smiling stone's log (2021)

Smiling Stone, modified 1 Year ago at 3/21/21 6:46 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 3/20/21 5:42 PM

smiling stone's log (2021)

Posts: 268 Join Date: 5/10/16 Recent Posts

Hello everybody, long time no see...
These last months, I've been maintaining a daily evening practice, focusing on some breathwork with retention (a la Wim Hof) in the morning since October (I will hopefully start a thread on this exploration). The new thing is I consistently lie down in meditation-relaxation (but still aware of body as space) as I go to sleep and wake up in early morning. I would say the meditative feel seems more pervasive in daily life.
I had a powerful experience last week that I wanted to write about.
I spent the first three days of the week with a light but pervasive vibrational feel to my experience of body associated with spectacular good mood during work hours as well as in meditation. On the night of day three I became aware of an event I really wished I could attend to on that very night... on the other side of the planet! I got moved by a deep longing connected to that place, all my friends there that I would not meet in a foreseeable future.
That same evening, I was really inspired by an interview of a lithuanian nun in Burma (, very good podcast by the way, many interesting interviews). What Sayalay Piyadassi shared about letting go to the point of not holding to anything brought me tears, as it rang so true to my ears... I traveled back in time to a younger me that lived with simplicity but still held to a fine thread (of money and security) that I was not ready to let go of. I felt that engagement of the whole being of the nun on the path, and that awed me. I remembered the complete fulfillment while dwelling high on the mountain, touching the sky with few possessions, few intentions... (I could feel she let go with all her being, and I could somehow bring this to awareness (in my being) as I try to share in the next paragraphs)...
I was also touched when she said that, when in Spain, she could see very clearly the qualities she had developed, and the ones where she still had more work to (un)do. It was so obvious at that moment that THIS is the way to liberation...the so-called fetters model, impossible, bigger than life, high up there!

Next morning, I received a text message from my dear baba friend (from that other side of the world) wishing me HAPPY SHIVARATRI in capital letters. A very special night these last years, filled with friends, magic and music... brought more longing in the morning. I breathed in it (along the lines of Jack Willis -Reichian Therapy, the technique, for home use- from a classic thread here, deep breathing on the verge of hyperventilation during a full hour, freestyle smiling stone style)... and that longing morphed in a complete letting go in the deepest recesses of my being, suffused with love and connection to my faraway friends. Distance was abolished in the blissful oscillation of the now. I was surprised by the intensity of the bliss and realized that the warm, encompassing, velvety vibration was the expression of the purity of my love (in that special moment). Well, I was high as a kite, and had all these insights about unconditional love and "we are one" (while breathing deeply remember). I came down quietly and decided to honor the day with meditation as I don't often think about the progress of insight, but I sure was somewhere interesting (the Apex, you know...). I thought 'maybe some breakthrough if I maintain the intensity'... I did not have any backlash during the next hours but I did not stay in these heights either. Quiet quiet sits...

I breathed again that way a few days later and saw clearly how it makes my mind race a bit (feeling really quickminded and insightful, wanting to write interesting stuff) but without losing balance or getting scattered, as it would have a few years back. If there is a hangover, it is a slight high...

It's really interesting how the mind works...

One week later, I am still impressed with the quality and the beauty of that moment, I think I got a new understanding of the power of metta, which I touched in a moment of deep letting go following very pure longing (the mind was not holding to anything, but still connecting, embracing, giving giving).

That's all for now
with metta
smiling stone

[More thoughts: it's not no-self, more a self experiencing oneness (with bliss). It was more intense than any cool meditative experience I remember, like a ten-fold bliss factor... easy in the merging... When they say 'metta can only take you to the first jhana' (because of the applied attention and the bliss), well, if this was it, I understand why people get hooked... but in this case, it seems you can only get hooked by giving and loving, the self completely directed outward...
To remain more and more in that state, that would be my idea of the holy life...Bringing this into daily life, every moment... I am not equating this with awakening as discussed here, because it relies on connection and intention. Note that if I was able to practice with dear ones, I could only imagine the breadth of mind necessary to produce this with enemies... still a long way to go toward universal love! Actually, I had a strong experience of metta with the ego turned completely outward serving on retreat a few years ago... but it's a long journey to translate that to normal life... Every moment new and unique is a good start, just where we are, as we are...]

