josh practice thread

josh practice thread josh r s 9/18/11 9:25 AM
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 9/18/11 9:25 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 9/18/11 9:24 AM

josh practice thread

Posts: 337 Join Date: 9/16/11 Recent Posts
ok i figured i'd make a practice thread to uncrowd some of the other super-big threads.

I'm pre-path, came to actualism from buddhism jhana practice

right now I'm basically paying as much attention as possible (endinsight's advice basically), which I'm interpreting as keeping attention as wide as possible on experience right here and right now. whenever i see that i lost attention i do actualism style investigation before reinstating it. just did a 25 minute sit where i basically tried to just keep attention very wide and all-inclusive, not focusing on anything as best as i could. it was very uneventful, leading me to think that maybe i'm just not seeing enough for this to be effective. but thinking about it, i'm definitely less reactive to things, so I'm just going to wait a week or so and see if there is any medium term reduction in affective stuff. I've definitely seen improvement over the medium-term doing similar stuff the past few weeks, so although this practice might not be as effective for me as it would be for an arahant, i think im definitely getting somewhere.

oh and, i'm not quite sure about "inclining towards sensuousness" (again endinsight's advice) when i try and see everything at the same time without focusing on anything in particular i'm more sensuous than normal, but i don't know if i'm actually getting anywhere as the word "inclining" would imply...
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 9/18/11 9:41 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 9/18/11 9:39 AM

RE: josh practice thread

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
josh r s:
I'm pre-path, came to actualism from buddhism jhana practice


Do you have a guess as to where on the progress of insight you were before you stopped?

josh r s:
just did a 25 minute sit where i basically tried to just keep attention very wide and all-inclusive, not focusing on anything as best as i could. it was very uneventful, leading me to think that maybe i'm just not seeing enough for this to be effective.


Nothing has to "happen" except that you notice your experience. Seriously. Sometimes things will happen and sometimes they won't. Both are equally good.

josh r s:
but thinking about it, i'm definitely less reactive to things, so I'm just going to wait a week or so and see if there is any medium term reduction in affective stuff.


What "medium-term" means can vary depending on the person and can vary depending on where on the path they're at, so (as you're at the beginning) try to have a liberal view of what "medium-term" means until you understand your mind more thoroughly, and stay committed. Time-scales are very individual.

josh r s:
oh and, i'm not quite sure about "inclining towards sensuousness" (again endinsight's advice) when i try and see everything at the same time without focusing on anything in particular i'm more sensuous than normal, but i don't know if i'm actually getting anywhere as the word "inclining" would imply...


You "incline" there from whatever level of sensuousness you're at, that's what counts.

Good luck on this journey! I think you'll find it's the best thing that 'you' ever did.

EDIT:

josh r s:
so although this practice might not be as effective for me as it would be for an arahant,


From a purely theoretical perspective, you might want to consider that what MCTB calls an arahant is actually something else.
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 9/18/11 4:23 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 9/18/11 3:59 PM

RE: josh practice thread

Posts: 337 Join Date: 9/16/11 Recent Posts
Do you have a guess as to where on the progress of insight you were before you stopped?


I don't even know what that is... so probably not very far hehe. the only stages i'm aware of are the paths and i definitely haven't got stream entry. I think i may have just barely gotten first jhana before switching to actualism

Nothing has to "happen" except that you notice your experience. Seriously. Sometimes things will happen and sometimes they won't. Both are equally good.

ok

What "medium-term" means can vary depending on the person and can vary depending on where on the path they're at, so (as you're at the beginning) try to have a liberal view of what "medium-term" means until you understand your mind more thoroughly, and stay committed. Time-scales are very individual.

ok

You "incline" there from whatever level of sensuousness you're at, that's what counts.

I'm not sure i really get the inclining thing, I tried to just sort of interpret those words and what i ended up doing is just shifting attention towards the physical senses, trying to do the "seeing with the eye" rather than "seeing through the eye" is this inclining towards sensuousness?

Good luck on this journey! I think you'll find it's the best thing that 'you' ever did.


ok, i'm liking where it's going i think i pretty much get it, I enjoy the act of paying attention and i find myself to keep it up pretty steadily. I do seem to lose it when doing things like reading, but maybe i'll get better at that through practice. thanks for the help

From a purely theoretical perspective, you might want to consider that what MCTB calls an arahant is actually something else.


ok whatever emoticon

edit: also you mentioned the arupa qualities, would i need to have been through the 8 jhanas to actually get these? when i'm doing the wide attentiveness thing and i try to perceive the qualities of space, consciousness, nothing, signlessness just from the words I'm pretty much just lost

you keep mentioning the sensations of being, I'm not sure if i really perceive these at all, is seeing this sensation clearly necessary to make progress with this method?

hm... maybe I am seeing it though, I sort of feel myself to exist on the outside of the face and in my head, and sort of everywhere my attention shifts to. Like if my attention shifts to my arms i sort of feel "me" on the outer skin layer of the arms. I do feel something definitely recognizeable as affective, all over the place, and it changes when i make myself feel a specific emotion, is this the feeling of being?
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 9/19/11 6:31 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 9/19/11 6:28 PM

RE: josh practice thread

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
josh r s:
Do you have a guess as to where on the progress of insight you were before you stopped?


I don't even know what that is... so probably not very far hehe. the only stages i'm aware of are the paths and i definitely haven't got stream entry. I think i may have just barely gotten first jhana before switching to actualism


You should read the MCTB chapter(s) about this.

Also, read tarin's guide to stream entry.

josh r s:
I'm not sure i really get the inclining thing, I tried to just sort of interpret those words and what i ended up doing is just shifting attention towards the physical senses, trying to do the "seeing with the eye" rather than "seeing through the eye" is this inclining towards sensuousness?


What "inclining towards sensuousness" means on a practical level will depend on where you are on the path. What you're describing sounds reasonable to me.

What happens if you ask HAIETMOBA? Is it the same or different? I, personally, hold HAIETMOBA in very high regard as a way to incline towards sensuousness.

josh r s:
edit: also you mentioned the arupa qualities, would i need to have been through the 8 jhanas to actually get these? when i'm doing the wide attentiveness thing and i try to perceive the qualities of space, consciousness, nothing, signlessness just from the words I'm pretty much just lost


Stream entry will help here, too. For now I wouldn't worry; I'm not sure that they can be perceived at all until one first gets to the Equanimity nana, or gets those jhanas.

josh r s:
you keep mentioning the sensations of being, I'm not sure if i really perceive these at all, is seeing this sensation clearly necessary to make progress with this method?

hm... maybe I am seeing it though, I sort of feel myself to exist on the outside of the face and in my head, and sort of everywhere my attention shifts to. Like if my attention shifts to my arms i sort of feel "me" on the outer skin layer of the arms. I do feel something definitely recognizeable as affective, all over the place, and it changes when i make myself feel a specific emotion, is this the feeling of being?


Everywhere 'you' exist, everything 'you' perceive, all 'your' feelings, that is 'being'. Feelings = 'you' = 'you' perceiving = 'being'. They are all the same in this regard (there is no separate feeling of 'being' apart from particular feelings, particular instances of 'you', etc.)

It's good that you notice that 'you' exist where your attention shifts to (i.e. 'you' exist where 'you' attend).

As you keep practicing, more and more levels of 'being' will become clear to you. See what you can see now; you won't be able to see what you haven't developed your perception enough to see, so don't sweat it. (Think of this method as a kind of perceptual training; the more you do it, the more there is that will become clear.)
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 9/21/11 5:08 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 9/21/11 5:08 PM

RE: josh practice thread

Posts: 337 Join Date: 9/16/11 Recent Posts
Alright, I seem to be drawn away from attention whenever anything happens that 'i' deem as important, whenever i feel like something is necessary or needs to be done, or that i have responsibility, or i in some way am invested i lose the attention. also if i'm honest with myself, the attention never stays static or improving for more than around 30 seconds before devolving, and it keeps getting worse until i notice.

on the other hand i've been very felicitous and it looks like malicious and sorrowful reactions are already losing some of their "convincingness" when i have them i have sort of a more stable base from which to view them they're there and they're unpleasant but they aren't being expressed or taking over.

my access to felicity seems a bit better, whenever I try to "become the physical senses" and just look at everything with equanimity i seem to drift towards felicity as long as i do my best to stay with the senses and investigate what comes up.

example story: I left my kindle sitting around and a friend of mine picked it up and saw the book "blackjack: how to play like the pros" which is something mortifying around my group of friends. they also looked at this list of books like plato's republic, man, economy, and state and other philosophical books. although they didn't say anything explicitly, my identity told me that my worst fear had been realized and i was now thought of as a pseudo-intellectual who goes around posing as someone who enjoys reading plato but actually would prefer to cherish fantasies of becoming a blackjack player.

this thought immediately ripped my attention from here and now and i entered the timeless realm of identity in which "i" am the only thing that exists and the only thing that makes sense is defending and attacking other identities in order to assert 'my' dominance. after around 5 seconds of thought spinning i tried to do several things.

1. simply bring attention back to experience (in the only way i can which i refer to in different terms but is just haietmoba) and trying to change my perception of the emotion into the same as my perception of the actual so that my embarrassment may as well be heartburn.

2. think about how silly it is to feel bad about something when the only effect of this feeling is my own suffering

3. think about the universe as a whole and how it is all just physical, dust in the wind etc.

4. think about how this body was just imagining me, and how a physical flesh and blood body wouldn't care about what was thought of it any more than i rock would.

not until the fourth one did anything really change, so i kept contemplating this line of thinking and pulling the rubber band of attention outwards from my chest/stomach core so that it encompassed all my experience. eventually i pulled out to felicity and took some time to think about specific beliefs that caused this and how it would be nice not to have to deal with all that sort of identity crap.

i was able to see very clearly that the physical world is delightful without affective filter, so hopefully i'm making some progress towards disenchantment with the emotions as i see how the world is fine without them

question: should i just do vipassana and get stream entry? should i keep doing this kind of practice? my guess is the latter type is more pleasant, but which is quicker? i suppose that's variable.
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 9/21/11 5:55 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 9/21/11 5:52 PM

RE: josh practice thread

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
josh r s:
Alright, I seem to be drawn away from attention whenever anything happens that 'i' deem as important, whenever i feel like something is necessary or needs to be done, or that i have responsibility, or i in some way am invested i lose the attention.


This is a key insight. If you continue to follow up on this, you will begin to see all the places where 'you' have something at stake, all the little 'you'-feelings that scamper around moment-to-moment and are usually not noticed.

The most important thing when doing this kind of observation (apart from keeping attention up all the time) is to be willing to be very open and honest, because there is a lot of 'you' hidden everywhere, and it can be psychologically difficult to confront or admit to.

When I was still working on AF, Nick advised me to quit posting on KFD (as I posted quite a bit), but I didn't take his advice at first...mostly because 'I' was not willing to face the extent to which doing such a simple act as typing a post about my opinions (about topics that 'I' deemed important, things that 'I' thought needed to be said, etc.), would dredge up a lot of 'me'. It took a few weeks to understand why he was right and I was wrong.

I would not advise quitting posting (as that is more suited for periods which you are looking to devote more exclusively to practice), but merely seeing these kinds of things in your own experience will prove extremely helpful to you both now and in the future.

josh r s:
also if i'm honest with myself, the attention never stays static or improving for more than around 30 seconds before devolving, and it keeps getting worse until i notice.


Have you considered repeatedly asking HAIETMOBA (or equivalent), say once every few seconds?

The task of continuing to repeat the question is a very good way of keeping one's attention steady.

josh r s:
question: should i just do vipassana and get stream entry? should i keep doing this kind of practice? my guess is the latter type is more pleasant, but which is quicker? i suppose that's variable.


Well, one possibility is that if you do this practice, you'll get stream entry anyway. In fact, I would be surprised if you didn't. You might want to ask Jill about whether she got stream entry, when, how, etc. as she used a practice like this one from the very beginning, whereas I did not.

As for whether you should aim for SE or not, it might depend on how much time you have to devote to practice. If you have a good block of time that you could set aside for it (say a retreat or just a lot of spare hours each day to dedicate to practice), a very "focused" approach oriented towards SE might be good. If not...many people find it much harder to get SE outside of formal, dedicated practice (but it can of course be done).

Another way to evaluate this is, how close are you to being attentive for most of the day? During what portion of the day would you estimate you have attentiveness going? If it's very low, and you see that as not likely to change soon, SE might help you. If it's very high, or you think you can make it very high in a reasonable amount of time, it will probably only take a tweak to how "precise" your attention is during that period in order to get SE in a reasonable amount of time.

One final thought is, this practice is compatible with "hard" vipassana. You can do hard vipassana for however long you want, and immediately go back to attentiveness, with no problem. But, hard vipassana may not be compatible with cultivating felicity (as hard vipassana makes you likely to feel all kinds of unfelicitous things, whether positive or negative). If you are especially good at cultivating felicity, or you find cultivating felicity gives you a better perspective from which to investigate your identity and goals (as you described), you may want to stick with that for a bit.
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 9/21/11 6:13 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 9/21/11 6:13 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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hmm, i think i'll stick with what I'm doing and make progress. does attentiveness take away from self incrementally no matter what like drops from a bucket? or is that bucket being refilled constantly such that the only way to make net progress is to get really continuous attentiveness?

it really wouldn't make sense that i wouldn't improve my attentiveness/day time as long as i keep trying to do it all the time. so yes, i think i'll stick with panoramic mode and investigation mode without adding vipassana. I'm going to just do this practice for about a month solid. compare my experience then with what I just wrote, if I made progress i'll keep it up, if not i'll start vipassana.

I guess I'lll seeya on october 21st.
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 9/21/11 6:47 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 9/21/11 6:47 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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josh r s:
hmm, i think i'll stick with what I'm doing and make progress. does attentiveness take away from self incrementally no matter what like drops from a bucket? or is that bucket being refilled constantly such that the only way to make net progress is to get really continuous attentiveness?


My experience was that it reliably and continually effaced 'me' until, one day, the whole illusion fell apart.

It is possible that one's self might regenerate, but I suppose this is only likely to happen if one quits practice for a while. (If you get into the dark night, it will likely seem that this "regeneration" has happened, even though it hasn't.)

The best metaphor I can think of is weight training for the perceptual faculties. Keep doing it and you keep improving (while 'you' recede bit by bit).
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 4:51 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 4:51 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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interesting experience, not totally sure how to proceed.

right now if i maximize effort and try to see as much as possible i get to this point where whenever i try progress, wherever "forward" is, I feel intense pleasure all over the place. it is similar to what i take to be the feeling of being but it is very pleasurable. when i keep inclining towards this feeling it gets even more intense but somehow not enjoyable at all, it sort of climaxes and i often involuntarily jerk some part of my body like i might when i'm falling asleep in the car.

i'm sure the feeling is affective, and although it is sweet it is not really satisfying. it's like being really hungry and being offered a sugar topped icing cupcake with sugar bread. it's too sweet xD

when i do the little climax, jerk awake thing there is an afterglow of the feeling all around (thinking this is feeling of being) the afterglow is more pleasant because it is more subtle, less intense. i've tried mashing this feeling with the actual, focusing on it alone, and excluding it from attention. none of this does anything really, I'm going to try one more thing which is just sitting with it, relaxing, observing, and not trying to change.

there is a definite feeling that it is "i" making this, and a feeling that it is somehow a hump i have to cross to get into the actual world... it's somehow fearful, but has an aspect of pleasure, and an aspect of thrillingness.

if anyone knows what i'm talking about and has any insight, it'd be appreciated.
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 5:05 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 5:05 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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Pleasure + involuntary body jerking + thrilling + "sickly-sweet" = A&P

That's a good rule of thumb, anyway. Do you notice any vibrations?

