Explorations (log #3)

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supermonkey :), modified 1 Year ago at 2/8/23 2:13 AM
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Explorations (log #3)

Posts: 147 Join Date: 8/11/20 Recent Posts
Link to first log, link to second log.
____

keypoints: finding new ways to engage with practice; despite seemingly strong development, I am somewhat troubled by a recurring vague, but pervasive sense of unease. It seems liker there is fear and unworthiness underlying it.

Shortly before last christmas I think I glimpsed what's called lesser non-meditation in "4 Yogas of Mahamudra" by Dharmkirti. The description feels accurate:
At the stage of lesser non-meditation, deliberate mindfulness and meditation are no longer necessary, and appearances arise as meditation. However, merely subtle and illusory fixations are still present.
After a longer phase of Re-Observation and a very short Equanimity in which I'd inquire into the sense of being a meditator, I seemed to have finished a cycle, and shortly after I had the direct lived experience of sensations simply and continously popping up where they are. A bit like a machine, as a friend of mine said. Nothing but raw sensations and imaginings in the mind.
Since then I finshed a few POI cycles (2,3?) with more or less intense dark nights. Recently the experience of insight ñanas becomes less distinct.
I mainly sat without a plan. I couldn't even call that actual practice. But the mind did its thing. For instance, what clearly worked itself out during sits in the last weeks was the ability to see the sense of being a meditator as a sensation. But I had absolutely no frame of reference, and I feel like such a frame would be helpful now. "Need something to do".

In daily life, since short, actually since I am doing the mindful glimpses, me as a person more often than not can feel like a moving picture in awareness, or in a vaster knowing. My own knowing is being known inside a greater kowing/a wider field of awareness. Life can feel like a movie. Or a dream. Depends on the stance taken.

So since a few days there seems to be a shift in interest and orientation. I'm interested in exploring the Mahamudra stages and also the basic jhanas. I still do a regular 1hr sit of just sitting in the morning and during the day I do some mindful glimpses from the book "the way of effortless midfulness" by Loch Kelly. There is a chapter in which there are mindful glimpses, sorted by the stages of mahamudra and I try to get a sense of each. I tried working with several Mahamudra books like "clarifying the natural state", but I was confusing myself with trying to understand concepts like "resting mind, moving mind, non-arising" and so on. Kelly's book seems accessible, although I'm still not entirely sure if it's the right thing to read/do.

The book describes the Mahamudra stages in terms of so-called awake awareness. The correspondence seems to be

Kelly <-> traditional

Awareness of awake awareness <-> Recognition
Awake awareness as aware of itself <-> Realization
Awareness from awake awareness-energy <-> One Taste
Awake awareness-energy embodied <-> Rigpa
Open-hearted awareness <-> Bodhicitta(?)


My explorations of those stages via the mindful glimpses in the book and some (derived) exercises of my own seem to trigger all kinds of jhanic states, and I often find myself mapping, asking if it's clear that this and that stage relates to this and that jhana.

For instance, some notes:

The recognition stage is the recognition that the sense of a self/doer/knower in relation to objects is a known experience in awareness. It has a flavor of first jhana, as trying to stabilize attention on the fleeting sense of self is effortful and can be somewhat wrong and narrow.
The second stage is when the energy/wave of the sense of self is allowed to integrate and then dissipate into awareness/the ocean. This already has a sense of effortlessness, so it's a bit 2nd jhanic, but the open space scenery that emerges has a sense of 5th jhana.
The beginning of stage three is when thoughts are freely moving around as whisps of awareness, and this feels really formless. As the sense of self can come back in the form of being a stable awareness, this stage is somewhat neighbouring the 6th jhana, I think. Then it develops into the sense that form is filled with awareness. For instance my hands feel like they carry a knowing. Here there is some stuckness, as I think I should be able to experience form completely as being awareness, not ony pervaded by awareness.
From one taste, having seen everything as awareness, I can sometimes let the movement of sensations percolate and a sense of nothingness and a sense of groundedness begin to emerge. For me, here, there can be a lingering sense of energy, not being sure whether it wants to be emptyness or form. As if it's shy to emerge. I guess that's my my cutting edge and I'll have to see how gentle I can be here.


I don't know, reading this in hindsight feele like I am having all kinds of jhanic flavors, probably even pureland, and it may take me away from actual realization.

A valuable thing about Loch Kelly's book is that he also treats how psychological stuff can inhibit the experience of awake awareness and gives the IFS approach as a way to deal with it.
In my sits I often feel like towards the end the mind does IFS on its own. I tend to interfer, but I am getting better at understanding what's going on. I seem to have a lot of anger and shame purifications. They seem to come from old abandoned parts of me, breaking free and re-integrating. There really seems to be a strong relation between the sense of abandonment and anger. I am learning that I have to respect the opinion of angry parts instead of seeing them as only annoying and I can feel how that softens the situation instantly. I guess that could be the most useful thing I am learning right now.

On the one hand I assume that it's ok to find the way to a clarified natural state by going through some fabricated jhana-like states, if that's engaging and interesting.
On the other hand I have the gut-feeling that I could be state-hunting and simply paying attention to what's already there would be easier and more beneficial and probably I shouldn't shift the main emphasis of my practice from sitting to these awareness practices. It just doesn't feel really engaging to "do nothing" at the moment.
And yet on the other had, all this interest in Mahamudra could simply be a byprocuct of recent development and there is no real problem, it's just very tempting to make them. The only thing I have to take care of is that true nature thing. Appearances appear, and when thee is a flavor of true nature, that's an experience.


02/08/23:

"This is empty" is an emtpy statement.

The only true nature of things is that they don't have true nature.


Lots of shame purification.

I realized that thinking "when it's good, it comes from emptiness" is true, but wrong/incomplete, as it's missing everything else.

Actually it's very simple: the fact that things can appear in different ways, as self, as not-self, as whisps of empty awareness, as solid, and so on makes it clear that they cannot have an inherent existece. It's pretty obvious when you think about it.

Reading in Daniel's post compilation about the higher paths was grounding.
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supermonkey :), modified 1 Year ago at 2/8/23 3:31 AM
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RE: Explorations (log #3)

Posts: 147 Join Date: 8/11/20 Recent Posts
I notice that after practicing the glimpses, I tend to have a lot of energy coming up. Mostly it's sensations of thickness in the head (piti, kundalini,prana...?) and I feel a lot of energy coming into my hands, energy that makes me want to clench my fists (strength, power, engagement, presence). Yeah, I think it's presence-energy.
Maybe it's interesting to explore whether there really is more energy after the exercises for stages 3 (awareness from awake awareness-energy) and 4 (awake awareness-energy embodied).
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supermonkey :), modified 1 Year ago at 2/15/23 12:39 PM
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RE: Explorations (log #3)

Posts: 147 Join Date: 8/11/20 Recent Posts
02/15/23:

sit (40min): what helped me get into it was to admit that I have no idea what's going to happen… and that thoughts that seem to be convinced on what is going to happen are hindrances. I started to investigate what feels like me and try to understand the relation between reactivity and thinking that stuff is me. Generally, when there is reactivity there is also a sense of me being the experience
After a while I got to spent some time in what (not only) Loch Kelly calls the goldilocks zone; neither too hot, nor to cold. I notice that I am in the too hot zone when I start reacting (over-identified with experience). The too cold zone is when I start to space out, or seek some general distance from experience (seek refuge from experience).
I noticed an eagerness to stabilize a sense of groundedness and comfort and that the eagerness makes it difficult to establish it.
The goldilocks zone has a balanced at-home feeling of energy moving on its own, where moving isn’t actually the right word, but, in hindsight, it can have an impression of moving forward. I got a lot of energetic sensations. Maybe these are energetic releases which have to happen in order to develop a more balanced state.
After a while I noticed, or rather thought/extrapolated that when I space out, the mind starts to cultivate the other side, and reactivity emerges, and when too hot, a tendency to space out again emerges. Reminds me a bit of realms, where in god realm, over time ignorance and aversion are cultivated. Or, to be precise, in god realm ignorance is cultivated, which the cultivates reactivity.
Then I lost the sense of orientation in space and time. It seemed like too hot and too cold were contained in each other, not really separable, like connected through a strange kind of sphere. I also wondered if this is a later stage of one-taste or if it’s already non-meditation. In hindsight I noticed that I just progressed into Dissolution and that’s also why I began to think so much. It also explains the energetic sensations, direct clarity and sense of power (A&P) earlier.

sit (40min): basically started in Dissolution and went up to fruition, then back to A&P and then I could chill out. I realized that it’s really possible to just watch these stages move through (regardless of a method). I found that I’ll probably never get used to the dissonance of the late dark night, though.
Later I had 2 large realizations:
1)  it’s so difficult to change behaviour because you are actually working against a system that’s convinced that it’s doing something good. Innate sense of goodness.
2) My mind has always already done/tried to do the right thing in the scope of my conditioning.
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supermonkey :), modified 1 Year ago at 2/16/23 2:20 AM
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RE: Explorations (log #3)

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There is much mapping. Mapping is grasping. Grasping is mind. Mind is empty. Emptiness is heart-knowing. Emptiness is connectivity. Emptiness is understanding beyond words.
Self-hate is mind. Mind is empty. Emptiness is heart-knowing. Emptiness is radiant.
Doubt and confusion are mind. Mind is empty. Emptiness is clear. Clear not knowing.
Uncertainty is mind. Mind is empty. Emptiness is radiant. Emptiness is clear seeing.
Reactivity is mind. Mind is empty. Emptiness is fluent. Emptiness is joy. Emptiness is complete.

Not knowing is me? I don't know...
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supermonkey :), modified 1 Year ago at 2/16/23 11:22 AM
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RE: Explorations (log #3)

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When we are afraid of an emotion and don’t allow us to experience it, it gets encapsulated. The encapsulation makes us carry the emotion vaguely in the background (the shadow) until we are able to allow us to feel it.
Trying to relate this to the idea of attachment/clinging: when encapsulated, the emotion lingers around and probably over time it has a flavor of „my emotion“, „me“, and it’s almost as if I don’t want to lose it. It’s as if keeping the emotion hidden somewhere serves as a protection. But then, as a consequence of the identification process, I am afraid of experiencing it and of losing it.
This would also explain why over time it gets more and more difficult to experience old emotions, because the longer they stay encapsulated, the more identification can take place.

In fact, when I manage to feel the emotions that come along with doing what’s necessary (uncertainty, insecurity, shame…), I feel less compelled to meditate. It’s a different quality then. I can then decide. Meditation doesn’t appear as addictive. I feel like I even have to find a new reason to do it. Maybe meditate for cultivating something good then?

