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Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map

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Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 1/8/12 6:14 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Daniel M. Ingram 1/9/12 2:54 AM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Bruno Loff 1/9/12 12:52 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Steph S 1/9/12 2:48 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 1/10/12 4:27 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tom Tom 1/9/12 3:12 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Pål S. 1/9/12 3:33 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Daniel Johnson 1/9/12 8:16 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 1/10/12 6:07 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 1/13/12 3:35 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Steph S 1/13/12 4:02 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 1/13/12 4:14 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 1/17/12 2:58 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 1/17/12 3:48 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Null Velle 1/17/12 7:40 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 1/18/12 8:20 AM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map End in Sight 1/17/12 8:07 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 1/18/12 8:25 AM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Howard Clegg 1/18/12 12:20 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 1/18/12 2:17 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Howard Clegg 1/18/12 2:34 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 1/19/12 5:29 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Howard Clegg 1/22/12 5:54 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 1/26/12 5:46 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 1/26/12 6:23 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 1/26/12 7:48 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 1/29/12 4:06 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 1/30/12 5:46 AM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map End in Sight 1/30/12 8:36 AM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 1/30/12 5:09 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map End in Sight 1/30/12 10:43 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 1/31/12 3:28 AM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map josh r s 1/31/12 10:42 AM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 1/30/12 6:25 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 1/31/12 4:36 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map End in Sight 1/31/12 11:04 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 2/1/12 7:28 AM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 2/10/12 3:46 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 2/13/12 4:00 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 2/14/12 3:21 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 2/21/12 3:08 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Trent . 2/20/12 8:53 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 2/21/12 9:10 AM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Trent . 2/21/12 1:30 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 2/21/12 3:06 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Trent . 2/21/12 6:46 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 2/22/12 3:37 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 2/23/12 3:57 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 2/24/12 3:33 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 2/27/12 3:48 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 2/28/12 5:04 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Steph S 2/28/12 5:52 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 2/29/12 3:39 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 3/3/12 7:02 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 3/4/12 3:34 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 4/16/12 1:04 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 4/24/12 7:10 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 4/25/12 6:15 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Adam . . 4/25/12 6:43 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 4/26/12 4:06 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Stian Gudmundsen Høiland 4/25/12 6:52 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Adam . . 4/25/12 7:11 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Stian Gudmundsen Høiland 4/25/12 7:21 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Adam . . 4/25/12 7:35 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 4/26/12 4:49 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Stian Gudmundsen Høiland 4/27/12 8:59 AM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 4/29/12 4:00 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 5/6/12 7:14 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map End in Sight 5/6/12 7:36 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 5/7/12 3:54 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Andrew . 5/9/12 10:04 AM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 6/8/12 5:56 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map End in Sight 6/8/12 7:36 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Stian Gudmundsen Høiland 6/8/12 9:33 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map An Eternal Now 6/9/12 3:19 AM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map End in Sight 6/9/12 6:08 AM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map An Eternal Now 6/9/12 12:14 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Stian Gudmundsen Høiland 6/10/12 5:42 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 6/14/12 4:28 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Stian Gudmundsen Høiland 6/15/12 9:45 AM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 6/24/12 5:51 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 6/25/12 4:08 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Andrew . 6/25/12 9:04 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 6/27/12 7:40 AM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Andrew . 6/28/12 12:44 AM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Steph S 6/28/12 12:44 AM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Andrew . 6/28/12 12:48 AM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map bud . 6/27/12 7:51 AM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 6/27/12 9:07 AM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 7/9/12 6:23 PM
Thread Split Tommy M 8/6/12 3:43 PM
RE: Thread Split Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 8/6/12 4:07 PM
RE: Thread Split Adam . . 8/6/12 4:14 PM
RE: Thread Split Tommy M 8/6/12 4:55 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Simon Ekstrand 6/28/12 2:35 AM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 6/28/12 4:06 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map An Eternal Now 6/9/12 2:19 AM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Andrew . 4/27/12 3:24 AM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map carolin varley 4/16/12 6:32 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Jon T 4/17/12 11:08 AM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tarver  3/7/12 10:14 AM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Tommy M 4/15/12 6:24 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Morgan Taylor 6/15/12 3:51 PM
RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map Jasmine Marie Engler 8/3/12 2:08 PM
I'm done with trying to understand what's what in whichever sutta, which state in this tradition is which in another, or with whether or not AF and Buddhism can be reconciled, or which jhana is which depending on...seriously, I'm just done with entire thing. The reasons are overly complicated to go into here, basically I'm stripping away everything from my practice and adopting more of a freestyle approach. I don't know enough about any one specific map of the territory to be able to confidently talk in those terms, much as I thought I did at one time, and my understanding of what constitutes this state or that state isn't sufficient for me to be able to use terms like "jhana" or even "EE" and know that I'm definitely talking about the same thing.

When I say "freestyle", what I mean is using the techniques which work for me and describing them in my own terms, not on the terms used by the tradition from which they originate unless absolutely necessary. You could describe my current practice as a combination of attentiveness to sensuousness, anapanasati sutta-based meditation, and unfabricated paying attention but I won't be describing the results of my practice in these terms. I'm sticking to basic phenomenological detail, no terminology unless required, and as simple, down-to-earth, and practical as possible so as to avoid any confusion. Obviously I'm not doing anything new here, it's not that I'm trying to create my own map of the thing, but I've learned that trying to frame this stuff in specific terms just isn't helpful for me anymore and leads to me getting confused.

I've been practicing in this way for the last few weeks with a marked increase in the sense of wellbeing, happiness and contentment I experience so I know that I'm still doing things correctly, but being able to drop all the categorization and mapping of the thing has been more freeing than I could have imagined. I'll update the thread whenever 'cause I'm not letting it become a task in itself, but hopefully something useful will come of it.

T

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
Answer
1/9/12 2:54 AM as a reply to Tommy M.
Excellent plan.

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
Answer
1/9/12 12:52 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
I heard there are some good maps laying out what to expect of that kind of practice.

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
Answer
1/9/12 2:48 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Not sure if this is what's happening in some way with you, but thought I'd chime in. Something I have noticed with myself: the tendency of the mind to parrot experiences can be a tricky one to work out. Parroting as in - sometimes states, stages, and details of one's own experience seems the same or similar to the experiences of other practitioners one regularly hangs around. At times when it seems my experience has been very closely aligned with others who are practicing similar methods, I have found it useful to take a step back from interaction, to sincerely test my own experiences without outside input to see what might really be happening.

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
Answer
1/9/12 3:12 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
My teaching is not a philosophy. It is the result of direct experience...
My teaching is a means of practice, not something to hold onto or worship.
My teaching is like a raft used to cross the river.
Only a fool would carry the raft around after he had already reached the other shore of liberation.


My other favorite quote involving the word "fool:"

worldly fools search for exotic masters, not
realizing that their own mind is the master. -bodhidharma

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
Answer
1/9/12 3:33 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Kūkai:
Do not follow the ancient masters, seek what they sought.