Anyway, it doesn't matter what it is, so long as you pay attention. (If it's the A&P, you should be prepared for the dark night, which will come afterwards, perhaps intensely, perhaps mildly.)
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 5:33 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 5:19 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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i actually don't think this is A&P, although i don't know a ton about the A&P. mostly because the experience is totally repeatable given a few seconds of effort and inclining in this direction.

i can make it come up right away, and then it stops as soon as i stop trying. centered in stomach area, also head, if i hold it for a while or try to increase it my limbs kind of jerk away from it and i can't keep it up

also, i'm actually thinking the physical sensations themselves aren't thrilling, maybe it's just the thought that I'm somehow close to PCE.

other things:
I force it to happen in the head area and it sort starts with smiling, if i keep myself from smiling it doesn't go (weird.)
then it shoots down into stomach, above belly button below rib cage
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 5:34 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 5:34 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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Do you notice any vibrations?

josh r s:
also, i'm actually thinking the physical sensations themselves aren't thrilling, maybe it's just the thought that I'm somehow close to PCE.


'You' are thrilled, the sensations are merely what they are. Such is affect.
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 5:38 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 5:38 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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Anyway, keep doing the thing that's bringing up the pleasure + jerking + whatever...if it's A&P, eventually there will be a BIG climax, and then it's dark night all the way down the hill.

If it isn't A&P...keep doing it, eventually you'll figure out what it is, or eventually it will stop, and then you won't have to worry about it anymore either way.

Really, honestly, the details don't matter if you're willing to keep paying attention no matter what.
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 5:48 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 5:39 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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sorry, i don't know exactly what virabtions are, i looked through all mentions of vibrations in MCTB but couldn't find exact defintion... is it sort of like a flickering of sensation rather than single solid sensation?

nvm, i found the definition, and i can sort of experience like that if i try to, but it's not like it's happening of its own accord. also, when you say keep paying attention, should i keep trying to make this happen and pay attention to it? or just keep paying attention? if i just do my normal wide/precise awareness i don't experience this, or anything very interesting.

hm, i was hoping i could just find the right way to incline and these affective sensations i could see clearly now would just go away
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 5:52 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 5:52 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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josh r s:
also, when you say keep paying attention, should i keep trying to make this happen and pay attention to it? or just keep paying attention? if i just do my normal wide/precise awareness i don't experience this, or anything very interesting.


You get to figure this one out for yourself. As long as you're paying attention, you're doing fine. Think of this as an experiment in varying the ways you can pay attention, to see what effects different ways have.

Not being you, the best that anyone else can do is speculate. Try what you like, and report back if you want feedback.
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 6:52 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 6:52 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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hey, endinsight, what do you think of one on one direct pointing, i was thinking i'd do that in addition to attention throughout the day
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 7:07 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 7:04 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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I have no experience with it. I would say that it is far from validated (in terms of helping people to attain paths as MCTB defines them, in terms of helping to get AF).

To the extent that it encourages discursive thinking, it is not compatible with what you're doing, though perhaps you can split up your time somehow.

Is something about your current method unsatisfying?

If you do it, let us know what it gets you.

EDIT: Apart from whether direct pointing is helpful, people into direct pointing do not understand that 'I' am 'my' feelings and 'my' feelings are 'me'...that understanding may not be compatible with their methods. To the extent that you understand it, you may have to put it aside in order to interface with them and with what they mean by self.
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 7:12 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 7:09 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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meh, i just sort of feel like I'm seeing all these components of the self but they aren't really doing anything. i'm seeing this feeling, i'm seeing affective components in experience that telling me that there is a self. i'm sort of able to see the not-self in all sensations. but idk it's not appearing to change. also, i'm just not able to keep the attention up consistently enough.

would it actually take away from the attention practice if i did the talking back and forth and just did attentiveness all throughout the rest of the day when I'm not by my computer?

i think i'd just sit in my room all day if i didn't have to go to school >.<, then maybe i would be able to keep up attentiveness..

EDIT: Apart from whether direct pointing is helpful, people into direct pointing do not understand that 'I' am 'my' feelings and 'my' feelings are 'me'...that understanding may not be compatible with their methods. To the extent that you understand it, you may have to put it aside in order to interface with them and with what they mean by self.


i plan to answer based purely on my own experience, which is what they ask for i think, rather than on anything i've read. unless there is some reason to believe that I'll come out of this in some delusion, unable to go anywhere, i think i'll go for it, see what happens, and keep up as much attentiveness as possible when not in the actual process of the 1 on 1 stuff.
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 7:17 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 7:16 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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josh r s:
meh, i just sort of feel like I'm seeing all these components of the self but they aren't really doing anything. i'm seeing this feeling, i'm seeing affective components in experience that telling me that there is a self. i'm sort of able to see the not-self in all sensations. but idk it's not appearing to change. also, i'm just not able to keep the attention up consistently enough.


And how long have you been practicing so far?

In order to benefit from this method, you need a lot more commitment than you appear to have. Perhaps that's worth investigating.

would it actually take away from the attention practice if i did the talking back and forth and just did attentiveness all throughout the rest of the day when I'm not by my computer?


When you're doing that, you're thinking discursively and not doing this. Only you can say whether the extra discursive thinking would affect paying attention the rest of the time.

josh r s:
i plan to answer based purely on my own experience, which is what they ask for i think, rather than on anything i've read. unless there is some reason to believe that I'll come out of this in some delusion, unable to go anywhere, i think i'll go for it, see what happens, and keep up as much attentiveness as possible when not in the actual process of the 1 on 1 stuff.


The only possible delusion I imagine one might obtain from the proccess is no longer seeing that feelings = 'self'.

Let us know whether / how this sort of thing helps. Most people at the DhO have no real idea about it.
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 7:21 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 7:21 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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Hey. You were all excited about some pleasant thing that was happening to you. Now you appear to be bored and somewhat demoralized. Mild A&P --> dark night? What just happened?
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 7:27 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 7:27 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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And how long have you been practicing so far?

In order to benefit from this method, you need a lot more commitment than you appear to have. Perhaps that's worth investigating.


i've been asking haietmoba for 9 months, yes it's true that i haven't been so focused on attention alone for very long at all, but the fact remains that overall it's been 9 months, and throughout that whole time i've made effort, recently more than before, to be attentive all the time.

When you're doing that, you're thinking discursively and not doing this. Only you can say whether the extra discursive thinking would affect paying attention the rest of the time.


depending on what you are meaning by discursive, i've always thought of it as just wandering thoughts (dictionary agrees), I accidentally think discursively very often, and am somewhat forced to do it on purpose when formulating essays etc.

the thinking doesn't seem to have effect on me when i'm not in the midst of actually thinking though.


The only possible delusion I imagine one might obtain from the proccess is no longer seeing that feelings = 'self'.

Let us know whether / how this sort of thing helps. Most people at the DhO have no real idea about it.


i don't think of myself as the type of person who would just engage in conversation and then suddenly lose my ability to perceive that feelings are self. it doesn't seem possible that i could actually lose that perception. so, while i don't think that direct pointing will get me anywhere near AF, i'm interested to see if there is some illusion which it will help me get rid of and thus bring me that much closer.
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 7:31 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 7:31 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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josh r s:
so, while i don't think that direct pointing will get me anywhere near AF, i'm interested to see if there is some illusion which it will help me get rid of and thus bring me that much closer.


If you're eager for a "shortcut", going straight for stream entry will be helpful.

Why not make a specific plan, such as

(Try direct pointing for X amount of time)
(If unsuccessful, do "hard" vipassana until stream entry)

Stream entry makes everything easier.
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 7:39 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 7:39 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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ok, current plan:

try direct pointing and attention thing at same time. i won't set a specific time parameter but i'll just say that i'll go until i decide it's b.s. or i get what they have gotten (whether that is worth anything i'll soon see)
if i realize it's been a couple months though i'll replace direct pointing with dry vipassana

here is my one on one thread.
http://liberationunleashed.com/nation/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=39

can't wait to meet that liberator! (oops, gotta get rid of my cynical assumptions and doubts if this is to have any chance)
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 7:54 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 7:54 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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I suggest setting a time limit, so you take the process seriously and put 100% into it. If you only have X amount of time for direct pointing, you had better look hard and get some results.
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 7:55 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 7:55 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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Also, what happened just before that made you suddenly go from talking about this pleasurable experience to your new take on things? Anything?
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 8:30 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 8:21 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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I guess i just reflected on how for nine months i'd been seeing stuff but it hadn't been changing. so i figure either i'm not seeing as much as i think, or i need to do something more than see it.

over 9 months i have seen great changes in my affective range. whether this is due to psychological investigation which is the one thing at which i've really excelled, or just simply paying attention i don't know. it seems like i'm just changing myself into a better self rather than getting rid of the self, so i think i'm going to look at some of these other non-actualist things. first i'll try this direct pointing, if that doesn't get me anywhere i'll do noting, if that doesn't get me anywhere i'll maybe try jhanas. all the while though i'll continue this psychological investigation and attentiveness, i have a definite aversion to quitting those, they have removed lots of suffering.

so that's where i am i guess. I'll report the details of the direct pointing, maybe it just helps people see that there is no-self intellectually? if that is the case it won't help, but it won't hurt.

this is a little writing from a "liberator"


So you expext that all feeling of aliveness/being to vanish? hm, I'm sure it will once the body is dead.
Rather than trying to get rid of feeling of being, look at what is that feeling itself. Observe it and tell me, is the center personal?


they aren't getting to AF of course, maybe not 4th path, i don't really know, but i'd love to be able to see the anatta in the sense-of-being clearly as my natural state rather than searching for that perception

you know, maybe i have actually had some major shift in the past few days, because i have been feeling so great, and my decision to look into "shortcuts" has come from a pure rationalist perspective rather than my normal "oh-my-god-im-so-depressed-get-me-out-of-this" perspective. i'm feeling so grounded in just the attention and investigation, i know that if something happens it may induce affect but i'll be able to quickly perceive this for what it is and quickly return to felicity and attention. i can imagine my older self writing this same stuff and thinking about all these different practices, but i can tell he's really stressed about it, i'm not at all.
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 8:36 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 8:36 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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How was your previous practice of HAIETMOBA different or similar from constantly paying attention?

I agree, stick with psychological investigation until you're very very deep into this. And attentiveness as much as possible when not doing something else.

As for noting...it works. There is a reason most people at the DhO, KFD, etc. do it. Perhaps you will find out in the future.

Most of us recommend against trying for jhana until after stream entry (or at least against trying for jhana for its own sake, instead of jhana to support vipassana). Stream entry makes it much easier.
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 9:11 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 8:59 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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How was your previous practice of HAIETMOBA different or similar from constantly paying attention?


now that i think about it like that, maybe i was basically doing the exact same thing, but thinking about it differently, and recently, like this last week, doing it more assiduously. although maybe I'm doing something slightly different from what you talk about, because i definitely still investigate things causing suffering and they definitely go away from that, I only temporarily find myself being attentive to suffering.

edit:
so to sum all this stuff up
, I've seen progress from actualist method[1]. this progress has manifested in the form of less suffering, but i don't know that i'm actually going towards having no self. so i'm going to start trying a few methods.. my plan is this: direct pointing, noting (assuming i get stream entry from one, i'll do jhana), if at any point i have a PCE and see life without self, i'll probably go back to purely actualist methods from the new perspective. all the while i'm doing those other practices (jhana, direct pointing, noting) I'll try and combine in some actualism unless it is an obvious hinderance.

[1] by actualist method i mean attentiveness/haietmoba and investigation, aiming to maximize felicity and minimize good/bad
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 9:20 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 9:20 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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josh r s:

I've seen progress from actualist method[1]. this progress has manifested in the form of less suffering, but i don't know that i'm actually going towards having no self.


As 'you' are 'your' suffering, how is this not actually going towards having no self?

If you believe there is a self apart from feelings (such as suffering), look harder. 'You' are always a feeling of one kind or another, including the feeling of observing other feelings. (There's some direct pointing for you.)

About HAIETMOBA, if you are not satisfied with your 9 months of it, and are not satisfied with the constant attention method, try varying the quality of your attention and see if you get different results. For instance, try looking "closer" (more noticing the little fluctuations, more noticing per second).
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 9:32 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 9:30 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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well, I was thinking more along the lines of the fact that although i lost some of this suffering, it was just the self changing rather than going away, this may be a rationalization, i'm having trouble putting into language my experience of self now vs. before. i figured that if i was actually losing the self i'd have either some awakening moments, realizations, maybe seeing sensations of being as just any other sensations...

so yes, I am this suffering, but i also am this felicity, and when I am felicity, it's not that I'm not there, it's just that i'm different...
ah whatever, i don't feel as if i'm not understanding the way i used to feel, i think i'll be alright, i'll start the direct pointing, relate my experience, keep up the actualism and report back in.

i think the issues in perception you think that i am having may just be a failure in my ability to communicate. i feel great right now, i'm excited for whatever the direct pointing will bring. i hope to keep going down the road of changing the self from good/bad to felicitous and equanimous, maybe this is actually the same thing as getting rid of the self, again just failure in communication... seeya in a bit.
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 9:40 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 9/23/11 9:40 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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josh r s:
well, I was thinking more along the lines of the fact that although i lost some of this suffering, it was just the self changing rather than going away,


There is no self to change. There is just a feeling now, a feeling in a moment from now, another feeling shortly after...

This is not theoretical. This is something you will need to see to fully understand 'I' am 'my' feelings and 'my' feelings are 'me'.

If you investigate it very carefully, in a direct, perceptual, matter-of-fact way, you may get stream entry.

In any case, good luck with what you're doing, and have fun!
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 9/26/11 3:58 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 9/26/11 3:58 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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well i did the direct pointing thing, turns out i already got as far as they go. i see the sense of being clearly, and if i look at it i can attribute the quality of not-self to it very naturally, and that's as far as they go.

so now, i either just use actualist methods and keep goin or i start noting. will i turn into a jerk to everyone around me and become very unhappy from this? hm, even if it means i'll get to the final thing a little faster, there's no difference once i'm there. i'll devote myself totally to actualist methods.

last few days were pretty great, but today i had a few glitches, beliefs i couldn't perceive clearly right away such that they start causing pain and i forgot what the source was. as a result i was much less inclined towards sensuousness because the "real" world seemed actual and the "real" problems seemed significant.

reminding myself that all this was going on to support some dudes my mind was dreaming up helped.
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 10/1/11 8:11 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/1/11 8:11 AM

RE: josh practice thread

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for some reason i decided i'd start doing the buddhist-type practice rather than actualism. now i feel really shitty and can't get out of it, and almost dont want to. what ive been doing is just mindfulness to everything i can see at once, and for a while just trying to see where stress was arising and what its cause was. i realized that there was stress here that i couldnt discern clearly. so i just started seeing everything as not-self. and then i started feeling really bad... great.

so now what, just keep seeing everything as not-self until i feel even worse and eventually i feel better? i guess i should read mctb in full.
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Nikolai , modified 10 Years ago at 10/1/11 8:28 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/1/11 8:28 AM

RE: josh practice thread

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josh r s:
for some reason i decided i'd start doing the buddhist-type practice rather than actualism. now i feel really shitty and can't get out of it, and almost dont want to. what ive been doing is just mindfulness to everything i can see at once, and for a while just trying to see where stress was arising and what its cause was. i realized that there was stress here that i couldnt discern clearly. so i just started seeing everything as not-self. and then i started feeling really bad... great.

so now what, just keep seeing everything as not-self until i feel even worse and eventually i feel better? i guess i should read mctb in full.


