Balancing Expectations for Stream-Entry?

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Zero, modified 3 Months ago.

Balancing Expectations for Stream-Entry?

Posts: 47 Join Date: 2/21/18 Recent Posts
Is this post legit: https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5726533

Can one really move a nana per week like that? How many years of practice should I expect to put in before one reaches 1st path? I fear that I may be spinning my wheels doing only two 45 minutes sessions of noting per day. Retreat time is a must right? I read somewhere that there's less than 20% chance of attaining stream-entry on an IMS 3 month retreat. If that's the case then only doing two daily sits won't even make a dent? I suppose it depends on the person, and no one really knows how much effort you'll really need. It seems that I read quite a few reports of people attaining stream-entry using noting/choiceless awareness, but maybe I'm just comparing myself to prodigies, or people with more talent. Is it only the talented that can wake up doing noting while off retreat? It seems that Ron Crouch had some talent and quite a few people on Awakenetwork as well. Kenneth Folk spent quite a bit of time on retreat though. I think Daniel Ingram as well. Just to name a few people. All this to say, I'm kinda getting lost in my expectations of how hard I should be working/time I should be devoting as a householder to attain 1st path from the conflicting progress reports.
George S, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Balancing Expectations for Stream-Entry?

Posts: 1883 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
The funny thing about this awakening malarkey is that all you wake up to is the actual conditions of your life! The harder you push yourself the faster you may go - assuming you don't blow yourself up - but also the greater the chance you wake up to find you're a bit of a mess XD So, your choice really ...
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Zero, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Balancing Expectations for Stream-Entry?

Posts: 47 Join Date: 2/21/18 Recent Posts
I do kinda feel brutish lately.. I'm not sure how much of a mess I really am. I'm a pretty simple person I think..probably have anxiety issues...but nothing out of the ordinary. Like meeting new people, or being stressed out while driving sometimes, and wanting a stable career... all dukkha. 
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Josef C, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Balancing Expectations for Stream-Entry?

Posts: 67 Join Date: 6/16/20 Recent Posts
I dont  believe that thinking about percentages helps at all in regards to achieving stream entry or other attainments. Just sit and practice and it will come emoticon But of course  what some people advise too is sit as a meditator and just think about progress from time to time to gauge your progress. If you want you can consult a teacher  to help guide you . We all have to make do with what we have. If you cant go to retreats then you can focus on your daily practice  in regards to what you can or cannot do.  Based on what I  heard Daniel said ( not  verbatim ) :  6 sense doors 3 characteristics in daily life right here right  here right now is good as it is. Dont wait for any retreats or get access to this or that teacher , this is it 6 sense doors 3 characteristics properly comprehended  .  
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Zero, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Balancing Expectations for Stream-Entry?

Posts: 47 Join Date: 2/21/18 Recent Posts
I tend forget that simplicity very often...but just sitting and waiting isn't my forteit ironically.
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Angel Roberto Puente, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Balancing Expectations for Stream-Entry?

Posts: 252 Join Date: 5/5/19 Recent Posts
     Every so often a version or other of this question is posted, When will I get it? I've always considered insights a gift. Otherwise, how can you explain that thousands, if not millions of people daily, have a run-in with insights that blow their mind, without any training or even looking for them? One thing I know to be absolutely true. The question is not whether you can get it, the question is, can you keep it? Will it do you any good? Or will you be harmed by it?      The controlled conditions under which insights are produced are well established in all religious traditions. The BIG insight, the dangling carrot, which is supposed to end all suffering, to give a vision of God, is advertised in some quarters as easy to get. But read the small letters at the end of the contract, (satisfaction is not guaranteed, the ability to use the vision may take a lifetime, no warranty applies). So, you can get it now, on credit, and pay with interest, or put it on layaway and pay as you go. Either way, it's not yours until you pay for it.
George S, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Balancing Expectations for Stream-Entry?

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Is that the big insight which ends all suffering - a vision of God?!
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Ni Nurta, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Balancing Expectations for Stream-Entry?

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George S
Is that the big insight which ends all suffering - a vision of God?!
God does not care about puny mortals, what they do, where they go, etc. Just like we, inferior beings which are kinda similar but not really do not care about worms under our feet. Worms which are kinda similar to us but not realy. So at the very least having "vision of God" does remove this kind of worries XD
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Zero, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Balancing Expectations for Stream-Entry?

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I defintely want to pay for it...but I guess I don't really know the cost and I'm frustrated that I don't know.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Balancing Expectations for Stream-Entry?

