeated instances of this, the memory might continue to get distorted from what actualy occurred. Maybe the memory keeps getting altered from what actually occurred over time.

My point is - when the aspect of suffering is removed and there ceases to be suffering related baggage related to our memories - that might also impact how we remember things. Perhaps certain aspects of the memory that were fueled specifically due to suffering fall away, and other aspects of that memory remain. Or if the memory was rooted almost entirely in suffering, perhaps we no longer recall it because the suffering has been removed from the equation and so it eventually falls away due to a lack of fuel.

Much of this is conjecture on my part, so I don't know how accurate it is, but interesting to think about nonetheless.

edit: I was still typing when Chris replied and so he mentioned the aging thing too.
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Chris Marti, modified 2 Months ago.

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 ... memory deteriorates with age...

That's me! I got examined, tested and diagnosed because my mother had Alzheimer's Disease (she died from it, actually) and my genetic tests show that I have an increased propensity in that direction.

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Chris Marti, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Effects of Insight and Meditation on Memory and the Experience of "Time

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I believe that research has shown that emotions are often the hook on which long-term memories are formed. Occurrences that have an emotional charge are remembered far more often than those that don't matter to us as much. Research has also shown that our memory is far less accurate than we think it is. It is, in fact, often very inaccurate, and our memories themselves are subject to change over time, to the extent that people can even create memories out of whole cloth, believing that they saw something that never actually happened. Memory, the slippery slope.
My memory has gotten worse through the path.  I just use more sticky notes lol.  My mind is just lazier at 'holding' things because it's more oriented to the immediacy of the total field.

In terms of time, I've had probably several deepening shifts into an abiding sense of timelessness, both before & after I learned specific exercises to see through the solidity of the sequencing feature of the mind.  I'm sure that particular axis continues to develop more & more.  Daniel talked about a later "time pressure" shift & Vajrayana discusses advanced things like "the fourth time." 
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Stirling Campbell, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Effects of Insight and Meditation on Memory and the Experience of "Time

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Noah D:
My memory has gotten worse through the path.  I just use more sticky notes lol.  My mind is just lazier at 'holding' things because it's more oriented to the immediacy of the total field.

In terms of time, I've had probably several deepening shifts into an abiding sense of timelessness, both before & after I learned specific exercises to see through the solidity of the sequencing feature of the mind.  I'm sure that particular axis continues to develop more & more.  Daniel talked about a later "time pressure" shift & Vajrayana discusses advanced things like "the fourth time." 


Where does Daniel talk about the "time pressure" shift? Certainly a sort of trust that things work out, and surrender to moment to moment conditions helps. The "fourth time" concept won't be unfamiliar to anyone who is able to rest in between thoughts. As usual, some of this is always realizing how the terminology applies to experience.
@stirling:

Daniel talks about it in the "My experiences with actualism" essay.  I think still on his site.

re. 4th time - I think it can be useful to acknowledge the multi level nature of concepts like this.  Yes, the gap between thoughts for ordinary beings may be a sample or fascimille of it, but it also may at the same time be referring to a much loftier outcome.

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Stirling Campbell, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Effects of Insight and Meditation on Memory and the Experience of "Time

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@stirling:

Daniel talks about it in the "My experiences with actualism" essay.  I think still on his site.

Noah,

Thank you for that. What he is talking about there is very much my experience of time at this point. In fact, much to my surprise, he uses an exact expression that I use all of the time in his essay:

...time was (is) constructed of thoughts of past and future happening now

I see what is meant by "time pressure". In fact, stress in general is completely (almost?) eliminated by this perspective, combined with a natural welling-up of trust that the "field"/dharmakaya provides anything necessary for what is happening in this moment. 
emily keegan, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Effects of Insight and Meditation on Memory and the Experience of "Time

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the buddhisms has a focus on the present experience, strange to me, i think there are nearly as many clocks as there are interpretations, and some of them have different topologies. it's too hard to decide which clocks are important, so i want to let go of being sure of now so that i can find now as i'd like to be finding it. i think

this thread talks about some clocks.

isn't memory all clocks itself?
Tim Farrington, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Effects of Insight and Meditation on Memory and the Experience of "Time

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emily keegan:
the buddhisms has a focus on the present experience, strange to me, i think there are nearly as many clocks as there are interpretations, and some of them have different topologies. 