How about going back to felicity practice? How was your felicity practice before? Perhaps hold off on the insight practice and stick with concentration practice combined with felicity. Can you do this?

Nick
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 10/1/11 8:36 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/1/11 8:36 AM

RE: josh practice thread

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ok yea im trying the felicity thing but i can't pin down the suffering/its cause. there is definitely somethin goin in my chest/gut/everywhere area, normally i could go back to the place where i started feeling bad, but now when i go back i just see that there was a change when i started trying to see not-self. doesn't fit into normal categories of stuff i can investigate. ill keep trying
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Nikolai , modified 10 Years ago at 10/1/11 8:50 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/1/11 8:50 AM

RE: josh practice thread

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josh r s:
ok yea im trying the felicity thing but i can't pin down the suffering/its cause. there is definitely somethin goin in my chest/gut/everywhere area, normally i could go back to the place where i started feeling bad, but now when i go back i just see that there was a change when i started trying to see not-self. doesn't fit into normal categories of stuff i can investigate. ill keep trying


Have you tried the 'hacking vedana' approach? I did this myself when i had shitty sensations in those areas you describe to great effect. Eventually i was able to cultivate felicitous mind states regardless of the unpleasantness going on in the body.

You could also try this approach as well to deal with those 'twangs': http://thehamiltonproject.blogspot.com/2011/09/yogi-experiment-stop-fighting.html

Try dedicating a couple of weeks just to felicity practice and forget about all other practices. Then when you get good at cultivating felicity when you want, you will have a firm base to practice triggering PCEs. Coupling it with other actualist practices will aid you in moving forward. The path doesn't need to suck.

Nick
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 10/1/11 9:53 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/1/11 9:52 AM

RE: josh practice thread

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hm thought i already had that firm base in felicity. the hack thing actually worked really well, although i only did it just now after an hour of just trying to 'let the senses be' which helped too.

yea i think im going to stop trying to do other stuff, im not sure why i tried to just now oh well. not feeling 100% better but im out of the real shit for now

maybe because i keep reading stuff about buddhism and listening to dharma talks i keep getting interested, tryin to cut that out
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 10/1/11 4:04 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/1/11 3:58 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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damn, feeling so discouraged idk what happened
i keep thinking that there is no point in trying to feel better because this will just come back.
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Nikolai , modified 10 Years ago at 10/1/11 4:10 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/1/11 4:04 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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josh r s:
damn, feeling so discouraged idk what happened


I thought you said your base of felicity was strong? Seems like it wasn't?

Perhaps leaving aside all 'resentments' for the moment might be a wise move. Focus once again on felicity exclusively. Stop getting stuck in the negative thought loops. Question the beliefs behind them. Release them due to seeing their silliness. And get back to a practice that leads to being happy and harmless. Pull your pants up and stop feeling sorry for your (illusory) 'self'. It's illusory, compounded phenomena, and that is why it is not seen with the direct pointing as there is nothing to pinpoint and say, 'that is self'. But there is a reason for the notion that 'you' are your feelings and your feelings are 'you'. The compounding process continues regardless of whether one sees a self in it or not and so does the misery inherent in it. The flow of 'being' sucks regardless. PCEs make this clear. Felicity is the bridge to PCEs and AF and no more malice and sorrow (feeling sorry for yourself). Turn back towards the bridge!

Nick
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 10/1/11 4:16 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/1/11 4:16 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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I thought you said your base of felicity was strong? Seems like it wasn't?


yeh, that's why i said that i thought it was, not that it was

Pull your pants up


this is the only part of all that i feel like i can actually do

Stop getting stuck in the negative thought loops.


not really thinking, just looking at experience, sort of just bewildered by it

The flow of 'being'


ok well now im seeing the flow of being but i feel like there isnt anyway to do anything about it
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Nikolai , modified 10 Years ago at 10/1/11 4:27 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/1/11 4:24 PM

RE: josh practice thread

Posts: 1648 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
josh r s:


Stop getting stuck in the negative thought loops.


not really thinking, just looking at experience, sort of just bewildered by it

The flow of 'being'


ok well now im seeing the flow of being but i feel like there isnt anyway to do anything about it


This is not an unquestioned locked in thought loop (belief) conditioning your current predicament? I was in a similar situation my whole life. I investigated it: http://nickdowntherabbithole.blogspot.com/2011/07/conversations-breakthrough.html


Try felicity practice! Try it with resolve and it actually might work. Try it half heartedly because "but I feel like" etc etc, and it won't. Set aside one hour to dedicate your entire being (the flow of being) to become a felicitous mind state. See what happens when you actually try instead of, according to current impressions, not trying.

Nick
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 10/1/11 4:28 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/1/11 4:28 PM

RE: josh practice thread

Posts: 337 Join Date: 9/16/11 Recent Posts
you're right im not really trying

Felicity practice!


ok, here is what i plan to do for an hour

1. physically locate stress
2. find its cause
3. let go of its cause/incline towards sensuousness keeping silliness of cause in mind
4. ??? improvise
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Nikolai , modified 10 Years ago at 10/1/11 4:44 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/1/11 4:43 PM

RE: josh practice thread

Posts: 1648 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
josh r s:
you're right im not really trying

Felicity practice!


ok, here is what i plan to do for an hour

1. physically locate stress
2. find its cause
3. let go of its cause/incline towards sensuousness keeping silliness of cause in mind
4. ??? improvise


When I found myself in similar situations here is what I'd do:

1. I would ask myself why I was not feeling happy?

2. I would find the physical component of the mental disturbance. It usually was a crappy sensation in the chest or throat. It would be overlayed with a lot of mental tension.

3. I would accept that there was mental tension there. The acceptance of the tension would lighten it a little.

4. I would then see how the sensations were being read automatically as unpleasant and the mind was reacting automatically with aversion towards it giving rise to an unpleasant manifestation of 'me'.

5. I would then shift the way the mind was reading the sensation with aversion and instead (faked it till I made it) saw it as pleasant as opposed to unpleasant. As soon as I did this, I saw how the mind dropped the tense aversion for it for the moments the sensation wasn't automatically being read as 'bad for 'me'. Once I was able to do so, the moments of seeing the flow of sensations without aversion towards them grew longer, and I noticed the mental mood would shift to a more calm and collected one.

6. I would then ignore the sensations and focus purely on the mental calm that had begun to arise and will the mind towards an even calmer state of wellbeing, by sometimes remembering the last time 'I' had felt that wellbeing, or just fake it till it just happened. It became a purely mental exercise when I stopped allowing the sensations at various points in the body from being conditioning factors for unpleasant mental disturbances.

7. Once I was able to just shift the mental mood to an open restful state of wellbeing, I then would attend to sensuousness with greater ease non-stop unhindered by the push and pull of a gross manifestation of 'being'.

Nick
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 10/1/11 6:55 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/1/11 5:34 PM

RE: josh practice thread

Posts: 337 Join Date: 9/16/11 Recent Posts
ooookay

thought alot and played around with some of these ideas, trying to remember all of it

"what is stress here?"

"throat stuff, chest stuff, sort of all around skin stuff"

tried just looking at each one

"why are they bad?"

"just are"

then i kept almost asking this other question, but i saw all this aversion just pushed it away before i could voice it. eventually i figured out it was something like: "what would make experience good?"

for some reason this question was painful, tried to figure out why. shifted to asking "is this experience good?" that was even more painful. why was that painful? because i looked at my experience further and further back and kept seeing, or seeming to see that nothing had ever shown up in experience saying that this experience was good. so was all my enjoyment some sort of delusion? was i actually not happy?

that line of question set off some retardation alarms, feeling happy is being happy, you can't feel happy and not actually be happy, being happy is feeling happy!

so then i was thinking about all the "hacking" and realized that that it was just my attitude towards experience, i was the one who decided whether it was good or bad. very clearly seeing that it was actually me, rather than "the self" which was some other thing going on (i imagined).

so, do i want to like this or do i want not to like it? there isn't ever going to be anything telling me for sure which one to do. i just gotta choose whether im gonna like it or not.

thanks, now whenever i ask dumb questions like "is this experience good?" the obvious answer can be, well it's you who judges it, you idiot!
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 10/1/11 5:39 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/1/11 5:39 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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well shit, lets keep liking it even more! fuck yeah!

emoticon

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDwODbl3muE
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 10/1/11 8:31 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/1/11 7:13 PM

RE: josh practice thread

Posts: 337 Join Date: 9/16/11 Recent Posts
maybe "hacking" implies something a little bit not-true because you are always "hacking" one way or another, nothing is really natural or artificial

man, feeling bad seems so silly now, and feeling good felt so impossible then, i gotta stop believing these things
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Nikolai , modified 10 Years ago at 10/1/11 9:44 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/1/11 9:43 PM

RE: josh practice thread

Posts: 1648 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
josh r s:
maybe "hacking" implies something a little bit not-true because you are always "hacking" one way or another, nothing is really natural or artificial


One is essentially playing with the perception of the sensations. The perceptions are either tinged with aversion, craving or dullness. 'Being'/affective feelings will manifest tinged with those tones. The sensations remain sensations. One person may enjoy pain and another person may feel a lot of aversion towards it. But pain is pain. The perception and mental reaction towards the feeling tone is what is being hacked.

Seems like it has helped?

Nick
Stian Gudmundsen Høiland, modified 10 Years ago at 10/1/11 10:16 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/1/11 10:16 PM

RE: josh practice thread

Posts: 296 Join Date: 9/5/10 Recent Posts
josh r s:
man, feeling bad seems so silly now, and feeling good felt so impossible then, i gotta stop believing these things

This seems to be something that most people who practice the AF method report experiencing, but I'm not gonna go hunting for quotes. It seems like a classical AF "insight". josh, you might want to read (I think it was) End In Sights practice thread (I think it's on "Kenneth Folk Dharma"), and see if you can recognize when he had this same insight and also what happened afterwards for him (that sounded a bit ominous - it isn't though).
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 10/2/11 9:43 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/2/11 9:43 AM

RE: josh practice thread

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Nikolai .:
josh r s:
maybe "hacking" implies something a little bit not-true because you are always "hacking" one way or another, nothing is really natural or artificial


One is essentially playing with the perception of the sensations. The perceptions are either tinged with aversion, craving or dullness. 'Being'/affective feelings will manifest tinged with those tones. The sensations remain sensations. One person may enjoy pain and another person may feel a lot of aversion towards it. But pain is pain. The perception and mental reaction towards the feeling tone is what is being hacked.

Seems like it has helped?

Nick


yep it was good, it works whenever i can't tell what the source of the emotional pain is. now im trying to use this same type of thing to neither like nor dislike stuff
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Nikolai , modified 10 Years ago at 10/2/11 9:57 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/2/11 9:54 AM

RE: josh practice thread

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josh r s:
Nikolai .:
josh r s:
maybe "hacking" implies something a little bit not-true because you are always "hacking" one way or another, nothing is really natural or artificial


One is essentially playing with the perception of the sensations. The perceptions are either tinged with aversion, craving or dullness. 'Being'/affective feelings will manifest tinged with those tones. The sensations remain sensations. One person may enjoy pain and another person may feel a lot of aversion towards it. But pain is pain. The perception and mental reaction towards the feeling tone is what is being hacked.

Seems like it has helped?

Nick


yep it was good, it works whenever i can't tell what the source of the emotional pain is. now im trying to use this same type of thing to neither like nor dislike stuff


One could bypass the liking and disliking as well as the possible disassociating indifference towards said sensations by going directly to apperceiving them in their bare pristineness (before they are filtered through affective judgement tinged and coloured by craving, aversion or dullness).

Nick
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 10/2/11 6:02 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/2/11 10:09 AM

RE: josh practice thread

Posts: 337 Join Date: 9/16/11 Recent Posts
One could bypass the liking and disliking as well as the possible disassociating indifference towards said sensations by going directly to apperceiving them in their bare pristineness (before they are filtered through affective judgement tinged and coloured by craving, aversion or dullness).


that sure sounds nice!
emoticon

...


recently the gross emotion is very rare, but the tensions, if i am very careful, are constant. hopefully this means i am just aware of more suffering

i can see that i could try and be more content with what there is, but i'd rather not settle for less, i don't think this is unskillful, just a different balance of present/future happiness

...

shifting from minimizing stress as my focus to maximizing enjoyment
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 10/2/11 8:46 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/2/11 8:39 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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forgetting everything but enjoying my experience as much as possible has gotten me to an major EE for the first time in a while. i keep doing this thing where i sort of "plateau" on enjoyment. maximizing how much "i" like the experience until there is nowhere else to go, felicity sensations rise and plateau and then a sort of pull back. other people talk about fear here, but i'm not really feeling afraid its just like "i" dont have anymore capacity to keep going in this enjoyment... trying to figure out how to jump off right now.

it's like me enjoying this is what is keeping it from being here in its entirety, gotta figure out how to let go

if i start trying to do any other instructions other than just "enjoy" i start coming back, so i dont know what im posting for lmao
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 10/3/11 3:08 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/3/11 3:08 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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kept up same EE for almost the whole day, occasionally tried to get into PCE by shifting to sensuousness, but that was always worse than just enjoying as much as possible. probably im just doing the whole sensuousness thing wrong, and so im gonna just enjoy until it becomes natural and my 24/7 experience
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 10/4/11 6:02 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/4/11 3:55 PM

RE: josh practice thread

Posts: 337 Join Date: 9/16/11 Recent Posts
today lost the EE but was continuously attentive and almost continuously happy/harmless.

couldn't really figure out how to get from just above neutral in the low-medium felicity range back to intense feelings of constant felicity. i couldn't figure out what issues were bringing me down. AFT seems to indicate that whenever there isn't maximum felicity, there is some sort of desire holding you back, this make sense to me in theory but somtimes i just can't figure out what i'm desiring or believing or pushing away (aversioning?!)

in other people's experience is there always some issue, but it is just not obvious? I went through my whole bag of tricks but couldn't back to EE for more than a few seconds with anything... "hacking" (even though i wasn't feeling anything in particular), sensuousness, wonder, contemplating, just relaxing, thinking about my whole day to try to figure out the moment in which felicity decreased a little, tuning into the ideal qualities... just couldn't find it. ah well, i'll go back to relaxing mode for now.

edit: listened to a thanissaro bhikkhu dhamma talk and he talked about the enlightenment factor of rapture and how it feels intense after the body has been starved for a while (of rapture). it feels more refined when you are used to it. this seems exactly like how i'm feeling. i've often noticed in my experience that i get some really intense felicity, and then the intensity dies down although it is still very pleasant, just more refined, and then i make a big deal about it, start whining about how long it's taking, how i'm not doing it right etc. then i gather my confidence back up and start feeling the intense felicity again. and the cycle repeats. hopefully now i can just be happy with the

btw, practice as he describes it seems to be somewhere between actualism and buddhism (as i've known it). he talks about the eventual need to let go of the feeling of compassion. looking for every little bit of stress (and not just seeing it as it is), and the progression of stress perceived and let go of eventually ending with the last bit of stress - disturbance (attention wave?)... countless other things i've noticed listening to his talks make me think that he is in fact AF.

anyway, not really important, but i'm pretty sure that he is AF/arahant, and that the kammatthana tradition as he explains it likely ends with an actual freedom/arahantship
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 10/5/11 7:08 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/5/11 7:08 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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everything is feeling natural. and i like it, feel much safer. no responsibility so nothing big can happen. everyone is a "non-entity" every event is a "non-issue"

i like this, im dropping everything, keeping nothing as a responsibility, nothing that "must" be done
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Nikolai , modified 10 Years ago at 10/5/11 8:54 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/5/11 8:54 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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josh r s:


btw, practice as he describes it seems to be somewhere between actualism and buddhism (as i've known it). he talks about the eventual need to let go of the feeling of compassion. looking for every little bit of stress (and not just seeing it as it is), and the progression of stress perceived and let go of eventually ending with the last bit of stress - disturbance (attention wave?)... countless other things i've noticed listening to his talks make me think that he is in fact AF.


