How to reach bare sensations?

How to reach bare sensations? No One 1/8/22 4:54 PM
RE: How to reach bare sensations? Stefan Stefan 1/8/22 5:05 PM
RE: How to reach bare sensations? Chris M 1/8/22 5:13 PM
RE: How to reach bare sensations? No One 1/8/22 5:40 PM
RE: How to reach bare sensations? Dream Walker 1/9/22 6:52 AM
RE: How to reach bare sensations? Dream Walker 6/17/22 7:48 PM
RE: How to reach bare sensations? Papa Che Dusko 1/9/22 8:48 AM
RE: How to reach bare sensations? Ni Nurta 2/1/22 4:06 PM
RE: How to reach bare sensations? No One 2/3/22 10:40 PM
RE: How to reach bare sensations? George S 2/4/22 8:42 AM
RE: How to reach bare sensations? Ni Nurta 2/5/22 5:14 PM
RE: How to reach bare sensations? Chris M 2/4/22 6:47 AM
RE: How to reach bare sensations? Ni Nurta 2/6/22 3:15 AM
RE: How to reach bare sensations? Chris M 2/6/22 8:34 AM
RE: How to reach bare sensations? Ni Nurta 2/6/22 1:43 PM
RE: How to reach bare sensations? Chris M 2/6/22 4:22 PM
RE: How to reach bare sensations? Nick N 3/15/22 2:29 PM
RE: How to reach bare sensations? George S 3/15/22 8:17 PM
RE: How to reach bare sensations? No One 3/22/22 8:13 PM
RE: How to reach bare sensations? Nick N 3/15/22 11:20 PM
RE: How to reach bare sensations? George S 3/16/22 6:06 AM
RE: How to reach bare sensations? Nick N 3/17/22 12:23 PM
RE: How to reach bare sensations? Chris M 3/16/22 7:31 AM
RE: How to reach bare sensations? Ni Nurta 3/16/22 5:50 PM
RE: How to reach bare sensations? Chris M 3/18/22 7:00 AM
RE: How to reach bare sensations? Jim Smith 3/20/22 12:51 AM
RE: How to reach bare sensations? No One 6/13/22 12:55 PM
No One, modified 8 Months ago at 1/8/22 4:54 PM
Created 8 Months ago at 1/8/22 4:54 PM

How to reach bare sensations?

Posts: 9 Join Date: 9/5/21 Recent Posts
Is the goal of vipassana to see 'bare sensations' that are not interpreted or meditated by belief? 

I am having trouble distinguishing beliefs and interpretations from the bare sensations that I'm trying to see by doing vipassana.

When I try to either stop believing anything or to stop interpreting sensations, some of my attention becomes one-pointed, but I don't know exactly what it is focusing on. Is what I'm accidentally focusing on just the default that consciousness rests on when it isn't looking for an object elsewhere?

It also feels a bit like doing nothing.

I would say that when I do this, things feel effortless, but if I stop to focus on myself doing them, there are sensations of effort again. Is this a state of ignorance or insight?

I'm worried that this is a form of access concentration or jhana that won't lead anywhere worthwhile.

When I try to take the entire field of ever-new sensate experience as my object, I get the same result with a bit more of a flavour of energy and engagement from letting go of interpretations of sensations quickly to make room for the one that's always newly arisen so I can see it more clearly/mindfully.

Please help me find out if I am practicing vipassana correctly, and how I can improve.

Thank you,
Robert
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Stefan Stefan, modified 8 Months ago at 1/8/22 5:05 PM
Created 8 Months ago at 1/8/22 5:05 PM

RE: How to reach bare sensations?

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This all sounds worthwhile, especially if you can learn to investigate the transition stage between effort and effortlessness. Learn to see how the mind pops in and out of these modes and there'll be big clues on what this giant mess of sensations is all about. 