Taking "clocks" to mean "ways of measuring frequency in time"? 

Any time anyone says "topology" in a meditation context, it gets my interest. I very seldom get past having my mind get blown by the thought of exploring qualities that may be invariant through n-dimensional transformations, and then i have to put a cold washcloth over my forehead and listen to old R & B stuff by the Fifth Dimension. "Stoned Soul Picnic" is particularly soothing in such conditions.
it's too hard to decide which clocks are important, so i want to let go of being sure of now so that i can find now as i'd like to be finding it. i think
Could you expand on this?

I notice that this is your first post. Welcome to the DharmaOverground, where the Kaluza-Klein theory of a 5-D universe incorporating General Relativity theory as a special case is just another jhana.
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Chris Marti, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Effects of Insight and Meditation on Memory and the Experience of "Time

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Any time anyone says "topology" in a meditation context, it gets my interest. 

Yeah.

Here's my experience of this time/space stuff:

My mind maintains a whole bunch of models that it uses to create and explain both where I am and when I am. It's really damned good at this and there are old models and new models being born and dying all the time. If I'm not paying attention these models are reliable and form what people call reality. If I slow down and pay close attention the models get fuzzy and can actually fall apart to a large extent, revealing themselves as, well, as models.

Sensory inputs are taken and embellished into a model that includes a place on a mental map and a time on a continuum that represents the past through some less-well-imagined future. The senses only pick up what's happening in the immediate past, like a few nanoseconds ago, and those inputs form what passes for here and now, to be replaced immediately with another set of inputs, and models of the here and now. This all happens extremely fast and like when we watch a film, the frame rate is glossed over to make the stuff appear to be seamless. 

The larger and more global the maps are the less detailed they are and this can be deceiving. They're spliced together from bits and pieces, and huge swaths of assumption. Memory forms the basis for most of the models, and if a new place is experienced the model making part of the mind gets really busy. If I watch closely I can observe the mind working to put a new-place map together for use, both now and later. Not having a model to stage the ongoing process of reality-making would be extremely unsettling, so the models serve to make security and peace of mind. You are all models, every object encountered is a model. My life is a model.

I am a model to myself.


Reality is a fractal amalgamation of models.

If I get really, really quiet and really, really still I can sense the mind's "core processor" creating this sense of time and place, and when that experience occurs the purely conceptual nature of this process becomes crystal clear, even though at these times the process is still going, however quietly, deep in the background.
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Chris Marti, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Effects of Insight and Meditation on Memory and the Experience of "Time

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So, a sort of bottom line to this:

- space is conceptual and has no existence without reference
- time is conceptual and has no existence without reference

The way we happen to experience space and time is assumed to be reality because we have no choice but to operate within those parameters. But we can sometimes open the layers of curtains and see the wondrous mystery of THIS, and that's something well worth doing. It's liberation.
agnostic, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Effects of Insight and Meditation on Memory and the Experience of "Time

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Wow Chris, it's uncanny, I find myself agreeing with you more and more. emoticon The only thing I would add is that it seems highly likely there is in fact some underlying shared external reality of space and time to which each of us is responding in our congruent model-making activities. I'm not saying we can access that reality directly. I'm not saying it's impossible that it's a series of synchronized collective hallucinations, but I can't see much evidence to suggest this is anything more than a highly unlikely explanation.
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Chris Marti, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Effects of Insight and Meditation on Memory and the Experience of "Time

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We seem to be sharing something but what that stuff is remains a mystery.
agnostic, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Effects of Insight and Meditation on Memory and the Experience of "Time

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Yes, although the more congruences there are between models the less mysterious that stuff seems. Come to think if it, that's probably a good reason for maintaining some degree of incongruence or independence between our models, like biodiversity or something. emoticon
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Stirling Campbell, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Effects of Insight and Meditation on Memory and the Experience of "Time

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Chris Marti:
Any time anyone says "topology" in a meditation context, it gets my interest. 

Yeah.

Here's my experience of this time/space stuff:

My mind maintains a whole bunch of models that it uses to create and explain both where I am and when I am. It's really damned good at this and there are old models and new models being born and dying all the time. If I'm not paying attention these models are reliable and form what people call reality. If I slow down and pay close attention the models get fuzzy and can actually fall apart to a large extent, revealing themselves as, well, as models.

