RE: Martin's Log 2

Martin, modified 1 Year ago at 4/24/21 6:54 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/24/21 6:54 PM

Martin's Log 2

Posts: 414 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Sam helpfully pointed out that the last log (https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/22024623) was getting a bit long (thanks, Sam!), so I am starting a new one. Here is an update on what has been going on:

Not much.

1h 1-4 + 3C daily

There has been a real sameness. Sometimes it's longer than an hour, but recently I have actually been getting slightly restless by the end, which I haven't experienced in a very long time. The jhanas are well-formed, the post-jhana (or semi-fourth) observation is mostly spent trying to notice which of the sensations get interpreted as self, and what is it about the ones that do not that sets them apart. For example, thoughts sometimes come up and sometimes seem to be me, and sometimes do not. Or bodily sensations come up, such as pain in the knee, which seems like self about 40% of the time, while a rumbling stomach never seems like self. I try to work out what specific component-sensations point to self or not-self. Half the time this morphs into observation of impermanence or dukkha. On the impermanence side, I will be struck by either the arising or the passing (usually not both) of the sensations I am noticing. On the dukkha side, the dukkha nature of craving or aversion comes up, and I try to work out what sensations those things are actually made up of. Overall, the experience is akin to being posted as a lookout on a dark night, it's very engaging. 

Off-cushion, I am enjoying the low-hanging fruit. Not clinging to stuff is more comfortable than clinging to stuff. Also, since the illusory nature of self and the integrated nature of the world is intellectually obvious (in the way that it is intellectually, but not intuitively, obvious that the earth rotates and the sun stays still, rather than the sun orbiting the earth) returning to that mode of seeing the world is fairly easy and much more relaxing than seeing it as a bunch of ghosts, each driving a separate machine. Glitches in the perceptual stream (freeze-frames, tears, etc.) are common at the moment, but nothing long or dramatic happens. 
Martin, modified 1 Year ago at 4/27/21 9:00 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/27/21 9:00 PM

RE: Martin's Log 2

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April 25

  • 1hr 1-4
  • On the weak side.
  • In the car, stopped at a light, after the sit, I was thinking about samsara and how it was inescapable and how the people had seen this a permanently inescapable, and at that the surroundings went into a rapid strobe. It was kind of like the world was coming apart at the seams. It went away when the light changed. Later, running, it occurred to me that my own escaping of samsara would not stop samsara because the rest of the world would still be caught up in it, and as no self exists in the first place, there is no difference between me being caught by it and me being free of it. That's kind of relaxing. 
  • Knowing that no self exists, or in any case, that this sense of sense will not exist a few seconds from now, makes it easier not to stress over changes. In college I wondered, who do I owe loyalty to, the guy who decided not to drink beer and play darts this morning, or the guy in the afternoon, who wants to drink and play. The answer is neither. They are both freshly sprung from their surroundings, not willed or created by any agent, any more than a cloud or a rock. 
  • Here is an interesting question: when is a plant born?
April 26

  • 1h4m 1-4 
  • Very well-formed. Had a very solid matter-of-fact focus on the breath, which I kept until the 15-minute bell, then switched to first, which was silent.
  • Played a game of "self or not-self" with sensations. First, I noticed that thoughts about the future, are accompanied by a sense of self. Verbal "thought" that has an interlocutor results in the other (non-interlocutor party) being self, whereas words that do not have an interlocutor are not-self. Pain tends to be self on first arising but not on repetitive iterations. Sensations that locate the body or a part of the body in space have co-arising self. The same is true of thoughts about the future, even just a minute into the future. Time, I guess, is selfy. Self is, among other things, a side effect of the experience of other, which is to say, that which is not here and now. 
  • One thing I should comment on is that, for the past several weeks, my heat at the heart is a bit stronger than usual. I really don't know what to make of my heat, it's like a little regular reminder that the world is arbitrary and does not conform to the rules. 
April 27
  • 1h6m 1-4
  • Kind of a weird one. 
  • 1-4 went fine, though 1-3 were quite fast and 4 took some settling in.
  • In the hanging out phase, almost all the time was spent in thoughtless awareness of imagey stuff. There were quite a few places (scenes), a lot really, but not much connected by any theme, other than farm themes being over-represented as usual, but there were quite a few detailed, color, 3D close-ups, none of which had any significance. One, I remember, was a metal part painted yellow, like a cover of some sort. There were also some bright lights and dissolving and stuff, but that was not the predominant theme, it was more like being in a planetarium playing random bits of film, none of them more than a minute long. 
  • During all this, a sense of self was absent more than 90% of the time, probably 99%. And each time that a sense of self formed, there was, co-arising with it, though not simultaneously, a sense of personhood, to which the self belonged and, in none of the cases was that Martin. I'd guess I was about 15 or 20 different people, most of who were men, but there were a few women in there. All of the stints were very brief. Something would arise among the other things, and that object, for no reason that could be discerned, would be seen in relation to a self, and when I looked at the sensation of self, there would be a voice or just a felt persona, or both, which I could recognize as a completely unknown stranger, and then it would fade and things would be back to there just being objects without any self among them. 
  •  It's weird. I just watched Steve the Guru Viking's being interviewed by Dan Dotty and heard him list off the causes of self that I bumped into yesterday. It's an excellent talk, btw, especially:
    • ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​12:00​ - Unravelling and thinning out 
      15:12​ -Steve’s practice approach 
      19:00​ - Service and attention
      22:38​ - Being in shape 
    • and 43:48​ - Men, helping, and society
Martin, modified 1 Year ago at 4/28/21 4:15 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/28/21 4:15 PM

RE: Martin's Log 2

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April 28
  • 1h 1-4 Automatic. Weak. 
  • Yuck. Dukkha. It's like reaching into a packet of Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans ("Alas! Ear wax!"). I have to ask why it sucks so much when it cannot even be pointed to, except in the most general way (that, right over there). Is there self when there is dukkha? I guess, probably, but it's hard to see something subtle like self when something obvious like dukkha is presenting. 
  • I did notice, separately, that possession produces self. Near the end, I wondered how much time was left, and I had a very strong sense that there was five minutes left, and so I felt I knew, with substantial certainty, that there was five minutes left. And there was a very strong sense of that knowledge being possessed by me. I then looked to see if I felt the same about possessing pain, and saw that there was indeed a sense of self that came up when I framed the pain as possessed. 
  • It's funny, often, off-cushion, I think of the sense of self as just a silly and avoidable misconception. And it is, sometimes. If I think about myself, especially in narrative terms, or think about another person or anything else, in relation to myself, that's going to make self. And it can be dropped. But when I sit, I notice how the felt sense of it arises again and again, from so many conditions. That felt sense will fade, of course, and is probably discontinuous even on the nano-scale, if examined with enough temporal resolution, but it cannot just be dropped, in the way that though-based fabrications can. 
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 4/28/21 4:40 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/28/21 4:32 PM

RE: Martin's Log 2

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 Maybe the problem is the assumption that the felt sense of self needs to be dropped!

In the car, stopped at a light, after the sit, I was thinking about samsara and how it was inescapable and how the people had seen this a permanently inescapable, and at that the surroundings went into a rapid strobe. It was kind of like the world was coming apart at the seams. It went away when the light changed. Later, running, it occurred to me that my own escaping of samsara would not stop samsara because the rest of the world would still be caught up in it, and as no self exists in the first place, there is no difference between me being caught by it and me being free of it. That's kind of relaxing. 