I guess the identification tendency can not be undone. But if I learn to understand on a direct experiential level that it’s much less demanding for the psyche if I don’t have lingering unexperienced emotions that I am attached to, which makes it very difficult to liberate them, I can maybe learn to allow what needs to be experienced before it gets increasingly difficult over time.
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supermonkey :), modified 1 Year ago at 2/18/23 9:21 AM
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RE: Explorations (log #3)

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I'm putting this here so that I don't forget. And, honestly, I hope that somebody will comment.

This hope that somebody will comment is a form of ignorance. It's a need for confirmation, driven by the desire to know for sure. It induces restlessness. Restlessness drives excessive thinking.

The noting mind is the same mind as that which is noted.

Moving mind is like moving clouds. When there is a desire to follow them, it seems like there is no distinction between that which moves and that which desires. As if the desire is in the experience.

Sometimes a part of the mind tries to congeal the moving mind into a solid spot. That's very unplesant, and I think it's driven by the urge/desire to have a real future resp. to know what the future will be like.
When there is no need for thoughts about the future to be true, the experience of these thoughts is gentle. Similarly for past.

Hate-pride always comes with shame-fear.

Sometimes the assumption on a solid reference triggers a referential feedback loop to confirm the (the idea of a) reference. It's like an attractor. It's fed by hunger.

More self/reference = more contraction and more time, less self = more openness and less time.

Suffering is the need for mental fabrications to be true.
Next step: Suffering is the belief that mental fabrications can be true. Real truths.

I need what I think to be a true display of reality. Absurd!
I need the appearances in my mind to be truths. To be more than ideas. I believe that they are more than ideas. Ignorant!
...that they are more than apparances (which are made) into vague guesses, extrapolations. I contract until this seems more true; I ignore. I ignore to make it seem like that. And that contraction is hatred. I need it to be how I think it is and I hate everything that points to it not being so.
Identification with mental fabrications must lead to ignorance, because when we are identified with mental fabrications, we think we die when they slip... when they don't seem to conform.
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supermonkey :), modified 1 Year ago at 2/20/23 3:16 PM
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RE: Explorations (log #3)

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02/19/23

More stuff:

I hate or ignore what doesn't conform to my convictions. Is the apparent need for conviction a hindrance?

Desire is Aversion. Desire for something is thinking that what is is not satisfying.

I can ignore ignoring. I can hate hating. I can cling to aversion. I can hate clinging, etc.

Aversion: "I don't want this to be true". Antidote: honesty, self compassion.

Ill will: what's happening is different than what's expected. Clinging to stillness. Feel the sadness of not having stillness. Sadness and stillness are not different.

Feel the sadness of not totally being in charge. That’s how you are in charge.

When I can be honest, desire for change goes away. When I can put myself in someone else's place, aversion goes away. Let yourself be surprised. Spend some time with a different view. If it makes you sad to leave your opinion, feel the sadness. The sadness is joy. Recognize the joy of not distinguishing.

Not sure if I assessed that correctly concerning the glimpse into non-meditation. But I'm quite sure I recently spend some time in a preliminary version of one-taste, one mind, or synchrounous mind. It makes much sense to my how Kevin Shanilec describes it. He says one-taste is experienced when the 6th fetter weakens/drops. He calls the 6th fetter "subjectivity". And that makes sense to me; if there is no subjectivity, then everything has one taste. On the other hand, there can be the sense that the subject has the taste of awareness, as opposed to being "real“/solid, but I guess it somehow depends on the state of mind.
Without shamatha this can all feel raw and manic. It’s the rougher version. Rough, empty reality. There can be fear then.

02/20/23:

Life felt a lot like a magical illusion this morning.

In the afternoon I could see how there sometimes is a cone of clarity in front of me and everything else is undifferentiated. Sometimes objects are singled out. There can be a sense of subjectivity in this cone.
Do I synchronize with the object or do I give birth to the object? Clinging to object-ness. It takes a lot of mental energy to assume object-ness when there is no apparent object-ness going on. The transition between object-ness and non-object-ness is fluent.

Aha! It’s not really clear if object-ness or subject-ness comes first!!! It’s not clear at all.
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supermonkey :), modified 1 Year ago at 2/28/23 3:33 PM
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RE: Explorations (log #3)

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02/24/23

I am continuing to shift between the fetter-model approach as suggested by Kevin Shanilec and mahamudra/dzogchen practice either from Loch Kelly's book, WUTYL or "clarifying the natural state". For some reason I see the fetter-model approach on the clear-cut vipassana side. I think they might complement each other very well, although it can be a bit too much this and that.

Recently self-liberation and self-awareness become very interesting, whereas the overall theme keeps being (confused) clinging, mainly to thoughts and emotions.

On wednesday I had a first experience of thoughts being entirely self-aware.
I tried an exercise from Kelly's book where you shift between levels of awareness, more or less alongside the stages of mahamudra, I guess. You take an emotion, say sadness, and proceed as follows, really feeling into each state. Just as an exercise, I put in brackets the three dimensions in Shingon Hokai Sobol talks about in the Hurricane discussions, as I understand it.

1. I am sad (effort dimension)
2. I feel sadness (effort dimension to receptivity dimension)
3. I am aware of feeling sadness (receptivity dimension)
4. sadness is welcome (receptivity dimension to fusion dimension)
5. awareness and sadness are not separate (fusion dimension)

Personally, I have it closer to the following. In a way, it moves from solid form to emptiness to beyond concepts of form and emptiness. I put in brackets which jhana I see here, losely.

1. I am sad (J1)
 1.1 sense of effort dissipates, still some tangling
2. there is sadness (J2)
3. sadness is known, there is sadness-consciousness (J3)
 3.1 the sense of the emotion being stuck (VJ3-ish)
4. sadness knows itself, is its own knowing, or, it recognizes itself and gives way. (to J4)
5. this is it, no separation, natural clarity emoticon (J4-ish)

I usually choose different formulations that seem to get a beter handle for each stage. Can vary each time.

The first step seems to be all-important. Really, really feeling into the sense of I am sad. It feels very familiar but also very narow. The sense of I feel sadness/there is sadness naturally evolves but still has to be regognized as a distinct state. It has a lighter flavour than the first step, but there begins to emerge a sense of contractedness/stuckness of the emotion. This sense of contractedness/the clinging takes a while to be really recognized and then it feels as if the emotion discovers itself as part and is happy to leave its job. Alongside, somewhat magically, there is a shift into openness/presence and a sense of embodiedness. Poetically, it's as if the stuck emotion delves back into the body/awareness and the clinging energy gives power to the system, or so. After that process it's as if there is no duality left and any concept of a this and a that makes no sense. It's very direct, healthy and simple. Very simple.
After doing that on wednesday I felt like trying to do it for thoughts, as there seemed to be the same clinging energy with thoughts. So I shifted attention to thoughts with the intention to go through the process and suddenly thinking presented itself as self-aware for a few seconds.
That same day I got into the experience of self-awareness of thoughts a few times more and I began to notice an existential fear along, but I could take it with enough compassion. to not freak out.

And the more I go into that direction, the more I become aware of clinging. Today this clinging had very much a sense of a need to protect behind it. I may have given this analogy before, but it's the sense of protection that a mother has when unsure if she can let the child play alone on the playground without watching it all the time.

This passage of the hurricane discussion struck me in how well it seems to articulate the situation:

DI (Daniel Ingram): Yeah. So doing it and getting it done, from that point of view, is finally seeing through the last knot of perception. The last subtle distortion of dualistic misinterpretation or missynchronization of thought processes. I mean, I really think of it like a missynchronization. It’s almost like something is out of phase in a habitual way. It just keeps it slightly out of the purview of comprehending awareness. Like, it’s like a phase issue.

HS (Hokai Sobol): One half of experience keeps self-referencing. (!!)

DI: Yes. Yeah. But it’s shifting. I mean, the problem is, it’s so unbelievably malleable. It can shift to an astounding range of patterns. But yeah, it’s almost like there’s a missynchronization of the thing. Something is running slightly out of phase in a slightly jarring way that yet is very compelling until you finally are able to just see things in a complete and penetrating way.



02/25/23

So I sit down and wait until I get caught up in thinking. Then I get curious about an emotion that might be driving it. If present, upon being recognized, the emotion somehow synchronizes energetically and vanishes. After a while things get extremely subtle and I begin to wonder if those sensations need to be liberated.
The process then seems to reflect on itself and it detects mental fixation on many, many tiny energetic spots that seem to have made up the illusion of somebody actually liberating something. I guess you could say that the energetic spots are the fixations itself.
It’s quite demanding to get that subtle. I think it’s somewhat related to slipping into formless jhanas.

02/27/23

A moment where all (clinging) parts seemed to agree, be at peace and retreat themselves, so that the true self could take over. Felt incredibly fresh, positive and in good mood.
 
More seeing of internal experience as illusory.

02/28/23

Dakinis came to help me! For the first time ever I heard an internal voice saying that I’m doing well and told me to keep going!
I also see deities in on things with structure like tiles on the floor. They tend to be male. Somewhat well-wishing, somewhat serious.

Begin to see clinging and self as co-arising. Begin to see aversion as illusion. "Don’t need to stop it!"

This quote of Nagarjuna in Burbea's book fits well and I think it really had an effect on me:

If all this is empty, then there is no arising and passing away. From the relinquising or cessation of what does one expect to obtain nirvana?
Martin, modified 1 Year ago at 2/28/23 6:01 PM
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RE: Explorations (log #3)

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​​​​​​​I like that!
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supermonkey :), modified 1 Year ago at 3/3/23 3:29 PM
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RE: Explorations (log #3)

Posts: 147 Join Date: 8/11/20 Recent Posts
Nice emoticon I like your recent log post, too emoticon
I'm also coming across the topic of view-clinging/clinging to paradigms.
Some thoughts on that: seeking refuge in a view is a "higher order" search for reference. Like a last straw, to put it in slightly negative terms. Like "if all of this is not really true, then at least my views must be". And in a way it's easy to retreat into a view, because a) you have built it up over years and b) it's your imagination. The direct confrontation with views not being accurate can be avoided longer than seeing that "there is no self", as they operate in the background.
When I see that the mind is fixated on a view/lost in search for reference and I can give sufficient attention to that, it goes away. So I guess if you want to see it in terms of DO, clinging to a view is a sankhara, a habit, and removing ignorance (being mindful of it) resolves it. And consequently it makes the suffering go away, as it's tedious to always try to seek reference "somewhere else". You have to hold up the image of this somewhere else and place your imagined self there. Exhausting! emoticon

Edit: I found that what I wrote was a bit sloppy and thought about it again.
So when I cling to a view (want it to be permanent), I am always, at least to some extent, holding it up against that which is actually happening and it creates dissonance/confusion. Hm. As I think about it, I begin to feel like the aware of this dissonance fuels an actualization process. You say that you begin to see clinging as fuel. That's interesting, because as I write this, I feel like the being aware of the dukkha involved in clinging to a view fuels presence. And I am not sure if clinging really requires a clinger. It's more like a micro-dream, where the mind imagines/dreams a self in a past or future circumstance. This process doesn't seem to need a somebody doing it, even though there is a dreamt future or past self. Or maybe that process is not clinging but craving... Maybe the wish for a future self (craving) makes us fall into a dream and it becomes unpleasant when we want the dream to be true, wish to stay in the dream (cling to it).