[Edited for links, which were not taken into account on first publication]
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 3/20/21 6:37 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 3/20/21 6:37 PM

RE: smiling stone's log (2021)

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Beautiful experience Smiler ... Welcome Back! emoticon
Smiling Stone, modified 1 Year ago at 3/21/21 6:52 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 3/21/21 6:52 AM

RE: smiling stone's log (2021)

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Thanks George, good to be back... Although I felt it was important to let go of logging for a while (I got hooked by following my log last year), as language is so embeded within our mind that commenting on our experiences inclines them in certain directions. Very interesting sometimes... but not all the time!
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 3/21/21 9:23 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 3/21/21 9:22 AM

RE: smiling stone's log (2021)

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Yeah I know that feeling well! emoticon​​​​​​​
Papa Che Dusko, modified 1 Year ago at 3/21/21 9:43 AM
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RE: smiling stone's log (2021)

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Welcome back emoticon good to see you doing well! 
Chris M, modified 1 Year ago at 3/21/21 11:33 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 3/21/21 11:33 AM

RE: smiling stone's log (2021)

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Hey, great to see you back!
Smiling Stone, modified 1 Year ago at 3/22/21 11:52 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 3/22/21 11:51 AM

RE: smiling stone's log (2021)

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Thank you, Pepe and Chris, for your warm welcome, it feels like homecoming...
Speaking of dhamma buddies, what about Linda and Tim? I understand they slowed down a bit on posting (which I find quite sane), but I hope they are doing well (I saw Linda is in full night shifts with diverse online retreats, so I guess she's fine)... and Olivier, on retreat as well?

much metta
Sam Gentile, modified 1 Year ago at 3/22/21 1:50 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 3/22/21 1:50 PM

RE: smiling stone's log (2021)

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Welcome back! Glad to hear you're doing well and about ypur powerful experience
Smiling Stone, modified 7 Months ago at 11/14/21 2:37 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 11/14/21 2:36 PM

RE: smiling stone's log (2021)

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Hello everybody, welcome back to me!
First thing first: Sam, it was good to read your recent post and to know that you are still up and fighting the beast... or developing peace of mind in the midst of such hardship. I missed your answer to this thread when it came (ages ago), but I was moved by your kind words. So... Kindness back at you, and whatever positive vibe can travel through this medium in these difficult times!

Edit: I just found this unfinished unposted draft and thought it would be of historical interest before the retreat report (a little bit of a rant, that's why I didn't post it at the time)...


A little update before summer break...
So for a long time I had this lingering question about the path I've chosen: was I missing something? Did "not letting go of the object" prevent me from subtler realizations regarding emptiness? Reading about the experience of others comfort me in the validity of attending to perceptions of body sensations, both for triggering insight and as a concentration practice in daily life. I can really feel the lessening of suffering... and of pain as well, that famous first arrow...
Not that I'm not interested in non-duality, emptiness and the like, but I'm quite sure that recognizing it means you're out of it already. I value the intellectual understanding advocated by So Wei Hu (among others) that triggers interesting realizations, but it all comes back to identifying duality in experience. The real deal (well, Oneness, not the real real deal in the buddhist sense -extinction-) seems best accessed in deep concentration when the sense of a thinker disappears. Otherwise there's a thinker who "thinks non-dual". That's the limit of conceptualization that also goes for attainments in the pragmatic model. Another opinion: recognizing an attainment in oneself does more ill than good, as has been shown many times on this board.
Anyway, during meditation my sense of body has mellowed quite a bit in this last year. My question from the first paragraph could translate as: is this mellowing different from the one felt by somebody dwelling in emptiness -having let go of "body"-? I believe it is... or I think that yes, you can go the direct route to the mellow bit, but you then left behind an important part of the path.
A few days ago, I had an interesting sit, attending difficult emotions related to work (and more general procrastination!). The sense of body was peaceful and subtle in the scan, and stayed so as these emotions played themselves in spaciousness. Before, the body would have been stirred by these emotions, if that makes sense. It was really as if there was no container then...
... Also, nowadays I mainly don't intellectualize the practice in daily life (or on the cushion), which sustains presence in the moment most of the time. No bullshit. It makes more obvious the moments where I have to take decisions for the future (it happens sometimes)... and where I still generate quite a bit of stress. I'm working on it... but working on it means not recoiling from the decision-making process, not procrastinating. That's where I'm at...
(Well... about the "not intellectualizing the practice" bit, you tell me after you read what's next...)
Smiling Stone, modified 7 Months ago at 11/14/21 3:49 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 11/14/21 2:38 PM

