Attention Wave, Tension, and Suffering

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)( piscivorous, modified 10 Years ago at 12/6/11 6:07 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 12/6/11 6:07 AM

Attention Wave, Tension, and Suffering

Posts: 36 Join Date: 12/8/10 Recent Posts
This made things much, much clearer for me:

Dhammasukha on Sila:

  • Lust, Greed, ‘I’ want it mind, leading on to attachment;
    When you look at the ‘I’ want it mind, notice there is arising tension and a pre-occupation with ME and desire. This is where the idea of a personal self arises. “I” want it! This leads out of the present moment into thinking, analyzing, conceptualizing state and imagination about how to make something happen. How do I ‘get it’, whatever “it” is? This becomes an exhausting obsession, a driving force. There is a pulling sensation as your attention is pulled away from whatever you are doing.
  • Hatred, ‘I’ don’t want it mind leads to aversion and more attachment;
    This hindrance also arises with a tension and tightness in mind/body as a similar thinking process pulls attention from the present moment. There is a desire to push it away and then there also arises a pulling sensation which is attachment in our mind as we demand a solution! Both happen in similar ways because of the personal perspective involved. Hatred and aversion do not lead to satisfaction and calm. Instead, they lead to an emotionally active mind full of suffering. “I” struggle and “I’ suffer to make things the way “I” want them to be! That’s a lot of pushing and pulling going on.
link

Elsewhere on the same page:
Dhammasukha on Sila:

The way to deal with hindrances is to RECOGNIZE as early as possible arising tension that comes up with them. RELEASE any attention on the hindrance and RELAX all remaining tension and tightness that was caused by it. Then just let it be there. Lightly SMILE and RETURN to your meditation object or whatever task you were doing. All hindrances naturally pass away if they are not fed mind’s attention. A hindrance cannot increase if “I” do not personally give it nutriment! When a hindrance arises, it lets us know how the idea of a self, or the personal perspective causes suffering. [my emphasis]


Immediate practical application: stop giving hindrances nutriment! Meditation vastly improved. I had formerly understood that whatever has my attention should be taken apart vipassana-style. To paraphrase Kenneth Folk, "There are no hindrances! More grist for the mill" - just keep noting! For me this resulted in painful, knotted, tangled, and involuted noting that seemingly fed a beast. If I've misunderstood the idea of these noting instructions, and if there is some benefit to confrontational noting, I'm all ears. In the future when I note, it will be a gentler, more relaxed version of what I had (mis)understood! emoticon

This also makes the attention wave crystal clear, both theoretically and experientially: as a dart, as suffering. It's not something difficult to experience or understand for yourself directly, right now, even for this preemie.

cheers,

Matt
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 12/6/11 7:39 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 12/6/11 7:39 AM

RE: Attention Wave, Tension, and Suffering

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
)( piscivorous:
Immediate practical application: stop giving hindrances nutriment! Meditation vastly improved. I had formerly understood that whatever has my attention should be taken apart vipassana-style. To paraphrase Kenneth Folk, "There are no hindrances! More grist for the mill" - just keep noting! For me this resulted in painful, knotted, tangled, and involuted noting that seemingly fed a beast. If I've misunderstood the idea of these noting instructions, and if there is some benefit to confrontational noting, I'm all ears. In the future when I note, it will be a gentler, more relaxed version of what I had (mis)understood! emoticon


The main benefit is that "confrontational noting" has a good track record of getting people MCTB paths more directly.

Whether you want those, whether you need those...at this point, who knows.

This also makes the attention wave crystal clear, both theoretically and experientially: as a dart, as suffering. It's not something difficult to experience or understand for yourself directly, right now, even for this preemie.


This is good to hear!

Are you able to see that your attention is constantly moving from its object and being drawn to some kind of subtle tension (not just in the case of some kind of gross experience of a hindrance)?
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)( piscivorous, modified 10 Years ago at 12/6/11 8:45 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 12/6/11 8:17 AM

RE: Attention Wave, Tension, and Suffering

Posts: 36 Join Date: 12/8/10 Recent Posts
End in Sight:
The main benefit is that "confrontational noting" has a good track record of getting people MCTB paths more directly.