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
Answer
1/9/12 8:16 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Here's something that I totally found inspiring when I first read it and still find inspiring today. From one of SW's first posts on the DhO:

S Kyle:
I am not fan of assessment, so while I was able to use MCTB to verify what some of the experiences I was having were, the more complicated maps make my eyes glaze over. It's just not my thing. I am a teacher and I also hate evaluating students through assessment methods; I am much more associative than I am technical. So while in meditation all kinds of interesting things would happen and you know my feeling was like "whatever." I mean it was cool, but I was nonplussed. As Daniel says at one point in MTCB that more than events in meditation is what the experience of suffering is like after one feels they have attained something. And this is where my interest lies--in the cessation of suffering.


Link here:
http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/762725#_19_message_743166

What inspired me is that she seemed to be focused on what was actually important and then, sure enough, she got it done.

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
Answer
1/10/12 4:27 PM as a reply to Steph S.
Not sure if this is what's happening in some way with you, but thought I'd chime in. Something I have noticed with myself: the tendency of the mind to parrot experiences can be a tricky one to work out. Parroting as in - sometimes states, stages, and details of one's own experience seems the same or similar to the experiences of other practitioners one regularly hangs around. At times when it seems my experience has been very closely aligned with others who are practicing similar methods, I have found it useful to take a step back from interaction, to sincerely test my own experiences without outside input to see what might really be happening.

Aye, it's definitely something I've noticed myself doing before and is one of the reasons for this change in tact.

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
Answer
1/10/12 6:07 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
10/01/12

Mornings have become easier, there's more of an instant "ping" when waking up and for the last few days I've almost sprung up to my feet. Applying Daniel's suggestion from the Hurricane Ranch tapes to see things as if you're on vacation is a great way to work and I thoroughly recommend it if you haven't already tried it. The whole j'amais vous thing that Richard talks about becomes much more readily experienced with it, and combined with simply paying attention to what it is to experience the senses as they do what they do it's a really nice way to go about your day.

While sitting in work, the sunlight shone across the screen of the computer and revealed that wonderful purity for a few minutes before things went back to being just generally pretty good. There's a constant but subtle sense of things just happening by themselves, that's not meant as some sort of claim in terms of where I think I'm at with this thing, but over the last two or three weeks there's been a lot of more noticeable changes in normally mundane things e.g. washing my hands is sometimes like a symphony of pure sensations, putting them under the hand dryer in work is great fun too...and yes, it sounds like naive, stupid or childish but I honestly couldn't give a flying fuck. emoticon

To be attentive is to just simply be here, not to let mental objects or impersonal sensations drag "you" away with them. There's, what I'd describe as, a grasping for mental objects that happens when a thought comes up that leads to more of "me" arising through "my thoughts" about that object. Catching this as it happens and investigating what led to it happening is fun and stops it happening, this puts an end to a lot of really basic crap that fogs things up.

I was lying down last night just following the breath, sutta-style, and I can now differentiate more between what some have described as the "affective" pleasure, as in the vibratory overlay that happens, and the clearer, more bodily pleasure underlying it. Seeing how we add that mental aspect to it by reading it as being something I like weakens it, keeping doing it makes it go away but, so far at least, I haven't quite gotten the hang of stopping it entirely. Yet.

Then again, as I just said "yet", I know that there's is no such thing as a "yet" outside of my own mental conceptions of what that is, based on an idea about time existing, or how there's a "back" or a "forth" in anything really. Intellectually I know it's all happening right now, and even as my fingers dance rather crudely, and with a lot of retyping or deleting along the way, it makes perfect sense that this is it...but clearly something hasn't quite clicked yet. Thankfully a friend who's done the whole AF thing suggested investigating intent or impulsion which has been really interesting so far, he also pointed to a few aspects of things that were really helpful in terms of understanding what's been done and what still needs to be looked at.

With that in mind, I was looking at intent closely today and have been quite surprised by some of what's been found. I learned, among other things, something about the impulse to control another person or to dominate a situation. I watched how my own behaviour changed in response to how people reacted or spoke to me and immediately questioned what it was that was causing that to happen. For example, I talk to people on a phone all day and I know a fair bit about how to do this job well (I also have a "cool voice" according to other people. Ha!). How to talk to people and how to turn situations around in often heated complaints involves a lot of subtle cues and non-verbal stuff, but I didn't quite realize how pervasive that mode of communication can be in normal life and how we're always trying to control things, or get something out of it for ourselves.

Anyway, I just realized what time it was and remembered I had something to do so I'll sign off. The adventure continues.

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
Answer
1/13/12 3:35 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Freestyle practice, freestyle notes...what follows are some notes I took during work today, I don't quite know how useful they'll be to anyone else but I'll post them anyway. (The numbers are the times I wrote the notes.)

1005 - Wanting to stick the fingers up at someone. Why? To express my annoyance at them? Why? Because they sounded rude and were asking stupid questions. What made them stupid questions? Their lack of understanding and me viewing their questions as being stupid. What would sticking the finger up at the screen do? Nothing. Would it make me feel any happier? No. Harmless? No. What feelings arise at that point? Urge to act, to express "my" feelings on the matter, a gesture. Does that make sense? Not at all, it's something I saw people doing years ago when I first started working in this environment. Is this helpful then? No, of course not. Are you done with it? Yes.

If anyone's ever worked in a call centre, you'll no doubt be familiar with people sticking their fingers up at difficult callers while talking to them. Obviously they can't actually see you doing it but, if you're being controlled by impulse, it satisfies that desire to do something to "get back at" that faceless voice on the phone. I looked at that impulse today and found it, after that point if that feeling happened, mainly annoyance or irritation, it could no longer become that action so I figure this is a pretty practical example of this part of practice. The part about finding their questions "stupid" is another story, but more on that another time.

Why annoyance? Interrupted. From what? Doing what "I" want to do. What would that be? Reading, thinking or not taking calls. But I'm in work so what I am meant to be doing while I'm here? Working. So why am I not just doing work and looking for reasons to waste time? Boredom. Who's bored? Me. Why? Nothing to do. Really? Well, not really but nothing that "I" WANT to do. How does that lead to feelings of boredom? It's not really boredom when I examine it closer, it's just unsettledness and a sense that I'm much rather not be working here overall, but working somewhere else more enjoyable. Yes, but you already know that it's up to YOU how you feel from one moment to the next and the where you are isn't something you can change right now.


1052 - Listening to ungrateful person in here. Does that affect you? No, of course not. The ears hear it, there is a mental tension as I would like this person to stop being so ungrateful. Why? Because it's unpleasant to be so. For who? That person. So why should you feel that way? I could say that it's because I don't want them to continue to cause their own suffering, but it's only part of the reason, the other part being because it annoys me to hear people being so unpleasant simply because they're selfish. But why does that irk me? It reminds me of when I've been that way. But that's not happening right now is it? No.


1112 - Happyish. Why qualify that with an "-ish". Because happiness isn't the prevalent feeling, there is still unease but mildly so. Remembered that awareness is just happening. I'll write a note to stick to my computer to remind me of this, incorporate with HAIETMOBA as a non-verbal attitude/outlook. Noticing this is the case leads to a subtle sense of lightness happening within "me".


