Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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Stefan R, modified 1 Month ago.

Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

Posts: 112 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
This is a continuation of my previous log. 

You can find a summary of my pre-DhO meditation practice here.

You can find part one of my log here

Not really sure where I am on the paths model. But I'm having fun, reducing suffering, seeing clearer, and wholesome-ifying this body-mind. 
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Stefan R, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

Posts: 112 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
Here's some stuff observed today. Copied from my journal:
  • Mind cannot deceive itself; when it tries, it creates duality. Duality is tension. Caught between this or that, despite being neither, and not even being able to choose.
  • These sensations you're experiencing right now is all there is. Full stop. There is nothing more or less than what is right now. There's nothing "behind the veil" or sitting behind. No grand mystery of reality that's waiting to be uncovered. All you see is all you get. 
  • This moment is all there is. And in the very moment, this absolute moment (the cutting edge, if you will) there's nothing that could conceivably be changed, it is as it is without exception. Nothing at all. Not even a hope to change. Nothing can be done. Because that is all there is. Any attempt to even think that changing it is possible is dualistic, problematic, and a cause of suffering.

    The last of these realisations was like a splash of cool water on the face. Wake up! You're here! Be here! You were dreaming. You still are. But that's fine.
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Stefan R, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

Posts: 112 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
 Of the last 10 days or so I've been meditating mostly 4-5 hours a day. The last 3 days I've been meditating 5-6 hours a day. Making some nice improvements, seeing things far clearer, stabilising and integrating insights previously acquired. I can feel very big changes going on underneath "the hood", so to speak. 

Seeing the vastness of self, the voidness of self. The paradox. 
  • Sensations flowing out
  • Sensations flowing in
    • The sensations are just doing their own thing. If they were "mine" or "me" there would be a way to control their in-out flow. 
  • The centre is always shifting and changing relative to the in-out flow
    • The illusion of control happens when this perceived centre shifts. This is characterised as new kinds of mental postures, mental perspectives, frameworks, moods, emotions, assumptions, expectations, plannings, sub-routines, module minds, etc.. (however you'd like to conceive of them -- phenomenologically it's like seemingly infinite hands reaching out of a void in the mind-space to pull/push levers)
I'm deepening my practice, encountering new fun phenomena. New reductions in suffering. Finding myself wanting food way less. Sleeping less too. Noticing far less mental chatter.

I've been working hard to cultivate seeing the emptiness of mind and thoughts; or really, the emptiness of the thought that there is a mind (however you like to word it). I'm doing this by using a few methods:
  • One taste: merging mind sensations with body sensations into a giant fluxing field and watching it do its thing.
  • Seeing the thoughts as they arise and vanish: harder to catch them arising than passing away. But it'll happen eventually and I'm getting better at it day by day! Generally, I do this parallel to breath observation. 
  • Seeing the mind work: how the mind strives to outdo itself, how the mind creates problems with solutions moment to moment, how the mind works on self-imposed assumptions, which, in turn, limit it. The causes of suffering are in these sorts of mental movements. 
 
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Stefan R, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

Posts: 112 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
Going deeper and deeper. 

Things I've observed:
  • ​​​​​​​Pure stillness. Feels like maybe the lead up to something deeper, I'm not sure. But the pure stillness being where everything feels like it's been stopped. The mind is processing only the bare minimum. No thoughts, very little perception of body, time, sensations, etc..  Kinda like standing in an empty hall. Just some very light and effortless attention on the breath, which itself fell away to make the stillness happen. 
  • Watching the "wave-like" nature of intention on breath focus. The observation is that the focus/concentration/attention works along on a wave-like form itself. With a peak and a trough at certain stages of the breath. 
  • I've had some trouble with ear-worm, catchy songs playing on repeat in my mind. I find if I concentrate on the pixelated nature of sound "behind the sound of hearing", the ear-worms stop. Perhaps some lasting holdouts of craving/aversion in the mind to hold onto something familiar, something lasting. A catchy song itself implies a kind of "goodness" that is intrinsic to the song itself, which the mind may have internalised somehow. Either way, it's not really distracting in and of itself, it'd just be nice to learn how to turn it off or learn the triggers for when it starts. 
  • Equinimity is "behind" every state/experience/sensation. Now it's like "oh sensation X has arrived and that's fine" or I'm experiencing some dark night stuff, and it's happening on the canvass of equanimity, which really frames perspective to deal with it all more. There's some peace and harmony behind it all if you're attuned to it!
Outside of meditation observations:
  • General life feeling more dreamlike, more whispy, more transient, more effervescent 
  • Mind is keeping track of things far better; "what is the goal, what am I doing now to achieve the goal?"
  • More sensitive to how the mind spins out narratives to justify behaviours, which are far easier to check and keep away if they are unwholesome
  • More sensitive to how no sensations really satisfy any more at a deep core level
  • Feeling this body-mind as this weird amalgam of non-stop sensations doing their thing, with processes, sub-processes, and sub-sub-processes all working. 
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Stefan R, modified 29 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

Posts: 112 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
Holy moly!

