Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

SigmaTropic, modified 2 Months ago.

Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

Posts: 146 Join Date: 6/27/17 Recent Posts
In this practice log I will be exploring for myself what I believe to be a hidden dharma that I have discovered, maybe an ancient dharma, or an obvious dharma that I was too self-centered to see and appreciate. 

In this log I will be working with a few conclusions from previous practice. 

Conclusion 1: Energy is a basic fact of nature and can be harnessed
Conclusion 2: Mind requires energy, is capable of intention, and intention creates reality
Conclusion 3: Reality is inseparable from mind, and inherently perfect

If you intellectualize these conclusions enough and go too deep into the etymology of words - well, don't do that. I can't choose the perfect words. 

So fitting, I have 2 intentions:

1) Cultivate energy
2) Cultivate intention
SigmaTropic, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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Energy Cultivation

Main practices - Zhan Zhuang, Brahmacharya, prayer, and meditation

Ancillary practice - Choosing what goes into my body/mind system through the six sense doors

Intention Cultivation

I have two conversations of roughly an hour each per month with my teacher, a former Thai forest monk of 20 some years who has 40 or so years of experience with energy cultivation and can read me like an open book, make me clearly see the crude aspects of my mind, who I trust to correct my intentions and effort. 

This practice log will detail the dosage, nature, and phenomenology of practices being done and the fruits of those practices. I may also discuss other things as they relate to this practice. 
SigmaTropic, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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So far, 

I've been doing Zhan Zhuang for a week and I am up to 15 minutes in the "Wu Chi" position and 12 minutes in the "Baloon Pose" using the introductory techniques from a book called "The Way of Energy", with the approval of my teacher. I have discussed at length with him many aspects of my personal life which I won't share here, so he knows me and where I'm at. 

I am also currently celibate in mind and body and plan to stay that way perhaps until a beautiful spiritual godess manifests in my life who enhances my spiritual practice. I will not entertain any woman until I finish what I'm doing here, and I don't believe that a woman up to my standards will appear until I'm done with this work, so I'm not pursuing or interested in women for the time being.  

I am currently not using any substances and plan to stay that way, until the work here is done. 

Benefits I have noticed so far:

Increase in energy and mental poise
Increase in charisma and friendliness toward and from others
Blissfull sensations in the body are often felt throughout the day
Non-dual perspectives more accessible
SigmaTropic, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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One should be joyful, carefree and comfortable all the time, and if that is not the case then something is not right. Since giving up women, substances, and societal standards, I am continually joyful, carefree, and comfortable in my own skin. Things dont bother me. I have my ground of being established in the Divine and I'm nurturing my essence - the rest falls into place in each moment. 

Meditation should be blissful or least pleasant and comfortable all the time. If not, its because because one is dull, tense, or agitated due to the things they are allowing to enter their body mind system. First jhana is about withdrawal from the hindrances. Freedom from the hindrances. Withdrawal implies a turning away from. Letting go of things that hinder the mind. Since making some changes in what i take in, first jhana arises naturally just when going about my business. 
SigmaTropic, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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This morning I stood Wu Chi for 15 minutes and Baloon for 13 minutes. It is getting increasingly easier to stand longer and longer. 

In prayer I prayed for forgiveness for the ways I've been selfish and opportunistic in previous relationships, and how I've hurt others. I asked for right intention and renounced attachment to personal benefits of my practice, instead offering the practice as a gift to the Divine. During prayer I felt  blissful and serene, and after prayer I felt more refreshed. 
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Jeyan "Jey" Burns-Oorjitham, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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Thank you for openly sharing this practice log.


I am very joyful and excited to hear how practice goes for you.


This intention of offering or yielding practice to the divine is so powerful. In my experience, it allows for cultivation and skillful use of energy that can remove or address blockages, obstacles, and stuck places before my conceptual mind even realizes those things are there.


May your practice continue to flourish and be fruitful, friend.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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 I'm curious how you work around the paradox of intending to cultivate intention. Could you elaborate on that?
SigmaTropic, modified 2 Months ago.

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö
 I'm curious how you work around the paradox of intending to cultivate intention. Could you elaborate on that?
So this is a sticky thing and I'll do my best. But my thinking and practice and what I've been told indicates that we all do practice for at least partly selfish reasons - to not suffer, to reach a better state of mind - to somehow improve ourselves on a personal level. And there is nothing wrong with that and it is solid intention for practice until a certain point. But that intention also seems to be another aspect of self-clinging that causes suffering. But its incredibly hard to let go of - we are wired to do things for our own survival and benefit above all else. But personal gain/benefit also has to let go of. But how? I can't possibly do something and expect nothing in the way of results from a practice. 

This is where calling forces outside of myself comes into play. I am unable in my own selfishness to truly see bigger purposes for my efforts. I will always fail when motivated by an intention based on self-clinging. This is why I think devotion - calling out to a force beyond self - is necessary. I have to ask a higher power to cleanse my intention and motivate my action. I have to talk with a teacher who can see beyond myself to nudge me and refine my intentions.

 There seem to be "moments" in life where the intention of self-interest falls away briefly, and true awake aware clarity beyond self becomes possible.  These moments seem like what people call "the grace of God". In prayer, we set aside our selfish intentions and ask for Divine guidance. We let go of attachment to every condition in the world and allow the Divine to guide our action. In sacraficing worldly things and offering up those as a gift to the Divine with sincerity, something Divine smiles upon us and our gift, and shows us something. It's like a child giving a gift to their parents. It doesn't matter what the gift is, the parents are absolutely tickled to receive a sincere gift from their children. They will cherish that gift and reciprocate that love that the child gives. 

In buddhism intention is the driving force of all karma and it is where we have the most power. As such, cultivating and refining better and better intentions is at the core of Buddhist practice. Intentions become less and less self centered the less we attach to self. And at a point we need outside/higher guidance to refine those intentions otherwise we get stuck and spin around with a fundamental wrong intention. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Months ago.

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That's pretty much the way I see it too. Thankyou for your very thorough reply! I believe it can be helpful for others to read. This is complicated stuff. 

I also find that intentions can be a door into a sense of timelessness, for lack of better words, when they are relatively well tuned to what already happens and that is in line with something less samsaric - and the timeless quality, in turn, helps with getting more in tune and less samsaric, less restrained by habitual patterns. It's like sequentiality falls away, and with it the sense of a doer. 

I don't know if that makes any sense. It's something I have been working with for a while but can't describe very well. Logic fails here. Intuition, or being in tune, seem to go beyond linear language and linear time, doesn't it? 
SigmaTropic, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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Just gonna spitball some ideas about what I'm doing. 

The physical body is our vessel for everything we do in life. What we put into the body and the movements and activities we do with the body determine our experience of life. The brain, presumably having something significant to do with consciousness is also a part of the body. Therefore, providing the brain and body with the optimal healthy inputs and fuel should be highly beneficial to the optimal functioning of consciousness. 

In my experience Consciousness functions best when blissful and carefree, and since my working theory is that blissful and carefree is the default state of mind, when not blissful and carefree, we should work on the conditions that are obscuring blissful carefree clarity. 

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SigmaTropic, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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Currently blissful and carefree. 
SigmaTropic, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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Murica!
george, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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SigmaTropic
Murica!
Hahaha, I really love your log. You're talking about embodying God itself, completely. I think.
SigmaTropic, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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george
SigmaTropic
Murica!
Hahaha, I really love your log. You're talking about embodying God itself, completely. I think.

Yes, that's right. I might phrase it as flowing with the Divine. I'm glad you resonate with my log. 
SigmaTropic, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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All from direct personal experience.

Beautiful objects are just beautiful objects. The best way to enjoy a beautiful object is to appreciate and enjoy its presence while it hits the sense doors but not expect it to stick around or stay the same. Kind of like a sunset. No one ever expects a sunset to stick around. Attaching oneself to a beautiful set of sense impressions is just dukkha. When that beautiful set of sense impressions starts to change and reveal less desirable aspects, you can easily let go of the beautiful aspects and be equaninous with the less beautiful aspects without attachment. 

What seems to happen when you are unattached to the beautiful pleasant set of experiences, more beautiful pleasant experiences start to arise, like a test from Mara. The yogi who is unattached is like a magnet for the Garden of Eden. The lack of attachment brings Mara's army with temptresses and beautiful sights, sounds, smells, and other sense impressions. But more  beauty and pleasure creates more potential for attachment. 

The best test of a man is to deny the seduction of a beautiful woman for the sake of higher  purposes. Being unshaken by women while manifesting individual energy and power leads to more women manifesting. Pursuing women is pointless. Women manifest. Pursue Truth. Bramacharya is a choice. A higher choice. 

side note: release attachment to carry on baggage, rest comfortably in a window seat while everyone else struggles with the overhead bins. LOL.  
SigmaTropic, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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Blissful and carefree. 

I'm really enjoying Taoist philosophy. Doing very little. Being water. Adpating to circumstances and seeing the benefits of any situation. Being adaptable and malleable makes life flow effortlessly and opens up new possibilities where our once rigid thinking got us stuck before. 

The Zhan Zhuang practice is having a potent effect. I was riding on a plane earlier and blissful energy in my body is increasingly easy to relax into. I just gently compress the energy in my mind and I fall into the first jhana. 2nd jhana is more powerful than I've seen in a while, and that's remarkable because ive been doing very little formal seated meditation practice lately. 

I was at a sporting event on Saturday night and lots of insight related phenomena occured. For the first 6 innings of the game there were no runs, very few hits, and it was mostly a pitcher's duel. Not very entertaining considering my angle was perpendicular to the angle of the pitchers path, preventing me from discerning what type of pitch was being thrown very well. Naturally my attention shifted to the people around me and I noticed my mind making all sorts of fabrications - the woman next to me checking her camera in her house every 5 minutes, her husband blissful and carefree with their daughter having a ball, the young swingers in front of me and the highly made up, beautiful 20 something subtly clearing her nose now and then of whatever she was putting up it, sitting next to her 40 something sugar daddy. Naturally all these fabrications and stories arising in my mind led to a miserable state of mind fraught with comparison, nostalgia, loss, and all other types of emotions. I was very present throughout it all but my mind was producing misery and highly fabricating everything. I started to wonder if it was all a dream. I retreated to a secluded area alone to compose myself. A highly intoxicated man stumbling along. I got some composure anand returned to the game. I let go of the fabrications of what I perceived to be going on around me. Then a state of simple acceptance came about and I felt at ease. There was a sudden jolt and my eyes contracted, a sense of a break, and then blissful sensations began to prevade my body and mind. I loosened up and the game was suddenly exciting again, I started to interact with the people around me and the game ended in suspenseful fashion with a strikeout in clutch fashion. The power of the wave going through the crowd was amazing. After the game there was a spectacular display of fireworks and everyone was at ease and grateful. 
SigmaTropic, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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Some strange force is guiding me along. 