1118 - Timecheck. HAIETMOBA - Lightness in the head/3rd eye area (3rd eye is symbolic of the observer, not literal.) Remembering this leads to recalling that the entire chakra system is a mentally-applied map which is placed over the entire body map.

Something about the chakra system became quite clear the other night, for the first time I saw it as a purely mental construct being overlaid onto this experience. I knew it was just another useful map through previous experiments with belief-shifting, but seeing it happening (which isn't the best way to describe it as it was more about noticing the subtle tensions involved and how they related to certain affective states) was useful for letting go of it completely.

Some random notes...
1138 - HAIETMOBA - Opening of space, sense of a very fine, subtle "airyness" right there.

1152 - Tension in stomach just below navel. Colleague gets annoyed and I notice my shoulders rising up as if preparing to do something. Slightly unpleasant but noticeable nonetheless.

1325 - Eating pasta for lunch, colours are vivid.

1328 - Flavour. Amazing!

Those little flashes of purity, even something as simple as the taste of a supermarket, own-brand spicy chicken pasta, make this entire practice highly recommendable.

I like keeping notes like this, freeform and unplanned, just writing down exactly what's happening whether it's wondering yourself into oblivion or typing on a keyboard while talking to yourself. Ha!

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
Answer
1/13/12 4:02 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
cool notes.

workplace annoyance and the "i would rather be doing something more fun than this" mind is a tough, really tough, one to crack. mostly because i think the not wanting to be at work because it sucks that i need this job to pay living expenses and wouldn't be here if i didn't have to be... argument... is very familiar to retreat to, but ultimately super played out and besides the point. what have you investigated beyond that?

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
Answer
1/13/12 4:14 PM as a reply to Steph S.
Steph S:
cool notes.

workplace annoyance and the "i would rather be doing something more fun than this" mind is a tough, really tough, one to crack. mostly because i think the not wanting to be at work because it sucks that i need this job to pay living expenses and wouldn't be here if i didn't have to be... argument... is very familiar to retreat to, but ultimately super played out and besides the point. what have you investigated beyond that?


i have lot of difficulty with this one, too. probably single worst cause of suffering in the past 2 years. makes me want to not be a householder anymore and come back to work once AF. which again is a very tired played-out loop... so i'm curious about what you guys have found

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
Answer
1/17/12 2:58 PM as a reply to Steph S.
what have you investigated beyond that?

I've gone quite deeply into this area because it's been a constant issue and I've been looking at it for a long time, there's a lot of different factors involved for me that came up as a result of exploring it. Initially there was a lot of stuff to do with the whole alpha male/provider conditioning and roles in relationships, social situations and all that hilarity, but as investigation has continued there's been an unraveling of a lot of resentment over things I hadn't really thought about, mainly due to being averse to them.

It's a thread worth mining, a lot of social identity stuff is involved and there might be some sneaky little beliefs hiding away in amongst them.

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
Answer
1/17/12 3:48 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Emailing myself notes from work is funny, like sending a message to some imagined future incarnation to tell them what was going on at a particular moment in time expect not. Or something. Maybe. What was I talking about again?

0625 - Not clear
0641 - Eyes seeing, distance to the back of the office is quite deep looking from here. This position facing no particular direction.
0646 - Slight tension at navel area, shallow vibration, quite slow.
0655 - Unhappiness/sadness for a moment
0701 - Tiredness, sluggish but not unpleasantly so.
Bitter aftertaste of coffee is apparent.
0809 - 'external' Object → sense consciousness → mental activity (mind object) → affective overlay.
0830 - Chest, spreading across w/mid-wave
0849 - Ha!
0853 - Pleasant, balance. Tension at the base of the spine.
0919 - Paranoia, mental images of possible ways of getting in trouble in work.
1048 - Unease, solar plexus fluttering, small diameter circle of warmth in itself not unpleasant.
1052 - HAIETMOBA - Smile, softness, still. Pleasant.
1054 - Mental confusion while on the phone, not unpleasant - concern afterwards about how it would be perceived by others.
1057 - Fear about employment future.
1102 - Happens immediately after a call - mental image of managers investigating something or plotting behind my back.
1137 - doubt based on something clearly affective

There were some random notes from Saturday morning which I'm posting here mainly for my own reference as the issue with concern about work and stability of employment is something I'm working on. I've come to realize it is entirely fabricated by "me", it seems that this basic fear of losing a job is something "I" spin off by myself based on misreading events as they happen e.g. I ended up not going into work until 1200 today due to waking up with a hefty migraine, as soon as I got in I noticed how all of my thoughts and the way "I" was thinking about things was all based around the (completely imagined) idea that I was going to get pulled up for being late again. Silly things like seeing a manager walking past and immediately assuming that they were going to sack me, or hearing some echo feeding back on the phone line which then causes a thought about having my calls listened into...madness. On reading that back, it sounds like mental illness but that's what I was watching happen and all of it caused by a groundless fear of losing my job. On the upside, it didn't lead to a mood or any sort of unpleasantness beyond the initial tension being observed.

Human beings are crazy motherfuckers.

I sat formally last night again for the first time in a few days, sutta-style breath stuff, and just maintained a panoramic awareness of things while staying with the breath. Anything seen as being given any more attention or as giving rise to a sense of "me" was seen clearly as more empty phenomena arising without this body actually doing anything to cause it. Doing this continually and returning to the breath when required led to a phenomenal level of pleasantness which, as End has also mentioned and we've briefly discussed on another thread, has something of a synesthetic brightness or luminosity which is really quite something when concentration is high. It began most clearly at the chest and rapidly filled the entire body, not in an A&P-like way, much more bodily felt and less "whoa!" about it, before expanding outwards, almost thinning out, and becoming more subtle.

At that point, I moved the focus to the edge of the body and vipassinated (I just made that up, basically meaning to have applied vipassana to...Ha!) any sense of an affective edge to the thing. By this I mean that I "mashed up" those sensations implying an edge beyond the body and what could still be perceived as being the purely tactile sensations being experienced by the body, after a few minutes of doing this any sense of the body vanished completely. However, I have to admit that I could still hear intermittently and so I don't want to say that this was a definite experience of 5th jhana. It's for these sort of reasons that I'm avoiding that terminology as much as possible.

I could probably add more notes about some stuff from today but I've got some stuff to do so I'll finish up here.

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
Answer
1/17/12 7:40 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Hi,

Tommy M:
I ended up not going into work until 1200 today due to waking up with a hefty migraine, as soon as I got in I noticed how all of my thoughts and the way "I" was thinking about things was all based around the (completely imagined) idea that I was going to get pulled up for being late again. Silly things like seeing a manager walking past and immediately assuming that they were going to sack me, or hearing some echo feeding back on the phone line which then causes a thought about having my calls listened into...madness. On reading that back, it sounds like mental illness but that's what I was watching happen and all of it caused by a groundless fear of losing my job. On the upside, it didn't lead to a mood or any sort of unpleasantness beyond the initial tension being observed.


Were you feeling guilty? If yeah, why?