RE: smiling stone's log (2021)

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The retreat:

So... I sat a ten day course (in the Goenka tradition) this summer and wanted to indulge in a longish report here. Note that it's not about getting rid of the illusion of the self or about completing paths. If anything, it has more to do with energetics... That's my path today, anyway.

I felt really good getting there, ready for an intense bout of practice after more than a year (I do maintain a daily practice, which I believe makes a world of difference).

Day 1: good concentration at the start of the retreat, no pain, some slight adjustment in the middle of the sit is enough to prevent any tension from sinking in (the first day is usually one of strong adjustment to the retreat setting).

Day 2: First "lightening" of experience (or change of layer -that's what I want to expand on hereafter!-) in the morning, followed by a moment of deep understanding of the technique (by which I mean some insights ahead of my everyday views nowadays). These bouts of comprehension that feed analysis will come more or less each morning, and will stay in the back of the mind for the rest of the day without becoming prominent (not obsessing about them).
A rush of unrelated thoughts followed, contrasting with the depth of concentration of the first day. Nevertheless, I was happy to find out that none of them was too "sticky" (that the space around thoughts cultivated in daily life did not disappear in the intensity of the retreat..)
This would stay true for the whole retreat... Kind of! A little bit of restlessness in the afternoon, short lived and duly observed, did not threaten the meditation. The restlessness I'm talking about might translate as the necessity to unfold my legs a second time in the sit (remember it's anapana days, so there is no instruction not to move during meditation. In fact the suffering students are often reminded by the assistant teachers to relax in the sit... Easier said than done). It could also be a big urge to leap outside for fresh air (this one, I never indulged before the gong). These happened in the absence of psychological symptoms (such as sense of unease, mental rampage etc.).

Day 3: Mind is quiet again and start to be well gathered around the "zone" (the small area centered under the nostrils above the upper lip), using as little intention as possible: I did not willfully alter my breathing pattern, and my only intention was to let the breath "just be", as it is, while focusing there lightly.
When I focus on the zone, my attention is still sometime called away by tensions in different parts of my body, facilitated by the long hours of sitting.
During concentration periods, deep subconscious imbalances remain. I believe these tensions to be the direct consequence of a lack of equanimity in some deep layers of the mind, that happened some moments ago and triggered an alteration of the breath. This dis-balance of the breath then translates with varying swiftness into the said-tensions.
In the afternoon, I realize that, when I drift in some erotic fantasy (yes, it's a reaction of the mind that still takes place, a few days in the retreat), the breathing relaxes itself and tensions dissolve. I don't develop guilt toward these erotic reveries: they are not so powerful that I cannot easily return to concentration, and they do provide an interesting way to recognize "natural breath". I can then better acknowledge when I stray away from it, usually through some kind of restraint.
So... during anapana, I observe the qualities of the breath and compare them to this "ideal", "natural breath". But this ideal that does not generate any tension varies according to the layer of consciousness I dwell in at this moment.
Back to the idea of different levels, or layers of consciousness, or ranges of frequency where consciousness sits in this moment, vibratory landscapes associated with meditative states. This idea comes from the feeling of repeatedly passing through "thresholds" in concentration (during anapana), as well as saturation or dissolution experiences during Vipassana, when the mind is more aware of the whole landscape (of itself)...
I am aware that the idea of realms or envelopes goes way back and has been thoroughly explored by various traditions. I don't refer to these here as I try to have a fresh look on it as it unfolds in my own experience.
In practice, the first time I go through a threshold is quite spectacular, like the impression of being sucked in through a vacuum at the back of the head. But then it gets smoother, the shift becomes subtler and subtler: a simple lightening of experience, a weight being lifted from consciousness, at some point it will become a new baseline bleeding into daily life...