This is good to know. I still get a sense that I'm misunderstanding - I find the experience extremely painful (even physically), frustrating, and exhausting. I certainly see the 3Cs - this is suffering, man. The progress that I've made in the last month has been that I'm more equanimous in the teeth of this. Perhaps I need to meet this head-on and work this out on retreat?

End in Sight:
Whether you want those, whether you need those...at this point, who knows.


Absolutely I want those. I'm pre-path.

End in Sight:
Are you able to see that your attention is constantly moving from its object and being drawn to some kind of subtle tension (not just in the case of some kind of gross experience of a hindrance)?


Profound glimpses, not constantly.

One of the things I'm a bit torn over with respect to Mahasi noting and the TWIM methods is that while TWIM is recently helping me relax and notice certain subtle movements (for lack of a better word), the Mahasi noting has been profound. It's just hella painful. Due to noting, I've seen previously automatic movement into emotions like a hand darting into a glove. Or how my body had been moving puppet-like as intentions arose. It's interesting to realize that I can arrest those formerly automatic movements/identifications. So I'm loath to ditch noting entirely. I wonder if I have perhaps been over-zealous or misunderstood how to note, which resulted in so much pain?

cheers,

Matt

[EDIT: clarity]
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 12/6/11 8:37 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 12/6/11 8:37 AM

RE: Attention Wave, Tension, and Suffering

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
)( piscivorous:
End in Sight:
The main benefit is that "confrontational noting" has a good track record of getting people MCTB paths more directly.


This is good to know. I still get a sense that I'm misunderstanding - I find the experience extremely painful (even physically), frustrating, and exhausting. I certainly see the 3Cs - this is suffering, man. The progress that I've made in the last month has been that I'm more equanimous in the teeth of this. Perhaps I need to meet this head-on and work this out on retreat?


Some people have to make a "heroic" effort at noting to get MCTB 1st path.

End in Sight:
Whether you want those, whether you need those...at this point, who knows.


Absolutely I want those. I'm pre-path.


Well, you should keep in mind that TWIM has no track record (that we know of) for getting people these MCTB paths. According to his own explanation, Bhante V went through the traditional Mahasi noting stuff, implied that he reached the end of it (whatever the end is, according to him), and then changed to this method. What happens when someone without the same background in noting practices TWIM? We don't know.

The question is, what is your ultimate practice goal? If it's the resolution of the tensions you're seeing, perhaps TWIM will get you there without any traditional paths. On the other hand, perhaps MCTB 1st past (at least) will be helpful in doing that. But, perhaps TWIM will get you that along the way.

Much about this alternative approach is unknown...you'll have to make a decision about what the best practice choices are for you given your goals, strengths, weaknesses, etc. Many of us see the value of something like TWIM...but, we simply do not have the experience with pursuing it directly (without MCTB paths) to vouch for things working out one way or other.

Perhaps this is something you could ask Sister Khema about.

What I recommend is evaluating whether your practice is reducing your core problem (for example, tensions) over the medium-term. If it is, good. If not, re-evaluate.

End in Sight:
Are you able to see that your attention is constantly moving from its object and being drawn to some kind of subtle tension (not just in the case of some kind of gross experience of a hindrance)?


Profound glimpses, not constantly.


Keep observing, and more and more details of the process will become clear to you. Seeing this process with ever-increasing clarity was the fundamental thing for me.

One of the things I'm a bit torn over with respect to Mahasi noting and the TWIM methods is that while TWIM is recently helping me relax and notice certain subtle movements (for lack of a better word), the Mahasi noting has been profound. It's just hella painful. Due to noting, I've seen previously automatic movement into emotions like a hand darting into a glove. Or how my body had been moving puppet-like as intentions arose. It's interesting to realize that I can arrest those formerly automatic movements/identifications. So I'm loath to ditch noting entirely. I wonder if have perhaps been over-zealous or misunderstood how to note, which resulted in so much pain?


I also found (quick, precise, exact) noting to be painful...and "hardcore vipassana" without noting to be even more so.