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
Answer
1/17/12 8:07 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Tommy M:
I sat formally last night again for the first time in a few days, sutta-style breath stuff, and just maintained a panoramic awareness of things while staying with the breath. Anything seen as being given any more attention or as giving rise to a sense of "me" was seen clearly as more empty phenomena arising without this body actually doing anything to cause it. Doing this continually and returning to the breath when required led to a phenomenal level of pleasantness which, as End has also mentioned and we've briefly discussed on another thread, has something of a synesthetic brightness or luminosity which is really quite something when concentration is high. It began most clearly at the chest and rapidly filled the entire body, not in an A&P-like way, much more bodily felt and less "whoa!" about it, before expanding outwards, almost thinning out, and becoming more subtle.


Please write more about this "brightness" as you have more experiences with it, so we can figure out how it works.

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
Answer
1/18/12 8:20 AM as a reply to Null Velle.
Were you feeling guilty? If yeah, why?

I know what you mean here but the details are a bit more complex than what I've written suggests, feeling guilty was only one small part of what was being felt and I know what caused that to arise. There's a whole background to what I'm talking about here that I haven't gone into much detail about, mainly because it'd likely be incredibly boring for others to read.

Thanks for the pointer though, and welcome to the DhO!

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1/18/12 8:25 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
Please write more about this "brightness" as you have more experiences with it, so we can figure out how it works.

Will do.

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1/18/12 12:20 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Hello everybody,
I've not posted for ages and it feels good to be back. I'm very interested in what Tommy is up too because my own practice is going very much in that direction; no maps, just awareness. After all what's the worst that can happen?

My interest was particularly piqued by talk of "brightness." For a while I was studying with Kenneth Folk, and the core of it was direct pointing at emptiness, true nature of mind or Dzogchen. If I my memory serves correctly, there are 3 characteristics to look for, looseness and luminosity were two and i forget the third. My point is that Tommy's description sounds very familiar to what I call luminosity. I used to stumble into this spontaneously before Kenneth pointed me directly at it. So maybe that is what is being described here, maybe the edge of something else.

Please excuse me if you are already familiar with this stuff and have moved on a bit.

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1/18/12 2:17 PM as a reply to Howard Clegg.
Hiya Howard, long time no see!

The "brightness" thing I'm talking about isn't the same as what Kenneth was pointing at, it's something that seems to be more related to getting into jhana using the methods and descriptions in the suttas. I can see why it might have sounded like that but this is the fun n' games of trying to describe this sort of stuff without creating confusion, hopefully I'll be able to describe it more clearly once I've investigated it more.

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1/18/12 2:34 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Hmm, I though maybe I was off beam a bit. Still, worth a try. I know nothing about jhanas or the suttas, so I will just shut up.

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1/19/12 5:29 PM as a reply to Howard Clegg.
Hmm, I though maybe I was off beam a bit. Still, worth a try. I know nothing about jhanas or the suttas, so I will just shut up.
emoticon

The fact that you took the time to reply at all is appreciated.

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1/22/12 5:54 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
You're welcome. I'm interested to know how you feel about going off-piste though. Do you find it scary, moving away from formal practices that your peers find familiar? Do you have trouble relating? Have you had any odd reactions from people? I am asking because I have never had a flesh and blood sangha, and all these "community" trype issues have never been on on the radar for me. I read some of the bun fights that go on here and on other sites with great interest, but I have no "feel".

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1/26/12 5:46 PM as a reply to Howard Clegg.
You're welcome. I'm interested to know how you feel about going off-piste though. Do you find it scary, moving away from formal practices that your peers find familiar? Do you have trouble relating? Have you had any odd reactions from people? I am asking because I have never had a flesh and blood sangha, and all these "community" trype issues have never been on on the radar for me. I read some of the bun fights that go on here and on other sites with great interest, but I have no "feel".

Until I read MCTB, I was a chaos magician and took a pick n' mix approach to techniques from different traditions according to what I was doing at that time. Right now my practice is still basically the same as what's being discussed on here although I'm choosing not to use tradition specific terminology, mainly so that I can avoid confusing myself but also so that I can hopefully contribute to a clearer understanding of what actually happens as you do these practices i.e. just basic descriptions of what happened when I did x, y, or z.

Part of what prompted this change were my difficulties in relating my own experiences in mutually understandable terms, and my own confusion over definitions of attainments. This community have always been very supportive in that respect and I've never encountered any "odd reactions", even when I've spoken about techniques far removed from Buddhist practices, but the "high-end" technical discussions sometimes go over my head and it's usually down to my inability to understand what's being discussed, at least until I go away and try it for myself and think "Ah, right. I'd have described that as being like...but now I know that you mean...etc".

The "bun fights", as you so hilariously put it, are usually over theory and dogmatic interpretation of things but straight discussion of practice is, on the whole, pretty clear cut and factual.

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1/26/12 6:23 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
I've resumed formal sitting on a daily basis, usually for no less than one hour at a time but there's been a few shorter sits in between. The practice is basic anapanasati sutta stuff but I'm trying to investigate things more, particularly volition and the process by which certain thoughts come into being. It's clear already how useful getting back into a practice routine is, there is a major increase in my ability to observe feelings as they arise in day to day life and emotions have a transparency to them which makes things better in general.

I've experienced that same "brightness" again, but not as strongly as I did when I mentioned it last time, and it does seem to happen at the point where the breath is experienced as something almost non-bodily. For me, it appears quite quickly when I'm firmly with the entire breath cycle, a stage which has a definite but very gentle sense of being "locked in", and I've caught it beginning in the chest and face. Still looking at this but these are a few notes for reference later.

There was a moment of what I can only really describe as being a mirror-like experience, while very focused on the breath and just observing patterns arising and passing I flashed onto this thing about sensations reflecting themselves, their very arising is the observation of them. I'm fairly certain that a cessation happened at that point but there's a difference in how I understand this process now, there wasn't a big shift or anything, just a new, and almost immediately forgotten, insight into the arising of consciousness and what "it" arises in. More on this later 'cause it's one of those frustrating moments when an insight appears and promptly vanishes for a while. emoticon

Just a few brief notes, I haven't been keeping any notes on my practice at all lately but I'll try to post something a bit more substantial and useful this week.

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1/26/12 7:48 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Tommy M:
particularly volition...

Volition's a good one. I think it's one of the most deeply-wrought identifications possible.. 'you' think 'you' are 'volition', yet that is not the case.

How about this: instead of investigating stuff, just take a look at whatever happens to come up. Who knows what will come up next? That approach takes 'volition' out of the picture (meaning you won't cling to it as you aren't using it to investigate), and also makes practice a ton more straightforward, as you no longer have to decide what to investigate - - what a relief!

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1/29/12 4:06 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
For the last few weeks there's been a constant sense of what I would describe as a "stillness" to things, a general feeling of things being nice and effortlessly happy even in the face of circumstances I would previously have described as being stressful. This underlying calm means that it's really obvious when a feeling arises and adds a comedic edge to things like anger, something which inexplicably showed up the other day for no discernible reason. Irritation was experienced like dozens of little explosions of tension arising all over my torso, fine vibrations terminating in the chest leaving flickering tendrils of tension which, had I not been simply observing it as it happened, would probably led to me expressing it in some way. The clarity this is seen with is what seems most different lately, it just makes no sense to react to these things, even though I've said similarly before it's so different that I think it's worth noting.

