Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 4/20/21 11:36 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Chris M 4/20/21 12:45 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 4/20/21 8:01 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Siavash ' 4/20/21 4:27 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 4/20/21 5:32 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Stefan Stefan 4/20/21 7:03 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 4/20/21 7:38 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 4/22/21 4:29 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Chris M 4/21/21 7:13 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 4/21/21 8:37 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') A. Dietrich Ringle 7/9/21 5:52 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Papa Che Dusko 4/21/21 12:16 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 4/23/21 4:52 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 4/23/21 8:01 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 4/24/21 5:37 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 6/29/21 2:55 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Jure K 6/30/21 5:35 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 7/1/21 5:09 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Logan G. 6/30/21 12:56 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 7/1/21 4:48 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Stefan Stefan 7/1/21 7:46 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Jure K 7/3/21 4:46 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 7/3/21 4:44 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 7/4/21 4:19 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 7/5/21 5:33 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 7/6/21 8:42 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 7/6/21 11:10 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 7/7/21 10:05 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 7/8/21 2:07 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 7/8/21 1:08 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Logan G. 7/6/21 11:41 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 7/8/21 5:16 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Logan G. 7/8/21 2:31 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 7/9/21 11:19 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 7/9/21 12:56 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 7/9/21 9:56 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 7/10/21 1:25 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 7/12/21 11:25 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 7/12/21 1:53 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Logan G. 7/9/21 5:14 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Ni Nurta 7/6/21 4:01 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 7/6/21 4:50 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Jure K 7/8/21 5:23 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 7/8/21 1:09 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Jure K 7/8/21 6:01 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 7/9/21 12:07 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Jure K 7/8/21 11:00 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 7/8/21 11:27 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 7/9/21 4:07 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 7/10/21 3:13 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Papa Che Dusko 7/10/21 3:26 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 7/10/21 3:45 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Papa Che Dusko 7/10/21 4:26 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 7/10/21 11:24 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Ni Nurta 7/10/21 3:53 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 7/10/21 5:39 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Jure K 7/10/21 7:56 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 7/11/21 12:59 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Jure K 7/11/21 2:53 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 7/11/21 2:56 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Jure K 7/11/21 3:02 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 7/11/21 3:05 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Papa Che Dusko 7/11/21 1:21 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 7/13/21 10:18 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Siavash ' 7/13/21 5:10 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 7/14/21 1:21 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 7/15/21 4:53 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Logan G. 7/15/21 1:32 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Jure K 7/15/21 12:01 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Logan G. 7/15/21 1:34 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 7/17/21 3:26 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 7/17/21 11:00 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 7/17/21 3:51 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 7/17/21 7:14 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 7/18/21 2:13 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 7/18/21 2:03 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 7/20/21 5:14 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 6/2/22 12:04 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 6/2/22 12:13 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') shargrol 6/3/22 5:38 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 6/3/22 5:49 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 6/3/22 12:33 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 6/3/22 1:30 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 6/4/22 7:19 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 6/4/22 8:28 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 6/4/22 9:56 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Chris M 6/3/22 7:14 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 6/3/22 7:51 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Robert L. 6/3/22 7:26 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Jure K 6/4/22 12:55 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 6/21/22 12:14 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 6/24/22 9:49 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 6/24/22 9:29 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 12/2/22 8:57 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Helen Pohl 12/3/22 3:12 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 12/3/22 11:19 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 12/21/22 9:39 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 12/21/22 9:41 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 12/21/22 9:43 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 12/24/22 3:19 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 12/29/22 6:53 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 12/30/22 4:42 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/4/23 12:00 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/5/23 9:41 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Siavash ' 1/6/23 10:13 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/7/23 6:49 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/17/23 11:41 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/19/23 5:40 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Robert L. 1/17/23 5:39 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/17/23 6:28 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Robert L. 1/17/23 5:42 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/21/23 3:14 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/21/23 4:01 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/21/23 4:21 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/21/23 4:29 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/21/23 4:52 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/21/23 5:14 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/22/23 12:32 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Chris M 1/22/23 1:02 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/22/23 9:09 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/23/23 1:24 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/23/23 1:38 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/25/23 1:15 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/26/23 1:31 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/26/23 11:19 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/26/23 11:26 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/26/23 11:34 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/26/23 11:45 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/26/23 11:50 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/26/23 11:57 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/27/23 12:05 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/27/23 12:18 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/27/23 12:23 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/27/23 12:28 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/27/23 1:06 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/27/23 12:51 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/27/23 12:59 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/27/23 1:20 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/27/23 5:57 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/27/23 6:19 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/27/23 10:13 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/27/23 9:51 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/27/23 10:22 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Smiling Stone 1/27/23 12:48 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/28/23 8:56 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') Aviva HaMakom 1/28/23 8:56 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/28/23 8:40 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/29/23 12:52 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/29/23 12:58 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/29/23 1:52 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/30/23 12:40 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/30/23 1:03 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/30/23 8:58 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/31/23 6:41 AM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/30/23 9:17 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/30/23 10:46 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/30/23 11:29 PM
RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin') George S 1/30/23 11:17 PM
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 4/20/21 11:36 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/20/21 11:24 AM

Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

Posts: 2708 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
[Link to previous log]

I had a couple of memorable dreams last night. In the first dream, I was interviewing for a finance job which I didn't really want. The interviewer was a younger guy and it turned out he was a meditator who could generate deep cessations on demand, which he demonstrated to me. Impressed, I decided to challenge him by asking what his walking around experience of nibanna was like, to which he sheepishly admitted he had no idea. So I explained to him my method of seeing nibanna, which didn't immediately work for him but he was grateful nonetheless.

In the second dream I was trapped in a room with a mass shooter. I was next to the shooter and was to be shot first, point blank in the head. I was bracing for the impact of the bullet, but I couldn't really feel it. Instead I felt a series of 3-4 "cessation type events" where my mind dropped deeper and deeper into no-experience voids. Before the last one I thought 'I'll be dead after this one', my breathing and heart seemed to stop, and afterwards I woke up.

​​​​​​​The two dreams seem connected in my mind. I've been thinking that I would like to try helping other meditators by video at some point, but I don't feel that I will be "qualified" until I've had more cessations. My sense of confidence in 4th insight path and walking around experience of nibbana has been growing since it happened 4-5 months ago, but I still feel some insecurity about having experienced only 1-2 “technically clean” cessations (closed eyed 'falling poof' as opposed to open eyed 'mind inversions').

It's also connected with deepening samadhi and continued rebalancing of my energy body (which I view as the physical counterpart of emotional purification and psychological healing). I think that the paucity of my cessations is due to the fact that I never spent much time in equanimity, and what little time I did was mostly during the first two paths. From third on I was processing too much emotional/energetic/psychological stuff and doing too much insight to have extended periods with a calm mind. In the last few weeks, with the renewed focus on the breath, I've been calming my mind again and experiencing deeper samadhi. Yesterday evening was probably the deepest yet. I felt like I was dropping to the bottom of the ocean, gently rocked by slow waves of energy coming down from my head and up from my belly. But energy is still quite turbulent and it feels like it will naturally settle more. Samadhi is clearly a good place for me to spend a lot more time just for its own sake. There's also the practical issue of my recurrent chronic fatigue, which also seems related to energetics, so I doubt I will be ready for many months from that perspective alone (I hope, but the reality is that some people don't recover enough functionality to regain anywhere near their former level of activity).

I wouldn't feel comfortable charging for it and would stick to dana as long as possible. I'm aware that my strength (insight generating ability) is also my weakness (many times my insights are wrong or else it's not the right time, and it's hard to know the difference!) So I need to work on my patience, my listening, and being more tactful with my suggestions and sensitive to how they are received, as well as less attached to outcomes. Anyway, it's just thoughts at this point and I'm open to advice/suggestions. My main motivation is that it gives me a sense of value being able to help other people. The most satisfaction I get is when I feel that my pain and struggles are helpful for someone else – the feeling of connection through shared pain. There’s a lot of suffering out there and at some point it will probably start to feel selfish spending too much time blissed out! In a few years my family won’t need me so much and it would give me renewed motivation in my practice. I feel like my narcissism is receding and not a primary motivator (although it's always hard to tell what one's deepest motivations are!) I don't know, maybe I'm getting ahead of myself and this is just another manifestation of my deep-seated aversion to equanimity lol.

In any case, I feel like the dharma saved my life really and I owe a debt of gratitude to Daniel, Shagrol, Chris and others in this community for their willingness to share it openly and freely offer their help. (I haven’t had any formal relationship or private communications with them outside DhO.) I would like to pass it on and continue the tradition in whatever way I can.
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Chris M, modified 1 Year ago at 4/20/21 12:45 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/20/21 12:45 PM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

Posts: 4653 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Since you asked -- I believe you have more work to do on yourself before you can effectively help others. It seems you already know this, so I'm not sure why you're putting the teaching thing out in the open, unless it's just a trial balloon to see what reaction it gets. I can grok that you want to pass whatever you learned along, but I believe you need to closely examine the motivation behind that. It's quite common, but that doesn't mean it's the right thing to do.

For example, you say:

So I need to work on my patience, my listening, and being more tactful with my suggestions and sensitive to how they are received, as well as less attached to outcomes. Anyway, it's just thoughts at this point and I'm open to advice/suggestions. My main motivation is that it gives me a sense of value being able to help other people. 

I'd urge you to examine the sense behind the last sentence carefully. I would submit to you that that's not a good platform from which to try to help others.
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 4/20/21 8:01 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/20/21 3:51 PM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

Posts: 2708 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Yes I’m not ready yet. For one thing, I need time to see how much of my childhood stuff I’ve actually resolved. Teaching was in the back of my mind, but I suppose the dream brought it forward and I wanted to get feedback on what I need to work on - thank you for that.

I see how wanting to be valued for helping could be a problem - maybe I would get frustrated when I can’t help or don’t feel valued. I think I need to develop a better sense of my own value independent of work and relationships. Then I could offer assistance in a more neutral way. Is that what you were driving at?
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Siavash ', modified 1 Year ago at 4/20/21 4:27 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/20/21 4:19 PM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

Posts: 1625 Join Date: 5/5/19 Recent Posts
Sorry for jumping in between the exchange of you two.
I think when it comes to teaching dharma and the generosity around it, a good standard would be something like this:

You have your hand outstretched, if you have something really valuable in your hand, and the people and strangers that are passing by, can take it from your hand without any push or asking coming from you, and may give you a kick in the ass and then walk away, or totally ignore you after taking it, or maybe one of them return back after walking a few steps and say thanks, and walk away again, and you are fine with all of them, because you know that what they took and walked away, may be helpful for them, but they may not think that way, and you can't do anything about it. And you don't expect more.
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 4/20/21 5:32 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/20/21 5:32 PM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

Posts: 2708 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Thanks Siavash, that's a good way of looking at it :-)
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Stefan Stefan, modified 1 Year ago at 4/20/21 7:03 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/20/21 7:03 PM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

Posts: 238 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
For what it's worth, you have been a wonderful teacher to me, George. As Chris said, it may be worthwhile to look into the psychodynamics of your motivations to teach, ultimately the action is wholesome, but the root may not be. But that's for each individual to find out on their own. You're obviously super thoughtful and mature.

You have a calming confidence and maturity that I can see in your writing. I think you'd be an excellent teacher in whatever capacity you decide to engage with it. 

I also have a lot of experience in Jungian dream analysis, I think your dreams are so fascinating through the lens of meditation and spirituality. Definitely themes of change, anticipation, striving, and doubt. Lots of interesting things to delve into!
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 4/20/21 7:38 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/20/21 7:38 PM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

Posts: 2708 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Thank you Stefan.
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Chris M, modified 1 Year ago at 4/21/21 7:13 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/21/21 7:12 AM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

Posts: 4653 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
I see how wanting to be valued for helping could be a problem - maybe I would get frustrated when I can’t help or don’t feel valued. I think I need to develop a better sense of my own value independent of work and relationships. Then I could offer assistance in a more neutral way. Is that what you were driving at?

The question is for whom are you doing this teaching? It would appear from your initial comments about teaching that you're teaching for you. The beneficiary is you. So the motivation is not to teach but to make yourself feel good. I suspect this appears messy for you right now based on your comment above. Messy because you aren't seeing the obvious importance of the motivation you have versus what it probably should be. That's what needs to be examined - why isn't this motivational piece of self-knowledge more visible to you?

Again, I acknowledge your motivation to give back, but that's coming across as secondary.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 1 Year ago at 4/21/21 12:16 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/21/21 12:16 PM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

Posts: 2459 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Thanks for your teaching George S emoticon (or should I say agnostic! I didnt realise you changed your fucking forum name! )


now bugger off you little p...k  emoticon 


Metta, metta , ta ta  emoticon emoticon 
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 4/21/21 8:37 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/21/21 8:37 PM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

Posts: 2708 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
I see what you mean, it’s a selfish motivation. I do care about other people's wellbeing, but maybe not as much as I would like to think. I probably have an underdeveloped sense of other people's needs. It's only been a couple of years since I started to recognize my own real needs (as opposed to selfishly acting out on a distorted perception of them). It seems like I’m in the middle of a belated process of healthy individuation ...
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 4/22/21 4:29 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/22/21 4:29 AM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

Posts: 2708 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Your dream analysis is perceptive and helpful. It's interesting to see how stuff goes underground and re-emerges disguised in spiritual clothes!
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 4/23/21 4:52 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/23/21 4:50 AM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

Posts: 2708 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
There's a large amount of stress being released from my body in meditation at the moment. Waves of tension flowing down and rocking me to my core. It's surprising to think how I could have been going through life carrying this amount of stress without being aware of it on anything more than a highly superficial level. It's also still surprising to me how this whole stress release process works so naturally simply by focusing on the breath and ignoring everything else as much as possible. It seems like magic really - just keep coming back to the breath and everything else works its way out. It's still hard to let go of the idea that I should be able to control it or understand it!
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 4/23/21 8:01 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/23/21 8:01 AM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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Falling back asleep after meditating, I had the experience of feeling like my brain was vibrating violently. There was a bit of fear as usual, but I let myself relax into it a 2-3 times. At one point it got too intense and I tried to back out, but then I changed my mind and relaxed back into it again. I remember checking to see if I could move my physical body, but it was paralyzed. I’ve had similar experiences in the past, maybe every few weeks or months when I’m meditating. When I’m awake and meditating I can also feel a sort of baseline vibration in the background. I try to tune into it sometimes but I’m not able to achieve the clarity and absorption in it which I can when I’m falling asleep, probably because the fear is holding my controlling mind back.

This time the visuals were better developed. There were captivating geometric patterns, one that looked like frogspawn or tapioca and after that one that looked like black crystals with a bright light shining behind. After that there was a pure white blob and when I focused in on the edge it was like a Mandelbrot set with a very intricate boundary which sort of exploded and grabbed my attention, but I got excited which threw me out of it. At some point I was watching a sequence of pages being flipped over very fast, containing something like my kids math homework. It seems related to all the scanning I have to do for their remote schooling! These visuals were much clearer and more developed than when I’m meditating, probably also due to fear and over-control as well as the general distraction of energetics/stress release which tend to prevent my mind from settling. It reminds me that for all my samatha practice, my level of absorption is not nearly as deep as it could be.
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 4/24/21 5:37 AM
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My body is still releasing a lot of repressed anger. The energetic pains and discomfort that I feel are mostly related to pressure and tension in the forehead, jaw and belly. When I think about it - that's exactly the same stuff involved in getting angry (tensing belly, clenching teeth, bulging forehead veins)!

