Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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Stefan R, modified 3 Months ago.

Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

Posts: 175 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 3 Months ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

Posts: 175 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 3 Months ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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 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 3 Months ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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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 3 Months ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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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 3 Months ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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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 3 Months ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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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 3 Months ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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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 3 Months ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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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 3 Months ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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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 3 Months ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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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
​​​​​​​
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 2 Months 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 2 Months ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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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 2 Months 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 2 Months 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 2 Months ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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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 Months ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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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 Months ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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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 2 Months 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 2 Months ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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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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Stefan R, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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This was nice: 
  • I saw my mind pulled out of its normal deluded/ignorant arrangement (twisted and tangled), and placed out as a series of overlapping and intersecting lattices. The mind itself was revealed to be an idea (fabrication). Only a series of infinite regressing lattices intersecting.
  • The "self" doing the observing was seen as implied or inferred (i.e. assumed to be existing, not truly existing, or a gestalt) space between every node in the lattice.
  • Ever since this insight, the mind simply self-comprehends empty, impermanent, and unsatisfying nature. I'll see if this holds up or not, but things just seem more aware of themselves where they are. Things like strong emotions, lack of concentration, periods of restlessness, habitual patterns are being noticed as such faster, and dis-entangled almost immediately as soon as they're seen. I'm really liking it, I'm seeing a whole new and deeper level of suffering hidden in the mind. It's amazing. 
This wasn't a wow or exciting thing. It was very mellow. And the "seeing" lasted about a minute or so. Just everything was laid out as it is. It was very relaxing. 
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Stefan R, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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I've been meditating way more lately. 4-5 hours a day. Pretty good concentration. Something's definitely changed in the last week or so. 
LOTS of negative habits have dropped recently, ones that I've been working on to reduce but never quite got to fully getting rid of. They're gone now. Just extinguished. Idle boredom is way down. Restlessness is down. Wanting to experience more simplicity is up. General suffering is way down. Seeing through unwholesome habits as the intention forms is very easy now, even with stressful university/psychology assignments and counselling sessions coming up. Pretty amazing. Seeing karma unfold in the moment, tracing it back and forward. It's pretty amazing. 

I've started to work on seeing the joyful aspects of the 3Cs. I guess a lot of the 3Cs are a bit doom-and-gloom. Or can lead one to believe those things. Don't get me wrong, meditation is fun and a joyful affair. I'm just trying to cultivate some more and find the beauty of the dance. There's a real beauty in impermanence, suffering, and emptiness. When you look at them really closely and intimately, there's so much warmth and joy there waiting for us if we take the plunge. It's quite simple and obvious, really. 
The way I see it:
  • Emptiness: joy can be found for any fabrication -- it's there, just look
  • Impermanence: joy is fleeting, make the most of it in the moment
  • Suffering: dissatisfaction is when we make more of the sensations than they are, or when we try to hide/protect them from conditions/change/pain
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Stefan R, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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So I'm in deep existential dukkha nana territory I feel like. 

It's not emotional, not at all. I don't feel sad or worthless or have self-esteem issues. Nothing like that.

Instead, it's the crushing boot of reality on my neck. A fear of oblivion, yet a deep intense craving to just dive into it and just cease all of it. Honestly, having a mind and a body is really tough. Compared to my last bad dark night, this is far far deeper. The first dark night was paranoia. This is existential. The root of my being. I feel like I'm caught in a really deep spiral loop of suffering. It's tough out here. Everything is very heavy and sharp at the same time. 

My past logs from about 3 weeks ago, enjoying re-ob and D4D were really likely review from a previous path, and the cessations from 2 weeks ago likely review too... I'm not sure. Likely from the stuff a month or two ago, I'm not sure. It's hard to trace where one path starts and another begins. Right now I feel like this is completely new territory, a new path has started. 

The mind-lattice experience of 6 days ago was likely A&P.

And here I am. It's just me, always has been. 
George S, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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Good stuff, the only way to be free of these deep
existential/primal fears is to fully experience them with eyes wide open.
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Stefan R, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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Thanks for your kind words, George. 

It's a very very deep fractal, this one. 
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Stefan R, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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The last 3 days have been really really tough. Just shedding through more layers of self-constructed suffering, I guess. No harm no foul. It's probably the strongest I've ever experienced D4D. Lots of anger -- not that I took it personally. But it was just amazing how much anger there was underneath it all, so to speak. 

But today I can see things easing off a little. 

How does suffering exist when everything is constantly in motion?

A spontaneous visual arose with this thought, a bullet being shot perpendicular to a fast-moving car. Neither hit one another because they're so fast. And the bullets that did end up hitting, passed straight through due to the speed of both objects, and the fact that the car is essentially empty. 

Also some weird time-mind dilations. Like looking into a dream of time. In the past, I've had the walking around dream-like sense when interacting with objects, self, and others. But now with time, it's very distorting. 
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Stefan R, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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Just did another quick 45min session, given that I want to build momentum from the previous session. 

​​​​​​​A man and I are in the desert. We have sticks in our hands. He says, "I'll show you what impermanence is. Try to draw a circle around the line as I'm drawing it." He goes on, and I can't do it, he's too fast. By the time I've drawn a circle, the line is already a metre ahead. He says, "I'll slow it down". He slows down drawing the line, and I now try to draw the circle. Our sticks collide. "It's impossible to do. That's impermanence."

I simply watched the mind try to grasp at the time. Try to make something of "the moment". Try to predict the future based on the past. Or try to guess where the future would be. Like the sticks drawing circles in the sand over lines, it just can't be done. Time to experience this fabrication even more intimately tomorrow. 

I now have a very terrible headache. Forehead, tear the left temporal-occipital junction, and on the right temple. I think I'll have ice cream. 
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Stefan R, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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I'm figuring things out slowly, and really starting to notice the subtleties to the PoI, and what Ingram is about when he talks about the attentional centre and periphery. It's really coming together now that I'm going through these stages surely but slowly, learning the deep lessons. The Dark Night and Dissolution are all about how to relate to the centre of attention.

In dissolution, we start seeing sensations fade, but we notice the fading itself. It's slipping away, and the mind grasps to that slipping impression. Trying to simultaneously catch up to now, and hold onto the slipping impression. It's a difficult job. This is why things feel so slimy, gooey, and dissolving in this stage. So much melting away. We're watching sensations dissolve away from the centre into the periphery and back again, like a tesseract. Constant in/out flow from the centre. It's how the habits form, the sensation happens, and the mind captures the slipping away, focusing on the sensation itself.

Fear, misery and disgust are part of this background, shaping the foreground in bringing attention to phenomena. Dissolution teaches us how the foreground melds into and from the background of attention. It is like cause and effect but from the inner world, the undercurrent shaping our lives. Like how tectonic shifts change waves.
  • Fear is about missing out, death, pain. It is more physical, locations. We're frightened to see things going away. This is pretty straightforward, things leave and vanish into the nether and that's scary. We'd like for things to persist even as a memory, but the memory itself is likely to fade into the same nether as the very sensation of its cause. That's the scariest part, total oblivion. Staring into the abyss from whence we came.
  • Misery is about sadness, grief, departure. It's more psychological, time. We grieve that things go away. Things go away and that's sad. And we're sad about being sad. There's a tinge of knowing that things go away, but being attentive to it nonstop in meditation shows us just how much sadness there is, because we're so accustomed to thinking things just stay, in some way or another.
  • Disgust is about anger, hatred, corruption. It is more spiritual, the being. We're angry that things go away. Why am I so corrupted by form, and enslaved by it if in its nature, it is to leave without even leaving a trace of its presence? Why does the grand illusion persist if that's how things are? Why am I so filled with all these habits of clinging and craving if things just slip away?