One thing that helped me regarding beliefs: I sincerely believe beliefs are just rational clothes for an emotional body. That is, if you really hold the belief and investigate it, you'll find some sort of underlying emotional tone that gives the belief juice to operate. That may be another line of investigation worth pursuing. 
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Chris M, modified 8 Months ago at 1/8/22 5:13 PM
Created 8 Months ago at 1/8/22 5:09 PM

RE: How to reach bare sensations?

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Is the goal of vipassana to see 'bare sensations' that are not interpreted or meditated by belief? 

​​​​​​​In my practice, I have taken the goal of vipassana to be to help me see what's going on in each moment and to thus eventually reveal the workings of mind. 

I am having trouble distinguishing beliefs and interpretations from the bare sensations that I'm trying to see by doing vipassana.

This is a common experience. There isn't a simple answer, however. You need to keep investigating. You might ask yourself, as you observe what's going on in the mind while you meditate - is there such a thing as bare sensation? Or is every sensation mediated in some way, and by what?
No One, modified 8 Months ago at 1/8/22 5:40 PM
Created 8 Months ago at 1/8/22 5:40 PM

RE: How to reach bare sensations?

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Thank you, Chris M & Stefan Stefan. Both are very helpful answers.

I would like to reply to them in a few days, after I've had time to apply what you've recommended and consider what you've said more thoughtfully.
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Dream Walker, modified 8 Months ago at 1/9/22 6:52 AM
Created 8 Months ago at 1/9/22 6:52 AM

RE: How to reach bare sensations?

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Robert C
Is the goal of vipassana to see 'bare sensations' that are not interpreted or meditated by belief? 
No. If you want bear sensations, reincarnate as a bear. LOL, just kidding.
Goal :  Training the mind to investigate sensations such that it will continue to so automatically in EQ.

I am having trouble distinguishing beliefs and interpretations from the bare sensations that I'm trying to see by doing vipassana.
You are overcomplicating it. Note 'beliefs' as THINKING as well as 'interpretations'
SEEING
HEARING
FEELING
THINKING
That captures 98% of experience. Then when the mind jumps in fast and gets tooooo automatic add IN and OUT to each label to continue.

When I try to either stop believing anything or to stop interpreting sensations, some of my attention becomes one-pointed, but I don't know exactly what it is focusing on.
Notice each sensation and use the above labels.
Is what I'm accidentally focusing on just the default that consciousness rests on when it isn't looking for an object elsewhere?
Uhhh, sure why not? does it matter at this stage? No

It also feels a bit like doing nothing.
Well start labeling sensations

I would say that when I do this, things feel effortless, but if I stop to focus on myself doing them, there are sensations of effort again. Is this a state of ignorance or insight?
Label Effort as FEELING

I'm worried that this is a form of access concentration or jhana that won't lead anywhere worthwhile.
Jhana slips in to vipassana naturally. follow the 'progress of insight' stages.

When I try to take the entire field of ever-new sensate experience as my object, I get the same result with a bit more of a flavour of energy and engagement from letting go of interpretations of sensations quickly to make room for the one that's always newly arisen so I can see it more clearly/mindfully.
How is this a problem? Label SEEING

Please help me find out if I am practicing vipassana correctly, and how I can improve.
Just did, maybe.

Thank you,
Robert
Also look at sensations and if it seems like you, permenent, satisfying, stick on that sensation over and over until it Dissolves.
Questions lead to more questions, do and see what happens.
Good luck,
~D
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 8 Months ago at 1/9/22 8:48 AM
Created 8 Months ago at 1/9/22 8:48 AM

RE: How to reach bare sensations?

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Just to add to the already fine replies you've got emoticon 

Do not worry about Jhanas being a hindrance. You can still note, pay attention to the Jhana sensations and all else going on in those moments. Here I managed to make one video demo after a 45-minute session where 3rd Jhana stuff popped out. All conscious experiences can be noted/noticed. I do it aloud but this can be done silently too.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PyR-4XjE_U
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Dream Walker, modified 3 Months ago at 6/17/22 7:48 PM
Created 8 Months ago at 1/29/22 10:10 AM

RE: How to reach bare sensations?