Edit 2: Something feels off in the Edit. I think I can now see what Martin means with clinging as fuel. It can be very strong. The micro dreams I am talking about is something else, maybe rather related to ignorance. And I am, as usual, trying to talk about something I haven't really understood (yet) and I'm confusing myself.
Martin, modified 1 Year ago at 3/5/23 9:02 PM
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RE: Explorations (log #3)

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I was especially interested in what you had to say about bringing up thoughts as self-aware. The things impinging at the sense doors being self aware or not (nondual or not) is not something I have not been able to specifically cultivate. It just happens. I will poke around with your technique. 

As for views, the term "view" can be applied to a lot. I think that the way Thanissaro is using it actually crosses the line into sankhara. I like the way Adi talks about sankhara as grips that we habitually use when engaging with the world. A view so fundamental as "I can improve on this situation," which is what Thanissaro is talking about, is likely so habitual that it is a sankhara. 

I suspect, by the way, that what you are calling a "micro-dream" and what I am calling a "dust-devil" are very similar things: causally determined mental sequences, seen without being imbued with a sense of ownership or agency. Is this what you were pointing to?

The upadana as "fuel" or "clinging" is not super significant to me. I have a little translation of DO (which I sing to the tune of Big Rock Candy Mountain) and I change the English terms I use a bit every few months. It's like an optometrist changing the lens on one of those machines they use to determine the prescription for your glasses. You know how they ask you "Which is clearer, this ... or this?" Sometimes a different word gives me a clearer view but that doesn't make particular words wrong or right. In any case, it is not the lenses that we look through, but the habit of looking and things that are seen that are important. 

That said, I do like being able to say "five piles of fuel" instead of the rather unwieldy "five aggregates subject to clinging," and, in that sense, I like to notice which kind of fuel has been thrown on the fire at any particular time. 

In any case, this stuff is both really hard to talk about and really fun to talk about. 
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supermonkey :), modified 1 Year ago at 3/6/23 2:45 PM
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RE: Explorations (log #3)

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For fuel: after I read your post I realized that giving specific atention to something, fixating on it in a way, opens up a lot of energy "in that direction". And then I thought that this could be what you mean by calling it fuel instead of clinging. And the fixating of attention, experientially, is a clinging. I was surprised how powerful the energetic window became and it was very compelling. It was always very harsh to not stay in this "energetic window". I suspect that's what is meant by the suffering that's caused by clinging. Lamentation, death.

...and then I crashed into a re-observation. One sign being that I became very, very neurotic about whether it was "correct" how I interpreted what you were describing or if I was just a stupid, naive dilletant. And then I began to debate whether I should delete what I wrote and what exactly was wrong about it... what is wrong?? ahhh!!? yeah, you might know it...

On the other hand, I think it's just the nature of re-observation to exactly show us how clinging creates suffering. Often in that stage I have the impression that I need to go into a concentration state and I just don't understand why I can't. And I feel like it's the most needed thing. Thinking about it, the fuel situation, created by fixating on something is very similar to a concentration state. Maybe it is some sort of momentary jhana, if you will.

For micro-dreams: I think what you call "causally determined mental sequences, seen without being imbued with a sense of ownership or agency" might be when beliefs about a self are seen as empty and they just pass by, are not fueled with energy resp. not clung to.
I experience it like this (and please keep in mind that it's difficult to talk about it ;) ): Say I am angry, or there is anger, or whatever, and the mind creates the view that I am an angry person. The mind, as if it wants to confirm it, brings up a situation in which I would act accordingly. Maybe I would say something harsh to my partner. I call it a dream because in that moment it really feels like I am there being there right now. And then I experience the clinging as the mind wanting to hold the sense of me there (in this imagined situation). So I set myself into a future (or past) point in time.
And now that I reflect on it it's as if the whole thing really can only survive via believing that it's actually me in that situation. Or you could say it survives via believing that the future is real (if that situation is in the future, can as well be in the past).
Interesting and actually obvious at the same time. A belief only works if in the "belief situation", you really think you are there. Or, in a way, you are the belief...
Even further reflection makes me completely lose the definite sense of time with that thing. It's not really like "I am now here and in this future I am there and do that". That's not how it feels. The expansion into a future situation happens in an eternal now. It's only suffering when the mind thinks that the future is real, meaning that it tries to mediate between the sense of "I truly exist now in this moment in time" and "I truly exist now in this future moment in time". It tries to truly exist in two moments in time. Fundamental confusion. Why do we suffer? Because we have a linear sense of existence, and when we imagine ourselves as being in a different moment of time, which inevitably comes with a sense of true reality now (dream), something feels violated, because at the same time we know it's not true. We belive in actual existence of future self. Imagination is not what we think it is. We don't actually imagine "a future". That's just not possible. The mind can only actually produce one sense of existence. Everything else is fundamental delusion.

If you remember, I also talked about that being mindful of the delusions seems to lead to presence. I'd now include that an emotion (like anger) can either be fully experienced, or the mind will slip into a duality. It will create a split sense of (two real) time(s). Fundamental confusion anyone? emoticon

Anyway, I guess what I wanted to understand here is that what I thought of as clinging energy could also have been presence energy. Mindfully embracing an emotion instead of slipping into delusion.

Does any of this make sense?

Edit: sry for the many edits, had to edit out the seeming compiling error.
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supermonkey :), modified 1 Year ago at 3/6/23 3:07 PM
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RE: Explorations (log #3)

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One more thing: I just realized that it could be that what I call mindfulness is or is related to clinging to a present self.
Martin, modified 1 Year ago at 3/7/23 4:18 PM
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RE: Explorations (log #3)

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Thanks. I think I have it now. I was way off base before. In terms of presence versus thought identification, and how clinging relates to that, it may not be as complicated as I was making it. 

I agree and I think you have described it well. When the mind goes off to some other time or place then the mind is generally completely there and not here. 

The questions you are bringing around clinging to a present self are interesting. I have never really thought about that before, but I will roll it around a bit. Do you know Angelo Dilullo? 
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supermonkey :), modified 1 Year ago at 3/8/23 1:17 AM
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RE: Explorations (log #3)

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It's good to hear that it seems to make some sense what I'm trying to convey. After all, I just follow my experience and tend to drift into theorizing at times. emoticon

I think the answer is that I need to be able to hold that dichotomy of existing now <em>and</em> not now in awareness. I think this is important. When I don't, it's like the mind plays tricks on me, and the self seems to ping-pong between "existences". Suffering is when those possibilities are believed.
In theory, that would answer the question of neither clining to existing "now", nor clinging to existing "in the future". Holding both those concepts as a gateway to "actual presence", free from the concepts of either existing or not existing.

I know Dilullo, I have the book and watch his videos from time to time.
Martin, modified 1 Year ago at 3/8/23 10:11 AM
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RE: Explorations (log #3)

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That makes sense. I tend to focus on the moments when these worlds are formed and look at how that happens, rather than what happens once they are in existence, so I'm not really sure, but I certainly agree that when we believe in an imagined future we are doing what Dilullo calls pushing and pulling on thought, and that is uncomfortable. 
Martin, modified 1 Year ago at 3/8/23 10:42 AM
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RE: Explorations (log #3)

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By the way:

As an odd coincidence, I recently stumbled across a poster on buddhism.stackexchange whose answers to questions I really like. In fact, I like them so much that I have been reading all of his answers, one by one. After replying to your post, I came across this answer, which sounds very similar to what you are saying:

https://buddhism.stackexchange.com/questions/48262/what-do-contradictions-mean-in-buddhist-philosophy/48266#48266 
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supermonkey :), modified 1 Year ago at 3/12/23 12:00 PM
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RE: Explorations (log #3)

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@Martin: yes, that all makes sense.
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supermonkey :), modified 1 Year ago at 4/17/23 9:56 AM
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RE: Explorations (log #3)

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 Summary of the last month:

I sat an hour-long sit a day as usual, with about 30 minutes of concentration meditation followed by 30 minutes of open awareness/mahamudra.

During my last posts I went through the dark night, which for me expressed itself as total collapse of self-confidence and extreme doubt. After I stopped posting, Equanimity developed.

At some point I started to perceive pretty clearly the five types of pristine awareness as described in "wake up to your life". I became driven by the desire to basically understand the whole range from ordinary sensory experience to the specific form of pristine awareness for all the elements, like in earth: solidity in touch, stone-like reaction to open space, rigid psychological reactions, sameness awareness, or for water: evasive behaviour when confronted, clarity pristine awareness, for air: movement, busyness and effective awareness. The clarity of water probably was the most obvious pristine awareness I experienced.
​​​​​​
After a while I found that indeed everything from sensory experience to the most elementary (pun intended) experience of awareness can be seen as composed of the five elements, but I also found that the experiences of those five pristine awarenesses are states of mind and that they a sense of fabrication.
I also chanced into other higher states of awareness which are probably not directly related to elements. It could be that it was what is called non-arising or maha in Mahamudra, I don't know. Those states arose after a moments of realizing that the perception of the arising of a sensation is related to clinging, and then there was no arising, movement was there but it wasn't recognized as such. The experience was very intense and heartfelt. I think it could be called oneness. I could very strongly experience what is meant by the heart in the spiritual sense. Very special, very non-ordinary, and on the other hand very ordinary and sane. I felt like it has a huge healing power.
It could be that one of the things I got from those states was the insight that time is a thought. It's somehow like time froze and with it many, many layers of the usual perception of reality and causality went into the background.
So that was another topic - time being an experience. Very confusing, and not confusing at the same time. But I can tell you that it can be very suprising to have something that once felt like a huge chunk of your life pass in a second.
I also conemtplated a lot on the relation between form and emptiness, objectness, how objectness is created out of undifferentiated perception and how it's related to self and other. This peaked on one evening where I felt like I understood the nature of no-self, together with no-time and no-space. I found that it really wasn't "no self", more closer to "not self", but "not self" still had a dualistic touch. I can't describe it better than saying that no-self made intuitive sense - objectless, timeless, spaceless, ungraspable. Maybe "undifferentiated peacefulness" gets pretty close. 
After some more deep dive into elements, which by the way I see as a side-effect of develepmont, not the cause, I had a vision where a deity told me "don't worry, Samsara takes care of itself" - which felt very right but also steered up confusion. It was a joyful confusion, though. A few days later I got into a state where I felt like I was totally immersed and at the same time completely detached from experience. Very tantric. Pretty much at the same time there arose the question whether I am actually in Samsara or out of Samsara. Am I the mere observer of Samsara? Am I totally part of it? Is being the observer of Samsara actually in Samsara? "I am Samsara" came up. One morning I went back and forth between the state of totally immersed, yet non-attached and the "I am Samsara" feeling, when at some point I sat down and closed my eyes. The mind recognized that it was fixated on the state, or stateness of totally immersed yet non-attached, and it felt like in that moment of recognition I clearly understood what clinging is. It was a true revelation like "aha! This is clinging!".