This is like the riddle ‘samsara is nibbana’. One way to look at it is - samsara is caused by the belief that the present moment is not good enough, or the desire to be in a better state than the one you are currently in. But nibbana is the relinquishment of craving, so it can’t be a different state which you want to be in! So the question becomes - what prevents you from seeing that you are already in nibbana? Is it anything more than the desire to be in a different state from the one in which you currently find yourself? 
Martin, modified 1 Year ago at 4/28/21 10:16 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/28/21 10:16 PM

RE: Martin's Log 2

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Yes, that makes sense.

I see two ways of looking at what you are saying: one is that you are pointing to radical acceptance and the other is that you are rephrasing the third noble truth. The former would be part of what I internally refer to as the low-hanging fruit: a deliberate cognitive reframing of perception with concurrent redirecting of mental activities. It's great but limited. For example, yesterday I was actually of the opinion that it was impossible for me to be stressed: cut me in half with a two-handled saw and it would not bother me. Today, I had fear, stress, disdain, dislike, etc., all day. I will mention that, objectively speaking, in material terms, I had more reasons to be content today than yesterday. And no unpleasant thing happened. This is where the low-hanging fruit is not enough. I can't just opt to relinquish foundational craving. This is the dukkha nature of being alive. We are designed by natural selection to suffer, to be unsatisfied, to be worried, etc., at least some of the time (aka 1st NT). Which brings us to the third noble truth way of understanding what you are saying. I'm working on that :-) 
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 4/29/21 6:35 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/29/21 6:31 AM

RE: Martin's Log 2

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Deep down we have this fantasy that enlightenment will mean no more bad days, but it’s that fantasy which keeps us perpetually dissatisfied looking for a solution we will never find. Calling radical acceptance low-hanging fruit makes it sound like it should be easy to pick, but evolution designed us to keep looking higher up in the tree for something tastier looking!

​​​​​​​Relinquishing foundational craving overnight does sound like an impossible task. Craving still arises, but if you see it and accept it for what it is then it’s much less of a problem - ‘oh hello craving my old friend, what do you want today?' It’s like the kid in the toy store who is throwing a fit because you won’t buy them the toy they’ve just seen. You know that in five minutes they will have forgotten all about it and be fine again.

This might all sound a bit wishy-washy, but there’s a big difference between agreeing with the words (‘yeah, but ...’) and what happens in your brain when it actually accepts them and relinquishes that foundational craving for a moment. I mean what was that experience at the lights when you were thinking about how samsara is inescapable and the world started coming apart at the seams?!
Martin, modified 1 Year ago at 4/29/21 10:28 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/29/21 10:28 AM

RE: Martin's Log 2

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Yes, I think you are right. No doubt the mechanism has to be seen, and the operation practiced, many times. 

I don't actually think that I am hoping for a future with no bad days, as I don't see any examples of outcomes like that, but I am interested in the mechanism that underlies suffering. The thing that I find interesting is that, although some of it can be fairly easily seen ("Hello, Craving!"), I generally cannot see what I am referring to as foundational craving off the cushion. Yesterday sucked, but I cannot tell you why. There was no event/process/object that I could consciously choose to be OK with. My working assumption is that there is craving that is generated in the framework of dependant origination without being noticed by me (ignorance), which results in unnecessary suffering. Having got rid of a pretty large percentage of unnecessary suffering so far by paying attention to where it comes from, I'm hoping to keep going, at least for the moment. 

As for the nature of the experience when the world started coming apart at the lights, I really can't say what was going on. But, for that matter, I really can't say what is going on when the world doesn't come apart. It's all fairly mysterious.
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 4/30/21 4:03 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/30/21 4:02 AM

RE: Martin's Log 2

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Another way to look at foundational craving. Thoughts like 'I need to notice craving' or 'I need to let go of craving' presuppose that there is an 'I' which is independent of the craving. But in reality 'I' and craving are the same thing! (upadana khandha, clinging aggregates) How can I notice itself or let go of itself? Just by noticing that when craving is not present then I am not present and when craving arises then I am back. It's an energetic thing really, just that feeling of pushing and pulling against experience. That’s the point of samatha practice - you let go of 90% of craving and see how good it feels, but there’s still the craving to deepen or stay in the state.  

It gets even more interesting when you consider the fact that your experience can’t be anything other than what it already is in the present moment. How is craving even possible? It’s just making a lot of effort to push or pull on a string which is not attached to anything at the other end - effort for effort’s sake purely to maintain the illusion that a permanent entity exists which is making the effort! In that sense craving is also an illusion. It feels damn real until you realize that there’s no one actually doing the craving, then it’s just another feeling happening by itself, much less of a problem. That’s another way to back yourself into radical acceptance - seeing that you are trying to reject something which is not even happening anyway the way you think it is.
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Stefan R, modified 1 Year ago at 4/30/21 4:40 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/30/21 4:39 AM

RE: Martin's Log 2

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I love this take. If I can offer another perspective, which is the same at its core but worded differently?

No sensation is made of itself. "The Self" is just another sensation, which is made up of sensations that are transient, and which are also not made of themselves. Craving in the moment is just another one of these sensations that are coming and going. If you rest in open awareness without interference, you'll notice the sensation of craving sitting alongside another sensation of hearing (for example). Suddenly makes the mind realise it's been tricking itself; "wait, if there's hearing and here's craving, where can "I" be in all this?.. What will "I" be when they leave? What was "I" before they arrived?"

Hopefully, this makes sense? emoticon
Martin, modified 3 Months ago at 1/18/22 3:18 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 1/18/22 3:18 PM

RE: Martin's Log 2

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Here is an update. Things get more and more interesting and experience gets more and more pleasant. As a consequence, I have less than less ability to describe what is going on and fewer and fewer interesting things to say. This is not a subtle way of saying that I am at any particular stage or have attained to anything. It's like a long walk south without a map or a destination. The scenery changes and it's warmer but I don't know more than that. 
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 3 Months ago at 1/18/22 3:39 PM
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RE: Martin's Log 2

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"It's like a long walk south
without a map or a destination.
The scenery changes and it's warmer
but I don't know more than that"

Wow emoticon this really got me! It would be a fab lyrics for a song! emoticon 

​​​​​​​Best wishes!
Martin, modified 3 Months ago at 2/4/22 3:35 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 2/4/22 3:35 PM

RE: Martin's Log 2

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I no longer give a damn about experiencing states. I just want to know how it is that an experiencer happens. 
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Pepe ·, modified 3 Months ago at 2/4/22 3:47 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 2/4/22 3:47 PM

RE: Martin's Log 2

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Hi Martin, check this Journal (1 of 6 parts) 
Martin, modified 3 Months ago at 2/5/22 2:01 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 2/5/22 2:01 PM

RE: Martin's Log 2

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That's very inspiring. Thank you, Pepe. (Great writing, Chris!)
Martin, modified 2 Months ago at 2/28/22 3:34 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/28/22 3:34 PM

RE: Martin's Log 2

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Feb. 28th update

On the cushion, although I have spent some time with self-inquiry, I'm mostly doing the same thing as before: 30 minutes of first through fourth jhanas and 30 minutes of investigation, then another 30 minutes or so of investigation in the evening. My teacher has encouraged me to work on precision in noticing. I find that I can notice at frame rates of over 10 hertz, but I have a very hard time seeing any causal connections between objects. It's a bit like being in a sandstorm with various pieces of detritus caught up in the wind and the sand. But I can see the pieces of detritus and even the individual grains of sand very clearly.