The voice, the chattering voice claiming to be me is pretty much gone. Y'know the voice I'm talking about right, the narrator. The planner voice, the "this is you talking to yourself" voice. The superfluous thing. 
  • It's at least 80% quieter (feels less in the forefront of attention)
  • At least 80% less chattery (less active).
  • Truly amazing. How fun is meditation! I only realised this today in my meditation sessions. Suddenly the mind feels very empty, very clear, very harmonious, open, and spacious!
I did not strive to achieve this, it seems to be a side effect of trying to properly examine thoughts, the mind, etc.. through the 3Cs. 

One thing I've noticed in my meditation and life, in general, is a deeper, more primal, non-verbal acknowledgement of reality, the mind, the body, etc. almost as if the recognition or the knowledge that the "mind's voice" was superfluous to begin with. After all, if the mind has memories, ideas, thoughts, etc. then speaking to itself is irrelevant. It's simply telling itself stuff it already knows! But it knew it all along!

Fun times! 
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Stefan R, modified 24 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

Posts: 112 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
The various stages of the Path of Insight are really just our in-built reactive patterns to sensate experience. 

The so-called cycling is the mind-body sorting through the various hierarchy of these various reaction patterns, ranging from accommodation, acceptance, bargaining, refusal/denial, etc. (I haven't listed in order) they're all really differing mechanisms we use to deal with this pain of existence -- the existential dread-type stuff. And this is why suffering is the ultimate teacher, we learn best from pain (sadly), and the pain is really always there if we forget the 

So it's not really that we're "in" the dark night (as if it's some reified mind-state), it's really the mind testing out this new way of seeing the sensations and seeing if that'll work. Eventually, the mind goes, "wait it's just a sensation, it all was just a sensation, and this thought is a sensation too" EQ, where the real gold is. I think the way Ingram talked about it in MCTB (at least to my mind [or maybe he did it deliberately, as a way to test insight]) seemed to reify the states rather than applying the Impermanence/Emptiness insight to the very movements of the mind. They're experiences or perspectives on sensations, nothing more really. Maybe I'm wrong. Who knows, but I thought I'd share this thought -- it's been brewing for a while, but I never really got to articulate it until now. 

My practice is going well. 3hrs per day. Mind watching mind is what's on the menu. When I am thinking this, there is the thought "mind is thinking this" and when the mind is thinking that there's the thought "mind is thinking that". Just working on that metacognitive introspective awareness as Culadasa calls it. There are a few holdouts of thoughts that are stickier than others. Just a matter of putting in the work. I think I have the insights to know what's up, and navigate it all, just a matter of applying it now. No point having cool Vipashyana skills if they don't get applied! 
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Stefan R, modified 23 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

Posts: 112 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
Each person is simply a part of reality investigating and interacting with itself.

The troubles all begin when we forget this. 

Or in other words: we are reality having a human experience. 
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Stefan R, modified 22 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

Posts: 112 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
The future is hypothetical. You simply cannot expect, anticipate, or plan for how things will eventuate. 

​​​​​​​The past is hypothetical too. Whatever thought you have about the past is inevitably coloured by your present emotional state, thus making the content unreliable as a snapshot of your life or a guide for the future, or even present. 
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Stefan R, modified 21 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

Posts: 112 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
The Desire for Deliverance and Re-observation stages have to be the most fascinating areas of the PoI, and probably where we learn the most (IMHO). 

Something about wanting to leave, being utterly displeased with how things are, and having a desire that everything change drastically is such a primal and powerfully stimulating experience.
  • It's probably where most innovation comes from in our world -- utter displeasure with how things are and wanting to change them. 
  • It's probably the first stage where a lot of any type of learning takes place. It's where we start to really know how much we didn't know all along. And it hits us like a truck! 

And re-observation teaching us that pain/change/conditionality is the first arrow, and suffering is the second arrow (only if we let it be). Realising that brilliant equation Shinzen Young made, Suffering = Pain/Change/Conditionality multiplied by Resistance. When resistance = 0, then 100000 pain will cause 0 suffering. Fantastic. And great teaching in this area of PoI. 
  • The reason why I won't just use pain, is that the Buddha's own teachings talked about 3 sources of suffering. Conditionality, which causes suffering; the idea that our mind invents magical thinking to try and overcome cause/effect. Change, pretty obvious source of mental anguish. And pain, obvious too. I just thought I'd include them to be a little more thorough because I feel "pain" is too generic.
  • I'd say conditionality is a major source of our suffering. Not realising, or maybe forgetting, that our mind is also one of these very conditions that lead to suffering. Drop the resistance to reality! You're a part of it -- it is you, you are it!
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Stefan R, modified 12 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

Posts: 112 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
Lots of working with fundamental attachments. I've been really enchanted by disappointment lately, sitting in D4D and Re-Ob for the most part. They're some of the best places to learn what suffering is really all about. Disappointment is just so good, it's like a slap in the face. No matter where you turn, you get slapped. The trick is not to move, and let the movement move itself. 