That was three ago. It was followed by a pretty intense phase where I went through 2-3 days of intense grief and strong feeling of hurt and related emotions. Could be that it was grief caused by the weakening of fetters.

The most obvious change I notice is perceptual: I often have no head. Where previously there was a head, there is the room or open panorama, when outside. If there are sensations of the head, they appear in space. It can make me feel huge, and the perception of information can be very different. It's a bit as if the pristine awarenesses operate in realtime, as opposed to being state-/jhana-like. Like it lost the character of being some sub-state of 4th jhana and went more into the body, more direct. For instance, often experience is open and panoramic with clarity and distinguishing awareness at the same time. Things are where they are. This can be very "loud" and makes me feel pretty sensitive. Maybe the bodymind has to get used to processing so much information all at once I need to be gentle. 
Also, there are very peaceful moments where I can just watch things doing themselves and sometimes the open panorama and the sense of things taking care of themselves arise together.. In romantic moments I feel like saying "what other is awakening than those little moments in which we are reminded that indeed everything is joyfully doing itself..?". 

Now I am chancing into early ñanas and I notice that certain psychological knots, barriers and old wounds become almost intolerable and I think that should be one of my main concerns for the next phase. As if it was plannable... emoticon But a bit more 6 realms or considering therapy could be a good idea.

I recently went low on practice for a week, even had a few days off. But I think I'll go back to daily again. Not sure what to practice. Maybe just continue to get concentrated and then let the mind develop what it needs to develop.

It's getting more and more obvious how unconscious behaviour re-develops when it remains unconscious. You could say unconsciousness is the fertile ground on which karma spreads. (as a sidenote: I think it's the cause and effect ñana telling me this)

I feel ike the experience of open panorama, together with things doing themselves is something that will take a long time to really integrate. It's as if the mind is being stretched and pretty sensitive.

Curious about the next A&P, as my current cutting edge is the stiff and shaky three characteristics.
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supermonkey :), modified 1 Year ago at 4/29/23 11:09 AM
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RE: Explorations (log #3)

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I am addicted to having a problem. Especially when it has to do with other people. I ruminate endlessly. I can see how I cycle through several thought-emotion realms over and over. What I can see now is that they feel like me, I am not convinced anymore that they are me. As shargrol wrote in Siavash’s log, there seems to be an emotional flashback that triggers the cycling. A sort of dullness... which probably hides strong feelings? I feel somewhat torn apart in that situation. In elements/realms lingo that would be to say that the air reaction sends me to the animal realm(?)
Sure, torn apart by the different opinions. There seems to be a deep fear underlying this.
Also, there is the issue of reservation - which brings safety... and isolation. A kind of cynical sense of power that at the same time serves as an energy saver - a protector.

And then there is the problem of „it should be different“ and/or „I should be able to do it better". Also some kind of reservation which leads to a cycle of blame.

Strongly related to the indecisiveness is a feeling of inferiority. I think that that feeling has haunted me through my whole adult life. Inferiority/guilt/shame. Sometimes I think my current situation is a sort of atonement for all my arrogance. I am doing a very, very low-level job despite having a high academic degree. I gives me a sense of inferiority, but also a sense of connection. As if I needed to see "the other side". Maybe that's kind of arrogant, too, I don't know. Maybe it's also arrogant to put myself in such a situation. Maybe that's just bullshit.

Actually, there is also a lot of superiority.
I am the typical guy that gets active when the first rush is gone. When other people aren’t motivated anymore.
Interesting, I develop the most energy when nobody is interested anymore. Probably because then nobody has expectations. It could be that it’s hard very hard to take responsibility. So I’m not a lazy person, I’m willing to give energy, but only if I am the one. I haven’t learned to live with conflict and/or with decision making on eye level. Very needed! It really feels like being swept away when other’s tastes/opinions are involved. What exactly is the emotional charge here? It’s probably related to anger and maybe hurt.

So: I often find it extremely difficult to not have things my way. To adapt to a given social situation. I always thought it’s not like that, but I guess it is.
It makes me feel attracted to people who are also a bit narcissistic. When people are rather generous, not so selfish, I get a specific reaction which I can’t really describe, but I guess there is a lot of shame there. I guess it’s shame. I feel like an idiot then. That’s the main issue in my current relationship.

One crucial thing seems to be remember that I am not always like this. I can be caring and harmonious, it just tips pretty quickly into affective behaviour.
And I mean, really: it’s not like  I never wish somebody anything good, but... it can be really, really difficult.

This brings me to the next chapter of „wake up to your life“, the brahma viharas. Why is it so difficult to say a simple „have fun“? What am I going to lose? If it’s that I have to mean it to say it, why don’t I mean it? Is it jealousy? I get a sense of feeling alone. In elements/realms lingo it’s a fire reaction that  leads to the titan realm(?)

Thinking further on the pride/shame topic:
It's also as if the shame triggers pride here. And it's fascinating, on the other it's not like I am really ashamed, maybe I am just waiting for the emotional charge to be gone, so there can be a restart without needing to be right or wrong. So what I mean by "the first rush" could be a pride-thing.
That I don't like to be watched/critizised is the inferiority part. I wait until nobody cares anymore and then I can get active. Hm. What start the thing in the first place? That I need it  to finally be my way or the fear of being exposed? In other words: is it escapish or fightish?

In fetters language I’d say that what's operating in this whole problem complex are conceit, restlessness and ignorance. Conceit ~ pride/shame mechanism, restlessness ~ excessive thinking, ignorance ~ inability to face not knowing.

Some of my findings are:

For power related conflicts, one solution for me is to see the wish for a common solution and mutual understading behind the fight/flight reactions. IIRC that's what McLeod says about dealing with fire people in this beautiful retreat talk series - togetherness. In my latest conflict it helped me to get out of hell to think about what the other person's feelings towards the issue are. Then I addressed that and it seems like it has done something. I told them that I have the impression that the want to maintain a bit more position/power (than they may be able to admit. Didn't say that explicitly). Even though I don't know if I was right, I think they felt understood. And that led to both of us having a sense of mutual appreciation. At least I hope so....

For emotional conflict situations I think it's necessary to learn to be able to be with the fact that the other person is disappointed or maybe slightly hurt. Also to be with the feeling of shame without becoming a narcissist. Seems like it might really come down to being able with the feeling of shame.

And also: I need to learn to be ok when there is no problem. when it's actually ok and peaceful, harmonious. That's really a thing, too.

Having written all this, I think an issue I have is that I often get the emotional charge without being clear about the underlying emotion. What could I practice?
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Aeon , modified 1 Year ago at 4/29/23 4:18 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/29/23 4:18 PM

RE: Explorations (log #3)

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"Having written all this, I think an issue I have is that I often get the emotional charge without being clear about the underlying emotion. What could I practice?"

After reading the whole post the aforementioned quote was ended with, two things stand out:

1) Emotions don't have to be understood to be processed. They can simply be eliminated. Some call this energetic unblocking. I personally use EMDR. Bodywork can also do it. Many ways to skin this cat. If you tend to solve problems with reason and intellect, you might be annoyed to hear that embodiment practices are more effective. Feel free to ignore replying to this if thats the case.

2) If you detect dullness is covering an emotional charge, that could be dissociation protecting you from pain. You better be ready with the tools to heal that emotion, if you undo the dissociation! There is always a good reason it's there.
shargrol, modified 1 Year ago at 4/29/23 4:27 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/29/23 4:27 PM

RE: Explorations (log #3)

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One of my favorite quotes from Krishnamurti:

He was asked, "How does a crude man become sensitive?" and answered,

"If I say the mind is crude and I try to become sensitive, the very effort is to become sensitive is crudity. Please see this. Don't be intrigued, but watch it. Whereas, if I recognize that I am crude without wanting to change, without trying to become sensitive, if I begin to understand what crudeness is, observe it in my life from day to day -- the greedy way I eat, the roughness with which I treat people, the pride, the arrogance, the coarseness of my habits and thoughts --- then that very observation transforms what is. [...] You do not have to become sensitive. The man who is trying to become something is ugly, insensitive, he is a crude person."
shargrol, modified 1 Year ago at 4/29/23 5:22 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/29/23 5:22 PM

RE: Explorations (log #3)

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One other thought... it's always good to consider whether something is in the domain of insight, concentration, or morality when thinking about practices. Most of this stuff is in the domain of morality, I think. 
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supermonkey :), modified 1 Year ago at 4/30/23 2:00 AM
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RE: Explorations (log #3)

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Thank you for this very important perspective. I also reread the morality chapter in MCTB2 and it makes me remember that some things just can't be solved by more insight! Thank you.
shargrol, modified 1 Year ago at 4/30/23 7:09 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 4/30/23 6:18 AM

RE: Explorations (log #3)

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Linking MCTB here: https://www.mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/part-i-the-fundamentals/2-morality-the-first-and-last-training/

A few other generic thoughts... 

In the domain of morality, it's often good to find a basic framework that resonates with us to help us track our interpersonal intentions, reactions, habits, etc. in a way that initially simplifies things. That way we have a "handle" on what is happening, a way of recognizing what is going on. Eventually, we might outgrow the framework we're using, but adopting a framework at least temporarily can usually allow us to be aware of stuff that is sometimes closer-than-close, beliefs about self and other that we overlook or don't question... 

