Martin's Log 3

Martin, modified 2 Months ago at 5/30/22 4:13 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 5/29/22 9:14 PM

Martin's Log 3

Posts: 479 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
The last log was getting a bit long. For reference, here are the previous logs. 

Log 1:

Log 2:

On cushion:
Lots of dullness/torpor off cushion for several days previous to today, which made sitting unattractive. I did sit, and the sits were more or less ordinary but I cut some sits short either due to lack of energy or because of impatience. The impatience was kind of fun, actually, because it is such an inexplicable event. It makes no sense, so it's easy to look at without getting pulled into reasoning. That said, I got up before the bell several times. Energy levels were normal today. I saw something interesting. There was a small light (not a real one, just a mind phenomenon) and I saw the mind stitch it together with body sensations to give it a position in space, and to give the body sensations a position in space. It's doing stuff like that all the time, I assume, but I don't usually notice. 

Off cushion:
Several interesting things are going on together. One is a pronounced lack of attachment, or even desire. Another is random moments of nondual sound. Another is a strange visual thing, like there is a cameraman accompanying me wherever I go and zooming in and out and pulling focus for dramatic effect. It's fun. But I am still dull/tired a lot of time. I'm happy but kind of a happy zombie.
Jure K, modified 2 Months ago at 5/30/22 6:05 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 5/30/22 6:02 AM

RE: Martin's Log 4

Posts: 425 Join Date: 9/8/20 Recent Posts
This sounds really interesting. The non dual sound you speak of, was or has it ever been magnified, like really in your face? I think I experience the same thing, it's not as pronounced now though, a lot more gentle. I never knew what it was, I just named it the weird sound thing, but recently I thought about it more and I realised there's no one there when it happens, I just hear sound and sense of self then comes back after. Haha also the camera man thing! It's so weird especially when I'm looking at someone and having a conversation everything kinda zooms in and it really catches me by surprise! I'm like ohhh shit I hope no one notices that I'm getting weird! Thanks for sharing Martin!
Martin, modified 2 Months ago at 5/30/22 4:07 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 5/30/22 4:07 PM

RE: Martin's Log 4

Posts: 479 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Yes, on a few occasions the thing that I am currently calling nondual has been very pronounced and has lasted for several minutes. The characteristic that I am noticing here is that the sound, not only does not have me as a hearer, but also has a hearer in itself. It's kind of like a self-contained hearing entity. That's not a very good description <sigh>. I'm not sure if a more experienced practitioner would consider this nondual, though, as there is a witness to the event. It seems to me that there is a range of not-very-dual experiences, including things like this and, for example, the "big mind" experience, where there is not a clear subject-object split, which may be different from full-on, all-sense-door, no-witness, nonduality. I don't know. I'm spitballing. 

I'm totally with you on the "I'm like ohhh shit I hope no one notices that I'm getting weird!" thing. Sometimes I feel kind of like a teenager hoping my parents don't notice I'm buzzed. A realized person in an interview I once heard said something to the effect of: waking up is like having a secret, but it's a secret nobody else is interested in hearing. 
Martin, modified 2 Months ago at 6/2/22 5:41 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 6/2/22 5:41 PM

RE: Martin's Log 3

Posts: 479 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
On the cushion: The jhanas are getting longer and more stable. I am having a lot of difficulty remembering what happened in sits.

Off the cushion: Something new has been happening. It started two days ago when I was visiting a park with my wife (curiously, the first nondual experience I had happened when I was visiting a different park with my wife). This is not a nondual thing. That is to say, this is not the same thing as the thing I called the nondual thing. It's something else. It's hard to get the phenomenology of was is going on. There is a spacial processing difference. I might say that the distances to things are dynamically changing.  There is a sense of being "inside" the world, in the way that one is inside a world in a computer role-playing game. It is also very beautiful. I find myself looking at stop signs and going, "Holy fucking shit, that's amazing!" Some colors are unnaturally bright, others are muted, but just extremely well-chosen. It comes and goes without completely fading and can be intense for an hour or so, but often is only there for minutes. It was very strong two days ago, it was mostly absent yesterday, and it is very strong again today. Nice stuff!
Martin, modified 2 Months ago at 6/4/22 3:36 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 6/4/22 3:36 PM

RE: Martin's Log 3

Posts: 479 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
On the cushion: At the beginning of a sit. was an I-making thought. Specifically, it occurred to me that, if I joined a Zen sitting group, I might be asked about my practice, and a resume-like answer started to unfold. My usual practice is to abandon such thought streams once they are recognized because they are I-making, which is to say, that they build up the narrative self, and lead to clinging and suffering. On this occasion, I noticed a false assumption in this habit of thought. Up to now, I had been assuming that, each time I fabricate the narrative self, I am somehow adding to a thing (the narrative self) that sits in the background, and gets pulled out and used whenever circumstances call the narrative self into question. This is, of course, false. As I have noticed before, there is no "the background." But also, not even the narrative self is lasting. It is freshly constructed every time that it is referred to or imagined. There can be some components of the narrative self that are similar across multiple instances, but no two instances of the narrative self are the same. This is true not only from one day to the next, but from one mind-moment to the next. In plain terms, there is no narrative self. 