A big external trigger is when my wife or in-laws get angry with my son. I often feel as if I'm under attack as well, my adrenaline starts pumping and I feel deep anger rising, although I usually avoid reacting. Clearly it's the same old childhood stuff working its way out. When I get angry at my son then I tend to feel like my anger is "legitimate" (even if I know that I'm over-reacting), so it's harder to distinguish the new anger from the old.

There's not much to do with the anger at this point, except take it away and sit with it. It's a very familiar pattern by now - deepening concentration/relaxation tends to open up deeper areas of tension and have a temporary perverse side-effect of releasing hidden pockets of old anger.





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George S, modified 1 Year ago at 6/29/21 2:55 PM
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Linda and Chris and Olivier were right. There are deeper levels of shame that I was unwilling to feel, so I was trying to help others to a certain extent to make myself feel better. I overstepped the line between responding to specific needs and giving unsolicited advice & lecturing (narcissistic “sage/savior” pattern).

If I had paid more attention to my own practice then I would have noticed that I was generating more energy from my interactions on the forum than I could discharge. I felt that something was off, because I was getting pretty buzzed (CFS symptoms), but I either couldn’t or didn’t want to acknowledge it (typical hungry ghost behavior!) So it seems that I put myself in a shameful situation as a way of bringing the issue to the surface. It’s hard to identify one’s own patterns sometimes, even if it’s obvious to everyone else!
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Jure K, modified 1 Year ago at 6/30/21 5:35 AM
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Yeah I see this in myself too. Very hungry ghost. For me though I guess it's easier to see because the sensations are so gross where as you're probably dealing with very subtle/deep ones that are slippery. Well done for seeing it and posting it! 
Logan G, modified 1 Year ago at 6/30/21 12:56 PM
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Hi George, I got curious and went poking around in old logs to see what the fuss is about. My general feeling that they/you are correct, but I also feel that, regardless of *why* you posted, many of your pointers on my own practice have been legitimately helpful.
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 7/1/21 5:09 AM
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Well Chris pointed it out 2 months ago when he questioned my motivations for teaching, and I agreed with him … but it wasn’t the answer I wanted to hear, so I continued anyway!

If I look at my past addictions, I usually knew there was a problem quite some time before I stopped, but I usually continued or doubled down on the behavior until it became intolerable. It is much easier to let go once you’ve identified the real need which the addiction is designed to satisfy. Some of my addictions were probably as much about the shame of the hangover as the buzz of the hit. It’s a fascinating subject, because often the addiction can look very different or even opposite to the need it satisfies. Even meditation can be addictive!

Addictions seem to become deeper and more subtle. They are subtle in the sense that they are hard to see in oneself, but they are usually pretty obvious to other people and in retrospect. Actually that’s not even true, there are usually warning signs, but it’s hard to acknowledge them because they go to the core of one’s personality structure and basic behavior patterns. And when they are not causing major problems in daily life, they are easier to ignore. The phrase of shargrol’s that most sticks in my mind is about the near endlessness of our defense mechanisms! He has another nice way of putting it, which is defending what doesn’t need to be defended.
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 7/1/21 4:48 AM
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Thanks Logan. Even on your log though, I had the feeling I was overdoing it at times.
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Stefan Stefan, modified 1 Year ago at 7/1/21 7:46 AM
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Just chiming in to say +1 to everything Logan said. You helped me a lot. And like I said earlier in this log, it may be the case of a good action inspired by less than wholesome roots -- only you'll know that, and only you can truly unpack it. At the very least be thankful that the behaviour is not self-destructive or toxic. 

I think you'd really enjoy Robert A. Johnson's books "Inner Gold" and "Owning Your Own Shadow". 


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Jure K, modified 1 Year ago at 7/3/21 4:46 AM
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George you helped me so much too, I don't think I've said that enough. If you're suffering as a consequence though then it's not worth it. 
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 7/3/21 4:44 PM
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No problem there at all. I'm happy for you that some of your patterns are opening up. I think this is a reflection of your commitment to practice emoticon
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 7/4/21 4:19 PM
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For what it's worth, it could have been so much worse. I do believe too that a good portion of it was helpful to people, and obviously much appreciated. It's just that I have seen it escalate before, and I truly believe that it becomes self-sabotage. And I don't think you need more of that. And something that is subtly misleading doesn't always reveal itself as misleading for a long time or ever. It can be very hard to tell. I suspect we are all at risk of doing harm when being too enthusiastic about giving advice, and it seems like most of us go through such phases more or less, many of us to an embarrassing extent (oh my goodness!). Hopefully most of it can be repaired. That's definitely not just you. But over time, you have a pending movement that stands out a bit with regard to the reactional chains that repeat themselves, even though they do get subtler. I think it would be beneficial to unpack the dependent origination of that. And not just intellectually, but really learning to identify it as it happens and letting it self-liberate without suppressing any of it. Those entanglements of challenging emotionally charged habitual patterns have so many sneaky little roots hiding under the surface all over the place, even where one least expects it, for all of us. And yeah, with what seems like endless (fractal?) patterns of defense mechanisms. 

I wish it wouldn't get so polarized, pending back and forth between so much shame on the one hand and denial on the other hand. None of it does any good, and reality isn't that polarized. None of us is perfect and that's okay. There are many shades inbetween pitch dark and flourescent white, and that's probably part of the beauty. And gosh, the tension between those poles seems like torture. I wish you'll find a way to stop doing that to yourself. Maybe the torture gets more subtle too, but I suspect that it's still very draining?

I once had a collegue who said that she couldn't ever imagine having children because her own mother was so perfect that there was no way she could ever come close to that. I thought to myself that I was glad that I'm not perfect. I wouldn't want my child to feel like that. I suspect that a planet filled with perfect people would be a nightmare. 

I believe that your observations about getting buzzed are important to learn from. Well spotted! 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 7/5/21 5:33 AM
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Just to clarify: I do believe that tapping into the shift(s) that you already tap into, is good practice. You might need it even more if you dig into the dependent origination of subtle reactive chains, to regenerate and stabilize yourself, as the digging can stir up things. 
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 7/6/21 8:42 AM
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Thanks Linda. Lots to think about and work with! Self-defeating shame avoidance is definitely a strong pattern for me. Small amounts of healthy shame tend to trigger larger waves of repressed shame. Shame is a tough emotion to really feel. I’ve gotten better at it, but like you say the roots go deep and resistance manifests in (not so) subtle ways.

Now I think about it, most of my anger was/is related to shame avoidance, trying to deflect imagined or self-incurred threats/criticisms. Underneath the shame it seems there is a deep pool of sadness, which I’m only just dipping into. It actually feels sweet. It seems like this process reverses the development of the damaged child: first sadness/tears, then shame (“I feel bad therefore I am bad”), then anger/acting out (“I am bad therefore I act bad”), and finally depression (shutting down to numb the whole mess of repressed emotions). Everything is ok when it’s finally felt, it’s just resistance/avoidance which is the problem (speaking to myself here!)

I still feel that this process is causally unrelated to the “big insight” (that THIS is already what I was looking for), even if the insight makes the process easier. I think this is something that Daniel points to in the sections on the psychological & emotional perfection models:
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As I said before, working on our psychological stuff can have lots of value, and Western psychology has added a vast array of useful conceptual frameworks and techniques to the world of psychological health and human development, but I firmly believe that clearly drawing the line between insight practice and psychological work is essential to doing either well. I have been to therapy and really got a lot out of it, just on a totally different front from what insight practices got me. It is not that I haven’t had psychological insights of great value when on retreat, as I have had plenty, but those psychological insights came from good insight practice as some surprising and appreciated side effect rather than the other way around.

I feel like my appreciation of the big insight is deepening, even if the insight itself doesn’t change. And of course there are still deeper meditation states to explore and deeper layers of reactivity, denial and ignorance to uncover!
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 7/6/21 11:10 AM
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You really don't have to be perfect to be a fine human being. I'm not convinced that we need a second nintheye either. emoticon 

Finding that you are already there and tapping into it as much as you can is a perfectly valid method. In some of my other sanghas, that's how people start their path. It's trying to translate it to Theravadan maps that gets confusing. Practices don't always come in the same order. Starting at a different axis doesn't usually mean that one can skip some of the work and still have the full path. That's how I see it anyway. But the order can probably vary, so nothing wrong with trying out whatever works.

In the group classes I'm taking with Michael Taft, there are quite a few people who just like you and me started out with Theravadan based practices and then flipped over to working from a more Mahayana/Vajrayana-based direction. I know that at least some of them haven't had stream entry, and they are still getting a lot out of the practice we are doing. Others are meditation teachers and pretty advanced practicioners and still get a lot out of it. I don't think that the path has to be so linear as any map makes it seem. Maybe the whole diagnosing thing creates a polarization for you that doesn't help?

Knowing what goes on in one's mind, and the dependent origination of it, is part of the insight work, I'd say. I have heard Daniel talk about how after 4th path whenever an old chain of reactions would be uncovered, it would just immediately dissolve. It's complicated, though, because even though some very crucial aspects of selfing stuff dissolves, it doesn't necessarily mean that behavior changes. The behavior can still go on even if one doesn't feel involved in it or identified with it. But it's not supposed to be hidden, denied, associated with shame and so forth. Does that make any sense? 
Logan G, modified 1 Year ago at 7/6/21 11:41 AM
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This is kind of a leading question but also just a legit question to satisfy my own curiosity about the path in general:

If you feel you suffer at all, how much do you think you suffer these days?

Like is your average day pretty chill but with a couple moments of suffering when something gets triggered somehow? Is there an undercurrent of suffering that seems to be there whenever you go looking for it? Are you definitely directly suffering all of the time? Is there something that you don't think is suffering but then you realize later its suffering? Would you say your experience is 95% not-suffering and 5% suffering? Is that even a good way to talk about any of this?

My goal in my own practice is the cessation of suffering. I would like to not do that anymore. I also acknowledge that the desire for such is a form of suffering, but there is plenty of low-hanging fruit in my own suffering tree I will attempt to pluck first.

How close do you feel yourself to be to a cessation of suffering? Do you feel it is it even a reasonable thing to shoot for?
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Ni Nurta, modified 1 Year ago at 7/6/21 4:01 PM
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Imho serious Buddhist won't sette for anything less than absolute perfection. It is pretty much what 8-fold path is about imho.

How do you deal with unskillful thoughts?
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 7/6/21 4:50 PM
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 I sort of agree with that, but I think it's a very different sense of perfection than habitual conceptualizations of perfection and also nothing that has any relation to shame. 
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 7/8/21 5:16 AM
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Interesting questions! It took me a while to reply because I've been moving. Here’s my experience with suffering …

I kind of followed the three divisions - morality, concentration and insight - although I wasn’t aware of it until later.

About 15 years before starting to meditate, I went into therapy to deal with addictions and general dissatisfaction with myself & life. I had some success with the addictions, but ironically my suffering got much worse because I wasn’t able to medicate myself and push it away or act it out like before! That ended up in near suicidal depression, let’s say 100% suffering.

Stating to meditate and develop some concentration pretty much immediately brought the repressed anger to the surface, which broke the depression and reduced it to cycling through the POI. It’s hard to remember what a massive relief that was as the time, I would guess reduction in suffering to 40% of what it was before (obviously these numbers are impossibly vague, but just to give a general sense). After second path I stopped cycling so noticeably and made some more positive lifestyle changes, reducing suffering to say 20%.

Waking up to my narcissism resulted in a fairly significant increase in suffering – thoughts that I was a terrible person, beyond redemption etc. But learning about it, where it came from and how to work with it, brought that extra suffering slowly back down again (still ongoing to a certain extent).

The remaining suffering was what I would call “existential suffering”. What’s the meaning/purpose of life? What should I be doing with my life? What happens when I die? How do I attain total freedom from suffering? (nibbana, enlightenment, awakening, liberation etc.) Although it was relatively small suffering compared with before, it felt much larger because I was totally consumed with the search, spending all available time meditating and studying/thinking about the dharma! This also meant that smaller psychological & behavioral issues felt like they carried more weight, because I perceived them as “getting in the way of liberation”. Subjectively I might have felt that suffering was back up to 80% at times, although objectively it was nothing like that.

I think it's important to keep in mind the distinction between pain and suffering. Clearly there’s a certain amount of unavoidable pain (first arrow) that comes from just being alive - fatigue, sickness, accidents, misfortunes, aging, death - but you can avoid stabbing yourself with the second arrow (the mental suffering of trying to control what you can’t ultimately control). That’s easier said than done, it sounds like an impossible feat of positive thinking, but that’s where insight came in.

The big realization of insight was that ALL OF THIS is already happening by itself without any agent controlling it. There might be an annoying narrative voice running in the head saying ‘this is my life, these are my problems, this is how I was in the past, this is how I need to be in the future, this is what I need to do to get from A to B.’ But that’s all it is, a repetitive thought loop giving rise to the illusion of control where no control ultimately exists.

Insight was a bit of a mindfuck. Up until that point I had a vague assumption/wish that nibbana must be some kind of permanent super-special jhana state (“buddhist heaven”), and that if I could just get good enough at meditation then one day I would awaken to nibbana and my life would be radically different. The big insight turned that completely on its head - recognizing it’s never going to happen, there is no such thing as a permanent mental state - this current experience, WHATEVER IT IS, is already it, always was and always will be. The big insight basically solved the problem of existential suffering. The narrative still runs at times, but it’s impossible to take it seriously like I did before. Insight also helps a lot with pain (physical/emotional/psychological), knowing that there is no avoiding the experience puts the second arrow out of reach and somehow makes the pain taste sweet.

Another irony is that as my tolerance for pain has increased, so has the amount of pain that I actually feel! (Bill Hamilton’s ‘suffering less, noticing it more’) Not just my own pain, but also the pain of others (including that inflicted by me). I know that’s not a great selling point, and I used to have questions like is it really worth it, this crazy project of deconstructing my life/mind/personality to attain a dubious freedom from suffering?! I got two answers to that question (well maybe they are the same). Firstly, once I stopped adding so much new pain (morality) then, barring misfortune, it’s mostly “karmic” pain which I was going to have to experience anyway due to my conditioning. The way I see it, meditation is a way to accelerate that process, rip off the band-aid and have a pure concentrated experience of the pain so that you don’t have to spend the rest of your life avoiding it, acting out on it and making it worse. The second answer is that you really don’t have a choice anyway! Insight shows that experience is inescapably happening exactly the way it already is, whether you see it and accept it or not (the illusion of control). Obviously one does appear to have choices, but if you look closely enough you see that they are all totally conditioned.

In terms of my day to day experience, I spend most of my time just doing whatever needs to be done and I’m fundamentally ok with that in a radically different way from before (because of the insight that experience doesn't need to be different from what it already is). Life continues to be a series of (apparent) trade-offs, but they are not a problem like they used to be. For example, sometimes I think that it would be nicer to have more time to meditate (for relaxation, emotional/psychological development, cool experiences) but my life is still in a pretty busy place with family, work, responsibilities etc. That used to feel like a big problem when I was banking on meditation to lead to freedom, but now I know that freedom is always already right here in the moment, whatever the circumstances, it’s more like ‘fine, that’s just the way it is, no problem.’

I used to be very fit until I got Covid last year and then developed chronic fatigue syndrome. There were days when I couldn’t even take a shower without collapsing back into bed for the rest of the day in pain and fatigue. Even now my basic functionality is still very restricted. That would have caused big mental problems before, but now I’m basically accepting of it. Who knows, maybe it’s just paying back karmic debts. I see now that karma runs very deep.

Anyway, that’s just my experience. I’m sure you’ll get different answers from different people!
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 7/7/21 10:05 PM
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö
I don't think that the path has to be so linear as any map makes it seem. Maybe the whole diagnosing thing creates a polarization for you that doesn't help?