Pretty much all efforts to improve morality is going to involve noticing our flaws, feeling disappointed with ourself, wanting to avoid seeing it, and then wanting to create big plans for self improvement. A lot of the times these big plans are actually very advanced ways of further avoiding the direct experience of our flaws. So always be a little suspicious of big plans. emoticon 

Another common realization is that often our plans are actually substituting one domain of work for another. This is the classic cliche of the student that has a homework assignment due the next day so they... clean their room. In the morality world, this is a situation w/here we try to fix relationship problems by going on solo retreat, fix employment problems by finding interesting hobbies, fix psychology problems through meditation, fix mediation problems with psychology, fix financial problems by going to the gym --- in other words, we're finding good stuff to do, but which has no connection to what we're actually trying to fix. It amazes me how often this occured in my life, I was just too blind to see my confused approach.  But whether I realized quickly or it took me years, the realization was "hey, this is not a direct way to fix this specific problem." 

Sometimes we can turn the noticing of our flaws as an end to itself, which is another way of avoiding the direct experience of our flaws. It seems like --- especially as children but also continuing into adulthood --- we can take on a mode of "critical parent" or "super ego" and spend a lot of time judging and shaming and feeling quilty about our behaviors and unconsciously we feel like doing this somehow will appease a parent, an authority figure (the boss at work, etc), a historical religous figure/saint, or an authoritative god in the sky.  This is okay at a certain stage of adult development, but it also is a way of not really "owning" our own experience. It becomes kind of like a symbolic communication/relationship with this authoritative other. In other words, we create a relationship with parent/authority/god in our head and create stories about how happy/sad they will be with our behavior. Seeing this internal world can be a vast exploration over many decades... there's no rush to figure everything out all at once, and frankly it's impossible to do that.


So in the world of general life/morality, the goal is to find an actual life- and self-improvement project that is meaningful, small enough to actually make make incremental progress, and is supported by a good vision/plan/framework. 

For practical stuff, relationships, employment, finances, exercise, diet, sleep -- it really is about trial and error and talking with people who are experts/role models in each of these domains and finding what actually works for our owninterests, skills, abilities... and not thinking that "if I meditate, I'll understand everything and know exactly what to do." This was a really brutal lesson I learned the hard way over my life.  Life is always going to be mostly unknown and the only way to learn and live is to explore and try things out and work on things directly over time. 

For the mostly psychological side of morality, psychological frameworks and therapy are most relevant and helpful, such as:
* Modern analytic psychology (based on ideas of repression, supression, substitution, etc.)
* Attachment theory/therapy (unconscious relationship habits/beliefs)
* Schema therapy (maladaptive perceptual/cognative beliefs)
* Codependency therapy (maladaptive roles/relationships)
* PTSD/cPTSD therapy (undigested trauma/abandonment, emotional flashbacks, etc.)
* Object relations therapy (assumptions about others)

All of the above are worth exploring... The frameworks are often relevant/helpful even if the person isn't completely clinical and needing professional therapy. 


Anyway, not sure any of this is helpful. Basically the world of morality is vast and really is something each of us needs to own for ourselves. There's no simple solution or fix... and it's a life-long exploration.

 
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supermonkey :), modified 1 Year ago at 5/1/23 6:42 AM
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RE: Explorations (log #3)

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Sometimes we can turn the noticing of our flaws as an end to itself, which is another way of avoiding the direct experience of our flaws. It seems like --- especially as children but also continuing into adulthood --- we can take on a mode of "critical parent" or "super ego" and spend a lot of time judging and shaming and feeling quilty about our behaviors and unconsciously we feel like doing this somehow will appease a parent, an authority figure (the boss at work, etc), a historical religous figure/saint, or an authoritative god in the sky.  This is okay at a certain stage of adult development, but it also is a way of not really "owning" our own experience. It becomes kind of like a symbolic communication/relationship with this authoritative other. In other words, we create a relationship with parent/authority/god in our head and create stories about how happy/sad they will be with our behavior.
I had a power dream around that. I was in a room with an attractive woman who spoke quite nastily to me. As if she was trying to hurt or provoke me. I saw it as my duty to appease her. I managed to do it, somehow by feeling into the witchness of her. Then she was willing to get intimate with me.
The first interpretation was that it displays that I was being submissive because in need. That I needed her willingness to be intimate as an act of forgiveness for my sins. Or, that I needed to be submissive because I needed the intimate act. So that she actually abused my physical need.
The first one is a very christian influenced interpretation. That there is the need for forgiveness because we are inherently sinful, or something like that. Stigmatization of sexual needs? I don't know.
The second one is a rather hellish one. But thinking in terms of a young child, yes, the child needs things from their parents and thus is prone to being abused. And some parents do that.
But another interpretation would be that I wasn't actually the victim in that game. It could also be a display of my ability to coax the witch to do what I need/want her to do. So I am a kind of semi-god here. I know the witch/wrathful goddess intimately because I am also of that kind, and thus I can make her transform into her soft and forgiving Gestalt. It makes me think of the interplay between attraction and repulsion, and also of shiva and shakti.
I think the most obvious interpretation could be that I can discover my agency/my role in this scenario, which doesn't necessarily have to be the victim. Who knows, maybe the wrathful deity exactly wanted me to discover my abilities by being so wrathful? Maybe that's exactly what I needed? It's just so comfortable to be the victim. It feels so relieving, yet it is unsatisfying.
What would be an interpretation of that scenario without any assumption on self and other? At least very natural, I guess.
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supermonkey :), modified 1 Year ago at 5/12/23 12:06 PM
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RE: Explorations (log #3)

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 I thought this is a nice formulation.

The momentary assumption that there is a self which is responsible is a necessary assumption due to lack of sufficient capacity for information processing (maybe it's an artifact). This simplification can be taken further to the assumption of an independent, stable self, but only at the cost of (a lot of) ignorance, with the ignoring of the dependently arising, "interconnected" nature of self as its most fundamental form. In short: more assumption on stability of self makes more ignorance necessary. Suffering is the consequence of reality questioning that veil of ignorance, making it necessary to recreate the assumed stable self.  


Just to add a little bit (without the silly italics):

Suffering is to use sensate experience to increase the sense of a stable self, to defend the sense of a stable self against sensate experience, or to hide away from (ignore) experience which is neither clearly usable to increase the sense of a stable self, nor an obvious threat to it. These processes are called craving, aversion, and ignoring.
Happiness is seeing the nature of self for what it is. Being able to see this true nature of self makes it possible to have open mind and heart, because no ignorance is necessary to keep up the image of the small, stable self.
Or,
Happiness is seeing the nature of self for what it is. Being able to see this true nature of self makes it possible to have open mind and heart, because then, the assumed the small, stable self doesn't need to be further stabilized, defended or held up by craving, aversion or ignoring.  
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supermonkey :), modified 1 Year ago at 5/23/23 1:20 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 5/22/23 4:30 AM

RE: Explorations (log #3)

Posts: 147 Join Date: 8/11/20 Recent Posts
Very unedited material here.

05/12/23

That last post gave me some indigestion. Maybe it was too heady, maybe too much mental masturbation involved. On the other hand it's my temper and conditioning to reflect that way. To test my understanding by training to formulate concise statements.

As I reflected on the sense of indigestion I began to see clearer the motivation behind it. I think there is a lot of getting used to it going on here. Getting used to non-experience; experience without experiencer. Experience of "just this". "Just this" can be as frightening as it is relieving. I see it as a progress marker that I can have non-experience, or "open space" and feel the associated fear instead of reacting immediately. There can be some doubt like asking what is so interesting about those higher stages when it's "just this"? Neutralizing, pleasant, but "really?...". Where is deep jhana? Where is

Another state that is becoming more of a lived experience recently is when "I" seems to be the mere observer. I mean it's not really that I think I am the observer, but I am somewhat the knower of the integrated I that has its position as a congealed knowing. Ah, it's not really describable.
 
To which degree is experience not only projection?

always sense of self
changing but continuous, as in there is always some sense of self. stream of change. mentally it’s like the „constant“ factor was misplaced emoticon That’s why there is suffering. It’s like when you try to force a river to stop, you will have overflow.
note to mind: constant changing self, not constant self emoticon
„constant self“ leads into a tunnel, and then we feel imprisoned or narrow without realizing it or why. It’s very addictive

05/22/23

I just watched a clip by Rupert Spira. It's called "Take Refuge in the Now". It's about how being with our suffering is the actual relief from it. That all distraction is just a temporary relief from it, and that when we are right at the heart of an unpleasant emotion for instance, then there is no (psychological suffering). He also mentions that meditation can be a distraction. And as he often does, he suggests that when we plan to distract ourselves that we first feel into what we want do distract ourselves from, and only then do the planned activity.
While watching the video, I recognized that there are a lot of unpleasant sensations going on, and I could use watching the video to distract myself from them. It felt like a confirmation that this suffering we want to avoid actually continues during a distracting activity. We have just trained our minds to immerse into stuff enough so that we use all our bandwidth for the activity. Hm. Maybe even higher bandwidth allows for the recognition that we don't actually overcome suffering during moments of distraction.

What is the mother of all suffering? (Rupert also mentions this often in his videos) It's the sense of being a separate, isolated self. When I feel into the sense of being separate and isolated, I can see the hopes and fears that accompany it. Desires, dreams, plans, worries, doubts. And then there is the adjacent hell of pride and shame, which we are so easily trapped in. Just thinking, it seems that sufficient awareness of the sense of being separate leads to the human realm of desires, dreams, plans, worries, doubts, and insufficient awareness leads to the lower realms, the hell realm in particular. No. Maybe it's another thing to be sufficiently aware of pride, shame, hate to have a perspective. But a similar mechanism. Awareness of humanity gets you out of being trapped in the hamster wheel, and awareness of strong primal emotions gets you out of being trapped in hell or other lower realms.

An interesting insight is that the mind seems to retrospectively fill experiences without self with a sense of time, and so makes it appear as if there was self during the "non-experience", the experience without an experiencer. If that is true, and all sense of lasting self is really an illusion, then, what other choice do we have then to take refuge in the now?
In my mind, I begin to understand it as a sort of wave-like nature of experience. As if there were little time-stamps around which a local self is created. The center of those waves is imagined, intellectually I understand that, but it still feels like experience evolves around little centers of gravity with short-spanned, local past and future environments.