Perhaps there is a different way to approach it that would be effective, but I never found one.
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Tommy M, modified 10 Years ago at 12/6/11 10:13 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 12/6/11 10:12 AM

RE: Attention Wave, Tension, and Suffering

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
...and "hardcore vipassana" without noting to be even more so.

It's like standing in front of one of those machines that fires baseballs or tennis balls at a player while they're practicing, except with this approach you're taking every single hit right in the face. emoticon Very effective though.
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 10 Years ago at 12/6/11 10:22 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 12/6/11 10:21 AM

RE: Attention Wave, Tension, and Suffering

Posts: 2227 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Tommy M:
Very effective though.


Effective at... MCTB paths. If your goal is to totally remove the hindrances, a more direct approach (e.g. TWIM) might be less painful and more effective.

Not to say MCTB paths haven't been fascinating... but, for me anyway, they seem to have served more as a very fascinating exercise rather than any reliable way to reduce suffering. Although the vast suffering it produced has served as a good motivator to get it all over with, so there's that...
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Eran G, modified 10 Years ago at 12/6/11 12:24 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 12/6/11 12:24 PM

RE: Attention Wave, Tension, and Suffering

Posts: 182 Join Date: 1/5/10 Recent Posts
)( piscivorous:


One of the things I'm a bit torn over with respect to Mahasi noting and the TWIM methods is that while TWIM is recently helping me relax and notice certain subtle movements (for lack of a better word), the Mahasi noting has been profound. It's just hella painful. Due to noting, I've seen previously automatic movement into emotions like a hand darting into a glove. Or how my body had been moving puppet-like as intentions arose. It's interesting to realize that I can arrest those formerly automatic movements/identifications. So I'm loath to ditch noting entirely. I wonder if I have perhaps been over-zealous or misunderstood how to note, which resulted in so much pain?


I think it may be possible to combine the two approaches. Basically develop calm (tranquility) as you do with TWIM and when you feel that the mind is stable enough, start doing noting. Over time, perhaps seconds, perhaps minutes or longer, you'll notice the tranquility start to break down. At this point you go back to TWIM and re-stabilize the mind. Keep going this way and you might find that you get the clarity of a tranquil mind and the investigation of noting. In my experience there still are sits where the whole thing completely crumbles and there's no tranquility to be found but at least then you can fall back on pure noting (despite the unpleasantness) and still make progress. If you find that your mind easily tends toward tranquility, this may a good path for you.

HTH,
Eran.
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 12/6/11 2:34 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 12/6/11 2:34 PM

RE: Attention Wave, Tension, and Suffering

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
Tommy M:
Very effective though.


Effective at... MCTB paths.


Also effective at providing an analytic understanding of the way all kinds of stuff works.
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)( piscivorous, modified 10 Years ago at 12/6/11 8:25 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 12/6/11 8:25 PM

RE: Attention Wave, Tension, and Suffering

Posts: 36 Join Date: 12/8/10 Recent Posts
How does hardcore vipassana differ from Mahasi noting? By the way, I tried your drunken vipassana fist [link] a couple of times. emoticon I don't think I got nearly as worked up as you described emoticon
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)( piscivorous, modified 10 Years ago at 12/6/11 8:49 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 12/6/11 8:49 PM

RE: Attention Wave, Tension, and Suffering

Posts: 36 Join Date: 12/8/10 Recent Posts
I wonder if I was doing something wrong because many phenomena dissolve with attention - pain, for instance. One sees through the illusion of wholeness - with attention, pain will move about and often become a vibration. But not my maxillary activity (correction: much more rarely these sometimes become vibrations - very annoying vibrations that stay with me after meditation and can even keep me from sleeping). It's like fireworks go off as soon as I give these sensations any attention. Granted, I can note all night given these very strong sensations - I have no time for my crap or playing with scenarios. But the sensations seem to feed off of the attention.
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)( piscivorous, modified 10 Years ago at 12/6/11 9:02 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 12/6/11 9:02 PM

RE: Attention Wave, Tension, and Suffering

Posts: 36 Join Date: 12/8/10 Recent Posts
Eran G:
I think it may be possible to combine the two approaches. Basically develop calm (tranquility) as you do with TWIM and when you feel that the mind is stable enough, start doing noting. Over time, perhaps seconds, perhaps minutes or longer, you'll notice the tranquility start to break down. At this point you go back to TWIM and re-stabilize the mind. Keep going this way and you might find that you get the clarity of a tranquil mind and the investigation of noting. In my experience there still are sits where the whole thing completely crumbles and there's no tranquility to be found but at least then you can fall back on pure noting (despite the unpleasantness) and still make progress. If you find that your mind easily tends toward tranquility, this may a good path for you.


