Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

George S, modified 19 Days ago.

Agnostic’s Log 7 (Keep on Truckin')

Posts: 1611 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 Marti, modified 19 Days ago.

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

Posts: 3875 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 18 Days ago.

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

Posts: 1611 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 19 Days ago.

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

Posts: 1232 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 19 Days ago.

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

Posts: 1611 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Thanks Siavash, that's a good way of looking at it :-)
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Stefan R, modified 18 Days ago.

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

Posts: 66 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 18 Days ago.

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

Posts: 1611 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Thank you Stefan.
George S, modified 17 Days ago.

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

Posts: 1611 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!
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Chris Marti, modified 18 Days ago.

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

Posts: 3875 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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George S, modified 17 Days ago.

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

Posts: 1611 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 ...
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 18 Days ago.

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

Posts: 1734 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 16 Days ago.

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

Posts: 1611 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 16 Days ago.

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

Posts: 1611 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
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 15 Days ago.

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

Posts: 1611 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
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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