The reason so much bullcrap comes up in this stage is that now the attentional centres are noticing the scaffolding of attention. A lot of our being is built on fear, sadness, anger. But so much bravery, joy is there. Think about how brave this path is, to stare into oblivion and watch things come and go at the nexus of being. How joyful one must be to want to understand this. And how loving they'd want to endure such pain for the benefit of all beings. I don't know about you guys, but there's poetry here. This is definitely the neural landscape great artists and poets dwell in. This is ubermensch territory. 
George S, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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The mind projects it as an abyss purely to keep the fear alive. In reality it's more like a doorway which vanishes the moment you pass though it. The reason there's no way back ... is because the other side is the same as this side! There's nothing to fear except fear itself. emoticon 
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Stefan R, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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Really starting to getting into deeper layers of the broadness of the field of awareness. 

​​​​​​​The logic of siddhis makes sense to me. Concentration as the fulcrum. The idea of Fire Kasina linking with morphing mind-body energies. Boundless energy is in there if you want. 

The mind is expanding at such a rate it's very startling at some times. 

More work to go. I'd love to talk to Daniel one day about Siddhis, the path, and concentration stuff... One day maybe... 
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Stefan R, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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I just saw Sam's log and my heart goes out to him. I've read all his logs (yes, all) and I've found his journey so inspirational. I've never really interacted with him, but I am wishing him all the best.

May he be well.
May he abide in equanimity.
May he find the strength and courage to persevere with life as it develops.
May he find wisdom in all that occurs.
May we all share in each other's merits. 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Still doing 3-4hrs per day. 

Starting to get some really spacious and inclusive equanimity going. There is far more unity/wholeness/integrity to the centre-periphery duality. Far more seeing. Not sure if I said it in my log earlier, but about 4 months ago I realised that I was lacking in certain aspects. And what really struck a chord with me were the words "the path of indestructible wakefulness", which is something I'm trying to cultivate. Wakefulness to permeate my entire being. More knowing, less unknowing. I feel as if this goal is slowly being achieved more and more. The unawakened parts of ourselves are covered by a thin sheet of mental sleet or mental dust. And as we meditate, we start cleaning. Of course, one can say that simply seeing the sleet/dust itself is awakened. But I'm talking about the accrument of positive and wholesome mental qualities too. Insight, in my perspective, destroys fetters but also reveals some way to plant new seeds where the old roots once were. It's an iterative process. Basically the insight-concentration nexus. Previously I thought concentration practices were overrated, but now I see there's so much to learn from them and I'm not really a "dry-guy" anymore.

One thing, in particular, is striking. Sometimes the mind will catch a vast expanse of radiant space "between" each sensation. Say I move attention from hearing to seeing or vice versa. There'll be some big gap. It's a microsecond really. But it feels so big. And right after seeing it, I see visions in my mind's eye of radiant sunlight poking from behind the clouds. Maybe it's a sign, maybe it's just a bit of silliness. Either way, I think the gap itself is the real thing to investigate when I can. I think it's fairly obvious what it is. 

The apparentness of my own words is coming more and more clearer with each session. These words are: "awareness is the immediate presence of sensations themselves as they occur."
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Stefan R, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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There's a lurking presence of something behind it all. Everything has always been the same in a sense but always changing. Everything is constantly arsing, and passing away, yet there is a stillness behind it. 

Okay, so there's an unmoved mover, an uncreated creator behind it all... right? This stillness/presence/constancy or whatever is where the content comes from. And that is itself unconditioned...That's the experience of Nibbana, right? The thing behind that curtain of experience. The light which projects to create the shadows we see in the cave? Or is this a deception? Am I on the right track here? This feels so accessible, so close, and something which could be accessed regularly if needed. What am I getting at here, what am I close to?

This presence I feel behind it all is empty of any intention, it is a completely inert thing. Free of conditions. Free of ideas, etc... And from or on the background of this inert thing, the sensations arise, right?
George S, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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It's the one thing you cannot doubt.
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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... an unmoved mover, an uncreated creator behind it all... right? 

Try to find it  emoticon
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Stefan R, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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Ah, you two getting all cryptic on me. I guess I'll just have to find it my own I guess haha! Although I think this indicates I am on the right track... 
George S, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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You're on the right track. Look around you ... it's there, but it's hard to see because it's so close, so familiar, so normal!
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Stefan R, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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Yeah, I feel ya. 

Look, I'll come clean on a few things. I haven't really been logging as good as I'd like. I log the good stuff and hide the bad stuff. Not because I think I'm above it, but because I'd hate to burden people with my crap, and also because I'm wary. DhO is full of really talented meditators, and I really felt like I was an imposter. I feel like I'm relatively accomplished on the side of PoI things, concentration, eh... I dunno. I hold myself to really high standards, and due to that I never really shared my full experience of things because I was scared of being judged and perhaps ridiculed. It was a combination of pride and shame. Pride in thinking that I'll only share once I've "made it" or earned some sort of gold star of approval from the community. And shame because I felt as if saying the stuff would get people throwing shade at me. 

Consider this post my first post where I give it raw, straight up, and I don't hold back saying what I feel. I hope everyone forgives me for this arrogance and unconfident behaviour in the past. I was really being selfish and not true to myself. I've always suffered from a bit of imposter syndrome, and I'm doubly aware that in the prag dharma circles people can over-call their attainments etc. and so I was even more sensitive to just speaking my truth, whatever that may be. So here, I go. Again, please accept my apologies. 

The observations I'm having in sit is this, let me throw this out and see if anyone bites, or can sympathise, or perhaps further refine:

There's mind-body -> cause/effect -> 3Cs within every stage of the dark night. I really see the 3rd Jhana aspects of it. So fucking fuzzy and annoying (eventually). I dunno if it's like this for anyone else, but do rubbing cotton balls make anyone else shiver? Cotton is great and comfy and stuff, but too much of a good thing, y'know? You get into this warm fuzzy place, and you just get so annoyed with it. Is this the general vibe of 3rd Jhana for anyone else? And within the 3rd Jhana you have these steps of the PoI (dissolution --> re-obs) and within the steps you have microsteps (There's mind-body -> cause/effect -> 3Cs within every stage of the dark night). And each forward step is so grating and jarring. You start with dissolution, which, quite frankly, is a delicious part of the PoI -- don't @ me for describing it like that. Dissolution is a pretty sublime part of the PoI. But you eat a tasty icecream, and you reach a point that you're satiated. But you keep eating. And you keep eating. And you realise you should stop. But damn, the icecream is good as. You keep going. Now you're sick. That's dissolution --> dark night pathway. The deliciousness entices us forward and that snaps its jaws around us tight. Venus fly trap shit. 

I'm honestly just still trying to figure out this re-obs. Unlike previous ones with anger and existential dread. This one is just so confusing, puzzling. Today, for the first time in a really long time. I had a really big scowl on my face. And just shit bombarding me nonstop. 