Day 4: At some point in the morning, I notice that one-pointed concentration does not interfere with the flux of respiration anymore. No tension whatsoever despite long hours of focused sitting. "Natural breath" that slowly brings more peace, more space and more joy in the concentrating business (Thanissaro Bikkhu, and maybe Ajahn Brahm, speak of the "beautiful breath" when one switches to a very subtle, natural breath). This culminates in blazing luminosity...
... and I fall back on earth, once again: I find myself all tied up, rather oppressed by a frequency bandwidth that's too low for me to deal with, in this moment. This is the landscape I will have to explore this afternoon, during the long sit where Goenkaji introduces the body scan as a tool to reveal the three characteristics of existence (or three ways of looking at existence, as we want to avoid any reification).
My experience in these rarefied states is that, very close to balance, when I increase the energy of the system, there is an exaltation that might generate an overwhelming restlessness (which in its more severe forms may lead to psychosis and dissociation). On the other hand, if I further decrease it, I get into a stillness that first restrains the awareness, and lead to an "unbearable" pain I would do anything to avoid. At other times, if it's not the current cutting edge of my practice, I might pierce through the pain, that would be my new threshold from which to explore etc. That last one, not breathing enough, is the territory of too much control, of neurosis, of fear of life... This fear of fusion with the "ground", or with the lower limit of the last bandwidth I have access to, is just that: a reaction to a solidity, to a raw density of pain that seems impossible to deal with.
The scan will slowly reveal some space and befriend this realm, felt sensation after felt sensation, until attention becomes fluid again, until the "ground" slowly dissolve.
In the best of worlds, after fully integrating this new landscape, this layer, I will have a new intense experience, corresponding to the next threshold, and the story will repeat itself on a subtler level. But with this technique of focusing on the "zone", it also happened in the past that I pierced through too deep and landed in a landscape I was not equipped to visit (see below). I think that a lot of meditation related problems stem from this fact.
Contemplating the functioning of these layers of mind would feed the insights of the next few days.
As a result, the afternoon "Vipassana" session was not easy, but not unbearable either. At these depths (where I was after these three days of Anapana), I already had cultivated space and detachment to a certain extent in the past. I had got thoroughly acquainted with them during some 30 day course. There, I spent the first week of Vipassana scanning slowly in a murky environment because of a thoroughly reduced breathing, artificially restrained through 10 days of anapana, before heading up again. "Heading up", meaning breathing consciously a little bit more to raise the energy of the system to a point where the attention could move more freely. I had been out of my depth (as a consequence of restraining my breath), and the rock had not been shattered...

Day 5: I continue to reflect on this frequency business: how many layers have I explored in all these years? Which ones? Do I always visit the same ones again and again? I will come back to this topic, and also to the relationship between subject and object as it relates to this practice.
Practice wise, fluidity comes back in the afternoon.
I remember having gone through some difficulties on day 6, after some strong energetic activity in the back of the head. It was less intense, though, than the one that took place right before an out of body experience on the first 30 day course -a change of layer indeed!-. A few hours of challenging doubts about this path. It comes to me that this technique is the true incarnation of the Hinayana, the "small vehicle" according to the Tibetans. In the end it is not derogatory, it is literally true: In this exercise, we take as object frequencies that vibrate slower than consciousness, perceiving the different levels of physical sensations in our subtle body with a fast, penetrating mind. We could think of four layers: the surface, under the surface, way deeper, and at the core. There seems to be no end to this exploration: at the very bottom seems to be death, or pure matter, something unbreakable... There is a Quixotesque dimension to testing it again and again...
And this is what the Mahayana schools have realized. They are the Big Vehicle because their realms lie beyond the body-mind envelope, beyond the layers that define the individual. They renounce the total purification of these deep layers, hence personal liberation (that would be the meaning of the Boddhisatva vow in this model) to focus on the exploration of the transpersonal realms, with the goal of unifying the mind around the most subtle ones (the different shades of emptiness).
The realizations of the pragmatic dharma seem to fall within that category, where consciousness goes beyond the self to settle in various (god) realms, always more refined, and which trigger interesting changes in perception. The mapping is also parallel to the non-dual realizations. My experience is not so. It stays within the "human realm" (this mind-body) with a sense of a relative self, but this self is transformed through practice, as one of its building blocks (the perception of one's body) undergoes slow but dramatic changes...

