Yogi Experiment: Hacking Vedana

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Nikolai , modified 8 Years ago at 11/12/13 1:54 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 9/29/11 5:05 PM

Yogi Experiment: Hacking Vedana

Posts: 1648 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
I posted this over at the the Hamilton Project blog. Anyone interested in testing it out?

http://thehamiltonproject.blogspot.com/2011/09/yogi-experiment-hacking-vedana.html

I gave this advice to a few people recently as well as having followed it myself in the past. I was given the instructions when interested in cultivating siddhis ages ago. The siddhi thing never really took off due to lack of urge but the instructions to investigate the point of contact where vedana arises did lead to being able to cultivate felicitous states of wellbeing at the drop of a hat at all times of the day.

This eventually led to being able to leap off of such refined states of wellbeing to be able to practice actualising jhanas with much more ease and efficacy. This technique was quite easy for me post-MCTB 4th path and I have seen a few pre and post pathers say it seems to work for them. I'd be interested in hearing from any other yogis if it works for them too.

If one is having trouble with unpleasant affect or unpleasant sensations and one's refining practice is being hindered, doing this simple technique just might be able to get you back on track to refining and then eventually discerning without much problem. If it seems to work for more yogis, this will become part of The Yogis Toolbox. Here is the simple advice I have given:

If you are up for an experiment: when you are aware of a sensation that has an unpleasant feeling tone overlaying it, what happens when you observe the feeling tone exclusively and then 'hack' it. What I mean by hack is what if you see that unpleasant feeling tone as 'pleasant' instead. See if you can change the feeling tone by just will of mind. 'Hack the vedana'. See what happens to the aversion and mental tension towards an unpleasantness in the body, when instead of automatically having the mind read 'unpleasant feeling tone' and then have craving and clinging and becoming leap off of that, why not change the jumping platform to a pleasant one. What happens to the manifestation of becoming after that? Play around with it. See what happens when you see sensations that are read as unpleasant as pleasant. What does this tell you about the nature of feeling tone?

When there is unpleasant feeling tone, the flow of becoming , of a feeling 'me', spins off of it and manifests as, you got it, an unpleasant mind state. What if you experimented with the point of contact and looked at the automatic feeling tone that overlays a particular sensation. See if you can change the mind's perception of the feeling tone as the complete opposite... a pleasant one!! See what happens to your unpleasant or non-felicitous 'mood' when the jumping platform (vedana-feeling tone) for becoming is a pleasant one. It's a fake it till you make it approach. Tell me how it goes!


Let me know how it helps or does not help your insight / concentration / AF / whatever practice.

Nick
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Tommy M, modified 10 Years ago at 9/29/11 5:41 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 9/29/11 5:41 PM

RE: Yogi Experiment: Hacking Vedana

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
Man, I was just waiting for you to do something on this! emoticon

This is what I've been doing for quite a while now, if you check out an old thread I did called "Dog Farts" you can see what I was up to at that point. It's super mega effective too, I did it with toothache a while back after being inspired by Ajahn Brahm and it worked really well when combined with good old mindfulness of the sensate experience.

Applied to my current practice, this makes felicitous feelings much easier to cultivate and maintain since even unpleasant physical sensations such as loud noises, stubbing your toe (although this one takes practice) or even an itch can be found to contain some pleasant feeling within the cluster of sensations.

Nice one, I'm looking forward to seeing what other people do with this one 'cause it's a very useful and practical technique to learn!
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Steph , modified 10 Years ago at 9/29/11 6:22 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 9/29/11 6:21 PM

RE: Yogi Experiment: Hacking Vedana

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Nice! I was talking with End In Sight about this a couple days ago. I also incorporated this into my practice often, with success.

A few years ago a professor told me that fear and excitement are physiologically the same. I recalled this well after starting meditation and then put it to the test. I would take the strong vibrations of fear tensions in the heart and gut area and noticed how bouncy they seemed. That can then turn into a momentum that can start to course through the body like joy.

Another feeling I remember using this technique with is sorrow. I would take the melancholy bodily effects of sorrow and notice they actually seemed quite soothing and spacious. Sometimes instead of opting for the soothing sensations I would tune into the sense of diffusion that was more or less fluxing throughout the body. These sensations seemed somehow spacious and airy, so I would focus on the sense of airiness until even that diffused further.
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Jake , modified 10 Years ago at 9/30/11 9:59 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 9/30/11 9:59 AM

RE: Yogi Experiment: Hacking Vedana

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Thanks Nick, I've been incorporating this approach into my life with clear benefit so far. It's a fascinating and illuminating practice. Steph, I like the example you give of exitement/fear. I've definitely noticed this sort of thing in the past as well, the way many many different qualities are present in a situation given a big, general label like "fear" or "sorrow". I think one stumbles onto versions of this in good practice but really making it clear and applying it in a systematic way can be very instructive. Amazing how malleable mind can be, and how much of "my" life is actually a reactionary interpretation-- much of which is occurring on pre-verbal levels very very close to that point of initial contact at sense gate. Amazing to see something seemingly so "primary" as pleasant, unpleasant and neutral as reactive interpretations compounding a mental representation with a flow of sensations, and thus responsive to intent. Very good for building light, phenomenologically open (non-absorbed, i.e.) concentration and felicitous mind states.
--Jake
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Steph , modified 10 Years ago at 9/30/11 12:09 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 9/30/11 11:56 AM

RE: Yogi Experiment: Hacking Vedana

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Jacob Henry St. Onge Casavant:
Amazing how malleable mind can be, and how much of "my" life is actually a reactionary interpretation-- much of which is occurring on pre-verbal levels very very close to that point of initial contact at sense gate. Amazing to see something seemingly so "primary" as pleasant, unpleasant and neutral as reactive interpretations compounding a mental representation with a flow of sensations, and thus responsive to intent.