This has lead to a few cessations, I believe. 

I'll describe their phenomenology:
  • Stare into the void, there's just a vast expanse of texture (there's sometimes strobing too)
  • observation lurches forward almost as if stumbling (in other times the texture is pulling away from me and the observation falls backward)
  • eyes tighten, eyelids flutter a bit, like a rumbling noise in my ears
  • eyes roll up
  • blip, momentarily gone nothingness
  • back 
Now I'm exploring EQ a little more. Everything just feels fine. Not dull, far shaper than before. 
George S, modified 11 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

Posts: 1899 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Desire for deliverance is a paradoxical nana, given that deliverance is relinquishing desire! It's interesting though, because it's one that the Buddha specifically recommended ... emoticon
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MN 128 Culavedalla Sutta: The Shorter Set of Questions-and-Answers
​​​​​​​
"Passion-obsession is to be abandoned with regard to pleasant feeling. Resistance-obsession is to be abandoned with regard to painful feeling. Ignorance-obsession is to be abandoned with regard to neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling."

"Is passion-obsession to be abandoned with regard to all pleasant feeling? Is resistance-obsession to be abandoned with regard to all painful feeling? Is ignorance-obsession to be abandoned with regard to all neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling?"

"No... There is the case where a monk — quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities — enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. With that he abandons passion. No passion-obsession gets obsessed there.[4]There is the case where a monk considers, 'O when will I enter & remain in the dimension that those who are noble now enter & remain in?' And as he thus nurses this yearning for the unexcelled liberations, there arises within him sorrow based on that yearning. With that he abandons resistance. No resistance-obsession gets obsessed there.[5] There is the case where a monk, with the abandoning of pleasure & pain — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — enters & remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither pleasure nor pain. With that he abandons ignorance. No ignorance-obsession gets obsessed there."[6]

"Now what, lady, lies on the other side of pleasant feeling?"

"Passion lies on the other side of pleasant feeling."

"And what lies on the other side of painful feeling?"

"Resistance lies on the other side of painful feeling." [7]

"What lies on the other side of neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling?"

"Ignorance lies on the other side of neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling."

"What lies on the other side of ignorance?"

"Clear knowing lies on the other side of ignorance."

"What lies on the other side of clear knowing?"

"Release lies on the other side of clear knowing."

"What lies on the other side of release?"

"Unbinding lies on the other side of release."

"What lies on the other side of Unbinding?"

​​​​​​​"You've gone too far, friend Visakha. You can't keep holding on up to the limit of questions. For the holy life gains a footing in Unbinding, culminates in Unbinding, has Unbinding as its final end. If you wish, go to the Blessed One and ask him the meaning of these things. Whatever he says, that's how you should remember it."

Then Visakha the lay follower, delighting & rejoicing in what Dhammadinna the nun had said, bowed down to her and, keeping her to his right, went to the Blessed One. On arrival, having bowed down to the Blessed One, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there he told the Blessed One the full extent of the conversation he had had with Dhammadinna the nun. When this was said, the Blessed One said to him, "Dhammadinna the nun is wise, Visakha, a woman of great discernment. If you had asked me those things, I would have answered you in the same way she did. That is the meaning of those things. That is how you should remember it."
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Stefan R, modified 11 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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Woah George thanks for that quote! It's a great teaching. I really like D4D, it's taught me so much. That sutta describes my experience of it to a T. Sensory experience is pure violence and chaos. And the sorrow! Yes the sorrow. That droplet of clear seeing through disappointment. The disappointment that you knew the answer all along but had been ignoring it because you were too arrogant, too ignorant, too shy, too intelligent to ever believe something so simple - until now. Wonderful!

D4D is a Dharma pressure cooker IMO. Same with re-ob. But D4D has that raw emotional gut punch of the disappointment that teaches. I love D4D, and I'll try bring it up in daily life while doing stuff just to really hammer it all home. I dunno maybe I'm getting too involved in "the struggle" of it all... But I'm sure it'll pass maybe emoticon

The quote is so interesting because I never knew neutral feeling was associated with the root poison of ignorance. Is this to do with dullness? As in, we're not engaged enough and thus ignore neutral feeling tones in our sensations?

I always thought ignorance was more like a shadow thing. Developing too much one way, ignoring other things and becoming one-dimensional and thus prone to greed/anger without knowing it.