Day 8: body manifestations have quietened to a large extent, a pervading peace looks as it will last, sittings extend naturally, no weariness, no agitation. Everything is just fine.
It dawns on me, at that point in the retreat, that my conceptualization of emotions was still incomplete and inaccurate. I now propose that all of them would be a manifestation of higher realms in the layers where consciousness has access: the body-mind. It is also true of anger, passion or jealousy, which is why they are represented as wrathful deities in the tibetan pantheon.
My mind comes back to the hypothesis of Julian Jaynes, on how in remote antiquity (the time of the Iliad), people externalized their emotions as if they were sent by the gods (as if their source was not in themselves, as we would tend to think about it now). By the Odyssey, the characters had begun to internalize them.
I will have to come back later to this sense of presence of an alterity which is intimately weaved into mystic life...
With emotions, I see some kind of reaction taking place in a realm of which we don't have any direct perception, finding its way through the different layers of our being: a shiver, a current, magnetic, electric etc. It will finally stop its course in one of the recesses of our subtle body, maybe an organ, if it's a "negative" emotion... or disappear without remainder if it has a "positive" valence. In this case, no remainder but the desire for it never to stop, a greed that yes, leaves a deep trail behind (this desire is the one we work on through meditation).
The retreat ends on a seemingly eternal tapestry of equanimity. I even re-tested the heart-base a bit without any further backlash (after the one on day 7). Just as if the cursor of the highs and the lows had moved upward.
I leave with the sense of having developed a certain maturity, noticeable in the way I sit, and I am quite proud of the path unfolding... Basically, I am full of myself (again!), even as I stutter when I have to align two sentences in a row on day 10... That's the slight exaltation at the end of the retreat, not too bad, no bleedthrough with the other students. Notice it! Also, people come and ask how many retreats etc. I can see the projections going on, and still it doesn't help with the pride. Remember that usually nobody will talk phenomenology at the end of these retreats, except for all the range of what Daniel calls A&P experiences, embedded in the Goenka framework.

After the retreat I kept on thinking about the relationship between subject and object. About the way that cultivating equanimity while attending to an object infuse the vibration of this quality in the consciousness of the subject, who will perceive it by reflection in the attended object. I can't attend to equanimity per se because it is out of reach of my senses. I don't have access to the realm of equanimity, its pure abode, while staying connected with body sensations.
To each emotion corresponds a vibratory signature. When we scan, we first meet a wide array of different vibrations (different sensations on the body, thoughts) that we will infuse with this quality of equanimity until we harmonize the whole layer of consciousness in One all-pervading vibration of a certain frequency: this is "unification of mind".
It also speaks of the importance of the Brahmaviharas: cultivating compassion, metta and karuna is of utmost importance. Each has its own peculiar signature, and equanimity would be quite dry if it lead us astray from all this shades of love.
I was also happy to persevere in that tradition, now convinced that maintaining a relationship with the object is the best way to keep some balance in the world without developing dissociation.
Ok, these certainties developed in the exaltation of retreat come and go, and I can see how I might be building just another theory to justify my ongoing (relative) fidelity to this path. I have no direct experience of the outer layers, but I feel their reflections in this body-mind. I believe it is useful to train our mind to deal efficiently with the less harmonious vibrations which will sooner or later disrupt our existence. Again, the fine balance between dissociating (looking elsewhere) and being overwhelmed (not cultivating space around the object)...
Papa Che Dusko, modified 7 Months ago at 11/16/21 1:26 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 11/16/21 1:26 PM

RE: smiling stone's log (2021)

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Best wishes SS emoticon 
Agua Viva, modified 7 Months ago at 11/18/21 2:04 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 11/18/21 2:04 PM

RE: smiling stone's log (2021)

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So grateful for your sharing : many thanks, Smiling Stone !
This is a deep, honest, elaborated reflection as well as a crystal clear text about your experience, that resonates strongly for me (even if I'm in other kind of meditative and embodied practices).
Hoping to reading more in the future!
with metta,
Agua Viva
Smiling Stone, modified 7 Months ago at 11/22/21 3:36 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 11/22/21 3:36 PM

RE: smiling stone's log (2021)

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Hey Agua Viva, thanks for the nice comments (well, very nice, really)... and welcome to the Dho. Hope we'll see you around...
Papa Che, I'm happy you did not completely switch to the land of koans and still show up around here...