Hey Josh,

Can you point me to the link where Thanissaro talks about the feeling of compassion etc ? I would very much appreciate listening/reading about it.

Nick
Stian Gudmundsen Høiland, modified 10 Years ago at 10/5/11 9:59 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/5/11 9:59 PM

RE: josh practice thread

Posts: 296 Join Date: 9/5/10 Recent Posts
Your thoughts about Thanissaro Bhikkhu are indeed very, very interesting. As I've said earlier, this is a very exciting time to be a part of this "movement/scene/community"!
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 10/6/11 7:31 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/6/11 9:01 AM

RE: josh practice thread

Posts: 337 Join Date: 9/16/11 Recent Posts
Nikolai .:
josh r s:


btw, practice as he describes it seems to be somewhere between actualism and buddhism (as i've known it). he talks about the eventual need to let go of the feeling of compassion. looking for every little bit of stress (and not just seeing it as it is), and the progression of stress perceived and let go of eventually ending with the last bit of stress - disturbance (attention wave?)... countless other things i've noticed listening to his talks make me think that he is in fact AF.


Hey Josh,

Can you point me to the link where Thanissaro talks about the feeling of compassion etc ? I would very much appreciate listening/reading about it.

Nick


I've been looking for that specific one, it was a talk i heard a while ago in which he talks about skillful desires like skillful conceit (i.e. "if others can free themselves from suffering, i can too") He talks about compassion and then ends as he often does with something like "in the end even that is let go of." Can't find it right now and don't plan to look through the hundreds of talks, sorry ;-P

Here are some things that I could find, though none of them say it explicitly they definitely point to it. In the following talk he tells a story about Ajahn Fuang who tells a woman on retreat who is worrying about her family back home (something that might be painted by other buddhists as skillful, and good compassion) He goes on to talk about how the worry doesn't help the person who is being worried about, and it is even selfless to give up the worry.

(nvm, couldn't find it, you get the idea though.)



Here is another one called "equanimity isn't nibbana" which basically disputes "seeing things and leaving them as they are"

http://dhammatalks.org/Archive/090616%20Equanimity%20Isn't%20Nibbana.mp3

at the end he mentions something like intentions that are like seeds which are burned and don't sprout. of course it is ridiculous for me to speculate about this, but i thought this could either be non-stickiness or "shadow-being" emotions as EiS described here

http://kennethfolkdharma.wetpaint.com/thread/4641050/first+ever+practice+journal%21?offset=280&maxResults=20 (14th post)

i don't really have alot of time just now to look through all the talks/writing to try and prove anything about thanissaro, and for the most part i can't as i don't have an experience of AF/PCE to compare his explanations to. also i'm not super-interested in it, so i'm not going to look any farther than just finding that talk about his teacher telling the woman not to worry and him talking about emotions being unhelpful

also, my proof doesn't seem quite as solid as i thought it was ;)
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 10/6/11 3:51 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/6/11 3:51 PM

RE: josh practice thread

Posts: 337 Join Date: 9/16/11 Recent Posts
What is it i want?
completion, peace, freedom

What is keeping me from what I want?
desire, aggression, fear, nurture

How do I stop fearing, desiring, agressioning, nurturing?
by no longer believing that they are sensible

Why do I believe they are sensible?
because i have been conditioned to believe that they are

How do i stop believing they are sensible?
by showing myself they are silly

How do I show myself that they are silly?
by seeing that they have no positive effect, are felt on the behalf of something imagined, and are painful

How do I see that they have no positive effect, are felt on the behalf of something imagined, and are painful?
by paying attention and noticing these things

Thanks, that is all
no problem
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 10 Years ago at 10/6/11 4:21 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/6/11 4:21 PM

RE: josh practice thread

Posts: 2227 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
hehe there you have it: there is suffering. such is its cause. such its cessation. such the path to its cessation. nicely laid out!
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Nikolai , modified 10 Years ago at 10/6/11 4:48 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/6/11 4:48 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
hehe there you have it: there is suffering. such is its cause. such its cessation. such the path to its cessation. nicely laid out!


Seconded!
aaron , modified 10 Years ago at 10/6/11 11:21 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/6/11 11:19 PM

RE: josh practice thread

Posts: 34 Join Date: 4/11/10 Recent Posts
Hi Josh,

I've been listening to a lot of Thanissaro for some months. I cant reference where he says this but in a talk from I think 2007-2009(it was in one of his retreat/conference talks I think and not his pre-meditation talks at the monastery) he said something to the effect of "I'm not an Arahant by the way". So, while he may now be a Arahant, he wasn't not to long ago and therefor is unlikely to be "af". Which(in my mind) begs an interesting question: how is it that a brilliant Buddhist scholar and monk who has trained with actual Arahants and been practicing for decades has not gotten Arahantship/AF(if they are the same) and a growing number of lay people are getting AF(possibly Arahantship) in a matter of months? Thanissaro is working with a very powerful and effective breathing meditation method that does seem to have some very similar effects to actualist "attentiveness to sensuousness"(in my direct experience). Yet the deed is still not getting done. I don't presume to know the answer to this question but here would be my tentative take on the matter: Richard's clear presentation of the PCE as a guiding light can function for some as a very stripped down(pure and effective) and direct way to the ending of becoming(the simple and direct pointer to attentiveness to sensuousness is pure gold as well). Developing concentration via mediation can be very helpful to actualist practice for some and getting at least stream entry is even more helpful. Which is why the hybrid actualism/meditation method has worked so well for some. Nonetheless this conversation would not even be happening if not for Richard's pointers. Even if Arahantship is the same or similar to actual freedom, it seems to have only have been happening to a rare few monks(mostly Asian). Lay people are now reporting freedom from all suffering and getting it done amazingly quickly even at young ages. That path to complete(or actual if you will) freedom has been laid open and bare now and it's quite a opportunity for us living in these times.

aaron
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 10/7/11 6:32 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/7/11 5:01 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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yes, all good points. i think i may have been a bit biased, and attached to the view that buddhism (as the buddha intended it) leads to actual freedom so i've been grasping for something to prove me right. it may, it may not, i don't really care, i'm practicing actualism. emoticon

i'm dropping jhana practice for a few days to see if i can maintain the same consistency of attention, if not i'll go back to it. i'm currently finding myself less reactive and more felicitous than my cynical, depressed self ever could of imagined. the experiencing of consistent felicity acts as a positive feedback mechanism. as you are more felicitous your belief in the sensibility of reactivity is diminished and it is easier to nip reactions in the bud, allowing you to be more felicitous and further diminishing your opinion of reactivity emoticon. now investigation is presenting as a simple

"oh i'm reacting and its causing suffering? why not just stop doing that? oh ok."

literally just a few seconds of reactions causing suffering (that my attention is precise enough to perceive) today

i think i'm going to chill with the posting until i have bad news and need help, as the strongest reaction i've had today has come from reading/posting.
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 10/8/11 2:35 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/8/11 10:42 AM

RE: josh practice thread

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ok, i just have to break my silence of a few hours to relate some information, i finally had a PCE, and i'm going to try to answer all the questions that i always had about it

1. how do you make one happen? you get out of the way. seriously. to be more specific, I always wondered what the exact commands and dialogues and all that shenanigans going on in my head would be when i would finally get to PCE. would some specific combination of thoughts trigger it? it doesn't really seem like it. i'll try and give a complete description of what i was doing leading up to the PCE.

I was very felicitous [1], i just decided i'd walk outside, not really for any specific reason. i just started walking around my house, and the command that was going through my head was just "bask in the freedom" i didn't try to make any "wide-eyed wonder" or "let go of the controls" i just simply basked in the freedom and noticed the total ridiculousness of anything at all opposed to the freedom. as i kept walking around my house with my dog walking next to me, i was just basking in the freedom, that's really my best advice of what to do. just bask in the freedom and investigate any desire, aggression, fear or nurture that comes up. this goes for anything, have no blindspots, i always had a blindspot for the desire to get into a PCE like "this has to be a good desire" but no, i just basked in the freedom. i didn't try to groove on anything, didn't try to wonder at stuff, just basked in the freedom and it all came naturally.

actually that was the only question i cared about..

i won't describe the PCE itself because i feel like those descriptions kind of messed me up. the PCE is what happens as a result of allowing the freedom, just keep putting in that cause for its own sake, you can't make the effect appear any sooner or later, just keep putting in the cause. the cause is investigating any desire/fear/aggression/nurture. oh and to be specific about what you are free from, it's just free from responsibility, you don't "have to" do anything. also, i was worried my attention wasn't precise enough to understand all these things about attention waves and shadow beings, that all just sounded like unicorns and leprechauns to me, but that wasnt a problem. anyway, i think i'm going to go take a walk in the woods, i've already stirred up desires and all that with posting.

[1] being very felicitous doesn't have anything to do with intensity of sensation, just with how pure the sensation is, untainted with desire, and not dependent on specific conditions

edit: i had written this in a document because i wanted to wait a little while and see if it still seemed like it made sense, and when i came back i copy+pasted twice... so edited to get rid of writing everything twice lol
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 10/8/11 11:00 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/8/11 11:00 AM

RE: josh practice thread

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it feels like i must be breaking some law... such nakedness, enjoyment without having done something "Right" first. do i deserve this? did i forget to pay my normal debt of misery? did i skip some fine print?

it's a wonder i haven't been arrested
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Brian Eleven, modified 10 Years ago at 10/8/11 2:03 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/8/11 2:03 PM

RE: josh practice thread

Posts: 221 Join Date: 9/14/10 Recent Posts
Congratulations! And, thanks for the thread!
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 10/8/11 2:26 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/8/11 2:25 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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Brian Eleven:
Congratulations! And, thanks for the thread!


yea, i'd been obsessed with the idea of having the experience for so long that i felt very giddy after having it... something to be investigated. i have to stop congratulating and thus confining myself, but thanks, i hope some of that can be useful
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 10/8/11 3:05 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/8/11 3:05 PM

RE: josh practice thread

Posts: 337 Join Date: 9/16/11 Recent Posts
rather than wanting nothing, this feeling being is wanting everything such that it isn't getting disappointed, because everything it gets is just what it wanted. i guess this is the main difference between the buddhist and actualist path, rather than dispassion for everything leading to a happiness not depending on conditions, the actualist has a sort of passion for all situations that could occur, also leading to a happiness not depending on conditions. in both cases the mind state of the practitioner becomes more and more solid, and nothing can shake it, until there are no conditions left which the self can identify with.

sorry if i'm not making sense, still a little giddy
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 10/10/11 8:43 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/10/11 8:41 AM

RE: josh practice thread

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
Great to hear that you finally got to see what you wanted to see!

josh r s:
rather than wanting nothing, this feeling being is wanting everything such that it isn't getting disappointed, because
everything it gets is just what it wanted.


Yes, something like that. I think the way people explain it will vary, depending on the way they think about the world, and whether they're steeped in this tradition or that tradition or no tradition or whatever.

Keep in mind that one of the key features of the PCE is no tension. "Passion", or wanting, in the normal sense (the actualist / Buddhist sense) is tension. But, as you see, there is another sense of passion, like a kind of wonderful overflowing of awesomeness throughout the universe, which is what tension stands in the way of. I myself had PCE-like experiences that are mixed (mostly awesomeness, but some residual tension in the background in relation to that awesomeness).

So, are you certain your experience was completely tension-free?

If so...isn't it amazing? Why live any other way?

If not...isn't it amazing that there could be a kind of experience even better than what you described? Isn't that possibility mindboggling?

Either way...what is your practice going to be now?


i didn't try to groove on anything, didn't try to wonder at stuff, just basked in the freedom and it all came naturally.


Can you relax 'yourself' away in order to hold this attitude more often?

If you ever decide to restart jhana practice, and you do it with this attitude (and you can do it successfully), it should prove interesting.
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 10/10/11 8:46 AM
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RE: josh practice thread

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aaron .:
I've been listening to a lot of Thanissaro for some months. I cant reference where he says this but in a talk from I think 2007-2009(it was in one of his retreat/conference talks I think and not his pre-meditation talks at the monastery) he said something to the effect of "I'm not an Arahant by the way". So, while he may now be a Arahant, he wasn't not to long ago and therefor is unlikely to be "af".


I would be interested in knowing which talk it was, if you manage to remember in the future.

I read an interview with him where he expressed interest in finding out what "full enlightenment" was. I was not sure whether he was describing an interest in attaining arahantship or in parinibbana.
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 10/10/11 10:02 AM
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Yes, something like that. I think the way people explain it will vary, depending on the way they think about the world, and whether they're steeped in this tradition or that tradition or no tradition or whatever.

Keep in mind that one of the key features of the PCE is no tension. "Passion", or wanting, in the normal sense (the actualist / Buddhist sense) is tension. But, as you see, there is another sense of passion, like a kind of wonderful overflowing of awesomeness throughout the universe, which is what tension stands in the way of. I myself had PCE-like experiences that are mixed (mostly awesomeness, but some residual tension in the background in relation to that awesomeness).

So, are you certain your experience was completely tension-free?


i was talking about afterwards and before, not during, the "feeling being" was wanting everything

If so...isn't it amazing? Why live any other way?


for love... for humanity... no, just kidding

Can you relax 'yourself' away in order to hold this attitude more often?


that's what i've been trying to do, but if i think even a little bit about it as an effort to get a PCE it fades so it doesn't seem like i can really analyze it or anything, just doing it until i happen to pop over into the actual

If you ever decide to restart jhana practice, and you do it with this attitude (and you can do it successfully), it should prove interesting.


so far i think i'm fine without jhana, if not better. after jhana the focus is really inwards for a couple hours, if i try to pay attention i just am looking in... at least when all i can get is the first jhana. i'm not having any problems at all with keeping attention, maybe this is just a big boost in pure intent or it's just nicer here so i'm more inclined to look here.

that focusing inwards is a type of confinement that i'm trying to release from to get back to the freedom - to use all the words that are working for me right now

in terms of what proves interesting, i think it would be good if there was another data point of someone who went pre-path straight to AF using strictly attention+investigation. that's what i'm doing at the moment.
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 10/10/11 10:13 AM
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josh r s:
i was talking about afterwards and before, not during, the "feeling being" was wanting everything


My bad, should have read closer.

josh r s:
so far i think i'm fine without jhana, if not better. after jhana the focus is really inwards for a couple hours, if i try to pay attention i just am looking in...


"Not trying" at a very deep level may lead you to a different kind of experience (not looking "in" at 'you', not looking anywhere, seeing actuality everywhere because of that, not having a "looking in" hangover afterwards).

However, it was not a practice suggestion (as you seem to be doing well as it is), just a thought for the future in case you decide tor revisit jhana.

josh r s:

in terms of what proves interesting, i think it would be good if there was another data point of someone who went pre-path straight to AF using strictly attention+investigation. that's what i'm doing at the moment.