This seems to be a common error. The function of perception notices that some pattern of sensations is similar to a pattern in memory and announces a match. Bing! Some other part of the mind assumes that, because we got a match: a) the stimulus is created by a "thing" and b) the thing persists in time. This kind of processing works great for rocks, kitchen tables, dogs, etc. But the mind tends to treat, self, opinions, beliefs, desires, and so on in the same way, which is much less useful. Dumb-assed mind. 

Separately, I'm doing this sample and loop thing but, after I have looped a thought 20 or 40 times, it tends to fade, and I just sit there waiting for the next thought to show up, so I can use that for looping. It's often a really long wait. There aren't even what I usually think of as proto-thoughts, those bits of language-like stuff handled by auditory processing. And I essentially do not have visual thoughts (some people do, and some people don't, it turns out). But there is still something going on, and some of it has a conceptual handle. For example, intentions can form, including the intention to keep watching for any thought that might come along, the ability to recognize the lack of thought, and the sense of time. These things seem worth investigating. 

Off the cushion: The inside-the-world/beauty thing is still going strong. I've had quite a few passing periods of non-agency. 
George S, modified 2 Months ago at 6/4/22 9:00 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 6/4/22 9:00 PM

RE: Martin's Log 4

Posts: 2529 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
It seems to me that there is a range of not-very-dual experiences, including things like this and, for example, the "big mind" experience, where there is not a clear subject-object split, which may be different from full-on, all-sense-door, no-witness, nonduality. I don't know. I'm spitballing.

​​​​​​​This reminds me of something shargrol said which had a big impact - what's to prevent you from seeing that apparent duality is actually already nondual?
Martin, modified 2 Months ago at 6/5/22 7:56 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 6/5/22 7:56 PM

RE: Martin's Log 4

Posts: 479 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Thanks, George!
Martin, modified 18 Days ago at 7/22/22 6:24 PM
Created 18 Days ago at 7/22/22 6:24 PM

RE: Martin's Log 3

Posts: 479 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
On the cushion: Mixed bag. There have been a lot of outside impacts like a visiting relative, a heavy work schedule, arthritis forcing me to sit cross-legged rather than kneeling, and the house next door being transformed into a construction site. On some days, I didn't sit, and I cut sits short on some other days. This slacking doesn't seem to have any impact on off-cushion life. It's like on-cushion experience and off-cushion experience both vary in a sort of wave-like fashion, but the waves are not in sync with each other. 

Oddly, now that various people have suggested that I let the jhana rip without fussing too much over sati, my concentration has been quite weak. I can barely get a stable 4th, let alone the arupa jhanas. At the same time, nimitta jhanas (fist/second) are showing up instead of body/pleasure jhanas. I would normally consider that contradictory, as nimitta-based jhanas have, in the past, required more concentration to get into. Who knows. And, for that matter, who cares. Nimittas come up in the ordinary way, as a disk some small distance from the face (almost always a cluster of blue jewels/stars) but now they quickly spread out three-dimensionally until I am either inside the nimitta or I am the nimitta with patches of space in me. The dispersed nimitta becomes the state that is the object of absorption. I had this happen while in the desist chair last week. Definitely improves the dentist-visit experience. 

I have not done much sample-and-loop for the past month because I find it often leaves me overly relaxed. So this kind of contradicts the first thing that I said, as this is a case of meditation having a short-term impact on off-cushion experience. Nonetheless, both descriptions are true. I think, basically, the sample-and-loop technique puts a brake on the internal voice for the rest of the day, which can leave me easily spaced out. 

For the same reason, I have not done much work with Adi's mantra investigation technique (assuming, as I do, that all matra work will have an effect similar to the sample-and-loop mantra technique). The little I have done, however, has been really interesting. There are only three places that the identity post-it note can be stuck to: the actor, the acted upon, or the observer of the action. The really interesting thing to notice, so far, is that it cannot be in two places at once (in part because there is, of course, no such thing "at once"). Work should be less busy for the next week, and I am really looking forward to exploring this technique.

Off cushion: Lots of quiet mind and bliss, as before. Less of the "Oh my god, this is amazing" beauty. A lot more of this way of seeing that I do not have a handy name for. I think it probably falls under "awake awareness." It shares a tone with the spacious/vast way of seeing that I had before the "container" was seen through, but it is not particularly spacious, and it is not non-dual, but it is delocalized, and it does look significantly visually different. While I am seeing in that way, there is no push/pull, no sense that anything could be threatening or could be improved. This state often shows up automatically or I can move to it at will. But it can be easily lost, too. Its comings and going remind me of the coming and goings of on-cushion mindfulness early in my practice, except with a much longer time scale. 

Non-duality occasionally comes up with sounds, even less often with other sense doors. Hey, I wonder what non-dual taste would be like!