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Robert C
Could I talk to you for a little bit?
Sure,
Email is the first easy way to schedule a vid meeting so lets start there.
~D
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Ni Nurta, modified 7 Months ago at 2/1/22 4:06 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 2/1/22 4:06 PM

RE: How to reach bare sensations?

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I have heard yogis used to meditate on spikes for week on end not moving from their 'cushion' and only drinking water.

I found this story quite silly though. I am pretty certain I would realize bare sensation if I tried this method instantly.
No One, modified 7 Months ago at 2/3/22 10:40 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 2/3/22 10:40 PM

RE: How to reach bare sensations?

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Ni Nurta
I have heard yogis used to meditate on spikes for week on end not moving from their 'cushion' and only drinking water.

I found this story quite silly though. I am pretty certain I would realize bare sensation if I tried this method instantly.
Good point. The trouble, I'm finding, while attempting self inquiry around the clock, is that everything I see is dukkha. So, because every sensation is suffering, it is hard to notice everything. It's a difficult taste for which to become acquired. My inability to do anything else but suffer is a difficult pill to swallow. 

My question is are you familiar with this territory, and are we just supposed to have balls of steel and handle it?
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Chris M, modified 7 Months ago at 2/4/22 6:47 AM
Created 7 Months ago at 2/4/22 6:41 AM

RE: How to reach bare sensations?

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My question is are you familiar with this territory, and are we just supposed to have balls of steel and handle it?

You're supposed to investigate dukkha. How does it arise? How does it fade? What is that process? Practice is meant to get to the cause of suffering, then to fully understand how suffering works, and thus change our view of it - and reduce dramatically its effects. That you are aware dukkha is a constant in your life is a good thing. Remember the Four Noble Truths - what's very first one?

​​​​​​​emoticon
George S, modified 7 Months ago at 2/4/22 8:42 AM
Created 7 Months ago at 2/4/22 8:40 AM

RE: How to reach bare sensations?

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You do need a certain amount of bravery to willingly become aware of the pain that you already experiencing. The suprising thing you start to discover through practice is that it's not the pain itself which causes the suffering, but rather the avoidance of pain (also clinging to pleasure). The pain can even start to take on a certain sweet connective quality, being something that we all share.
 
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Ni Nurta, modified 7 Months ago at 2/5/22 5:14 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 2/5/22 5:14 PM

RE: How to reach bare sensations?

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Robert C
Good point. The trouble, I'm finding, while attempting self inquiry around the clock, is that everything I see is dukkha. So, because every sensation is suffering, it is hard to notice everything. It's a difficult taste for which to become acquired. My inability to do anything else but suffer is a difficult pill to swallow.

Dukkha happens when you process experience using tired neurons.
Solution is simple: only use neurons which are not tired.

Neurons are sentient living beings. Think about them as living beings and treat them with respect and you will be fine. If they want to do stuff then they will do stuff. Treating them as slaves and expect them not to be tired, angry and depressed is irrational.

My question is are you familiar with this territory, and are we just supposed to have balls of steel and handle it?

If something flashes in your face and you just cannot experience because it feels like it would destroy you then you can hide behind fake cover and continue suffering or you can ask the light what it is about and if it maybe comes with some instruction manuals or something. And yes it will destroy you just as you always felt it will. Universe comes however with auto-save feature. Nothing is ever lost so do not worry about silly things and let yourself out.
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Ni Nurta, modified 7 Months ago at 2/6/22 3:15 AM
Created 7 Months ago at 2/6/22 3:15 AM

RE: How to reach bare sensations?