Follow your heart! emoticon

These kinds of data-points will be quite useful to others.
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 10/10/11 9:22 PM
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Follow your heart!


right now my heart is split into multiple camps. fortunately the freedom-section figured out how to make himself relatively stronger and when he gains total control he's gonna go kill himself. emoticon
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 10/11/11 8:22 PM
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today and end of yesterday i've had a significant drop in attentiveness, several instances of gross suffering when not paying attention. when i went back to attention though everything was as nice as before. but there are still a lot of other members of my mind's "committee" who are sure that status is the way to true happiness. when i can pay attention though, and the freedom loving self is presented with the evidence he needs to prove the others silly, i'm just as good as before. so it looks like it's a matter of maintaining constant, precise, wide attention, i can think of two factors that affect these levels of attention.

1. desire to be attentive
2. capability to be attentive

both of these might have gone down recently, the first because i've gotten a little complacent since having the PCE, thinking i'd figured it all out and just needed to coast. the second because i stopped jhana. I'm going to try to get rid of the first, if the problem remains i'll start up jhana again.
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 10/12/11 2:02 PM
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RE: josh practice thread

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i started jhana again. i realized that my attention was dying because my hunger which was being satiated by jhanic pleasure was left untended and thus went looking for other apparently viable food, namely status. i notice that during this period i started making harsh posts and being lame, oops. jhana is a great replacement food for the self's voracious appetite.

upon reintroducing jhana i thought about trying to shift my thinking into a buddhist paradigm... very tempting. right effort and right mindfulness combined seems to be no different from haietmoba, right view/resolve have their counterparts in actualism, and what are right speech/action/livelihood if not harmlessness? but no, there is definitely a difference. actualist haietmoba and investigation looks to increase happiness while mindfulness/effort guard against stress. the former seems much more pleasant and effective. the lack of specific effort to monitor behavior keeps one from the trap of repression, and right view/resolve are spelled out really clearly in actualism, not so much for buddhism.

actualism + actualizing jhana (as the buddha intended?) seems to be the ideal method to get to actual freedom (arahantship?)

so that's where i am in practice and thought... jhana + attentiveness/investigation
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 10/12/11 10:35 PM
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When you practice jhana, do you notice that the pleasure involved is bipartite...an actual component (the part that is genuinely pleasant) and an affective component (the part that is agitating, "prickly", "dirty", or with a sense of I-feel-this attached)?
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 10/13/11 8:22 AM
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When you practice jhana, do you notice that the pleasure involved is bipartite...an actual component (the part that is genuinely pleasant) and an affective component (the part that is agitating, "prickly", "dirty", or with a sense of I-feel-this attached)?


honestly, i dont. i suck too much at jhana right now, have to get more stable before i can look at stuff like this. my current plan is to get up to 5th jhana stabilized, then start "actualizing" them or doing whatever im supposed to with them, i'll ask about that when i get there.

i might start posting more about jhana experience when i feel like i have a better handle on it. right now just focusing on breath, maybe getting into 1st/2nd.
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 10/13/11 9:07 AM
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RE: josh practice thread

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I would recommend figuring out how to concentrate on your breath in a way that is pleasurable, and then see if you can notice what is actually pleasurable in that experience, and what is affective in that experience...if so, you can ignore what is affective and pay attention to what is actually pleasurable. If you can get the pleasure to be strong enough, I think it will be really obvious what part of the experience is "pure", "clean", or wonderful (i..e. what is really pleasant about it), and what part of the experience is affective and a form of suffering masquerading as pleasure.

In my opinion this is more like what the Buddha taught. Also, it is about a million times more enjoyable than not doing it (which was one reason you decided to re-start jhana practice). Finally, it will keep you from getting lost in affective experiences, which are what generally (in my experience) cause the "looking in" hangover afterwards.

If you can figure out how to concentrate in a pleasurable way, and you can distinguish between actual pleasure and "fake" affective pleasure, you will not need to worry about which jhana you're in.

The suttas offer this simile for the first jhana:

"Just as if a skilled bathman or bathman's apprentice would pour bath powder into a brass basin and knead it together, sprinkling it again and again with water, so that his ball of bath powder — saturated, moisture-laden, permeated within and without — would nevertheless not drip; even so, the monk permeates, suffuses and fills this very body with the rapture and pleasure born of withdrawal. There is nothing of his entire body unpervaded by rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal...


If you are not experiencing significant pleasure of some kind in the first jhana (to say nothing of the second), I would say you are not experiencing the first jhana, no matter what MCTB says or what other criteria people use for jhana. This distinction (between what the suttas say and the attentional criteria some people use on the DhO) may not matter for basic insight practice, but in my experience it matters a lot if you are looking to use jhana to reach your goal of AF.
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 10/13/11 2:14 PM
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RE: josh practice thread

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this is exactly how i used to practice, which is how Thanissaro Bhikkhu describes it. but then after coming to this website i tried to just focus on breath at nose no matter what happened since that is how alot of people here talk about doing it.

i sat down in the library at school today after reading your post and actually had one of the best sessions i've had ever doing the pleasure spreading type thing, despite a far amount of noise/distraction.

when you say it doesn't matter what jhana i'm in, how does that translate to what i actually do. i think i got to first jhana, because there was definitely that pleasure and i definitely spread it to all parts of the body, like even on the surface of my feet, i was happy to just stay there with the pleasure.

there was still thought, that i would expect to not be there like "oh, this does work, too bad i wasted all that time doing other stuff." so, from this position of thought+all-over pleasurable sensation what should i do? keep watching the sensation? try to make it more intense?
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 10/13/11 2:48 PM
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RE: josh practice thread

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josh r s:
this is exactly how i used to practice, which is how Thanissaro Bhikkhu describes it.


Interesting (and perhaps unsurprising). Reference?

josh r s:
but then after coming to this website i tried to just focus on breath at nose no matter what happened since that is how alot of people here talk about doing it.


The DhO's final understanding of what jhana is about is still evolving.

josh r s:
when you say it doesn't matter what jhana i'm in, how does that translate to what i actually do. i think i got to first jhana, because there was definitely that pleasure and i definitely spread it to all parts of the body, like even on the surface of my feet, i was happy to just stay there with the pleasure.


I mean, the only think you should be figuring out how to do is how to get more pleasurable sensations. (If you get to the 4th jhana or nearby, the sensations will be "nice" and you should figure out how to get "nice" sensations).

The jhana you're in is irrelevant as far as I can see...what is relevant is your level of concentration, which is related to the amount of pleasurable sensations. So your goal should be to max out your concentration, not get to any arbitrary jhana. You will get to higher jhanas whenever it happens.

Don't forget to work on spreading the pleasurable sensations to the inside of your body (inside your feet, inside your torso, etc.). There may be a lot of 'you' in those areas, so make sure to ignore 'you' and pay attention to the pleasure only.

josh r s:
there was still thought, that i would expect to not be there like "oh, this does work, too bad i wasted all that time doing other stuff." so, from this position of thought+all-over pleasurable sensation what should i do? keep watching the sensation? try to make it more intense?


Figure out how to make it more intense. (You will have to figure it out for yourself, it may be individual to some extent. For example, watching it instead of the breath may make it more intense. Or not.) The only goal is intensity. More intensity = more concentration. After a certain point, to get it really intense, 'you' and 'your' discursive thinking will have to start disappearing...

I gave some advice and tips on the recent part of the KFD thread "Compassion isn't an affective feeling: Discuss" which you may want to check out. If you are interested in relating AF to Buddhism, you should read it.

If you continue with this practice, please post details, the records will be useful to others.
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 10/13/11 4:38 PM
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RE: josh practice thread

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here is one of the many, many places where he goes on about how to do breath meditation the right way:
from his one of his five books of about 50 dhammatalks focused on jhana meditation, the talk entitled three levels of concentration is from his second book of dhamma talks on meditation

this one is really worth a read, here is an excerpt explaining the basic method.

So the important thing in this stage is to give the mind work to do in the
pleasure. Just as with momentary concentration you focus directly on dealing
with the problem—its weakness in the face of pain or displeasure—here the
problem is the mind’s weakness in the face of pleasure, so you focus on the
pleasure. This is why Ajaan Lee has you spread the breath throughout the body:
both to give you work to do within the pleasure and to enlarge your frame of
reference. Normally, as you get more settled down, and the breath gets softer,
more refined, it gets harder and harder to keep track of. So you need to expand
your frame of reference to include the whole body. That you can keep track of,
even if the in‐and‐out movements of the breath grow still.
There are lots of ways of working with the breath in the body. One is to stay
focused on the same spot you’re always focused on, and just broaden your sense
of awareness—the range of your awareness—so that it encompasses the whole
body. Then you allow the breath to adjust so that it feels good, as good as
possible, throughout the whole body. Another way is to go through the body,
section by section, working on the breath energy in each section until it feels
pleasant, and then letting the pleasure in all the sections connect. This way you
get used to working with your pleasure.  


his teachings seem to come from ajahn fuang and ajahn lee who learned from ajahn mun, ajahn lee wrote two books as far as i am aware, and they are both good, and seem to encompass the entire path from the perspective of pure pragmatic stuff.

frames of reference

keeping the breath in mind - the section labeled "method 2" is the section in which the actual method is clearly explained

the thai forest tradition seems pretty simple; stay alert, avoid and abandon the unskillful, develop and maintain the skillful, when you can go do jhana.
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 10/14/11 2:43 PM
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RE: josh practice thread

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anyone know of anything interesting to investigate while smoking weed? probably going to be a one time thing
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 10 Years ago at 10/14/11 3:01 PM
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RE: josh practice thread

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josh r s:
anyone know of anything interesting to investigate while smoking weed? probably going to be a one time thing


try doing what you usually do, but put extra effort into remaining mindful (not getting distracted)
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N A, modified 10 Years ago at 10/14/11 3:22 PM
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josh r s:
anyone know of anything interesting to investigate while smoking weed? probably going to be a one time thing
Try listening to good music, preferably something reasonably complex (eg. classical). Weed's ability to increase one's capacity to see patterns really shines here.
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Brian Eleven, modified 10 Years ago at 10/14/11 4:45 PM
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Josh,
Just wanted to say thanks for a great thread! I'm getting a lot of good pointers, as we seem to be in similar places.

Brian.
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 10/15/11 3:28 PM
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thanks for the advice but i forgot i even asked the question, still pretty high lol

brian thats good im glad you liked the thread

edit: brian not brain emoticon
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 10/14/11 9:04 PM
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i'm gaining some deep insights into "trick the bridesmaid"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehYoIKTsiV0&feature=related
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 10/15/11 8:42 AM
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wow, being high was actually very useful. i am way less attached to my intelligence and my view of my intelligence after being so clearly without it. i think there's been a major shift, but i'll wait a while, maybe i'm still a little high lol

i don't think ill try it again though
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MuMuWu MuMuMuMu, modified 10 Years ago at 10/17/11 7:00 AM
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Another helpful Jhana Quote:

"At this point you can let go of the sensation of the in-and-out breath — the coarse breath, the obvious breath — and focus more on the subtle breath flow in the body. As you work through all the different parts of the body where it feels tense or blocked or sort of squeezed out, you let the breath sensations fill all those little nooks and crannies, and there comes a greater and greater sense of fullness, refreshment. That's what piti means. It's the drinking-in of the good sensation. We normally translate piti as rapture, but it's also related to the word for drinking, pivati. You drink-in this nice sensation. It feels full, it feels refreshing all the way through the body because you've opened up all the little cells in the body and allowed the breath to enter. When you get that sense of fullness, it's easier to relax.

This may not be a pretty image, but the mind at this point is like a mosquito when it's finally hit a big vein in your body. It sticks its little proboscis in and just stays right there, bathed in bliss. Its wings go weak, its feet go weak, and no matter how much you try to brush it away, it just doesn't want to go. It's just drinking-in what it wants. The same with the mind: As soon as that refreshing breath sensation begins to fill up in the body, you let go of everything else. No matter what other disturbances come, you're not the least bit interested because you've got something really satisfying. You could almost say that it's a sensation to die for. You let down your guard, let go of everything else, because this sensation is so totally absorbing. You've opened up every part of the body, every part of your awareness for this sensation to come in.

As you stay there and the mind grows more and more still, you become aware of a deeper sensation of absolute fullness with no sense of flowing back and forth — a real stillness in the body. There's a slight sense of air exchange on the very surface of the body, the surface of your awareness, but deep down inside there's a great stillness. There's no longer the sense of drinking-in because you're absolutely full. Ajaan Lee uses the image of an ice cube: There's a vapor coming off the cube — a very vaporous movement around the edge of your awareness — but everything else is solid and still.

And then finally even that vapor stops, and the solidity fills your whole awareness. It's accompanied by a sense of brightness, even though you may not sense this brightness as a light. It's a peculiar quality: a physical sensation, a feeling tone, of brightness, clarity, filling the whole body, and you're just sitting there in the middle of it.

There's no need to rush through these stages, no need to go jumping through hoops. In fact, it's best if you not try to rush. Just find one sensation you can tune-in to. Stay right there and it will develop on its own, simply because of the consistency of your focus. When you finally reach that sense of solid stillness and stay there, you begin to realize that you can choose to give a shape to it or not. You can focus on the sensations that give you a sense of the shape of the body or you can choose to ignore them. This is where you really see the principle of kamma coming into play in the meditation. It's almost as if the various sensations of the body have turned into a mist. There are these little breath droplets just shimmering there, and you sense the space in between them. The whole body is filled with this space, which also extends outside the body in every direction. Instead of focusing on the little droplets, you can focus on the space. This gives you a really clear lesson in how much choice you have in how you experience the present moment. Just the simple sensation of having a body here comes from subconscious shape-giving choices you've made. You realize there are lots of different sensations you can focus on, and there's a skill in how you choose your sensations, in how you magnify the ones you want, and how you just put aside the ones you don't.

So even though this is just training in concentration, there's also a lot of discernment involved. As the Buddha once said, both tranquillity and insight are required for getting good strong states of absorption. And he never talked about insight without framing it in terms of kamma, in terms of the skillfulness of what you're doing."

- http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/meditations.html
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 10/17/11 5:38 PM
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RE: josh practice thread

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yes. very nice, just what im doing now. i've had so much more motivation to do samadhi because it's so much more pleasant. i did seven sits today about 40 mins each, at no point was a forcing myself to do it, maybe i'm becoming a jhana junkie 0.o but that's better than most types of junkying at least.

i've shifted a bit from thanissaro/lee's exact instructions. now right when i sit i just conceptualize the breath as a single fluid entity and let the natural refreshing aspect of the breath sensations to soak through every cubic millimeter of body. it's so great, we have a hunger for oxygen which is satisfied with each breath, a constant source of refreshing sensation (as long as you perceive the in and out breath as not having a separation).

after filling up the body i've just been trying to connect all of the pleasant aspect of full body breath sensations rather than working with the sensations in and of themselves. connecting them, staring at their pleasant aspect. they intensify, shit gets nice. thinking i'm at second jhana, going to spend a few more days there and then figure out where next to focus the attention.

planning to master all 8 emoticon, but i'm curious, does insight come totally naturally? is it just a matter of establishing mindfulness within these jhanas? if so i am really lovin the path right now.
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 10/17/11 5:45 PM
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josh r s:
planning to master all 8 emoticon, but i'm curious, does insight come totally naturally? is it just a matter of establishing mindfulness within these jhanas? if so i am really lovin the path right now.


I say, if you notice the pleasant aspects (instead of the affective parts), and if you exaggerate the pleasant aspects, you are paying attention quite closely to something that is actual, so you have already established mindfulness.

I think that some basic goals could be:

1) Getting pleasantness (however you conceive of that) throughout the whole body.