Sensory inputs are taken and embellished into a model that includes a place on a mental map and a time on a continuum that represents the past through some less-well-imagined future. The senses only pick up what's happening in the immediate past, like a few nanoseconds ago, and those inputs form what passes for here and now, to be replaced immediately with another set of inputs, and models of the here and now. This all happens extremely fast and like when we watch a film, the frame rate is glossed over to make the stuff appear to be seamless. 

The larger and more global the maps are the less detailed they are and this can be deceiving. They're spliced together from bits and pieces, and huge swaths of assumption. Memory forms the basis for most of the models, and if a new place is experienced the model making part of the mind gets really busy. If I watch closely I can observe the mind working to put a new-place map together for use, both now and later. Not having a model to stage the ongoing process of reality-making would be extremely unsettling, so the models serve to make security and peace of mind. You are all models, every object encountered is a model. My life is a model.

I am a model to myself.


Reality is a fractal amalgamation of models.

If I get really, really quiet and really, really still I can sense the mind's "core processor" creating this sense of time and place, and when that experience occurs the purely conceptual nature of this process becomes crystal clear, even though at these times the process is still going, however quietly, deep in the background.

That's fantastic, Chris... what I was hoping you would contribute. Thank you, deeply. I might use some different terminology, but it makes complete sense to me. Would you agree that these models appear and disappear in this moment, and that the past and future arise with our thoughts as models of how we think things have been, or will be? Maybe that is implicit in your explanation...

Edit: Sorry - I see you address this in your next post. emoticon
Chris Marti:


I am a model to myself.


Reality is a fractal amalgamation of models.



I like that. Might have to get it on a t-shirt.
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Stirling Campbell, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Effects of Insight and Meditation on Memory and the Experience of "Time

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emily keegan:
the buddhisms has a focus on the present experience, strange to me, i think there are nearly as many clocks as there are interpretations, and some of them have different topologies. it's too hard to decide which clocks are important, so i want to let go of being sure of now so that i can find now as i'd like to be finding it. i think

this thread talks about some clocks.

isn't memory all clocks itself?

The time you are looking for has no interpretations or topologies, you can't be sure of it, and it can't be found... it is just what you are with this moment. 

Memory is ALL clocks, but now is NO clocks. emoticon
I think it really depends on what kind of memory. Self related memory is definetely impacted I'd say but I'd also say that it depends on the intention. Ie. if I have to study for an exam my memory still seems to be functional, whereas memories about myself in the past appear to be very far out or blurry and distorded 
Ben Sulsky, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Effects of Insight and Meditation on Memory and the Experience of "Time

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Time and memory feel very, very different, in lots of ways.

One thing I've noticed lately is I'll be in the middle of an action (say looking for my phone, or putting away a dish), forget the intention in the mind but still feel the physical sensations that go along with the intention (say a slight tightness in the chest and throat and perhaps a furrowing of the brow, some energy in the body if I'm looking for my phone), then I'll be mindful of the forgetting and know I've forgotten and what sort of thing it must be to have produced those sensations, and then I'll just kind of sit or stand still for a second or two and the mind will remember the intention and the thought-words governing it will come back and I'll do the thing or let it go, as the case may be.  I don't think this used to happen and it's a bit weird.  Sometimes my wife looks at me like I'm being weird because I get an odd look on my face apparently.  If I were to speculate on causes for this, I think it's mostly that I just don't care that much about the action I'm doing very much but more being aware it's happening and sometimes these two phases decouple and it looks like I'm being dopey.  With a little effort or urgency I can get this to not happen.  

 

Re time, one very interesting experience I had (over a year ago now) was sitting around on my porch and without warning all the senses entirely disappeared and I had some indeterminate but very short experience of what I'm told is lucid dreamless sleep.  When there isn't any sense input (especially touch) the mind just can't construct time very well because there's nothing it can use as a clock-like structure to compare the arising and passing of thoughts against.  This is the same reason I think why on the cushion when the gross senses diminish a lot via a hard jhana or whatever, it's hard to know the duration of practice.  Anyways, this raised the question of how the experience of the sense doors changes over time as practice deepens and so how time changes.  Days feel both very much longer and much shorter than they used to and so on but it's tricky to describe.
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Stirling Campbell, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Effects of Insight and Meditation on Memory and the Experience of "Time