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Chris M
You're supposed to investigate dukkha. How does it arise? How does it fade? What is that process? Practice is meant to get to the cause of suffering, then to fully understand how suffering works, and thus change our view of it - and reduce dramatically its effects. That you are aware dukkha is a constant in your life is a good thing. Remember the Four Noble Truths - what's very first one?​​

This so called 'investigation' of dukkha can at most give you some ideas about how it all works. The idea in question can then appear to lead to reduction in suffering but that suffering reduction by itself:
- should not be taken as a proof of validity of the idea you had
- or even be related to said idea which by itself is usually just random 'fact' mind generated to fill the void - in this case caused by change in how person feels like
- is not proof that this is all there is to suffering (read: it is some sort of full understanding of suffering)
- can be just an illusion and actual reduction of suffering can be different than your idea indicates

In any case my dried dung radar started beeping when reading your post. If you have any compassion in your heart please do not proliferate this Theravada derived nonsense. Also Mahayana and other tradition nonsense because they all always have 'full understanding' of all the phenomena and only when it comes to actually explaining anything they always fell short... as in never even trying. It is easy to detect not trying by the use of "experiential understanding". If your explanation requires other person to sit and meditate and experience the same (read: similar enough) thing then you have absolutely nothing. Usually this type of "knowledge" is the one with the most frequent use of the word "understanding"...
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Chris M, modified 7 Months ago at 2/6/22 8:34 AM
Created 7 Months ago at 2/6/22 8:24 AM

RE: How to reach bare sensations?

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In any case my dried dung radar started beeping when reading your post. If you have any compassion in your heart please do not proliferate this Theravada derived nonsense. 

This is just nonsense, and frankly, rude. We can effectively use methods of practice to get started in meditation. To learn how to find our own unique way. We don't need to start from scratch in every case, and if we're diligent our practice will flower into a personal journey. There are commonalities and differences in everything we do, practice included. Feel free to post your alternative. I'm listening.
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Ni Nurta, modified 7 Months ago at 2/6/22 1:43 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 2/6/22 1:43 PM

RE: How to reach bare sensations?

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I didn't question possibility of getting own unique way in Theravada but question your use of promises of getting full understanding. It has no purpose other than draw depressed people to this devilish system and locking them in belief they understand something without understanding anything.

Imho you are all depressed. This might might strange but this include arhats. Just because their experience might be blissful it doesn't mean they are not pathologically depressed.

So it is just depressed people making sure everyone else remains depressed, even if feeling better in the process. I do not expect you to understand this just like I do not expect you to understand nature of dukkha.
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Chris M, modified 7 Months ago at 2/6/22 4:22 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 2/6/22 4:21 PM

RE: How to reach bare sensations?

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Are you ok? I don't recall you being this aggressive and wrong headed. I'm not promising anything, rather pointing to one meditation method, among many, many more, that has worked for people. This website was founded and is largely based on the Theravada methods of practice. Vipassana and noting - investigating experience, dukkha and all.

Now, please stop diagnosing me, or anyone else for that matter. You're not qualified and it's not in keeping with the " play nice" rules here. Fair warning, ok?
Nick N, modified 6 Months ago at 3/15/22 2:29 PM
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RE: How to reach bare sensations?

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I'm wondering how people are intepreting the difference between beliefs/analytical thinking/concepts and the natural, rapid arising of mental representations of the senses that we are trying to place our attention on? I've recently had the somewhat dismaying realization that what I thought were breath sensations were actually the subsequent mental representations of those sensations almost 100% of the time. The same is true for focusing on feet while walking and almost everything else I try to focus on! One way I've been able to detect when these are representations instead of more direct sense-precepts is by asking myself "Does this mental moment occur where in space the sensation would logically occur?" "Does this mental moment have a visual quality that the sense wouldn't have in itself?" "Does the mental moment persist past when the sensation itself would reasonably have ended?" But it's hard to evaluate quickly enough to keep up. I'm guessing this sort of discrimination will come with practice and focus, but I'm wondering how people are zeroing in on the sense-precept and ignoring the representation?Is it awareness and letting go, like thoughts and emotions? Or do they eventually go away completely, leaving only more direct sense perception? I'm concerned now that I've never actually experienced a sensation directly and don't know what to look for. I'm not sure if this is too related to your question but this seems like a good place to bring it up. Thanks in advance for any advice or info on this topic.
George S, modified 6 Months ago at 3/15/22 8:17 PM
Created 6 Months ago at 3/15/22 8:17 PM

RE: How to reach bare sensations?