I was in an unpleasant headspace briefly earlier and I drank a glass of water and went to work out. The exertion of lifting weights was giving me blissful sensations and the music was inspiring and empowering. Now I am back in a good headspace. My focus tonight is to cultivate conditions for good restful sleep. Planning to turn off electronics and read with dimmed lights. Good sleep has been elusive lately with travel and activities. 

one nugget I found is that the Dao is the line between order and chaos. Surfing that line is effortless flow. Too much control - bad - too much allowing - also bad. 
SigmaTropic, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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I've had this nasty idea of wanting to renounce the world lately but usually a solid meal and some heavy music and water gets me back to reality.  

I listened to a  bit of what Jordan Peterson had to say about dominance hierarchies in the animal kingdom and it must have stuck because today I presented some ideas and results at the monthly science meeting with the CEO present and he ate that up. As a junior scientist at a very macho culture company I have to rally for money, staff, and resources on a daily basis, and it's not just about the science but also how well you can reek of credibility, confidence  and potential. In this regard cultivating internal power seems very useful. I dont think I would have made such a strong impression on the CEO if not for cultivating my energy. 
 

Brahmacharya seems to be affecting how others view me. I was on my way in to work today and the mailman that delivers the mail to our building greeted me with a "Hows it going big man" and this was odd because I'm 5' 10" and athletic but not shredded in any sense of the word. He must have sensed my energy. 

This morning I did the normal Zhan Zhuang routine and I feel myself getting stronger and more resilient by the day. 
SigmaTropic, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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In the Zhan Zhuang practice I'm reaching a state of calm soft blissfulness, and the tension area that used to center around my shoulder blades is more present in my lower back and belly. When I lift weights the muscle groups being worked seem to charge up with this warm, pleasant, tingly energy. Anyone else notice this? 
 

I'm making a practice out of not entertaining interest from women. I was at the store minding my own business and buying some fruits and veggies and the cashier was onto my energy. I poker faced it and moved on. Ok I gave a slight smirk and moved on. Making progress but Mara is getting angry. 
SigmaTropic, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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Blissful and carefree.

I was holding a poker face all day in relation to the fruits of practice. Power, intuition, bliss, etc. The cutting edge of my dharma practice is noticing ownership of the fruits of my practice. I do not own any of it. When fruit blossoms, I give that up to the Divine, not selfishly use it. The fruit of practice can be be easily misdirected toward selfish pursuits. I have experienced the fallout of that misdirection.  I am making a practice out of becoming dispassionate toward the fruit of practice. 
SigmaTropic, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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Blissful and carefree. 

I have a mentor (not my formal teacher but a teacher nonetheless) who I believe to be exceptionally awake and we had a great discussion last night about the fruits of Brahmacharya and energy cultivation.  He advised not to let it go to my head, but also validated the strange phenomena I've been experiencing around others and the raw power and confidence I feel. Why people don't talk about this in the prag dharma scene is beyond me.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. 

My mind is like a diamond, my being is as pure as rain water, and I hereby surrender those results to God. 

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SigmaTropic, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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I had a 2 on 1 with the CEO and the COO/President today to pitch ideas and summarize results.  These are people of immense power. I noticed the energy in the room that these people give off. 

Observations: Big picture thinking - fill in details as you go

"We can do this, and we can do it sooner rather than later" Confidence in their people  Speak of problems in terms of solutions.  

start now, does not matter I'd its messy. Start now. 

It is energizing spending time with powerful people. 
SigmaTropic, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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The practice has results. Feel less impressed with anyone. Feel like a rebel. Making my own way. Free agent. 
george, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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Are you essentially talking about shaktipat here? I've done a shaktipat intensive before which was intense. Haha
SigmaTropic, modified 2 Months ago.

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Not exactly. Skaktipat as I understand it is transmission of spiritual energy and internal power. 

I am talking about the cultivation of spiritual energy and power. Aka "ojas". Very much considered a "woo" topic until you experience it. Ojas is like a non physical "lubrication" one has that makes life flow effortlessly and like a dream. People subconsciously sense it. Thoughts and mental views become powerful, intuition becomes natural, the mind becomes pure, blissful, and carefree.  Turning heads, children staring, other people with ojas taking notice consciously or subconsciously. It's actually really simple, kinda like a law of nature. This woo aspect is why my log is in part titled "Magick". More ojas - less constrained by "objective reality". Reality is mind. I hope I'm getting this across. 

This doesn't seem to be discussed in these terms in the pragmatic dharma scene, and I dont know why. 
SigmaTropic, modified 2 Months ago.

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Think Jesus, Ramana Maharshi, Ghandi, Swami Vivekananda. They weren't simply technical meditation masters.

There's much more beyond western commercial dharma in my view. Like Daniel says in his book. Mushroom factory. 
george, modified 2 Months ago.

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Yes I think I understand what you mean. A flowy natural state, everything flows on its own softly and gently, animals stare at you you stare at them there is a knowing on some level that we're connected with this thing. Does this sound like what you're referring to? Also the other people that feel it too. I have dreams of people that I think sense "ojas". I really appreciate your log mate, thank you so much for talking about this. Shinzen young talks about impermanence as a flowy energy like chi which sounds familiar.
SigmaTropic, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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george
Yes I think I understand what you mean. A flowy natural state, everything flows on its own softly and gently, animals stare at you you stare at them there is a knowing on some level that we're connected with this thing. Does this sound like what you're referring to? Also the other people that feel it too. I have dreams of people that I think sense "ojas". I really appreciate your log mate, thank you so much for talking about this. Shinzen young talks about impermanence as a flowy energy like chi which sounds familiar.
Yeah, I think animals are by nature much more connected to the natural state, and there seems to be something we don't fully understand about how beings can intuitively sense the energy of other beings and their environment. We are all manifestations of energy moving in the universe. There are myriad examples from nature where elusive forces guide the activities and cycles of beings. These things are not necessarily known consciously, but are driving forces nonetheless. 
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Zero, modified 2 Months ago.

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I'm highly interested in cultivating this ojas now  Thanks for the tips and the logs. I need stop draining my own energy..
SigmaTropic, modified 2 Months ago.

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In the Zhan Zhuang standing practice, the Wu Chi stance, or what I like to refer to as the power stance, is getting increasingly easier. I'm at 18 minutes in this stance, and it very much is an intense meditation practice. What happens is tensions and imbalances arise, one after another, felt in the body. The main practice is to consciously relax into the tension and release the tension. When one does this with poise and equanimity, the tension in that particular spot of the body often dissapates, and another spot arises. This is a continual process of noticing tension, relaxing, releasing, and noticing again. Sometimes all of the tension seems to evaporate and the body has a blissful sense of being cocooned in energy, but one also experiences this with poise and equanimity. 

The baloon stance (think about the posture you would assume if you were holding a large baloon with your arms in front of your torso) is more intense, and the principle is basically the same. You notice, relax into, release, and notice. Today I'm up to 15 minutes of baloon stance, and toward the end there was a sense of almost being exhausted, then an arising of relaxed mental effort and the mind and body seemed to reach a new level of energy in the last 3 minutes or so. It was very distinct. 

In my last few seated meditation sessions I have been experiencing the effects of the Zhan Zhuang practice. Mental dullness does not and has not arisen in my seated practice for some time now, but the Zhan Zhuang and other energy cultivation practices I've been doing seem to put the level of mental energy at a new baseline. Directing the mind has become quite effortless and the mind is responsive and malleable.  The bliss states are usually accessible right from the start of sitting, and where previously some effort was required, they seem to arise much more naturally and are deeper and more satisfying. 

Vivid dreams are happening every night that always seem very meaningful and appropriate for my current situation, which is kind of cool because Ive never really had much dream recall, but now they stick even without even putting any effort or intention into remembering them. It makes me interested in floating a light intention to become lucid during dreams and see where that takes me. 
SigmaTropic, modified 2 Months ago.

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I am beginning to get a sense of what is a Divine use of energy and what is a veiled self-serving use of energy. The fruit of the cultivation process must be used consciously to serve and merge with the Divine.  The raw power and confidence I feel - the glow of my skin, my hair getting visibly thicker and softer, my voice having a sweetness to it, the creative energy pouring out of me - these are all good things but I have to continually give them back the Divine source from which they came and ask for guidance and intuition. Craving and aversion are swept away decisively when I'm properly aligned with the Divine, but when the fruits of practice begin to be distorted, craving and aversion poke their ugly heads out. 

I have a distinct sense of being guided by a certain strange force - the vivid dreams, the curious electrical phenomena that seem to follow me, the head turning, the sense of synchronicity in everything. I'm beginning to see every person and circumstance in my life as a gift from the Divine, meant to carry out my Divine purpose. These things seem to get stronger by the day. 

The joke of it all is once one becomes aligned with the Divine, Mara's forces mobilize to thwart the attempts at God alignment. This is a very real thing.  

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george, modified 2 Months ago.

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Holy shit dude. I love reading your stuff which I know really isn't you, it's the Devine awakening within you that speaks. 
SigmaTropic, modified 2 Months ago.

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In my seated sessions I am keeping it relatively short at about 30 minutes. Twice today so far. I hold my body gently and be friendly to myself. Advice from my teacher is to allow trauma and guilt from past relationships to arise when I feel courageous and blissful. As such, this morning was one of those occassions. The first two jhanas arose effortlessly upon sitting, and I dwelt in the mental sweetness of the 2nd jhana, with an illumination arising and the body centered and ephemeral. Suddenly images arose, one after another, and a practice I've been doing when memories and images of past relationships arise is to allow those, and let those arise within the backdrop of effortless joy. I tested it by diving deep into the painful emotions, strengthening and intensifying them, and the joy was stable in the midst of this examination. It seems that the joy of a unified mind is like a lens through which painful events of the past can be examined.  A joyful mind can see the same events in a different way. These events hit the mind with a sense of compassion, humor, and understanding for wrongs committed by myself and others.  

Later I noticed my thoughts about the people in question seemed to be arising not from a place of self but rather genuine caring and compassion. 

In the 2nd session, the same, jhanas arose, but there was a nagging tension and something seemed off, so I instincitvely back off when that happens, open my eyes, rest in place, relax, and then resume with a light touch when I feel ready again, and after doing this I was not doing too much, there was a sudden break in the flow of experience immediately followed by an inpouring of satisfaction, gratitude, bliss, and peace. Very thankful for that nice catharsis, and gratitude is salient. 

Today I instintively feel like it's right to take it easy, maybe watch a movie. Feeling grateful. 
SigmaTropic, modified 2 Months ago.

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Feeling immensely powerful and joyful this morning. 

Good diet, good sleep, regular exercise, meditation, and Brahmacharya. 

I dont see how sorrow is possible with these supports in place. Thank you God. 

I have high goals and now feel increasingly unencumbered by societal programming and taken care of, looked out for, in good hands, so to speak. It's worth writing down.  
SigmaTropic, modified 2 Months ago.

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The mind and body seem to require less sleep and less food when the system is tranquil and joyful. 

In the gym, more focus on posture and technique rather than resistance. Feeling the muscle groups being worked and focusing on exhale on the application of force, inhale on the release of force. 

In seated practice moments of cessation of perception and feeling are happening every sit.

Keeping a poker face in regard to joy, equanimity, tranquility, power, confidence. 
SigmaTropic, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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Blippity blip blip blip. 