Posts: 1981 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Zero, I would not look at it like "how many years one had to practice" but instead "is one utterly fed up with this struggle to utterly give up all this being a meditator dancing fancy attitude, and instead Just Be Here With This moment after moment as they arise and pass away, as if there is nothing but This left in the entire world". Even the hope is all gone and there is only the vast ocean of samsara around and you on that tiny raft lost in the midst of it! That raft is This ever changing moment. Forget about SE. if you can't then you have not arrived to the "utterly fed up with all this meditator wanting stuff" point. I guess in this case you gotta carry on exhausting this meditator wanting to do this dancing some more. Struggle on my friend until you are utterly fed up with it so to embrace This as the only thing there Is.

Please excuse me rumbling here, feel free to ignore. 
All I wanted to say is Best Wishes to you emoticon 
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Zero, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Balancing Expectations for Stream-Entry?

Posts: 47 Join Date: 2/21/18 Recent Posts
I see you always helping out people here and I appreciate your frankness and humor Papa. Never change. Yeah...maybe I do have to dance my dance..this struggling as a meditator seems to be my favorite jam nowadays. 
shargrol, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Balancing Expectations for Stream-Entry?

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The question really is, "how to I optimize the 1.5 hours I spend every day meditating?"  So, how's your practice going? 
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Zero, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Balancing Expectations for Stream-Entry?

Posts: 47 Join Date: 2/21/18 Recent Posts
Yeah that seems like the heart of what I'm asking.

I've been meditating for 5 years consistently. Did mostly breath-watching. Had really nice initial success with metta and 1st jhana. Found TMI followed that for awhile. Took a detour in a Vajrayana sangha and did a lot of studying and trying to realize emptiness along with consistent breath-watching to attain tranquil abiding.   Dabbled with other techiques like nondual-pointing, self-inquiry, Kim Katami's stuff, and "mahamudra".  I've been doing Mahasi noting for a few months from the inspiration of a teacher I've been working with after finding MCTB2, TMI community, and r/streamentry. Saw posts of the AMAs @ r/streamentry there and thought damn I want awakening.

So yeah, went on a couple of 10 day retreats in the summer. Just flat out did a lot of sitting off-retreat too averaging like 4 hours a day doing noting, self-inquiry, and Taft's nondual meditations(really excellent). Reached EQ a couple times in the summer according to teachers. Haven't been there since. Maybe I'm not relaxed enough and I'm striving too hard. The most frustrating thing is that I don't know where I'm at at all on the POI map when I'm off retreat. On retreat, I clearly find myself through the dukkha nanas. Nothing too bad to be honest -- I'm healthy psyhcologically, and don't really have any traumas. I just feel a bit worn out.

Did two 45 sits a day after the summer, then did a 5 day retreat in Novemeber. Teacher said I was in the dukkha nanas. Left the retreat a bit disappointed and worn out. I felt like I was so diligent with my noting and my reward was suffering. So I'm getting kinda tired of labeling things in my head...I thought that it would be good to go back to just watching the breath, but craving for stream-entry is high and I don't think just doing shamatha is going to do anything. I thought recently, "Hey, let's learn the jhanas! That'll chill you out." So that's what I've been doing lately. At least one 45 mintute sit a day watching the breath. Sometimes two sits.

What's my average experience over the past fall up to now? Seems mildly peaceful when I sit, sometimes I feel bodily tension in my head, hands, feet, and back. I often run into pleasureable feelings, nothing too estatic. No real psychological distress. Just a good mix of pos.,neg., neutral vedana. Lots of thinking, analyzing thoughts. Lately, urges to check the timer and get up...45 minute sits feel longish. Breathing feels like a mix of the vedana sometimes it's good, most of the it's neutral, sometimes I don't like the way I feel the breath against my dry throat/nostrils. In sits there's  frustation sometimes. I hope that's clear enough. I just feel generally murky and lost with my practice.. I feel like I have competing motivations..."I WANT stream-entry..." / "Bro, I just want to chill out and be happy."