I sat tonight for 30 minutes, a shorter sit than usual, and stayed with the anapanasati sutta instruction. Within about ten cycles of the breath I noticed that the body was perceived as being considerably larger than normal, the breath became quite fine and mesh-like (easiest way I can think of to describe it right now) when the 'brightness' of the pleasantness seems to seep through the spaces between the breath. This is something I'll try to explain in a bit more detail...the breath was experienced as being 'outside' of the sensations of the body, not externalized but felt as being very distinct and separate from the body itself but almost as though it were meshed with the sensations of the body. If that makes sense. In the 'spaces' between the sensations of the breath and the sensations of the body is where the 'brightness' seems to arise, however it's not entirely physical and not entirely non-physical as it seems to have aspects of both to it.

If I tune into this and turn the focus to the 'brightness', I can either get very absorbed in the pleasantness or I can investigate what seem to be the edges of it. Doing this seems to either bring me to a soft version of 5th jhana, or some sub-jhanic thing like 1.5 or however it's expressed, either way there is an incredibly spaciousness quality to it with no sense of the body but I am still able to hear things going on around me. I've veered into jhanic terminology here but it's the quickest way to get the general idea across, but just to be clear I'm not definitely saying that this was any particular jhanic state. I'll add more to this as I go.

The anapanasati instruction, particularly the way that Nick has broken it down in this post, is a powerful way to practice and the part of the technique where you also pay attention to the length of the breath is particularly useful for cutting off wandering thought and leading to far stronger concentration. (This seems to be similar to the initial effects of mantra and, as far as I can tell, occupies the same part of the mind as the repetition part of a mantra does.)

Practice has been consistent, nothing major to report and no profound shifts to speak of but I wanted to look more closely at tweaking my technique and improving things as I go.

Life in general seems weirdly, but wonderfully, natural and fun with a major absence of all sorts of unpleasant stuff. We shall see...

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1/30/12 5:46 AM as a reply to Tommy M.
I don't usually bother updating this daily but I've got a few days off work and had some interesting stuff happen last night while meditating. I decided to do a bit of practice later on last night and ended up sitting for about two hours doing anapanasati, the most interesting thing about it was that, on coming out of being very concentrated on the whole sense field[1], I appeared to have ended up in something resembling a PCE but with this outrageous, NS-like narcotic afterglow. I had started meditating around 1am and opened my eyes to find it was just after 3am, but the room just seemed massively spacious in a different way and colours were incredibly vivid, although I think there was still some sort of affective "wow" to things and so I'm not calling it a PCE.

While observing the body, the entire mental image of it was seen to 'shimmer' but not in a gross, vibrational way, it was more stable but still inconstant. The actual sensations of the body were clearly not being affected by this and so I could begin to let it go as it happened, the mental aspects of the experience were seen to drop away and I could observe mind objects arising more easily. It struck me that there was still tension in the body, mainly at the base of the skull and also in the solar plexus area, so I looked at how the mind was holding these sensations and caught a subtle aversion being overlayed. Seeing how this was being fabricated (by "me" not wanting those sensations to be there) led to it's cessation, there was a clear experience of that feeling just stopping dead and an incredible stillness appearing in it's place.

It seems like there's a level of what I would call energetic attentiveness involved in not becoming completely absorbed, if I remain present and engaged with what's happening then it's far easier to investigate it rather than zoning out or ending up being sucked into a big bliss out thing. Not that bliss is a bad thing, but it's distracting if you're trying to see the subtle movements. The way I see it is that I can enjoy the bliss out stuff another time, when I'm practicing it's all about the concentration and investigation.

One thing I didn't notice at all was the 'brightness' mentioned before, for some reason it just wasn't something I picked up on or which stood out which makes me think that my concentration may not have been as strong as I'd have liked it to be. Although having sat earlier in the evening, this may have contributed to a quicker movement through that part of the process but I'm unsure.

Today there's something different about this experience again, subtle but noticeable as there's a complete lack of any emotional unpleasantness or (obvious) tension. I'll sit again today and update this thread if anything noteworthy occurs.

[1] I just went through the anapanasati instructions gradually letting go of ever more subtle mind objects until there was just the senses running.

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1/30/12 8:36 AM as a reply to Tommy M.
Tommy M:
I don't usually bother updating this daily but I've got a few days off work and had some interesting stuff happen last night while meditating. I decided to do a bit of practice later on last night and ended up sitting for about two hours doing anapanasati, the most interesting thing about it was that, on coming out of being very concentrated on the whole sense field[1], I appeared to have ended up in something resembling a PCE but with this outrageous, NS-like narcotic afterglow. I had started meditating around 1am and opened my eyes to find it was just after 3am, but the room just seemed massively spacious in a different way and colours were incredibly vivid, although I think there was still some sort of affective "wow" to things and so I'm not calling it a PCE.


How would you describe the "narcotic afterglow" more specifically?

In my experience, if I sit in really strong concentration for a long time, sometimes big shifts will happen, and experience is outrageously awesome afterwards (though that eventually fades away, leaving whatever the permanent shift was). Maybe the same thing, maybe not.

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1/30/12 5:09 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
How would you describe the "narcotic afterglow" more specifically?

I gradually became aware of the room and opened my eyes, everything was crystal clear and visually bright but it was as if I wasn't actually there. Bodily sensations reminded me of having taken a fairly high dose of codeine, things were mentally quite clear but very soft and blissful, I remember thinking something along the lines of "fucking hell, this is just incredible" then noticing that I'd begun to roll a cigarette. I don't really know if "narcotic" is the right word although the feeling of well being and warmth caused by opiates does fit the bill more easily than anything else, it just didn't have any of that sluggishness even though I was tired due to the time of night it was.

The reason I said "NS-like" is because I didn't go through the setup for NS and didn't intend for it to happen, but the feelings afterwards were very much like what I've experienced coming out of NS. One thing that's different is that it's still sort of there, the sense of contentment and general well-being although I did experience a weird burst of irritation earlier today so I'm just continuing practice as normal.

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1/30/12 6:25 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Double session tonight, an hour of sitting and an hour of walking (in the freezing bastarding cold) while going to see my friend.

During the sit - One major thing I saw really clearly was the cessation of the internal narrative, while following the breath and doing the anapana shuffle I saw it begin to break down completely and become nonsensical word-images. These were then seen to follow suit, becoming blurred and translucent before ending completely to be replaced by...well, nothing at all as it happens. On seeing that come to an end, things fell very silent and still with a complete absence of narrative thoughts which was incredibly restful and spacious.

- Something else interesting was an experience which, when I thought about it afterwards, seemed very much like this description of 4th jhana:

"Just as if a man were sitting wrapped from head to foot with a white cloth so that there would be no part of his body to which the white cloth did not extend; even so, the monk sits, permeating his body with a pure, bright awareness. There is nothing of his entire body unpervaded by pure, bright awareness."