I did a 24 hour fast today and my mind was perfect. 

The mind and body work best when the stomach is empty. Science says so. 

In Zhan Zhuang there is a very nice sense of the body. In meditation I see vibratory flickering everywhere I look. 

I have a pow wow with my teacher tomorrow, and a good friend of mine, fellow Brahmachari, just got a tenure track professor position. He's a former lawyer and current wandering yogi.

Life is good. 
SigmaTropic, modified 2 Months ago.

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My teacher confirmed my intuition to see practice as the Divine expressing itself through me. 

He encouraged me to continue in my current practices and also encouraged a continued emphasis on shamatha practice. 

We talked about the end of the insight path and how one naturally gravitates toward non-doing and flowing with/becoming the universe. 

In the brahmacharya discussion he again encouraged my increasingly high standards for the women I associate with, and (again) introduced the idea of introducing some sexual practices when the beautiful spiritual goddess manifests. 
SigmaTropic, modified 2 Months ago.

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I stood each pose today twice for a total of 80 minutes. I feel the flow of chi toward the end of a long stance and it's very pleasurable. Often in the beginning of a stance there is a feeling of stability and being cocooned in a kind of blanket of comfort. The stance stands itself. The body is held up by the air around the body. 

Mind/reality meditation/work/non meditation there is no distinction. 

I feel like I'm doing and thinking less but things are just happening on their own perfectly. 

non duality or non doing?

When there's non doing, being is possible.
SigmaTropic, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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The Zhab Zhuang is bearing great fruit. 

I am at 20 minutes in both stances. I can feel the chi rushing through my body as I stand and it feels like the practice is noticing where tension is in the body, that spot instantly evaporates into bliss, and the tension moves. I'm getting the distinct sense of being able to move the blissful energy from a spot that feels pleasurable to a spot that feels tense. It's amazing how much of a flow state just standing can be. Toward the end there is no doing, no doer, the universe is standing itself.  
SigmaTropic, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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Gosh I feel so lucky to be a free agent doing my own thing - what a great spiritual boon. May we all be blessed with a period of solitude at some point. 

Poker face in regard to women, bliss, energy. 
SigmaTropic, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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Energy cultivation and Brahmacharya impart fearlessness. Solitude and self sufficiency support fearlessness. Sorrow and other negative mind states in my experience are all fear-based. Fear of damage to a core self. When this fear is let go of, there no basis for sorrow and stress. Although unpleasant sensations and urges and thoughts arise and will continue to arise, without fear of damage to a self they have no basis upon which to cause sorrow or stress and they are just passing clouds. 

Having thousands of cessations does something to the fear mechanism but it isn't complete until the realization is embodied in waking life. Having that basis of impermanence of self and consciousness makes it much more natural to embody further expressions of the impermanence of self. 

With the core "ground" under control, there is no basis for self-judgement. When the thoughts and deeds become pure even in the dreaming state, self judgement vanishes. Without self judgement or fear you remove a huge chunk of the roots of suffering. 

The remaining residues seem to be guilt based which can be addressed by Divine forgiveness and continued alignment. Time heals all wounds. 
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Krissy Trede, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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"The best test of a man is to deny the seduction of a beautiful woman for the sake of higher  purposes. Being unshaken by women while manifesting individual energy and power leads to more women manifesting. Pursuing women is pointless. Women manifest. Pursue Truth. Bramacharya is a choice. A higher choice." 

Sorry, what?

I haven't been moved to post on this forum for several years... But ah, ???

I had to reset my password for this purpose.

The molten anger evident in your posts suggests your celibacy isn't by choice friend.

​​​​​​​Peace.
genaro, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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Krissy Trede:looks like siggy doesn't want to respond to your observation. 

Shame really, i'm kind of agreeing with you and support your intervention.

women 'manifest',  indeed
 
pursue truth.  ...  if only, but truth is unlikely to be the negation of the feminine and the pursuit of 'higher purposes' for men.

if someone is pursuing 'higher puposes' then WTH do they care about whether 'women manifest' or not???
George S, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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I think the lesson here is be careful what you wish for.
SigmaTropic, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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genaro
Krissy Trede:looks like siggy doesn't want to respond to your observation. 

Shame really, i'm kind of agreeing with you and support your intervention.

women 'manifest',  indeed
 
pursue truth.  ...  if only, but truth is unlikely to be the negation of the feminine and the pursuit of 'higher purposes' for men.

if someone is pursuing 'higher puposes' then WTH do they care about whether 'women manifest' or not???
Thanks for your comments Genaro. 

As a matter of fact, the Buddha himself (the originator of the Dharma that is the basis for this forum we are both posting on) left his wife and children to pursue truth, effectively renouncing the influence of worldly things for the "higher pupose" of awakening, truth, or whatever words you choose to use. He even referred to women and children as "fetters" on the path to awakening. 

In purely pragmatic terms, I will give you an example. My typical weekday, being a single professional, begins with a cup of coffee, followed by 40 minutes of Zhan Zhuang and 1 hour of seated meditation. I go to work, get home around 6 pm, eat a light dinner, do another 40 minutes of Zhan Zhuang, followed by another hour of meditation. Then I either go to the gym for an hour, or play guitar for another half hour or so, and wrap up the night with another hour of meditation and/or reading. This is all effortless, without strain, and it's what I feel like doing.  That's a total of 4.5 hours of meditation per day (on a weekday) and weekends free. That's more meditation than the average monastic does per day. 

I could easily pursue a relationship with a woman and find one, but for the time being I'm choosing not to actively pursue a relationship.. I feel like it's not worth my time and money at the present moment, and I am happy with where I'm at.  I simply do what I like doing and what feels healthy and productive, and the people I meet along the way will probably be on the same page (i.e. women manifest). I don't know why this seems like some foreign concept to you. I'm not pushing religion or dogma on you, I'm not selling anything, and you came to my log of your own accord. 

I apologize if my posting enticing some unpleasant feelings within you, and like Trissy I would challenge you to examine your own state of consciousness rather than judge mine.   
genaro, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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hey sigma...

no problems, i did not experience any unpleasant feelings.

but "the best test of a man"  is a phrase that excludes half the human race, hence my comments, that's what i get from examining  my own state of consciousness.

where does the need for testing come from?
SigmaTropic, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

Posts: 146 Join Date: 6/27/17 Recent Posts
Krissy Trede
"The best test of a man is to deny the seduction of a beautiful woman for the sake of higher  purposes. Being unshaken by women while manifesting individual energy and power leads to more women manifesting. Pursuing women is pointless. Women manifest. Pursue Truth. Bramacharya is a choice. A higher choice." 

Sorry, what?

I haven't been moved to post on this forum for several years... But ah, ???

I had to reset my password for this purpose.

The molten anger evident in your posts suggests your celibacy isn't by choice friend.

​​​​​​​Peace.
Thanks for your comments Krissy. 

To adress your concerns and the other commenters, what I meant by my statement (which I stand by completely) is that a man's purpose in life and creative force (i.e. pursuit of truth, divinity, career, whatever it may be) should always come before the empty pusuit of women for it's own sake, and that when a man understands and embodies this, this happens to be irresistable to women and other people in general (i.e. "women manifest").  Nowhere in my comments did I say anything angry or disparaging toward women, and I would challenge you to examine your own state of consciousness rather than judging mine. 

Have a nice day. 
SigmaTropic, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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In the standing practice I discovered today that often tension arises on one side of the body due to imbalances in habitual ways of holding oneself, especially in the back and shoulders. I have been able to gently balance muscles that I didn't realize I had conscious influence over in a sort of dance of motion within the relative container of a stationary stance. It's amazing the fine grained detail of arising and passing that is possible to observe, even when standing in place. The bliss can get quite strong, and today it seemed like my legs were no longer holding my body up but I had the distinct sensation of floating in place, being held up by the floor and the air around me. 

In the gym an interesting effect of the Zhan Zhuang practice is the sensation of Chi moving and charging in the muscle groups being excercised. It's a pleasant warm sensation that seems to charge in the muscles and shower over the body emanating from that point. It makes excercise much more of a pleasant experience in general. I have to take it easy though, the extra vigor and energy makes it easy to stay in the gym longer than is necessary. Instead of being a hero and going for more resistance, I'm instead focusing on good posture, body awareness, and coordinating my breathing with movement. The Chi feels like a very dintinct energy charge that can be focused when the breathing and awareness are coordinated. 

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SigmaTropic, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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Lately in the sitting my intention has been to "just be" but if I do that then jhanas sweep me up. Ever since stream entry 3.5 years ago, I just relax and allow the jhanas to arise, and the first jhana will arise instantaneously. It's a great ability to be able to instantly bliss out on command, and I'm using it more lately because why not. Even in spare moments sitting in my office at work I can just relax and be enveloped in peace, bliss, or stillness. Whenever I need an attitude adjudment this is what I do. Hence why this log is partially entitled "bliss". 
SigmaTropic, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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With no object, no agenda, no hindrances, no sankharas, there is no duality. 

My mind is repeatedly ending up in a crystal clear stable thoughtless agendaless agent less way of being. Before I've attempted to describe glimpses of this beingness in terms of phenomenal objects and/or the relationships between objects but that wasn't quite right, it's actually way more simple than that. It's just being present to what is happening without baggage and fabricating a bunch of nonsense. That's nirvana. This is the destination. It's like when you finally reach "this" without all the baggage you wonder how it was so complicated. Why the hell did I have to sit so much to just realize the essence of life is simply this. 

I've been confused why I dont seem to suffer and been feeling like an alien wondering what all the fuss is about with insight.  I gave up the search months ago, now I'm realizing why. 

I dont care to make some claim to this or that because that's just more of the baggage and I'm over it. I'm pretty sure this is all there is, and this is pretty sweet. 
SigmaTropic, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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One of my technicians is sick and was sick all weekend and Monday/Tuesday. Hopefully my practices and fasting have boosted my immune system to crush any invaders. Also mindfulness of touching stuff. 
SigmaTropic, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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Thank God for true friends. You only need one or two and you're set. 
SigmaTropic, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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A disturbed mind is like an engine that needs an oil change. Stop and get the oil changed, immediately, then continue the journey.
SigmaTropic, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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I had a short distraction from the path the last 36 hours or so, and the karmic trail of that was so clearly neagative that I had to stop all activity and get my mind right again. I lost a couple hours at work to get my mind back on track yesterday, just taking walks and got the mind back on track with jhanas and listening to Alan Watts and Sadguru.  

Now practice is wondeful and blissful again. The Zhan Zhuang and Brahmacharya combination is very powerful. My body feels like every single cell is rejoicing and blissful. I've also been doing intermittent fasting and eating very clean. 

I take walks around my condo complex and the trees and wildlife here in Georgia are something else. Today there was a fine mist and I took a walk after Zhan Zhuang and it was perfect. I feel one with nature. 

When I sit, I take no object, the samatha jhanas arise, or maybe a highly samatha infused version of the vipassana jhanas progresses, and there is most often a fruition. Today the fruition was an ultra hard satisfying fruition that left my body vibrating with blissful sensations.