When I started meditating years ago, I was looking for a way out of depressive feelings and hopelessness..it worked somewhat. I feel like getting a stable financial situation and friends would help a lot more maybe. So right now, for the past couple of years, I feel like my motivation is more of an adventurer. There's the El Capitan, and I want to climb it, just cause it's cool as fuck to climb. I kinda just want cool things to happen to me, like what I read on these forums. I feel like I'm missing out on being more intimately human that these path attainments provide. I feel like if I die without attainining these paths, I'd feel like there as unfinished business. It would also be really useful if I was gentler with my partner and more open to share joy with others. My partner is my only realy friend and I don't have a social group. I was trying to make friends by volunteering and through some work engagements and I was seeing daylight but I let COVID kill budding friendships...but I'm used to be alone...been introverted all my life and the quiet kid. I won't call you to talk on the phone. If asked to give a speech I'd be shaking and stammering. I don't really talk to strangers. I've been told I'm hard to get to know.

​​​​​​​ Ok, I think that's enough. Thanks for reading.  
shargrol, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Balancing Expectations for Stream-Entry?

Posts: 1575 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Well, first of all congratulations for getting out of the worst of depression and hopelessness! That's a big deal.

My advice isn't to focus on meditation, but to change your focus based on what seems to be the weak link in your life. Based on what you said, it sounds things might be okay enough that it might be the time to get your financial/occupational part of your life in shape. Friends will also come more naturally when you're working and have some money to spend on entertainment/fun. Also make sure your body is healthy and fit... and then it might be time to re-focus on meditation.

Unfortunately, meditation always brings more suffering, it's not an escape. But it brings suffering in a way that can be studied and analyzed so that the causes of suffering can be figured out. Sounds like you did figure a lot of stuff out, which is cool. But maybe now the weak link to work on isn't meditation, it's the rest of your life.

Many people can kinda use meditation practice to avoid working on other difficult stuff. They kinda hope that if you meditate and get paths, then the rest of your life automatically works out. I can DEFINATELY tell you that this isn't true.

Hope this helps in some way!
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Balancing Expectations for Stream-Entry?

Posts: 1981 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Damn it shargrol emoticon you just made me realize that I would feel much better and my family too if I get on with moving A LOT of garbage and old stuff from our home to the local recycling bin. I do feel like I've been delaying this (procrastination) and rather would focus on finding time to sit or do walking meditation instead. 

Gotta hook up that trailer onto me car and keep filling it up until all 3 buildings (yeah I know) are empty of all that crap emoticon 

I guess meditation can wait a little. 

​​​​​​​Cheers! emoticon 
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Zero, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Balancing Expectations for Stream-Entry?

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Thanks Shargrol. I mean you're right. I'm a broke college student(haha what else is new?) about to graduate next semester. I could put in more time dusting off the resume, maybe get a job at a local store. I'm not starving or anything, living off of loan money, just gotta pay rent which is being paid for too. My degree may or may not yield gainful employment. I don't think all that is gonna scratch this meditation itch though... but what more do I really wanna know? I've read so much about this stuff. I read and listen to dharma daily. I got sanghas. I guess I'm just venting. Thanks for reading my venting y'all.
shargrol, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Balancing Expectations for Stream-Entry?

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Nice Papa!!!  Just move all the shit mindfully and it counts as practice! emoticon
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Angel Roberto Puente, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Balancing Expectations for Stream-Entry?

Posts: 252 Join Date: 5/5/19 Recent Posts
 A student said to Master Ichu, 'Please write for me something of great wisdom.'
Master Ichu picked up his brush and wrote one word: 'Attention.'
The student said, 'Is that all?'
The master wrote, 'Attention. Attention.'
The student became irritable. 'That doesn't seem profound or subtle to me.'
In response, Master Ichu wrote simply, 'Attention. Attention. Attention.'
In frustration, the student demanded, 'What does this word attention mean?'
Master Ichu replied, 'Attention means attention.'
George S, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Balancing Expectations for Stream-Entry?

Posts: 1883 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Zero, I agree with shargrol that extra time on the cushion probably won't do much for you at this point. If anything it could just make you more frustrated. Don't underestimate what a BIG DEAL graduating from college really is, the first major life transition you are making as an adult! Careers, finances and friendships are all up in the air for everyone at this stage and it's shit scary, even if people try to play it cool ;-)

You could start to treat your life as your practice at this point. When you've got tough decisions to make about finances, jobs, relationships etc, try meditating on them! How does money or that job or that person really make you feel? (the emotion-sensation not the thoughts) The book Wake Up To Your Life could be helpful here, because it has lots of practical meditation exercises for dealing with issues which arouse strong feelings around stability/instability, doubt/certainty, freedom/constraints etc.

Hope that's helpful. Sorry my initial reply was facile, I should have waited until I knew more about your situation. By the way, you might think of yourself as introverted, but I think you did a very good job of opening up and telling us what's going on in your life :-)
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Zero, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Balancing Expectations for Stream-Entry?

