Vipashyana geared towards the quality of Anatma - Not-Self

Adi Vader, modified 4 Months ago at 4/2/22 2:16 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 4/2/22 2:16 AM

Vipashyana geared towards the quality of Anatma - Not-Self

Posts: 144 Join Date: 6/29/20 Recent Posts
Introduction
This post has been written as a ready reckoner for a couple of my students. They are experienced yogis with a background in TMI and by TMI standards they would be considered 'adepts'. Thus this post does not cover many of the concepts and exercises that might be needed in order to support a yogi who is new to meditation. This post in some form or fashion will find its way into my book 'The Awakening Project' which I am writing chapter by chapter on r/arhatship. First chapter accessible here. All of the topics that I cover in this post emerge from my deep engagement with a system of practice called MIDL or Mindfulness in Daily Life. It is perhaps the most brilliantly designed wisdom practice system that I know of, and the one system that I have deeply engaged with for the purpose of cultivating Vipashyana Bhavana. I do not represent MIDL nor do I have any authorization from the creator and teacher of MIDL. If you wish to engage with MIDL, you can find it at midlmeditation.com with a new but growing community at r/midlmeditation. Everything that I have written here I have written it on the basis of my own understanding and inner authority emerging from my practice and my own attainments.

A note on the quality of Anatma
Anatma is one of the two marks of existence - Anitya and Anatma. And ignorance of Anitya and Anatma leads to the emergent experience of Dukkha. When the ignorance of the two marks of existence is eliminated, then Dukkha is no longer experienced in any of its forms or presentations. This is the broad overall arch of awakening practice. Typically all yogis have a sensitivity towards impermanence. In vipashyana practice the quality of impermanence becomes very apparent and the yogi moves on to the quality of shunyata (emptiness) or the constructed nature of experience and then towards the quality of unreliability (anitya) and then towards the quality of Dukkha or suffering. This is the progression one sees in systems like the Mahasi method. Once Dukkha becomes very very apparent the only way out is to resolve the friction by looking at the various mental postures that lead to Dukkha and letting go of them in order to them fully apprehend the quality of Anatma.Anatma for some very rare people might be very noticeable up front but .. well I suppose its very rare. If I were to step out and grab a stranger on the road and query them on whether they know that all things change - the person might enthusiastically agree. But if I were to ask them, do you know that you don't really exist - not in the way that you believe you do, do you know that your memory, your ability to think, your ability to talk, your ability to walk ... isn't really 'yours' .. not in the way you believe it to be. It is likely that the person will probably look at me as if I were nuts. And if at all they do decide to humor me it would be in the form of a thought experiment. It wouldn't be based on direct subjective experience.Vipashyana geared towards the quality of Anatma is designed to generate that direct personal subjective experience. You don't need to listen to any talk, read a book, or a reddit post, or 'follow' someone, or 'follow' some silly made up code of conduct. Do the exercises, sets and reps, day in and day out and knowledge, wisdom, transformation naturally emerges. The realization of anatma, the deep transformative insight into anatma does not result from accepting and embracing any heuristic blindly as an end in itself. The heuristic may incline one towards investigating and therefore discovering anatma in one's direct personal subjective experience. Transmissions don't help, authorizations don't help, obscure manuscripts in Magadhi Prakrit language in sinhalese script ... don't help. Its patient repetition of the sets and reps while maintaining a deep curiosity and engagement with those sets and reps, to approach these very same exercises over and over with a fresh set of eyes ... that is the only thing that works. So on that note, here are the exercises you can try and see if they work for you.
The Grounding Object
Exercise 1.1 - Set up a gross grounding object
  1. Take your posture either seated or lying down on your back
  2. Your posture is decided by your physical constraints primarily and secondarily by temporary mental qualities - excessively dull - sit up straight, excessively energetic, restless - lie down
  3. Slowly parse through each sense door simply noticing that it exists. spend a couple of minutes on each sense door familiarizing yourself with the sense door and maybe tracking a couple of objects within that sense door.