Although I've found some pretty interesting questions arising in this territory:
  1. Firstly, the unconditioned background of it all. Let's call it Nibbana. I can feel it's pretty close when I do get to EQ. 
  2. The other question is; if I intend something. What was the point of it in the first place if that was already how things were going to be? I intend to meditate, but the intention seems redundant. I feel anger when in re-obs and the harsh brutality of it. And it makes me want to puke. But something intended to meditate, and something intends to puke. And then you have this giant mess of questions going on. And they're not really logical. It's half emotional half logical. Then I'll go "okay, I'll slip out of this sideways into the Jhana territory to at least relax" but that was happening already? Or did I decide in the very moment? Or was the moment already occurring before I caught up to it? Or was the decision made before I realised it? Is there a difference in all of this? Where the goddamn free will that I was promised! 
  3. Leading from (2), my mind kept on oscillating between trying to surrender, trying to get angry, trying to get into jhana, trying to stabilise, trying to re-centre, etc. and all of those were shown to be futile. But none of it worked. And worst of all, the futility of it was because there was a subtle feeling that I wasn't the one deciding what to do. I'd decided to just let it all go, and in that deciding, the next decisions were somehow 

And then in EQ, you basically re-trace every previous step you got there, but through the general lens of EQ. And as the stages go, it's stages within stages. 
George S, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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This is REALLY GREAT! The point where ideals about awakening succumb to the reality of the 3Cs as they apply to every aspect of our lives (not just the bits we think we get to choose on the cushion).

I'll let you into a dirty secret - "talented meditator syndrome" is just another defense mechanism ... 'if I work hard at becoming a really good meditator then I will overcome my shame'. I'm not saying meditation doesn't do anything, but it's less than you might think in the overall scheme of things. It's much more important to be honest about your emotions and real suffering ... so Congratulations!

I'm not going to offer you much specific advice at this point, because you can probably figure it out for yourself and/or it might be good to have someone else's perspective. Just keep gently investigating in the broadest sense possible ("think outside the cushion").

Notice how all this suffering is self-generated. Free will is a massively overrated concept. You can still do everything you need to do and life is a hell of a lot easier without it (not that it was ever there in the first place, it's just an extraneous idea which causes suffering (and just to reiterate, all necessary responses to real threats still happen without the delusion, in fact they may work better without the interference of "choice")).

It's also really important to investigate your emotions as deeply as possible. Because you are dealing with defense mechanisms, focus on the ones you think you don't feel! (You say 'trying to get angry' ... either anger is there or it's not!) The chapter on emotions in Angelo Dilullo's book is really good (I haven't read the rest of it).

You mention surrender and that is very important as well. Actually you also say 'trying to surrender', which is a bit of an oxymoron! Maybe focus on trying to find the one who would supposedly be surrendering. Because surrender is a big dodge around the defense mechanisms, it's probably not something that's going to come from your rational mind and is driven more by intuition. It's not necessarily about abandoning something "in the real world" that you wouldn't otherwise have let go of (although it can involve an element of that), but there probably needs to be some kind of psychological surrender of something considered to be especially "treasured".

Keep going - you are a hell of a lot closer to awakening than you were before you wrote this post emoticon
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Stefan R, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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Thanks for the encouraging post. Yeah, I'm just trying my best really. And I'd like to have better concentration lol, whatever that means... But for sure, it's a defense mechanism, an attachment, an assumption, an expectation, whatever you wanna call it. It's gotta go! Fire sale on dukkha. 

While on what I believe was my first path, I had near-psychosis on my dark night. And another prominent dark night that I had was on retreat, which took on anger as an aspect. This one is more like deeper, the subtle stuff, I guess maybe existential. I guess this path is really opening me up to appreciate each of the parts of the path of insight, and to be fair, in my previous thorny dark nights, I never really investigated the depth/breadth of each stage and appreciated them. But now I see how shitty re-ob can be. Confusion, wrath, envy, pride, sloth, greed.... In one giant shit sandwich. 

I guess I've been surrendered this whole time and never really realised it.... I'll look into this a little further, maybe that deep surrender is there in the back with the Nibbana-feeling thing lurking in the background... I'll see. 

I'm going to give your suggestions all a go tomorrow. Another day, another dollar. 
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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... Nibbana-feeling thing lurking in the background.

Something to investigate, as mentioned yesterday.
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Stefan R, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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Yesterday was a tough one, I wanted to really meditate a lot, but ended up only doing 3hrs and just relaxing. Didn't want to burn out. I was getting into some pretty dark thoughts. Lots of turmoil. By the end of my last sit, I did get into a nice equanimity that didn't feel unstable or rocky, and had a nice ascension pattern to it. Normally DN -> EQ movement can be pretty rocky, like landing an aircraft with really strong winds. Today is pretty tough too. Just feels like stuff is really close to connecting. Something is being missed, but I'll keep hammering away until I find it. 

A few things of note:
- each sensation has a field of awareness all of its own, including the sensation of self
- each sensation as a centre collapses the second it's realised
- concentration etc seems hard because this centerlessness has to be apprehended from moment to moment
- but there is only one field; the feeling of "this side vs that side" feels like looking into a giant hall from the perspective of one of the walls


Okay, so Nibbana thing is a black dot in the centre of it all, kinda behind all the sensations. Like a black hole or something, but it's not necessarily "sucking" in the sensations or anything. But there's something I'm missing here. It's behind the stillness, behind the space, etc. It's hard to see a lot of the time, and only comes up in moving from sensation. It's there, between/behind them.
  • It's more like, the thought that, isn't it weird that we're in this body, and in this mind. And there's this feeling of being an observer. But it can't be found, as it's only these sensations which are known (including the sensation of an observer). So you're really left with this black box sitting in the middle of all this stuff going on, being given feelings of ownership/doership/etc..
Lastly, I'm noticing weird perceptual shifts. Balance is off. Thoughts immediately turning into memories (it's weird, I can't explain how this feels), and memories arising in a different way. Lastly, the feeling of attention is warping. The periphery seems to move inward or outward, while the centre is dispersing/diffusing into the warping periphery. It's subtle, but when I focus on it, it's there. Occasionally the center will warp too, inward or outward, but always opposite of the periphery. Looking at this screen as I type right now, the words seem much closer than they actually are, but when noticed, then appear further than they are.
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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Like a black hole or something, but it's not necessarily "sucking" in the sensations or anything. But there's something I'm missing here. It's behind the stillness, behind the space, etc. It's hard to see a lot of the time, and only comes up in moving from sensation. It's there, between/behind them.

Does this "thing" have a function? A purpose? Is it a thing, or an assumption?
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Stefan R, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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​​​​​​​
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Stefan R, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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It can be observed so it must be conditioned. 

It has discernable characteristics

Something unconditioned would be unobservable and have no characteristics 

​​​​​​​It must be some some subtle perceptual game the mind is playing with sensations. Unlike previous goes on the wheel, this time round is far more on the raw perceptual/attentional level. It's stuff which seems to have no discernable purpose, and therefore easier to misinterpret, over-interpret, or under-estimate
George S, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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Stefan R
Something unconditioned would be unobservable and have no characteristics

Not necessarily! The conditioning is in the reaction to experience. Looking for something is a form of aversion to what you are actually experiencing. What would your experience be like if you weren't looking for anything at all?
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Stefan R, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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Hmm, good questions and good point about the reaction. I think there's something I'm missing in the experience. Something I just need to accept and let be. Not sure what it is. But I'm sure it'll relax itself with enough time. 

In other news, I'm really starting to see what luminosity in all sensations is about at a more intimate level. 
  • Each sensation has its own field of awareness; each sensation is itself awareness and vice versa. Simply where it is, as it is, when it is. 
  • This field of awareness is how we ride the jhanic arc; refining these sensations and their fractal nature. 
  • Awareness works on a spectrum. Attention has the texture of a "centre" but is itself still a part of the same field. They feel distinct but are not. 
  • This goes for wonky topics like "metacognitive awareness" or whatever. It's part of the same field. 
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George S, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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Stefan R
I think there's something I'm missing in the experience. Something I just need to accept and let be. Not sure what it is. But I'm sure it'll relax itself with enough time.