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It sounds like you are becoming aware of the first nana (knowledge) of the progress of insight - distingushing physical sensations from their mental representations. From the bible of noting:

Practical Insight Meditation, Mahasi Sayadaw
https://www.bps.lk/olib/bp/bp503s_Mahasi_Practical-Insight-Meditation.pdf

The Stages of Insight

Analytical Knowledge of Body and Mind

When, as mentioned above, by dint of diligent practice, mindfulness and concentration have improved, the meditator will notice the pairwise occurrence of an object and the knowing of it, such as the rising and awareness of it, the falling and awareness of it, sitting and awareness of it, bending and awareness of it, stretching and awareness of it, lifting and awareness of it, putting down and awareness of it. Through concentrated attention (mindfulness) he knows how to distinguish each bodily and mental process: “The rising movement is one process; the knowing of it is another; the falling is one process, the knowing of it is another.” He realizes that each act of knowing has the nature of “going towards an object.” Such a realization refers to the characteristic function of the mind as inclining towards an object, or cognizing an object. One should know that the more clearly a material object is noticed, the clearer becomes the mental process of knowing it. This fact is stated
in the Visuddhimagga:

For in proportion as materiality becomes quite definite, disentangled and quite clear to him, so the immaterial states that have that materiality as their object become plain of themselves too.
The Path of Purification, XVIII.15

The more you keep practicing and focusing on this, the clearer it will appear to you.
Nick N, modified 6 Months ago at 3/15/22 11:20 PM
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RE: How to reach bare sensations?

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Thank you, that excerpt perfectly captures what I've been starting to experience. I thought I blew past Mind and Body a long time ago because I've been able to see thoughts, emotions, intentions etc. a little more clearly but the sense/concept pairs definitely still escape my view. I'll just keep trying to tease them out. MCTB2's description of M&B really focuses on thoughts, emotions, etc. so I'm glad to read more Practical Insight Meditation.
George S, modified 6 Months ago at 3/16/22 6:06 AM
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RE: How to reach bare sensations?

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It's normal to cycle through the nanas, even within a single sit. Each time you get a little deeper view or discover something new.
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Chris M, modified 6 Months ago at 3/16/22 7:31 AM
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RE: How to reach bare sensations?

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Nick Newman --

 I'm concerned now that I've never actually experienced a sensation directly and don't know what to look for. I'm not sure if this is too related to your question but this seems like a good place to bring it up. Thanks in advance for any advice or info on this topic.

This is a great question. My experience:

Let's use the sound of a book being thrown on the floor as an example. There is a "Boom!" that occurs. You hear that sensation. That perception is very, very quickly followed by things like naming the object that caused the sound, classification of the experience as compared to memories of previous such perceptions, the "like, dislike, don't care" judgment, anticipation of another such experience, and so on. You're starting to see this all play out for every sensation. Nothing about this process is voluntary. You have no choice but to experience things that come to your attention.

As you practice more and your ability to see this chain of mind processes occur gets higher resolution, you will come to realize that your experience has a multitude of aspects, all strung together, not quite in real-time. My answer to "Do I experience anything directly" is... "Mu!"

You are onto something, and the realization you are having is profound, affecting everything about how you experience the world at every moment. Is it live, or is it memorex?

​​​​​​​Keep investigating!


​​​​​​​
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Ni Nurta, modified 6 Months ago at 3/16/22 5:50 PM
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RE: How to reach bare sensations?

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My experience:
Let's use the sound of a book being thrown on the floor as an example. There is a "Boom!" that occurs. You hear that sensation. That perception is very, very quickly followed by things like naming the object that caused the sound, classification of the experience as compared to memories of previous such perceptions, the "like, dislike, don't care" judgment, anticipation of another such experience, and so on. You're starting to see this all play out for every sensation. Nothing about this process is voluntary. You have no choice but to experience things that come to your attention.

