Truth Seeking Log

Truth Seeker, modified 3 Months ago.

Truth Seeking Log

Posts: 18 Join Date: 2/27/21 Recent Posts
Creating new post due to re-formatting desire. 

Link to short past Log: https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/22596714
Link to post that details some of my journey and what I've been doing (in the comments): https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/22334269

For future posts, I will continue to chain off of this one by updating in the comments.

Format Structure:
  • Session Date:
  • Pre-Session Hypothesis and Experiment:
  • Session Notes:
  • Recorded Thoughts from Session:
  • Contemplation:
  • Current Hypothesis:
  • Action Items:
  • Questions for Analysis:
Truth Seeker, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Truth Seeking Log

Posts: 18 Join Date: 2/27/21 Recent Posts
Appears copy and paste messes with the formatting and I'm not wanting to re-type all of this again so just gonna go with it...
  • Session Date: 22APR2021
  • Pre-Session Hypothesis and Experiment:
    • Hypothesis:
      • Variables: 3 Puzzle Pieces
        • The Flow: Contraction and Expansion
          • Reality Creation Control (Expansion): Concentration - Morality - Time - Compound - Whole - Intent
          • Reality Destruction Control (Contraction): Sensory Awareness - Space - Components - Separation - Acceptance
        • The Search: Who Are You? What is in between? What alters the flow and initiates?
          • Belief - Faith - Acceptance - Truth - Energy - Unity - Host - Unknowable - Change - Transference - Spirit
      • Compound: When you attempt to perceive what's in between both ends of the flow you will find there is no self to be found, continuing to search will lead to suffering, continuing to hold onto the search is pointless due to impermanence. Let Go and allow reality to flow through you.
        • Through cycling between both ends (Death/Life - Destruction/Creation - Alpha/Omega - Components/Compound) you accrue more and more belief which severs karmic ties. Stream Entry occurs from first cessation which is the far end of contraction. Once you start expanding once more it takes out doubt, ego, and ritual needs. You start to understand Death isn't the end and survival instincts and desire lessens - priorities shift. From there you learn to limit how you expand (good intent) and how to accept all suffering including Death. When you have reached the end of what you believe to be good intent and never reject suffering you learn to let go. You accept the finality of Death, you accept all knowledge, and you accept letting go. Nirvana is reached which is always flowing with and never against. You no longer intend unless you revert to an earlier state.
    • Exercise: Cycling
      • Objective: Dive deeper and deeper into the Truths of reality
        • Buddhism 3 Universal Truths
        • Loop Theory
        • Heaven and Hell
        • God and Devil
      • Statement: Truths are found during the transitory phase - the in-between
      • Steps:
        • Contract by becoming aware of sense contact all along outer shell of human body
        • Expand by merging instances in time together to form one picture
        • Repeat several times
        • Observe the transition from one to the next and attempt to directly perceive a universal truth: No Self, every sensation is suffering, everything is impermanent
  • Session Notes:
    • Took 25mg of an edible, waited an hour until it kicked in and continued to prepare myself to notate when desire starts increasing and to restrict the impulse
    • Cycling attempt:
      • During contraction I felt more and more sensory impacts.
      • I shifted my awareness of sensory contact along my outer shell (eyes, arms, head, etc.).
      • I failed to expand under control and it happened automatically.
      • Expansion was perception being modified. At moments I was the watcher while I automatically performed actions.
        • During this third person shift I understood I could guide self by intending to match what someone else needs at that moment in time. I could intend anything. Example: My wife was talking to me about her day and I understood she just needed someone to listen and so I intended that and stayed with it until there was a change of pace and that intent was no longer needed.