Another interesting insight is that I seem to have a momentary refuge in objectifying experience. When I say "this is stupid", I have given it a name, and the case is done for me. I don't need to deal with it anymore. Not really bad per se, bad this mechanism seemingly has a much deeper outreach. It reminds me of what shargrol said about pacifying an imagined higher authority. Maybe as children we have learned to accept such statements, in particular to accept them as final. We were dependent on our parents telling us that we did good or bad. I often notice that when I have a conflict I tend to seemingly find a solution in saying "this means that you are stupid" or "he is just an asshole". Well, maybe that's just how it works when we have no energy to further engage in finding a better solution. But I think for personal issues it can be detrimental to have the attitude of it being sufficient to have objectified ourselves. This urge or need  to objectify can be stronger than the desire to search for a way to a solution. It's so easy to say "see how I failed again", or "you are just not worth it" or things like that. That way the belief reifies itself. Maybe it's worthwhile watching that tendency and see if it really makes sense to have a (confirmed) self-view as the final result of a given circumstance. I mean, is it really all about confirming ourselves? Aren't the inspiring, creative and vital moments free from that? Hm. It could be that those qualities also are just a temporary relief. I mean, the other stuff is still going on?
The most primal urge seems to be the need to locate ourselves in a distinct moment in time with distinct qualitites. That's the idea that drives all of this. We need to be permanent. At least we need to be continuous. We need reference.
So do I need to learn to be with the fact that nothing is an actual refuge? Is that the really the goal?

So what is the lesson of "refuge in the now"? The now is timed and timeless. I can not get rid of the sense of there being time. I can not ignore that there is no time. I need to accept that self and no-self go together, and that I can't give a final answer to whether self stems out of no-self, or to which degree conditioned determines unconditioned or vice versa.

summary:

I am a lonely, little, isolated thing with hopes and fears. And I am everything else.
The more I am (with the suffering of being) a lonely, little, isolated thing, the more I realize that I am everything. The more I realize that I can realize this, none of these seem to matter. These states don't seem to be final.

The real refuge in the now is being  able to be with the suffering of being a separate, isolated entity without freaking out and being able to be with those moments of "non-experience" where there is no experiencer, without freaking out.

Meta note:

have been there, another cycle coming to an end. This time it's not "I am totally immersed and completely detached", but "I am a separate self and somehow also everything else".  Is this just a contiuous cycling/refinement or is there something else? Do I need to meditate? I doesn't feel like meditation doesn't give anything extra anymore. Yes, it gives clarity and mindfulness, but it begins to feel like everything else. You train to become good at this, and if you don't, you don't. Then you train something else, or you don't.

It seems like something needs to be refined, though...

note on meta note: maybe I’m being a bit pretentious here.

05/22/23

First cycle after big cycle has finished on Wednesday last week. Review phase feels good.

A set of problems:

I exist, but I don’t exist

I have a story, but it’s not mine, and it’s not in time.

Concepts are restrictive but necessary.

My feelings are mine, but not mine. „I“ feel when a cloud hits a center. That center is created with the cloud. It’s the sense of a cloud approaching and hitting something „central“ and the collision creates a sense of density. As I write this, I can see how nothing of this makes sense and how it’s fantasized „on the spot“.
The sense of intensity makes me believe time exists. It makes me recreate a sense of time, as I wonder how it came about. Yes, the sense of time and creation is due to the sense of intensity/solidity/fullness.

The more I understand that reality is empty, the more intense life seems to get.
More empty, more solid, in a way.

The more I realize that personal story is empty, the more I am able to immerse into it.

The more I realize that story is empty, the  more I can allow it to be intense.

The more I realize that conditioned existence is empty, the more I realize that I can’t escape it.

The more I understand what fullness is, the more I understand what emptiness is.

The more I can live in emptiness, the more I am sucked into fullness.
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Pawel K, modified 1 Year ago at 5/24/23 12:40 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 5/24/23 12:40 AM

RE: Explorations (log #3)

Posts: 1172 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
„constant self“ leads into a tunnel, and then we feel imprisoned or narrow without realizing it or why. It’s very addictive

I have similar concept called "reality tunnels" . Originally it meant more like each person has its own world-view and thus reality and tunnel vision but since mind is not only like bunch of people packed together but is and since they do create together consciousnesses while both themselves having their own consciousnesses and consciousnesses being part of consciousnesses it leads to quite dynamic 'reality tunnels' even without more than one person.

It is more about "identification with something" than "constant self" but one should be able to see it is somewhat the same concept.
Beings inside us and their consciousnesses can identify with things they help process and this is by evolution. If you see snake then visual consciousness will react quickly because they protect themselves. Even if hidden inside your skull snake can get them. Situation complicates when dealing with world where one protects others and has possessions they protect and most of all mental ideas about oneself.

Thinking I am this and that is mental idea of yourself and you know identification on lowest level or 'reality tunnel' happens when that notion is challenged or debunked, then any consciousness where identification or reality tunnel was being that idea will have beings which too believed it and now they get signals than no not really... even if rest of mind doesn't case they soon will because threatened consciousness who cares will be very loud. Because if what they believe is not true then what are they? Least to say negative reactions will arise and flood the mind which then will be forced to deal with rogue consciousness full of identification cues which will confuse everyone.

Normally body&mind corp doesn't kill neurons which just identify incorrectly but can repurpose them if that identification is so strong locally it causes issues but not convince mind its correct identification. This repurposing ends with numb mind. It is also part of Dark Night.

If identification is well established it won't get trimmed easily and anyone who does identify with anything where maybe it doesn't seem like they really do but feel part of them is dead serious about this then part of mind lives reality tunnel where according to them they are what this identification entails. Here it is worth mentioning that the so called Enlightenment while removes lots of existing identification eg. usually identification with experience called 'sense of self' which is just like service in mind which is there to allow seeing oneself in the same way as we see other people and in fact its main job is seeing others. This usually is dropped but usually apples are replaced with oranges and identification is with not having self. Also in case of people who made bold claims like Arhats they usually identify with their claims. This can be felt from outside, these people can be provoked. Even if shortly after some wave of disidentification happens in mind and mind is seen clearly then after some time of normal life the same processes set in. If person (and by this point person should be seen as relative term - can be small consciousness with being making it) lives in reality tunnel they will jeopardize any attempts to change that if they feel it might put doubt on their identification content validity - so Arhat for example might experience aversion to any thought they are not what they think they are.

In fact if you read/hear stories how person got major breakthroughs it is from stopping caring for who or what they are, results of practices, etc. and this breaks constantly arising issues with consciousnesses with reality tunnels making ruckus. This doesn't mean everything was disidentified and there are no reality tunnels. This also doesn't mean person didn't pick up old habits with different harder to disprove internally identification. In fact its guaranteed they will, that anyone will. I pushed buttons of some Arhats for long enough to know they do not differ from other people in any way other than using different visualized mind state they identify with the same as everyone else. This pushing intentional or not caused reactions consistent with experience of threat

tl;dr
Rather than trying to break identification by force and focus on what it obviously a "tunnel" and over very specific identification eg. with process of sense of self the best approach imho is to clearly communicate to mind the issue. Surprisingly mind when you treat it as reasonable can be - even if reasoning is higher level function consciousnesses can get hold of mind, process their sheet and realize they are but a simple collection of beings. It is best to explain to them it doesn't matter what they think they are and being connected makes things confusing including identification with being a being cause its likely what feel like being is already a consciousness which is connected for a while to faculties which give qualities.

Then they calm down over their identification sheet.

BTW. Common topic is some amazing experience of "no self" or whatever which Arhats will often mention. Best to ignore this silliness. If you are aware of the general structure of mind and how things work and where they can get wrong you will realize any no-self experiences are same BS as experiences of self and both have similar issues. Maybe issues of no-self are less obvious and making some kind of THIS or whatever else golden no-self calf can appear as leet solution but it really is just poor's man workaround for issues of self. Richness is in conceptual understanding of mind itself - where concepts are actually understood where they affect things. Also regarding that: understanding of complex systems is always incomplete so it is always best to put ideas and have discussion, with oneself if need be. Understanding need not be complete to be free from reality tunnels when you feel you are in them but need to be put forth where it can enlighten those which are in reality tunnels...

...and best to stop here before tl;dr section becomes too long to read emoticon
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supermonkey :), modified 1 Year ago at 5/28/23 4:42 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 5/28/23 4:42 AM

RE: Explorations (log #3)

Posts: 147 Join Date: 8/11/20 Recent Posts
 Thank you for this contribution. Not trying to specifically disidentify, and having mind have discussion with itself seems very helpful. I also like the idea of mind consisting of beings. In a way, I could see the whole awakening process as some kind of one being waking up the other beings who are still asleep. It makes sense because often we think we understood an issue, but no, further meditation reveals that there are still parts of us that didn't get it. Like when I think I am cool with everything, but a few minutes later it is revealed that I'm still trying to manipulate/achieve something/desire something. Those parts that still manipulated were sort of asleep/dreamwalking and fumbling around and they had to wake up to what they are doing emoticon.

Reality tunnels 
A few days ago I sat in meditation, feeling kind of overwhelmed by thinking, and I asked myself "what is a thought?". That seemed a) to break the thinking/identity structures and b) revealed how thoughts are of the same material like sensations and emotions. In that moment I got the sense that thoughts were actually fabricated by sensations and emotions. I then also wondered if there is a hierarchy of sensations -> emotions -> thoughts, as in everything can always traced back to mere sensations. Or, maybe everything is just a sensation. It's all the same stuff.
So what stands out here is that all this seems to be made of the same material.

What does it have to do with reality tunnels? Reality tunnels are fine. They are experiences. For instance when mind is bored it creates a whole delicious menu of past, present and future, together with thoughts and emotions around it. Only when it is believed to be absolutely true/identified with, the tunnel narrows into a cone, and that is unpleasant. Mind then wants to escape that. It's a bit like because some part of me knows that it's not really like that, and so, while one part wants the tunnel to be stable and sort of vanish into this existence forever/finally have something lasting, other parts want to escape, a bit like a tug of war and that is unpleasant -> dukkha.
But when mind sees that this reality tunnel/daydreaming is an integrated experience, and/or all involved parts are the same material, that seems to break the identity structures. The experience can experience itself to the degree it needs to. No further beings are created. Or at least, maybe beings are created, but as you said, they can do their thing and are not "solidified", and thus they aren't missed after having done thier job (local identification). That could be the old age/sickness/(lamentation)/death part of dependent origination.
So I think temporarily falling into identification tunnels is not the issue, it's normal. But is has to be seen clearly, and that means seeing it as integrated.
It's really the narrowing of the mind around it which causes issues. As already said above, it can feel compulsive, like needing to escape. And currently my mind seems to counteract this narrowing by understanding the sameness, or sensationness of the involved thoughts, memories, emotions.
In short: knowledge of common-groundness seems to uncharge stress around single experiences.