2) Noticing pleasantness in the whole body at once.

3) Increasing pleasantness beyond previous levels, letting go of more layers of discursive thinking and selfing.

4) Distinguishing pleasantness from affective experience more precisely.

I would make worrying about which jhana you're in quite secondary to these things. My guess is that you will gain access to new jhanas when your mind is ready (just as you would move to the next part of the progress of insight when your mind is ready). I would also say that progress in these four things is highly likely to get you to the next jhana sooner.

Anyway, good to hear that this is working for you. Are you "hung over" afterwards or does it segue smoothly into paying attention during the day?

josh r s:
maybe i'm becoming a jhana junkie 0.o but that's better than most types of junkying at least.


An addiction that ends all addictions...
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 10/17/11 7:06 PM
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1) and 2) seems to be something i am accomplishing at every sit
3) seems to be something i am beginning to really get a firm grip on
4) seems to be something i am getting hints of

inwardness hangover severely diminished when the object of meditation is breath throughout the whole body rather than at a specific point. usually at 5 minutes of really really strong effortless attention accompanied by receding pleasant sensations throughout the whole body. a bit later just the attention remains although it becomes less wide, then later i'm heedless with alternating minutes of attention and no-attention. then later i'm doing jhana again.

also, not really worrying, my meta-attitude towards the practice is good as it has ever been, the evaluation of which jhana i'm in is always just an afterthought. the process is what i'm focusing on.

spread refreshment to everything, transform refreshment to intensified pleasantness, chill like a bawce (hoping to replace this part with something when i figure out what next to do)

by the way, thanks so much, you've helped me a lot, whenever i have a moment's confusion about where to go next you let me know the next step... awesome
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 10/18/11 12:39 AM
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RE: josh practice thread

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josh r s:
1) and 2) seems to be something i am accomplishing at every sit
3) seems to be something i am beginning to really get a firm grip on
4) seems to be something i am getting hints of

inwardness hangover severely diminished when the object of meditation is breath throughout the whole body rather than at a specific point. usually at 5 minutes of really really strong effortless attention accompanied by receding pleasant sensations throughout the whole body. a bit later just the attention remains although it becomes less wide, then later i'm heedless with alternating minutes of attention and no-attention. then later i'm doing jhana again.


Let's add

5) Longer and longer stretches of being mindful of the breath without significant distraction (whether or not that mindfulness produces jhana or a state preliminary to jhana or is just watching the breath without much pleasantness).

What would you say is the cause of the stretches of heedlessness you mention? Apart from giving it more time (which is probably the main thing), thinking about whether there are any specific causes you can identify may help you improve in this way.

josh r s:
spread refreshment to everything, transform refreshment to intensified pleasantness, chill like a bawce (hoping to replace this part with something when i figure out what next to do)


Working on 3) will probably be what to do next (pleasantness increases as thinking / conceptualizing / trying / feeling decreases).

As for 4), I wonder...do you think you could recognize what the experience of your body was like during your PCE if it were presented to you in some form again? If so, can you recognize that quality in your experience in some way once you've gotten the pleasantness reasonably high?

Also, how is your attention during the day?

josh r s:
by the way, thanks so much, you've helped me a lot, whenever i have a moment's confusion about where to go next you let me know the next step... awesome


My pleasure.
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 10/19/11 8:19 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/19/11 8:18 AM

RE: josh practice thread

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I seem to have picked up a new way of paying attention reading awareness itself, a book by ajahn fuang the (deceased) teacher of thanissaro bhikkhu. it's been so satisfying that every time i close my eyes to go to jhana i decide i'd rather just sit there and pay attention like this. some kind of shift when reading this:


§ “Whatever you experience, simply be aware of it. You don’t have to take after it. The primal heart has no characteristics. It’s aware of everything. But as soon as things make contact, within or without, they cause a lapse in mindfulness, so that we let go of awareness, forget awareness in and of itself, and take on all the characteristics of the things that come later. Then we act out in line with them—becoming happy, sad or whatever. The reason we’re this way is because we take conventional truths and latch on to them tight. If we don’t want to be under their influence, we’ll have to stay with primal awareness at all times. This requires a great deal of mindfulness.”


and this:

§ “Whenever anything hits you, let it go only as far as ‘aware’. Don’t let it go all the way into the heart.”


§ “All you need to do is keep your sense of simple awareness solid and strong, and nothing will be able to overwhelm you.”


somehow i'm now dealing with awareness of "xyz" instead of just "xyz"

i'll see how long this stays satisfying
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 10/19/11 7:42 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/19/11 7:22 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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jeez... random suicidalness, not considering acting on it but ugh.. don't know how this came up at all. atm anything having to do with felicity seems full of effort, ineffective, temporary, and more painful than anything else. anything with equanimity is just crushing depression, just sort of feeling like there is no point to this, why be "ok" with this stuff when if i was dead i wouldn't have to deal with it at all. it all started with some really light questioning about "am i doing this right?"... that one always gets me.

what exactly do i take refuge in? what aspect of experience isn't just a bunch of dissatisfaction flopping around? it's really apparent that there isn't anything to hold on to, but rather than bringing any release that's just like a depressing grim fact, you can't hold on so you'll just have to flail around forever or die

edit: i think i pulled out of this one after rereading... how about instead of because there's nothing to hold on to, you must flail around... because there's nothing to hold on to, you don't try to hold on

i'd been holding on to some impermanent qualities of that attention i mentioned earlier, and as soon as they weren't accessible i started flipping out... ok ok i think i got this one

a matter of having equanimity as to whether equanimity is present. which sort of doesn't make sense but i dont care :o

right now it's sort of like im in a car and stuff is just flying past when i look out the windows

ha, this is actually pretty great, a very clear moment of seeing myself trying to take refuge in an utterly unsafe place and then realizing that i might as well not go through all that taking refuge when it's no more safe than not taking refuge

very still right now, every movement 'i' begin to make is clearly stressful and clearly silly.

"isn't this just seeing things and leaving them as they--" (no point in trying to take refuge in progress)

"am i making myself seem--" (no point in trying to take refuge in status)
John Wilde, modified 10 Years ago at 10/19/11 8:37 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/19/11 8:34 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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josh r s:
jeez... random suicidalness, not considering acting on it but ugh.. don't know how this came up at all. atm anything having to do with felicity seems full of effort, ineffective, temporary, and more painful than anything else. anything with equanimity is just crushing depression, just sort of feeling like there is no point to this, why be "ok" with this stuff when if i was dead i wouldn't have to deal with it at all. it all started with some really light questioning about "am i doing this right?"... that one always gets me.


Not an actualist answer, but if you're open to seeing things another way:

Trying to be happy works no better than leaving it to chance. On days when happiness comes easily, you think your efforts are working. On days when it doesn't, you think your efforts are failing. You change your approach slightly and the whole cycle repeats. Have seen this over and over again, with many different people.

Imagine you're told that it's entirely your choice whether there will be sunshine or rain, and your daily practice is to cultivate a pure intent to increase the sunshine and minimize the rain. Imagine you put sincere effort into this over a long period of time.

Sunny day today? Great, all that Sunshine Practice is really starting to pay off; it's all so simple really; all you have to do is blah-blah-blah; why didn't I see that before?

Rainy day today? Hmmm, my Sunshine Practice seems to have stalled; maybe I need more pure intent; maybe I need more attentiveness; maybe I should try for stream entry first; can anyone suggest...?

Would it feel much different from how you're feeling now? All you'd be doing is adding strain to the situation.

Despite the analogy, I'm not saying there is nothing anyone can do change the way they feel, or even that that it's not possible to just choose happiness. But judge for yourself whether the above is true in your own experience.

josh r s:

what exactly do i take refuge in? what aspect of experience isn't just a bunch of dissatisfaction flopping around?


What is it in which the dissatisfaction arises and subsides?

Whatever it is, it's not dissatisfied and it isn't flopping around.

It's not exactly an "aspect of experience" it is experience itself (describable in a myriad of ways), which is ultimately unaffected by any of its contents.

If you get a taste for that, rather than any of its contents in particular, the stress of misguided effort subsides, and good feelings tend to flourish naturally as a consequence.

Not an AF answer, but might help anyway.

John
Stian Gudmundsen Høiland, modified 10 Years ago at 10/19/11 10:22 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/19/11 10:21 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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I really like that thought experiment. And noticing "the box" as opposed to "its content" is the advice. Good stuff.
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 10/20/11 6:44 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/20/11 6:44 AM

RE: josh practice thread

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But judge for yourself whether the above is true in your own experience.

yes definitely

it is experience itself

sounds just like that book i had been reading of ajaan fuang quotes/anecdotes. instead of experience itself he says awareness itself, the title of the book. so maybe i was doin it wrong. when i try and think about it, i can't see a way to "take refuge" in awareness/experience without "taking refuge" in some specific quality of awareness/experience... is there a how-to guide somewhere? o.o lol

what exactly is experience itself? it's obviously not some object in consciousness because it is consciousness, but how can you look at it or do anything to it when it's everything... nyah

maybe this is what i was doing when i had a PCE like two weeks ago before i started doing buddhist stuff again... i definitely thought of it very differently
John Wilde, modified 10 Years ago at 10/20/11 7:55 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/20/11 7:55 AM

RE: josh practice thread

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josh r s:

sounds just like that book i had been reading of ajaan fuang quotes/anecdotes. instead of experience itself he says awareness itself, the title of the book. so maybe i was doin it wrong. when i try and think about it, i can't see a way to "take refuge" in awareness/experience without "taking refuge" in some specific quality of awareness/experience... is there a how-to guide somewhere? o.o lol

what exactly is experience itself? it's obviously not some object in consciousness because it is consciousness, but how can you look at it or do anything to it when it's everything... nyah


Hard to know how best to point to it. The first time I grokked it (in a truly useful way) was after having a conversation with a guy about PCE's several years ago. He knew nothing about actualism; he was coming at it from a mainly Advaita perspective. He thought about it for a while and said "for me, all experience is pure consciousness experiencing". My first reaction was no, no, you don't understand what I mean by "pure" (which indeed he didn't). But then later I got to pondering what he said, and it opened some doors for me.

(Will get back to you on this later; bit pressed for time right now).

John
John Wilde, modified 10 Years ago at 10/20/11 7:57 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/20/11 7:57 AM

RE: josh practice thread

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Stian Gudmundsen Høiland:
noticing "the box" as opposed to "its content"


Yeah, that's a nice and concise way of putting it.

John
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 10/20/11 3:39 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/20/11 3:39 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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that was the third major "rock bottom" type experience i've had, i think i've come out a tad wiser and a tad more resolved to actually do this each time, each time it's been shorter and i've learned more from it, i can really see some progress from when i started. had a great practice day today, i think i'm just going to check in in a couple weeks, currently just cultivating a panoramic/still awareness, that's my whole practice. seeya in a bit
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 10/28/11 6:51 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/22/11 2:20 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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neural pathways wither away or strengthen due to use. attention to processes involving them = use. attention naturally falls on perceiving fabrications such as power, status, connection, conflict, red, pain, cold, hot, self etc. paying attention to actual experience of sensations, thoughts, and consciousness allows the neural pathways used in the process of fabrication to weaken and wither while the space they take up is colonized by processes of perceiving thoughts, sensations, and consciousness, creating a more detailed experience of actuality as the suffering of the natural responses to fabricated phenomena goes away

if you pay attention to actual experience continuously enough, "asking haietmoba each moment again" you enter a PCE. it is convenient to sit and close eyes while focusing on actuality if you want to do it rapidly/continuously enough.

you can shape the moment by paying attention to different things. than. bhikkhu often talks about sleeping on the floorboards that aren't rotten as a metaphor. realizing this i feel like i am absolutely speeding down the path, i'm not trying to strain to do impossible things (anything that isn't shifting attention) and i am utilizing the one possible thing to its maximum (paying attention to actuality and ignoring fabrications)

note: this doesn't mean ignore affective perception, just ignore its cause

edit: in case anyone gets curious, i'm not going to post again unless i have some big problem, i am doing really good, just paying attention to the senses without any other instruction. trying to pay attention to their "raw" subjective irreducible unit of consciousness form, it's been producing lots of felicity with no effort, probably because i'm judging practice by how sensuous i am instead of how pleasant experience is. i've had some big change and stuff is just working out really well. i'll seeya when im either done or have a big issue.
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 11/3/11 5:39 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 11/3/11 5:35 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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2 questions

1. i realized recently i've been doing vipassana for quite a while but thinking about it differently. i always thought i was just paying attention to the fact that "i" can't control stuff, and thus should shut up and stop trying. but i recently realized that the only way i knew i didnt have control was through seeing impermanence, and seeing that i dont have control is seeing not-self right? anyway, on realizing this i was curious about how exactly seeing the other characteristic, dukkha, plays in. actuality doesn't seem to be dukkha, at least as i understand dukkha, which is that it means inherently unsatisfactory. i've had one PCE and it sure seemed that actuality was satisfying (even in terms of each individual sensation).

2. are you supposed to change your practice if you think you have stream entry? my best guess is no, and i should keep doing what i'm doing, but wanted to make sure.

ah, and what i'm doing now is paying attention to everything at once and trying to still push/pull by seeing that pushing/pull is painful and gives only the illusion of control
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 11/3/11 6:03 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 11/3/11 5:48 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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josh r s:
anyway, on realizing this i was curious about how exactly seeing the other characteristic, dukkha, plays in. actuality doesn't seem to be dukkha, at least as i understand dukkha, which is that it means inherently unsatisfactory. i've had one PCE and it sure seemed that actuality was satisfying (even in terms of each individual sensation).


I don't have the final doctrinal answer about this, but in practical terms, you can think of things this way: every single experience you have is either affective or actual. All the affective experiences are dukkha. And, in your non-AF, non-PCE-having (maybe) state, all the actual experiences are the things that cause the mind to generate the affective experiences. So all the actual experiences are causes of dukkha.

So it all sucks, directly or indirectly. Seeing this, one may lose all personal investment in having any type of experience...which, coincidentally is the attitude that is crucial to becoming free of it.

EDIT: Another take (which I am personally leaning towards) is that, in PCE-like experiences, it is the reduction in or absence of craving that is what makes them so good, not the sense-experiences themselves. Was it actuality that satisfied you, or simply the absence of a 'you' that could feel dissatisfied by sense-experiences?

josh r s:
2. are you supposed to change your practice if you think you have stream entry?


No.

Do you think you have MCTB stream entry, or something else? (Just curious, it doesn't matter much.)
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 11/3/11 6:35 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 11/3/11 5:59 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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ah ok that makes sense about dukkha

and i didn't know there were different types of stream entry o.o i'm sure i had some A/P stuff around 9 months back, can definitely recognize dark night and equanimity up and down up until october 24 when i had what i thought was a flash of PCE, but i've experienced a pretty solid change in baseline since. i had just been sitting around all day and doing that practice (choiceless awareness?) and i turned on my computer and looked at my background which is Tarin's flowchart and tried to "find perfection here and now" and stilled everything really really fast and had either a flash of a PCE really short or got stream entry.

idk if it is at all possible to determine from that description, but i am sure i've had change in experience since, attention has been easy and low level felicity near-constant.

Was it actuality that satisfied you, or simply the absence of a 'you' that could feel dissatisfied by sense-experiences?


i dont know lol. the second one makes more sense of course, if i have another PCE i'll try and investigate.
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 11/3/11 6:06 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 11/3/11 6:06 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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I have no idea if there are different types of stream entry, but some people here have played around with the idea or are still playing around with it.