        • There was a period where I touched upon Wrath and started contemplating what that would lead to. Due to fear, I shut that down real quick and focused on good intent.
      • I failed to observe the in between to try and pierce a universal truth.
  • Recorded Thoughts During Session:
    • To become and die like Jesus taking humanity's suffering and going you join with god is what you aim for. Break down and feel all of humanity's pain
    • Breaking down is FEELING
    • Building up is INTENDING
    • To combine you intend feeling.... lol idiot
    • Intend your progress.......
    • Choose how you feel in every moment.
    • You don't choose what happens, you have no control over that what so ever
    • You can only control how you feel....
    • The only way to not feel is to step back from the control seat
    • Pierce direct knowledge, truth for anchor to release self
    • The bell has rung emoticon
    • Waves of consciousness
    • Intent of feeling is key and how to get where you want
  • Contemplation:
    • It seems introspection within an altered state due to drug influence is no longer needed. Due to past experience (fortnite introspection through perception alteration), it is influencing expansion. This is most likely perceptual desire as a part of my ego wants that to be the correct way for awakening. Attempting to control perception is intent as well when goal is to let go of intent overall and allow for all change to come forth.
    • Any further use of edibles would be clinging to the past as the way forward is to experiment without for stability and increasing belief instead of doubting due to outside influence.
    • It seems I'm at a crossroad when it comes to how to move forward. One part of self believes seeking jhana states is the way so you refine intent control for expansion and have a baseline of checkpoints for states of change which also assist in comparing to the standard maps used by others. Another part believes that should be a focus after stream entry as that's when you should start limiting expansion through morality/virtues. Isn't the purpose to have your first direct experience of cessation? Would the way forward then be intend feeling as much as you can until it becomes too much and you try to find how to change and not suffer which then leads to observing the in between which leads to perceiving one of the 3 universal truths that there is nothing there and all you have to do is let go and be whatever it is you formed at that point in time?
    • I also feel a part of me is trying to balance my past desires by applying different sensations to an object from my past while dreaming. Example being the lust I had/have in the past for two individuals and one dream associated a standard interaction with one individual with no lust and the other introduced guilt/shame/anxiety/fear to the other.
  • Current Hypothesis:
    • Variables:
      • Intent of Suffering
      • Flowing - No Intent
    • Compound:
      • God's/Unknown's Creation? Tao? Space-Time-Soul? Deathless unless you wish for Ignorance?
    • Whenever you intend, you are intending your own suffering. Objective is to not intend and let everything flow through you.
  • Action Items:
    • Refine Cycling Technique: Apply limiters on both ends, list how to attempt to perceive in between (ask a question? Feel for an answer?), and chart path after you make a perception attempt (letting go and flowing)
    • Create routine for dedicated and continuous practice:
      • Dedicated: Environment setup, prep work, time, technique used
      • Continuous: Matching intent to the moment if someone else is in need otherwise continue to cycle
  • Questions for further Analysis: None. I keep reaching this conclusion that the compound is unknowable. I still have the loop theory, but won't know the truth until after I experience a physical death. Only way forward is to refine intent control to cycle on the dualistic chain until I firmly believe that the only separation is through ignorance and to allow both ends to unite without changing how they flow.
Truth Seeker, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Truth Seeking Log