Since the retreat, a good proportion of the outbreaths have been either blissful or peace inducing (that's a big claim, I know). It made me realize that until then, there was still subtle restraints around exhalation I was not aware of. Over the years, the inbreath got slowly more free, smoother, less jerky. I remember having a few clicks in the back of my nose on retreats, after which things were never the same. But I did not give that much importance to the outbreath at the time... I still don't give that much importance to the pause: I can focus on it but it's not a matter of focusing. Focusing enhances it.
I am on looking for a form of noticing the breath that would not alter it, using the lightest touch of peripheral awareness... but I know from the scan that any form of attention alters body sensations. So why would it be different? Breathing is an activity, way more complex than "body sensing"... Anyway, what I call "natural breath" is a breathing that does not produce suffering. If I meditate with the breath, the quality of the mind noticing it must not carry the seed of suffering.
"Peripheral" slipped in the text, but I believe the more centered the object is on the stage of awareness, the more it is bent by the beam of attention...
Papa Che Dusko, modified 7 Months ago at 11/23/21 1:11 AM
Created 7 Months ago at 11/23/21 1:09 AM

RE: smiling stone's log (2021)

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Ah yes those pesky koans! If I could only find that first wise guy who came up with the bleedn' koans ... urgh! 

​​​​​​​emoticon btw, you can join me in the land of koans would be nice to have you there! 
Smiling Stone, modified 7 Months ago at 11/29/21 3:02 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 11/29/21 3:02 PM

RE: smiling stone's log (2021)

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Hey Papa Che! I might I might, but that's already hard to follow up on one forum, as you can see here... One of these days maybe...

A little disclaimer about "natural breath". It's not like I don't ever alter the breath. In the first post of this thread, I explained how I've been playing with deep, conscious breathing and retentions (and more) almost daily for the last year and a half. From after my first retreat and hearing about the benefits of holotropic breathwork more than ten years ago, it has been a way to balance from the inclination toward shallow breathing developed on intense retreats. And I really feel these explorations have been fruitful.
Other disclaimer: I am aware that I have a reductionist take on the path, bringing it all back to the effect of the breath on the energetic body. These are my views these days and are subject to change. It is just an approach, a way to use concepts to eventually deepen my understanding.
I don't assume that other people will share my insights about the particular phases of the breath (what does what with how much...). I already know of people who have very different experiences (with small breath, big breath, no-breath) with the same setting within the same tradition. We all come to this with our own blockages in different parts of this energetic conundrum. That's what the "purification" is about.
I also sense that my writing could be clearer and less circumvoluted. I do get carried away when I'm writing, I'm working on it! Anyway, I'm really happy to be part of all this happening here...

With all that said, I also wanted to share a tension I feel about the possible outcomes of practice:
What if I did not take the "no-thingness" that is one of the fruits of the path at the most granular/essential level of "absence of concepts", but just as an invitation to stop objectifying other beings... or to recognize the "being", the moving nature in time and space of the "other" that reflects my own but carries its own unknowable mystery and which allows a true relationship. It already involves going beyond the frozen image we superimpose on reality and look at other beings in a fully open way. It leads toward harmlessness toward other humans, animals, trees and plants etc. Toward love...  It also points directly to our own paradoxes, when we do objectify the world around us to serve our needs and desires. Here I think of my own shortcomings when I see somebody in need in the street and ignore him or her, keeping on walking...
What about the truth of otherness versus the truth of oneness? Well, that's a big difference between Christianity and Buddhism as I understand them.
Isn't there an unsurpassable beauty in cherishing the mystery of alterity: that this other being in front of me is a totally unknowable universe of consciousness that I can only truly approach through love? Versus understanding that I am everything because everything flows from the same essence... That's at the heart of my questioning these days...
And about the koan : "Two hands clap and there is a sound, what is the sound of one hand?"  (blink to the other site): one hand doesn't clap. You need two hands to generate a sound. Becoming, manifestation, the world. Without alterity, nothing. Extinction. Nibbana. Silence... Gymnastics to make one hand actually clap are just a way to create two from one... Just? Isn't that the whole creation process?
with metta
smiling stone
Olivier S, modified 7 Months ago at 11/29/21 4:08 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 11/29/21 4:07 PM

RE: smiling stone's log (2021)

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In principio erat verbum ! :p No love possible without two-ness emoticon

Good stuff ! 