I agree!
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Knowing what goes on in one's mind, and the dependent origination of it, is part of the insight work, I'd say. I have heard Daniel talk about how after 4th path whenever an old chain of reactions would be uncovered, it would just immediately dissolve.

Since the “big insight” I would say that I’m finding it easier to uncover and dissolve old reaction chains, but it’s certainly not always immediate. Anger generally passes through much faster than before with less of a reaction, but old shame and sadness are taking longer to experience and dissolve. However I’ve only been seriously meditating for three years, whereas Daniel was meditating for most of his adult life I think. The trend is clear for me and I imagine that old reaction chains will continue to dissolve faster if I keep practicing. But I think of this as psychological/emotional work rather than insight as outlined in Daniel’s quote above, and linking the two seems to be moving in the direction of psychological/emotional models.

It's complicated, though, because even though some very crucial aspects of selfing stuff dissolves, it doesn't necessarily mean that behavior changes. The behavior can still go on even if one doesn't feel involved in it or identified with it.

I think I know what you are saying, but this is the kind of statement that could be used to justify crazy wisdom type behavior, so one would need to add qualifications about the type of behavior, which gets into morality/behavior models.

But it's not supposed to be hidden, denied, associated with shame and so forth. Does that make any sense?

I don’t know what you are referring to as being hidden here. I’ve been pretty open about my psychological issues and shame is the natural emotion associated with that. I think of denial and ignorance (ignoring) as the same thing, so everyone apart from fetter arahants must suffer from it to some extent!
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 7/8/21 2:07 AM
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I'm in a similar position as you describe with regard to reaction chains, and I too figure that it takes a lot of practice which I lack just like you. We draw the lines differently between morality work and insight, but it's all just models anyway and we all need to find what works best for ourselves. I agree that staying away from the emotional models is healthy, and if your way of doing that is to draw the line where you draw it, then so be it.

I would definitely not use what I said to justify behaviors. On the contrary, that is where I would insist that morality work is still important and can't be replaced by mere insight. My dividing line is, to simplify it, that seeing what goes on is insight whereas modifying behavior is morality work. I find that they ideally need to go hand in hand, and that we need both. 

I meant hidden from yourself. As in not being able to see it or aspects of it as it occurs. I did not mean to imply dishonesty. Sorry if it sounded like it. 
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Jure K, modified 1 Year ago at 7/8/21 5:23 AM
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So correct me if I'm wrong but Mondays will still feel like shit after SE? Thanks for sharing your story George : ) 
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 7/8/21 1:09 PM
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Yes Mondays will still be Mondays emoticon
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 7/8/21 1:08 PM
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Ok yes, hidden from awareness but not intentionally hiding something (words!)

I'm sorry, I didn't mean to imply that you would justify such behaviors.

I agree that morality is (most) important and that insight and morality should ideally go hand in hand (although the sequencing may vary for different people). Maybe some of this comes down to different uses of the word 'insight'. For me, psychological & emotional work definitely involves "insights" (seeing what's going on in the mind and body) and I think those are probably endless, but they are different from the "insight" of "insight dis-ease" (the sense that there's something missing which needs to be seen to make experience ok). 
Logan G, modified 1 Year ago at 7/8/21 2:31 PM
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Waking up to my narcissism resulted in a fairly significant increase in suffering – thoughts that I was a terrible person, beyond redemption etc. But learning about it, where it came from and how to work with it, brought that extra suffering slowly back down again (still ongoing to a certain extent).


Would you say this stuff is first-arrow or second-arrow?

I think it's important to keep in mind the distinction between pain and suffering. Clearly there’s a certain amount of unavoidable pain (first arrow) that comes from just being alive - fatigue, sickness, accidents, misfortunes, aging, death - but you can avoid stabbing yourself with the second arrow (the mental suffering of trying to control what you can’t ultimately control). That’s easier said than done, it sounds like an impossible feat of positive thinking, but that’s where insight came in.


I have this intuition (also some people seem to report this, and It's how I interpret 'There is the end of suffering') that I can be free all of the the second-arrow stuff. I suspect that's not true of pain.

The big insight turned that completely on its head - recognizing it’s never going to happen, there is no such thing as a permanent mental state - this current experience, WHATEVER IT IS, is already it, always was and always will be.


I have had one small glimpse of this, but it didn't 'stick' so to speak. At the time it was definitely a mind-fuck, but also I had this feeling like 'I guess if the conditions are correct I will continue on this path even though truly there is no control here'. Real feeling of letting go and letting the meditation meditate itself.

Another irony is that as my tolerance for pain has increased, so has the amount of pain that I actually feel! (Bill Hamilton’s ‘suffering less, noticing it more’) Not just my own pain, but also the pain of others (including that inflicted by me).


Man I feel this these days. I feel like I've cleared away some thought-identification cobwebs only to reveal just heaps of emotional pain under there. I've also noticed that some of my emotions have gotten more 'pure' somehow. Sadness in particular is easy for me to feel, and it has almost no teeth anymore at all - it's just a thing that happens in my body, just part of awareness.

Firstly, once I stopped adding so much new pain (morality) then, barring misfortune, it’s mostly “karmic” pain which I was going to have to experience anyway due to my conditioning.


What is karmic pain?

I used to be very fit until I got Covid last year and then developed chronic fatigue syndrome. There were days when I couldn’t even take a shower without collapsing back into bed for the rest of the day in pain and fatigue. Even now my basic functionality is still very restricted. That would have caused big mental problems before, but now I’m basically accepting of it. Who knows, maybe it’s just paying back karmic debts. I see now that karma runs very deep.


Sorry to hear that. Glad its something you can accept. Continuing on the last question, what are karmic debts?

Thanks for writing that up! I appreciate it.
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Jure K, modified 1 Year ago at 7/8/21 6:01 PM
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Shit is a loaded term and probably shouldn't have been used there. But for me at least there are some Monday's that are shit and some Monday's that are amazing
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 7/9/21 12:07 AM
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RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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You do know that insight empties out views of karmic debt and karmic pain, right? Because those concepts are based on a misunderstanding. 

edit: Actually, it doesn't just empty out karmic debt, but renders it totally illogical. There is no such thing. Unless you are talking about the ripening of karmic seeds. But that's not a debt, just dependent origination. Cause and effect. The way you are phrasing things, it sounds like you are still assuming a doer that owns the doing. You might need to dig deeper there.

Pain is real, but differentiating out some specific part of it that is karmic is misleading. It's all karma, and not in the sense of getting what one deserves, but dependent origination. 
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Jure K, modified 1 Year ago at 7/8/21 11:00 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 7/8/21 11:00 PM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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Hey Linda I take it that's for me? Yeah I do, I just don't understand it as deeply as you or George S does. Yes I can see feeling shit on a Monday is a concept which is why I I replied with "shit is a loaded word" and when I write this now I understand it even more. So thank you for that : )
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 7/8/21 11:27 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 7/8/21 11:27 PM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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No, it was for George S. Sorry for being unclear. 
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 7/9/21 4:07 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 7/9/21 3:49 AM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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Yes you are right, I was just being sloppy and using karma as a high-level stand-in for dependent orgination/cause & effect. Thanks for the catch!
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 7/9/21 11:19 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 7/9/21 10:52 AM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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Would you say this stuff is first-arrow or second-arrow?

​​​​​​​I would say that the first arrow is the physical experience of shame and the second arrow is the narcissism which is a mechanism to avoid the feeling of shame. ​​​​​​
​​​​​​​
I have had one small glimpse of this, but it didn't 'stick' so to speak. At the time it was definitely a mind-fuck, but also I had this feeling like 'I guess if the conditions are correct I will continue on this path even though truly there is no control here'. Real feeling of letting go and letting the meditation meditate itself.

That seems to be a common pattern, having various kinds of glimpses which eventually lead up to a "big one" which sticks (as in you can't unsee it even if you wanted to). After a glimpse you know that “it” is there and then you start trying to figure out how to see it again, which ironically keeps it hidden! I went through a sort of process of elimination, figuring out how all the things which I hoped/wanted/expected “it” to be couldn’t actually be it, slowly eroding the mind’s tendency to look for it outside of immediate experience.

Letting the meditation do itself is a really good practice, but still there are states and memories/expectations, so “it” is not specifically to be found in meditation ... it encompasses ALL of your experience. Letting go is good, but still there can be the idea ‘I just need to let go more’, which has a certain impossibility built into it.

What you say about continuing on your path whilst recognizing that there is no control is exactly right. In a very real sense you will wake up one day and realize that EVERYTHING had to happen for you exactly the way it did. And it really is your path, you can learn a lot from other people but you also have to kind of read between the lines and see what’s really going on with you and this odd awakening business. ​​​​​​​
​​​​​​​
Sadness in particular is easy for me to feel, and it has almost no teeth anymore at all - it's just a thing that happens in my body, just part of awareness.

It seems that different people feel different kinds of emotions more easily than others. I would suggest focusing on the ones you think you don't feel! Because one is dealing with defense mechanisms, it’s hard to uncover repressed emotions in isolation (or maybe it just takes longer). During first/second paths I was intensely vipassanizing what felt like my entire sensory field, but I had no awareness of repressed shame and sadness. That’s why reactivity practice in daily life is great, because this repressed stuff is showing up all the time in the way we interact with others, project stuff onto them, have unintended consequences of our actions etc. It’s pretty easy to see in other people, so all you have to do is turn the spotlight round on yourself! That’s where honest feedback is helpful (and I feel like you don’t quite always get that when you are paying someone for their services ... maybe just my projection!)
​​​​​​​
What is karmic pain? … Continuing on the last question, what are karmic debts?

I’m just talking about dependent origination/cause & effect really. Everything has prior conditions and often you can trace it back to genetics, family, upbringing, education, social/cultural/economic background, and then all the consequences of the (apparent) choices you made based on those conditions.

Thanks for writing that up! I appreciate it.

​​​​​​​It helped me as well to write things up and put them in context, so thank you!
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 7/9/21 12:56 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 7/9/21 12:56 PM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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George S:

I went through a sort of process of elimination, figuring out how all the things which I hoped/wanted/expected “it” to be couldn’t actually be it, slowly eroding the mind’s tendency to look for it outside of immediate experience.

This is the first time I have seen you tangibly describe what you did (which of course doesn’t mean that you haven’t written it before somewhere). Not a bad method. A more thorough description of this could possibly be very helpful to people, although I imagine that the specificities might vary depending on individual conditioning. Despite the latter, I think there could be something helpful in a thorough methodological and phenomenological description of the stepwise procedure of eroding that tendency. Do you already have it described somewhere that I have missed, or is it something that you haven’t yet put in print? I think it would be helpful with a summary that addresses the following:
- how you decided where to start
- how you knew where to look next (at all the different turns)
- how you made sure that you hadn’t missed some blind spot
- what steps you undertook to gradually erode different aspects of the mind’s tendency to look outside of immediate experience
- how your experience is today with regard to the different things that would previously take your focus away from the immediate experience (I’m not just thinking of striving for liberation here, but a wide variety of stuff that we humans escape into)

This sounds like it could be a huge writing project, and with the chronic fatigue you mentioned I can totally understand if that isn’t your first priority at the moment (I have been there myself). I just thought to mention it anyway, because it’s such a short time period for you that it might be easier for you than for most to remember the steps. I mean, I have seen you strive as hell for strict attainments while at the same time expressing huge amounts of fear with regard to letting go. We had some long exchanges about that. It wasn’t that long ago. A little more than a year ago, I believe. You seemed to really feel like shit back then. And then shortly thereafter you had some intense arguments with people (about the same time as you got covid, or am I mixing up the timeline here?), made some big confessions about being jealous of gurus, and had this Big Insight of yours, all within a short time period (it was an intense time for many of us, though, because of the covid situation). So because of this extremely short time frame, maybe it wouldn’t been so exhausting to write it down? And because of that, it could also be very to the point. Not so much of the usual meandering that people seem to go through. If you could pinpoint in a straightforward manner how you went about it, I’m sure many would appreciate it a lot. Without exhausting yourself, of course.
Logan G, modified 1 Year ago at 7/9/21 5:14 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 7/9/21 5:14 PM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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Thanks for the clarifications George!

In particular, thanks for the note on the emotions we don't see well. They're a big blind spot for me. Even hearing other people mention repressed emotions multiple time before somehow has slid across my mind without sticking, probably because my mind is like 'no way don't look in there that's terrible lets just forget that'. I think I'm starting to see just how much my mind avoids some stuff now. Kind of creepy honestly haha.

Also, I would certainly read the write-up Linda is suggesting if you wrote it!
A Dietrich Ringle, modified 1 Year ago at 7/9/21 5:52 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 7/9/21 5:47 PM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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​​​​​​​One thing that appears to me here is that today's teachers have to be willing to navagate the hurdles associated with meditators seeing doctors and taking meds. Your run of the mill meditation teacher that tells you to get off your meds if you want to make progress doesn't resonate. So there are often opportunities to teach in the informal setting that can often be impactful in their own way. Just like reading George's dream journal.

Edit: My main practice is now karma related work that has nothing to do with meditation other than entering a trance when I post or email about dharma-related activities.
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 7/9/21 9:56 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 7/9/21 9:38 PM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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I actually wrote the whole thing up here shortly afterwards at your request, and you completely dismissed it!
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 7/10/21 1:25 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 7/10/21 1:25 AM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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I'm actually trying to wrap my mind around it now and see if there's some tech to learn from. Sorry that I sound like an interrogator. 

Sure, I was pretty sceptical about it - and dismissive, admittedly - because you had already been sure about being done with the insight right there in April if I remember correctly, when you played that protagonist role, and it seemed to happen out of the blue as the culmination of being an asshole in discussions. And right before that you were terrified about the whole thing. I remember that so vividly because of the exchanges we had in your log there. Some posts in that exchange played an important part in my private life, which I'm very greatful for, as I got to know someone through your log. And you had just recently come out as a narcissist and had been warning me thoroughly about how you would turn every interaction into narcissistic supply, so I took your word for it when you all of a sudden made claims that sounded grandiose. And then when you made the same claims again, you rewrote the timeline to make that big insight happen later. That's what it looked like to me. Can you blame me?

But we all rewrite our timelines over and over because we learn that our initial assessments of something were overly optimistic, and you wouldn't be the only one who had some 'false alarms' of attainments (horribly misleading word and I know that you don't want to use that word either, but I use it now just to simplify), so I'm trying to re-assess it as an example of that rather than merely a grandiose narcissist thing. And I'm dealing with some fears here, because I still have your warnings ringing at the back of my head. I have seen narcissists tear communities apart with manipulation, and nearly shred friends of mine to pieces, so it's a real fear. So every time I rejoice in your development - which I do - I get scared that I'm being played. 

And I have previously been sceptical also because you have been mapping yourself based on MCTB2 mappings without ever describing its crucial signposts, the cessations and the door moments. But the focus on cessations and door moments in MCTB2 and on this forum is pretty big in comparison with other contexts, and I have recently been reassessing that focus in my own bias. I have come to understand that my own door moments have been extremely lucky, as they usually don't present so clearly. Also, if your logging started when you were in the pretty confusing middle paths, clear door moments is actually a lot to ask. So I'm not asking for that anymore.