​​​​​​​I think that's the root of it, and it's tied up with the illusion of control. In reality, experience can't be anything other than what it already is (including sensations/ideas of control) ... so what could be missing?!

There's definitely a process of checking out various kinds of refined states to see if they are "it". Is it permanent? Is it truly satisfactory? Slowly the mirage of the missing piece loses its appeal ... until you can truly relax into accepting what's always been right here. emoticon​​​​​​​
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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Slowly the mirage of the missing piece loses its appeal ...

In my experience, this realization happened in a flash. That's also true for all the other practitioners I share notes with. It's more or less the abandoning of a life-long assumption about how experience is constructed, what's in charge of the process, and where that assumed "manager" is located. This seems to be the last veil that must be pulled from our eyes in order to awaken. It's also buried deepest so we never really "see it". It requires a figure-ground reversal.
George S, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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Good point, that's how it happened for me as well. There was a definite process of deconstruction/disidentification leading up to it, but at the moment of realization the whole thing collapsed. There were two steps which triggered the collapse. The first was realizing that no one experience/state is intrinsically more or less preferable than any other (because they are all impermanent). That punctured the assumption that I was supposed to be looking for some kind of "better state" and was in or coming from a "worse state". The last step was deconstructing the personal sense of time itself - realizing that the whole experience of being an individual headed through time is a complete fabrication. In reality experience isn't going anywhere and it has always been this way. The net result was a mindblowing 'oh shit, this is already it' moment, something that can't be unseen. 
Olivier S, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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The mirage of the missing piece - nicely said...  The answer being in the question... In an immediate, deep yet simple way...

Never mind me i'm just passing through here emoticon
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J W, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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Hey Olivier, passing through as well... good to hear from you, stay a while! emoticon
Olivier S, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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Hey man !!
George S, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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Chris Marti
Good point, that's how it happened for me as well! 

​​​​​​​ Timing is everything, George  emoticon

I don't understand how you saw this before I hit publish on my post. Do mods have access to draft posts? And if so, should they be quoting from them before the user has published? I'm kind of surprised by this.
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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There was a definite process of deconstruction/disidentification leading up to it, but at the moment of realization the whole thing collapsed. There were two steps which triggered the collapse. The first was realizing that no one experience/state is intrinsically more or less preferable than any other (because they are all impermanent). That punctured the assumption that I was supposed to be looking for some kind of "better state" and was in or coming from a "worse state". The last step was deconstructing the personal sense of time itself, realizing that the whole experience of being an individual headed through time was a complete fabrication - in reality experience isn't going anywhere and it has always been this. The net result was a mindblowing 'oh shit, this is already it' moment. 

This leaves me with a real conundrum. What you're describing is a very deliberate process that you followed, like a procedure of some sort. Everyone, every single person that I have compared notes with would say that is the last thing this realization depended on. In fact, there was, for me and others I've talked to, no way to use logic or engage in a process to make this happen. It's not a formula or a thing we can manage. It's serendipity and happenstance and chaos. It flips when it flips. We can't control that. It's frustrating to see that we're missing something others seem to have "seen," and we (me/us - personal experience) can try everything under the sun to make it happen. But all attempts to make it happen, to manage it, to engage a process, are futile. 

Think a massive and immediate change in the grokking of how the universe of our experience is put together. Not subtle, not developed over time, not voluntary.

Figure-ground. "Click!" And everything is different and also the same.
 


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George S, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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In retrospect I suppose it was a fairly deliberate process. I was reading very widely and trying to figure out the common thread in other people’s awakening accounts. I felt like I was in the dark a lot of the time and could never see more than one step ahead, but the logic of not-self, dependent origination and non-clinging seemed to show the way forward.

The final flip did come sooner than I expected, I felt like I wasn’t ready for it, but I had painted myself into a corner and there was nowhere else to go. It felt forced in a way and maybe it would have been smoother if I had gone slower, but I was pretty desperate to find the way out. Of course there wasn’t really any choice in the matter - everything happens the way it does according to one’s conditioning and circumstances.

I think ceding control during third path was key. At one point I felt called to do something completely spontaneous and out of character, which was to offer my life in prayer to a higher power for the healing of someone who was very sick. That felt very risky and triggered some major depersonalization/not-self episodes, but it was still a pretty logical decision because I knew that I had to go through a death of some kind. I also gave up my professional work to look after my kids, which further reinforced the sense that I was no longer in control of what I had been used to thinking of as my life. But again, it was logic that was telling me that there was nothing I could do to make it happen, other than surrendering whatever I thought of as myself.
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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I don't understand how you saw this before I hit publish on my post. Do mods have access to draft posts? And if so, should they be quoting from them before the user has published? I'm kind of surprised by this.

Draft posts are not very obviously marked as drafts. I honestly didn't think it was a draft when I quoted you. This is not the first time this kind of thing has happened. We all do it accidentally once in a while. 

I'm very sorry it happened.

EDIT - I've deleted my comment and if you delete your reply to it at least it'll be gone from now on. Note, however, that both posts will be in the email boxes of those who are subscribed to this topic.
George S, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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Ok thanks. I assumed that drafts were only visible to the user. In the past I've written some pretty reactive stuff in drafts to hash my thoughts out, unpublished, and I certainly didn't expect that anyone would be able to read them.
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Stefan R, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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Thank you all, my friends, this is a wonderful discussion. I'm truly honoured and grateful that you all commented and shared your incredible perspectives. 

I can relate to both George's and Chris' statements. There's definitely an intention to rid oneself of some burdensome aspect of their experience. But once you sit down, the internal monologue goes "okay I'm going to notice X Y Z" and then you go on the journey and let the layers fight amongst themselves. haha. Maybe that's a way to bridge both of your statements? None of my realisations were ever deliberate, because as soon as they were realised, they were so deceptively simple yet ungraspable it was beyond words. There was a general idea of "issue X and I'll get her done." but by the end, issue X was deep, complex, simple, and thoroughly applicable to every facet of life in the most mundane way -- the cosmic joke manifest. I can relate to Chris' statement of the flash too. There was no cessation or blip of experiencelessness. Just a spark, a eureka moment. One day it happened to me regarding "doership". If this moment is all there is, in this very moment there is simply no control because it has already happened as soon as it is apprehended, including its apprehension. It was very funny to realise because it was so damn obvious. 

I think what this path is all about for me (if I may be so bold as to state, and not hypothesise) is at the level of bare attention. Right now it seems as if there's something about the very attention to things that is captivating. The statement of mine seems to really ring true to me: "awareness being the immediate presence of sensations as they are, when they are, where they are." And just running with it. Attention is interesting because it may be a strong holdout for where the sense of illusory independence lies, and its such a fundamental part of what our experience is. Attention/awareness go deeper than mere emotions, the interconnectedness of all things, the emptiness of emptiness, or doership in the moment, as previous realisations have shown me. Because attention is so immediate, so inescapable, so bare, free, and radically impossible to deceive oneself where attention is, or what it is doing. I'm only saying all of this as to relate my experience to what is being discussed, and refine it. 