The way to check for MCTB stream entry is to see if you can have a cessation without (much) effort.

The moment after cessation seems to be PCE-like (but I can't see it clearly enough to describe it accurately beyond that).
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 11/3/11 7:14 PM
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RE: josh practice thread

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The way to check for MCTB stream entry is to see if you can have a cessation without (much) effort.


ok, how? :o

just notice not having control, getting more and more still in terms of mental push/pull?

edit: probably not stream entry, can't seem to do fruition, or maybe it is, i don't care emoticon
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 11/5/11 7:14 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 11/5/11 7:14 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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josh r s:
The way to check for MCTB stream entry is to see if you can have a cessation without (much) effort.


ok, how? :o

just notice not having control, getting more and more still in terms of mental push/pull?

edit: probably not stream entry, can't seem to do fruition, or maybe it is, i don't care emoticon


I'm not sure how to explain it. If one recognizes what cessation is, one can resolve to have one, and see if it happens.

Otherwise, one can simply sit around and wait for it to happen spontaneously. It is likely to happen sooner if paying attention, but will eventually happen even if not.

These are the MCTB standards as I understand them.
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 11/6/11 7:11 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 11/6/11 3:33 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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should i be equanimous to equanimity? just watching reactions or trying to calm reactions

are there limitations to using the breath as an object of mindfulness? i am able to be more continuously aware of the breath than just everything at once, but i feel some level of stress which is too subtle to fully comprehend (for me) going on when i switch from panoramic to breath.

these stem from the same basic question of minimizing stress vs. maximizing attention, the two seem to have a little conflict for me.

edit: to be specific the conflict is between minimizin stress and maximizing continuousness of attention

edit: i'll try one for a week and another for another week unless someone has a good way of solvin my problem
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Andrew , modified 10 Years ago at 11/6/11 8:47 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 11/6/11 8:47 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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josh r s:
neural pathways wither away or strengthen due to use. attention to processes involving them = use. attention naturally falls on perceiving fabrications such as power, status, connection, conflict, red, pain, cold, hot, self etc. paying attention to actual experience of sensations, thoughts, and consciousness allows the neural pathways used in the process of fabrication to weaken and wither while the space they take up is colonized by processes of perceiving thoughts, sensations, and consciousness, creating a more detailed experience of actuality as the suffering of the natural responses to fabricated phenomena goes away


This is the crux of it to me, my understanding is that every day our brain cycles through 90min sine wave like learning loops, whatever it predominant during the learning phase gets imprinted in the relaxation phase.

Options
1) being happy at the senses and attentive to what ever pleasantness can be found.

2) can't find pleasant feelings, be attentive anyway.

3) refer to number 1 or 2. If you can't go to 4)

4) work out what silly thought or belief or whatever is getting you stuck, then back on the happy train. Stress is us believing the world should be other than it is most of the time, for me anyway. It is what it is, stay happy.

Do that for enough cycles and what you are talking about happens. that's what my money is on anyway...

Regarding equanimity to equanimity, sounds like a loop to me. Aversion to aversion, bored of being bored, mindful of being mindful, not sure where they would stop.
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 11/6/11 11:08 PM
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RE: josh practice thread

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josh r s:
should i be equanimous to equanimity? just watching reactions or trying to calm reactions


Experiment.

I ultimately found, in my own case, that watching them is the best way to calm affective stuff that had no obvious cause, whereas affective stuff that had a circumstantial cause could be better dealt with by trying to confront / distract / disarm / calm the reaction.

josh r s:
are there limitations to using the breath as an object of mindfulness? i am able to be more continuously aware of the breath than just everything at once, but i feel some level of stress which is too subtle to fully comprehend (for me) going on when i switch from panoramic to breath.


Not exactly sure what the problem is, but I had a similar-sounding problem at one time, so here are two thoughts about that:

1) Check to see if you're controlling the breath in some subtle way instead of just watching it. If so, work on not doing that. (For me it took practice.)

2) Check to see if, when you focus on the breath, you're subtly or not-so-subtly pushing away other parts of your experience. Paying attention to the breath shouldn't mean excluding anything; it should mean making the breath the main thing, and continuing to see it more and more clearly, while letting the rest of experience be in awareness to the extent that it can be. (Pushing things out of awareness is inherently stressful; not seeing panoramically is a form of pushing things out.) Even if you think you're not doing this, see what happens if you expand the range of your awareness while sticking with the breath.

As a concentration practice, there are no limits to mindfulness of breath for jhanas 1-4.

As a moment-to-moment practice during life, I see advantages and disadvantages to mindfulness of breath, but see no fundamental limitation if your attention remains panoramic enough.

josh r s:
these stem from the same basic question of minimizing stress vs. maximizing attention, the two seem to have a little conflict for me.

edit: to be specific the conflict is between minimizin stress and maximizing continuousness of attention


If paying attention causes stress, just live with it (as not paying attention isn't going to help you) while simultaneously trying to find ways to pay attention that are less stressful, if you can find any.

I have paid attention in very stress-causing ways for very long periods of time, and it seemed to work out pretty well, so paying attention seems to me to be the fundamental thing.

Furthermore, the monk notices this: 'When I live according to my pleasure, unskillful mental qualities increase in me & skillful qualities decline. When I exert myself with stress & pain, though, unskillful qualities decline in me & skillful qualities increase. Why don't I exert myself with stress & pain?' So he exerts himself with stress & pain, and while he is exerting himself with stress & pain, unskillful qualities decline in him, & skillful qualities increase. Then at a later time he would no longer exert himself with stress & pain. Why is that? Because he has attained the goal for which he was exerting himself with stress & pain. (MN 101)


If the continuity of your attention is better when attending in a more stressful way, and this is the only way of developing skillful qualities such as mindfulness at some particular moment, then it is better to suffer at that moment for the sake of developing those qualities.
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 11/7/11 10:16 AM
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RE: josh practice thread

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thanks EiS
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 11/7/11 10:20 AM
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RE: josh practice thread

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An excerpt from Than. Bhikku's essay in his book purity of heart - "A verb for Nirvana"

sure sounds like PCE

Just as all phenomena are rooted in desire, consciousness localizes itself through passion. Passion is what creates the “there” on which consciousness can land or get established, whether the “there” is a form, feeling, perception, thought‐construct, or a type of consciousness itself. Once consciousness gets established on any of these aggregates, it becomes attached and then proliferates, feeding on everything around it and creating all sorts of havoc. Wherever there’s attachment, that’s where you get defined as a being. You create an identity there, and in so doing you’re limited there. Even if the “there” is an infinite sense of awareness grounding, surrounding, or permeating everything else, it’s still limited, for “grounding” and so forth are aspects of place. Wherever there’s place, no matter how subtle, passion lies latent, looking for more food to feed on.
If, however, the passion can be removed, there’s no more “there” there. One sutta illustrates this with a simile: the sun shining through the eastern wall of a house and landing on the western wall. If the western wall, the ground beneath it, and the waters beneath the ground were all removed, the sunlight wouldn’t land. In the same way, if passion for form, etc., could be removed, consciousness would have no “where” to land, and so would become unestablished. This doesn’t mean that consciousness would be annihilated, simply that—like the sunlight—it would now have no locality. With no locality, it would no longer be defined.

This is why the consciousness of nirvana is said to be “without surface” (anidassanam), for it doesn’t land. Because the consciousness‐aggregate covers only consciousness that is near or far, past, present, or future—i.e., in connection with space and time—consciousness without surface is not included in the aggregates. It’s not eternal because eternity is a function of time. And because non‐local also means undefined, the Buddha insisted that an awakened person— unlike ordinary people—can’t be located or defined in any relation to the aggregates in this life; after death, he/she can’t be described as existing, not existing, neither, or both, because descriptions can apply only to definable things.
The essential step toward this non‐local, undefined realization is to cut back on the proliferations of consciousness. This first involves contemplating the drawbacks of keeping consciousness trapped in the process of feeding. This contemplation gives urgency to the next steps: bringing the mind to oneness in concentration, gradually refining that oneness, and then dropping it to zero.

The 78 drawbacks of feeding are most graphically described in SN XII.63, A Son’s Flesh. The process of gradually refining oneness is probably best described in MN 121, The Lesser Discourse on Emptiness, while the drop to zero is best described in the Buddha’s famous instructions to Bahiya: “‘In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized.’ That is how you should train yourself. When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bahiya, there is no you in connection with that. When there is no you in connection with that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress.”
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 11/7/11 1:37 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 11/7/11 1:35 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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Weird ongoing experience atm. I am suddenly perceiving a tension that has a tinge of pleasantness all around my perimeter, it seems like the feeling of being not manifesting as anything in particular, but it is different because it is now like a flexing a muscle rather than something just "there" or somehow coming from outside. it's as if i was cold and tensed up against the cold, but i'm totally unable to relax, and unable to see what exactly i'm tensing against. it's as if i was tensing and through my tension creating a sort of dirty pleasant feeling, it's not very nice, much rather relax.

anyone recognize this? if so what approach did you take?

my rationalization is that i am recognizing that i am making this affect, being, happen. but not able to understand it well enough to stop.
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 11/9/11 7:25 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 11/9/11 7:25 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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"the reality of emotion" - from thanissaro bhikkhu excerpt

There’s a passage in T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets where he raises an important
question: Suppose you have a feeling of deep spiritual contentment, of oneness
and connectedness with all the universe. To what extent is that feeling
meaningful? Is it a sign that you’ve attained a heightened spiritual state? Are you
in touch with some transcendent reality? Or is it simply a sign that you had a
nice dinner and you feel rested, physically satisfied? This is an important
question for people who want to read deep meanings into their feelings. They
want to believe that their feelings constitute their true identity, and that their
feelings tell the truth. But feelings can lie. A warm sense of interconnectedness
may indicate simply that your digestion is good, and physically you’re well
provided for.

One way of getting around that conundrum is to look not at what feelings
really mean, but at what you can do with them. This is the Buddha’s approach.
As he points out, our feelings are fabricated. Although the happiness of nibbana
is not a feeling, every other form of happiness is a feeling, and every feeling is
fabricated. This means that all feelings have an intentional element. We put them
together for a certain purpose. We want a particular feeling if for nothing else
than to establish who we are and what we want. There is a purpose—many times
blind and unknown—that shapes what we feel.
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Andrew , modified 10 Years ago at 11/9/11 8:44 PM
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RE: josh practice thread

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Cool quote josh.

I have read your thread and really appreciated you sharing your PCE lead up experience. I've been mulling over the meaning of 'no responsibility' from the perspective of 'no self' and 'benevolent and benign universe' for all of yesterday arvo and it really builds a type of equanimity to the fact that like John Wilde pointed out, feeling happy deliberately seems to go just as well as leaving it to chance! That the ups and downs of our feelings are almost predictable and like your quote, not to be taken as confirmation 'I am doing it right!'
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 11/10/11 4:06 PM
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RE: josh practice thread

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hi peeps, is it better to try and see specific things like impermanence, or just to look (at six senses)? when i "just look" i'm definitely gaining some insight, and it seems to be doing fine, but im not quite sure.

also, does the buddha instruct people to look for three C's? i know he instructs us to look for stress + its cause + it's cessation + path to its sensation... and that's what i seem to naturally tend to bring to my attention
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 11/10/11 5:21 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 11/10/11 5:21 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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josh r s:
hi peeps, is it better to try and see specific things like impermanence, or just to look (at six senses)? when i "just look" i'm definitely gaining some insight, and it seems to be doing fine, but im not quite sure.


As "impermanence" just means that sensations change, how are you not seeing that if you're alert and attentive?

MCTB "impermanence" means the rapid interchange of sense-experience and affect ("vibrations")...going out of your way to observe this will get you MCTB paths.

As for whether you need to do this at all or not, keep in mind that most (all?) people here who are in a place to answer your question would only be speculating, as they have all observed MCTB impermanence and gotten MCTB paths.

The bit of speculation that I have the most doctrinal / empirical evidence for, which is what I'd stand by, is what I told you some months ago: if this practice is reducing the amount of affective stuff in your experience over the medium-term, then it's working. (Which it seems to be.)

Are you unsatisfied with the rate of your progress?

What portion of the day are you paying attention during?

josh r s:
also, does the buddha instruct people to look for three C's? i know he instructs us to look for stress + its cause + it's cessation + path to its sensation... and that's what i seem to naturally tend to bring to my attention


Most discussion of the 3Cs is in context of "introductory" stuff. Anyway, what would you be looking for? The 3Cs aren't dangling on the ends of sensations, hidden unless one looks...they are (supposed to be) self-evident facts about sensations.

I would say, if you think some sensation is permanent, if you think some sensation is desirable, if you think some sensation is self, then you should investigate in terms of the 3Cs.
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 11/10/11 5:46 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 11/10/11 5:34 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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As "impermanence" just means that sensations change, how are you not seeing that if you're alert and attentive?


I am seeing it, just not "trying" to see more of it, or focusing on it

Are you unsatisfied with the rate of your progress?


never been more satisfied with it, just so focused on maximizing more and more equanimity that i wanted to make sure i wasn't missing some important step... and that doesn't even fully describe how happy i've been with the practice recently, because i've also been having alot of fun with it, outside of just the minimizing of stress, figuring out how to minimize it is fun.

What portion of the day are you paying attention during?


i've been probably doing formal sits 5 hours/day, the rest of the time probably around 70% aware, only time it's not solid is intermittently while reading/attending classes, putting no effort into "refining becoming" other than calming reactivity

This was brought on by looking more into Goenka, since what i'm doing essentially seems to be body scanning, except the scanning isn't continuous, i'll focus in on areas of affective stress, doing various things with attention to calm it, mostly stay panoramic on the body. stuff I read seems to indicate that you should be really focusing on seeing impermanence, but i guess seeing actual sensations in and of themselves is in effect seeing impermanence.

my doubts will manifest themselves even when they make no sense i guess.. hehe.

i've been doing this type of practice for about 3 weeks with some brief forays into jhana, felicity, and other ways of conceptualizing it.
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 11/10/11 7:32 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 11/10/11 7:32 PM

RE: josh practice thread

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
josh r s:
i've been probably doing formal sits 5 hours/day, the rest of the time probably around 70% aware, only time it's not solid is intermittently while reading/attending classes, putting no effort into "refining becoming" other than calming reactivity


If you could describe your experiences during your sits, that might be helpful.

Do you notice vibrations when sitting? If so, how distinct are they? Constant or occasional? Also, do you notice them when not sitting?

josh r s:
This was brought on by looking more into Goenka, since what i'm doing essentially seems to be body scanning, except the scanning isn't continuous, i'll focus in on areas of affective stress, doing various things with attention to calm it, mostly stay panoramic on the body.


This worked for me, albeit late in my practice...but, I don't see why it wouldn't work for everyone, as I notice no aspect of the practice that requires any special insight, beyond what it takes to do it effectively.

Could you describe how the affective stuff arises and how it eventually goes away and re-arises?

josh r s:
stuff I read seems to indicate that you should be really focusing on seeing impermanence, but i guess seeing actual sensations in and of themselves is in effect seeing impermanence.

my doubts will manifest themselves even when they make no sense i guess.. hehe.


My best guess is that, if you're very alert at all times, and your attention doesn't lapse so that you rest in 'being' more than infrequently, you're seeing impermanence just fine...the only thing that "trying" will do beyond this is to conjure up more vibrations / affective stuff, which may get you MCTB paths sooner, but may also just mess up your practice for no good reason. So it's your call.