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Thanks alot for your kindness George. You make a really good point that I should really gaze at what's in front of me and integrate meditation into my actual life off the cushion. I'll check out this book for sure.  
George S, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Balancing Expectations for Stream-Entry?

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If you do get WUTYL, it's chapters 5 and 6 which have all the stuff about working with reactivity patterns. It's a long book and I still haven't finished it, but I just started right there.
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Ni Nurta, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Balancing Expectations for Stream-Entry?

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Some people get "cool stuff happen to them" simply because they have higher neuro-plasiticity.
This is something which I usually refer to "learning rate" which is a term from AI research.
Learning rate feels very specific ways when it is low, medium and high and then more varied related to different aspects to it and where it is observed. Also each level has its uses. For example low value is perfect for stability and when you do not want things to affect you in any way. It has nothing to do with actual learning but with tendency of nervous system to change their configuration (re-wire itself). On the other hand when you sit for hours trying to get something to happen it is perhaps not good time and place to play it safe.

Typically people either have intuition regarding these things or practice so much they force mind to reconfigure itself somehow. Also when you practice for very long you start noticing that some feelings work better than others and they tend to use them during meditation. Unfortunately without knowledge there is something to describe this is not something which can be easily described. Anyway, there is a kind of electric feeling sensation going through when doing formal meditation and it is related to learning rate. Correct learning rate to actually have good effects is neither letting it or avoiding it because regulating activation of nervous system parameters is not as easy but it is easy never the less, just need some observation and testing. With some practice it is possible to learn how to work with it.

The issue people report is their practice stalling. This is directly related to such waves of excitement which can be used to increase learning rate not arising after some time or they learned to handle them in such way that prioritize "doing method" rather than what would be more preferable for their mind to re-configure itself. Mediation method here is just a distraction that makes mind have certain parts active and the goal is to make more connections in nervous system to these parts which are active. Doing method without mind being able to make connections though is pretty useless and is is just a waste of time. Higher learning rate states are not as good for actually executing these methods and so these states with higher learning rate might be optimized out when you focus on doing practice and this actually happens almost always, no matter what the practice is so it is just something to be aware of and correct from time to time.

BTW. Worrying about how long you need to practice to get anything can only be called as WRONG ATTITUDE
How long do you need to practice playing piano to learn playing Beethoven’s No. 29 B flat major op. 106? So long as it takes you to learn play it and that is that. If anything better worry about what it even means and while at it obviously understanding three first fetters as first path is literally understanding them. Fetter does not arise when you understand it.
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Zero, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Balancing Expectations for Stream-Entry?

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Thanks for pointing out the fetters and wrong attitude. I feel like what I wrote sounds like whining now. If I really understood the fetters then I would have nothing to complain about.. I'll have to peer at the fetters and how they seem to run my life with less striving. 
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Balancing Expectations for Stream-Entry?

Posts: 1981 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Hey Zero emoticon don't mind our good ould Ni here emoticon He every so often drops these fancy plasticity neuro transmitters on us without a warning. This time in a huge Beethoven way emoticon He can't help it emoticon Or is he a she? Dunno emoticon anyhow , I now think it was Ni who stole that toilet paper from Bar(do) 's toilet! emoticon emoticon 

p.s. Ni please excuse my non-cool raw not-high neuro plasticity emoticon emoticon emoticon oh man you crack me up each time you bring this stuff up emoticon lol 
Best wishes to you! Ney, best wishes to us all lol emoticon 
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Ni Nurta, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Balancing Expectations for Stream-Entry?

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when some day you come to your senses read what you wrote and burn in shame
until then I will just ignore you
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Balancing Expectations for Stream-Entry?

Posts: 1981 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Oh cmon Ni  emoticon I was just kidding emoticon You know , a friendly punch on the shoulder emoticon 
My apologies to you. 

Btw, I doubt I will ever come to my senses. Certainly not as advanced as you did ;) 
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Ni Nurta, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Balancing Expectations for Stream-Entry?

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no worries
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Balancing Expectations for Stream-Entry?

Posts: 1981 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
EDIT; my reply here was written before NiNurta removed his long replay above, which now consists of only "no worries" emoticon 

Thank you for replying emoticon 
And my sincere apologies for the toilet paper joke emoticon I think I will reserve that one exclusively for Tim F.F. from now on emoticon 

Be well NiNurta.

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