Today, however, I played something a bit different in the last quarter of the sit. For a while now I have been able to temporarily remove things from awareness simply by requesting that they be removed. For example, if there is pain, I can say "no pain" and the pain just goes (for a while). Likewise, I can say "no thought" etc. These are off the cushion tricks. Anyway, in this sit, I was noticing a sound at a granular level, which was quite loud (a machine of some sort) and it occurred to me to see if I could make it go away by saying "silence." It worked. I often, but not always, get what I call "the cone of silence" (a la Get Smart) with first jhana and, when I said, "silence" in this sit there was an effect like part of the mind (oddly, and consistently, the upper left portion) being absorbed into that aspect of first jhana, without any of the piti, and without the clear investigative faculty being diminished. Eventually, sound came back, and there were sirens, so I tried it again, and it worked again. I tried it a third time before the end of the sit, and on that occasion, backed out of the effect as soon as it was established and confirmed that the physical sound was still ongoing. Weird. 

I had assumed: 1) silencing pain and thoughts works because their origin is entirely mental; 2) sound disappears in the jhanas because the mind is entirely absorbed without any processing capacity left over for external stimuli. Clearly, neither of those things are true. Also, the mind can clearly do whatever it wants. 

Reading that over, it sounds like I am totally into playing with concentration but, actually, the main thing that has been going on off the cushion recently is a kind of rotation away from using concentration to using ways of seeing. For example, waking up is usually my least favorite part of the day. The moment I am conscious, there is a dialogue in my head. My guess is that it was going on in a dream and I wake up to the continuation. This sort of churning mind is a nutrient-rich pitri dish for papancha to grow in. Within seconds, I am caught up in a political debate or machinations concerning work. I don't like that. My go-to response in the past year has been to count breaths and bring up enough samatha to quiet the mind before getting out of bed. But, a few months ago, I read Shift into Freedom, which I had heard Daniel recommend in an interview, and found that following those instructions for shifting into awake awareness was faster, and almost as effective as samatha. Later, I read Angelo DiLullo's book and found that the moving into the space between thoughts produced a more stable result, which was also fast and probably more effective than samatha, so I switched to doing that. Now I have been trying Patrice's technique of "these are my thoughts/I am the one having these thoughts" and that is even more effective still because it doesn't just quiet the thoughts but actually temporarily dissolves the sense of self. This also works very well at times during the day when I get caught up in something. So, bottom line, other than the formal jahna practice at the beginning of sits, the samatha has been sitting on the shelf for a while.

Either way on, the mind is a much bigger garden than I ever imagined. 
Martin, modified 2 Months ago at 3/10/22 2:17 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 3/10/22 2:17 PM

RE: Martin's Log 2

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My current thing is noticing how completely unconnected the experiences (including the sense of an experiencer) from each sense door are. Breathing in cold air, while a bird chirps, the sound disappears when sensation arises on the in-breath. The two worlds are independent. And when the sound world arises again, it is a new sound world, independent both of the old sound world and the memory of the old sound world. Off the cushion, worlds come and go everywhere I look. 
Martin, modified 1 Month ago at 3/25/22 2:33 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 3/25/22 2:33 PM

RE: Martin's Log 2

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On the cushion: I've found a new thing, that I am calling Sample and Loop. I start with a mantra, and when it is morphing and echoing by itself, I grab anything that shows up (often a proto-thought: a syllable or so of speech) and use that as the mantra, letting it play on a loop. This creates a very odd, very empty experience with almost no spacial quality and no directedness. I continue with every sensation, such as sounds from outside, or little pains in the body, or even non-verbal thoughts or intentions that arise. I just let them repeat. They generally echo for four to ten times before they fade. After a half-hour or so, I run through the jhanas, which have a very different flavor with this kind of concentration. 

Off the cushion: There is no real pull or push in the mind. This might sound like some sort of claim to attainment, but it isn't. It's just an observation. If I notice a disturbance, which is some kind of aversion or desire, and then look for the push or pull, it cannot be found. I can find vedena, but it is fleeting: when looked at, infinitely brief. Push and pull are just imaginary constructs that require a stringing together of sensations to make something that really is not there. It never existed. 
Martin, modified 1 Month ago at 3/26/22 10:48 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 3/26/22 10:48 PM

RE: Martin's Log 2

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... annnd, it's back. After a few days without being able to find push and pull in the mind, it showed up in a longer sit this morning, and then briefly off the cushion later in the day. Knowing that it is not real doesn't make it any less present. 

I wonder why it went away and why it came back. I cannot see any connection with anything that I did. 
Martin, modified 1 Month ago at 3/28/22 12:19 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 3/28/22 12:19 AM

RE: Martin's Log 2

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Back to no push or pull. Or maybe it's like being on ball bearings. Push and pull move around the mind without resistance. It's very nice. And it's different from what I was referring to before as "the oiled feeling." The oiled feeling was no frictional resistance. This is no point of contact where resistance can be felt. And it's also very ordinary feeling. Just as it was a few days ago, before the interruption, it's as if there never were, and never could have been, any resistance. That is deluded, but it's how it presents itself. 

I met a friend today who was very upset about the war. I do not agree with her view of the war. But that never came up. My view wasn't what we were talking about, and it was possible to just be with her view and how it made her feel. After we went our separate ways and I had the alone time to ruminate over what she had said, I didn't. There was still no disturbance. 
Martin, modified 1 Month ago at 4/1/22 5:32 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 4/1/22 5:32 PM

RE: Martin's Log 2

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On the cushion: I'm alternating morning sits between one day of sample-and-loop and one day of straight breath-based access concentration, followed by jhanas and then investigation in both cases. In the evenings I do straight vipassana. Sample-and-loop really seems to be a solvent for something or another. I'm not going to venture a guess as to what is being dissolved, as I would just have to settle on a conceptual label which would, perforce, be wrong anyway.

I went through some kind of patch over the past few days. For several days, each time I closed my eyes in formal practice (both morning and evening) it was like immediately sinking into black water. The body basically disappeared and it was even hard to find the breath at the nose. This was not, however, a nice thing. Two days ago I had what looks like an A&P-related event during my evening practice. This was the experience of flashing in and out of existence at about 2 hertz and being in a slightly different position each time "I" reappeared. There was no body awareness in this, but rather a kind of abstracted perceiver, which was in a somewhat different rotational and height position at each reappearance. There was also a difference in the degree of expansion/contraction. Obviously, there was some carry-over consciousness, as I could notice the difference between individual appearances. This was followed later in the evening by typical A&P energetics. The next few sits were full of sadness (which is a rare emotion for me) and frightening/disturbing images. This is an unusual case of my practice lining up, at least somewhat, with the POI, which it generally does not do. 

Off the cushion: Generally low energy and various aches and pains. The no-push-or-pull thing is mostly absent. On the other hand, there is lots of access to presence/quiet mind/simple awareness. For some reason, which I cannot explain logically, it appears to me that this state is a great teacher. It is available most of the time that I remember to look for it, including when I am engaged in both manual, and some language-based, activities (work). Particularly during manual activities, this can be accompanied by a strong anatta/agency-free sense. This is nice in the same kind of way that it's nice to ride a bus, knowing that you can just relax and look around without having to drive. 
Martin, modified 1 Month ago at 4/5/22 9:10 PM
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RE: Martin's Log 2

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On the cushion: Unremarkable. Had a lot of energy yesterday so went for a 30-minute access concentration buildup and quite hard jhanas up to 5. There is this thing recently where 1st establishes itself but not very strongly, and then it just lifts up another level, and then does it again. The jhanas run their own show. In evening practice there is usually no push-or-pull by the end of the session but that is the only place I have seen it (or should I say, not seen it) for the past little while. Every time push and pull are absent, it seems like they have always been absent and will always be absent. This is not a sense of permanence but a sense of inherency. I am clearly missing something. 