With the whole body as an object, the 'brightness' was experienced as enveloping [1] but not in the sense of covering anything up, just in the way it's described in that quote; permeating, nothing of the entire body unpervaded.

- I've realized that there are extended periods when I don't seem to be experiencing anything via the sense doors but am still aware of something. I haven't been able to determine how long these last, they seem like formless states as there is absolutely no sense of the body and the senses can't even be found, as far as I can tell so far. There's something happening though but for the life of me I couldn't begin to describe it yet. Interesting stuff.

There was other fun stuff happening during the sit too but nothing really practical or noteworthy.

During the walk - Having just gotten up from my sit 15 minutes or so before I went out, concentration was high and so I stayed with the body before taking on mental objects as I walked. I was just seeing things as they were, perfectly there without me doing anything, and kept on catching myself "looking" rather than just seeing, trying to add something to things but being caught before it could come to anything. Doing this repeatedly kept things pleasantly clear and still. I remembered how, only a few week ago in fact, I was looking at things and trying to stop seeing the visual noise which is absent in a PCE. Now though, I can see that coming up and let it go knowing that it's the very thing which causes the noise in the first place!

- I think, and I'd like some clarification from Tarin on this if he has the time, I learned something about the "being the stillness and being “the break” line from Daniel's notes (here) tonight. I've already mentioned how much more apparent the stillness is, so while I was out I tuned into this and everything became very direct and clear in that PCE-like way. I found that I could "be" that stillness by continually letting things go in the same way I have while sitting, resting in that as much as possible makes it really obvious when something arises that's not required but it can still become a feeling tone if not seen clearly. Would what I'm describing here be what you meant when you said about "being the stillness..."? If not, would you mind saying a bit more about it please?

- Two guys walked past me. Nothing unusual. What was different was a really minor thing which has indicated to me that I'm actually doing this stuff right...there was absolutely no sense of fear, or being under threat, or having to be prepared to fight. This sounds like nothing, I know, but there was always this sort of tension twist/uncertainty thing that happened when I encountered people in the street who looked like they could cause trouble. The guys looked like "neds" (which is a term in Scotland for delinquent youths fond of stabbings, Buckfast, stabbings and unprovoked violence) and it would generally put me "on guard" in case they started up any shite. (Stereotyping, generalizing, all that tarring everyone with the same brush stuff, yeah, guilty.) That didn't happen. On the contrary, they nodded in a casual greeting/acknowledgement/social gesture way and walked on leaving the rather wonderful smell of a big grassy joint hanging in the night air.

I've rambled on a bit here but practice has been eventful. I didn't mean to imply at any point that any sort of major shift in perception has occurred, just in case anyone got the idea that I was slyly hinting at having attained something or other. I haven't. Things are just pretty damned good right now and I'm happier than I've been at any point in my life, even though there's all manner of domestic and financial dealings to be dealt with which would normally have stressed me the fuck out.

I'll no doubt do a bit of practice tonight and make use of my days off rather than sitting making nonsensical music, or smoking myself into double-vision. emoticon

[1] I tried to stay with this as much as possible without losing concentration, the first visual sign of it appeared as if it were in front of my head and above slightly but there's more to it than a purely visual part as it's almost tactile, but sort of felt as being something not-physical. It's weird but cool, more investigation is required but I thought this was worth mentioning.

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1/30/12 10:43 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Tommy M:
How would you describe the "narcotic afterglow" more specifically?

I gradually became aware of the room and opened my eyes, everything was crystal clear and visually bright but it was as if I wasn't actually there. Bodily sensations reminded me of having taken a fairly high dose of codeine, things were mentally quite clear but very soft and blissful, I remember thinking something along the lines of "fucking hell, this is just incredible" then noticing that I'd begun to roll a cigarette. I don't really know if "narcotic" is the right word although the feeling of well being and warmth caused by opiates does fit the bill more easily than anything else, it just didn't have any of that sluggishness even though I was tired due to the time of night it was.


Physically pleasurable (sukha)?

If not, or if that wasn't crucial to the experience, then I suspect we're talking about the same thing. As best I can tell, it's the clarity itself that has this soft-yet-incredible quality.

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1/31/12 3:28 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
If not, or if that wasn't crucial to the experience, then I suspect we're talking about the same thing. As best I can tell, it's the clarity itself that has this soft-yet-incredible quality.

Aye, that sounds about right. It happened again last night and the words "soft-yet-incredible" fits perfectly, I'll get more of a look at this today and update later 'cause I intend to get a couple of hours on the cushion while I've got the chance.

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1/31/12 10:42 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
I have had a similar experience a couple of times. in both cases the precession leading up to the experience and the experience itself was similar. in both cases i had been in strong concentration and had the insight that rather than "doing something" to create this attention-wave free stuff, it was what I wasn't doing. this made the intention and effort to continue staying in the state drop away but the state remained, but with the addition of the softness, which is a good word for what I was experiencing. pleasure was present but not the most prominent quality, the most prominent thing was the softness, though with only the memory of the experience i can't understand exactly what that "softness" was.

i can't say for sure whether this softness was a direct result of less attention wave, as I don't really remember whether it got clearer and less wiggly right after relaxing... that would be preferable of course to the other explanation I can think of which is that it was simply a temporary relief due to not having to keep up the intention, or a temporary ecstasy due to the perception that this sort of thing could be permanent because it wasn't caused, but rather that it was causally obscured. (if these latter explanations were the case the extra-good softness aspect would probably fade out after getting used to it)

anyway, i hope to have such an experience again and if i do i will be extra-careful to figure out why it's so good.

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1/31/12 4:36 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
I've been paying attention things happening through the day but only sat for 30 minutes, this was mainly down to back pain due to a long-standing injury. Usually I'd sit through it as best I can but tonight was a sloppy sit with poor concentration so I bailed out. Poor excuse, I know.

One thing I did notice, and the reason for posting a quick update, related to a comment made by End in another thread:

As another note about jhanas, I have found that the object is basically irrelevant to the experience (as the object does not change the qualities of the experience, but merely changes the nimittas...

I tend to start with the anapana spot then move out to take the whole body as the object with a panoramic focus, tensions in the body can be let go of quite quickly this way and I find I get to meat of the mental movements more easily. What I noticed was that even with relatively poor concentration, given that my concentration is generally pretty strong and I've picked up on this in a more detailed way before, the nitmitta which arises, assuming that I'm experiencing the same thing or something very similar to what End is calling nimitta, does seem to be related to the object and this, as far as I can tell so far, is like some sort of mental mould or impression (if that makes sense) of it.

With the breath it's almost formless but there are qualities to it that are really hard to describe, however they seem to have something formed to them and exhibit some sort of cross-sensory thing which is easiest described as synaesthetic. What I noticed with using the body was that it didn't have the same formlessness to it, it seemed more tangible almost like proprioceptive perception, which it may well have been but I've misinterpreted it, and appears to appear fairly consistently in the same general location for me.

This was just an observation from tonight's sit so I'm going to go back to this again later and see if it stands up to more testing, if not then we'll see what comes about anyway.