The bliss of awareness takes a subtle mind to perceive, but it's much better than any type of sensory bliss. 

Even the dukkha nanas are blissful with a subtle enough perception. I know I'm passing through that territory because my mental lens tends to emphasize the decay and instability in all things, and since reality is mind that decaying death process is all that is perceived. But the self construct is not put on any higher plane so there's no ground on which to suffer. It's easy to slip off into a negative stream but also with the mental tools of jhana and mental unification it's just a matter of recognizing a detour and finding the path again. 
SigmaTropic, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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Poker face in regard to effects of Brahmacharya. 

I've been bliptastic lately. 
SigmaTropic, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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Trying to keep my poker face. 
SigmaTropic, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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I'm in another re-calibration cycle and this one has taught me something new, or showed me another side of a lesson that I've learned before. I was holding the practice a little too tightly for a few days and being a little to stern with the mind. When that happens I feel some mental tension arising and I lose the sense of blissful fearlesness. I might eat some junk food and sleep is a little more fitful, or I wake up at 2 am and can't get back to sleep because I had junky food and maybe too much coffee the previous day. Then I feel somewhat tired and irritable and I might need to put a little more emphasis on jhana and be easy with the mind. If I continue to push too hard then more signals of imbalance arise, my focus at work falls and I might experience a miserable state of mind. I'm getting quite adept at recognizing when the mind is going off balance, and my go-tos are jhana, hydration, Alan Watts, and a bit of music. I'm looking forward to this weekend to buy some candles, refresh the system with a bit of extra practice, and calling some family members and my mentor. 

Brahmacharya practice is becoming effortless. I have maintained the practice for nearly 2 months now, and it's amazing the growing sense of divinity I feel within myself. I find people increasingly, strangely attracted to me and like talking to me and seem to go out of their way to help me or be around me. I am convinced that this is all mind, and that reality and mind are inseparable and that reality is simply a mirror for the mind. The purer my mind becomes the sweeter and more pure reality becomes. I finished a big project at work that brought in a lot of money for the company, and on the one hand I'm just doing my job, but the ladies from customer service all congratulated me and gave me and my team a card. It was very sweet of them and I felt a little uncomfortable with the attention. It felt really nice to have the nod of approval from the CEO and to prove my competency. 

I feel an increasingly subtle intuition around other people, as if my radar for how other people are feeling is very precise. I notice all these little subtle social cues that I wasn't keen to before, despite always being intuitive around people, and I get the sense that I know exactly how others feel and a sense of deep understanding. Brahmacharya has amazing effects not just on me but on everyone I interact with. It really seems to be a deeply purifying practice for not just me.  
SigmaTropic, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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My teacher is all about the Zhan Zhuang and even though it was of my own accord that I started Brahmacharya and ZZ, when we talk he seems to see sitting practice as just an extension of ZZ and highly encourages objectless/effortless being. He doesn't give much specific instruction, we just mostly have conversations about life and dharma. I have been searching for this type of relationship with a teacher and I'm beginning to see that he teaches by interaction rather than instruction. He has a keen way of making me see the crude aspects of my perception for myself without having to do much, and I am so grateful to have this kind of deep relationship with a genuine, authentic, non-commercial teacher (nothing against commercial teachers, but I tend to trust more obscure teachers because it seems much easier to have a real relationship with them).  

I am seeing a more and more complete, ongoing perception of the reality/mind paradox. In daily life I notice I can flip between different lenses of perception and seemingly contruct my own version of reality and "inhabit" one view completely, then effortlessly switch to another lens. I don't prefer to intentionally switch lenses, but I notice I can, and the lens switching seems to happen without a conscious "agent" doing the switching.  Some of these lenses I'm beginning to see as persistent, habitual, factory default lenses, and it's becoming very clear that the lens that I'm currently wearing, so to speak, determines my lived experience. Even a miserable pessimistic lens doesn't seem to cause any real embedded suffering and there always seems to be a dispassionate flavor of all perception that "knows" external reality is the same/inseparable from the reality "in here", and knows that I can easily switch reality, and has the tools to do so (jhanas, cessations, using the thinking mind skillfully, Brahmacharya, etc).  This way of being has stood the test of (so far), of a layoff, divorce, thrilling new relationship, the end to that relationship, multiple cross country moves, starting a new job, feeling a sense of imposter syndrom at that job, being validated and experiencing success at that job, isolation in a new city, coming into my own in solitude, and all kinds of pleasures and pains throughout that whole ongoing process. I am coming to see that no matter what happens, the reality I experience is all mind. I have had lots of life experiences for my age, and I don't think I would have been able to test this theory of mind otherwise.

Facts - we can consciously choose to breathe a certain way, encourage the mind the mind toward peaceful, blissful states, which affects our physiology, and that physiology is intimately connected to our state of mind. We can also consciously choose to think a certain narrative way, which affects our physiology and biological processes. That state of mind and physiology affects our actions in the world and by extension the actual events that occur in the world.

I want to give an example from work that describes what I'm experiencing:

Say I take the view that another company has better technology than what I'm trying to develop (based on a new press release) I don't have nearly the funds behind it that they do (supposedly, objectively true), and therefore I'm likely to get laid off and discarded, and inhabit that view (no solid sense of self allowed), then that is simply my reality, I quickly become at peace with that, and calmly look into other jobs and continue to do experiments with a poker face, and the CEO will be ducking me, I will get subtle cues that I have been a topic of discussion for the management, and I can fully inhabit that version of reality for some time until I start to get tired of that lens, how it affects my physiology and narrative thinking process, see it as a lens, and decide to switch lenses.   

Then say I take a view that says "My job is safe, I am awesome at what I do, everyone loves me, and they will keep me and put me on another project".  If I can detach enough from the contents of my narrative mind and the attachment to an ongoing solidified sense of self (thousands of deep cessations and many hours of jhanas seems like it helps with this), then I can take that view as an operating assumption, inhabit it, and soon enough I will have people chatting me up cheerfullly at work and have my friend from the Covid testing lab joyfully helping me find my misplaced industrial balance, technicians running me down while I'm taking a quick stroll around the building soaking in the fresh air to grab me for a simple question from another scientist, me signing off for a couple grand of company money, and the wonderful ladies from customer service giving me cards and high fives for simply doing my job. I will be writing glowing letters of reccomendation for technicians, have every single person wave cheerfully on their way out passing my office, and the CEO giving me nods, and the previous reality of "poor scientist soon to be laid off" is simply not reality anymore.  

My point I'm trying to get across in these stories is that my lens seems so complete and powerful as to actually fully create mini-realities, and I am able to consciously choose that lens, and actual events and sense perceptions follow that are consistent with that lens. I understand that each lens is a fabrication, a view, a story, and I have no way of knowing what's true or even if there is such a thing. This is clear. But my view, when inhabited and taken as an operating assumption seems so powerful that it literally creates my reality. REALITY. IS. MIND. 

I am increasingly confused by the notion that there is such a thing as "external reality" that can be vipassanized and known via sensations as if there's some "correct" version of reality "out there" that just has to be perceived clearly. It seems as if all vipassana practice is going on the assumption that there exists such a thing as "external reality" that can be correctly and precisely known. The assumption that "I have a body with sense doors that can perceive things called sensations" is another one of those assumptions. I think it's a decent enough assumption and operating principle, but I suspect that this thing called a body is also malleable and non-solid. I can break up my hand into buzzing vibrations if I want to such that it no longer resembles a hand. Supposedly there are rulesets to the body that suggest eating well, getting enough sleep, practicing proper hygiene, avoiding junky food, and getting excercise, and when I take that view my body does seem to consist of more pleasant sensations and the connected mind does seem to function better as a result and give more pleasing experiences, so those rulesets seem like good things to follow. 

When it really comes down to it, it seems like the body is the only real parameter that justifies strict care to rulesets and an unwavering adherence to a particular view. If I protect my body and go on the operating assumption that taking care of the body is a must-do, non-negotiable, with the acceptance that it will eventually give out and die no matter how well I treat it, as long as I treat my physical body and by extension my mind with the utmost care, then the rest of reality is free game. Since this excercise called jhanas, meditation, and other spiritual practices gave me this wonderful freedom that I described at length above, probably continuing to do that is also a good operating assumption. 

I think this shift in thinking is why I'm so interested in practices that are based on things I do with my body and things that enter the sense doors. It seems like taking care of the input allows me to choose my version of reality most efficiently and effortlessly. So I will continue intermittent fasting, Brahmacharya, Zhan Zhuang, and all the other things involved with taking good care of the body/what I can control. I am starting to see now why I'm so over technical insight meditation phenomenology and "tagging paths" and fabrications like "attainments" and "insight practice". 
George S, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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When I notice a significant worldview/realm shift, I sometimes try to see what defense mechanism is driving the realm.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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Are you sure that you are over all those things that you mention at the end of your post, SigmaTropic? The post is full of them, after all. Personally I'm glad that the phenomenology is still there, because I find that more interesting to read than your reports on how popular you are. 

​​​​​​​Have you considered the risk of developing shadow sides? 
SigmaTropic, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö
Are you sure that you are over all those things that you mention at the end of your post, SigmaTropic? The post is full of them, after all. Personally I'm glad that the phenomenology is still there, because I find that more interesting to read than your reports on how popular you are. 

​​​​​​​Have you considered the risk of developing shadow sides? 
Hi Polly, thanks for your feedback and pointing out the potential for shadow aspects. 

Firstly, 

Yeah I do think I'm over attainments and phenomenology, but I'm open to people raising attention to the possibility that maybe in not. Im not a technical meditation master (yet) but I do have some chops for sure, and at a certain point framing my practice in terms of the phenomenological events that happen to me just seems like it's missing the point. But I'm not going to sit here and describe events that happen to me as standard parts of my meditation like they're special. I've had like 5 fruitions today, so what. I've described a lot more phenomenology of jhanas and cycling and cessation experiences in gory detail on awake network where I kept a log for a couple years after my first log here. That log has a lot of personal stuff in it too so if you're interested maybe check it out. I intended to mention the cessations and jhanas in a contextual fashion because I see those things nowadays as tools and upgrades that enable further growth and enable me to see how "reality is mind" (relating back to initial conclusions this log is based on).  What I dont agree with is seeing phenomenology as the point of spiritual practice. I think spiritual practice is about living well and fully, and the things I describe seem relevant to me in that direction. What I'm more interested in is using those tools to live the best life I can live. I admit that my post may be read as a little arrogant and attention seeking, sure, but I was trying to describe my reality as I experienced it in the context of this "reality is mind" idea. I wasnt simply bragging about how everyone loves me. I was describing phenomenology as I perceived trying to describe an insight into the workings of the mind. I'm sorry if it came off as incredibly conceited, and I can understand how it might come off that way. Maybe I should give a disclaimer next time specifying "this is how I experienced my day and how that relates to an insight - not  claim to objective truth" I didnt mean to describe that as objective truth, actually that's the whole point - there is no objective truth in either lens. (I also described a miserable lens where I'm about to get laid off right before that - not sure why no one is furrowing their brow at that lens) 

Regarding the shadow aspects. Yes I have considered that. I've taken a hard look at my consciousness in recent months and found some harmful patterns that have seemed to have come about through trauma and that's all I am comfortable saying here. Rest assured, I am fully aware of the shadowy stuff that goes on in my own head, and that's why I have a personal relationship with a teacher who was both a Buddhist monk for 20 years in the Thai forest tradition and who also happens to be a clinical psychologist and who I have specifically discussed the details of those harmful patterns with. I also happen to be in therapy in case you're wondering. I also have a mentor/sponsor who I do talk to regularly, 12 step work with, and knows all about the crazy stuff I'm up to. 