What I think would be very helpful, though, if you can remember it now or find a way to reconstruct it, is the more specific investigations that you undertook. The specific questions that drove them, the methods you used (sequentially), and how you arrived at specific insights. You skip over those parts pretty quickly when you retell your story. I remember that you asked a lot of questions in other logs than your own, so whatever documentation exists is probably spread out on many different threads. Maybe it could be reconstructed if you use the "my posts" function. It would be a great service to other practicioners, as that territory is a mess for most people going through it. So I was asking about the specific tech in some more tangible wordings rather than your life story, if that makes any sense, and especially from that middle path territory and onwards, because that's something that's rare to find. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 7/10/21 3:13 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 7/10/21 3:13 AM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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Okay, good. It sounded to me like it might be another guilt-shame circle based on an idea of a separate self, but words really are inadequate, and the further we go on the path, the more frustratingly confusing language becomes when we try to compare notes. 

So you aren't dismissing nonduality or whatever one wants to call it, just the temporary nondual absorptions as the final destination? Then we are in agreement. 

Personally, I still need to finish that part of the journey before it's time to quit the search. I sometimes get pissed off when you keep calling it insight disease, as if that were the problem. I still have some deconstruction to do, and just quitting the search won't do that for me. I already know that the temporary states aren't it, but I can't just skip past them. I need to find all the hidden assumptions that cause the suffering for me
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 1 Year ago at 7/10/21 3:26 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 7/10/21 3:26 AM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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Linda can you get of his back now?!! You have said enough! 

If people don't chirp like you and people you admire then they are wrong and pissing you off! 

Now you are pissing me off with lecturing George on and on! Will you ever stop!

Yes there is insight disease. This just is This, awake or not awake. Chase your waterfalls if you want. Stop telling people that they are right only if it agrees with your view! 

emoticon with much Metta of course emoticon 

Best wishes to both!
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 7/10/21 3:45 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 7/10/21 3:36 AM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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I AM off his back. That's the whole point. 

Maybe it was my turn to be the antagonistic asshole, which is sometimes jokingly described as an integrated part of the path.

So sorry for being an asshole. Just trying to see the dependent origination of it and learn something.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 1 Year ago at 7/10/21 4:26 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 7/10/21 4:24 AM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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"and learn something."

Actually while I was writing my repliy I wondered what Realm my mind was in. And which Realm you and which George was in. 

Im just too dumb for this 6 Realm practice. I struggle to place mind states or attitudes into Realms. I guess being no analytical person it's just not for me. I move through life with my belly feel. I think KF's 3 Speed Transmition is likely best suited for me.
1. Noting
2. Self-inquiry
3. Mahamudra
and keep switching gears depending on the terrain I guess, rather than looking at it as some hierarchy (example Mahamudra being better than Noting etc). 

Anyway, emoticon sorry for brainstorming in your log G! 

​​​​​​​All the best! 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 7/10/21 11:24 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 7/10/21 9:30 AM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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I think George S was more in the human realm than I have been lately, Papa Che. And if you were in a hell realm or something when reading my latest post, that was probably because you spotted that I had been there and were trying to save me from it, as well as saving all poor beings there from me. I was already crawling out of it, through a detour in jelaous god realm or something, but approaching human realm. You don't suck at it. You just didn't see that I had already realized it and were trying to repair it. I guess that's an indication that I wasn't that successful in repairing it. Point taken. 

I'm going to officially apologize in the this moment thread for being such an ass. I reacted out of fear and was out of line. 

So yeah, I'm officially off your back, George S, and humbly apologizing, or trying to. Let me know if some crawling is needed beyond the crawling I'm about to do in that thread. I'm also trying to say that I'm interested in advice with regard to the deconstruction aiming at third path, if you have any tangible tech to share. That is, stuff that comes before it's time to give up the search, because it would be too soon for me to skip forward to that. I think it's more complicated for me, so it might be the case that I need to vipassanize the hell out of some aspects of it. 

It might take a while to write that apology. I'm travelling at the moment and running out of battery and my powerbank is unreliable. I also want to make sure that I don't make things worse. I'm not even sure exactly what triggered what patterns for me. It's some messy entanglement. Seeing this mess of mine actually makes it easier for me to understand how it was possible for you earlier, George, to antagonize like that and then come out of it so soon without having to be a master manipulator. The mind really plays such tricks on us human beings, and sometimes it catches us off guard when we were starting to hope that we had put the worst behind us. So I get it now. It's that easy to suddenly be the asshole. And thankfully, it's also possible to come to se it. And it probably takes a lot more practice to catch it as it happens. 

I really am sorry for how I behaved. 

edited to add: I added apologies as editings at the end of a couple of my posts. Then I thought it might be best to just let that thread rest in peace rather than bring it up again. I hope that's okay. We were triggering each other in a way that just looks awful. 
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Ni Nurta, modified 1 Year ago at 7/10/21 3:53 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 7/10/21 3:53 PM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö
I'm also trying to say that I'm interested in advice with regard to the deconstruction aiming at third path, if you have any tangible tech to share.
Free dharma tip: Go back to mind state before any path, deliberately.
Intention: fix your normal mind state and become comfortable using it.

So far you are most probably fixated on some progress or whatever to get to some place which is a pipe dream and forgot what is important. I assume this because I was doing exactly the same, for years, and at some point I had the idea that is the basis for this advice and it is one of the best practice decisions I ever made.

That is, stuff that comes before it's time to give up the search, because it would be too soon for me to skip forward to that. I think it's more complicated for me, so it might be the case that I need to vipassanize the hell out of some aspects of it.

I do not think this whole 'give up the search' applies to bodhisattvas emoticon
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 7/10/21 5:39 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 7/10/21 5:39 PM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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Ni Nurta:

Free dharma tip: Go back to mind state before any path, deliberately.
Intention: fix your normal mind state and become comfortable using it.

So far you are most probably fixated on some progress or whatever to get to some place which is a pipe dream and forgot what is important. I assume this because I was doing exactly the same, for years, and at some point I had the idea that is the basis for this advice and it is one of the best practice decisions I ever made.


My mind state before starting my practice wasn’t worth living. I would rather die than go back to it, so it’s not an option. Four decades was enough. I think I was messed up at such an early age that I need the practice to find my normal mind state, if there is such a thing, and to be present right here and right now. Thanks anyway.

Ni Nurta:

I do not think this whole 'give up the search' applies to bodhisattvas emoticon


I actually vowed not to give up until I reach full Buddhahood, which is being a Bodhisattva in that tradition, so it literally doesn’t.
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Jure K, modified 1 Year ago at 7/10/21 7:56 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 7/10/21 7:45 PM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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Hey Linda, maybe vowing to full Buddhahood can be the very thing that is limiting you also words are very limited. What do you really mean by full buddhahood?
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 7/11/21 12:59 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 7/11/21 12:59 AM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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Why do you assume that I'm limited? I'm following the process as it is already proceeding, which is just as it should be.

What full Buddhahood is, that's an empirical question. Can't answer it, don't want to project limitations to it. 
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 1 Year ago at 7/11/21 1:21 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 7/11/21 1:21 AM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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"Intention: fix your normal mind state and become comfortable using it."

Thats the main reason I still keep to playing music, keeping honeybees, painting oil on canvas and annoying the fine people of DhO emoticon 
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Jure K, modified 1 Year ago at 7/11/21 2:53 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 7/11/21 2:53 AM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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I didn't say YOU are limited I said there is something limiting you. I apologise if it came across that way.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 7/11/21 2:56 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 7/11/21 2:56 AM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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That's what I meant. Limited by something. Why would it be limiting? I see it as a great openness. 
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Jure K, modified 1 Year ago at 7/11/21 3:02 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 7/11/21 3:02 AM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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Ok that makes sense and very insightful. I guess I see myself as limited. Thanks!
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 7/11/21 3:05 AM
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RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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Don't take my word for it. Explore it. 
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 7/12/21 11:25 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 7/12/21 11:24 AM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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I didn’t rewrite the timeline, but I can understand if it’s unclear, there was a lot going on last year!

My two cessations occurred in early 2019 before I started logging on here, but I described them in an early post which is linked from my first log. The first one I thought could have been a near miss. The second one was pretty clear, but I had doubts that it could be second path already. After that I started getting into deeper psychological strata, whole life practice and other “third path” type stuff. I’m not sure exactly what you mean by “door moment”, but the third “moment” for me happened while crossing a road later in 2019. It wasn’t a cessation, I described it as reality suddenly synching up and totally knowing itself. It was as if I suddenly saw everything exactly as it was for the first time. It was very powerful but it only lasted an instant and I downplayed it at the time because it didn’t fit into the model of what I was expecting, which was a third path cessation like the other two. If I had to pick a door I would say not-self, because that’s the characteristic I was investigating deeply at the time (to the point that I had convinced myself that I didn’t exist at all!) What I’ve been calling the “big insight” was in November 2020. There was some insight stuff leading up to it, but the experience of the moment itself was very much like the third moment, except this time it stuck and it’s basically always available for me now. I would say it was the impermanence door, because the insight leading into it was the total fabrication of the personal sense of time.

What was going on around April 2020 was a temporary fixation in a nondual mindstate. It felt very powerful at the time, but I was straining to maintain it and it broke down after a few weeks, at which point I acknowledged it and settled back down to regular practice again. You are right that I was posting a lot of narcissistic stuff around that time. Looking back over some of it now is pretty cringing, makes me think who was that person?!

When I realized that I was a narcissist it felt like a life sentence, realizing that my whole personality structure was suspect. Suddenly it seemed like all of my behavior was driven by the need for narcissistic supply. Being open about that (and yes dramatic) was itself a source of narcissistic supply, but it was motivated by a genuine desire to understand how narcissism worked and get to the bottom of it – because I knew it was the biggest source of suffering for myself and others. It wasn’t until earlier this year that I did the inner child work and started releasing the toxic shame, which is when the narcissism started to lift (not saying it’s all lifted). I understand your fear, and consider myself to be on probation as far as narcissism is concerned.

I feel like the summary I already linked to above summarizes the most important pieces of “tech” that I used. I’m happy to answer any more specific questions on techniques mentioned there. I pieced a lot together by rooting around on other people’s old logs and seeing how stuff evolved for them in real time, as well as reading shargrol’s posts very very carefully. 

After noting, the two practices which had the biggest impact for me were nonduality and realms/elements. Nonduality for me was all about deconstructing the seeker/seeking dynamic (which when taken too far, which I did, leads to a temporary state of absolutely nothing to do, which is one of the ego’s last defense mechanisms). Realms/elements was important for understanding and reducing my off-cushion reactivity, but the real kicker was using it to see how meditation itself was fueled by reactivity and is essentially just a continuation of samsaric state cycling. Up until that point I was assuming that deepening meditation states would lead to some kind of new state of awakening. Deconstructing the formless realms was also important (deconstructing space, awareness, no-thingness and statehood). The last big one was deconstructing time and the personal narrative, which is what precipitated the ‘this is already it’ realization (fourth moment).

I will try to address some of your other comments/questions more specifically below.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 7/12/21 1:53 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 7/12/21 1:53 PM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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Thanks for replying! 

I believe you when you say that you didn't rewrite it in the sense of changing the time stamp for your latest big insight moment. It just seemed like it to me at the time, when I wrote that dismissive response, because of your previous claims and how they had been phrased. Let's just leave it at that. I was reading it within a specific context back then, and now we have a different context. 

First of all, yay for all the improvements that you have gone through, in your practice and in your life! That's really awesome. 

In the following paragraph, I comment on your report and describe my own stance with regard to different aspects of it if it were me, which of course it isn't. I'm neither disputing your assessments or supporting them, because I can't. 

I can't access your personal experience moment to moment, so there's no way for me to tell what it's like except from your words, and words are so frustratingly limited. I have had several shifts that have stuck so far, but I'm sure I haven't had the final shift according to my standards. I think it's awesome that you have had shifts that have stuck. I believe that, I think, except for those times when I get paranoid because of your narcissism. As for whether it was the final shift with regard to insight, that's not for me to say. I'm generally very sceptical because it is so common to prematurely think that one is done with that part. When it comes to myself, I have access to my moment to moment experience, which makes it possible to weigh in that in my assessments. If my moment to moment experience were to 100% convincing as fourth path experience with no doubt whatsoever, I don't know how much weight I would give to the rest of the phenomenology. If it were not, I would personally, for my own practice, not be content with details as those you reported here. But that's me. And maybe you are 100% sure based on your moment to moment experience. If so, then awesome! If not, then I would carefully consider Chris's comments to you in the this moment thread. I think that I would personally, if it were me, check in with a skilled teacher anyway, just in case I had missed something, and continue to do so now and then for the rest of my life. I have the impression that often even highly realized dharma teachers check in with someone who is even more realized from time to time. I prefer to err on the cautious side in matters like this. Please don't take this as me questioning you. I'm just being very honest about my own stance with regard to the practice. 

As for the tech, I was curious about the more hands-on microdetails on the exact subquestions you were addressing, sequentially, and how you went about doing the investigations. Thick descriptions of what happened moment to moment, of what exact knots were resolved by each investigation, and of how the moment of resolving manifested. That's because I'm a phenomenology nerd. I know it's not everybody's cup of tea. I just asked anyway, because if you would happen to have notes somewhere that could be put together to such a report, that would be a veritable goldmine. If you don't, then don't worry about it. But I sure look forward to any further details that you might post below. emoticon 
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 7/13/21 10:18 AM
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As I’ve been feeling-in to shame more deeply, I’ve started noticing feelings of disgust more as well (stuff that I would have ignored before). I had a “disgusting” dream last night involving food and sex, and it got me thinking about the relationship between disgust, shame and sex. The theory which makes sense to me is that disgust evolved first as a disease avoidance mechanism, and then shame evolved as self-directed disgust as a way of motivating compliance with social norms (which became necessary as humans started living in bigger groups).

Since sex exposes one to the risk of both diseases and social norm violations, it seems that it could be “healthy” to feel a certain amount of disgust & shame around sex. I’m not talking about moral judgements here, I still think consenting adults should be allowed to do whatever they want as long as no one is being taken advantage of (which is a whole other topic). In the past I’ve tended to think that people who were less open about sex were more repressed, but now I’m wondering whether it is me who was repressing my shame!

​​​​​​​The common reaction of kids learning about sex is often surprise and disgust (ew my parents do that!) And research shows that getting sexually aroused requires having to overcome a certain amount of disgust. Language also seems to suggest disgust repression (sick body!) I wonder if that relationship can work the other way, which would explain how one can get aroused by “disgusting” acts (or maybe that's just repressed shame needing to be felt). I don’t really know what I’m talking about, but the subconscious is indeed a strange and interesting place!
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Siavash ', modified 1 Year ago at 7/13/21 5:10 PM
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Maybe it's differet for different people.
Maybe aversive type people feel more disgust.
For me human body is disgusting a lot of times and a lot of repression has to happen.

But I guess there is another factor, or maybe another way of looking at it, which I think is mind-states. Mind-states seem to be coloring our experience (Culadasa has talked about this in his older talks). This color here is brighter in a mind-state of joy, but the same (yes, nothing is the same!) color is dim in a mind-state of despair.
Sexual attraction seems to come with a certain mind-state that changes how one feels about sensory input. What was disgusting before, now becomes attracting.
And probably it should still feel disgusting in other mind-states in order to have a functioning life!