​​​​​​​Cheers Smiling emoticon
Smiling Stone, modified 7 Months ago at 12/2/21 4:01 AM
Created 7 Months ago at 12/1/21 2:38 PM

RE: smiling stone's log (2021)

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Ha Olivier!
It's nice to have you show up here, I appreciate that you still read my log. I suspect that your practice went through some unreported developments (or twists and turns) since you were active here, and I would really like to know how you are doing these days... regarding completing insights, the path you're on, music and life in this crazy world...

What else did I want to add to the last posts?
Yes, about the "thresholds", it's not like Goenka doesn't talk at length about the "lokhas", the various realms of consciousness one may inhabit. Actually, in the last few days, I went through all his commentaries on the suttas (which are available to old students on They are (of course) focused on vedana and aimed at defending the view of this tradition, but still, they are a welcome add-on to the available discourses, covering the later part of the path. You can find an excerpt taken from his take on the Girimanand sutta here, where he develops a bit on nirodha taking place at the end of the outbreath and gives an elegant definition of an arahant:
Goenkaji on anapanasati  (thanks to the yogi who gave me the link, that's what prompted my inquiry into these suttas commentaries).

I had kind of forgotten how much my own views were still informed by the tradition! But I still think it's interesting to try and clarify these concepts...
That's all for now
with metta
smiling stone

(Edited for the link and for some anonymization)
Smiling Stone, modified 5 Months ago at 1/14/22 2:56 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 1/14/22 2:56 PM

RE: smiling stone's log (2021)

Posts: 268 Join Date: 5/10/16 Recent Posts
Hi everybody!

I just finished Leigh Brasington's last (free) book on SODAPI (for Streams Of Dependent Arising Processes Interacting) which is a good read (but not as groundbreaking as I expected - maybe my reading was a bit quick and superficial...). Anyway, I'm not going to expand upon it now: it's among other things a good short intro to Nagarjuna whom I was not familiar with...
Anyway, in the appendixes he translates upekkha - equanimity- as literally "to gaze upon". I had not heard that one before and it prompted some proliferation on my part: equanimity would not be a state but a way of looking "from above", the result of which could be either deep peace, compassion, spaciousness or indifference...
For a long time I've been wanting to address this question of the "near enemy" which I don't find so satisfying, and it resonated strongly with my concern about the varying "distance" to experience, fruit of letting go but devoid of an ingrained moral stance.
Just food for thought
with metta (as a state that might be cultivated among others through wholesome intention when the necessary distance to experience allows us to)
Smiling Stone, modified 5 Months ago at 1/30/22 3:18 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 1/30/22 3:18 PM

RE: smiling stone's log (2021)

Posts: 268 Join Date: 5/10/16 Recent Posts
I will copy here something I had written in the Goenka thread answering to Matt :

"I've been stumbling on the concept of "stunning enunciation" (which I'm not sure you'll find on Google yet) related to dance of BMC workshops, where the imaginary world conveyed by the voice and meaning of the facilitator indices an altered state in the active audience of the workshop akin to a trance... And I thought: "we, in the meditation and  satsang world (especially satsang!), we make such a big deal when a guru gives you a felt experience of a heightened reality, these dancing people are way more sane, they just take it as a tool to expand their field of experience without conflating that with supramundane wisdom! Anyway...