Posts: 18 Join Date: 2/27/21 Recent Posts
Less a formal log post utilizing format shown above and more an update. Attempted the cycling exercise a couple times and found I was lacking in understanding of the basic variables in practice. I've since done a 180 and will start focusing on Jhana practice. It seems the main sub-variables of Intent are replication and length you can flow with/accept the initiated and following changes without intending again. I plan on going through all 40 meditation objects to choose 2-3 objects that I can replicate the sensations of most easily and accept the sensations that follow. Once chosen, I will have two 1hr sessions daily to start enhancing my intent control over creating a sensation and increasing the time I can accept that sensation without changing it. Once I can enter the first jhana consistently, I will re-format my practice to start incorporating dedicated sessions of insight practice to apply the same acceptance state but with sensations I don't intend. I will also start doing the same from moment to moment, whenever I can, in my everyday life.

I also came across a different translation of The Yoga-Sutra of Patanjali that really resonanted where I'm at. It was written by Chip Hartranft and I highly recommend it as a resource if you are in need of something in its subject matter to ground yourself again on your path. It resonanted with me since it summarizes what I've been doing all this time (conceptualization with some right perception). It also mirrored what I determined was the path forward with its description of practice and non-action.

Educated Guess on Future (background info of my life for more context for others): I spent years trying to perfect my basketball shooting form and another year trying to perfect how to focus in esports (I was manipulating my perception but didn't really understand what I was doing at that time). I also have experienced the sensation before several times of residing within a sensation and not touching, but have never understood what it was and why it happened every now and then. This always seemed to happen when others were helping me, but has also occured when I was extremely irritated with someone and awaiting a reply by just staring at the digital screen. Due to past experience, I'm guessing the sensation mirroring will come easy to me since I know how to control this body pretty well. Residing within the sensation without changing will be more difficult and will take quite some time to accept. I've never liked strong emotion much and usually tried to keep them on lockdown. There's potential that the first time I enter a jhana will initiate an A&P event by connecting all the dots of the conceptualization i've been doing since last July, the perception modification, the body control, and the residing within a sensation.

May be awhile before the next post; depends on my progress with the dedicated practice sessions.
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Kaloyan Stefanov, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Truth Seeking Log

Posts: 32 Join Date: 2/18/21 Recent Posts
Hi Truth Seeker, I hope you don't mind me popping in here to share some thoughts and questions.

Have you had any progress with selecting objects for mediation?

One advice I can share from my practice is "Do not overthink it, go with what works easiest first". From your background description you are likely to be very visual/ body sensory person  (E-sports, hand-eye coordination). Stick to these things maybe. Candle gazing (even without Kasina/visualization) is a great way to access 1st/2nd/3rd Jhana for people who are visual and something I found very beneficial. What I would do is put up a candle (or hell, just a led light from Phone/TV) and stare at it until concentration goes up, and then switch to noticing/noting sensations in the visual field and/or the body and/or thoughts.

Emotions will show up during mediation, that is how it works. I also had strong inclinations to suppress emotions and difficult sensations. One way to approach is to gently incline the mind towards acceptance of said emotions/unpleasant sensations, if they show up. This acceptance and willingness to stay with whatever comes up and experience it fully without any meta-affraidness is someting which is a key component of any meditator's path. Our resistance to these is very deeply ingrained and habitual, so this will likely be a longer term area for you to focus on.
Truth Seeker, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Truth Seeking Log

Posts: 18 Join Date: 2/27/21 Recent Posts
Hi Kaloyan,

I don't mind at all and appreciate you posting here. This goes for everyone that reads this log. 

Have you had any progress with selecting objects for mediation? Yes and No... I reached the same conclusions as you and will most likely do water kasina since I'm more accepting of that element and drawn to the ocean. However, I've taken a couple steps back and have been having conceptualizing pretty deeply this past week. I reached a certain point last night where it put a spotlight on my ego. I want to say it seems like this idea manipulation phase is coming to an end, but that has been said before and yet look at what I've been doing... My ego has had extreme doubt over religion/spirtual paths since it being forced upon me in childhood and it feels like I have to find my "own" answer before I can accept it. The beginning of the answer seems to be forming after all these recent sessions that will hopefully be a stepping stone into practice more so than theorizing.

All these ideas I've been trying to interconnect seems to have such an easy answer. Please see below for my current understanding/belief.

Ego: Changing what is instead of being what is

Transcend Self/Ego by becoming everything around you in the Present continuously; from there you continue increasing the length you can reside here until most of your self is gone then once that happens you start the final process of letting go completely into non-self and then cessation --- this I'm not too sure on besides the first part of becoming everything that currently is
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Kaloyan Stefanov, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Truth Seeking Log

Posts: 32 Join Date: 2/18/21 Recent Posts
It is good to hear you are reaching a stage where you are exhausting theorizing. At some stages it is useful to do/go back to conceptual stuff, and it definately was and it still is for me, but not at the expence of staying with sensations, investigating sensations, etc. I definetely agree with you that it needs to feel right for you, and reaching what feels right for us is something very personal.

I personally didn't find definitions of EGO (that is such a loaded word btw) / SELF super useful, beyond that maybe it is a combination of processes/energies/etc that somehow creates the illusion that there is something in here (general area of head and/or body) that somehow controls this body-mind, produces &/or is the thoughts, etc.

A good approach once you are settled into practice is to observe the impermanence of all sensations (assuming you are focusing on all 6 sense doors thoughts, emotions, sensations on the forehead, sensations on the breath, body, etc.), how they appear and disappear completely, coming from "nowhere" and going "nowhere" (there is a thought and then it is gone) and how they cannot possibly be a permanent SELF or constitute part of a permanent SELF. 