Off the cushion: I'm stringing together longer patches of the thought-free/receptive/natural mind. This is no push-pull free. Often, there has been a sense of effort to prevent thought from restarting by willfully engaging with the non-mind sense doors. I realize that is not really necessary, so I am trying to relax and let the sense doors do their thing without forcing attention to rest on them. More of a merging than a staying. If it feels stable, I try to add some second jhana overtones. That is not especially fruitful. I would say that, off the cushion, natural mind makes up about 2% of my day, which is actually big step up. 

There is still a lot of thinking, and thinking about thinking. I am routinely amazed by how deluded I am. So much of thinking is made of imaginary conversations, or more accurately, monologues in which there is an assumed listener. Sometimes it's the DhO, sometimes a family member, sometimes a friend, a colleague, client, journalist, politician, etc. I've taken up the habit of, when I notice one of these conversations, of reminding myself that "nobody else is actually here." The "conversation" stops, at least briefly, and often there is a real sense of loneliness. Occasionally, there is a sense of freedom. A small about of my verbal thinking is not a conversation with an assumed listener. The distinction is interesting. And much thought does not have a verbal component or an internal visual component, which I guess makes it subconscious (though perhaps not in the Freudian sense). How does it happen that some combination of external stimulus (non-mind sense doors) and subconscious thought triggers a verbal thought? 

Heat in the body continues to be a companion. When it started over two years ago, it was almost all in the heart area and the lower right abdomen. Over the last few months, it has also been showing up in the spine. It has worked its way up slowly, so now it is as high as the base of the skull. It's very local, Like having a row of pocket warmers along the spine, except they are not on the skin, but inside the spinal cord. It sounds very woo and ridiculous, but that is what is going on. 
 
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SigmaTropic, modified 1 Month ago at 4/6/22 7:44 AM
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RE: Martin's Log 2

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On the cushion: Unremarkable. Had a lot of energy yesterday so went for a 30-minute access concentration buildup and quite hard jhanas up to 5. There is this thing recently where 1st establishes itself but not very strongly, and then it just lifts up another level, and then does it again. The jhanas run their own show. In evening practice there is usually no push-or-pull by the end of the session but that is the only place I have seen it (or should I say, not seen it) for the past little while. Every time push and pull are absent, it seems like they have always been absent and will always be absent. This is not a sense of permanence but a sense of inherency. I am clearly missing something. 
Have you tried the realizing the witness practice in TMI after you do the jhana progression? You can get to this no push-pull state with the pointers in stage 8 and then you can just hang out in the witness state. You have to have the metacognitive awareness that is in stage 6 onward. 

The basic idea is you go whatever jhana is the highest you can get and then you get to a very broad state where attention and awareness seem to be indistinguishable. If you step back from that state in your mind and can stabilize that experience then it's like you've cleanly cut off the sense of self from the sense bases- it's a very distinct shift when that happens. It really feels like a permanent autonomous watcher. It's a very serene sublime state. Very high equanimity. When you get that state its a state of less fabrication kinda like a jhana. The TMI instructions work but you can also play with it and experiment to see what happens it's quite fun- you imagine the universe and all the sense of movement and change and you try to include as much in your awareness as possible at the same time. You can stabilize that sense of change in all your sense bases and then the mind is capable of stepping back and observing it. That's stage 8-10. I think you could probably get a lot out of that practice.  I did a lot of that practice, and you can get to the watcher state and there is the opportunity to see it disappear completely ;). 
There is still a lot of thinking, and thinking about thinking. I am routinely amazed by how deluded I am. So much of thinking is made of imaginary conversations, or more accurately, monologues in which there is an assumed listener. Sometimes it's the DhO, sometimes a family member, sometimes a friend, a colleague, client, journalist, politician, etc. I've taken up the habit of, when I notice one of these conversations, of reminding myself that "nobody else is actually here." The "conversation" stops, at least briefly, and often there is a real sense of loneliness. Occasionally, there is a sense of freedom. A small about of my verbal thinking is not a conversation with an assumed listener. The distinction is interesting. And much thought does not have a verbal component or an internal visual component, which I guess makes it subconscious (though perhaps not in the Freudian sense). How does it happen that some combination of external stimulus (non-mind sense doors) and subconscious thought triggers a verbal thought? 
Sounds good, look for Martin
Martin, modified 1 Month ago at 4/6/22 7:08 PM
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RE: Martin's Log 2

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Thanks for the pointers and encouragement, Sigma. I've never read TMI, but it might be time that I did.
george, modified 1 Month ago at 4/6/22 4:23 AM
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RE: Martin's Log 2

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Yes the whole talking thing to yourself can get pretty deluded, haha. Glad you're able to notice the utter rubbish that comes into mind.

Some psychologists use a multiple self model for mapping the mind to integrate traumatised selves. Traumatised selves are parts of mind that are dissociative hence not able to integrate in the system of selves. So you can use this model to consciously call up certain "selves" to calm or rationalise other parts of you that maybe fearful or ashamed.
You could also possibly call up the Buddha nature in you & see what it says or would do. 
George S, modified 1 Month ago at 4/6/22 3:48 PM
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RE: Martin's Log 2

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One of the things I found really helpful about off-cushion enquiry practice is that it used up a lot of my idle thinking bandwidth!
Martin, modified 1 Month ago at 4/6/22 7:09 PM
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That's a thing, for sure! 
Martin, modified 1 Month ago at 4/14/22 4:19 PM
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RE: Martin's Log 2

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On the cushion: The same practice: one day capture and loop, the next day breath. This thing has been going on for a week or so where, when I have exited the jhanas and I am hanging out, investigating, witnessing, or whathaveyou, first jhana suddenly shows up. This is kind of similar to the piti showing up during self-inquiry that Adi helped me with, but I'm not doing inquiry, and it's not just piti. In fact, the piti portion is relatively low, but there is a lot of light and some heat and energy, and the whole, being pulled upward sense, and then, pop, I'm in a well-developed and quiet first. The whole process takes one or, at most, two minutes. There is a reset or flush-out quality here. Whatever was in the mind before that is completely washed away. Then it dissipates and I am in a weak fourth (no second or third in between). This has been happening in every sit and seems to be increasing in frequency. It happened something like four times today. On one of those times, there was the flashing in and out of existence thing. These are not cessations. They are very brief and repeated multiple (three or four) times, and I do not notice the start, just repeatedly popping into existence. I'm like a lightbulb with a loose wire. 

Off the cushion: Variable.

The quiet mind is there whenever I look for it. I am starting to notice what is going on when the mind is not following gross thoughts. There is a lot going on. Duh. But I really don't know what to make of it. I often sense a swelling sea of proto-thoughts, other times there are just ordinary mechanisms of perception and intention, with little spikes of self. I am trying to pay attention to Martin in all of this, when he shows up. I realize the mind has a kind of aversion to the ego. The ego (Martin) is kind of embarrassing. It's like when you are a kid playing with your friends, and your dad or mom comes in and tells you to turn the TV down, or something, and you do turn the TV down, but you and your friends basically pretend that it didn't happen, because the whole notion of parents is just so uncool that nobody even wants to admit they exist. It's something like that.  