​​​​​​​Let me know what you think. Thank you for the wonderful quote! 
George S, modified 11 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

Posts: 1899 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Yes, clear seeing through disappointment! There’s no disappointment without hope … and hope is predicated on the idea of a future that will be better than the present.

The struggle has a certain mythic quality - the hero on a quest - but it’s not the end of the story … eventually he returns home and settles down emoticon​​​​​​​

Yes, ignorance in that sense is the tendency to struggle with the attractive/aversive extremes of our experience and ignore the neutral middle ground - dismiss it as dull - when actually it is full of vitality. I would classify shadow stuff as ‘resistance to painful feeling’ - repressing uncomfortable feelings (and over-compensating or projecting).
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Stefan R, modified 11 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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I love it. So well put! 

The journey is so complicated, and yet the destination was so simple and sublime. 

That's interesting. I learned something new. Oh I mean shadow in a more Jungian sense, more neutral, but yeah that sounds like desire/aversion stuff. Ignorance more being the existence of the shadow itself rather than our reactions to it. 

The dull stuff is really full of interesting textures. Especially intentions as they arise being totally neutral fly right under the radar. 

I'm really grateful for this wisdom, thank you, George. I may circle back to this content and ask you some more stuff! 
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Stefan R, modified 7 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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Form dancing in emptiness, emptiness dancing in form. Everything is self-aware in the field. Knowing its place.
 
Intentions being intended, as they always intended.
 
Security lies only in insecurity. An unfenced open field cannot be invaded. The ocean's tides cannot be conquered.
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Stefan R, modified 6 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

Posts: 112 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
My sleep for the last 2-3 weeks has been very bad. I'll be dreaming and wake up in the middle, with the mind realising that the dream is not awakened consciousness. I'll then fall back to sleep after about an hour or two of just paying attention to breath and allowing thoughts to do their thing (my mind will be sleepy but my body feels awakened during these times). Then I'll fall asleep and re-dream the dream I woke up from, but almost perfectly lucidly.

During wakeful consciousness, there is almost always some degree of mindfulness unless there is sleep deprivation - but the rub is that I'm getting sleep deprived and it's messing with maintaining the mindfulness. 

My meditation sessions themselves are pretty fine. Nothing special. Just watching it all go by. It's actually really uneventful with interspersed periods of intense investigation of each part of the mind being self-aware of its own empty-form nature and intentions intending things. 

Not sure what to make of this, has anyone been in this territory before? I'm feeling kinda lost and would appreciate any kind of input. Obviously, I'm going to keep on going. I feel as if I may be oscillating between the Dukkha Nanas and EQ, but not sure. Everything feels so vague. 
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Stefan R, modified 2 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

Posts: 112 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
Sleep has gotten back to normal after a rocky period. I think this was my mind adjusting to higher standards of mindfulness, and it was calibrating itself. This explains the waking up when realising I was sleeping, a snapping to consciousness?

Still been doing 3-4hrs a day. Meditation sessions since have been very bright, fresh, energetic, engaging, and far easier to simply surrender to the moment and watch things come and go. Also very interesting to see very strong/powerful glimpses of the "hall of mirrors" that create the illusion of self. 

Things to note:
  • Sensations don't overlap/touch/or collide
  • awareness permeates between each sensation, making them aware of themselves if attention is there/near
  • Seeing the assumptions/expectations as attachments 
  • subtle clinging to "the present moment" which is entirely ungraspable -- like trying to grab part of the ocean. Each moment is vast and impenetrable, yet inescapable and never landing
  • the hall of mirrors making the self at every moment; sensations seemingly being strung together, arranged into meaningfulness based on certain assumptions and expectations. When each sensation knows itself intrinsically as it is (call this mindfulness I guess?), the illusion drops away. Seeing emptiness even deeper than before, structures of structures, bloated sacks of attachments, attachment to attachment itself; the belief that having beliefs is necessary to sustain this "I"
​​​​​​​<3
George S, modified 2 Days ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

Posts: 1899 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
To sustain the concept of a present moment you need the idea of past moments and future moments (which is very much tied up with the idea of a self). In reality there is only ever just one moment - this moment - in which past/future/self arise as sporadic thoughts. You can't grasp this moment because it is the whole ocean, there are no other moments to separate it from (same reason you can't escape it). It's kind of misleading even to call it a moment, it's just THIS emoticon 
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Stefan R, modified 1 Day ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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Yeah, the entire idea of "the present moment" is itself a giant attachment.

An attachment to attachment really, "there's gotta be something there if I'm looking! If If I'm looking I should be seeing; something!!! So why isn't it working how I'm expecting!?!?"

​​​​​​​The mere expectation of there being "this moment" or even "this" is just so limiting!
George S, modified 1 Day ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

Posts: 1899 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Right, at some point the mind gives up the futile endeavour of trying to form concepts/expectations about what this is and just experiences it directly for what it is emoticon​​​​​​​

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