  4. Take 4 to 5 slow deep abdominal breaths and make the outbreath long and thin. Piggy back on the relaxation of the diaphragm slowly relaxing all major muscles. Try to particularly relax your forehead, your eyelids, your jaws, your paws, your thighs. Typically our body has markers of 'doing'. Let go of the 'doing' in the body
  5. Place your attention on the aggregate sense of heaviness in the body
  6. Include the sense of temperature
  7. Include the sense of touch of wherever the body touches the chair or the floor
  8. The sense of heaviness, temperature and touch is now a gross / very large grounding object
Exercise 1.2 - Set up a subtle grounding object
  1. Do steps #1 to #4 from exercise 1.1
  2. Place one hand in the other if seated and rest your attention on the touch of the hands
  3. If lying down, rest your attention on the touch of one of the hands on the floor or the yoga mat
  4. This limited sense of touch is the subtle grounding object
Exercise 1.3 - Set up a dynamic grounding object
  1. Do steps #1 to #4 from exercise 1.1
  2. Choose 3 to 4 touch points - buttocks on the floor, ankles on the floor, touch of the lips, touch of the hands etc
  3. Cycle between the touch points in a set repetitive pattern. If too repetitive intentionally change the pattern. Add to this. Listen to 3 sounds, pay attention to 3 thoughts, come back to your touch point pattern - rinse, repeat
  4. This planned, deliberate, intentionally chosen movement of attention is your dynamic grounding object
Exercise 1.4 - Set up awareness itself as the grounding object
  1. Do steps #1 to #4 from exercise 1.1
  2. Become aware of your left foot, can you be aware of the awareness of the foot
  3. Switch to your right foot, can you be aware of the awareness of the right foot
  4. Alternate between taking your left foot and your right foot as the object of awareness, can you be aware of the awareness that is alternating between the objects
  5. Become aware of your left foot, include your lower left leg, exclude your lower left leg, rinse repeat can you be aware of the awareness that includes and excludes parts of an 'object'
  6. Become aware of your left foot, include your lower left leg, include your entire left leg, include the entire left side of your body, sequentially reduce the size of the object till you go back to your left foot as the object, take only the toes as the object, take the big toe as the object, take the very tip of the toe as the object, in one step include the entirety of the left side of your body, can you be aware of the awareness that expands and contracts to include and exclude experience within the object
  7. In these exercises where you are setting up contrasting objects or expanding and contracting the scope of the object of awareness, it is the way in which awareness works, its flexibility that becomes the entry point into approaching awareness itself as an object. Do these exercises very very slowly. Often simply returning to the breath to take a break. Through simple repetition, you will find what the exercise is designed to point you towards
  8. once you 'find' awareness, rest with awareness as the object of awareness
Note:Stay aware of awareness, be mindful of mindfulness, pay attention to attention itself, be sensitive to sensitivity, observe observation .... in concept and in writing this is so annoyingly recursive that it seems Fucking Diabolically tricky to even understand let alone do. In all vipashyana exercises concepts and language has to be used to prime the mind to gain direct experience, but beyond a point concept and language get in the way. This particular exercise for some people may be ridiculously easy to do and for others it may be neigh near impossible ... at first ... but through repetition the conceptual mind will let go of its grip on the exercise and direct knowledge and emergent wisdom will appear. Some times in a flash and sometimes in the form of a grainy picture that gets sharper and sharper as the repetition continues.This repetition can be drudgery but that drudgery can be countered with an attitude of chhanda - a passionate hobby. Imagine a bank clerk in Mumbai sitting in a cashier's cage counting currency notes the whole day handing them out to a steady line of people that never ceases. Going home and sitting at a keyboard, slowly and methodically learning from sheet-music occasionally improvising here and there. This clerk has no strong sense of greed or ambition for wanting to be a world renowned musician, he does it simply for the sheer joy of learning and practicing a skill he enjoys. Same goes for a clerk in a patent office somewhere in Austria with a penchant for thought experiments. This is chhanda at its finest.
Vipashyana