More on shadow aspects:

I will not lie, my version of reality definitely has some Magickal aspects to it that I've come to see as normal, and in dipping my toes into attempting to describe that in my last post I can understand why you would be concerned. This log is partially entitled "Magick" for that reason. Brahmacharya,  as well as insight and concentration, makes reality appear quite malleable. I dont want to sound all woo but I'm actually a scientist in the real world and I like to think im testing some theories in this log. So please bear with me, I dont mean anyone any harm.  
SigmaTropic, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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Forgive me for getting a little carried away in that post. That's why I have a catch phrase involving a "poker face". Maybe I should keep my poker face with regard to some of this stuff. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Month ago.

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Thanks for your thorough reply! I'm glad to see that there's more nuance to it and that you are also doing the shadow work, and with qualified guidance too. I don't log all of that stuff in public either. I consider it healthy to have boundaries.

I understand that the details on how people respond to you are relevant for you to log as you are exploring the magickal. I was just a bit worried that it would get you carried away with conceit, as that does happen, and lead to repressing. Lots of temptations there. You seem to be sufficiently aware of the risks, though, and adressing them skillfully. A poker face in your own log would probably be counter productive, as it would turn it into yet another arena and take away the opportunity for you to keep track of how the practice affects your experience. The log is yours to do with what you need. And if I'm curious about details on your tools, I can always ask, and then it's up to you to decide if you want to spend your time and energy on answering. 

I'm seeing the world more and more through a magickal lens too, and I have the same concerns about the kind of phenomenology that presupposes that there "must" be an objective reality out there that comes to us through sense gates and that doesn't depend on any awareness. I'm leaning towards seeing consensual reality with all its internal playing rules (including gravity and brain wiring) as powerful collective magick due to shared karma. That's basically what dependent origination is about too, it seems to me. 

I'm not comfortable being applauded, as I really don't want to contribute to any polarization or make points at the cost of others. Please don't, Krissy! SigmaTropic, I'm sorry that my phrasing invited that kind of reaction. 
Krissy Trede, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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Applause
*Edit for clarification
Applause directed to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö
SigmaTropic, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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Happy to have you pop in Krissy emoticon
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This very moment, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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Sounds magical Sigma  emoticon 
SigmaTropic, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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My practice is very wet most of the time. Here's a phenomenological description of the jhanas as I experience them. I don't think most people specify these things and just throw around terms so hopefully this benefits someone reading it. I think of and experience them as frequencies that I can tune the mind to, i.e. the sensations of each jhana are always present in experience and getting into them is a matter of tuning the mind to the jhana sensations and impressions and detuning everything else. 

1st jhana:

The first jhana is a state I can get into walking, sitting, and standing, and I can enter it within seconds on command. There are several ways I bring this state about. 
  • Focus on the body and imagine my body breaking up into pleasurable pulsing sensations. Pleasurable pulsing sensations pervade the body within seconds, and I massage the body with the breath and massage the spine with the breath. I feel the pleasurable nature of breathing. The pulsating pleasure self-sustains and I keep massaging the breath over the spine and keep a wide awareness of the body. I hold the state by relaxing, focusing, relaxing, focusing, finding a perfect balance between paying attention and letting attention pay itself. 
  • Contemplate the power of the Dharma. When I do this pleasurable warm electrical sensations shower my body and lead to pleasurable pulsing and I keep it going the same way as above. There is a more emotional flavor to the 1st jhana through this portal. Useful portal when I'm in dukkha nanas. 
  • Simply intend for the state to arise and wait for it to arise. This almost always works just fine, but works better when I'm relatively relaxed. I often do this at short breaks at my desk. I enjoy the simple restfulness of a quiet moment, and mentally say "1st jhana" and it arises. Focusing on restfulness and the pleasant fact of a break brings about pleasurable sensations, and I sustain it like in the first description. 
  • If the mind and body are not energetic, and there is not a sense of well-being, I instead take the other ingerdients of the 1st jhana as an object. I apply more effort, and take an object (say, the breath for example) and I repeatedly flick it with attention in a deliberate fashion. I watch the applied attention with the pinging the object and between pings I sustain attention. Even if the body is not pleasurable, all the other aspects of the 1st jhana arise, and if I stay in it long enough after coming through this portal, the body pleasure will arise, but even if it's subtle the mental factor of the 1st jhana are very much present. the hindrances are gone, and the pleasure is weak but the other factors are strong. 
2nd jhana - I can enter this state in seconds on command sitting, walking, and standing. 
  • I sometimes go directly into the 2nd jhana because the I find it easier than the 1st and more satisfying. From the 1st jhana, I begin to notice that there is a sense of joyfulness and relief, and that attention goes from being sustained to sustaining itself. I often don't control the movement up the jhanas, but I can. The 2nd jhana pleasure originates from the base of the skull and showers my body. The physical pleasure is secondary, but the joyfulness is in the foreground. Effort drops away, and I continue to massage the spine and body with the breath, but now there's a more stable object, the mental sweetness. It's a very sweet joy, like MDMA at a rave and connecting with people. It;s a very excited, joyful, sweet kind of pleasure. I can take the stable aspect of the joy and dive into it and harden the state, and a bright white light arises and there is only joy. Very simple. The mind feels pure and joyful. 
3rd jhana - sitting walking, standing, on the eliptical, etc, on command
  • I sometimes go directly into the 3rd jhana, especially while walking or doing cardio on the eliptical. The focus in on the back half of my body and the periphery. There is a contentment that originates from my belly. There are fine buzzing vibrations in my extremities. The blissful contentment has a physical aspect that is in my bones and moves through me in a smooth circuating fashion. It can be extremely pleasurable. I could stay in this state forever. 
  • I get into it from the 2nd jhana by moving the focus to my belly and focusing on the softer, less exciting, clam aspects of what's already present in the pleasure of the 2nd jhana
The 1-3 jhanas are everyday tools that I use whenever I need an "attitude adjustment'. I can access them anytime, and if I don't continually practice them, I have to build them up again but it only takes a few days of practice to get them back after having lost them. Different POI locations warrant different approaches to how I initially get into 1st, but the first 3 are reliable whenever. After 3rd I have to be sitting or lying down. I can get some aspectf of the 5th and 6th jhanas while walking around, especially if I intend to mix the 3rd jhana with a sense of spaciousness. Walking around this is possible but it's not as complete of an experience than when I'm sitting with 5th or 6th jhana. 

4th jhana - sitting only, requires some buildup through previous jhanas
  • I find the spacious calm aspects of the third jhana and take mental silence as the object. I focus on the quiet mind, and the motionless body. Awareness is diffuse, I feel vibrations and neutral pulses in the body. The quiet becomes very loud and eventually all sounds seem very far away. There is no sense of location to any of the sensations, everyhing appears in a homogeneous space. There can be a sense of being submerged under water or in a deep well. There is utter peacefulness. Often it feels like I am weightless. Sometimes I feel very heavy and groundedin a deeply satisfying way. I notice that there is a sense of something observing despite the borders of the body being vague and everything feeling homogeneous. 
5th jhana
  • Aftert the 4th jhana every other jhana comes about automatically if I sit for long enough. Eventually sitting long enough enjoying the 4th, the mind becomes fascinated with the spaciousness. There is a sense of relief when the body tunes out of awareness. There is a purity at the simple fact of being unburdened by the body. I don't perceive any breathing, just a vast sense of ... vastness and space. I don't know a better way to describe it phenomenologically because it's a mental perception. There is a sense of consciousness expanding out indefinitely and the mind seems to get confused by this so it loops back into itself somehow. If my eyes are open then the visual field takes on a different quality, almost as if the perceptions coming in are not interpreted, it's just colors and shapes and information. 
6th jhana
  • That sense of consciousness looping back into itself flips around and now there is a sense of consciousness being "broken" by that infinite loop and now consciousness is "free" so to speak and perceptions of imaginary objects self-generate and emanate consciousness back to a sense of an observer. With the eyes open things in the visual field seem to emit knowing back to a knower that has equivalent knowing. 
7th jhana
  • Like being in a sensory deprivation tank. Not much happening except utter peace, silence, and darkness. Like being dead but conscious of being dead and stil perceiving it. I notice the mind starts to perceive in the 6th jhana moments where there is noting happening or gaps between knowing bits and the mind jumps into the nothingness and blackness and there is just silent nothingness. It's a very relieving sense, very restful.
8th jhana
  • Mainly just confusing - I seem to be there but not there, not sure if I'm awake, asleep, or dead. Whereas in the 7th there is only a peception of nothingness, that seems straightforward compared to the 8th. In 7th theres some non-perception mixed in there but the mind doesn't get confused because theres still perception of nothingness and it's somewhat of a stable object. The mind seems to give up with perception altogether but instinctually clings to perception and oscillates rapidly as some kind of primal defense mechanism. I don't get much from this state. 
Post 8th jhana. 

Afte the 8th the mind eventually pops back into perception and suddenly it's like I'm in a very deep, restful mixture of the 4th jhana and the 7th jhana. THe mind is clear and perception has a clean slate. Anything happening seems very far away and it can be more 4th jhana like or more 7th jhana like. If it's more 4th jhana, then I discovered that there is an area in my skull that I can wiggle mentally and there is a sense of being able to press that spot in just the right way, and if I hold it I can notice a shutting down of sorts. I hold that spot and hold a poker face and in realively quick succession, the black static screen and the faraway sounds shut off, the body disappears, and finally perception of any kind disappears and there is a "whooshing" sense of return like something quickly unwraps in a very satisfying, cathartic way. After this the mind is very, extemely chill, like having taken valium and heroin but being perfectly lucid. It's a very heavy, incapacitating high. The body is perfectly relaxed and I just don't mind anything. Will usually sit for a while, like ater a movie, waiting for everyone to leave. 

The afterglow of the jhanas is what I find most useful in terms of their practical utility. I use the jhanas when my mind gets stressed or wants pleasure and release. They give me a release and allow the mind to process stress. When my mind gets off track, I use jhanas to refresh my perspective, and they are very effective. They allow me to switch lenses, and in the afterglow of jhanas 1-3, especially during daily activities, I can reframe my mental processes in a more skillful way. This is a main way I use to see reality is mind. After a jhana, "external conditions" are the same, but a new lens is possible, and I take that new lens and new mental events and processes occur and then new phenomena occur in "reality" as a result of the new view. The jhanas are the foundational lens-switching tool.