Also when I first read your post, I thought maybe you were a "direct realist" (one who believes one can have access to some ultimate reality) whereas I'm an "indirect realist" (who believes in the existence an ontological reality but not in our capacity to access it, as filters are ingrained in our hardware). Reading you again, I'm not that sure... and it's late, but I wanted to introduce that concept here at some point, so...
I'll let it settle for now"

Ahaha, writing this, I did not think of hypnosis, poor me... because in my mind, it was a little bit different, but any utterance that plunges you in a trance state has something to do with hypnosis. Anyway, I liked the term "stunning enunciation"... Thanks to Till Gebel in this thread for reminding me about the connection between meditation instructions and hypnosis (which I was fully aware of... It slipped from my mind ofr a while)

metta to all
smiling stone
Smiling Stone, modified 1 Month ago at 6/1/22 3:00 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 6/1/22 3:00 PM

RE: smiling stone's log (2021)

Posts: 268 Join Date: 5/10/16 Recent Posts
Hey everybody, little update: practice has been smooth since last entry. There is ease and curiosity. I prioritize real life over forum interactions, which is why I have not found the time to come here in the last months. I've been following the recent posts though... I formally sit at least once a day (still try two without pressure) with lying down meditation in bed mornings and evenings, and my work gives room for small bouts of practice during the day, with eyes open.
I wanted to keep some trace of my last one-day course (I wrote this a few weeks ago and i am not too happy with it, but I wanted to come back to posting, so here it is):
The Goenka one-day retreat consists of six hours of meditation, with two hours of anapana in the morning followed by one hour of "vipassana" instructions before lunch-break. In the afternoon, the last hour piles up meta instructions plus a final discourse.
So there was good equanimity regarding the instructions that continuously shatter the silence on hours 1, 3 and 6, and that thankfully do not disturb me anymore (not always thanks to concentration - this time at least during the first hour). No tensions during the first half of the day.
During the "vipassana hour", I completely lost track of the instructions, to the extent that there was a real full blank, with the certainty of having maintained some awareness of body sensations, but otherwise as if I had fallen asleep for a while... Maybe I did! Ahaha, would that be awakening, to plunge into sleep with an awareness of perceptions, but upside-down... Upside down in the sense that in bed I am aware of perceptions with the idea of falling asleep. Here the idea was to be aware of sensations and I fell asleep... in a sleep where that awareness remains...
I was not impressed with the occurence, just intrigued by the blank state. I usually sit when I listen to meditation podcasts, and I find that listening to a talk gives a really clear feedback when I'm loosing it (I often do!). Sometime it is because concentration was deep enough on an object -different from the talk!-, but generally I simply admit that I was drifting into sleep. Not here, though...
During the fifth hour, I was aware that the sittings were building on each other, even while getting up every hour for a few steps and having a lunch break (40 mn instead of 50, to get a few minutes of extra sitting in the afternoon!). So I was starting to feel some localized oppression at the level of sensations (earth element!). Asking myself what was evaluating the degree of oppression, I drifted away from it and recognized acutely that "in the feelings, just the feeling" etc. It was just the recognition of something always known, a way of establishing the focus that made sense of the koan, and revealed at the same time that it had always been true.
There was something paradoxical in that realization which is quite obvious here: an observer who realizes that there is no observer... Well, more that the former has no substance outside of the sensations that it observes... as long as there is no reactivity... (being acknowledged that perception is a reaction of the organism to the environment... so perception is the first building block of the ego, which is pure reactivity in its essence).
And, going on at the same time, the memory that I am often in that state, without this little hiatus that makes me realize who I am. This went on until the end of the sit, about 30 mn later.
It approximated an "insight" which, without being in any way revolutionary, did let me happy with my day.
Yes, it's the bahiya sutta, and no I don't claim anything, there is no attaining anything, there was no build up (or afterglow), and there was some kind of construct going on to recognize that, really... It felt like a non-event, I am the very same as before. If anything, it's another indication that ego is pure subtle reactivity (as in planning, remembering, constructing a global entity to make sense of the myriad inputs reaching our senses every moment, which still seems useful to ME in everyday life. I believe that, more than disappearing, it often goes subconscious -dissociated from-. Subjectively, there is no me, no agency, but from outside there is still plenty going on). Hum... anyway, I'm in full analyzing mode right now...
Off with the day retreat...

Metta to all
smiling stone
Chris M, modified 1 Month ago at 6/1/22 3:28 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 6/1/22 3:28 PM

RE: smiling stone's log (2021)

Posts: 4432 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Nice comments, and congrats on the insight - it's not a small thing!
Smiling Stone, modified 1 Month ago at 6/1/22 3:42 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 6/1/22 3:42 PM

RE: smiling stone's log (2021)

Posts: 268 Join Date: 5/10/16 Recent Posts
Thanks Chris!
Coming your way soon...