-- Edit:
And I think it's true that shame is self-directed disgust. It seems obvious.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 7/14/21 1:21 PM
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Sex is indeed something that can be deeply entangled in all sorts of sankharas, which is why one's sexlife may go through a number of changes as the path progresses even though I wouldn't say that it's like the old models. I'd rather not express myself normatively here, with shoulds and shouldn'ts. It can probably manifest in different ways. For me, I was aware of entanglements involving shame and disgust from the beginning of my sex life, actually from when my sexuality started to develop when I was a little kid. There were lots of changes happening there long before I started my practice, some of them quite radical. I did a lot of emotional work around it, in it, and through it. I have explored my boundaries quite a lot, as well as explored the entanglements. It can be quite fascinating. I know lots of people who are very much into doing what you mentioned, that is, turning the disgust and shame into turn-ons. It seems to me that there are both healthy and unhealthy ways of doing that, and that there is no one-for-all solution for what is what. For me personally I have found that already with stream entry, some hooks fell away. Feelings remained but they were no longer loaded in that very personal way that I associate with shame (we might use the word slightly differently). So to put it bluntly, kinks stopped being kinks. That double-binding was simply no longer there. Not that I ever identified with any of them, like many people do, so maybe they weren't really kinks to begin with. I guess that depends on how you define it. Anyway, I could still enjoy them, but I no longer craved them, and that changed some dynamics in very obvious ways. Some dynamics had been based on the craving, and for me it was now about empathy and merging with others' pleasure. I'd say that the development in that direction has continued, but I have also gotten to discover new nuances having to do with the art of tuning in and the dance that can happen there. Somehow I have also learned how to override side effects from medicines beyond expectations. I can also play with embracing emotions without buying into them as mine like I used to do, so if I want to play with shame, I can now do that again, but it's empty. It's still vivid, but it's like when one is intensively enjoying a good movie or theatre play. 
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 7/15/21 4:53 AM
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I'm just noticing that the more I'm willing to feel shame directly, the less impulse I feel to do things which generate feelings of shame.
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Jure K, modified 1 Year ago at 7/15/21 12:01 PM
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Yeah I find this too. Shame doesn't feel good likewise anger etc so we become skilful in navigating these difficult emotions. Thich nhat hanh has a great book which discusses cultivating the seed of positive emotions (something like that) called "the heart of the Buddha's teaching" 
Logan G, modified 1 Year ago at 7/15/21 1:32 PM
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Totally, that feels intuitively right. I feel like there's some kind of connection between basic emotions and the elements stuff. When I've managed to tap into some of the liberated forms of the elements it feels similar to the light feeling of feeling emotions directly, and seems to have a similar effect of reducing feedback-loop stuff around those emotions/elements.
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Cool, I will check that book out!
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 7/17/21 3:26 AM
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I'm not so sure that shame is something that can be felt directly, but we probably use the wording "feeling directly" in different ways. Because of the teachings I have received, I have come to think of it as stripping it naked from labels, stories and peferences to feel the awakened energy of the feeling. When doing so, all emotions are free as a raw potential, and it's all good. But shame isn't really an emotion, but a complex entanglement of stories, emotions, reactional patterns, memories and so forth, and can't be isolated from our being in the world as a social person.

Also, do you distinguish between guilt and shame? A common distinction is that guilt has to do with actions whereas shame has to do with social identity. Is that how you use the words, or do you use them differently? Just trying to understand. 
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 7/17/21 11:00 AM
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I experience most emotions like this to varying degrees - a habitual pattern of sensations in the body + possibly some derived mental stuff (labels, judgements, stories, memories) + possibly some reactive behaviors (ways of avoiding unpleasant sensations or prolonging pleasant sensations).

Before I started meditating and working with the emotions, I experienced them mostly as the behavioral/mental reactions. The more closely I work with them, the more I experience them directly as the physical sensations with less of the secondary mental/behavioral reactions. I don’t see shame as different in that respect from the other primary emotions (anger, fear, sadness, joy, surprise, interest, disgust etc.)

With the more deeply repressed emotions, I was so habituated to avoiding the physical sensations that I wasn’t really aware of them, even in open awareness type meditations. It was only by studying my mental/behavioral reactions that I was able to become aware ‘oh ok, there is a powerful set of deeply buried sensations here underlying these reactions.’ Maybe if I had sat long enough then this stuff would have made it into awareness unprompted (although one does see very experienced meditators who seem to be repressing certain emotions.) Even after second path I wasn't aware of much shame, I was still caught up in pride (which was compensating for the shame!) Working with the mental/behavioral reactions can look like an overly intellectual/psychological approach, but for me it’s an accelerated way of getting to the direct physical experience.

Shame and guilt seem to be very closely related. The standard distinction is that shame is directed at the self (‘I am a bad person’) whereas guilt is directed at the action (‘I did something wrong’), but if you experience a lot of free-floating shame I think it’s hard to notice guilt independently of shame. The underlying physical sensation for me is pretty much identical - a sort of sinking feeling in the stomach and a rush of blood to the head (what I would experience as a kid when I had done something wrong and was waiting for my parents to find out). I’m experiencing it right now as I’m writing this!

I’m not sure to what extent any of the emotions can be isolated from having evolved as highly social animals. Some of them do seem to be more socially oriented than others, e.g. shame and guilt are directly related to perception of compliance with social norms. On the face of it the joy of jhana doesn’t seem to be particularly social, but happiness evolved as a way of signaling that we were attuned to our physical and social environment (and you can use metta as an object for jhana!) There’s similar sorts of evolutionary stories for the other emotions which include social elements.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 7/17/21 3:51 PM
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It's great that you are repressing less now. Don't push it too much, but be gentle with yourself. Getting rid of all of your defences at once may be too much and either cause a backlash or retraumatize. 

Yeah, I can see that vipassana won't be different with regard to shame compared to basic emotions. That makes sense. I did a lot of that on my way to second path. That kind of work dissolves the feelings into emptiness insofar as it reduces them to physical sensations that lack the strong emotional charge. I'm doing a different kind of work now, and maybe that's not your cup of tea at all, which is okay, but I'll mention it in order to explain what I meant. I'm approaching emotions from the other end, that is, from emptiness, and bringing them back to form without their mundane luggage, so to speak. It's very hard to describe in words what that does. One way of saying it might be that the emotion transmutates into an energetic potential free from the usual heaviness and without the distortions that would result in unskillful action. Instead, it's like there's compassion in all emotions, but with different kinds of energies. That's nirvana to me, and I have only started it. 

I wouldn't rush to that in your case, as you have repressed so much. The vipassana is probably a gentler way of letting the feelings surface while developing tools for dealing with them. The approach I'm using has a tendency to bring stuff up very fast and overwhelmingly at times, and it's probably better to do it with support and guidance from teachers. Traditionally it isn't even taught until one has established a link to the Buddha of compassion, at least in some lineages. I suppose a really good therapist might suffice. 

The entanglement of guilt and shame is one of the knots I was referring to. There's a lot of sankharas right there. No need to push that either, though. Take care! 
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 7/17/21 7:14 PM
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That sounds similar to realms/elements practice, where you intentionally trigger the emotion to have a pure experience of it without the reactive behavior, in order to transmute it from its "distorted" form into its "liberated" form. I found it very powerful and still do it to a certain extent, although more often now I have an unreactive experience of the emotions as they arise in daily life ("self liberating"). I wouldn't necessarily equate it with nirvana, but it's closely related.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 7/18/21 2:13 AM
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Great. But your descriptions of shame don't sound all that selfliberated to me, or did I misunderstand you? Maybe try some of that realms work on it? 

​​​​​​​There are also practices based on other mandalas, such as the five Buddha families, that might be helpful with regard to shame. Personally I find it powerful to slice it and dice it on several different axes in order to uncover and tease out all the entangled roots and branches. And since you have already gotten so much out of the realms practice, you have the basic mandala tech already which will work in your favor. Once you have worked with one mandala, the others will come easier. 

(Edited to translate from autistic wording to what I hope is normal speak to avoid misunderstandings)
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 7/18/21 2:03 PM
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I'm much more comfortable feeling shame now. It’s not totally free, but it's not the same problem it used to be in terms of reactions, urges, storylines etc. As I process the old shame I’m starting to feel more sadness now, which seems to be the next big repressed emotion for me.

I think realms/elements practice is great, but I find the elements themselves a bit restrictive to cover the full range of emotions. The five basic patterns are fear->anger (water), insignificance->greed (earth), loneliness->consuming (fire), anxiety->busyness (air) and overwhelm->depression (space). You can sort of view shame as self-directed anger for example, but it doesn’t fully capture the nuances. I find focussing to be a more flexible framework for opening up specific emotional knots. I don’t think it really matters what you call it though - the basic idea is to identify an emotional block in the body, recognize that it fuels a certain “realm” (mental state, worldview, behavioral pattern), and slowly liberate it by feeling into it without reacting or indulging in storylines. The nice thing about realms is that it provides a comprehensive roadmap of samsara which shows that every mental state is reactive on some level (including the most refined meditation states). That was a key insight for me in leveling the experiential playing field - recognizing that no one mental state is intrinsically more or less preferable than any other.

I haven’t heard of mandalas before in this context, do you have a reference? I briefly checked out the five Buddha families and it talks about the same elements/colors, but maybe there is a more detailed description somewhere.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 7/20/21 5:14 AM
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What a lovely development! Glad to hear it. I know from experience how messy entanglements of shame and perceived guilt can be, and how incredibly healing it can be to dissolve the knots. I internalized so much of it growing up with divergent wiring, so often misunderstanding others and being misunderstood. Those entanglements can be so decapacitating. I have been able to untangle several layers of that mess, but some roots are most likely still hidden. Earlier in life, when I have tried to get off my antidepressants, such thought patterns have popped up again. They are sneaky bastards, slippery as eels. 

Yes. My take on it, which comes from my own work with those feelings, is that it's because of their complexity. That's what I was clumsily trying to address earlier when I said that we can't really experience them directly in the same way as with more pure emotions. First we need to untangle them, to uncover all their different components. And the realms practice doesn't explicitly address the entanglement of different components, right? It can definitely be integrated into the practice, though. I remember having read a post from Shargrol with regard to Ken McCleod's elements practice, from the same book, about how he thought that one element was the big deal in some situation, but then found that underneath that, another element was the major issue. I'd say that goes for all versions of slicing and dicing. In the teachings on working with emotions by Lama Lena, we were taught to follow every little branch and every little "crossreference" (my own wording) of those roots because it's a whole web that just goes on and on and on. And ultimately we are left to do the hard work on our own, because nobody can tell us exactly where to look for our own knots. That's why I came to think of combining different mandalas because they slice and dice differently and may therefore help to point at previously neglected nuances. They are all comprehensive models that guide us to to uncover samsaric patterns.

I'm sorry, I assumed that you had been working with the whole chapter on dismantling reactive emotions in McLeod's book, including the elements mandala. I also forgot that maybe McCleod isn't actually that explicit about it being a mandala practice. I'm not that much of a tantrica, but I'll try to explain what mandala practice in this context is about. If I'm mixing something up, I hope somebody will correct me. There are mandalas that are sort of mnemonic devices, as Tibetans have a very visual culture. To simplify, one could say that the mandalas are threedimensional mind maps, but they are also loaded with symbolism to speak to our subconscious (which is of course complicated by the fact that symbolism has strong cultural connotations). There are several different versions of mandalas for the elements, with differing symbolisms and differing connections to feelings. For instance, Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche teaches a different mandala than Ken McLeod, and that also makes the dakini practice different. Then the different components of the practice are spatially organized around a mandala as well. If you look at the elements practice, with the dakinis, in McLeod's book, there are instructions for visualization that involve a center being surrounded by other aspects. The mandala character of it isn't that elaborate in those descriptions (checking it now). I suspect McLeod has taken away components to adapt it to a western context. I'm used to those components being more elaborate to provide more nuances. There are just traces of it in his instructions. Usually you are in the center of it, and you are surrounded by different aspects in four directions around you and above you. There are ritualistic elements of the yiddam dissolving into you, different aspects dissolving into you as the yiddam (for instance people that you have different kinds of relationships with), taking away the separation, and then further dissolvings as the transmutation goes on. There may also be a component beneath you, as in the Vajrasattva ngöndro where samsaric patterns come out through eliminatory orifices as creepy crawlies that are transformed by being devoured by Yamantaka, slayer of death. I have been taught a few different mandalas in closed teachings, and I'm sorry to say that I'm not allowed to convey any details about it. I have probably already said too much. That's not very helpful, I'm afraid. As for the five Buddha families, they are associated with different samsaric patterns as well as the different wisdoms that those patterns are supposed to transmutate into. There may be different versions of that too, I don't know. Lots of teachings are available online. Lama Lena regularly does a working with emotions retreat, which is based on donations but otherwise free of charge. I think there are some requirements for access, but those aren't hard. If I could afford it, I would take Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche's elements course. SF Dharma Collective offers free Vajrayana teachings on youtube with mandalas. I have heard that they are good. Look for Chandra Easton. 
George S, modified 8 Months ago at 6/2/22 12:04 PM
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I'm noticing a direct correlation between the size of the tension/knot/trauma/hindrance released and the power of the resulting jhana. It's like there is a definite amount of energy locked up in holding the knot tight, and when you release that it flows back into the available reservoir of power in the mind to fuel (awareness of) the jhana. Also the same knot opening is experienced differently depending on which jhana I'm in. In first it's sensations of physical relaxation (ripples in the muscles/fascia). In second it's jets of energy like electricity shooting out and merging into the ambient electric field. In third it feel like the emotion is colored water and the knot is a drop of different colored ink diffusing outwards. In fourth it's more visual, likes sunspots or clouds in the sky. In boundless space the knot feels like a gravitational wave or something, a definite distortion in space which just collapses into smooth space as the energy is released. I know it's the same knot because I can jump around between them while it's being processed. (In thought space the same knot might manifest as a self-narrative or defence mechanism ... fascinating what's going on under the hood!)
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago at 6/2/22 12:13 PM
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I can relate to this! Thanks for reminding me! This is something I think I need to explore more. Your description is very spot on to something that I have been experiencing too. 
shargrol, modified 8 Months ago at 6/3/22 5:38 AM
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Nice George, yes I agree this is how it seems to work (at least some of the time). At some level, the knots require "more energy" to stay in place, but it also takes some activation energy of attention/inquiry to release it. It can feel like "adding in attention" to get out the "energy of release". And sometimes the release also induces jhana like bliss/ease.

It's also interesting that so much of this work is in the body, rather than the intellectual headspace/mind. It becomes clear that the "entire brain" of the body isn't just in the head, but kind of distributed throughout the body, in the muscles/fascia, in the places where we feel emotions (the pit of the stomach, the back of the neck, the underside of the forearms, etc.).  Almost like that's where information is "held". 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago at 6/3/22 5:49 AM
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Exactly. This is something that I'm addressing in my current movement practice. Letting the body flow changes the entire processing on several levels. 
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Chris M, modified 8 Months ago at 6/3/22 7:14 AM
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This is why I'm enjoying retirement and much more physical activity. It's energizing and releasing.
Robert L, modified 8 Months ago at 6/3/22 7:26 AM
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Very nice description. Inspired me to do some jhana work this weekend! I've noticed similar energetics and visuals, but never correlated them with specific jhanas. Super interesting. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago at 6/3/22 7:51 AM
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Chris M:

This is why I'm enjoying retirement and much more physical activity. It's energizing and releasing.


It’s noticable! I’m happy for you.
George S, modified 8 Months ago at 6/3/22 12:33 PM
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Yeah, it’s amazing how much wisdom there is in the body. It’s very clear that it knows what to do and how to heal itself … once I get out of the way! In intense sessions it feels like my energy/body is being worked on by a team of expert surgeons – pulling a little here, squeezing a little there, separating these two bits, connecting those two bits etc. It’s always surprising. The minute I start forming expectations or interpretations, it becomes clear that I’m blocking the process. Sometimes it can be a little uncomfortable or scary, but that’s just another knot to untangle. It’s interesting to observe how anxiety or fear operate on a very granular level. I have a lot more trust in the body/universe to do its thing.