At the same time, for the past while, there have been big chunks of the day that are incredibly normal. Just working, running, running errands, reading books, talking to friends, feeling ordinary. It occurs to me that it could continue like that until I die and, in fact, that is the ordinary pattern in life. Sometimes there is A&Py stuff. Last night there was a big patch of that while I was trying to get to sleep: noticing every perception, every arising of a fleeting sense of self, it is kind of annoying at times.

Sometimes, when the mind is quiet, while I am going about my day, it's like being a kid, or visiting a foreign country: everything is fresh and I know that I don't really know what I am looking at. 
Martin, modified 24 Days ago at 4/23/22 10:22 PM
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RE: Martin's Log 2

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On cushion:
Mostly the same. Recently, however, when first jhana comes back itself late in the sit, it is mostly just staying, so there is mindfulness and investigation still going on, but with stable piti a fairly bright light for the end of the sit. 

There was a notable on-cushion insight. In seventh, there was nothing and then, with the fading of seventh, there was a nimitta (which is kinda weird as I have never seen one outside of access concentration/first before). What was striking, however, was not the nimitta, but that there was nothing, and then there was nimitta-consciousness. Not two things (nimittta + consciousness), not an object and a subject, and not any third-party witness, but just one thing, doing its thing. This fits with an off-cushion experience from a few weeks earlier in which the same thing happened with people walking by in a park but it was easier to understand on the cushion. 

Off cushion:
The quiet mind, free of verbal or conceptual thought, is lasting longer, in more situations. Part of it is learning to relax into it. Part of it is, just being able to detect it. It's perhaps something similar to what Sigmatropic was talking about in relation to jhanas, recognizing what is already there and moving into that already existant mode. It's not a space that can be occupied or a frequency that can be tuned to. But accessing it has that sort of feel to it: unmeshed/meshed; nowhere in particular/there. It can last for half a second, or fifteen minutes. It was there, a few seconds at a time, throughout a noisy poker game. It was there for, cumulatively, nearly half of a long mountain run with a buddy. 

And it is taking on a deeper character. Before it was so quiet and unpopulated that it was almost sterile. Now there is, increasingly, an exhilarating intimacy, like skinny-dipping in the present moment, and an amorous aspect that is hard to understand because, in a sense, there is no object, and in another sense there very much is an object. 
Martin, modified 13 Days ago at 5/4/22 6:29 PM
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RE: Martin's Log 2

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On the cushion:
Instead of first jhana coming back at the end of the investigative sit, second jhana comes back. Very odd. It establishes itself self in just a few seconds and without any warning. This is full-on, sex + love + hilarious joke + golden light stuff, completely unbidden. It fades after a few minutes. 

The sample and loop thing, which I continue to do every other day is morphing into something else as I am increasingly picking out objects that the mind is taking as attributable to self, which creates a kind of infinite regress. 

Off the cushion:I was sick for four days and could not sit. I was interested to see that this did not seem to have any impact. There are certain ways of seeing, experiencing -- atypical visual and aural perceptions, which I tend to think of as being aftereffects of meditation, in part because my main sit is in the morning, but they were unchanged. The heat along the spine is about halfway up the head by now. There is also a kind of whole-body cocoon of warmth a lot of the time. It is very noticeable (borderline oppressive) whenever I lay down. There is a lot of joy. My wife says I'm "high" because I go around whistling and cleaning. It is very interesting to listen to music with the mind in the quiet/natural mode, so that there is just the music, all by itself. 

The quiet mode is presenting as a bit of a paradox at the moment. It's now "on" whenever I want it to be, but the mode includes the absence of me wanting. So it is dependent on that which it does not include. That's not as straightforward as it sounds. I am not able to find the right words here.

On a separate note, I had an experience that made an impression on me a few months ago and is occupying an ever-larger place in my mind. I was coming back from the airport and I got off at the wrong subway stop. When I got outside, I realized my mistake. It was cold and windy. My options were to walk to the next stop, go back into the subway, or take a cab. What was interesting was that I could see that each choice would result in a mix of unpleasant and pleasant, and the unpleasant wasn't better or worse than the pleasant. In each of the three cases, it would be an experience, like any other. This wasn't indifference, it was just being fine with all the options. It might be better to say that each of the three cases would be an adventure, like any other. The choice in question was very banal but it keeps coming back to me when potential futures come to mind. It amounts to knowing that, in a sense, all possible futures are experiences that are not different from each other in their fundamental nature.

In a related development, I recently took a closer look at the Jain principle of anekantavada (the understanding that things are not one-sided). This has always appealed to me but I think I have had the wrong end of the stick. My take has been to look at anekantavada as an extension of skepticism. I might sum up my previous approach to conflicting views of "I think you are wrong, but I'm pretty sure I'm wrong too, so let's not make a big deal out of it." But when I hear Jains talk about 'anekantvad' that is not their spin. It's much closer to, "You are right at least in a sense." This is a much more joyful way of looking at the world of views. 

But it is not a popular way of looking. When I mentioned it to a friend, she got quite angry because it was a way of looking that allowed harmful views to go unchallenged. I am not sure this is actually the case, but her argument is reasonable. Anekantavada is, of course, of no real use if it includes the demand that other people agree with anekantavada, or even tolerate it. A difficulty here is that this way of looking is not, for me, based on a well-reasoned conceptual framework. It's more like a conceptual front-piece that happens to fit comfortably on an understanding that was not arrived at by conceptual reasoning. If I try to explain how it works for me, I will end up saying odd things like, 'there are no individual agents creating and holding the views we are discussing,' or 'none of these views has any inherent existence,' which just pisses people off. Alternatively, if I don't offer a conceptual defense, people tend to see this type of thinking as childish. That is a reasonable characterization and probably the best place to leave it. Perhaps an even better place to leave it is just not to mention it at all for now. (Except on DhO, where I feel that people can handle me mumbling half-baked ideas.)

I might have saved a lot of time by writing "Off cushion: mostly equanimous" but this kind of conceptual overlaying is actually a pretty prominent part of my experience at the moment and, interestingly, the nature of the thinking has also changed, so that the thought is happening without an imagined interlocutor, and this change takes the tension out of the thinking, so this too is part of the overall OKness. Of course, all this thinking really leads nowhere but it's what happening, and trying to stop would seem to make no more sense than pointing out to a prattling four-year-old that there is no lasting satisfaction in speech.
George S, modified 12 Days ago at 5/5/22 8:57 AM
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RE: Martin's Log 2

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This wasn't indifference, it was just being fine with all the options. It might be better to say that each of the three cases would be an adventure, like any other. The choice in question was very banal but it keeps coming back to me when potential futures come to mind. It amounts to knowing that, in a sense, all possible futures are experiences that are not different from each other in their fundamental nature.

I find this really interesting. After big shifts like path moments, I've sometimes had a "vision of the future" - not explicit details of what would happen, but a sort of sense of the emotional/psychological "template" of the future. Like there are certain emotional/psychological sankharas which determine big picture things like relationships or roles. And in a sense any "external" could fit the sankhara, although in practice it is likely to be the most accessible option (path of least resistance, or something like that). I don't know if this is related to what you're saying, but it came to mind when I read what you wrote. 
Martin, modified 12 Days ago at 5/5/22 8:51 PM
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I think I have a sense of what you are talking about. There are moments for me, sometimes years or even decades apart, where the degrees of freedom for the future seem to change.