Likewise, I benefited from observing the no-self aspect of these sensations - i.e. how they appear naturally and casually, how any idea of a SELF that somehow is these sensations, controls these sensations, observes these sensations, etc. is absurd. I.e. I would be observing how seeing happens, how eyes move, how noises, textures of the space attract the eyes, and how all of this happens perfectly "naturally, by itself" and there is no SELF involved in any of this. I observed how thoughts come and go naturally, casually, based on events from the day, movements in the space, etc. and how there is no SELF inolved in any of that, how there is no SELF thinking these thoughts, no SELF observing these thoughts, the thoughts themselves cannot possibly be a SELF in any way. If you can "observe" it, if you can objectify it, it is not a SELF. And since there is only sensations, there is no SELF to be found anywhere. 

If you can stick to any Kasina, that should be more than sufficient concentration. If water Kasina is your object of choice, you can use the same framework for the objects / visualizations / shapes that will appear in your sensory field from the water Kasina (they come and go, and there is no SELF in them, no SELF controling them, etc.). You can then include other sensations in the field of experience - how thoughts that would be running in the background just come and go naturally, and are not a SELF, how the sensations on the forehead, head, neck or any other sensations of something ON THIS SIDE observing something ON THAT SIDE side are simply sensations that come and go naturally, and that cannot be a SELF. 

I don't know if you have read MCTB 2 - if not, and if the above is useful, you can refer to this chapter https://www.mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/part-i-the-fundamentals/5-the-three-characteristics/

Looking forward to future updates from you! 
Best
Kal
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Truth Seeking Log

Posts: 2015 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Kal seems to be helping already here emoticon 

I did change at some point from closed eyes focus on breathing to closed eyes focus on eyeball movements and keeping them still (not gonna happen). Then changed to open eyes fixed gently on any kind of spot (dirt spot, wood grain on the floor etc). I would do this together with noting aloud for the entire session. Was of benefit in my case. 

One could say I did open eyes dirt Kasina (grey-brown) and at the same time noting aloud. Hybrid technique yes. 

We all come to the point in practice where we develop our own personal technique. Don't fear to stitch up your own raft to sail the never ending sea of Samsara emoticon 

Best wishes! 
Truth Seeker, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Truth Seeking Log

Posts: 18 Join Date: 2/27/21 Recent Posts
This is a combination of a reply to others and also an overall update of where I currently am at:

Thanks you two. I have gone through what I would call a lot of change cycles these past 2 weeks in consideration of Right View. This included a ton of conceptualization which kept going back to needing to practice. Made a connection to the scientific method and how you can theorize all you want but until you attempt to experiment and prove it then it'll only remain as a possibility of an interconnection. 

I attempted one practice session and realized I don't know the move sets of the "mind" to handle a chosen meditation object to get to access then absorption concentration. I am currently reading through relevant sections of Visuddhimagga and noting those fundamentals for development.  Once I have those, I will start practice in full.

I can also confirm Right Intent is settling in more fully after refining Right View. This morning I felt guilty for getting high last night as I had intent to do more studying under its influences and taking notes and was extremely unsuccessful. Seems while high it's mainly useful for conceptualizing but remaining fixed on one object/intent will most likely not happen. 

I agree with you that definitions of ego, as of now, isn't that useful. I looked back on how I defined it and my understanding of it has already changed since then.

I appreciate your tips for insight practice. I will keep them in mind once at that point. I'm not sure on how I will do insight practice yet. A recent conceptualization session provided a possible awakening method utilizing the base meditation objects that suite all temperaments and possibly transitioning into one of six forms to counter present temperment at that point in time. Idk though, i'm leaving most of that go for now and just putting together thoughts to re-observe when I get to that point in my practice. I will say I will be transitioning and choosing fire kasina as my object based on this theory I developed.

I probably won't post much until I can enter in and out of the 1st jhana consistently with that and maybe one other meditation object. After that is when insight practice will start. For now, I will be focusing on Right Action, Right Speech, and Right Livelihood for continuity practice. 