In terms of the movement from one jhana to the next, I like to let the states naturally progress as they want to and not try to force anything. I can, if I want to, decide to stay in a particular jhana and soak in it, but what tends to happen is that the mind naturally becomes satisfied with whatever current state and begins to subtly see that more peace/less fabrication is possible, and then a certain portal to the next state makes itself known, depending on the jhana. 
SigmaTropic, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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So a lot of the time I just sit with objectless focus and that's what my teacher recommends and praises, or I so simple mindfulness of breathing or meditation on mind practice from TMI. whatever approach I use, there is almost always a progression of flavors to experience that mirror the jhanas even if I'm not explicitly intending to practice jhanas. I start out in a very sharp perception with blissful sensations, and eventually perception widens and there is often a frution or two. This is all standard stuff. 

Around fruition there often tend to be signposts indicating I'm in that territory. My mind gets spacey and slippery, unconstrained by objects. There are often moments where a certain perception will grab the mind and there is a sense of the mind getting intrigued by the discontinuity between one percpetion and the next and there is partial collapse moments where there is a sudden mental collapse around a perception and the a tension in the mind and feeling desysnchronous with experience. These moments will keep happening until there's a sudden complete shut-down, almost matter-of fact in the immediate moment preceding the shut-down, where there is an object and the mind has no reaction of clinging or craving to that object, almost like an object registers and the mind fully perceives it and processes it peripherally, very rarely in the center of attention as attention isn't really a thing in that territory. Right before the fruition there's several types of phenomena depending on the door, often my eyelids will contract, often but not always there's a moment of what appears to be a complete darkness followed by a feeling of being fully dead then coming back to life suddenly, several variations. Sometimes there's a thought or image and I notice a strange paradox in it that seems to register in the gut, not through the thinking mind. I'm often distracted when it happens but afterwards the paradox is utterly clear and lucid. After the fruition there is the recognition of it being a frution and there is a few seconds and then an inpouring of subtle or overt blissfulness felt in the body, similar to third jhana. I'm usually clear and centered and the motication to continue meditating or do any kind of practice falls away for some time. 

Cessation is unlike any other experience in life. It is very much like suddenly dying and instantly coming back to life. It is an experiential break in the continuous experience of being a permanent being. Cessations have done a lot of good things for my mind, and they seem to be the fundamental experience that is a prerequisite for seeing that reality is mind, which is a conclusion that this log is based on. I would speculate that they are a death-like experience and totally change the way the mind perceives itself. 

In my experience, cessations are unmistakable, but not neccessarily a mind-blowing experience. They do leave a rather distinct impression on the mind. After stream entry, I had a phase where I had lots of very clear cessations that happened in a very similar way. The before and after phenomenology is what is most relevant for the insight I have gotten from cessation. 

For me cessations occur when my mind is naturally in a place of wide perception, with a holistic view of all phenomena. The mind is in such equanimity that notions of being a meditator doing a practice, or being an autonomous continuous self temproarily fall away. I get lost in a phenomenon or an experience and forget that I'm supposedly a permanent being. Often times cessation happens after being in a very contracted, self-involved mind state, and having that exhaust itself, the mind relaxes enough to see a paradox in the line of thinking. The mind sees the thinking as phenomena happening and something about the self-concept in the thought trips something in the mind and the subject-object duality collapses. This doesn't happen via the analytical mind, it's a gut-level, experiential seeing. There is a moment of discontinuity, utter death, out cold, which leaves a distinct impression on the mind, and after the moment there is almost always a flood of relaxing blissful sensations similar to third jhana and the mind is freed from the self-attachment in a very obvious, matter-of-fact way. When thoughts or images are the last phenomena before the cessation, this is how it happens. Whereas a moment before I was quite embedded in a narrative, after the fruition, the continuous self in the narrative was broken and the narrative loses all power. This has a distinct effect on the mind and is incredibly useful and renewing.

Sometimes the mind is at a higher level of energy and these ones are less common for me, but the visual field or a bodily vibration will be the last phenomena before cessation. In this case there is a quick succession of colors in the visual field (often flashes of light and dark) or a quick succession of body sensations and mental impressions, and the eyes tend to move down on the last sensation in a series (often, three flashes or strobes), and there is a discontinutity and upon returning the same inflooding of peaceful bliss. Somtimes when the focus before cessation is the visual field, after returning the various specks of light and static in the visual field will morph into sparkly little nimittas, or take distinct shapes and dance around.

The moment itself can take different flavors. Sometimes I have frutions that are a very clean break and the two ends are the same, and it is experienced more like a cip snipped out of a movie reel. Other times there is a falling sensation immediately preceeding the moment, and a discontinuity and a sudden "coming back" with a sense of disorientation. I think the falling moments are more likely the dukkha door and the sudden break-like moments are more likely the impermanence door. The common threads are the sense of complete death, the distinct, complete change in mental state before/after and the sense of well-being/blissful peace after.

At a certain point I started having cessations everywhere and anywhere, including walking. I have had numerous experiences of walking and having a fruition, and the walking simply continuing during fruition, long enough so that I would be clearly a step or two or more further along when I regained conscious awareness. I have had them working in the lab, driving, at the computer, etc. I have had certain experiences where I am listening to dharmically related content or someone describing something related to the self-paradox, and I will spontaneously have a fruition.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Month ago.

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I thoroughly enjoy reading this kind of stuff. I just hope you didn't feel obligated because of my badly phrased comment above.

I would love to compare notes on the jhanas but will sit on my hands until you publish that draft. emoticon
SigmaTropic, modified 1 Month ago.

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 I didn't have a whole lot to add to what I wrote yeasterday but I hit the "publish" button this time. I would be happy to compare notes.  
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Month ago.

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Ah great! My shamatha is a bit rusty nowadays as I have been doing (or not-doing) more Tibetanish practices lately, and the Theravadan style Shamatha have been feeling tense in comparison. I suspect that's a rookie misunderstanding, as focusing on an object can be done within a framework of nonduality as well. I don't have to buy into the duality. Lately, it feels more like a continuum than a opposite approaches and it seems like it sort of glides back and forth a bit as it gets easier to bring the emptiness back into the form. I'd like to explore this more, so this makes it interesting to revisit the phenomenonology of the jhanas. Thanks for endulging me!

I was glad to see that you choose to focus on flowy energetic sensations rather than something seemingly stable, as that's what I do too. I can't find anything that's stable enough to focus on the stability, because as soon as I focus on something, it gets flowy. Applying effort to make something stable seems counterintuitive, and it's not pleasurable. 

I also especially appreciate that you shared several alternative approaches to get into first jhana. I often feel a bit lost when the energetic bliss isn't available, and I'm probably also too hung up on expecting jhanas to feel a certain way. This is something to play with. Thankyou!

I find it confusing that jhanas can be held more loosely and have a hard time navigating what is the number of a jhana and what is the degree of holding it. Like, how do I know if it's a very loosely held third jhana or first jhana? I think I'm starting to recognize characteristics that concern the number rather than the degree of absorption, but it's messy. I have never done the hardest school of jhanas, but there was a period when I experimented with finding my own nimittas, and that was the clearest jhanic arc I have ever experienced. At that degree of absorption, distinguishing the jhanas was much easier. They were exceptionally clear. Perceptions from the outside world were really shut out as the arc unfolded.

I would start by focusing on the breath, and in first jhana it would get very energetic and flowy, pretty much like you describe it. It's isually accompanied by sort of flourescent representation of the breath in the visual field as well, and the senses start to merge so that I breathe the light and feel the light. Lots of tactile/kinesthetic flowing.

In second jhana, sound would become more prominent alongside the pleasure of the tactile flowiness, and I was exploring the possibility of sound as nimitta as I'm not very visual. I would wait for it to become stable before focusing on it. It was the so called nada sound, the white noice, that would stand out more and more.

As the sound shifted into the foreground, equanimity became more prominent than pleasure, and the outer sensory input fell away. There was total immersion, with some pleasurable flowiness still lingering in the periphery. Gradually that too was transformed into the sound that just took over everything. 

Then the sound distilled itself into light. Bright white light everywhere, nothing besides that and total equanimity. No body, no hearing, no verbal thoughts. Just this white and equanimous wide clarity. Increasingly wide and spacious. 

Then the light fell away. It wasn't dark either. It was like the notion of light or dark was no longer relevant. Only the spaciousness was relevant or even apparent. Space was all there was. So wide, so much of it. But compared to what?

Oh, there's awareness in the space. Oh, it's all awareness. That's all there is. But of what?

Oh, there's nothing there. And if the light fell away before, now even the darkness is gone. I didn't know what to call any of it at the time, but there was this clear sense of even the darkness falling away. I distinctly remember that there was no darkness in the nothingness. No senses whatsoever, although obviously the mind sense must have been there in some way as there was still perception of this conceptual nothingness that I totally bought into at the time. Buying into it, I couldn't see that there could be anyone there experiencing it.

And then the nothingness fell away too. So weird. I don't remember any positive qualities of the last of the formless realms, but the shift into it was exceptionally clear and it was a weird sense of even nothingness falling away. 

And then I would get sucked into sort of a singularity, very gradually and very forcefully, as if I were first dran out into eternity or at least into something spaghetti-like. It had an inevitability to it, like being in labor and giving birth. It was the suffering door. 

And then it would start over, over and over again, for hours at the peak of this period. I wasn't in control at all. I think I'm still a bit aversive to the jhanic arc since then, even though I don't want to be, and I think that is holding me back. While I was in the jhanas, it wasn't unpleasant at all - they are jhanas after all - but the suffering door was rather unsettling in retrospect every time.

Maybe it would be beneficial to play with a looser jhana practice, one that is less forceful. I usually shift into some degree of nonduality to change my lens, but I would like to increase the flexibility and be able to play with a wider range of states as tools and for the joy of playfulness (as I think that the awake awareness is inherently playful). 
SigmaTropic, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö Ah great! My shamatha is a bit rusty nowadays as I have been doing (or not-doing) more Tibetanish practices lately, and the Theravadan style Shamatha have been feeling tense in comparison. I suspect that's a rookie misunderstanding, as focusing on an object can be done within a framework of nonduality as well. I don't have to buy into the duality. Lately, it feels more like a continuum than a opposite approaches and it seems like it sort of glides back and forth a bit as it gets easier to bring the emptiness back into the form. I'd like to explore this more, so this makes it interesting to revisit the phenomenonology of the jhanas. Thanks for endulging me!

My view which I'll make a post on is that jhanas are like frequencies you can tune to like a radio station, where the mind isn't really on one sensation per say, but a collection of sensations at that particular frequency. The mind enmeshes itself within that frequency if you can envision that. So rather than mind being on object it's like mind tunes to the frequency of a collection of sensations that make up 1st jhana as a holistic experience, not any one sensatiuon. How that relates to form and emptiness, is that the more form focused the mind is the more it feels like subject/object, and the more emptiness tuned the mind is, it's like dissolving into an experience. Up to and including the absolute end of the continuum where there is no mind apart from the experience and that's nibbana. I think this is what you're getting at (in my own words of course), which I find also - an approach to the object that assumes a meditator as a point subject relating to a specific sensation as a point object just doesn't seem to be how reality actually works.

Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö I find it confusing that jhanas can be held more loosely and have a hard time navigating what is the number of a jhana and what is the degree of holding it. Like, how do I know if it's a very loosely held third jhana or first jhana? I think I'm starting to recognize characteristics that concern the number rather than the degree of absorption, but it's messy. 

I can usually discern which jhana I'm in, but I've also had occasions where I'm in a more superficial version and it's not so clear whether I'm in 2nd or 3rd jhana or whatever else. Probably just a matter of familiarity and knowing what to look for. With me each jhana has a certain area in the body where the blissful/peaceful/whatever sense seems to be emanating from. In 1st it's the spine, inner arms, palms, feet, in the 2nd it's the base of the skull/spine, in 3rd it's the belly, etc. And there's also characteristic qualities of attention it seems for each jhana. When it's a harder version of the jhana it seems to get easier to tell what jhana it is, because in the more absorbed states the mind seems more stable and clear on a single frequency/radio station.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö I have never done the hardest school of jhanas, but there was a period when I experimented with finding my own nimittas, and that was the clearest jhanic arc I have ever experienced. At that degree of absorption, distinguishing the jhanas was much easier. They were exceptionally clear. Perceptions from the outside world were really shut out as the arc unfolded.

I would start by focusing on the breath, and in first jhana it would get very energetic and flowy, pretty much like you describe it. It's isually accompanied by sort of flourescent representation of the breath in the visual field as well, and the senses start to merge so that I breathe the light and feel the light. Lots of tactile/kinesthetic flowing.

In second jhana, sound would become more prominent alongside the pleasure of the tactile flowiness, and I was exploring the possibility of sound as nimitta as I'm not very visual. I would wait for it to become stable before focusing on it. It was the so called nada sound, the white noice, that would stand out more and more.

As the sound shifted into the foreground, equanimity became more prominent than pleasure, and the outer sensory input fell away. There was total immersion, with some pleasurable flowiness still lingering in the periphery. Gradually that too was transformed into the sound that just took over everything.

Then the sound distilled itself into light. Bright white light everywhere, nothing besides that and total equanimity. No body, no hearing, no verbal thoughts. Just this white and equanimous wide clarity. Increasingly wide and spacious.

Then the light fell away. It wasn't dark either. It was like the notion of light or dark was no longer relevant. Only the spaciousness was relevant or even apparent. Space was all there was. So wide, so much of it. But compared to what?<br /><br />Oh, there's awareness in the space. Oh, it's all awareness. That's all there is. But of what?

Oh, there's nothing there. And if the light fell away before, now even the darkness is gone. I didn't know what to call any of it at the time, but there was this clear sense of even the darkness falling away. I distinctly remember that there was no darkness in the nothingness. No senses whatsoever, although obviously the mind sense must have been there in some way as there was still perception of this conceptual nothingness that I totally bought into at the time. Buying into it, I couldn't see that there could be anyone there experiencing it.

And then the nothingness fell away too. So weird. I don't remember any positive qualities of the last of the formless realms, but the shift into it was exceptionally clear and it was a weird sense of even nothingness falling away.

And then I would get sucked into sort of a singularity, very gradually and very forcefully, as if I were first dran out into eternity or at least into something spaghetti-like. It had an inevitability to it, like being in labor and giving birth. It was the suffering door.
I like how you describe how you relate to the jhanas. I think in the first part of your description you mentioned finding your own nimittas and that working really well - that's been my experience too - I never really did the whole "read a manual on jhanas and do the things they say to do - get jhana" thing. I sort of just figured them out for myself. I think after stream entry I clearly got a huge upgrade in the easy access to jhanas, and it seems like you have that as well, but perhaps a bit different disposition. Maybe exploring that nada sound nimitta you describe would be fruitful for you. Usually intuitive things for a person tend to be things that align with what's already a talent or a natural inclination, and trusting that has been fruitful for me in my practice. It's interesting that in the 1st you get a visual nimitta and it isn't until the 2nd that you get an auditory nimitta. Maybe worth exploring if you can stay with the visual nimitta or find the nada sound to get into 1st jhana. Actually now that I think of it I get something similar with the breath that starts in 2nd, where the breath becomes a pleasurable sensation with a different character than when not in jhana - more rich and vibrant - not visual but tactile. It's like a sensation but a mentally generated one. Hmm. 

Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö And then it would start over, over and over again, for hours at the peak of this period. I wasn't in control at all. I think I'm still a bit aversive to the jhanic arc since then, even though I don't want to be, and I think that is holding me back. While I was in the jhanas, it wasn't unpleasant at all - they are jhanas after all - but the suffering door was rather unsettling in retrospect every time.
Interesting how from my reading your mental orientation going up the jhanas was a bit dark nightish and freaky, feeling like it was doing you, and then you get the dukkha door every time. I experience the same kind of unsettling vibe with dukkha door fruitions too, like sudden and creepy. I wonder what would happen if you were able to do the same jhana arc and end with fruition but have an intention to go through another door like no-self, or before starting intend to frame the jhana arc in a different way. Not to say there's anything wrong with being taken for a ride and not being in control, of course.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö Maybe it would be beneficial to play with a looser jhana practice, one that is less forceful. I usually shift into some degree of nonduality to change my lens, but I would like to increase the flexibility and be able to play with a wider range of states as tools and for the joy of playfulness (as I think that the awake awareness is inherently playful).
That sounds like it may be a good way to go. It's good for jhana to be able to let go of expectations and judgements, and simply enjoy what's presently happening. I've found that the more I can relax around whatever state and fully soak into the pleasureable aspects of whatever is going on, even if it's subtle, it conditions the mind to relax more and more, and you can get more absorbed. Even superficial jhana states have a very positive effect on the mind and make it much easier to regroup and realign when one finds themselves spinning out in crud.
George S, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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SigmaTropic
How that relates to form and emptiness, is that the more form focused the mind is the more it feels like subject/object, and the more emptiness tuned the mind is, it's like dissolving into an experience. Up to and including the absolute end of the continuum where there is no mind apart from the experience and that's nibbana.

Are you satisfied with this nibbana?
SigmaTropic, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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I think there's more to your question than a simple yes or no, but I'll do my best to answer what I think you're asking. I suspect my oversimplified conception of how subject/object duality relates to cessation/fruition/nibbana might have caught your attention. I am only writing from personal experience and I don't claim any monopoly on truth.

Yes, by all means it gives a distinct sense of satisfaction and peace in the afterglow. The mind recognizes the peacefulness of cessation as distinct and supramundane - it has a very characteristic impression that it leaves on the mind that is not neccesarily intense but freeing in a way that is beyond mundane reality. The mind recognizes it as something profound, at least that's my experience. I have many vivid memories of these discreet moments where all that happened was... nothing. Why is that so compelling for the mind?

Now the mind is familiar enough with cessation that it recognizes it and it's nice but in moving beyond the nibbana as a mental state that happens as distinct fruition moments the mind begins to see that the same attitude that leads straight to fruition and that is imparted to it by fruition can be experienced in waking consciousness in day-to day life. Loosening the attachment to self-concepts and gradually conditioning the mind toward less and less stories and fabrication, learning to let things happen effortlessly and with a sense of flow, learning how to nourish the mind with non-sensory bliss and pleasure- this is the path that leads toward less subject-object duality in waking life. When there is less of a subject object relationship to experiences, a peaceful, joyful, fearlessness can be experienced and sustained in the face of the often unpredictable, painful, and unsatisfying experiences involved with being a human being with a body. The mind really does seem to have an inherently awake, lucid, and blissful quality to it.&nbsp; The senses can be experienced with a vivid clarity and aliveness that brings more and more life to a person. A sense of distinct purity, innocence, and wonder in the world can become a baseline way of seeing. A person can be less and less constrained by the conditioned habits, cravings and impulses involved with a physical body, and feel more and more free to not only live in peace but also become an enriching force in any environment they are placed in. The mind becomes like water and simply adapts to whatever situation it finds itself in, effortlessly and without a big fuss.

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George S, modified 1 Month ago.

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SigmaTropic
I have many vivid memories of these discreet moments where all that happened was... nothing. Why is that so compelling for the mind?

​​​​​​​I think it’s because on some fundamental level the mind recognizes that … nothing is really happening! The sense of something happening is all tied up with the story of the individual who believes themselves to be persisting through time and feels responsible for making life happen. That’s something which develops gradually in childhood and we still carry memories of how free and natural it felt to experience life without it. I think that these discrete moments are like glimpses back into that effortless experience of life. So then the question becomes … how do we get back to experiencing life like that all the time?

A program of gradual self-improvement is definitely necessary to clean up enough of our emotional and psychological baggage that we can see our lives more clearly. The only problem is that it also subtly reinforces the narrative of being an individual persisting through time who is responsible for making life happen …

Another approach, which sounds contradictory but can also be used in complementary fashion, is to work on recognizing directly that - despite appearances to the contrary - nothing is really happening, there isn’t really an individual persisting through time who is responsible for making life happen, and it’s not possible to get back “there” because it’s always been here. One way you could describe it is making the shift from conditioned glimpses of nibbana (from within the narrative of the individual) to the unconditioned impersonal timeless reality of nibbana which is always here whatever the conditions (that’s the one which truly satisfies, because you can’t unsee it even if you wanted to!) The contradictoriness comes from the voice which says that’s a cop out (and maybe is afraid of falling back to old ways). The complementarity comes from the fact that it’s easier to work on your stuff once you realize that there really is no individual behind it which needs to be defended. It sort of shifts from working on your stuff to your stuff working itself out. That might sound paradoxical, but I think it’s in line with basic doctrine on not-self and non-clinging. The fact is, no one is perfect. Even supposed arhats have been seen to act like big kids or grumpy old men at times!

Many awakening accounts seem to contain a key episode of psychological surrender (death of the individual/rebirth narrative). I know that it was important for me. But I think it’s very personal/intuitive how that happens and it involves taking a big step into the unknown (& unknowable), a leap of faith if you will. I found it helpful to read “sudden” awakening accounts from contemporary people outside established traditions (eg U G Krishnamurti, Suzanne Segal, Bernadette Roberts, Tony Parsons, David Carse). I could see there was a common thread and, since they had very different backgrounds, I developed trust that there was a real psychological phenomenon I could surrender to. I could also see enough consistency between their accounts and people like Ramana Maharahi and Nisargadatta, as well as basic buddhist doctrine, to satisfy myself that I wasn’t heading off in the wrong direction. I think similar stuff happens in Buddhist traditions as well, it’s just not talked about so openly or it’s cloaked in doctrine, so you have to read between the lines.

Anyway, I don’t really know where you’re at and you’re clearly a very strong meditator, so I feel vaguely insolent throwing my 2c in, but there it is!
SigmaTropic, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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Thanks for your thoughts and feedback George. It's always a pleasure to have genuine engagement from others on a topic that's relevant and interesting for me. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 29 Days ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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SigmaTropic:

My view which I'll make a post on is that jhanas are like frequencies you can tune to like a radio station, where the mind isn't really on one sensation per say, but a collection of sensations at that particular frequency. The mind enmeshes itself within that frequency if you can envision that. So rather than mind being on object it's like mind tunes to the frequency of a collection of sensations that make up 1st jhana as a holistic experience, not any one sensatiuon. How that relates to form and emptiness, is that the more form focused the mind is the more it feels like subject/object, and the more emptiness tuned the mind is, it's like dissolving into an experience. Up to and including the absolute end of the continuum where there is no mind apart from the experience and that's nibbana. I think this is what you're getting at (in my own words of course), which I find also - an approach to the object that assumes a meditator as a point subject relating to a specific sensation as a point object just doesn't seem to be how reality actually works.