In this case, I was thinking of the immediate future, like ten minutes from now, or a few days from now. In terms of the distant future, I'm even more OK with whatever it brings but I'm 59 so "distant" might not even be on the table :-)
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Sigma Tropic, modified 12 Days ago at 5/5/22 9:18 AM
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RE: Martin's Log 2

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Martin- excuse my directness here - but are you a Sotapanna, and if not, why not? Thanks.  
Martin, modified 12 Days ago at 5/5/22 8:38 PM
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RE: Martin's Log 2

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I like direct questions, so thank you for being direct.

No, I am not. I spent quite a long time trying to answer the why part of your question, but I could not. I have never had a fruition experience. For that matter, I have never had any experiences that I can really map to any part of the POI other than what looks like A&P and what looks like equanimity. My current guess is that I am not wired for it. 
Martin, modified 11 Days ago at 5/6/22 4:02 PM
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Sigma,

After thinking about it some more, I developed a question of my own.

When I said that I tried to answer your question as to why I was not a Sotapanna, what I meant was that, yesterday, I wrote out several hundred words cataloging my practices, experiences, and shifts, referencing these to the POI map. But I found no answer in any of that. My question is, can the "if not, why not?" part of your question be answered and, if so, what sort of an answer might be possible? 

For simplicity, I am going to assume that when we say Sotapanna, we mean, as a minimum, a person who has had at least one fruition. The business of fruitions, as I understand it, is somewhat mysterious and different from attainments based on skills or knowledge.

For example, if one were to ask, "can you get into the jhanas, and if not, why not?" there might be answers like, "my problem is that my mind wanders when I try to get into access concentration" or "I never see a nimitta" or "I don't find a pleasant sensation to switch to in access concentration." That is to say, there is an implied skill competent in the question. And if you were to ask, "can you diagram sigmatropic reactions, and if not why not?" then a person might say "my problem is that I don't understand the difference between sigma and pi bonds." That is to say, there is an implied knowledge component in the question. Although getting to a path moment is often talked about in terms of skills and in terms of knowledge, and I can in fact review my own skills and knowledge, I don't see any way to formulate answers in the form of "my problem is that ..." to the question of why I am not a Sotapanna. 

In many traditional Buddhist descriptions, and some pragmatic descriptions, the yogi does not even know of the possibility of a cessation until it happens to them. This suggests that fruition does not necessarily involve choice or intention. So, here again, an answer like "I'm not aiming for that," would not provide an answer as to why a meditator, who has developed some skills and engaged for years in practices that often produce fruitions, does not have any.

Perhaps Sotapanna is akin to pregnancy: there are things you have to do to get there, but doing those things doesn't necessarily mean it will happen. 

In any case, I am curious as to the type of answer that you were envisioning. 
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Sigma Tropic, modified 11 Days ago at 5/6/22 4:50 PM
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RE: Martin's Log 2

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In my humble opinion you are Sotapanna. 

When I use the term Sotapanna what I mean is that the person meets the criteria in the fetter model of awakening described by the Buddha and has developed the skills and mastery combined with a basic outline of how the mind works - so that they are able to at will stop suffering in the moment, or something that starts to look like that. When I read your recent entries I read SOTAPANNA. I see insight experiences and knowledge gained through insight experiences. The momentary experience of cessation/frution is something that can be learned by a Sotapanna, and they should get at least one good experience and knowledge of it, but insight comes about in other ways as well and you need to let go of this silly view that the exact terrain looks exactly the same for everyone. You are on Mars, stop comparing yourself to people on Earth.  

You are a confused sotapanna in my estimation because you have equated "momentary experience of cessation/fruition" as equivalent to the much deeper criteria I described above. The other abilities you have - like this no push pull state that you get into at will - the jhanas are good - yeah sotapanna. 

There was a notable on-cushion insight. In seventh, there was nothing and then, with the fading of seventh, there was a nimitta (which is kinda weird as I have never seen one outside of access concentration/first before). What was striking, however, was not the nimitta, but that there was nothing, and then there was nimitta-consciousness. Not two things (nimittta + consciousness), not an object and a subject, and not any third-party witness, but just one thing, doing its thing. This fits with an off-cushion experience from a few weeks earlier in which the same thing happened with people walking by in a park but it was easier to understand on the cushion. 

This thing I wanted to say something before but I kept it to myself but that's direct experience of non-duality in a unfabricated state, nimitta consciousness - very cool - yeah this is Martin's brain doing cessation. Doesn't matter if you repeat it again- But without reifying - just intend for this to happen again and just keep learning. Take a perspective of before/after and effect on craving/self and just see what you find. Please don't let this throw you off- I'm confident it wont. 

Also - you complaining about how deluded you are and how much nonsense goes through your mind - yeah Sotapanna. That's understanding of craving and aversion. That's how it looks or at least how my brain looked recently after Sotapanna. I don't know Martin, people need to be more upfront here but you're awake my friend but you already knew that. 
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Sigma Tropic, modified 11 Days ago at 5/6/22 5:16 PM
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RE: Martin's Log 2

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The thing is, with labels and attainments it's a silly thing to call ourselves things and you know that but we can use conventional language and use a term to describe someone's state of being without it turing into some kind of identity mania. So whatever- you have that knowledge and I think someone telling you you meet the criteria for the stupid label, maybe coming from someone whose knowledge of practice you respect, and if that helps you get over this identity block with calling yourself something, and actually seen as a useful orientating label to direct one's investigations further. Then it is useful and pragmatic. 

Regarding fruitions- 
That's also another label for an experience. We need to move beyond criteria for awakening that define specific experiences as awakening. That's not a good view. We should describe and gauge awakening based on a person's experience of life and their behavior. Plain and simple. What they understand about themselves and the world around them. Certain experiences can be powerful to produce an understanding of oneself- but are not what awakening is, in themselves.

Awakening makes people behave differently. If you reprogram a computer and it will not be the same computer. Behavior is part of everyday experience and is subject to dependent origination conditions and produces future selves and behavior patterns.  When viewed with Right View behavior is obviously essential to both awaken and become more awakened. It's literally a whole branch of the eightfold path. Buddhist awakening also imparts certain skills and abilities to a person, skills which they have consciously and intentionally cultivated. These skills are skills to be a better person, treat other people better, and have a better experience of life. Then, at a certain point, become a more helpful person and an enriching force in the universe. If anyone has a better defintion I would be happy to hear it. 