Why use of word 'you' when you describe your own experiences? Some kind of forward projection? emoticon

When I hear random loud sound I ask myself profit? and usually it just timeouts after few seconds. Even answering it would generate more noise than I'd like to have. I remember that at one time the sound was of machine that almost crushed my hand which moved away in time out of harms way. Then the thoughts arose I need to keep my ******* hands away from this thing or it can be minus one hand next time!, then it timeouted. Apparently not without writing record about this event to long term memory with which I can conclude I got some profit after all!
Nick N, modified 6 Months ago at 3/17/22 12:23 PM
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RE: How to reach bare sensations?

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Reading more of The Manual of Insight, I'm seeing repeated references to it being ok for beginners to place attention on mental constructions instead of direct senses. I'm thinking I need to let go of expectations and trying to 'catch' all the cascading mental phenomena and just gently attend to breath, at least for now. It's hard to just sit and let things happen instead of really intensely trying to break it all down but that seems to be the way.
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Chris M, modified 6 Months ago at 3/18/22 7:00 AM
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RE: How to reach bare sensations?

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Why use of word 'you' when you describe your own experiences?

This is common English usage, which I did unthinkingly. Maybe it's a projection, maybe not. Does it matter? Nah.  emoticon
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Jim Smith, modified 6 Months ago at 3/20/22 12:51 AM
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RE: How to reach bare sensations?

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Robert C
Is the goal of vipassana to see 'bare sensations' that are not interpreted or meditated by belief? 

I am having trouble distinguishing beliefs and interpretations from the bare sensations that I'm trying to see by doing vipassana.

When I try to either stop believing anything or to stop interpreting sensations, some of my attention becomes one-pointed, but I don't know exactly what it is focusing on. Is what I'm accidentally focusing on just the default that consciousness rests on when it isn't looking for an object elsewhere?

It also feels a bit like doing nothing.

I would say that when I do this, things feel effortless, but if I stop to focus on myself doing them, there are sensations of effort again. Is this a state of ignorance or insight?

I'm worried that this is a form of access concentration or jhana that won't lead anywhere worthwhile.

When I try to take the entire field of ever-new sensate experience as my object, I get the same result with a bit more of a flavour of energy and engagement from letting go of interpretations of sensations quickly to make room for the one that's always newly arisen so I can see it more clearly/mindfully.

Please help me find out if I am practicing vipassana correctly, and how I can improve.

Thank you,
Robert


When you are noting, try to let the sensations you are aware of (seeing, hearing, feeling, thoughts, emotions, impulses, etc) fill your mind by letting go of "extra" thoughts "I'm like trying to focus", or "I was distracted", or choosing the right label, "am I doing it right", etc etc. Just be aware of your moment to moment experience of awareness. When you are absorbed in the moment to moment changing of experience and you don't have those other thoughts influencing you, the sense of self can drop away. That doesn't mean you don't have thoughts and emotions it means you observe them as if they are a sensation like you observe seeing hearing feeling etc. You don't take thoughts and emotions to be yours or to be about you, they are just what you "hear" in your mind or "feel" emotionally, like any other sensation.
No One, modified 6 Months ago at 3/22/22 8:13 PM
Created 6 Months ago at 3/22/22 8:13 PM

RE: How to reach bare sensations?

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Hi, Nick. This is very much related to my question, and thanks for posting it here (as I would not have seen it otherwise). I relate to every word you wrote. Lately I've been wondering if the ego can indeed percieve any sensations at all other than its own mental impressions/fabrications. Hope all goes well and some food for thought.
No One, modified 3 Months ago at 6/13/22 12:55 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 6/13/22 12:55 PM

RE: How to reach bare sensations?

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Hi, Jim. Thank you for your reply. What you say makes perfect sense to me. All the best.

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