Clinging to views has been weakened. Part of that is down to deliberately choosing to see things in terms of anekantavada, but my guess is that part of being able to see things through the lens of anekantavada is down to a reduced clinging to views. An argumentative relative visited us for a week. To date, I have never had a visit with this relative that did not include strained feelings. In the past, even when I refrained from arguing, they would get upset by my reticence. This time, for whatever reason, it just wasn't a problem. I still avoided arguments, but it was like, for example, avoiding arguments concerning a sports team I had never heard of. I could see the passion on their part, but there was no need to retrain my own passion in response because passion simply did not arise. I think that my relative, seeing both no ill-will and no restraint, lost some of their own passion. On the downside, I can't find much motivation to engage in a long-standing, just-for-fun political/philosophical email debate with some friends. I am also feeling lukewarm about a submission I am writing for a public policy consultation on an issue I have reasons to care about. 

Lastly, the energetics are still going strong. I thought that perhaps the warmth was migrating from the belly and heart to the spine and lower skull, but it's just showing up in all of those places now. Sooner or later I'll be one giant warm blob. It's nice, and all, but I still wonder what it is "for."

Martin, modified 2 Days ago at 8/7/22 5:12 PM
Created 2 Days ago at 8/7/22 5:12 PM

RE: Martin's Log 3

Posts: 479 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
On the cushion: Today's sit was interesting. I tried Adi's mantra exercise ( in earnest and was interested to note how easily the mind puts the Self post-it note on the objective awareness of what is going on. It quickly tires of being the producer of sound and of being the receiver of sound, and escapes to observer. Thing is, observer sucks. I don't think I have noticed the suckiness of observer like this before. 

Then I didn't sample-and-loop. There are actually some similarities in terms of maneuvers between Adi's mantra work and sample-and-loop, except that the post-it only goes on the producer of sound momentarily because, as soon as there is a producer, that sound produced is looped and listened to. When the sound peters out and there are those long stretches of silence, the post-it is on the observer. 

Next, I did jhanas. There, I noticed subjective and objective, which I think might have been the same thing that Pepe was talking about. If not, Pepe's observations were good inspiration for whatever it was that I was doing. I don't really see events with arising and passing aways in the jhanas, or at least in the way that I do when investigating outside of the jhanas, so I can't say if noticing endings would have biased me to the subjective, but what I noticed was that the jhanic experience appears to be foundationally subjective, but there are little gaps where objectivity arrises, and these objective gaps suck.

Pepe ·, modified 2 Days ago at 8/7/22 9:48 PM
Created 2 Days ago at 8/7/22 9:43 PM

RE: Martin's Log 3

Posts: 589 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Hi Martin! I guess it's the same, just seen from different angles. In my case it's say ~80% objective and ~20% subjective. In your case, entering throught the lenses of jhanas, perhaps it's 1% objective and 99% subjective. If objectivity is disonnant for me, it's because there's a gap between what actually happens versus what I unconsciously believe things ought to be. I see that I accept some fuzzy range of how experience should be (mix of thoughts and other senses, degrees of intensity, degrees of clearness, etc) but when that range is broken, then I reject reality and try to come back to safe territory (*).  

Some people can focus on certain experiences/senses, and that trigger jhanas for them. In my case it's the opposite, dismantling assumptions is what drive me there: "what phenomena/senses I'm cutting off as irrelevant to this present moment experience?" I tend to focus heavily in body sensations (and thoughts) while disregard images and sounds.

(*) I guess in the long run is all about understanding and accepting that we can only work with pet models 
Martin, modified 1 Day ago at 8/8/22 5:04 PM
Created 1 Day ago at 8/8/22 5:04 PM

RE: Martin's Log 3

Posts: 479 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
That's interesting, Pepe. Thank you for writing it. I don't think I know why I don't like the objective view but I don't think it's because I see something that is dissonant. I think that, for me, it is more of a question of separation. In a case where there is a world and an observer, the observer is necessarily lonely. 

Not that long ago I read 'I' is a Door: The essence of Advaita as taught by Ramana Maharshi, Atmananda & Nisargadatta Maharaj, and these fellows had a lot to say about objects and subjects. Interesting stuff. Not, I don't think, exactly what we are talking about, but at least adjacent. 

Today, in second/third, I took a look at "experiencer of the jhanic state"/"fabricator of the jhanic state". This is very slippery and immediately paradoxical, in the way the playing with "speaker"/"listener" in the mantra exercise is not. It is more immediately obvious that neither could exist. 
Chris M, modified 1 Day ago at 8/9/22 7:38 AM
Created 1 Day ago at 8/9/22 7:38 AM

RE: Martin's Log 3

Posts: 4476 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
If the subject/object duality is your thing and you want to delve deep, I recommend this:

The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way
Martin, modified 1 Day ago at 8/9/22 10:23 AM
Created 1 Day ago at 8/9/22 10:23 AM

RE: Martin's Log 3

Posts: 479 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Thanks, Chris! Downloaded and queued!