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Ben Sulsky:

One thing I've noticed lately is I'll be in the middle of an action (say looking for my phone, or putting away a dish), forget the intention in the mind but still feel the physical sensations that go along with the intention (say a slight tightness in the chest and throat and perhaps a furrowing of the brow, some energy in the body if I'm looking for my phone), then I'll be mindful of the forgetting and know I've forgotten and what sort of thing it must be to have produced those sensations, and then I'll just kind of sit or stand still for a second or two and the mind will remember the intention and the thought-words governing it will come back and I'll do the thing or let it go, as the case may be. I don't think this used to happen and it's a bit weird.  Sometimes my wife looks at me like I'm being weird because I get an odd look on my face apparently. 

I completely get this. Utterly familiar. Added to this - when I can't remember what it was I was doing I feel fine dropping the task with complete trust that if it needs to happen now, soon, or later I will remember to do it, and the conditions will be right for it to happen then.

Re time, one very interesting experience I had (over a year ago now) was sitting around on my porch and without warning all the senses entirely disappeared and I had some indeterminate but very short experience of what I'm told is lucid dreamless sleep.  When there isn't any sense input (especially touch) the mind just can't construct time very well because there's nothing it can use as a clock-like structure to compare the arising and passing of thoughts against.  This is the same reason I think why on the cushion when the gross senses diminish a lot via a hard jhana or whatever, it's hard to know the duration of practice.  Anyways, this raised the question of how the experience of the sense doors changes over time as practice deepens and so how time changes.  Days feel both very much longer and much shorter than they used to and so on but it's tricky to describe

I'd be intrigued to hear more about the senses dropping out.

Definitely the separation of the sense doors drops out permanently (so far?) but I also would say that colors are permanently more vivid, seeing in the dark seems much easier, and things just seem to smell more pleasant and rich. Experience seems to have a healthy dose of psychedelic-style timelessness that I agree is hard to quantify, aside from an obvious "now"ness. It's all sort of psychedelic, actually. 

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Olivier, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Effects of Insight and Meditation on Memory and the Experience of "Time

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Stirling, I agree with the psychedelic thing. Well, perhaps the other way around : psychedelics give you a taste of what's possible.

Even though I enjoy it that people demistify all this stuff, which is very healthy, for me there are permanent changes to the way I perceive things, - for the better, - and I don't think I'm fully there yet, though this has become pretty baseline.

Like you Stirling, appearances are now very vivid and beautiful, and that includes things like thoughts too, which also appear as these vivid, intense, clear and well-defined, beautiful floating parts of the whole field... That does fluctuate somehow, and the vividness will for instance be more complete if I practice for a few hours. But that's clearly something which was not like that before and is not going away.

That's really the luminosity/rigpa aspect, isn't it... The clear-light of knowing, the awakeness, the Son...

Then there's the groundlessness/emptiness aspect, the Dark, the ground, the Mother, or Father, according to traditions...

--

As for memory : my own memory has become better, I think. I've always been bad at remembering events, and very good at remembering things that interest me. I feel like I'm better at the latter now, and that I'm able to remember certain things, for examples figure out the chords to a song I heard long ago, in a way that is kind of mysterious. There is more relaxation into the present and somehow difficulties keeping a schedule - I remember finding that this was becoming a problem at some points. But that's not really a memory problem. There is something more intuitive and trusting in my relationship with time/things to do. For instance, I've noticed that I keep lists of what I'm supposed to be doing. I'll usually right down a bunch of things at once, and then not touch the thing for a few weeks of months... Which might seem silly... But actually, when I get back to the list, I realize that I did all the things I wrote down ! So, something a bit magical there. I don't think this has to do with memory worsening at all, honestly, just with relaxation and letting action become "unconscious" somehow... Letting th body do what it needs to do, if it's what you need to do, it'll get done, if it's not, maybe you shouldn't do it ...emoticon

But maybe I should give it 20 years... !

--

As for time, I have a question for people, on a different aspect than what has been talked about so far.

Has anyone also had experiences of transcending linear time, and it becomes possible to access other dimensions of time and memory ... ? Past, future... 