Exercise 2.1 - Grounding in Anatma
  1. Set up your preferred grounding object
  2. Notice that maintaining a grounding object takes some effort
  3. Taking slow deep abdominal breaths with the out breath long and thin, relax your brow, relax your eyelids, withdraw the effort needed to maintain the grounding object
  4. The structure of awareness that you have set up will collapse
  5. Every time that happens, notice it, appreciate it, hold the realization that the structure collapses in short term working memory - you can say 'collapsed' ... 'collapsed'
  6. Slowly recreate your grounding object and withdraw the energy needed to maintain it
  7. The structure collapses and attention moves - 'collapsed' .. 'moved'
  8. The structure collapses and attention moves to a sense door - 'collapsed' ... 'moved' ... 'sense door of sound'
  9. The structure collapses and attention moves to a sense door and takes another object - 'collapsed' ... 'moved' ... 'sense door of the mind' .... 'thought'
  10. The structure collapses and attention moves to a sense door and takes an object which has a life cycle - 'collapsed' ... 'moved' ... sense door of body' .... 'itch on the ass' ... 'begins, fluctuates and ends' ... 'temperature' ... 'fire element' .... etc. etc.
  11. From step#5 to step no #10 lies vipashyana geared towards the quality of anatma
  12. Keep simply returning to the grounding object as many times as you need, whenever you need
Notes: Shunyata, Anitya, Dukkha are very easy to notice for most people, but this shit! ... is tricky! ... very tricky! But also very rewarding. Patient peaceful repetition, sets and reps, wax on - wax off, wax on - wax off .. is the way to go.

Exercise 2.1 - Sense door of the body - body parts
  1. Forget about Anatma
  2. Send awareness out, wield it like a tool and scan your body from top to bottom and back -looking for skin on the downward pass, flesh on the upward pass, bones on the downward pass
  3. Remember what it means like to have body sensations that originate in skin, flesh, bones
  4. Create and ground yourself in the grounding object
  5. Define the scope of interest to be the body
  6. As the grounding object collapses do vipashyana oriented towards anatma on body parts
  7. Notice collapse, attention moves, object, skin/flesh/bones, track the lifecycle
Exercise 2.2 - Sense door of the body - elements
  1. Send awareness out, wield it like a tool and scan your body from top to bottom and back looking for the elemental qualities. Earth - hardness vs softness and the spectrum in between, Water - wetness vs dryness and the spectrum in between, Air - steadiness vs motion and the spectrum in between, Fire - warm vs cool and the spectrum in between, Void - Clear and strong vs absent and the spectrum in between
  2. Remember what it means like to experience the elemental qualities of Earth, Water, Air, Fire, Void
  3. Create and ground yourself in the grounding object
  4. Define the scope of interest to be the body
  5. As the grounding object collapses do vipashyana oriented towards anatma on body parts
  6. Notice collapse, attention moves, object, Earth/Water/Air/Fire/Void, track the life cycle
    ​​​​​​​
Exercise 2.3 - Sense door of the mind - Thoughts, emotions, mental states
  1. Send awareness out, wield it like a tool, parse through thoughts and classify them in various categorization schema. Visual/auditory/meaning based; past/present/future/fantasy; self/other/world/fantasy; random/habitual/carrying emotional charge/narration
  2. Do the vipashyana exercise geared towards anatma
  3. Send awareness .... yada yada yada ... parse through mental states .... yada yada yada .... yada yada yada ........
  4. Do the vipashyana exercise geared towards anatma

Hope this helps somebody working towards developing sensitivity to the quality of Anatma. All comments and questions emerging from direct experience and/or the ambition to gain direct experience are welcome. Others ... not so much emoticon emoticon
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 4 Months ago at 4/2/22 11:18 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 4/2/22 11:14 AM

RE: Vipashyana geared towards the quality of Anatma - Not-Self

Posts: 6653 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
What an exquisite presentation! Thankyou for sharing!

I recognize my own practice in this, but I haven't spelled it out like that and haven't been as systematic, as I mainly practice intuitively. Since the quality of my intuition varies (after all, it is both impermanent and not-self), this is a great series of exercises to return to in a more systematic way. Awesome!

So that's how those grainy images that developed into beautiful sacred geometry developed! Cool! I was indeed paying attention to attention itself those times. 

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