 
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Sigma Tropic, modified 11 Days ago at 5/6/22 10:49 PM
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I wasn't looking for anything specific in asking you that btw, I just wanted to raise the question because it seems like something clearly shifted in yor practice since the older entries from ~ 1 year ago. Anyway, hope this isn't coming off like Martin's being evaluated, I'll let that settle for a while and shut up. 
Martin, modified 9 Days ago at 5/8/22 1:41 PM
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RE: Martin's Log 2

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Thank you, Sigma. All of that is very encouraging, and the encouragement is helpful. I agree that things have changed. 
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Chris M, modified 11 Days ago at 5/6/22 4:15 PM
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Please be aware that there are entire Buddhist traditions in which cessations, fruitions, states, and stages are simply not spoken of, not condoned, not taught, and not expected. And yet, those traditions regularly produce very awakened individuals.
Martin, modified 9 Days ago at 5/8/22 1:42 PM
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Thank you, Chris. That's a good thought. 
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Arena Heidi, modified 11 Days ago at 5/6/22 5:30 PM
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I am really appreciating the conversation here and the way it brings up the definition of awakening and if it is even necessary to have a definition? Is it even necessary to fit oneself into the definitions that others have? Since I joined this forum, my husband has been lurking here. Early on he said to me, "have you read Martin's posts? I really resonate with him." Now that I am here reading your log, I understand why he relates to you. I really appreciate how you articulate your experience, the humanness of it all and also a sense of not trying to get anything from it. The freedom and relief of letting it be what it is. The relief of no striving. I feel this from reading your posts and it feels similar to where my husband is at. Am I projecting this onto you or do you feel this way? Are you wanting to have cessations, fruitions and the progressions talked about here or are your content with just being where you are at? At any rate, reading your posts settles me more deeply into the ordinariness of being here. I relate to and value the simplicity of just that. Thanks.
Martin, modified 9 Days ago at 5/8/22 1:50 PM
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RE: Martin's Log 2

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Thank you, Arena. You are kind. I would like to read your log, if you write one. 

Are you wanting to have cessations, fruitions and the progressions talked about here or are your content with just being where you are at? 


Can the answer be "yes"? ;-) My practice makes me happy and has led to changes for the better, even though I cannot, at the moment, see it lining up with the descriptions in the Progress of Insight. At the same time, I am confident that the cessations, fruitions and the progressions talked about here do happen as described and have great benefits for the individual and those around them. Cessations may not be on my particular path, and that's fine, but it would be ingenuine of me to say I wasn't interested in them.

It's probably worth noting that, although I meditated off and on for about 15 years, was part of a weekly sitting/study group for several years, went on weekend retreats, and so on, things didn't really change until I moved on from the standard IMS-type dharma to pragmatic dharma of the sort found here which, if not always goal-oriented, tends to be at least results-oriented. So I have a great deal of respect and appreciation for the effort, striving, and goals here.

​​​​​​​When I was practicing in the IMS style, I was more agnostic about the whole notion of progress. That ended when I read Right Concentration and gained access to the jhanas. The jhanas are literally out of this world. I don't try to explain them to friends or family because they would not believe me or, if they believed me, that would just mean I hadn't described them properly. Also, when I look at how much my options have broadened recently, it's extraordinary to me. For example, when I have some pain in the body, I can identify with it and suffer, or I can be with it without identifying with it, or (and I find this very weird) I can choose to have it go away for a while, or I can flip the vedena of the experience, so that it is warmth and stimulation, rather than pain, or I can develop some samadhi and be absorbed into that, or I can take an aspirin :-). That is a boatload of options that I did not have in the past and, from what I can tell, most of those options aren't available to the non-practicing public, or even the public that just practices mindfulness. And those options are there for everything that arises, not just bodily pain. 

These things make me sure that it is possible to progress from the mundane to the supramundane and that, by extension, liberation is possible. Once you are sure that liberation is possible, it seems natural to be drawn to it. Then again, as you say, there is a freedom and relief of letting it be what it is, and I would agree that present-moment freedom is primary. So, long-story-short, yes. 
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Sigma Tropic, modified 9 Days ago at 5/8/22 3:47 PM
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RE: Martin's Log 2

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Finally, yes, this is good very good stuff. 

People can want things and compare themselves to others and the ability to say "yes, I want to learn cessation" is not wrong, it's a supramundane phenomena so why would you not want to experience that?

For someone like Martin - he has access to supramundane states already- the jhanas, the no push-pull, the choices that you describe- that's a supramundane perspective - a perspective with understanding. The cessation phenomena I think can be learned by someone with such perspective who chooses to learn it. But it will just be another skill in the yogi toolbox to go along with the other skills, and for such person, they will be enlightened to the whole thing and probably learn a lot more than an unenlightened person trying to learn cessation.   

The cessation phenomena is a highly reified object for a dharma practitioner and it is becuase of this reification that there is ignorance around it. Someone claming cessation having read Daniel's book will already have an idea in mind, and if there is some phenomena that looks like it, instead of investigating there is always the "am I enlightened" question around it. And when they try to phenomenologically describe it they have some "right answer" in mind. It clouds up the entire enquiry. 

I've never seen, on this forum, a person clearly enlightened who says "I want to learn cessation" and then actually doing it without it turning into an enlightnement debate. The person who sets out with the goal of "I want to learn cessation" without the question "Am I enlightened" is something I've never seen. We are breaking new ground here. 

I would propose the following idea: 
Everyone agrees Martin is enlightened, the results of Martin's cessation training have no effect whatsoever on his enlightenment status, so with those ground rules, if Martin wants to learn cessation, and people ask if he's enlightened, we will thwack them with a stick and say "Mayko". 

I would suggest a jhanic approach. Martin, you have jhanas, and the 8th jhana, have you ever tried setting an intention for cessation to occur, then go up the jhanas. Or you can just go to 4th and intend and see what happens. I would start there. What you want to do is have someone who has attained cessation, give you a mental picture of it, and then use that mental representation as the "thing" you set your mind to attain. 

Also, I'll write another post, but you can start to apprciate the breaks between sensations- anything that could potentially be a phenomena that Daniel Ingram would call "unknowing" events- you can simply set an intention and revisit that intention- and notice these types of events. And refuse to look away. Experience what you experience and intend for final, utter peace. If a person with insight does this, maybe they won't get cessation, maybe they will. But in all my dharma explorations thus far, mind phenomena follow intention. Intention preceeds and conditions all mind phenomena. Problem is with cessation, people have the wrong intention (they are unaware of this) so they will never get it.

The correct intention for cessation is only, can only be understood by a person with insight. I think Martin should formulate the correct intention for the mind state to resonate with that state and it will find it, it's simply how the mind works. To formulate the right intention for a state to arise, you find the closest state the mind has access to, and you understand that state fully. For Martin he should get formless jhanas and notice the following things:

-peacefulness of being free of the body
-peacefulness of being free of sense perception
-peacefulness

If you notice what exaclty soothes the mind about each state- how those defabricated states are peaceful and how they solve one level of dukkha but leave another level - the subtle knowledge of those- the mind learns to see, intuitively, the merits of Nibanna, and it will want that , the correct way to convince your mind to get into any state is there has to be an understanding of the merits. 

These are just some thoughts. But I feel they will be useful, and I have been authorized to teach by my teacher who has given me his blessing. So it may be helpful. 
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Arena Heidi, modified 6 Days ago at 5/11/22 7:03 AM
Created 6 Days ago at 5/11/22 7:03 AM

RE: Martin's Log 2

Posts: 52 Join Date: 4/16/22 Recent Posts
Thanks Martin for your detailed response. And thanks Sigma for your elaboration, too. This conversation has been the most helpful and relevant one that I've found thus far on this forum. I think it's because it's mirroring my own questions for myself. Martin, I can feel that you have something special and it seems like others recognize that, too. When I read your response, it settles me and moves me in some visceral way in the direction that I want to go. I feel curious about this. It makes me want to dialogue with you more or have an actual conversation. I wonder if interactions with someone who emanates what one one wants, can help one to move into those qualities for oneself in effortless osmosis kinds of ways? And is that the best path forward? There are those who identify something in me that they want, and is dialogue and conversation with them the best way for me to help them? Is being present with folks in person (or perhaps via Zoom if in person is not possible) even better? I also wonder if I need even more time self to self, just going more deeply into my own practice? I notice Martin that I really want for you to go more deeply into your own specialness. I want for you to articulate it more for me. I want you to make it more accessible. Is that wanting just egoic and selfish on my part? Or is the something deeper in me, recognizing the something deeper in you, and then wanting to thus stimulate something meaningful and helpful for us both? Or is my wanting you to go deeper into your own specialness, just my projecting onto you my own longing to go deeper for myself? Are all of the above true?