I feel like that this is an intermediate step, because there seem to be some remaining issues. Now, mind learns to uncharge already existing stress by seeing sameness. The next step could be a higher/broader/more pervasive awareness of sameness, so that mind realizes it's not necessary to create stress in the first place. Less forgetting, and so less tendency to produce dukkha.
And there are also some parts/beings of mind that don't fully accept full causality of experience. I can sense some dukkha around seeing things as entirely causal. Maybe it's one of those beings in the back of my mind which is still half-asleep. emoticon
 
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Pawel K, modified 1 Year ago at 5/28/23 1:50 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 5/28/23 1:50 PM

RE: Explorations (log #3)

Posts: 1172 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
To get proper focus you need to to defocus and let mind focus by itself while remaining relaxed and naturally mindful. By mind I mean not what can 'do' focus and by itself I mean by itself. It can take some time and might need multiple attempts until it happens. Then might in some cases take some more time until raw performance gets good. It will always get better though and will keep improving indefinitely unlike wrong focus which tend to dull out mind. Reality tunnels are caused by wrong focus and yes, they can appear innocent and important to be there. Until you do it right and see that anything delicious in that you could have with less fuss and issues. It is like this hot coal konan if you dig Zen lingo.

Like mind normally has this so called "naive" sense of self - it is reality tunnel caused by wrong focus. It is possible to refocus on agencyless but if you do it wrong then you just replaced apples with oranges and its not good even if you like oranges much more.

One way to detect wrong focus and reality tunnels is if any information not matching expectations being forcefully either taken as proof for expectations or seen as meaning opposite to expected and rejected. Mind which has no stake in anything won't feel the need to choose sides but will happily spawn new parts of mind for the new idea or piece of information. It is then this focus which makes difference between it colliding with other information and causing issues or not. Mind with serious reality tunnel issues wont even let any new information pass through if it doesn't match expectations hence forceful aligning or rejections happen.

And this is why for example this naive sense of self survives all bazzilions of proofs there is no such thing. All cases where body/mind works by itself, all cases where decision was made and body/mind reacted based on different criteria, all the hints sense of self is not singular and changes all the time and it changing always feeling better than forcefully keeping it, etc. There is actually so little proof for how we normally think mind works that it should never happen people have issues they have with this stuff. Again, wrong focus, clinging, identification and protecting status quo.

Then funny thing is that people rather choose to refocus but still keep wrong focus than get focus right. With enough sugar put to idea people might create instances of wrong focus and fight off other instances of wrong focus. Like in whole "awakening" in general.

Anyway, rather than permitting distractions it is best to develop right focus and right mindfulness. Singleness you speak of might be good base for mindfulness. Right mindfulness is such mindfulness which does the job right but does not interfere with what other parts of mind do and what they play with.

Example would be playing video game and constantly having perspective of sitting at sofa and gazing at TV. It pointless and better is to immerse yourself and seemingly loose oneself in the game. Here however if need be and you need to react to outside world it should feel like mind was always mindful of everything and just didn't bother other consciousnesses with it. Example of wrong focus causing issues is this naive watcher perspective - we then want to be immersed in game and will create wrong focus on it to overpower the perspective which makes game less immersive. This then can cause that if need be we are stunned and room with everything appears only when strong enough impulse to get out of game arises. Yet another example, better but still incorrect, is wrong focus with forced mindfulness like always seeing some non-dual perspective, even if its seen as super duper awakened and implemented in ways which avoid dukkha and no issues with being stunned happen it is still wrong focus. It is wrong because the point was to get immersed in game and taking too much bandwidth of mind and senses with just mindfulness will never give fun immersive experience.

Reality tunnels are fine. They are experiences. For instance when mind is bored it creates a whole delicious menu of past, present and future, together with thoughts and emotions around it. Only when it is believed to be absolutely true/identified with, the tunnel narrows into a cone, and that is unpleasant.

It is method of distraction.
It does work for fundamental issues but has numerous flaws.
Even in mindful mind letting distractions run wild causes rather quickly effects I associate with all the stuff I had to eventually work through. In the past I figured its better to get slightly distracted and just try to be mindful of what that does and how it works rather than pretend I know what right mindfulness is and suffer and I still think it was good call.

BTW. This focus thing from first sentence of this post - it is possible to do it in eyes. In fact I came at this stuff purely from improving how I use eyes. If you feel at times eyes are tired and you have to do something to see better imagine it is possible to always see sharp with zero effort. Eyes are like literally part of brain and people who have wrong focus in eyes live one giant reality tunnel. There are other obvious effects in quality of experience of seeing and faster than seeing tiny details. Similar effects happen everywhere where focus is right.
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supermonkey :), modified 1 Year ago at 5/31/23 3:36 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 5/31/23 3:36 AM

RE: Explorations (log #3)

Posts: 147 Join Date: 8/11/20 Recent Posts
Thank you again, Ni Nurta, I think I understand what you are trying to convey.

I'm very interested in the viewpoint of one taste now. I am beginning to see more clearly how anger and clarity are correlated. I think this is what what they call water element essentially points to. When we cultivate a lot of clarity or trying to be pure, we have to be very careful because, in some way, we are also cultivating potential for anger/aggression. I don't know why, but it just seems to be the case. And also the other way around, when we are angry/aversive, it can be helpful to know that sometimes it's the same energy that gives clarity/precision.

What comes to mind, too is a quote by KenMcloud. He once said that the most aggressive people he knows are those that try to be the purest. So true! 

For me, personally, the task is to try to see that when I'm angry, that energy could want to express itself as a clear statement. Some sense of definitive, maybe sense of conviction, counteracting hesitation. And towards others, it's helpful to not assume that they are super vulnerable. Usually people can take direct statement ls/clarity. Maybe, maybe, it's the assumption on our own fragility that prevents us from being simple and direct. We confuse it with being violent. 
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supermonkey :), modified 12 Months ago at 6/24/23 12:18 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 6/22/23 11:18 AM

RE: Explorations (log #3)

Posts: 147 Join Date: 8/11/20 Recent Posts
The following is basically here to convey the insight world I am living in right now... which is cycling, cycling, cycling, and explorations of mind nature.

A newly discovered perspective-shift:

b(efore)): this dog has a consciousness, and it's clearly not mine. We are separated, if you will, by having different consciousnesses.
a(fter)): There seems to be a knowing out which both our localized consciousnesses emerge. They are singled out, and for some reason believed to be individual consciousnesses.
In a way, a) and b) are true. a) is an extension of b), just previously unseen. As always, paradoxical for the rational mind, but not for the experiencing mind.

Question:

How to teach the mind that experience is already complete? Mind falling into seeking seems to be caused by the sense of having lost something, a need to finally arrive somewhere, over and over again.


Exploration:

For 2-3 days there was the strong impression that thoughts seem to define me. That they define what it means for me to be conscious. After a while I came to see that I am aware of the fact that thoughts seem to define me. And so they don’t… That was a shift in understanding, actually already laid out in LochKelly's exercise I described at the very beginning of this log. Like in the sequence „I am this - this is there - I am aware that this is there“.

Process:

Often when sitting, mind went into dissecting itself into parts. In the end there was self, agency, knowing, observation… all as appearances.
I wrote this in my diary:

When I sit, the mind gathers concentration to the point where it can investigate how it's comprised of parts. It certainly appears as a thing. It presents itself as a thing. This is where words really begin to fail. I mean, in a way, whatever you say about mind-nature is wrong.
Sometimes agency appears, sometimes witnessing appears, sometimes sense of self appears. All these qualities co-originate in a mind that isn't a mind. Observation, sense of self, sense of agency can all happen seemingly parallel. But it's not parallel. It's actually one of after the other, co-created with something to refer to. I haven't completely seen through that, yet, and it's sort of confusing.
The best method here seems to be to do a careful inquiry like asking "what is left?", or "what is mind/experience?"


So if all parts of mind can be known... what is mind?

Mind a wave?:

Somehow the mind has a tendency to thingify itself. That's because it's an associative process. When unpleasant sensations happens, for instance, mind brings up negative thoughts, memories... It seems like there is a threshold up to which this isn't dangerous. But when the threshold is crossed, the mind thingifies itself and makes up a definition of self - localizes itself (falls in to a reality tunnel). All this process is empty, but can be trappy. The difference seems to be what people call mind appearing as wave or as particle. With enough experience, even thingification might be survived without causing suffering, not sure. But I think when we act out of thingified mind, that's probably always habitual, and accordingly more or less dangerous.
Another way to say it: a confused mind conjures up related information until it is hidden under those clouds it created.
In this understanding "true nature of mind" basically refers to a mind that is aware of upcoming clouds and manages to not get totally covered. I mean, it doesn't forget itself in the process. Does that make sense?

Even when totally covered, mind can still know itself.

A conversation:

A: If even when totally covered, mind can know itself, what is mind?
B: Mind is the knowing, the recognition.
A: What is thought then?
B: Hm, I guess thought is made out of the same stuff as recognition.
A: But is thought recognition? Is it the same thing?
B: Hm…well, thought apparently is recognized...
A: However, does thought recognize?
B: I think thought recognizes that it's recognized...
A: Aha, so it does recognize. Does eventually everything have the flavor of recognition?
B: The flavor of recognition, or everything else.
A: Everything has the flavor of everything else?!
B: Recognition has the flavor of everything else.
A: Because it's empty?
B: Because it's unique, but not unique. It has a unique flavor that can also have the flavor of everything else.
A: Do you mean ike when you poor a bucket of color into a pond, the water takes the colour which you poor in, but it's still water?
B: Yeah, somehow like that. It still has its water flavor.
A: But before it's coloured, recognition is empty, right? And it doesn't actually fuse with the colour, or does it?
B: That's how it feels. The fusion experience can have a linear feel to it. Like from nothing to recognition to couloring.
A: That’s liner thinking, okay. It makes me think that recognition, on a relative level, could be triggered by that which it recognizes - because why would it come out of emptiness in the first place? Another was to say that recognition doesn't have inherent existence. Could that be? Could recognition be empty in the sense that it only co-exists with the recognized?
B: Oh, you mean to say that recognition isn't even a ground of being? Is that what you want to say?
A: I gotta go, sry, see you next time... Ah... and remember, we are not trying to make anything (empty) here.

06/21/23

In a way, focussing on single experiences gives me the impression that they are just qualities of space. Nevertheless they seem to carry useful information.

Another conversation:

A: Everything feels so close, especially emotions like shame and frustration. But when I manage to listen to them, they tell me something I need to know.
B: Well, of course everything feels close, dukkha is separation. Hence resolving dukkha lessens distance. The purpose of emotions is to tell you something you need to know.
A: I notice that I am still trying to control. There is a constant urge to control.
B: Are you trying to make things empty?