You can also take it past hacking into a pleasant feeling and see the sensations as simply the exact sensations that they are.... or diffuse them so much into everything else that they cease.. .hehe.
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Jake , modified 10 Years ago at 9/30/11 4:05 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 9/30/11 4:05 PM

RE: Yogi Experiment: Hacking Vedana

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Steph S:
Jacob Henry St. Onge Casavant:
Amazing how malleable mind can be, and how much of "my" life is actually a reactionary interpretation-- much of which is occurring on pre-verbal levels very very close to that point of initial contact at sense gate. Amazing to see something seemingly so "primary" as pleasant, unpleasant and neutral as reactive interpretations compounding a mental representation with a flow of sensations, and thus responsive to intent.


You can also take it past hacking into a pleasant feeling and see the sensations as simply the exact sensations that they are.... or diffuse them so much into everything else that they cease.. .hehe.


Nice, yeah-- if I understand what you're pointing at, it's like the patch of sensations which seems more significant than the rest of sensations and thus forms the basis for the reaction just spreads out into the total field of sensations. Once the field of sensations has been equalized there is no basis for that reaction, and in fact, the field of sensations is always already equalized, so by "hacking" the systems that generate an illusory sense of unequalness in the field, this prior equalness is revealed.

Sometimes it seems to be more of a process-- hence "hacking", which connotes to me cutting through layers of a process to get to the lower level "program" generating the surface phenomenon. But sometimes it's also possible to just shift directly to notice that whatever has arisen as an apparent "disturbance" is already just sensations in that perfect field, it's just that mind is accustomed to interpreting certain of those sensation patterns as an excuse to suffer via using them as a reference point for establishing a "self". If those sensations are rather discerned in the immediacy of contact (which seems to me to mean, in the context of the total field of experience), there is then no solidifying them into a reference point.
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Steph , modified 10 Years ago at 10/1/11 2:56 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/1/11 2:39 PM

RE: Yogi Experiment: Hacking Vedana

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Very sound insights, Jacob. Keep putting what you stated to work.

What happens when stuff is equalized?
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Jake , modified 10 Years ago at 10/2/11 9:05 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/2/11 8:59 AM

RE: Yogi Experiment: Hacking Vedana

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Steph S:
Very sound insights, Jacob. Keep putting what you stated to work.

What happens when stuff is equalized?


There is a dropping away of the whole center/circumference schema which ordinarily organizes experience, a dropping of separateness (because this schema seems to filter experience only when anchored in some physical tension, unequal bumps in the sensate field). This separateness can take the form of momentary instinctual passions, a personal narrative selfing, a transpersonal awareness separate from phenomena, or combinations of the above. Dropping it leads back to the wholeness of what is. I guess there are lots of names for it. I usually call it the natural state. Here it is often referred to as "the actual".

One thing that's interesting is that the basis of all these identifications is actually there in actuality.
The physical parameters of health of the organism, the memories and foresight of a human mind, the timeless qualities of stillness and openness underlying the transpersonal identities. What's interesting about dropping those identities is that what's always already happening prior to the activity of identification is like a smooth experiential continuum of all these phenomenal and phenomenological qualities of body, mind and the nature of mind (actual arupa qualities).

Also interesting to note in my experience, it seems that over time as a consequence of repeatedly glimpsing this natural state of completeness, and of gradually re-orienting feeling "me" away from basing itself off of transient circumstances inner and outer and towards these always present qualities of living, breathing, waking humanness, my default identification style becomes more fluid and inclusive with fewer conflicts between say, instincts and socialization, timeless formless qualities and the contingencies of being a body dependent on air, food and warmth, and so on. So the flow of identifications seems to be becoming more holistic at the same time as more open to dissolving into actuality. I think this latter point is related to "felicity", turning the feeling-me from basing itself off of circumstances towards basing itself off appreciation of the basic actualities of experience.

ETA: I also see this latter gradual transformation of the identification process as related to the notion of befriending oneself, the process of forming an integral holistic "me" which is at peace with itself, and thus which is a basis for dedicated practice of one kind or another. That's my proximate "goal" right now, just to further this process of me-integration and transition from reactive feelings to felicity. I seem drawn to optimizing that right now as a life style and don't seem worried about cultivating PCE or anything further. One step at a time; I trust that by doing the next logical thing in the process, the following step(s) will be equally clear at the proper time. I seem to have let go of much ambition and am just interested in the next obvious thing, the next practical step right in front of me.
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tarin greco, modified 10 Years ago at 10/2/11 11:58 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/2/11 11:58 AM

RE: Yogi Experiment: Hacking Vedana

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Jacob Henry St. Onge Casavant:
[
ETA: I also see this latter gradual transformation of the identification process as related to the notion of befriending oneself, the process of forming an integral holistic "me" which is at peace with itself, and thus which is a basis for dedicated practice of one kind or another. That's my proximate "goal" right now, just to further this process of me-integration and transition from reactive feelings to felicity. I seem drawn to optimizing that right now as a life style and don't seem worried about cultivating PCE or anything further.

indeed, you get what you optimise for.
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Teemu H, modified 8 Years ago at 3/10/14 9:13 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 3/10/14 9:13 AM

RE: Yogi Experiment: Hacking Vedana

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Bump. This is good stuff.