(If you don't know what "resting in 'being'" means, just ask...I think it's an idiosyncratic phrase.)
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 11/10/11 9:10 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 11/10/11 9:08 PM

RE: josh practice thread

Posts: 337 Join Date: 9/16/11 Recent Posts
If you could describe your experiences during your sits, that might be helpful.


ok, i just sit eyes closed, still as possible because it seems to help... i pay attention to all the physical sensations at once for a while, trying to calm down any aversion/craving. after calming down i look for areas of stress generally focusing on either throat or chest where there is always a little bit of affective tension. i just watch it, trying to "ground' any of that tension to the physical and just be equanimous to the physical pain. then i expand attention back out to everything and just try and max out four ideal qualities of attention that you mentioned in some post a while back. width, precision, equanimity, not resting in being-ness. if serious tension pops up i'll focus there and ground + be equanimous.

Do you notice vibrations when sitting? If so, how distinct are they? Constant or occasional? Also, do you notice them when not sitting?


i think that i notice constant vibrations while sitting, if vibrations = tingling as a solid sensation is broken up into a billion little thingies. if by distinct you mean that they are clear and intense then they are in some areas. i sit with one hand on top of the other in my lap and in my hands they get really really intense and my hands feel like they are turning into tingly balloons or something. i notice them much less intensely when not sitting and can turn up and down the "volume" on them by focusing in on specific areas.

however, i don't really see the vibrations in torso/head/gut mostly legs, feet, arms and hands... maybe it's just some blood flowing. i'll try and see vibrations throughout body next sit.

Could you describe how the affective stuff arises and how it eventually goes away and re-arises?


the affect seems to be fear/excitement in the gut, tension or even sort of nausea in the throat/chest, and then just all the little affect that coats+solidifies sensations throughout the body. i can't really do anything with the fear/excitement, it arises and just dies back down usually in response to some half-formed thought. the tension i stare at and dare it to make me react to it, which turns it into just sort of a block and from painful to neutral. the coating sensations seem to just be there and i can only do anything when i get very concentrated and try and separate the cleaner and impermanent actuality from the solid coating.

idk if this is the type of answer you are looking for, i kind of just spilled out any little observation i've had recently
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 11/10/11 10:39 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 11/10/11 10:38 PM

RE: josh practice thread

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
josh r s:
If you could describe your experiences during your sits, that might be helpful.


ok, i just sit eyes closed, still as possible because it seems to help... i pay attention to all the physical sensations at once for a while, trying to calm down any aversion/craving. after calming down i look for areas of stress generally focusing on either throat or chest where there is always a little bit of affective tension. i just watch it, trying to "ground' any of that tension to the physical and just be equanimous to the physical pain. then i expand attention back out to everything and just try and max out four ideal qualities of attention that you mentioned in some post a while back. width, precision, equanimity, not resting in being-ness. if serious tension pops up i'll focus there and ground + be equanimous.


This all sounds basically good.

How do you decide when to focus on stress / affect and when to focus on everything?

Some random thoughts...you can try doing different things to eliminate the tension, to see what works best / fastest. I occasionally found that paying attention with the idea that my attention could "drain" affect away was helpful. Also, I found that there was a sort of finesse involved in deciding how much attention to pay to the tension itself vs. how much to pay towards sense-experience (as the tension is not a sense-experience)...there can often be a "sweet spot" that works especially well.

Breathing some pleasure through those regions can also help. In context of this sort of practice (not jhana) It doesn't need to be much. And, if you do this, it is possible that the pleasure can highlight spots on your body that have affect which you weren't paying to (as the contrast between the pleasure and the affect is so great), which is an easy and pleasant reminder to pay attention to them.

i think that i notice constant vibrations while sitting, if vibrations = tingling as a solid sensation is broken up into a billion little thingies. if by distinct you mean that they are clear and intense then they are in some areas. i sit with one hand on top of the other in my lap and in my hands they get really really intense and my hands feel like they are turning into tingly balloons or something. i notice them much less intensely when not sitting and can turn up and down the "volume" on them by focusing in on specific areas.


OK.

however, i don't really see the vibrations in torso/head/gut mostly legs, feet, arms and hands... maybe it's just some blood flowing. i'll try and see vibrations throughout body next sit.


Do you notice that, in the experience of affective stuff in your throat or chest, that it seems as if your attention is constantly being dragged from wherever it may be, back to those locations, in a way that is not clearly under your control? In other words, if you decide to pay attention to your foot, there is a constant bouncing of attention between your foot and whichever region has prominent affective stuff? Similarly, if you decide to pay attention to the region that has prominent affective stuff, there can still be this "reverberation" of attention (though it may not be clear where the movement of attention is from / towards)?

Looking at this kind of thing can exaggerate affect, so it's not necessarily a recommendation, but it would be good to know whether you're seeing it already or not.

the tension i stare at and dare it to make me react to it, which turns it into just sort of a block and from painful to neutral.


And then what?
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 11/11/11 5:00 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 11/11/11 5:00 AM

RE: josh practice thread

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How do you decide when to focus on stress / affect and when to focus on everything?


i get into these little microfeedback things where i'll do something, if there is any movement the way i want i stay with that as constantly as possible for a little, then try other things and stay with those if they work etc.

Looking at this kind of thing can exaggerate affect, so it's not necessarily a recommendation, but it would be good to know whether you're seeing it already or not.


i've been seeing it for a little while and tried to make it more pronounced sometimes with a little success

And then what?


well, sometimes i've tried finding a neutral or slightly pleasant sensation to sort of juxtapose with the once-painful tension, or try to juxtapose this sense i get sometimes where the body is just the center of the awareness but the awareness extends further out past it.
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 11/11/11 7:07 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 11/11/11 7:05 AM

RE: josh practice thread

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josh r s:
How do you decide when to focus on stress / affect and when to focus on everything?


i get into these little microfeedback things where i'll do something, if there is any movement the way i want i stay with that as constantly as possible for a little, then try other things and stay with those if they work etc.


Good.

Looking at this kind of thing can exaggerate affect, so it's not necessarily a recommendation, but it would be good to know whether you're seeing it already or not.


i've been seeing it for a little while and tried to make it more pronounced sometimes with a little success


If / when you can see it clearly, that will max out the "preciseness" quality of attention in the main way that is relevant.

I think this phenomenon is what MCTB paths give clarity about, as, when it's seen, it's just some weird phenomenon, whereas when it isn't, there can be a powerful inclination to take the movement of attention away from (say) your foot to an affective area as 'you' looking at your foot.

And then what?


well, sometimes i've tried finding a neutral or slightly pleasant sensation to sort of juxtapose with the once-painful tension, or try to juxtapose this sense i get sometimes where the body is just the center of the awareness but the awareness extends further out past it.


I found that if one keeps paying attention to the tension when it becomes neutral, it can be reduced even further (to the point that it barely exists and is hard to find), and then (if one keeps paying attention) it goes away and is replaced by another full-strength affective thing. I was curious if you noticed the same thing.

If so, I suggest trying to make the affective stuff cycle in this way and see how that works.

***

In general it sounds like you don't need to do anything special regarding impermanence unless you're specifically aiming for MCTB paths.
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 11/11/11 12:44 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 11/11/11 12:44 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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there can be a powerful inclination to take the movement of attention away from (say) your foot to an affective area as 'you' looking at your foot.


i'm unsure what exactly you mean, do you mean that there is an inclination to somehow view your foot "from" an affective area, or simply that the attention wants to look at the affective area? the "as 'you' looking at your foot" is confusing me
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 11/11/11 1:41 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 11/11/11 1:41 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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Sorry, I wrote it in an unclear way.

What I meant was, seeing the process clearly, one sees a rapid cycling between an experience of seeing your foot, and experience of some affective thing.

Seeing the process unclearly or not at all, the rapid cycling may be experienced in a "blurred" way...these two types of experiences (affective 'you' and actual "seeing your foot") get mixed up into some composite experience of 'you', standing behind your senses, looking at your foot.

The more clearly the cycling between these two things is seen, for every type of affective experience, the more intuitively obvious it is that 'you', in whatever guise 'you' take, are just some strange illusion. (My best theory of MCTB paths is that they are moments in which this kind of clarity is "locked in" in a permanent way.)
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 11/11/11 1:52 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 11/11/11 1:52 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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ah, thanks
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 11/11/11 1:56 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 11/11/11 1:56 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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End in Sight:
I found that if one keeps paying attention to the tension when it becomes neutral, it can be reduced even further (to the point that it barely exists and is hard to find), and then (if one keeps paying attention) it goes away and is replaced by another full-strength affective thing. I was curious if you noticed the same thing.


Still curious!

I should say that I found that the experience that replaces the first is not exactly full-strength, but a tiny bit less intense. Pursuing the practice, eventually the replacement sensations are very muted...when they get muted enough, this leads to some kind of meaningful shift...and new, strong affective things pop up...cycles and cycles and cycles...after enough shifts, you get "early" AF and all that's left is shadow stuff.

If this cycling of affective stuff matches your experience, if it isn't idiosyncratic to me, you may be able to do something useful with this information. I found that recognizing these cycles makes practice simple and mechanical, because e.g. I was able to judge exactly how effective every little modification of my attention was in terms of the speed at which I went through these cycles and shifts and etc.
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 11/11/11 3:09 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 11/11/11 3:04 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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End in Sight:
End in Sight:
I found that if one keeps paying attention to the tension when it becomes neutral, it can be reduced even further (to the point that it barely exists and is hard to find), and then (if one keeps paying attention) it goes away and is replaced by another full-strength affective thing. I was curious if you noticed the same thing.


Still curious!

I should say that I found that the experience that replaces the first is not exactly full-strength, but a tiny bit less intense. Pursuing the practice, eventually the replacement sensations are very muted...when they get muted enough, this leads to some kind of meaningful shift...and new, strong affective things pop up...cycles and cycles and cycles...after enough shifts, you get "early" AF and all that's left is shadow stuff.

If this cycling of affective stuff matches your experience, if it isn't idiosyncratic to me, you may be able to do something useful with this information. I found that recognizing these cycles makes practice simple and mechanical, because e.g. I was able to judge exactly how effective every little modification of my attention was in terms of the speed at which I went through these cycles and shifts and etc.


ok, take one of just looking straight at the throat tension in its changing form approx 30 minutes
1. no throat tension, go panoramic, hands turn into one single blob of tingles
2. slight throat pain, stare intently at it
3. pain fluctuates a little getting slightly stronger
4. pain fluctuates a little getting slightly weaker
5. pain fluctuates between being pain in the throat and being (weak) nausea in the top of the esophagus with a tip of pain in the throat
6. then it went back to pain that went up then fluctuated back and forth into a more stable disappearance.

i'll try this again for as many cycles as i can sit through, if it actually cycles

edit: thinking of the pain as dissolving even when it was getting worse seemed to help, also focusing on it exclusively

edit: ah. looks like i won't be able to do another sit for approx 4 hours, but at that time i'll try.
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 11/12/11 9:33 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 11/12/11 9:27 AM

RE: josh practice thread

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i tried it and it didn't quite follow the same pattern, or maybe it did, i lost interest on focusing on that one thing. so much other stuff coming up, all these other cause and effect things, they seem to make sense to me more atm. i'm basically just paying attention to sensuousness as clearly, equanimously, precisely, and totally as possible keeping in mind[1] the 4 noble truths in question form.

what is dukkha
what is its cause
what is its cessation
what is the path to its cessation

along with some idea of what the answers should be at the end
everything
desire
oblivion
seeing experience of any type as not worth craving

so i suppose focusing attention on those cycles might make sense later as i start to see their role in the answer to the fourth noble truth question, but for now i don't quite see it.

[1] the keeping in mind is not really the result of conscious effort but those 4 things result from a desire for the end of suffering.

oh and i should mention that the desire for the end of suffering was and is always there but just often uneducated such that the answers to the implicit questions look like this:

this experience now
not having that experience
having that experience
pulling towards that experience
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 11/12/11 2:51 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 11/12/11 2:51 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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hm, there is this column of solidity from sex center extending to just below the crown, how exactly do you break that? i ended up somehow behind the column, and for a moment i thought that it was now "broken" but it was as if i was standing back there projecting on to it. not really stressful in a way that i can yet understand, but i recognize that it isn't clear, and so as part of the duty regarding the fourth noble truth i feel naturally interested.

should i pursue this sense of being back behind it and looking forward at the column? i was alternating back and forth between that and not-that as fast as i could for a while and although there is still a sense of self in the body when i'm behind it, it appears to be a slight improvement in clarity.
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 11/12/11 6:41 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 11/12/11 6:41 PM

RE: josh practice thread

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
I have no idea, but if you keep practicing, something will probably change. emoticon

There are many idiosyncratic or hard-to-describe experiences that can occur, and I found that the best way to approach them was simply not to worry about them and keep going. If you manage to figure out something about them or what to do about them, you can make a mental note in case something similar occurs in the future.

I found that breathing some pleasure "under" the solidity could be helpful, but that's just me.

If anything, ask yourself: what is the sense of being behind this solid thing? Is there another solidified body experience corresponding to that in an unexpected region of the body?
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 11/12/11 7:23 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 11/12/11 7:23 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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yea point taken lol. i understand the path to more awareness of suffering+its cause+the letting go of its cause, i can use it to figure this stuff out for myself (which has been happening already).
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 11/13/11 6:08 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 11/13/11 6:08 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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just had a 30 minute sit (sadly interrupted), towards the end something interesting started happening. i had been playing around with focusing on areas of stress, including the panoramic but keeping the sensations somehow more in focus, and then eventually turning everything into equalized sensation soup, which i think is the most effective thing for me. anyway, i started seeing vibrations on two levels, within the soup meat and vegetables were vibrating, but then the soup itself started vibrating. my best guess is that this is extremely powerful, because coming out i had some seriously peaceful dispassion, close to PCE. plan to keep trying that one.
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 11/15/11 4:38 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 11/14/11 6:04 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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bunch of sits today, all accessing the "vibrating soup." look at consciousness as a single object, such that there is nothing outside of this single object, then just pay attention to the noticing of this object each moment, and you'll see what i mean. also, besides just seeing it, focus on just relinquishing it.

btw, if anyone sees some delusion that could arise from glomming all of the field of the experience together like this, and noticing how it is noticed each moment let me know ;P
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 11/17/11 5:00 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 11/17/11 5:00 PM

RE: josh practice thread

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From Ajaan Lee - Keeping The Breath In Mind

Another, even briefer way to express the four Noble Truths is this: The in and-
out breath is the truth of stress. Not being aware of the in-breath, not being
aware of the out-breath: This is the cause of stress—obscured, deluded
awareness. Seeing into all aspects of the breath so clearly that you can let them
go with no sense of attachment is the disbanding of stress. Being constantly
mindful and alert with regard to all aspects of the breath is the path to the
disbanding of stress.
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 11/18/11 8:54 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 11/18/11 8:52 AM

RE: josh practice thread

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i got into some 1st jhana by accident, just trying to be aware of the breath + whole body, so for the last few sits i just figured i might as well think of it as jhana practice and incline myself in that direction purposefully. once i get there, to the stage where the entire body is suffused in some medium-strength physical calmness+refreshing pleasure, i sort of get lost. not really sure what to do so i just maximize awareness.

should i try to keep climbing jhanas? however that is done...
should i focus on inconstancy?
should i just be aware?

in daily life i am just working on constant mindfulness and equanimity of the breath [1], currently no "room" to focus on inconstancy, although i may be gaining some insights in that direction just via awareness.

[1]as far as i can tell awareness of the breath goes into all four frames of reference, i'm seeing the actual body move, actual sensations move, awareness move, and craving+aversion move