"The mirage of something missing." That's impactful and definitely resonates. However, I don't feel the mind right now is looking for anything that is missing (or at least how the framing of the observation is going right now). It feels as if it knows everything is already where it is, as it is, when it is, but something is not being seen and escaping attention. A likely candidate is the very construct of attention itself, awareness itself, the aforementioned "black void", etc... This morning I think I had a momentary deeper glimpse of whatever it is, when I caught the mind synchronising attention with the awareness of attention itself -- however, that's a really clumsy way of putting it, and I'm still trying to work out how to do it properly. Today feels like the tail-end of an acid trip, you know, in the night, when your brain is all tired from being jacked up on its own fuzz? All you want to do is drink a refreshing juice and relax. But I'll instead meditate another 2-3 hours today because it's how I roll and I have nothing better to do!

There's also another parallel thread to this in trying to develop the mental virtues to have deeper experiences of the Jhanas. Knowing how attention itself works seems to be critical to this. I'm pretty decent with the phenomenology of it all. And I think having more nuanced and adaptive methods of attaining Jhana will deepen my insights as well as reveal new and heretofore ignored aspects of experience. This is just aspirational mumbo jumbo though but from a very wholesome place. My desire to become a "better" meditator is because I'd like to be the best psychologist I can be, which means being extremely self-aware and a good listener. I think knowing how attention/Jhanas/etc., work will definitely help in deepening that aspect of my experience, maybe... emoticon

Anyways, my rant is done. Thank you all again for sharing. I have a lot to think about. I'm truly grateful. 
George S, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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Stefan R
My desire to become a "better" meditator is because I'd like to be the best psychologist I can be, which means being extremely self-aware and a good listener.

​​​​​​​Just a hunch, but it might also be worth exploring this connection a bit more. Awakening tends to have an uncanny habit of exposing our deeper desires for what they are. I sometimes think of meditation as being a good therapist to yourself (not that I’m much good at it lol).

My first therapist was an excellent listener. She never offered an opinion and rarely introduced ideas from outside the session. Periodically she would ask a simple question or reflect back something you said, but mostly she just sat and gave you her full attention. In retrospect I can see that it was all done through body language, tone, and presence. Her philosophy seemed to be - the client knows how to solve their own problems and the therapist’s job is to stay out of the way. I imagine that’s a lot easier said than done, one of those things like awakening which is deceptively simple! I saw several other therapists since then and they all had more ideas but were nowhere near as effective. 
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Stefan R, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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That is my philosophy too. The client is the foremost expert. I'm here to listen and perhaps show some strategies, ideas, and point out some strengths that they may be overlooking. But nothing like, "you should do X Y Z". It's not good therapy at all. In fact, it's totally counterproductive and fosters dependence. It's the antithesis of liberation from suffering. To clarify, the motivation is purely from the listening, compassion, and self-restraint end of things; when I said "self-aware and good listener" that's what I meant. \

There's no real way to gamify being the best psychologist or being the best meditator -- which is why I love them so much and why I'm so passionately drawn to both. They're so straightforward, direct, to the point, always present, and ultimately simple. Deceptively simple. Scarily simple. We overcomplicate both because it's in our habit to do so, because the complexity is so comfortable. But that comfort is our downfall. It never lasts, so we rebuild over and over, aiming to ignore the foundations on which we're building. 
George S, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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Maybe I'm more highly resistant than the average client, but when a therapist would try to point out my strengths, my gut reaction would be to explain why I didn't really have such attributes, or they were not really strengths! (Or if I didn't have the energy to argue I would just nod and think to myself 'they just don't get how I’m feeling’) Same with ideas and strategies, basically anything coming from the therapist would be met with resistance on some level. I would enthusiastically check out the idea or try the strategy, but it never really stuck or made any lasting change.

The only things which had any lasting impact came from me and were just reflected back to me by the therapist. Of course that first therapist was subtly encouraging me to talk about the things which she could see were important to me (and I was in the habit of dismissing), but it was done with a very light touch and a huge amount of patience. It must be very hard to sit for hours completely immersed in the client’s inner world, having all sorts of thoughts and emotional reactions, being able to clearly see “the answer” and yet avoiding saying anything along the lines of ‘have you thought about …' or ‘maybe you could …’ or ‘how about …’ The most proactive thing she would ever do would be to draw connections between things I had already said - ‘this reminds me of the time you said …’ It would often be some small detail from weeks or months prior and she never took notes during the session (always a turn-off!)

I don’t have any evidence, but I would think that realization of not-self and awareness of one’s neuroses/reactivity patterns should correlate with being a better therapist. If someone was like an “empty vessel”, or at least able to hold the “frame of presence” without reacting externally (i.e. have enough awareness of internal reactions to let them pass without externalizing them), then that seems like it should be a good situation for the client.

One thing I might have been able to benefit from is if my therapist had introduced the idea of becoming more aware of emotions as a felt sense in the body, something like Gendlin’s focussing technique. It could have started me off meditating sooner. I don’t know how rigorous it was, but I was fascinated by his study which showed that the only indicator they could find for the effectiveness of therapy was the amount of time the patient took before replying to a question (time in which the patient was often seen to look down into their body somehow …)
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Stefan R, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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There are ways to tell people they're rockstars/gangsters/warriors without saying so explicitly emoticon that's the magic

In the end of the day, it's the client's choice. A psychologist is really just a sherpa, but you're doing the climb. Some sherpas will try to help you with your harnesses and tell you when is best to set up camp, but you can ignore them and just climb when/where/how you like emoticon
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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In the past I've written some pretty reactive stuff in drafts to hash my thoughts out, unpublished, and I certainly didn't expect that anyone would be able to read them.

To all:

I wouldn't use this place for post-drafting purposes. The system isn't very reliable. What I did by accident yesterday could happen at any time. If you're drafting a response that needs editing and/or mulling over, please do it offline in Word or a text editor, then when you're ready to post it copy and paste it here.
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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I don't feel the mind right now is looking for anything that is missing (or at least how the framing of the observation is going right now).

You realize, I hope, that your past post was about looking for something in regard to attention  emoticon

Are you reifying attention? What is it, anyway?
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Stefan R, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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Oh dear, I'm in quite a tangle, aren't I? emoticon

Attention is the central texture of awareness, being the presence of sensations, as they are, where they are, when they are. At least that's how it seems to me so far. It's really inseparable from awareness, and awareness is inseparable from the very sensations which it is aware of... if that makes sense? Thus why I said the framing of my problem is not that I'm really looking for something that is missing, deep down, I know that everything that should be seen is already seen, but something is going unnoticed, unobserved, not properly attended to... If that makes sense? 
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Stefan R, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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Meditated a lot today. I think around 5hrs. I've got lots of uni work to do, but this seems more pressing. 

Been thinking a lot about the Godel incompleteness theorem today. It's really struck a chord regarding consciousness and this experience of "me-ness" or consciousness (the same thing, really). 

Consciousness is not being able to prove itself without inconsistency (paradox). Any set of sensations attempting to prove consciousness will ultimately be incomplete. 

The end result being something like an 8th Jhana realisation. Neither proof nor non-proof of the system. Its own self-existence being the proof. This self-existence itself being more of an affirmation based on the premise that there was a system to prove all along. Whatever assumptions are started with are the end result in and of themselves. A constructed reality totality, thoroughly, without end, ceasing only when ceased. 

How does this relate to attention... Well... I'll figure that out at some point maybe. 

Regarding attention... Well:
  • Each sensation has its own field of awareness (fields of awareness have their own sensations)
  • Distractions being fields of awareness colliding, competing, or overtaking one another
  • Intentions sitting behind each field
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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It's really inseparable from awareness, and awareness is inseparable from the very sensations which it is aware of... if that makes sense? Thus why I said the framing of my problem is not that I'm really looking for something that is missing, deep down, I know that everything that should be seen is already seen, but something is going unnoticed, unobserved, not properly attended to... If that makes sense?