Then Sigma, you represent the stimulation of different, and how learning or moving towards something completely different may open doorways or pathways in Martin, in myself, in unexpected ways that could end up helping us more, or deepening the specialness/awakeness that is already present. Maybe movement in the directions you suggest could be even more beneficial, even though I feel some initial resistance to it? Maybe a number of different things can happen simultaneously and it's not necessary to choose one over the other? Or is single minded intent helpful here? I feel your genuine intention to help Martin and others in a big way, and I appreciate the bigness of your intent. Lots of people want to help others here, but your intent feels especially big and generous. I feel grateful for your generosity and persistence with it. Even if you don't end up helping me directly, the bigness of your intent and aid inspires me and touches my heart. The goodness of it all for the world.

Martin, I love how you articulated the jhanas. You are the first person to make them desirable to me. And Sigma, you are likewise hinting at the desirability of cessations. But I feel this not knowing inside me as to how to best utilize my time, or where to put the most emphasis. In the past, just going deeper into my own path self to self has been the most fruitful. Is that still the best approach for me? It seems like interaction with others who are similar is also quite helpful for me and the others. That we support each other in deepening. But then there is the allure of doing something completely different, something that goes against my inner grain. And that there may be unexpected and surprising help in that. But is this the right time for that? Or is it better to first deepen a bit more self to self and with others who are similar?

So I am just holding spaciousness internally around all these questions. And I am grateful for the outer input from both of you and any others who feel moved to contribute to this conversation. Blessings to all upon their way. It feels like sacred times with much opportunity for all.  
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Sigma Tropic, modified 6 Days ago at 5/11/22 4:00 PM
Created 6 Days ago at 5/11/22 3:49 PM

RE: Martin's Log 2

Posts: 286 Join Date: 6/27/17 Recent Posts
 When I read your response, it settles me and moves me in some visceral way in the direction that I want to go. I feel curious about this. It makes me want to dialogue with you more or have an actual conversation. I wonder if interactions with someone who emanates what one one wants, can help one to move into those qualities for oneself in effortless osmosis kinds of ways? And is that the best path forward? There are those who <strong>identify something in me</strong> that they want, and is dialogue and conversation with them the best way for me to help them? <strong>Is being present with folks in person (or perhaps via Zoom if in person is not possible) even better? </strong><u>I also wonder if I need even more time self to self, just going more deeply into my own practice?</u> I notice Martin that I really want for you to go more deeply into your own specialness. I want for you to articulate it more for me. I want you to make it more accessible. Is that wanting just egoic and selfish on my part? Or is the something deeper in me, recognizing the something deeper in you, and then wanting to thus stimulate something meaningful and helpful for us both? Or is my wanting you to go deeper into your own specialness, just my projecting onto you my own longing to go deeper for myself? Are all of the above true?


I want to imitate some of your qualities it would be fun to chat. We can chat if you want. 
[EDIT] This forum is janky - how does one DM someone? it's not in the wiki theres just a bunch of maps and such. 
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Chris M, modified 6 Days ago at 5/11/22 5:06 PM
Created 6 Days ago at 5/11/22 5:05 PM

RE: Martin's Log 2

Posts: 4328 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
This forum is janky - how does one DM someone? it's not in the wiki theres just a bunch of maps and such. 


The DhO messaging system (DMs) is working now, so go here: https://www.dharmaoverground.org/messages2
george, modified 11 Days ago at 5/6/22 7:36 PM
Created 11 Days ago at 5/6/22 7:35 PM

RE: Martin's Log 2

Posts: 360 Join Date: 9/8/20 Recent Posts
Labels are labels. Being here and practicing is everything.

​​​​​​​Lots of love Martin
Martin, modified 9 Days ago at 5/8/22 1:42 PM
Created 9 Days ago at 5/8/22 1:42 PM

RE: Martin's Log 2

Posts: 414 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Thank you, George. I agree!

​​​​​​​And right back at you!
George S, modified 10 Days ago at 5/7/22 5:30 AM
Created 10 Days ago at 5/7/22 5:30 AM

RE: Martin's Log 2

Posts: 2382 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
I agree with Sigma and Chris.

My question for you Martin would be - why are you not awake?

Like, how do you imagine that the experience of being awake would be different from your current experience? Maybe the only difference is an expectation that it would be different …
Martin, modified 9 Days ago at 5/8/22 1:43 PM
Created 9 Days ago at 5/8/22 1:43 PM

RE: Martin's Log 2

Posts: 414 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Good question, George. I may have seemed to be complaining about a lack of progress but I'm very happy with how things are going. How could I not be? Things are great! I just assumed Sigma's question was framed with the POI/MCTB model. I like what you say about expectations. The future is completely imaginary, so I try not to get hung up on it. 
Martin, modified 6 Days ago at 5/11/22 6:27 PM
Created 6 Days ago at 5/11/22 6:27 PM

RE: Martin's Log 2

Posts: 414 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
After my last post, I found myself caught up in thought. That's pretty funny. I had a hard time disengaging from thinking about what I said about my great ability to disengage ;-) 

Sigma, your pointers are very useful (I especially like the stick thwacking and "mayko" saying part). I also really appreciate you taking the time to help. As it happens, I am already working fairly closely to what you outline, so your advice is well-suited. (Though my arupa jhana skills are a bit hit and miss.) Setting an intention for cessation would be new. I am meeting my teacher at the end of the month and I will see what he says. 

Arena, thank you again for your kindness. I think that you are right that we share being unsure. Sigma said "confused" and I thought, "You've got that right!" But confusion seems apt at the moment. It's an awareness of misunderstanding (aka, ignorance) so it carries a promise of learning. These days, I also frequently find myself saying "oh, I see now." Only time will tell if I do in fact see now :-) I like what you said about deepening. It seems the mind can do that if left quiet. I have the sense that there are better activities for my mind than thinking, at the moment. There's a Lao Tzu saying to the effect that muddy water can be made clear by leaving it alone. 
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Arena Heidi, modified 4 Days ago at 5/13/22 9:14 AM
Created 4 Days ago at 5/13/22 9:12 AM

RE: Martin's Log 2

Posts: 52 Join Date: 4/16/22 Recent Posts
I tend not to see things as confusion but rather as existing in the unknown, and like you said offering opportunity for learning and movement toward clarity. But mostly I'm trying to increase my ability to just be in the unknown! When I wrote my last response to you I could feel the clarity that I did have as I asked the questions. That there's always subtle inner knowing present but it is easy to override it. I love that Lao Tzu saying!
Martin, modified 1 Day ago at 5/16/22 3:26 PM
Created 1 Day ago at 5/16/22 3:26 PM

RE: Martin's Log 2

Posts: 414 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Oh the cushion: Jhanas get more spacious. The body is still there in the first 4 but it is undefined and in the middle of a large ball of jhana (perhaps the size of a small house) with a radiating quality to it. They also take a little longer to form and to transition.  

Of the cushion: The mind is more quiet, more of the time. Awareness without verbal thoughts often establishes itself without prompting. It's easy to rest there. 

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