Where am I at, tho?

George Melon, modified 2 Years ago at 6/22/22 1:58 PM
Created 2 Years ago at 6/20/22 10:19 PM

Where am I at, tho?

Posts: 27 Join Date: 6/20/22 Recent Posts
New here, second post, would appreciate any perspective and feedback. Just want a quick check-in with where I'm at on the path and see if I can get some clarity as to my stage.

I've been meditating using a variety of techinques for the last 7 years. Last two years, I've meditated consistently every day for 2-4 hours. Of all the techniques I've dabbled in, I have my sweet spot which has involved some deep breathing to start, counting the breath until the mind is stable and concentrated, let go of counting and just be with breath, let awareness flow through the body - giving rise to mild-moderate rapture and full body awareness (which half the time is heavy and mildly unpleasant), then open to the space of the mind and mental activity and things sometimes become quieter, with usually some residue of thoughts and disturbances passing through. My concentration and abilities seem to flow in and out, a couple good weeks followed by a few days or week of very little concentration and abilties. Back and forth.

In the first few years, the practice filled me up and nourished my soul, it was exciting and fresh (I can't relate to the A and P experiences I've seen on here). Now, it's more a nuetral grind where I know this whole awakening thing is my life pursuit. I oscilate between mildly unpleasant, nuetral, to mildly pleasant sits. Overall, I feel strong dispassion for the world and worldly pursuits. My mind fully understands and see's the truth in the 3C's, but I wouldn't say it is intrinsic in my momentary perception. I'm still tied to this sense of self, though if I think of non-self I can have this brief moment of really feeling it but it leaves as soon as I let go of the thought. I've been through difficult moments of depression, some mild-moderate anxiety, but few and far between (none that feel like a perpeptual or resounding dark night). My equanimity feels very strong and wise as I'm pretty cool with just about whatever comes up. I see my morality as very strong - vegan, minimalist, worked as spiritual care provider, follow the precepts with ease, don't injest any substances, generally a caring and generous person. I feel 

I've done two goenka vipassana 10 day retreats at 2 year and 4 year mark of my practice along with many other smaller retreats all throughout. First goenka retreat was powerful, challening, cool experience, can't remember much more. Second goenka retreat was more challenging, I agreed with center to leave at day 9 but left day 7 as I was really struggling. Strong aversion to the practice, confusion in the mind, difficulty sitting (physically and mentally). 

The last few weeks, I've been diving into a kind of mix between Mahasi Noting and See hear feel by shinzin young which seems to resonate more with my mind. I am going to Malaysia in a few months and planning on ordaining Buddhist monk within the next year. When I get to Malaysia, I am intent on pushing for high-dose practice periods. 

I'm loving this community and the pragmatic dharma idea. Any thoughts, reflections, observations are welcome to help my understand where I might be on the path. I have this sense of vague-ness in that I don't really resonate with any of the stages, which surprises me for how much I've practiced intently, and I'm also a mild, softer spirit in general so maybe that plays into not having as much vivid, wild meditative experiences. If I had to guess, I've played with mind and body and cause and effect, but haven't gone further as I've never really had any memorable mind-blowing, fantastic, or powerful A&P type moments people describe here. I resonate with the dukkhas and feel a strong sense of equanimity in general but don't want to conflate the general struggles and ups and downs of life with the dukkha nanas. 

Thank you!
T DC, modified 2 Years ago at 6/22/22 12:19 AM
Created 2 Years ago at 6/22/22 12:14 AM

RE: Where am I at, tho?

Posts: 520 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
Not 100% sure where you're at, but given how long you've been at it, and how dedicated it sounds like you are, you're likely past the A+P.  The A+P is often described as fireworks, but it can also be much more subtle - literally the simple and natural complete "arising and passing away" of a thought in our mind.  And it's generally an entry level-ish stage.

The dukkha nanas can likewise be more subtle than expected for some people, particularly if you're not looking for them, and even Stream Entry can be glossed over as yet another pleasant and interesting experience.  For anyone who's been hardcore into meditation for a significant length of time it's at least a possibility. 

Interested to hear how your path develops!
George Melon, modified 2 Years ago at 6/22/22 2:04 PM
Created 2 Years ago at 6/22/22 2:04 PM

RE: Where am I at, tho?

Posts: 27 Join Date: 6/20/22 Recent Posts
Thanks for your thoughts. I was wondering if it is more subtle for some people. I def have a more calm, lowkey personality. I have some high-dose practce coming my way by the end of the year and hoping to find more clarity with the maps in that. The maps make a lot of sense to me conceptually and experiencially in part. Very eager and excited. There is some fear/anxiety about these more intense upcoming periods, but I found confidence yesterday just thinking 'I will do whatever it takes to awaken. I don't care what pain or hindrance arises. I will sit with it, period.' And that somehow made the angst around intense periods subside a bit. We'll see how this mentality holds through. 

Anyone else have ways of digging into / getting psyched for intense periods? I'm definitely prepared to note the anxiety/fear/angst, too. That's been helping.
Ben Sulsky, modified 2 Years ago at 6/23/22 10:39 AM
Created 2 Years ago at 6/23/22 10:39 AM

RE: Where am I at, tho?

Posts: 170 Join Date: 11/5/19 Recent Posts
Just my two cents, (and def don't listen to people on the internet like me), but it seems decidely un-chill to meditate for 2-4 hours a day for 7 years, become "dispassionate" about the world and drop everything to go ordain as a monk in Malaysia.  In my experience chill people watch a lot of TV and drink beer and stuff.