In my experience "attention" is subject to causes and conditions, and that process dictates what sensations get "attention." There appears to be a lot of sensory input that is ignored by the attention/awareness part of mind. Attention is involuntary pretty much all the time. I have little say over what sensory inputs are thrown my way by the environment I happen to be in, and little say, if any, about what objects in that stream of sensory inputs rise to the level of attention.

So how can you see something that can't be seen?

Maybe it's an assumption about the process of experience that you can't see?

emoticon

A pointer - THIS is really and truly all there is. Simple, simple, simple.
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Stefan R, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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Fuck me. Nothing can be changed, only experienced. 

Chris, you are a beautiful mind. 

I'm going to try and see how this applies to Jhana work and to attention itself. Sorry, it may seem self-evident to you, but I think this needs to be applied to these specific things. There's something about Jhana, concentration, and the illusion of control in that experience that needs to be experienced. emoticon
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Stefan R, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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Fuck me double. The experiencing is the change. 
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Stefan R, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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Weird feelings of drowning in my sits lately. My nose isn't blocked but it feels like I'm inhaling a thick sludge or something. It's quite a weird feeling like everything is normal but then suddenly the lungs tighten up like there's not enough oxygen being breathed in. 

Still trying to figure out how attention shapes itself, or the contours of its own emptiness, if that makes sense? Like how do the 5 skhandas relate to attention?
You have contact with the sensation forming the impression of central location of awareness
You have a feeling of the sensation forming the impression of central location of awareness
You have perception of the sensations forming the impression of central location of awareness
You have consciousness of the sensations forming the impression of central location of awareness
You have will of the sensations forming the impression of the central location of awareness

However, the attention itself is simply a sensation of centrality. But there's ways to see attention working. But then that's attention of attention. Could it be awareness is simply turning

You're probably thinking I'm just going in circles and running around. Probably, yes. But I need to clear out the junk before seeing something clearly. I have no idea why my mind is so obsessed with attention itself, but it's obvious there's something needing untangling or needing to be seen properly. I'm simply working on the barest level of simple experience of attention itself.

Why all this unnecessary analysis, confusion, and seeming irritation over something so simple? Well, it's not so simple. There are things not being simply seen. I understand this. I'm trying to bridge my concentration through insight and vice versa. Or more simply put, seeing how the construction of either experience relates. I'm trying to see clearly and bridge the gaps between the Jhanas and Insight (the Vipassana Jhanas) and navigate this whole thing properly (you can see me kinda doing it and hinting at it above in my earlier posts in this log). I know that seems striving or ambitious or whatever, but it's where the mind wants to go. I understand that experience is the key here -- no control, just experience. And the change is the experience. Meaning, insight is really the "understood experience" or the "properly experienced experience". 

There's definitely sensations of striving for mastery -- I'm just built this way, I accept my conditioning for wanting to master things which I perceive to be as skilful activities. 

There's definitely sensations of frustration, likely caused by some obfuscation of the simple truth. I'm leaning into the chaos -- it's gonna be chaotic, I'm not upset and the emotions I'm feeling aren't clingy or absorbing me into the content. I'm accepting things as they are as much as I can; the drowning feeling, the frustration, striving, ambition, and desire. 

There's definitely some kind of weirdness going on with attention attending to itself. Not sure what to make of it, but I can see the mind tracing its own movement along with the sensations of the breath. Like a double-refraction. There's the attention to the breath and attention to attention. Then there's the question of the puzzle which puzzles; there are sensations moving along the inside of the nostril going up/down vibrating/shimmering. But that is all attention is -- sensations. So how does it attend to this and not anything else? Where's this decision coming from? What's the intention coming from? It's all emptiness the whole way. So why this thing and not another thing? So how does the sensation of attention arise out of the mere presence of sensations as they are, where they are, when they are?
George S, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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It's all just happening by itself.
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Stefan R, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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I've got no more uni, finished today actually. So I had about 6ish hours of formal sitting. The majority of the rest of my time was spent observing how attention moves/works in real life; how attention darts, disperses, diffuses, condenses, etc., around things. (as I said, I'm gonna get this thing!)

I notice two distinct vibrational patterns
  • One is horizontal. Moving sideward, over, under, between, etc., around the object of attention. 
  • One is vertical. Moving in towards the object of attention.
One-pointed concentration becomes strong when both synchronise. HOWEVER, distractions only become weaker when horizontal and vertical vibrational patterns intersect at trough-peak, to cancel one another out. 

Does this resonate with anyone here? 


Some weird perceptual things happening. Things in my peripheral vision becoming abnormally huge/swelling. Things in my focus of attention becoming very bright. My chest and limbs feel strangely hollow. There's coolness on my body. There are definite sporadic and strong feelings of how the start of an acid trip feels like -- that gradual realisation that any semblance of control is vanishing; along with this are thoughts of "oh shit, I'm breaking the mind." The weird drowning sensation and sludgy breath is happening too. 
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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So how does the sensation of attention arise out of the mere presence of sensations as they are, where they are, when they are?

What's the assumption built into this question? 
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Stefan R, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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Analytically, I can say that the assumption is that attention being separate from the sensations. IE: attention is embedded in sensations themselves. And that attention being "done" is also an illusion. I realise that the former necessitates the latter, but there's a gap in my experiential understanding of the process. Experientially, I see the first thing. The second thing, not as much or clearly. 

Am I on the right track?

​​​​​​​Could you perhaps point to something which I could observe? 
shargrol, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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Right track. You might look to see if you can notice any attention that is different from sensations. Don't be obsessive/neurotic about it, just make it a game "is this attention or a sensation?"

Or if "is this attention or a mind object - a sensation (touch, sight, taste, smell, sound), urge, emotion, and/or thought?"

Or "is seeing different than seen?" "is feeling different than touch?" "is hearing different than sound?" etc.

Have fun with it. There are no bonus points from grumpiness, self-punishment, dourness. There might be bonus points for curiousity, playfulness, and joyful experimentation. emoticon



EDIT:

That approach is sort of trying to jump to the punchline...

If you want a more structured approach, then 6 realms and 5 elements practices are options. Both of these investigate "how does my experience get confused so that non-duality is lost?"

6 Realms is looking to see what kind of prejudiced worldview is overlayed on experience. Many times we feel separate and distinct from the world because our outlook is already colored by a worldview. We think we are in conflict with the world (hell realm), or the world is lacking and we need to get all we can (hungry ghost realm), or we just need to survive (animal realm), or we need to follow our desires (human), or we need to compete with others (asura/powerful gods), or we need to maintain and isolate ourselfs from others (devas/heavenly gods). So you can look to see if any of these mindsets are coloring your perceptions in the moment. Fight, Take, Survive, Desire, Achieve, Maintain. These ongoing attitudes are what create the sense of having an attention that is different than experience. These worldviews come before experience and color experience.

5 Elements practice is noticing how experiences that aren't fully experienced create reactivity. The 5 Elements come after experience, in a fraction of a second. We experience something and then we... want to grab on to it (Earth), push it away and avoid it (water), intensify it (fire), interact with it in a frantic way (air), go blank or get depressed (void). So these little mini-reactions can be seen right as experience arises. Again, these post-experience reactions also create a sense of having a self that is different than experience. 


​​​​​​​
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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​​​​​​​Could you perhaps point to something which I could observe? 
You might look to see if you can notice any attention that is different from sensations.