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1/31/12 11:04 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Tommy M:
With the breath it's almost formless but there are qualities to it that are really hard to describe, however they seem to have something formed to them and exhibit some sort of cross-sensory thing which is easiest described as synaesthetic.


To me it seems that the mind sense is involved in some way...as if one were able to feed sensory input destined for one of the five senses directly into the mind, bypassing the original sense-door in a weird way, yielding an experience that somehow has mental and sensory qualities. (I assume we're talking about the same thing here.) But, I wonder if there is anything more to it, in your experience.

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2/1/12 7:28 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
To me it seems that the mind sense is involved in some way...as if one were able to feed sensory input destined for one of the five senses directly into the mind, bypassing the original sense-door in a weird way, yielding an experience that somehow has mental and sensory qualities.

That makes sense, it's almost like the specific sense door, for example the initial visual brightness, has been bypassed but it's mental counterpart is what presents itself so you're left with an experience which is like seeing it but without the physical aspect i.e. it's not seen with the eyes but the mental representation of seeing has characteristics which suggest a visual input. Trying to describe this is a pain in the arse! emoticon

I'm going to do some stuff with physical kasinas and see what sort of differences I can pick up on. I did this with tattwas for a while a few months ago but it was before using the sutta approach, the main thing I noticed then was that the after image of the shape could be called up at will even without the actual form to focus on. I haven't noticed anything similar yet with the breath or the body but it's early days so I'll see what comes of it.

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2/10/12 3:46 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
I almost forgot I was keeping a practice thread...what what that about memory failing again? emoticon

Practice-wise, I haven't actually sat for the last few days but I've been informally meditating for an hour or so before going to sleep. This has led to having clear lucid dreams which has also led to a strange blurring of the line between real and imaginary during daily life, not in a dangerous or delusional way, I can still tell the difference of course but there's a paradoxically hazy clarity to things which is quite nice. Maybe describing it as "real and imaginary" isn't quite accurate enough, it's more that the quality of experience and the flexibility of the mind experienced during a lucid dream is more accessible during the day. I've noticed an increase in retention and recall of the after-image of objects, like strong kasina practice, but after seeing an image for a second or two, and more clarity about what is purely mental phenomena (as in being able to discern this instantly rather than having to observe it as I would if I was purposely being attentive to the senses) as it tries to overlay itself onto what is being perceived. I suspect that this is down to now paying much closer attention to how "I" experience myself in that dream state, since that's obviously mental activity running by itself, then seeing how much different it is to experience things as this body, through the senses.

I don't quite know what else to add since much of what I've been doing is just basic attentiveness, on-the-fly concentration practice, observing how things are as they happen by themselves and generally enjoying things.

I had a disciplinary meeting in work this week, ended up with a written warning for lateness but felt completely and utterly unmoved by any of it. This is something that would have caused me to go ballistic, I'd have shouted the odds and dissected their argument (they disregarded their own disciplinary procedure and made an arse of it basically) before probably storming out of the office and getting signed off by the doc for stress. Didn't happen. No feelings about it whatsoever. (btw, I'm not saying that I no longer experience feeling but both pleasant and unpleasant feelings are very different to what they were before).

Anyhow, I'm away to make some experimental noise/speedcore/gabber/black metal tracks for a laugh.

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2/13/12 4:00 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
While sitting tonight I got a really good look at the whole process of how "I" come into being, each step of it clear as day and simple to see but I've already spent about forty minutes trying to describe it. Unsuccessfully. So, I'll try it again...

I had been quite heavily concentrated on the breath and releasing whatever was noticed to be causing a mental tension to arise, somewhere along the line I got into a state where "I" was the breath, then the tension, then the thought that followed, all coming and going in turn until it clicked that "I" only arose due to the thought that "I" even existed in the first place. There was a clear experience of each feeling going into cessation, accompanied by a fruition-like blinking out before another took it's place. Seeing that made it clear how it was happening with every single sensation that arose, a constant process of becoming which was usually neutral in tone but would occasionally become more jagged and unpleasant e.g. a sense of fear with no discernible cause happened, followed by a weird sideways pushing sensation in the gut, followed by a feeling of anxiety with a sense of "I didn't like that". What was really obvious was that every feeling of "I" that could arise was exactly the same, it just a different emotional 'colour' to it.

On seeing this, I returned to the breath again and watched what caused that tension to arise over and over again. The mental aspects of each arising sensation came and went, as I let go of more and more subtle layers my whole body vanished, then seeing went, hearing stopped and I completely lost all sense of location, time, space and anything I could have perceived at that moment. I'm assuming I hit 8th jhana after this but I have literally no idea how to describe it, there was something there but absolutely nothing I could recognize clearly enough.

Interesting stuff. We'll see how this develops.

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2/14/12 3:21 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
I've been bringing more practice into daily life again, or at least doing it more consciously and with a few experimental twists to keep it fresh. The main thing is just acknowledging that awareness is happening, this is the basis for everything from the moment I wake up, but I'm also paying attention to the senses with an added element of bhakti yoga/Crowley inspired devotional overlay to keep things focused on how important doing this is. It's difficult to explain since I'm not using the standard idea of devotion to a personal god or anything theistic, what I'm basically doing is tapping into an old pattern of feelings rooted in a Catholic upbringing, with all it's rites and rituals, and bringing that sense of reverence to everyday things. It's like a ritualization of the mundane as a means to elevate things I'd normally overlook, for example rolling a cigarette, and seeing them as something more profound. It sounds complicated but it's just the way I'm describing it, it's basically playing games with the imagination in an attempt to point all aspects of "me" in the same direction.

Something interesting happened in work today too, I was on the phone to a customer and dealing with their order changes when I noticed resentment and irritation coming up. As I spoke to the person, I looked at what was going on internally and saw that those feelings were complete nonsense; I was resentful of having to sit at a desk, get paid for talking to people on the phone and put information into a computer. I was irritated by that?! A whole series of beliefs and thoughts unraveled in that moment, things from ideas learned in childhood to experiences in school, a flurry of frames and a cessation. In an instant that feeling dropped out, something just seemed utterly normal and I haven't experienced that sense of resentment again yet. It's really simple and sounds like nothing but it's been that feeling that's prevented me from being able to enjoy all of my time, since a fair chunk of it is spent working, so it's a wonderful thing for me to see. I want to make it clear that this wasn't some big perceptual shift, just the apparent ending of something that had been a splinter in my mind for quite a while and which led to being able to really enjoy something I disliked before. Fun n' games.

As always, this is all subject to reality testing and whether or not it stands up over a period of time but even just being rid of work-related resentment is something worthwhile to be found in these practices.

'Mon the Dharma.

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
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2/21/12 3:08 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
[Post removed as it was irrelevant to the intent of my current practice - See the following exchange between Trent and I for an outline of what it entailed.]