Yes, this is in line with my experience as well. And it’s getting increasingly fluid, which I welcome.


II can usually discern which jhana I'm in, but I've also had occasions where I'm in a more superficial version and it's not so clear whether I'm in 2nd or 3rd jhana or whatever else. Probably just a matter of familiarity and knowing what to look for. With me each jhana has a certain area in the body where the blissful/peaceful/whatever sense seems to be emanating from. In 1st it's the spine, inner arms, palms, feet, in the 2nd it's the base of the skull/spine, in 3rd it's the belly, etc. And there's also characteristic qualities of attention it seems for each jhana.

Interesting. That’s something for me to explore further.


When it's a harder version of the jhana it seems to get easier to tell what jhana it is, because in the more absorbed states the mind seems more stable and clear on a single frequency/radio station.

Yes, I find that it’s a huge difference.
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I like how you describe how you relate to the jhanas.

Thanks!


I think in the first part of your description you mentioned finding your own nimittas and that working really well - that's been my experience too - I never really did the whole "read a manual on jhanas and do the things they say to do - get jhana" thing. I sort of just figured them out for myself.

Yeah, I mainly figure things out for myself too, but I also listen to dharma talks to get inspired, and I cherrypick from the advice. Also, MCTB2 was really helpful.


I think after stream entry I clearly got a huge upgrade in the easy access to jhanas, and it seems like you have that as well, but perhaps a bit different disposition.

I think I got my main upgrade right before stream entry. Either that or I had stream entry somewhat earlier than I realized. It’s not consistent, though. It’s much easier around path moments than any other time, it seems. I suspect that I’m still too attached to movement to get focused on stillness in a way that leads into stable jhanas unless I really build up to it.


Maybe exploring that nada sound nimitta you describe would be fruitful for you.

That’s what I did, and it got incredibly intense, but I haven’t been able (or willing?) to reproduce it.


Usually intuitive things for a person tend to be things that align with what's already a talent or a natural inclination, and trusting that has been fruitful for me in my practice.

For me to. Definitely.


It's interesting that in the 1st you get a visual nimitta and it isn't until the 2nd that you get an auditory nimitta. Maybe worth exploring if you can stay with the visual nimitta or find the nada sound to get into 1st jhana. Actually now that I think of it I get something similar with the breath that starts in 2nd, where the breath becomes a pleasurable sensation with a different character than when not in jhana - more rich and vibrant - not visual but tactile. It's like a sensation but a mentally generated one. Hmm. 

I wouldn’t say that it’s a nimitta. It’s not stable enough. It’s more like hypnagogic flowy representations of the breath that match its rhythm and development in a synesthetic way. I’d say it’s visual piti.

The nada sound is always there. Now too. It never stops. It just needs to take on a special quality to function as a nimitta or handle into further jhanas. Maybe using the word nimitta just confuses things. Timing seems to be important. I actually learned that from listening to Ayya Khema. She said that everyone needs to find their own trigger in advancing through the jhanic arc, and it’s important not to switch focus to it too soon. I find that to be true. Maybe it’s one of the frequency things for me, something that is characteristic for third jhana? Whatever it is, it seems like I need to build up to it. Or maybe it’s just one of those limiting stories I tell myself.


Interesting how from my reading your mental orientation going up the jhanas was a bit dark nightish and freaky, feeling like it was doing you, and then you get the dukkha door every time. I experience the same kind of unsettling vibe with dukkha door fruitions too, like sudden and creepy. I wonder what would happen if you were able to do the same jhana arc and end with fruition but have an intention to go through another door like no-self, or before starting intend to frame the jhana arc in a different way. Not to say there's anything wrong with being taken for a ride and not being in control, of course.

Hm… yeah… going up the jhanas didn’t feel freaky to me, or maybe I just like it freaky. That’s definitely a possibility. I love it when the meditation does me and takes me for a ride. Or at least I used to. Nowadays it’s usually much more subtle and smooth, but that doesn’t capture my focus the same way. I kind of liked it when the process played it rough, haha. I find the harmony to be an acquired taste that takes some time getting used to. It’s a good idea, though. I have gone through other doors as well, just not as an inevitable ending of going through the jhanic arc over and over again. The impermanence door is the most common one for me.


It's good for jhana to be able to let go of expectations and judgements, and simply enjoy what's presently happening. I've found that the more I can relax around whatever state and fully soak into the pleasureable aspects of whatever is going on, even if it's subtle, it conditions the mind to relax more and more, and you can get more absorbed. Even superficial jhana states have a very positive effect on the mind and make it much easier to regroup and realign when one finds themselves spinning out in crud.

I probably need much more of this. It’s weird, I haven’t had much issues with the rougher parts of the path. I would gladly surrender to all kinds of intense processes of being torn apart and turned inside out and so forth, but with all this subtle bliss and stillness and silence, excuses pop up to get involved with anything that takes me away from fully embracing the experience. I can see it. So that’s something to work with.

This was helpful. Thankyou!
SigmaTropic, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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Now that I got that phenomenology stuff written down, I am again seeing things in daily life that are relevant and interesting. The way others respond to me is a mirror of my own mind state. When I am calm, cool, and confident, people seem to respect me. When I am insecure, feeling unwell, or angry, people mirror back that mind state to me. I had a situation happen today that called for me to swallow my pride and do what was needed to be done. A new technician on another team who I interviewed and declined for a job knows a certain experimental technique that I don't know. That's a common theme in my job because my PhD is in synthetic organic chemistry and everyone else here is a biologist. They hired me because I'm different and have skills they don't. But I'm outnumbered and it often would seem to an outside observer that I'm incompetent or not knowledgeable because I'm constantly learning new things and also using my skills I already have. I needed to learn that technique and he and other technicians know how to do it. I've done it once, but am not familiar enough with it to know exactly how to excecute it. I felt some feelings of incompetence and imposter syndrome fumbling around with my tech finding the apparatus and it was foreing to me and I felt very self-conscious of how others perceived me. Then I realized this was happening, and I decided to do the logical thing and simply sit in my office with my technician and the parts to the apparatus and watch youtube videos on how to do this thing. We watched, learned, and I asked the scientist who I share an office with some questions, and it was no big deal. Now my tech is running the experiement I wanted to run and we both learned something. Swallowing my pride and getting over myself was the "lens" switching that I am trying to do. I noticed that the way people responded to me being humble and asking for help was not of ridicule but rather of respect and being happy to help. Everyone here knows I have a PhD, but I don't need to act like I know everything. That would have been counterproductive and I probably wouldn't currently have my desired experiements running. Now both me and my tech are familiar enough with the technique so she can do it and I can focus on interpreting the results and planning new experiements. This might sound mundane but it's dharmically very relevant for me. I get dharma lessons like this nearly every day and I measure my practice by how I respond to situations like this - more resistance and fuss- more work to do. 
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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I have the same issue at my new position, and just admitting ignorance of something is by far the best path forward. Yes, the ego wants me to know literally everything and never admit ignorance, but how absolutely silly is that???
shargrol, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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I am I remembering correctly the saying that goes "the smartest person in the room is the one asking questions"? (Did you see what I did? emoticon )
SigmaTropic, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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I see what you did there ;)
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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(Did you see what I did? emoticon )

​​​​​​​What?
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

Posts: 5878 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
He turned it into a question to be one of the smartest people in the room.
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

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He did that?
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

Posts: 5878 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Oh, you did too? (Sometimes your humor is too subtle for me.)
SigmaTropic, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

Posts: 146 Join Date: 6/27/17 Recent Posts
I added some more detail in my phenomenology of cessation description above, FWIW. 

I have been really enjoying Zhan Zhuang, and the last few days it's become very, very satisfying. The tensions and imbalances in my muscles seem to have all pretty much dissolved, and I get the sense I can seemingly stand indefinitely in the two basic stances. There is a wonderful sense of groundedness and stability in the stances, and I feel very powerful and energetic but in a cool, controlled way. 

When I sit lately I am experiencing phenomena that correspond to the later stages of TMI. My posture is effortless, and there is a pleasant sense of stability and groundedness felt in the body. I typically sit for 1 hour, but recently with more time sitting and having a clean mind and body, sitting for longer has become much easier.

My sits have become somewhat predictable.  I typically settle in, and within seconds I either call to mind the intention for jhana or I simply wait and relax, and nearly right away, warm, blissful waves of pleasure and pulsating sensations become the main theme. I initially feel these blissful pulses on the inside of my arms and the soles of my feet, and the waves from the base of my skull down to the root chakra, and it becomes self sustaining and pervades my body. I let the jhanas arise on their own and then I just sit in an expansive focus without an object. The breath has this sweet clarity to it that's quite pleasant. After sitting like this I start to get illumination behind my eyelids and even after moving away from absorbation my body feels like it's perfectly secure and comfortable, and there's a pervasive sense of well-being and pleasant alertness. This unification of mind seems to cool everything down and make simply sitting feel wonderful and rich.  This morning I was extremely reluctant to get up at the bell because it felt so nice and effortless. Sometimes the jhanas are a bit intense and there's a subtle sense of "doing" in the background, but the unification states are so effortless and relaxing it feels like I want to stay there forever.   
SigmaTropic, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

Posts: 146 Join Date: 6/27/17 Recent Posts
What appears to be the very last energetic knot in my system is working itself out seemingly but its acting up and making a huge fuss today. Theres this area of muscle around the shoulder blade area on the right side in the back that has often been a problematic area in terms of tension during longer sits. Always the same spot. It's been twitching involuntarily all day today. The Zhan Zhuang has really made this pattern of tension the main theme since I've been doing it. Now I can stand without that tension arising and sitting finally after all these years feels just about perfect with ni pain or tension. But the spot is just twitching away as I write this. It literally feels like the last but of tension in my entire body is twitching itself to exhaustion. I am interested to see what will happen tomorrow. 

in terms of ZZ phenomenology, I am loving it. It feels awesome. Its surprisingly easy to stand in both postures for 25 minutes or longer now. What happens is a pleasant bouncing/trembling of my right leg lately and then I get very still, then the right leg/right side of the body will start bouncing again. Sometimes both my legs bounce equally and I'm just sitting there happily bouncing. It seems like the body is under stress from the looks of it but it feels awesome and there's no sense of strain. My intuitive feeking with this is just to let the bouncing motion happen and just relax and let the energy do its thing on the muscles. Clearly the energy is clearing out some kind of imbalance or asymmetry. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 29 Days ago.

RE: Energy, Devotion, Magick, Bliss

Posts: 5878 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
The energetic stuff really does its own disentangling when we just let it, it seems. 

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