06/22/23:

A: So when recognition is all empty, what’s left?
B: In the seen, just the seen.
A: All sense of recognition is mind’s addition to actual experience, which is free from separation?
B: Everything is just as (aware) as it is. Fully awake, no reference.
A: And where there is recognition, there is just recognition?
B: Well, on the relative level the sense of recognition arises with the object, but ultimately they are not two. There is nothing. Aware emptiness. Again, relatively speaking, a sense of recognition can only exist with something which is recognized. In relation to something. Bu all of that is fabricated. (I actually don't like that word, for me it has a negative connotation, but I guess you could also say it dependently co-arises).

Edit: in the first paragraph it had to be "a) is an extenstion of b)".
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Chris M, modified 1 Year ago at 6/22/23 3:46 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 6/22/23 3:46 PM

RE: Explorations (log #3)

Posts: 5288 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
That is a fantastic update!
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supermonkey :), modified 12 Months ago at 6/24/23 12:14 PM
Created 12 Months ago at 6/24/23 12:14 PM

RE: Explorations (log #3)

Posts: 147 Join Date: 8/11/20 Recent Posts
emoticon

Chris, can I have your opinion on (self-guided) acceptance and commitment therapy?
Martin, modified 12 Months ago at 6/24/23 4:32 PM
Created 12 Months ago at 6/24/23 4:32 PM

RE: Explorations (log #3)

Posts: 882 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
This is all really great but I especially liked the dog and thingification.

​​​​​​​I spent some time with a spider last week, aware that it was not necessary, or even possible, to make distinctions about where the awareness was localized, so it was nice to read that someone else had been doing something similar. 

I like the conversations, too. Thank you for writing them out!
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Chris M, modified 12 Months ago at 6/25/23 7:57 AM
Created 12 Months ago at 6/25/23 7:57 AM

RE: Explorations (log #3)

Posts: 5288 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Chris, can I have your opinion on (self-guided) acceptance and commitment therapy?

I don't have an opinion on this, sorry. How does it work? 
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supermonkey :), modified 12 Months ago at 6/26/23 6:40 AM
Created 12 Months ago at 6/26/23 6:39 AM

RE: Explorations (log #3)

Posts: 147 Join Date: 8/11/20 Recent Posts
In a nutshell, the framework splits up psychological suffering into six misguided yearnings:

We pursue coherence by not letting our attention slip from thinking and end up being lost in thought. We pursue connection by trying to be special and eventually feel alone. We want to feel and end up chasing good feelings, neglecting bad ones and eventually end up being avoidant and numb. We want orientation and lose ourselves in past and future ruminations. We are trying to achieve purpose by being socially compliant and end up feeling meaningless because we lose our values. We try to be competentent and end up being stubborn.

The key-idea is to achieve psychological flexibility and, although change is difficult, a re-direction (pivot) is doable relatively quickly.
So we practice defusion from thoughts, losening self-definitions, accept emotions, being present, understand and stand by our values, and building new habits. For each of these pivots there is a set of exercises.
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supermonkey :), modified 11 Months ago at 6/30/23 5:19 AM
Created 11 Months ago at 6/30/23 5:19 AM

RE: Explorations (log #3)

Posts: 147 Join Date: 8/11/20 Recent Posts
Happy you liked it! I have written those conversations as a means to have a discussion with myself, so the process was the way. I guess I gave myself a little bit too much to digest by digging that stuff out, though. But probably it's ok to carve it out and let it rest for while.

It seems like I need a very suitable situation to have that shared consciousness aspect. But it's really great! As usual, don't let it become a thing, I guess! emoticon
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supermonkey :), modified 10 Months ago at 8/4/23 5:18 AM
Created 10 Months ago at 8/4/23 5:18 AM

RE: Explorations (log #3)

Posts: 147 Join Date: 8/11/20 Recent Posts
I don't know if it's even helpful for me to post all this mindfuck. I guess I might start a new log.
I mean, in a way, the lived experience is a residual sense of struggle. Sometimes it blows up into fear and crisis, conflict etc., but actually it's one sensation.
What helps me as a mindset, is doing what is necessary. The sense of necessary seems to counteract the sense of struggle. Hm, okay, yes, maybe this is more struggle, trying to replace struggle with necessary. But it seems to lead onward. I'll keep trying to be with the sense of struggle, whether it resolves into doing what is necessary or not.
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supermonkey :), modified 10 Months ago at 8/8/23 6:09 AM
Created 10 Months ago at 8/8/23 6:09 AM

RE: Explorations (log #3)

Posts: 147 Join Date: 8/11/20 Recent Posts
Hm.
I think I residually assume that there is something which can get confused by empty displays. Although I think "there merely is confusion", there seems to be dukkha because on a deeper level I still assume that there needs to be a counterpart to the confusion. Someone to be confused... and needs to fix it.
So, of course it's not always the case that there is just formless appearance, but I take it as an indicator of residual struggle that there seems to be a holding and hiding when I perceive reality as empty in real-time. I cannot fully open to the feeling of having no stable reference at all. I take a sense of stable I as a counterpart then. And then I somewhat identify with the struggle.

Sometimes the sense of "I am doing this" is an empty display. Maybe then the mind doesn't really need it. Sometimes it's useful to have that sense of "I am doing this" as a full experience. And when it's neither a full experience, nor an empty display? When it's somewhere between? I guess that's what basic sanity is. Not needing it to be this or that. Not to suffer isn't a specific state. It's not an experience.

Maybe the primal motivation for me to meditate is nothing but an attempt to make a state which is suffering-free. State-craving. The ultimate holding pattern. The meditator thinks he can vanish into a pleasant state. It's very much motivated by hope and desire.

What is desireless meditation? It's non-meditation. 
What is desireless living? It's love. And intimacy.

A: There are two pains in life. The pain of desire and the pain of no desire; the pain of living. We tend to chose the pain of desire over the pain of living.
B: It's the same thing. The pain of desire is the pain of living. No pain without desire, no desire without pain.
C: Desire and the fulfillment of desire are both concepts. There is no actual fulfillment of desire. That's only put on top of experience. It's a mental mechanism, fabricated to frame experience. Suffering and relief of suffering are mere extensions of pleasant and unpleasant.
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supermonkey :), modified 10 Months ago at 8/11/23 4:54 AM
Created 10 Months ago at 8/11/23 4:54 AM

RE: Explorations (log #3)

Posts: 147 Join Date: 8/11/20 Recent Posts
So I think my mind is cleansing itself from the necessity to always have a sense of concrete and solid. Often the sense of "this is me doing it" is immediately replaced by a knowing of it with a hint of causality. I don't know if this makes sense. Like when a father throws his young boy into the air, and the boy thinks he can fly, until he realizes he is being thrown into the air. Somewhat disappointing but it also a deeper sense of being supported. When you realize that actually a higher force decides, it's supportive and intimidating at the same time.
And also there is a lot of fear of letting go alongside this sense of having no agency. A lived experience of vastness of awareness can be helpful but I can also feel lost and, as I said, intimidated.

When it comes to mapping, I can't help but think of this as an overall dark night, i.e. 3rd path to 4th path. Cycle after cycle I feel that something has lifted, and then there are moments of "this could be it", but right after "no, this is not really it". The last one was pretty deep, and I feel a lot of change in perception/selflessness. What's new now is this sense of fear/panic/loss of control that can come up, as well as an even more increased awareness of emptiness. In this case, I basically mean that I can see how solidity, interpenetration, hierarchy, even relation etc. are all assumptions. So, at first it makes sense to say that suffering is avoidance of unpleasant, but that is still on a personal level.

I wrote this in my log:

08/10/23

This morning, feeling restless and controlled by patterns, I asked myself "what am I avoiding?", and I felt like depression is nothing but avoidance for a moment.  I came to ponder the old equation:
suffering = unpleasant * avoidance (mostly)

When I sat, I couldn't help but seeing this:
Are the objects "you" (which avoids unplesasant) and the object "this" (which is considered to be unpleasant) separate and isolated? And are they then in some sort of hierachical back and forth relation? Or are they in love? Are they objects after all? Or is it mere love?

__end of log entry
Burbea has a chapter adressing this, which I read afterwards, and he offers a quote by Nagarjuna, which seems to fit well:
That by means of which there is grasping, and the grapsing, as well as the grasper, and that which is grasped, are all peace. Therefore grasping is not found.
So, you know, it's a bit weird, as usual: once you grasp what this stuff is supposed to tell you (my suffering is my avoidance), you dip into a level of seeing that makes all this seems stupid and ignorant.

Also, in a way, I begin to see more and more that hoping for quick progress is futile. And that it's a slow adjustment.
Nevertheless I'd appreciate a hint or idea on what could be conducive, even if it's only a remark and what is a good general attitude towards my developement..



For completeness I include my log from

08/09/23

I don't need things to be true, because I am already there.

Reflecting on what I wrote yesterday, I find that it led me to the opposite of state-craving going: state-rejection.
I think when I wrote "not to suffer isn't a specific state", I misunderstood it as not letting any state really come up and show itself. Holding experience at a distance was the result. So what can I do?

I also find tightness and ambition. Needing power. I think that's what I ment by "the ultimate holding pattern".

And. Meditation just doesn't change as much as I want it to. Problems persist.
I am having the idea that I should use my sits as a time of being ok with myself, not as a time of fueling hopes and unrealistic expectations. When we let go of unrealistic expectations, that is the desired state. The falling away of expectations is desired, not their actual fulfillment.
I think what drives me here is the question if it's ok to have hopes and desires.

Truth is a conditioned value. What the ego-mind thinks of as truths are memories of moments of being in natural mind. I find it interesting to think of that as a case of form = emptiness: the form-mind nurtures itself from empty/original mind. Emptiness forms into time and content. And the fact that emptiness can form into form shows that it actually is form itself. How else would that transition be possible?
And when we have more and more moments in natural mind, the notion of truth becomes less important, because the seeking for "truth" was the seeking for natural mind after all. Becasue conditioned mind has lost connection, forgotten where it's coming from, we don't see that mind is seeking its natural state but  fall into "I must find enlightenment... somewhere, it needs to be somewhere... If I just try hard enough...". That's delusion.

Another way to see how emptiness is form is to see that the experience of emptiness is due to conditions. That's a tough one, because we don't want it. We want emptiness to be an ultimate truth. Form is boring.

It could be that I confuse "waking up to natural mind" with never having to experience form again. Maybe natural mind is the mind that doesn't prefer emptiness over form or vice versa. So when I think that emptiness is unconditioned, that's an altered state of mind, isn't it. It feels very natural and peaceful, but there seems to be a tendency to want to force it onto unwanted future experience. Misusing mind against mind. How sad. How traumatic. Mind wants to use itself against itself.

So, really, I am asking myself if I have experienced enough emptiness.

__end of log entry of 09/08/23

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