Thanks for this suggestion - this is a possibility. Suttas suggest balance between tranquility and insight, so this makes a lot of sense. I explored a hybrid approach last night. I find noting too valuable to give up.

cheers,

Matt
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Andrew , modified 10 Years ago at 12/7/11 1:12 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 12/7/11 1:12 AM

RE: Attention Wave, Tension, and Suffering

Posts: 336 Join Date: 5/23/11 Recent Posts
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

, a more direct approach (e.g. TWIM) might be less painful and more effective.
.


Hi Claudiu,

TWIM? i missed the memo on that acronym...what does it stand for?

cheers
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Bagpuss The Gnome, modified 10 Years ago at 12/7/11 1:29 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 12/7/11 1:29 AM

RE: Attention Wave, Tension, and Suffering

Posts: 704 Join Date: 11/2/11 Recent Posts
Tranquility Wisdom Insight Meditation

My main issue with this practice is my inability to maintain a smile that doesn't ache or feel wrong! Im not a natural smiler.. (i can do a great grimace though!)
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Andrew , modified 10 Years ago at 12/7/11 1:53 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 12/7/11 1:53 AM

RE: Attention Wave, Tension, and Suffering

Posts: 336 Join Date: 5/23/11 Recent Posts
cheers Bagpuss.

I can smile fine, maybe i'm already there? If only hey...

My claim to an attainment; I can smile.
John Wilde, modified 10 Years ago at 12/7/11 2:03 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 12/7/11 2:03 AM

RE: Attention Wave, Tension, and Suffering

Posts: 501 Join Date: 10/26/10 Recent Posts
Bagpuss The Gnome:
Tranquility Wisdom Insight Meditation

My main issue with this practice is my inability to maintain a smile that doesn't ache or feel wrong! Im not a natural smiler.. (i can do a great grimace though!)


emoticon How about wry amusement at your inability to smile? Does that get you smiling?
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 12/7/11 8:13 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 12/7/11 7:47 AM

RE: Attention Wave, Tension, and Suffering

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
)( piscivorous:
How does hardcore vipassana differ from Mahasi noting?


Eventually noting (even monosyllabic noting) stands in the way of precise observation, but the basic idea is the same.

The big difference may be, noting is for discrete phenomenoa, whereas the flow from sense-experience to attention wave and back can be experienced as completely continuous.

By the way, I tried your drunken vipassana fist [link] a couple of times. emoticon I don't think I got nearly as worked up as you described emoticon


And why not?

Liam pointed out that there is a kind of "mental release" that one may have to be willing to lift in order to get it right.
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 12/7/11 8:14 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 12/7/11 7:52 AM

RE: Attention Wave, Tension, and Suffering

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
)( piscivorous:
I wonder if I was doing something wrong because many phenomena dissolve with attention - pain, for instance. One sees through the illusion of wholeness - with attention, pain will move about and often become a vibration. But not my maxillary activity (correction: much more rarely these sometimes become vibrations - very annoying vibrations that stay with me after meditation and can even keep me from sleeping). It's like fireworks go off as soon as I give these sensations any attention. Granted, I can note all night given these very strong sensations - I have no time for my crap or playing with scenarios. But the sensations seem to feed off of the attention.


Can you find a way in which you might be feeding these sensations by focusing in a certain way, or holding your attention in a certain way, or (in general) doing some mental activity that is incidental to noting, which you could stop? Perhaps that's causing you difficulty...but, it might not necessarily be so. Some sensations take a *lot* of work (attention) before they start to dissolve. For example, I'd bet that if you locate the "witness" tension in your head, it will take you a great deal of work to dissolve that (even when you're not actively fueling it).