I’ve been experimenting with meditating on THC and it has helped open up a deeper level of somatic awareness. It feels like turning up the volume knob on experience and damping down the default mode network, so that it becomes harder to maintain a consistent self-narrative which filters out contradictory sense data. At high doses it becomes almost impossible to form consistent thoughts or images about who I am, or maintain consistent thoughts about the past or future. Specific identities or entities do arise, like the parts of internal family systems, but they are just tight packages of thoughts and feelings which pass through quickly and bear little relationship to each other. The interesting thing is that I can still function normally doing stuff and interacting with people if necessary, even though I have no idea in the moment who I am other than the immediate contents of sense experience. Sometimes it feels like descriptions of psychosis, depersonalization or schizophrenia (and might even be classified as such if I told someone what I was experiencing!) except that there seems to be a part of the mind which can still be relied upon to take care of consensus reality as required. It’s like the body just knows what to do and say without thinking about it, while my egoic thought function is sitting there going ‘how the fuck does it know what to do without me?!’

I’ve already had these kinds of experiences/insights as a result of meditating without psychoactive substances, it’s more like a deepening into different dimensions of exploration and development. I imagine that I would probably experience similar things on meditation alone if I had more time to meditate, which I don’t. I’ve had some intense sessions on THC which released stuff in the body which probably would have taken a multi-week retreat to access. Generally the more challenging the experience, the greater the healing, but it takes practice to get the dose right and time to integrate the experiences/insights. If the dose is too high then it becomes too intense and confusing to remember, interpret and integrate. If it’s too low then I don’t learn much from it. Interpretation for me means trying to fit it into some kind of workable model of the mind (not a self-narrative!) Integration is the process of recalling the experiences/insights in subsequent meditation sessions without the substance, so that it becomes a new walking around baseline. The memory seems to be laid down first in the body or energy space itself. There are things I don’t remember in thoughts afterwards until I meditate and get back into the same space (another reason why integration is important). After a healing cycle I usually feel lighter/clearer and more at ease with others and life, and also have access to deeper concentration states and peace of mind.

To anyone who might be thinking of trying this – please note that this is a practice report, not a recommendation! I probably wouldn’t have been able to handle some of these experiences very well earlier in my practice. Intention is key. My intention is healing – to process whatever challenging experiences are necessary to heal from old wounds. I imagine that I will probably stop using the substance once I stop healing/learning from it. I got some of the ideas for this practice from a book called Psychedelic Cannabis, which I would recommend to anyone who is interested.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago at 6/3/22 1:30 PM
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Darn, now you got me worried. Just be careful, okay? Is it really a good idea to take THC to speed things up because you don't have time to meditate more? That sounds risky to me. THC can decrease empathy and emotional intelligence, it is suggested. I'm a scaredy cat when it comes to drugs, though, and Swedish on top of that. It's a different culture. 
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Jure K, modified 8 Months ago at 6/4/22 12:55 AM
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The body is such an incredible feat of natures engineering. I like to think of us as natures AI, haha. Millions of years of evolution taking us to this point but we're realising that the mechanisms used to allow us to survive can impead on how we live and perceive! Interesting also how memory ties all this together. Again a great quality of the body used to aide survival but also the mechanism in which a sense of self is created. We're really refining the human experience using our survival mechanisms!
George S, modified 8 Months ago at 6/4/22 7:19 AM
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RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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I appreciate your concern Linda, thank you. Fear is actually an important part of the process for me. If I didn’t feel any fear before taking a substance, I would just be getting high in my comfort zone and not learning anything. As I see it, the process is about stepping outside my comfort zone, feeling the fear, and making friends with the monsters in my mind! I’m fairly cautious with dosing, to keep it manageable.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 8 Months ago at 6/4/22 8:28 AM
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May the process be with you.
George S, modified 8 Months ago at 6/4/22 9:56 AM
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George S, modified 7 Months ago at 6/21/22 12:14 PM
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I was camping in the Adirondaks over the weekend. It was a lot colder than expected and I woke up freezing in the night. I realized with dismay that there was nothing I could do about it since I was already wearing all my warm clothes! Suddenly the pharase "inner heat" came to my mind and somehow I spontaneouly generated a feeling of warmth in my body. I was in a kind of meditative state and it seemed that I just knew what to do - vizualize a feeling of heat (or maybe focus on a part of the body which still felt warm) and let it expand to fill my whole (awareness of the) body. My whole body felt bathed in heat and I fell back to sleep again. I doubt that my body actually warmed up, it seems more like tricking the mind into perceiving the body as feeling warm. After I had been asleep for a while I would wake up feeling cold again and have to repeat. Kind of cool but a bit freaky. Reminded me of those reports of people dying of hypothermia who remove all their clothes because they feel too hot!
George S, modified 7 Months ago at 6/24/22 9:29 AM
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Banner week for the supreme court. Let's have more unwanted children and easier access to assault weapons. Cause, like, that seems to be working out pretty well so far. Thoughts and prayers.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 7 Months ago at 6/24/22 9:49 AM
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Cool indeed! But I understand the freaky part. I have experienced something similar, not while camping but doing meditation on a cliff in the midst of heavy rain at night. I didn't stay with it as long as you, precisely because I wanted to avoid hypothermia; my clothes were all wet (it wasn't very cold, but it probably wouldn't have been super healthy to fall asleep there). In my case I didn't generate heat, but let the body be just a fraction of my experience, but I suspect that the mix of cool and freaky was about the same. 
George S, modified 2 Months ago at 12/2/22 8:57 AM
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Morning run. Perfection. For 1 dependently originated new york minute.

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Helen Pohl, modified 2 Months ago at 12/3/22 3:12 AM
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Beautiful. =)

You know, for some reason I always though you were a Brit? 
George S, modified 1 Month ago at 12/3/22 11:19 AM
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I am but my wife is Italian/American and we've lived here for 13 years. I guess that makes me a New Yorker as much as anything else!
George S, modified 1 Month ago at 12/21/22 9:39 AM
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George S, modified 1 Month ago at 12/21/22 9:41 AM
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George S, modified 1 Month ago at 12/21/22 9:43 AM
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George S, modified 1 Month ago at 12/24/22 3:19 PM
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George S, modified 1 Month ago at 12/29/22 6:53 PM
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George S, modified 1 Month ago at 12/30/22 4:42 PM
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George S, modified 27 Days ago at 1/4/23 12:00 PM
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Running in shorts and t-shirt this morning! First time I've been able to do a lap of the park since getting post-Covid chronic fatigue 3 years ago.

The big building next to the lamp post is Mount Sinai where our kids were born. I've been going through the middle school application process with my eldest. It always brings up strong emotions seeing him go through developmental stages which remind me of being that age. It often seems to be the case that I don't fully appreciate things until they are almost over. My daughter as well is no longer a little girl any more. Mostly it just brings tears to my eyes when I think about her.
George S, modified 26 Days ago at 1/5/23 9:41 AM
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Watching the ducks feeding today reminded me of Baizhang's famous dictum: 'a day without work is a day without food'. It's not literally true, but psychologically it feels true. My kids need less time going foward, my energy is slowly coming back, I guess I'm starting to feel the itch again. There seems to be several factors involved - wanting to take some pressure off my wife, a feeling of obligation (wanting to do my bit), a competitive element, something to do with self worth (being proud of a job well done) etc.

Baizhang Huahai (720-814) was the Chan master who formalized the Chan monastic regulations and pushed the school's embrace of manual labor to grow their own food, which was a big factor in its independence. The story took place when he was elderly:

Baizhang toiled hard whenever he was engaged in [manual] labor, always going ahead of the monastic congregation. All the monks could not endure that, so they secretly took away his tools and asked him to take rest. Baizhang said, “I am a person without any virtue. How can I cause trouble for others?” He then went on to look for his tools everywhere, but was unable to find them. Consequently, he failed to take his meal. Because of that, there is the saying, “a day without work is a day without food,” which became widely known all over the world.
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Siavash ', modified 25 Days ago at 1/6/23 10:13 AM
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RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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We have a saying..:

​​​​​​​No work, no bite emoticon
George S, modified 25 Days ago at 1/7/23 6:49 AM
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I like it ... even more concise emoticon
George S, modified 14 Days ago at 1/17/23 11:41 AM
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I’m a bit embarrassed to admit it, but Christian motifs have been popping up in my jhanas recently. Must be my conditioning returning to haunt me!

  • In the beginning was the Word (Logos) and the Word was God -> Mind
  • Let there be light -> Luminosity of the Mind

The Holy Trinity
  • God The Father -> The Mind
  • God The Son -> The Body
  • God The Holy Spirit -> Piti/Prana/Qi/Kundalini

  • “Married” to Christ -> Piti-sukha explosion (same deal as “virgin” Mary conceiving by the Holy Spirit)
  • Aura/Halo -> Nimitta embryo
  • Crucifixion -> Pain in relaxing the body
  • Death -> Disappearance of the body
  • Purgatory -> Access Concentration (cleaning the nimitta)
  • Resurrection/Going to Heaven -> Entering Jhana
  • The Burning Bush -> First Jhana (sketchy!)
  • The peace which passeth all understanding -> Fourth Jhana

Robert L, modified 14 Days ago at 1/17/23 5:39 PM
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RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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I grew up Catholic. Went to Catholic school, which of course made me into an atheist. Now, I'm like, oh yeah! That's what Jesus meant! Such a good Buddhist!
Robert L, modified 14 Days ago at 1/17/23 5:42 PM
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The Kingdom of Heaven is within you! Holy Crap!
George S, modified 14 Days ago at 1/17/23 6:28 PM
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I was sent to a cathedral school. That cured me of religion pretty quickly.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 13 Days ago at 1/19/23 5:40 AM
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Symbols we grew up with can be powerful tools and great doorways, I think. I guess the trick is not to reify them and to continue to disentangle then from habituated patterns while in the meantime use them skillfully. Maybe seeing that they aren't all bad is part of the development of getting free from their habituated influence on us. 
George S, modified 10 Days ago at 1/21/23 3:14 PM
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I tried being Whore Mary and ended up becoming Virgin Mary ... those Christians they really know how to fuck with your mind XD
George S, modified 10 Days ago at 1/21/23 4:01 PM
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I mean the main thing a Virgin Mary must feel is an overwhelming level of horniness coupled with an ability to get it satisfied without breaking into her underwear …

Ahh the pleasures of being a domesticated dad and jhana junkie
George S, modified 10 Days ago at 1/21/23 4:21 PM
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RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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If you look at the space inside the body, every part repels every other part ... just like our current model of the universe. Dark energy fuck yeah
George S, modified 10 Days ago at 1/21/23 4:29 PM
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Every sankhara contains the seeds of an entire world system. By the power of proliferation, tiny imperfections get magnified into energies, forms, images, entities, places, stories ...
George S, modified 10 Days ago at 1/21/23 4:52 PM
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The bastard son of the holy whore isn't too bad either. It wasn't until his teenage years that he started becoming a troublemaker.
George S, modified 10 Days ago at 1/21/23 5:14 PM
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Star formation is a fascinating process ...

Find some gas and breathe life and love into it until it starts glowing. Then find the brightpoint and verrrrrrrry slooooooowly turn the brightness up to 11. Try the fuck not to freak out.
George S, modified 9 Days ago at 1/22/23 12:32 PM
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RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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I love Trader Joe's. The people who work there are consistently helpful and happy. I always feel good when I come out of that store. They even have the best price on my protein shakes: $8 for a 4-pack of Guinness.
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Chris M, modified 9 Days ago at 1/22/23 1:02 PM
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I had to look this up, of course, because I got curious about Guinness:

It’s estimated that a 12-ounce (355-ml) serving of Guinness Original Stout provides:
  • Calories: 125
  • Carbs: 10 grams
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.2%
  • Alcohol: 11.2 grams

George S, modified 9 Days ago at 1/22/23 9:09 PM
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Liquid bread
George S, modified 8 Days ago at 1/23/23 1:24 PM
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I’ve been feeling more agency of late. I’ve noticed a similar pattern in others where immediately post-awakening there can be almost a clinging to the not-self insight, combined with a reluctance to take agency and use personal pronouns! I do feel consequences more keenly though, so half the stuff I would have decided to do in the past I avoid. I also feel it in meditation, more often deciding who or what experience I want do or be, which is weird because there is also a lot more deep letting go as well. Overall it seems to be a naturally self-correcting mechanism: the more powerful the mind, the greater the potential for karmically dramatic experiences, the greater the awareness of dukkha inherent in such experiences, the less the craving for such experiences.

I’m pretty interested in the effect of jhana on karma. I’ve been playing around on the edge of jhana and watching how the nimitta seems to arise out of a burst of energy from an individual karmic seed or sankhara. If I really slow it down and look closely then I start to see individual strands which contain the seeds of different storylines and images etc within the new karmic realm. If I let go of that then the nimitta homogenizes & stabilizes and it’s off into jhana with a huge rush of energy which seems to be generated by the karmic fuel being burnt off (I can check it by slowing down again and inspecting the half finished fuel). It’s a very real sense in which a person (karmic identity) goes to heaven (jhana) when they die. I also did some healing work imagining someone as a deity and merging with them.

It’s interesting how the jhanas have a different flavor depending on the type of karmic fuel. I’m not usually into this kind of shit, but for some reason in deep meditation the thought popped into my head to try some alchemy (it was probably a karmic connection to Isaac Newton lol) So I started to imagine a bar of gold and before I knew it I became immersed in this golden glowing field of warm fiery energy which my mind instantly interpreted as ‘oh yeah, of course, this is exactly what it feels like to be a bar of gold’. Once I got gold established it was easy to transmute it into bronze and then cycle through copper, silver, steel & lead. Bronze had an earthy flavor and lead had a super funky smell like death.

Just for a laugh I then decided to try going into jhana as a pint of Guinness. I imagined the newly poured blackish liquid with its whitish specks forming into tiny bubbles slowly swarming up to the top and congealing into a perfect creamy thick sweet head. I literally tasted the first sip and it was perfection and then that was it, time stopped and I was stuck forever existing as someone’s first sip of Guinness. I couldn’t imagine a better rebirth. The feel of the bubbles was similar to the description of water oozing through bath powder in the first jhana.

I also had an insight into why I find it hard to merge with the nimitta. I always thought of vitakka as placing the mind or directing attention (masculine?), but as the nimitta was flirting with me it suddenly clicked that I was receiving attention from it (feminine?) Maybe my mind is interpreting it as some kind of Gold-like perfect parent figure who bestows bottomless love and grace, and on some level I’m uncomfortable with that and feel like I doesn’t deserve it (something to do with parental attention?) Anyway, when that clicked it was like the whole guilt complex got sucked down the drain and bam I was boosted into the nimitta. It felt like the intrinsic light of the mind shining back to illuminate itself in the absence of any objects. The thing that struck me most about it, apart from the sheer mindfuckingly orgasmatic bliss of it all, was the degree of absolute and total ignorance. It felt like being God sitting all alone in a beautiful universe of light of my own creation, with absolute disinterest in anything that could disturb my profound and lonely peace. I remember reading about this kind of thing in Maha Bua’s book and thinking it must be an exaggeration but no, it is not. I did this meditation on 150mg of THC. I doubt I would be able to have an experience of this intensity in the near future unaided, although my baseline has also been increasing.

I’ve also been having quite a lot of “past life experiences” recently, although I think that’s a misleading term. I mean it’s a very real and vivid experience of being King Arthur or whatever, but there’s absolutely no sense of “oh this is me in a past life” because the only sense of me in the experience is of being King Arthur doing his thing. They are current life experiences! There was another one being a baby. It was not an experience of me as a baby, just a delightfully clear, pleasant, happy, burbling experience of being a baby. It was like the taste of vanilla ice cream multiplied by a hundred.