This seems to me like it should be a logical complementary aspect of seeing through time... The boundaries in time and space starting to dissolve and new dimensions opening up... 
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Stirling Campbell, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Effects of Insight and Meditation on Memory and the Experience of "Time

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Olivier:
Stirling, I agree with the psychedelic thing. Well, perhaps the other way around : psychedelics give you a taste of what's possible.

I'd agree with this. The experience on Stream Entry was sort of: "Oh... wow... it's this!" It ISN'T the psychedelic thing, as you say, the psychedelic experience merely has some of the flavor (time/space/self changes), but is just that, an experience. The difference is in that on Stream Entry what reality REALLY is, is known in an unshakeable way, at least speaking for myself.

That's really the luminosity/rigpa aspect, isn't it... The clear-light of knowing, the awakeness, the Son...

Then there's the groundlessness/emptiness aspect, the Dark, the ground, the Mother, or Father, according to traditions...

You find that these aren't different. Like Satchitananda, the different qualities are just an attempt to describe the ineffable whole. The field of experience is empty of things with intrinsic existence, and yet full of everything. It is 100% mystical, and also utterly normal in a way was already gnown (gnosis).

As for time, I have a question for people, on a different aspect than what has been talked about so far.

Has anyone also had experiences of transcending linear time, and it becomes possible to access other dimensions of time and memory ... ? Past, future... 

This seems to me like it should be a logical complementary aspect of seeing through time... The boundaries in time and space starting to dissolve and new dimensions opening up... 

IMHO there ARE no other moments. The future and the past are illusory - just memories - BUT the remembered conditions of the past that arise in this moment cover the subject/object relationships that arise in duality. I think it is possible that the karma of "self"-ness that is left could continue to soften and drop away, so that things could be seen differently, but I have no idea how that would/will present.

I have a teacher and monastery abbot I have done retreats with who shared that he has had experiences where connecting moments in his "story" dropped out. He was surprised to find himself going from airport lounge suddenly to dinner on the plane, to home with no intervening experiences. The "time" in between was missing entirely. This might be a vector where things shift, but I don't know. It has been a few years, so I don't know if anything has shifted in that direction for him.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Effects of Insight and Meditation on Memory and the Experience of "Time

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Stirling Campbell:

I have a teacher and monastery abbot I have done retreats with who shared that he has had experiences where connecting moments in his "story" dropped out. He was surprised to find himself going from airport lounge suddenly to dinner on the plane, to home with no intervening experiences. The "time" in between was missing entirely. This might be a vector where things shift, but I don't know. It has been a few years, so I don't know if anything has shifted in that direction for him.

That was my experience during a period after we found my dad after his suicide. Versions of it also tend to happen when I have neglected to take my ADHD medicines. Not intended as questioning of the experience, just an additional perspective. 
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Olivier, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Effects of Insight and Meditation on Memory and the Experience of "Time

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I meant being able to experience other memories of the past than those you might yourself have experienced and perhaps memories of the future too - illusory perhaps, yet unfolding and manifest and sometimes correct emoticon

In short, divination and forms of recall not available to me at this moment...
Ben Sulsky, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Effects of Insight and Meditation on Memory and the Experience of "Time

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"I completely get this. Utterly familiar. Added to this - when I can't remember what it was I was doing I feel fine dropping the task with complete trust that if it needs to happen now, soon, or later I will remember to do it, and the conditions will be right for it to happen then."

I've been experimenting a lot with this.  The idea that more or less the same karma is happening regardless of the narration of the sense of the do-er, and so the corollary is to stop nagging karma, because the mental soundtrack is quite annoying.  It's very weird though, it seems like it can't possibly work.  But so far it seems to work well enough, and I say this as someone who has a pretty demanding job at the moment, not to mention a small baby.  The fear of course is that throwing the Do-er to the wind, I forget to change a diaper (or worse) and feel like a real idiot, but thus far my forgetfullness has been limited to things best forgotten.  

"I'd be intrigued to hear more about the senses dropping out.


Definitely the separation of the sense doors drops out permanently (so far?) but I also would say that colors are permanently more vivid, seeing in the dark seems much easier, and things just seem to smell more pleasant and rich. Experience seems to have a healthy dose of psychedelic-style timelessness that I agree is hard to quantify, aside from an obvious "now"ness. It's all sort of psychedelic, actually."

I think as concentration deepens, the 5 sense doors can almost entirely drop out and various other interesting things come up.  Alas, my concentration isn't sufficient at the moment to explore this stuff as I'd like.    