Put in a more direct way:

- what is causing this thing we call attention?
- is attention an object or something else?
- if attention is an object what are the implications?
- is attention is indeed something else what parts of the dharma have to be discarded and rewritten?
shargrol, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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(S & C, sorry for stumbling all over your conversation! emoticon  )
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Stefan R, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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Chris and Shargrol, thank you. The things you guys said were magically perfect and exactly what I needed to hear at that very moment in time that I read them. The perfect combination of both of your words has truly helped me. True synchrony if I have ever seen one. 

I'm seeing it very clearly now. The elements of attention. The causes. 

There are little bits n' pieces dangling to the side, bits of fluff to clean up around the margins, but what I can see is being seen very very clearly.
  • Vibrational patterns of the centre and periphery. Both are truly dependent on one another. 
  • Motions of intentions. Each intention is like a spark in every moment. And each previous spark shapes future ones, but as distinct blips. Like throwing peddles into still water, they ripple into one another. 
  • Periphery and centre. Breadth and depth interacting.
  • Sensations with their own fields of awareness that push and pull on one another.
  • Then the top-down and bottom-up; how attention feeds into the meaning-making parts. And those meaning-making parts creating gestalts of experience each moment. In each created mind-moment, the mind then seeks again to create. The bottom-up and top-down meeting one another to create the illusion of a self in control of attention. 
My brain is kind of on fire right now but in a great way. 

One thing that is apparent is how the 1st Jhana's excitement is embedded into every sensation -- the excitement (the word I've chosen to explain the combination of Piti + Sukkha) is just there in the luminosity of the sensation itself -- that's the attention it seems (or the predominating aspect of it for now). And the refinement of this leading to 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. 

I think this is all coming together. Truly.

I'm so deeply appreciative of everyone's input here. I can really feel the love. Thank you all, truly. Let me know if I can help in any way to reciprocate. 
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Stefan R, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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Okay, so I think it just happened. 

Somewhere around halfway through the sit it got really nice and still. Very calm, Quite contented. Very quiet. Wide expansive awareness. I could see how all the pieces of attention were moving nicely. At one point the mind got into formless Jhana mode and simply went there and came back, in the span of maybe 2-3minutes. Just along for the ride. Then gentle curiosity settled in, on "The Source" of it all. Just a bag of ideas -- all thought, no substance. 

Either way, a few more minutes after that, another cycle through the formless stuff and more gentle investigation of "The Source". This time painfully aware of how sensations are purely "in here" on "this side" along with everything else. It's all part of the same system. Outside input is quite the illusion. Because what's observed is already "in here" by the time it's observed. There's no escaping that. 

Then the mind turned this idea and analysed how meaning is made each second. Attention --> Process --> Meaning. And how that meaning is then superimposed on Attention. Attention being like meat pressed between arising sensations and intentions. Then gentle curiosity on the assumptions of this. It's a game of concentration. At this moment I am playing the game (with knowledge of impermanence/dukka/emptiness. But also, importantly, the game is changing. Holy wow. The game of concentration is itself an assumption here. Attention is built into this game. This thought process I'm laying out here is bewilderingly primitive in the light of what was actually thought -- but it was equal part rational and emotional. 

Next up, a light emerged, it was small. It was pulling everything. No resistance. The pull just happened. There was a slight feeling of uneasiness, because everything was stretching away from observation. Everything just went out toward it. Including attention itself. A few seconds later I realise I wasn't there for the last few moments. And then to top it all off, it knew what happened and decided to do it again, albeit, what felt like a shorter amount of time, and with a little more conscious awareness in the lead-up. At the end of the out-breath like every other time, just like advertised.

Now my brain truly is on fire, yet feeling refreshed. 

Chris, George, and Shagrol, what you both said earlier was genius. Chris, you are a mensch for having implanted the idea of assumptions to be churned away in the unconscious mind, your constant straightforwardness really did keep me honest in my questioning. Shagrol, you always seem to arrive wherever (not just my log) and provide that deft touch of pure intuitive understanding to guide someone along. George, the simplicity of what you said got lost on me, but I appreciate it now! emoticon

Look, I'm not gonna jump the gun too hard here, but it feels just like the last times this sorta thing happened. My brain is really scorching. My mind is connecting all the disparate parts of what led to the insight. And one feeling is that I can now clearly perceive the dualistic split between "this side" and "that side" from the inside and the outside (if that makes sense?)

Anyways, I'm gonna go make dinner. 
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Stefan R, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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So I realise that my mind basically administered a Turing Test on itself and showed that it failed. Illusions all the way down. 
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Stefan R, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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Okay, about 7hrs' worth of data here, something feels as if it's definitely changed. Very subtle. 

In meditation, the mind is acutely aware of the gap between awareness and sensations -- although I'm sceptical of phrasing it this way. But what it's like is like this: say you go out and say "okay I'm going to go and observe wood". You find a tree and say, "yeah, there's wood here, but it's tree wood I wanna observe pure wood". Okay so you find a chair, same response, you want the real wood. You find a canoe, a table, etc. etc... There's just no pure wood for you to observe out here! And someone says "why not focus between where the tree and the wood is to extract the essence of wood and observe that". Brilliant, so now you can see the wood in everything. Clumsy metaphor, but that's as good as I'll get off the cuff right here. 

Next up, is immediacy and non-layering. Just things as they are. Simple. Before things were as they were, but there was some sort of conceptual overlay in the background. I'd observe the sensations in the leg, but there was still a concept tying it all together "leg". Now there's that gone, I can definitely feel a difference. 

I realised there was some cruel absurdity playing around with my concept as a "meditator". Time-linkage is being seen through. As in, the sensations now are not linked to the past. Same with the very conceptual overlay trying to link the sensations to the past. That conceptual overlay is itself a bundle of sensations. 

"Sensations", "experience", etc., are all clumsy assumptions. Something far more immediate and present is going on. Can't explain it better than that... Reality experiencing itself?

Time lasts way longer. My normal 1hr sits feel like 2-3hrs. And that happened immediately after the last sit 2 days ago. 
Olivier S, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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Stefan R
In meditation, the mind is acutely aware of the gap between awareness and sensations -- although I'm sceptical of phrasing it this way. But what it's like is like this: say you go out and say "okay I'm going to go and observe wood". You find a tree and say, "yeah, there's wood here, but it's tree wood I wanna observe pure wood". Okay so you find a chair, same response, you want the real wood. You find a canoe, a table, etc. etc... There's just no pure wood for you to observe out here! And someone says "why not focus between where the tree and the wood is to extract the essence of wood and observe that". Brilliant, so now you can see the wood in everything. Clumsy metaphor, but that's as good as I'll get off the cuff right here. 

Very interesting observation - where is there "wood" apart from the specific "wooden thing" that is made out of wood ?
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Stefan R, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

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To Oliver, great question. From my observations:
  • ​​​​​​​Inseparable, yet seemingly distinct. This whole empty awareness/sensations dance.
  • Awareness seems so vast, because it is. But it's only as vast as the sensations which it reflects. 
  • Awareness seems like a ground on which things rest. But there's only ground when a foot steps on it!

I also notice mind subtly grasping at insights - direct experience is all that is required; this is getting rapidly untangled. It reflects my earlier saying that things can't be controlled, only experienced. Experiencing them is the change. Experiencing was all that was required. So simple, so staggeringly simple we just couldn't even conceive of how to begin doing it -- which is why I'll simultaneously understand yet reject those that say "you're already here, it's so simple, just let go". Letting go needs to be seen through too -- it's still an act of illusory control. Just keep experiencing the thing until it understands itself -- reality experiencing itself. 