My jhanas still aren’t very stable, they usually wobble and fall apart quite quickly. It takes some time to get used to the whole body/breath disappearing and being launched into space and coming to rest as a low gravity ball of gas. There can be fear and anxiety at this stage. I can still move myself along the jhanic arc at a lower level of concentration, but for some reason I seem to be more attracted to depth at the moment rather than progression.
George S, modified 8 Days ago at 1/23/23 1:38 PM
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I’m wondering about the evolutionary function of jhana. I imagine it might have developed partly as a counterbalance to potentially destructive social instincts. There’s less motivation for fighting and fucking when you free access to unlimited pleasure, but we wouldn’t survive long as a species if we all sat around in jhana all day long. I also imagine it might be a similar state to what hibernating animals experience. You must have to be in a pretty pleasant state to spend months in a sensory deprivation tank. So maybe it is useful for weathering the seasons, as well as grieving and emotional healing.
George S, modified 6 Days ago at 1/25/23 1:15 PM
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Meditation/trip Report. 200mg THC.

Re. the THC, I feel like an athlete who’s admitted to being a doper. But for that to be real there would have to be a rule against doping. Oh crap, hang on a minute …

No but seriously, I didn’t having a fucking clue how to trip before I started meditating. I would freak out at the first sight of blood. If I’d taken these kind of doses a few years ago I would probably be in hospital, yet here I am functioning perfectly well. Ok, well good enough for government work at least. I like to remain functional during my trips and break the sits up with odd-jobs in between. It helps me to let go knowing I can respond to situations on the ground if necessary. For some reason it felt important to me to say that.

[Hubris: I wrote that bit later and right after I said that, I remembered that I had left the last box of Costco delivery groceries wedged in my doorway, so the door had been wide open for the last hour. It’s a doorman building, and I’m friendly with my neighbors and everything, but seriously kids, don’t try this at home.]

The come-up ...



First off I played with experiencing elements as physical realities in the body senses. An extension of the previous alchemy experiment. Hard, cold, solid rock, obvious. A feeling of being totally immersed in water, floating in air, burning up inside. Space is different because it is the element which pervades all elements, and is the doorway to formlessness. If I ask you what it actually feels like to be rock, there’s only one way you can ascertain an answer to that question …

I found a useful application of this. I was contemplating the painful pressure in my head, when I started to visualize it as pure rock elements. I sharpened up the resolution of the experience as much as I could, until I was immersed in the experience of being called jagged, hard rock all over, timeless. At that point, the tension suddenly released, and all that energy flowed into water and the experience of being a babbling mountain stream, running over the rocks through spring sunshine. Then that water flowed into a big lake, and warmed up in the afternoon sun, and started evaporating into the air. Then the experience of my head being just floating in pure air. Then even the air dispersing until there was just empty space. And then even the empty space, disappearing until there was just nothingness, and then, even the nothingness, disappearing until there was just … Boom!

The energetic pains I’m feeling don’t seem to really affect the physical body at all. There can be a fear that it’s hurting the physical body, and significant contraction around that fear, but actually the body itself seems to remain completely unharmed even by feeling of intense pain. Is it pain, or is it just … sensations?

Another thing I’m noticing about the process of going into jhana which is pretty interesting is the delayed gratification effect. Every single moment of focus on the breath increases the pleasure and wow, but as soon as I grab the wow it stalls out. But if I double down and ignore the wow, go back to the breath, it just keeps getting wowier … until I have no choice but to submit. It’s like saving money and compounding interest. Or playing hard to get.

So much fear, terror, and a beautiful sadness at leaving the body.

Shuffling off this mortal coil. Giving up the ghost. Ashes to ashes. Meeting your maker. Sitting on the right hand of God The Father with all the prophets and archangels supplicating before you. Banging the Virgin Mary. These expressions are all literally true. And you can get to experience that in this lifetime. How fucking incredible is that?!!

The pain body is a route into the aetherial body. In the energy body, my job is just to stay out of the way while they work on it. If I just hold the light steady, they can do the operation. That’s what they told me in the waiting room - just lean back, take a load off and, whatever you do: don’t take your eye off the invisible spot. We will take care of the rest, we’ll take good care of you.

It’s similar to a lucid dream, just with a lot more clarity and agency.

Me: [Walks into a dark room in my mind] Who are you?
Them: Hello, we are the people who make things happen.
Me: But there’s nothing happening.
Them: That’s because you’re talking to us.
Me: Who is making this happen?
Them: Hello, we are the people who make things happen.
Me: What do you do when nothing is happening?
Them: Nothing
Me: Oh right. Fuck it, I might as well join you.

Whole body evaporating as a ball of radiant white light and energy. Creation of a star. Aging of a star. Black hole. Inside the black hole, even though there is no time, there is still a knowingness that it is a black hole and it won’t be a black hole forever.

I figured out a neat trick to trigger a fruition. I imagine how my mind is going to feel immediately following the fruition. It’s going to feel really calm right, with no sankharas actually arising, just a few of them bubbling enticingly on the surface, bubbles glistening in the cool spring air. It’s probably around stage 8 anapanasati (calming the citta sankhara). It’s gonna feel like that for a while until something happens. Nowhere to go, nothing to do, and no one to do it. Boom! The only thing is, most of the time at the moment I seem to end up in jhana (stage 9 being sucked into the nimitta). Maye it’s just because I seem to be more into the jhanic side of things at the moment than the nibbanic. In any case, there seems to be in interesting junction there.

The bliss wave. Just being with the part that craves admiration.

At one point, I fell into a really deep nothingness, which surprised me because I’ve been focusing mostly on the material realms recently. It was a really fucking deeeeep nothingness. Like I don’t think I had any idea before of even the scale of just how much emptiness there actually is in the universe, devouring spacetime itself at every point in spacetime.

At another point I started having a titan “I’m going to be the king of the universe” fantasy, and I couldn’t stop myself from laughing. The whole thing dissolved into pure bliss. What a waste of energy … I already am the king of the universe!

But for real, I live like an absolute fucking prince in one of the world’s best cities surrounded by love with nothing too bad to worry me in a time of peace and yet … still I complain about shit. What an asshole.

When I was walking around on the comeup, I noticed a lot of fertility factor judgments going on. I think it’s my way of bargaining with the fact that my ability to generate new life (without creating a huge amount of dukkha) is over.

49, happily married, 2 kids aged 8 & 10
There was a surprising amount of resistance to writing that.
I’m the dog, and no one’s gonna tell me what to do. The more I do, the more they’re gonna give me to do. Oh crap, I’m gonna be 50 this year. It’s like driving into a brick wall. If you do it slowly enough, you’ll be asleep by the time it happens.

I do it all (and it’s really not that much) for love.

Re. Reporting in these states. There’s a trade-off between the intensity of the experience and the amount I remember. Taking notes as I go slows things down and reduces the intensity, but there’s a certain poignancy to having the most intense experiences of my life and knowing even while I’m having them that I won’t be able to remember them. I’m not sure which ones I prefer, the mindblowing ones I can’t remember, or the milder ones I can revisit. If I had to guess, it’s the extra energy released by shutting down memory which creates the extraordinary intensity of the unrememberable experience. It’s an interesting conundrum:

Which would you rather have, the most amazingly mindblowing sex in the universe but you won’t be able to remember what happened? Or the best sex you can have whilst still being able to remember it in the morning?

Or maybe it’s just called getting old.

But seriously, I did figure out a way to remember a bit using less memory. What do as I go along, when I see something that I want to remember, I just mentally put a little yellow Post-it note on it. It’s pretty unreliable, but it’s better than nothing.

5 hours after ingestion and back to baseline walking around, did a quick 10 minute sit and was immediately blasted back into the sankhara soup. I saw the smallest ripple of a sankhara like an electric eel brushing the surface at night, no bigger than a grain of rice. I felt the smallest bit of curiosity, an impulse to inspect, but I let it go and fall back into the soup. It started a tiny ripple, which grew into a huge wave, which blasted me into a total whiteout. It was a real Robert Oppenheimer moment, something about being the creator and destroyer of worlds.

The sadness at parting, feeling the same yet different, more seen. Snowing outside.

Eating a smoked salmon bagel, paying respects to the animal that lived and died so that I could have the experience of eating its flesh. May I feel its pain.
George S, modified 5 Days ago at 1/26/23 1:31 PM
Created 5 Days ago at 1/26/23 1:31 PM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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Cycling in the city is one of my favorite virtual reality games ... So many players! So many distractions!



Today's mission: return/exchange xmas presents

I've fallen pretty deeply for my new(ish) bicycle. She's fast yet practical. She can beat a tesla over 10 metres and carries 40lb on the back without complaining. And she's red. So gorgeously red. She makes me feel like a young boy with newfound freedom.

George S, modified 5 Days ago at 1/26/23 11:19 PM
Created 5 Days ago at 1/26/23 11:16 PM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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Wow formless jhanas open eyes are spoooooky ... seeing a body when you don't have a body!

EDIT: it's like ew who's old body is this?
George S, modified 5 Days ago at 1/26/23 11:26 PM
Created 5 Days ago at 1/26/23 11:26 PM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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It's fascinating that the energy body has a life which is completely independent of the physical body.
George S, modified 5 Days ago at 1/26/23 11:34 PM
Created 5 Days ago at 1/26/23 11:34 PM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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If the energy body is not tied to the physical body then the question arises ... what shape is the energy body?

And the answer is ... any shape you goddam please. Wow body trips are fun!
George S, modified 5 Days ago at 1/26/23 11:45 PM
Created 5 Days ago at 1/26/23 11:45 PM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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An explosive feeling of anger when my wife pulled the duvet off me. Wow so much anger!
George S, modified 5 Days ago at 1/26/23 11:50 PM
Created 5 Days ago at 1/26/23 11:50 PM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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For sheer bliss generated per joule of work burning off old emotions, anger is second to none.
George S, modified 5 Days ago at 1/26/23 11:57 PM
Created 5 Days ago at 1/26/23 11:57 PM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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Why do I sound like such a pompous ass when I send these deep missives from the trip world?
George S, modified 5 Days ago at 1/27/23 12:05 AM
Created 5 Days ago at 1/27/23 12:05 AM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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I guess meditation on psychedelics is just like anything else:- more intense, and trippier.

I don't know how I feel about that. It's probably a function of how closely connected to consensus reality I need to be.
George S, modified 5 Days ago at 1/27/23 12:18 AM
Created 5 Days ago at 1/27/23 12:18 AM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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I've been to some places I can't even begin to describe. But it's just my mind getting seduced by junk.
George S, modified 5 Days ago at 1/27/23 12:23 AM
Created 5 Days ago at 1/27/23 12:23 AM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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I actually find reverse psychology works best: I'm going to do everything I can to delay the jhana.
George S, modified 5 Days ago at 1/27/23 12:28 AM
Created 5 Days ago at 1/27/23 12:28 AM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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Yeah that's an absolute fucking peach. By trying to delay the jhana you are tricking yourself into seeing that it's already there and about to engulf you.
George S, modified 5 Days ago at 1/27/23 1:06 AM
Created 5 Days ago at 1/27/23 12:38 AM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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Please lord, don't let me die. Not yet, just not yet, I'm just not ready yet. Give me anything, one more minute, just one more minute pleeeeeaaaasssseeee .... oh, it's not nearly as bad as I thought it would be in here. It's actually quite nice. I could get used to this. Oh wow, it's really fucking amazing, I love this, I want to do this for the rest of my life. I'm going to leave my family and become a mendicant and ...... ooooohhhnoooooo shit. How in heaven's name did I end up back here? What did I do wrong? Why does this keep happening to me?
George S, modified 5 Days ago at 1/27/23 12:51 AM
Created 5 Days ago at 1/27/23 12:51 AM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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This is about as funny as that time I thought I got enlightened. What a shit stick.
George S, modified 5 Days ago at 1/27/23 12:59 AM
Created 5 Days ago at 1/27/23 12:58 AM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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Samsara as far as the eye can see, ain't it grand ...

[Click. Blackout]

MC: Ladies & Gentlemen, please there is no cause for alarm. This is absolutely routine. Samsara will resume after a short intermission.
George S, modified 5 Days ago at 1/27/23 1:20 AM
Created 5 Days ago at 1/27/23 1:20 AM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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Ahhh. Crunchy nut cornflakes.

Now I understand the fifth precept. You can't build a monastic empire while the foot soldiers are raiding the pantry every night. It just doesn't work. Smart cookie that buddha guy. Consensus reality, gets you every fucking time. But we love it anyway right
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 5 Days ago at 1/27/23 5:57 AM
Created 5 Days ago at 1/27/23 5:57 AM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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Hey... your log is starting to sound like my own raving mind. Should I be worried? Or are you just riding the contraction to learn from it, too? 
George S, modified 5 Days ago at 1/27/23 6:19 AM
Created 5 Days ago at 1/27/23 6:19 AM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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I'm fine thanks. I couldn't think of a nicer comparison emoticon
George S, modified 4 Days ago at 1/27/23 9:51 AM
Created 4 Days ago at 1/27/23 9:40 AM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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Last night’s trip was on slightly less than 100mg of THC, but it was more challenging than the previous one on 200mg, at least for the comeup. The difference was all set & setting. The previous one I had cleared my schedule and took immediately after dropping my kids off at school, so I had 6 hours free to play. This one I took half-heartedly after dinner looking for a light bit of entertainment before bedtime. Note to self: 100mg is still a strong dose of THC, especially when combined with powerful concentration! I think that has to be like the first precept of psychonautics: respect the medicine … or the medicine will make you respect it. The second precept is: don’t fuck up. Or in the parting words of Francesca the kickass healer I worked with last year: hollow bones, and don’t die.

I started off doing some headless way stuff while finishing up in the kitchen. It’s definitely a powerful nondual experience totally denying the existence of your head. There’s a sudden feeling of collapse and then it’s like reality is happening directly inside you rather than through the imaginary interface of a head. It’s like seeing something live vs seeing it on tv. So much bigger and louder and total immersion in the experience.

Pretty much the first strong feeling I noticed was deep anxiety around my son. It was a vivid karmic formation in the energy body, an ancestral sankhara:- this is how my parents felt around me, and that’s how their parents felt around them, and so on and so forth back through all the innumerable beings who have ever felt powerless in the face of danger.

‘Eating a smoked salmon bagel, paying respects to the animal that lived and died so that I could have the experience of eating its flesh. May I feel its pain.’

I feel like I paid for this hasty commitment. When I finally lay down after putting my kids to bed, I was instantly overcome with the most intense feelings of pain I have ever experienced. It was so intense that it literally forced me to acknowledge (again): this pain is only in the energy body, it does not touch the physical body. A strange logic loop kept running through my mind: this pain can’t be physical, otherwise I would be dead. There is no way I could feel this much physical pain and still be alive. That gave me the confidence I needed to totally submit to the pain and invite it to do whatever it needed to do in my body. That’s the point at which my team of internal energy workers showed up and got down to business, the pain softened up and started transmorphing, and the energy was converted into jhanic bliss and released.

Re. magick, it’s always interesting to see how the karma gods work up close. If you ask them for something nice for yourself, they will basically fuck you and have a party over your corpse. If you ask them for something painful, you will get exactly what you ask for … and if you can handle it you will be rewarded with an orgasmic afterparty. Karma really is a bitch, and I mean that in the nicest possible way. Or maybe it’s just good old supply and demand again.