The sense doors entirely disappearing was kind of one-off event that probably lasted in the 1-10 seconds range and wasn't repeatable.  It was just cool to notice that it was extremely difficult to figure out how much time had passed when cut off from the sense doors, because I guess other than counting discreet thoughts and assigning them some average length of time, there isn't much way to keep track.  The result is getting unmoored from time almost immediately.  Relatedly, during fruitions there's no time at all obviously because there's no self, but since there's no self there's no one there to observe time breaking down.
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Chris Marti, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Effects of Insight and Meditation on Memory and the Experience of "Time

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The sense doors entirely disappearing was kind of one-off event that probably lasted in the 1-10 seconds range and wasn't repeatable.  It was just cool to notice that it was extremely difficult to figure out how much time had passed when cut off from the sense doors, because I guess other than counting discreet thoughts and assigning them some average length of time, there isn't much way to keep track.  The result is getting unmoored from time almost immediately.  Relatedly, during fruitions there's no time at all obviously because there's no self, but since there's no self there's no one there to observe time breaking down.

I'm curious - how can we say our sense doors entirely disappeared when we can monitor our thoughts while that's happening? Or did I misunderstand?
Ben Sulsky, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Effects of Insight and Meditation on Memory and the Experience of "Time

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Chris- I was using sense doors in the ordinary English sense and excluding thought.  In the Buddhist sense, thought was of course still operative (how else would I remember!?) and I remember a variety of mostly auditory thoughts such as "what is this?" "weird!" "cool!" "what's happening?"  and so on.  Now that I think back, it seems like maybe there was some sight too, I have a hazy memory of some kind of very neutral spaciousness similar to the back of the eyelids but quieter and less buzzy, but I can't be sure of this because the experience was quick and hasn't repeated itself.  I was mostly confused and kind of excited.  The thing that stood out was the unmooring from time when the five non thought sense doors were so absent or highly attenuated.  
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Stirling Campbell, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Effects of Insight and Meditation on Memory and the Experience of "Time

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Ben Sulsky:

I've been experimenting a lot with this.  The idea that more or less the same karma is happening regardless of the narration of the sense of the do-er, and so the corollary is to stop nagging karma, because the mental soundtrack is quite annoying.  It's very weird though, it seems like it can't possibly work.  But so far it seems to work well enough, and I say this as someone who has a pretty demanding job at the moment, not to mention a small baby.  The fear of course is that throwing the Do-er to the wind, I forget to change a diaper (or worse) and feel like a real idiot, but thus far my forgetfullness has been limited to things best forgotten. 

I built trust in this by stopping my practice of preparing for meetings, and attending by saying as little as necessary, and speaking only when questioned, and saying yes to all requests. I found that everything went much smoother, and that I would usually come away with no action items. If there were action items, I asked that they be emailed to me. It does have a sort of magic quality to it. I have never forgotten anything important that the "universe" hasn't reminded me of. My plan if I did would be to be entirely honest about it, but over and over the item that need to be accomplished remind me when they need to be done.

Thank you for sharing about the missing time. emoticon
agnostic, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Effects of Insight and Meditation on Memory and the Experience of "Time

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Stirling Campbell:

I built trust in this by stopping my practice of preparing for meetings, and attending by saying as little as necessary, and speaking only when questioned, and saying yes to all requests. I found that everything went much smoother, and that I would usually come away with no action items. If there were action items, I asked that they be emailed to me. It does have a sort of magic quality to it. I have never forgotten anything important that the "universe" hasn't reminded me of. My plan if I did would be to be entirely honest about it, but over and over the item that need to be accomplished remind me when they need to be done.

It seems to be quite common that high performing non-meditators in other fields have a similar relationship to time. Top sports people talk about getting into the "zone" or "flow". The good managers that I've observed seem to operate very much in the moment, responding effectively to whatever people, needs or events present themselves. Obviously they make plans, but even their plans seem to be made organically in the moment. Good traders operate pretty much in the now, free of attachment to past performance and not getting hung up on an uncertain future. Obviously they can be still be disfunctional outside of their domain of expertise, but the ones that maintain their performance for long periods of time seem to be have their "flowness" better integrated into the rest of their life. Maybe this is all just a result of strong concentration, in which case it could be the same as what meditators are tapping into.

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