Subtle feelings of "this side" vs "that side" being noticed as illusory; getting untangled too. Likely reflects what I said about seeing both the inside/outside of "this side vs that side". Integration stuff happening. 

Subtle feelings of agency/choice/ownership being noticed as illusory. The choice stuff is very profound. I can't articulate it yet. I'm sure one day I may. Reminds me of the Matrix Trilogy with layers of illusion. Once the illusion is noticed, a choice becomes the simple instance of immediate awareness. A flipping of paradigms where we think choice proceeds action. 

Every Vipassana Jhana seems so much more full, rich, useful(?). 
1st is about clarifying
2nd is about intensifying 
3rd is about clearing away and returning to the immediacy
4th is about integration; simultaneous clarifying, intensifying and clearing to the immediacy

One of these consequences is how afraid sensations were of being seen directly. These subtle overlays of certain ideas/concepts etc., really dampened the actual beauty of things like sadness, grief, joy, depth. Life seems a little more poetic lately, more like art than a science. 

Driving today was weird. There's a strong sensitivity to the ownership of doership here, and there were some feelings of effort that got blown up reacting to trying to notice that feeling of ownership/agency. And then there were sensations of awareness catching up to synchronise with each of these illusions. It all relaxed after 10-15minutes of driving, no biggie. 

Interacting with people is also weird. There's a strange sense that I've never really seen or felt a person in my life before. It feels like I'm meeting my brother all over again. 

Lots of integration to do, lots of journaling is being done. Lots of top-down, bottom-up synchronisation that'll likely happen over the next few weeks. 
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Stefan R, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

Posts: 175 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
The whole thing is unconditioned. Spontaneously arising perfection.

That is, it was until, "I" came in, and started conditioning everything, like a bull in a china shop. It was simpler than simple. Just is, always has been. Even saying this seems pitiful in light of what was observed. 

I love you all
shargrol, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

Posts: 1618 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
This is such good stuff.

Yes, fully experiencing really is the essence of all of this. The extremes of our psychological/worldview overlay gets trimmed away over time. Soon things start becoming what they are. Resistance or greed for an object/experience, when fully experienced, reveals something that brings it back it's value to it's proper size, so to speak.

Some psychological and existential stuff seems to want to hide from being seen. "If I see this clearly (or if other people see this clearly,) my whole world will fall apart..."  That's almost never the case. But it's also the respectful untangling of the confusion that reveals a bit of wisdom which was also hidden inside. Sometimes we find we are tougher than we thought, sometimes we find we need more healing in a particular area, maybe we really don't know what is going on and need to do a more structured learning about something... Whatever the case, we get a better sense of how to approach that aspect of psychology/existential stuff. 

"There's a strange sense that I've never really seen or felt a person in my life before. It feels like I'm meeting my brother all over again. "

This is a really good sign. Yeah, this is how it works. When you lose a lot of your baggage, each moment is new and many things are possible. You're not doomed to follow old tracks. You're not forced to think about things in the old ways. You see the newness and immediacy of the moment. 

It's an odd thing when we need to get used to not being used to our experience. It takes a kind of meta-level intelligence which says "things are always fresh but I don't always know what is going on, experiences continue to surprise me... but this really is life."
shargrol, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

Posts: 1618 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
It can also be daunting to consider "... and maybe I'm still missing something". Don't get nureotic about it. The stuff that still needs to be worked on will become more obvious. 

Your doing the right thing by giving yourself time for the insight to settle and exploring the nature of the insight through journaling etc.
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Stefan R, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

Posts: 175 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
100%, beautifully put. Thank you for your wisdom again Shargrol. I won't lie, it does feel nice to be validated in the direction all this is going. I suffer from a tad bit of imposter syndrome so it's wonderful to hear that my things are aligning. 

The fetters seem so obviously clear and apparent now. But it definitely feels like I'm operating at a new depth. There's a new layer of dullness that's been exposed pretty clearly. It's ever so thin, but it's there and I feel it quite obviously now. I think this is great because earlier in my meditation I'd get this sense of dullness (although I didn't know what it was or how to describe it) and I'd ignore it because things felt pleasant. But lurking behind it all was a feeling of "no, Stefan, you're not fully engaged now, are you?" But eventually, the thing corrected course, it all worked out in the end. I don't think I'd ever want to be blissfully unaware again because of the deep lesson I learned in that period of my meditation. 

Especially apparent to me now are the following:
  • ​​​​​​​The idea of being "this guy" who is also a "meditator", "man", "[whatever other label]" -- funnily enough this realisation struck me like a thunderbolt on the toilet of all places. Flushed that fetter pretty hard I'd say! But it manifests in its opposite like the aforementioned imposter syndrome, which perhaps doesn't want ambiguous experience and expression to be judged by others. 
  • The apparent desire to maintain the necessity for forms, like there needing to be "this body" in relation to some "other". Very positional, in space, type stuff. Very solid. 
  • But then also the need to keep up ideas, Most apparent is how much the mind was overlaying insights into experience rather than simply seeing the insights in the experiences themselves. This is slowly being worked on, but it's pretty obvious now. I didn't even realise I was doing it until a few days ago. Attachment to these insights
  • The mind detuning from all this stuff; it'll make excuses, sweep stuff under the rug, etc.
  • The mind trying to collect sensations under the umbrella of "me". Very subtle, it manifests as effort sometimes olr even more subtle feelings of ownership over body/mind. Sometimes feels like a crude patchwork of mental impressions being assembled to form a tapestry of "me-ness"
  • Things like choice, ownership, agency, and effort being pretty clearly seen
  • The total and unquestionable illusion of consciousness. A collection of parts having a "whole" experience. I remember much earlier in my meditation journey I had this realisation but rejected it, because the thought came to me like, "I am essentially a rock -- a rock probably experiences itself but has no mind to create delusion of its rockiness". And that was so ego-deflating that it just didn't stick, although deep down I knew the truth of it (detuning!)
  • When everything is dropped and the unconditioned nature of everything is experienced, the whole "unborn and deathless" aspect of everything makes sense that they talk about in Buddhist circles. Unconditioned perfection in every moment. It's beyond pristine. I am a rock. 

My neck is SO tight, it feels like my body is coming into balance. I haven't talked about it much, but I've got pretty bad knees and hips, which I've been working on with physiotherapy. Nearly every sit bar the last 2 weeks it feels like my hamstring is being torn off from the Ischial Tuberosity. It's been an inescapable part of my life for the last 2-3 years. So it's nice to have relief. The hips and knees are nearly "done" and fully healed. But now the rest of the body is re-tuning itself in reaction to having the core readjusted. Not sure if this is meditative or not, but I find it VERY metaphorical for the path I've been on. I never liked how people say "sit through the pain", like somehow there's an endpoint. I always liked "sit with the pain", which is something I learned very quickly. However, even this had been a source of pride in some senses for me because there is an enjoyment of pushing the body and mind to the limits (they're pushing themselves, really). Even in never missing a day of meditation. And doing a lot of hours per day. I'm not going to stop those things, but I see them now pretty clearly, and I'm generally okay with what they've taught me. They're parts of this machine and they do me well. There's still a strong calling to advance my technical mastery of the path, integrate it, and use it. All sub-games of a sub-game of the game. emoticon
George S, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Stefan's Log #2: Electric Boogaloo

Posts: 2057 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Very nice emoticon​​​​​​​

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