I’m kind of curious what my next experience with actual physical pain will be like. My mind is daring me to refuse anesthetic next time I get my teeth drilled. My body is telling me that I’m still a coward. The karma gods are telling me to buy some lube.

An interesting thing happened yesterday while I was locking up my bike in a side street near times square. It was 40 degrees and with the wind chill must have been close to freezing. My hands were losing feeling without gloves. As I was fiddling with the lock I detected an unusual figure moving fast on the periphery of my vision. I looked up to see the naked cowboy sprint past me, obviously naked apart from his briefs, guitar, cowboy hat and boots. His whole body just looked kind of bluish. He disappeared down a rabbit hole into a subterranean car park, presumably to warm up in his vehicle before his next foray out tempting hypothermia. The car park costs $100 per day and the attendant told me he is crazy. I just checked him out on wikipedia and it says he has successfully sued both Mars and the Daytona Beach Police Department. I doff my hat to a true all-american success story.

Oh I just found this excellent (relatively speaking) piece of journalism from the post which explains his modus operandi:

How the Naked Cowboy survives a freezing day in Times Square

Baby, it’s cold outside — particularly if you’re not wearing clothes.

Temperatures plummeted to such teeth-rattling lows on Thursday that the Naked Cowboy had to take drastic measures to keep warm — pumping iron in a fur coat in a Midtown parking garage.

“I’m freezing my balls off but I get it done!” the iconic Times Square fixture told The Post on the coldest day of the season.

The crooner, real name Robert Burck, said the Baltic temperatures were great for business as he provided a glimpse into his unusual methods of keeping warm, including transforming a Marriott parking garage into a gym.

“I’ve done six blizzards,” Burck said as he flexed through bicep curls. “The worse the weather, the better it is. During Hurricane Sandy it was raining cats and dogs, and I just continued.”

“My first tip today was a hundred dollars which was amazing but I’m not looking for money,” the underwear-clad heartbreaker continued. “It’s so freezing that I’m proud to be out there.”

The Ohio-born Queens resident said he performed in short shifts — spending 20 minutes wooing tourists before warming up for another 40 minutes.

“I put on my coat and I run back and forth in the parking lot. It’s about a football field length,” he said.

“I pick up a broom and dustpan and sweep the parking garage because it gives me something to do. It’s the cleanest parking garage in New York,” he joked.

The 48-year-old has been on the Times Square circuit for the past decade and with his moneymaker always on display, the singer cannot afford to pack on the winter flab.

Burck said he starts the day with half a pound of chicken and two protein shakes, before later eating two turkey wraps from Midtown tourist haunt Ellen’s Stardust Diner.

Temperatures are still expected to hover at bone-chilling lows in the 20s on Friday, but you can bet Burck will be there.

“I sprint to the Marriott parking lot to survive, but that feeling coming off a set in the winter is the greatest thing ever. I’m the king.”


How’s that for loving what you do!!! And by the sounds of things he doesn’t even pay for using the garage. Legend.

​​​​​​​
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 4 Days ago at 1/27/23 10:13 AM
Created 4 Days ago at 1/27/23 10:13 AM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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Lol, well, I'm glad you weren't insulted. And glad to hear you're fine. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 4 Days ago at 1/27/23 10:22 AM
Created 4 Days ago at 1/27/23 10:22 AM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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I have similar experiences of magick. Gotta be careful about what we say out loud. It doesn't even have to be intentional magick. Just saying a wish out loud can have pretty weird consequences, I find. 
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Smiling Stone, modified 4 Days ago at 1/27/23 12:48 PM
Created 4 Days ago at 1/27/23 12:48 PM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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Hey George,
Enjoying your trip report ! On THC !!! What do you eat? Edibles? Oil? To get an accurate measurement? ... from my smoking days (twenty years back now...), eating was the most powerful experience of them all... but meditating on it? I remember an ingrained lazyness coming with the high... So... what you take is a reasonable trip? Or are you Captain trip ???
One might get concerned about the multiplication of one liners, but as if you say you're all right, it's fine...
This begs a question: Were you already tripping your brains out when you claimed realisation (whatever that meant, you were quite obnoxious for a while...). Or is it a new hobby? (And why THC over psylocibin or other psychedelics?)
Anyway, curious...
metta
smiling stone
Aviva HaMakom, modified 3 Days ago at 1/28/23 8:56 AM
Created 3 Days ago at 1/28/23 8:56 AM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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If I may comment, I loved your THC trip report. You go faaaaaaaar out there and I really appreciate it.
George S, modified 3 Days ago at 1/28/23 8:56 PM
Created 3 Days ago at 1/28/23 8:37 PM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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Hi Smiling emoticon

I use 100mg gummies. Eating is more powerful than smoking because it is metabolized through the liver and none is wasted. It would be hard to smoke that much THC. A typical joint/bong/vape might contain 10-30mg THC. I like the deeper body high of edibles and it’s a longer trip.

I smoked socially from mid-teens thru twenties, but it often triggered anxiety and I would drink as well to take the edge off it. I tried LSD once when I was 18. It was a big mind-opening experience, but it also triggered a lot of anxiety. I didn’t try psychedelics again until last year. I would say it’s a serious hobby at the moment, but I’ll probably move on once the learning curve flattens. I can still be obnoxious at times, it seems to be a sticky part of my personality!

I use THC because it’s easy to obtain. People underestimate its psychedelic potential, especially when combined with meditation. It depends on the intention. When I was younger I was trying to escape my feelings, now I’m looking to dive deeper into them. It’s also good for insights into how different senses of self are fabricated like personality, memory and time. And then of course there are the physical healing effects. It’s helped me a lot working with physical tension and energy blockages, jhana hindrances. It’s also been interesting to observe how the energy body functions around other people. It’s a very intricate process. On the downside, it’s time-consuming and effects short-term memory.

I calibrate the dose so I can still do stuff, but if it’s a powerful experience then I prefer to be horizontal so I can get the most out of it. It probably looks like laziness but it can be hard work at times. After a deep trip my body can feel sore like after a long run. It’s gotten me back into vipassana, because the more challenging material which comes up really requires it. Tolerance builds as well so it’s better to space out the trips. My plan is to taper back the dose whilst trying to maintain access to the same states, so they become baseline.

I’m also interested in psilocybin and have tried a few smallish trips on synthetic psilocybin chocolate bars which some of the smoke shops sell. It can be a bit unsettling on the stomach and takes longer for the body to recover, however the visuals are better and there is more agency (which can be either +- depending on what you are trying to do). I would like to try LSD again at some point, but I can’t get it easily and don’t really have time for longer trips currently. I’ve tried a little bit of salvia and that seems promising - shorter trip times and potentially more powerful. I’ll probably do some more work with that next.

All the best
george
George S, modified 3 Days ago at 1/28/23 8:40 PM
Created 3 Days ago at 1/28/23 8:40 PM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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Thanks, I picked up some energy from your log as well emoticon
George S, modified 3 Days ago at 1/29/23 12:52 AM
Created 3 Days ago at 1/29/23 12:44 AM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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Man doing vipassana after jhana is just sooooo much better. It really does lube the mind. They all said it. I thought I knew better. I was wrong.

Or was I? For a hyper-aversive non-jhanic mind like mine, how the fuck was I ever even supposed to be able to get into a half decent jhana without having to do a shitload of dirty vipassana first? What was that? Yeah, just what I thought, I was right after all. So fuck you, whoever you are

[EDIT: sense of humor, as always]
George S, modified 3 Days ago at 1/29/23 12:58 AM
Created 3 Days ago at 1/29/23 12:58 AM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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Jhana is feminine. Vipassana is masculine. Sila is neutered.

or;

Jhana is the mother. Vipassana is the father. Sila is the bastard stepchild. 
George S, modified 3 Days ago at 1/29/23 1:52 AM
Created 3 Days ago at 1/29/23 1:06 AM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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T-shirts?

I actually much prefer being unenlightened

Enlightenment didn't really agree with me

or for those of you of a certain vintage:
​​​​​​​
Frankie says NO to ENLIGHTENMENT

I'M ENLIGHTENED and all I got was this LOUSY T-SHIRT

[that one was Linda's I think]

I WENT TO NIRVANA and all I got was this LOUSY T-SHIRT

BUDDHA WITHIN. Please rub carefully.

​​​​​​​I'm serious. If you guys n gals like one, I'll print a bunch up.
George S, modified 1 Day ago at 1/30/23 12:40 PM
Created 1 Day ago at 1/30/23 12:39 PM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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I’ve been reflecting on how much I like being a stay-at-home Dad now. There are times it feels like the best job in the world. It goes so fast, though there were plenty of times I lamented its seeming endlessness! It’s easy to say that’s it’s just a different mindset getting satisfaction out of doing stuff for others, but it didn’t come easily to me at all (and still doesn’t at times).

It’s funny how religious sentiments still come up for me around jhana – awe at the overwhelmingly powerful levels of love and bliss. Maybe it’s because I suppressed such feelings for a long time!

Going back to my vipassana comment the other night, after I came out of jhana there was strong dukkha nana for a few minutes and then straight into what seemed like a not-self fruition with a kind of tat-tat-tat, followed by a really refreshing bliss wave. It’s been a while since anything like that happened. I was tired though, I would like to develop more clarity around the phenomenology of these kind of events.

I’ve also been becoming aware of more closed-eye visuals, both on and off psychedelics (though no doubt they’ve been a trigger). In terms of the anapanasati map, they mostly seem to happen no man’s land between stages 11 (concentrating the mind) and 12 (liberating the mind, hard jhana). There seems to be a choice between continuing to concentrate and stabilize the nimtta (a single smooth all-encompassing image) vs proliferating more intricate visual images in a kind of lucid dream like state. Partly it’s idle entertainment, but there can also be some interesting psychological stuff which comes up. It has a different flavor when it’s experienced visually vs verbally, it seems less threatening and easier to digest. It’s a cool junction of concentration and insight.

​​​​​​​To be fair, I haven’t actually been in a super hard jhana yet, so I might just be talking up my distractions lol. It seems that the deeper I get into concentration, the more subtle & sneaky the distractions become. There’s so much fascinating stuff going on, and it seems so natural to start paying attention to it, that I have to constantly remind myself to ignore it by returning attention to the magic spot. It’s quite funny how the more you ignore the sideshow, the more dramatic & hard-to-ignore it becomes, like a kid trying to get your attention … IGNORANCE!

A couple more musings that have been on my mind lately …

One is about the bodhisattva ideal, which never really appealed to me because it seemed to run contrary to the not-self insight. However this passage from the Diamond Sutra has really changed my view on this:

THREE: The Buddha said to him, “Subhuti, those who would now set forth on the bodhisattva path should thus give birth to this thought: ‘However many beings there are in whatever realms of being might exist, whether they are born from an egg or born from a womb, born from the water or born from the air, whether they have form or no form, whether they have perception or no perception or neither perception nor no perception, in whatever conceivable realm of being one might conceive of beings, in the realm of complete nirvana I shall liberate them all. And though I thus liberate countless beings, not a single being is liberated.’

“And why not? Subhuti, a bodhisattva who creates the perception of a being cannot be called a ‘bodhisattva. ’ And why not? Subhuti, no one can be called a bodhisattva who creates the perception of a self or who creates the perception of a being, a life, or a soul.

A bodhisattva doesn’t liberate other beings, they just liberate their perception of other beings!

The other thing comes up because I spend a lot of time chatting with parents in the school playground, most of whom seem to have little to no interest in meditation or awakening (I’ve never asked directly, but we’ve chatted around adjacent topics and the conversation has never moved in that direction). Some of these people I’ve come to know really quite well as friends. Anyway, it often occurs to me how “basically sane” these friends are. We talk about life, children, work, death and they typically seem to have a fairly relaxed & wise outlook on the kind of stuff which meditators often seem to obsess over. We also have a sense of humor about such topics and our personal issues, we can joke about it and gently poke fun at each other and ourselves, and it seems to be therapeutic all round. Obviously that’s not the case with everyone, there are definitely some people who seem to struggle more with their issues, but those seem to be the exception rather than the rule. (We talk about those people too, and for all I know they may talk about me behind my back in the same vein as well lol.)

The one caveat is that they usually seem to have some kind of primary defense mechanism, whether it’s a religious affiliation, maybe an expectation of some kind of afterlife, or else a strong identification in a social role or even just a pronounced personal quirk. I think probably the hardest thing about awakening is having to see through one’s defense mechanisms. They don’t necessarily go away, I think it’s impossible to live without defense mechanisms, but they need to be understood for what they are – provisional rather than essential – and that process can be quite destabilizing, at least temporarily, even if longer-term it leads to increased satisfaction with life. There’s a definite trade-off, it might not be for everyone. I guess I’m becoming less messianic about awakening. I generally wouldn’t recommend that anyone start meditating or pursuing self-enquiry, and if someone is genuinely interested in awakening then they are probably going to have to find their own way eventually. To be fair, I’ve never actually spent any time with meditators in person other than the odd zoom call if someone is interested, so my take on meditators could be off as well!
George S, modified 1 Day ago at 1/30/23 1:03 PM
Created 1 Day ago at 1/30/23 1:02 PM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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More t-shirts for fun

                         Came for Nirvana
                        Stayed for Samsara

                             Welcome to
                               NIRVANA
                        Population 8 billion
               Please wait in line for your refund

                ENLIGHTENMENT - $0 (MSRP)
                VALIDATION - $$$ UNLIMITED

                    I LOVE
                                                     it when
                  MY GURU
                                                 strokes my ego

                     First guru, shame on you
                    Second guru, shame on me

                GOLDEN BUDDHA LIFE INSURANCE

                    Premium - Whatever you can afford
                    Payout - A better next life, GUARANTEED*

                      Our motto: “Better luck next time”

* GBLI has operated continuously since 400 BC across multiple continents without ever missing a single payout. Please do your own due diligence carefully before investing in a GBLI policy. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. GBLI is owned by Universal Enlightenment Holdings SARL, headquartered in Zug, Switzerland. GBLI is regulated by the Spiritual Exchange Commission, regulator of choice to many of the world’s most successful religious enterprises and cryptocurrencies.
George S, modified 1 Day ago at 1/30/23 8:58 PM
Created 1 Day ago at 1/30/23 8:58 PM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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I just realized for the first time what a family is. God I'm glad my wife is Italian.
George S, modified 1 Day ago at 1/31/23 6:41 AM
Created 1 Day ago at 1/30/23 9:05 PM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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Just to clarify:- it's a small group of animals that look after each other, communicate constantly and spend as much time together as they can.

Or in other words, it's a small group of animals that love each other.

[Edited for clarity]
George S, modified 1 Day ago at 1/30/23 9:17 PM
Created 1 Day ago at 1/30/23 9:17 PM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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'Family' sounds a bit judgemental. It would be nice to have a collective noun for a group of humans which lives that way ... pod?
George S, modified 1 Day ago at 1/30/23 10:46 PM
Created 1 Day ago at 1/30/23 10:20 PM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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Here's a classy jhana instruction. May I present to you "The Edwardian Lady"

Look down and wait for him to cross the room, put his finger under your chin, tip your head up, and gaze longingly into your eyes.
George S, modified 1 Day ago at 1/30/23 11:29 PM
Created 1 Day ago at 1/30/23 10:55 PM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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The reverse psychology one still works better:

To get into jhana, try to delay it.

If someone told you that you were about to have the best experience of your life, you would want it to take as long as possible right, to savor every lingering moment ...
George S, modified 1 Day ago at 1/30/23 11:17 PM
Created 1 Day ago at 1/30/23 11:15 PM

RE: Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

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Compared with jhana, awakening wasn't the best experience of my life, but it was easily the most profound and important. I just didn't understand my place in the world until that point.

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