I'll also most likely implement Dream Yoga practice to utilize time during the night and Hatha Yoga and/or Tai Chi for bodily awareness, good health, and something I can include my wife in on this spiritual journey.
Truth Seeker, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Truth Seeking Log

Posts: 18 Join Date: 2/27/21 Recent Posts
Providing a update since a month has past since my last post on my log. When looking over what I put on last post, it's a little amusing since technically nothing has changed and yet everything feels different. This is most likely due to my view becoming more and more firm with how everything interconnects. After reading through the relevant sections of Visuddhimagga I diverged off from my original intent and honestly I don't recall my exact steps to this point. I essentially did what I have been doing this past year of gathering data, looking at it all from an overarching perspective, trying to find how that data interconnects, finding a connection, believing in it, coneceptualizing around that belief with "If this then that", and then restarting when I run into a roadblock with the logic.

This continued for a quite a bit until I was reviewing the changes in my belief itself and this cycling I've been doing. I then focused on solidifying my core View and Intent. Once that was developed it has drastically increased my efficiency in progress on my path. From there I branched into determining how to structure my path forward to reach the end goal of Nirvana/Moksha/Etc. I analyzed various awakening systems, language sets (as in what variables/names/definitions to use across Science, Philosophy, and multiple Religions), forms to control (imagination, perception, speech, dreaming, sleeping, etc.), etc. to utilize in structuring my route.

At first I started with a lot of areas to pull data from (5 religions, personal belief, physics, 4 main areas of Mathematics, main areas of Philosophy, and a couple others). After several realizations, I have let go of all of those areas besides Buddhism. However, I'm now at a point where I'm no longer seeking new definitions and forms and will just utilize select resources when I need to do a quick search for some info. It feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulder now that my path forward is getting narrower and narrower. 

My next step is to study and find the interconnection between the base actions of the human form (remembering, imagining, speaking, moving body, perception scope, concentrating, etc.). I've devised a list of tests to alternate between with common variables to manipulate and questions to attempt to answer. My reasoning behind doing so is thus: In order to not do and/or undo, I first must know how to do. Once I know how to turn the key to ignite, I'd then know how to turn off the key or avoid turning the key in general.

Once I find the key, I will then branch into Virtue and Morality. From there into seeking continuous equilibrium (not avoiding but also not being drawn to events that come forth). Then after that, I will start the unbinding process (releasing fetters 6-10).

That is my outline as of right now, but this may change in the future. However, my core foundation should stay the same concerning View and Intent. I'm hoping this testing will lead to increasing my foundation of core knowledge but we shall see what comes.
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Kaloyan Stefanov, modified 28 Days ago.

RE: Truth Seeking Log

Posts: 32 Join Date: 2/18/21 Recent Posts
Hey Truthseeker, good to hear back from you! Buddhism is a great framework for those of us that are more conceptually oriented, as, depending on the Yana and method, it can be very structured and clear. I haven't personally read the Visuddhimagga but Daniel Ingram is a fan of it I believe.

You mention you are going to focus on noticing interconnectedness between sensations of (remembering, imagining, speaking, moving body, perception scope, concentrating, etc.). This is a good thing to notice and was super beneficial for me at long stetches. Interconnectedness is a great way to notice anatta (no-self), i.e. if these sensations are clearly percieved to be arising naturally, casually, on their own, many times, this generally leads to insights on anatta (i.e. there is no ME/CENTER/AGENT thingy that somehow things, moves, imagines, speaks, tells the body to move, to watch, etc.). Interconnectedness + anicca also is a great combo for Noticing/Noting how things come and go - "here is a thought (and it is gone), here is an emotion that is linked to the thought (and is gone), here is another though about the emotion (and is gone)"

I personally did a lot of progress focusing on the three characteristics in my practice - anatta (no agent or center), anicca (sesnations come and go) and dukkha (sensations don't satisfy, the unpleasant ones suck, it sucks to try to somehow be a CENTER/AGENT that is trying to escape them. The pleasant ones don't satisfy as they don't last and it sucks to be a CENTER that is somehow trying to get closer to them, to be them, to make them last).

You really are attracted to this from a conceptual standpoint and there is nothing wrong with that. I was like that in the beginning. However, conceptual reading and understanding is not a substitute for practice, but a compliment.
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Are you finding time to do practice beyond the conceptual study? What does your practice look like right now?

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