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2/20/12 8:53 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Tommy M:
It may seem unusual to go into what is essentially an imaginative experience on this practice thread, but I'm experimenting again and this appealed to me as a viable developmental model. How it lines up with anything? No idea. emoticon


this does seem pretty unusual. experimentation and exploring without a map is one thing, but creating new territory is something else entirely, isn't it? so i was wondering if you would elaborate a bit. what about it is appealing? and viable to develop what exactly?

surely you've noticed that it is always more wonderful to explore unknown territory than known. in this context, that means the territory can't be of 'my' creation ... otherwise, 'it' is 'me' and 'i' am 'it', and where's the fun in that?


Tommy M:
I sat for 30 minutes after skrying and then done another hour tonight, not hugely eventful but a few interesting point where everything would drop away completely leaving a very PCE-like experience.


i do not mean to dissuade you from letting things drop away, nor do i mean to dissuade you from noticing the quality of your experience, yet i strongly advise that you be careful with 'mapping' anything as "PCE-like". nothing is like pure consciousness.

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2/21/12 9:10 AM as a reply to Trent ..
this does seem pretty unusual. experimentation and exploring without a map is one thing, but creating new territory is something else entirely, isn't it? so i was wondering if you would elaborate a bit. what about it is appealing? and viable to develop what exactly?

surely you've noticed that it is always more wonderful to explore unknown territory than known. in this context, that means the territory can't be of 'my' creation ... otherwise, 'it' is 'me' and 'i' am 'it', and where's the fun in that?

My reasons for experimenting with Enochian were a mix of curiosity and an interest in understanding what, if any, similarities between jhanas and the states entered through that method had. What appeals to me about it is that the Enochian system appears to be a developmental model, I figured the best way to test this out would be to apply the techniques and see what came of it. The reason this seemed useful is that the highest "Aethyr", called LIL, is described as pure consciousness experience which is why it seemed like something worth experimenting with as something a bit different to my normal practice, but still aimed in the same direction.

I was actually trying to incorporate attentiveness to the senses while in that state too, I'm well aware that all of this 'astral' stuff is just more of "me" and so isn't anything new, all of the imagery and anything else that happens has no objective existence so I investigate it in the same way I would with any other mental phenomena.

i do not mean to dissuade you from letting things drop away, nor do i mean to dissuade you from noticing the quality of your experience, yet i strongly advise that you be careful with 'mapping' anything as "PCE-like". nothing is like pure consciousness.

My apologies, that wasn't the best way to describe what I was trying to say and I wasn't trying to map anything at that point. A poor choice of words on my part.

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2/21/12 1:30 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Tommy M:
My reasons for experimenting with Enochian were a mix of curiosity and an interest in understanding what, if any, similarities between jhanas and the states entered through that method had. What appeals to me about it is that the Enochian system appears to be a developmental model, I figured the best way to test this out would be to apply the techniques and see what came of it. The reason this seemed useful is that the highest "Aethyr", called LIL, is described as pure consciousness experience which is why it seemed like something worth experimenting with as something a bit different to my normal practice, but still aimed in the same direction.


ok, i can’t really say much about that specifically since i'm not very familiar with those techniques.

but anyhow, it is important to bear in mind that pure consciousness can only be experienced while intent is pure, and any other intent will bring ‘you’ into ‘being.’ if you intend to create and explore ‘astral stuff’, then that intent is—at that very moment-- a step away from purity, and it will also condition the possibility of an impulsion to step (away) again in that same direction at some later time. if more like intention follows that (and it likely will if pure intent does not intervene), then it’ll be a walk away from purity. if that trend continues, then who knows how far you could wander away?

what here seems to you like it is aimed in the same direction is not at all; it’s the opposite direction entirely. further to that point, why are you choosing to use a dubious method that you suspect might lead to pure consciousness instead of a well articulated method that provides results verifiable in the here and now, and that has been unequivocally stated to bring about the goal?

here’s an analogy that might help clarify my point: if you want to do carpentry work and need to drive a bunch of nails into wood, would you go to a hardware store and buy a hammer to use appropriately, or would you go to an arts and crafts store, browse around for an object that you think might be functional, then proceed to test out whether or not a clay pot or a candlestick holder can also get the job done?

of course, you may do whatever you want, although a reappraisal of your methods may be called for if you are really aiming for pure consciousness.

Tommy M:
My apologies, that wasn't the best way to describe what I was trying to say and I wasn't trying to map anything at that point. A poor choice of words on my part.


oh, alright.

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2/21/12 3:06 PM as a reply to Trent ..
Thanks for that, I looked long and hard at these things after having replied to you earlier. I realize that I've let the recent "AF isn't AF" stuff, and my feelings about Richard get in the way of aiming fully at pure consciousness due to fears and concerns about Actual Freedom as a whole, but mainly due to a fear of ending up in a position where I'd end up being more harmful by not being able to relate to other people and act selfishly by putting "my" happiness first. On looking more at that, I remembered that long PCE and how different it is to live that way, how much better it is and how those around me definitely seemed happier when "I" wasn't there. I'm oversimplifying this but these are the main things that stood out as reasons for not being more focused.

I guess I just lost sight of things so thank you for pointing this out to me, I would likely have wandered off on a tangent again but I'll take your advice on board and get back to work.

Btw, another quality analogy. emoticon

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2/21/12 6:46 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Tommy M:
Thanks for that, I looked long and hard at these things after having replied to you earlier. I realize that I've let the recent "AF isn't AF" stuff, and my feelings about Richard get in the way of aiming fully at pure consciousness due to fears and concerns about Actual Freedom as a whole, but mainly due to a fear of ending up in a position where I'd end up being more harmful by not being able to relate to other people and act selfishly by putting "my" happiness first.


you’re certainly not the first to be shaken a bit by concerns like those, and I suspect you won’t be the last. in matters such as these, it can sometimes be quite difficult to catch subtle habits regarding authority figures, especially when so much can seem to be at stake. yet, since one’s aim for pure consciousness is also an aim for autonomy, it is a fortuitous opportunity to catch these habits in operation, which allows one to correct course quickly. i know of no way more excellent than what you demonstrated here…

Tommy M:
On looking more at that, I remembered that long PCE and how different it is to live that way, how much better it is and how those around me definitely seemed happier when "I" wasn't there. I'm oversimplifying this but these are the main things that stood out as reasons for not being more focused.


whenever you find yourself spinning in doubt, boiling with passion, frozen by indifference, or overreaching through desire- your sincere reflection like this is a sure way to remedy the situation. that alternative is always available, and it is reliable because it does not depend on anybody else; this is the means by which one can engender an unshakable confidence.

Tommy M:
I guess I just lost sight of things so thank you for pointing this out to me, I would likely have wandered off on a tangent again but I'll take your advice on board and get back to work.


you’re welcome. did you happen to notice the coincidences in the figurative language you used in this relatively short paragraph? we’ve got a point, a tangent, a board and work … oh no, are we mapping again? anyhow, have fun.

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2/22/12 3:37 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Thanks to Trent's advice, the way to proceed is clear again. I didn't realize I was just basically putting off the inevitable by generating more of "me", magickal and yogic additions to a simple practice like being attentive to the senses were the result of "my" fear of coming to an end. A fear which makes no sense in light of the PCE and the immense clarity, peace and sense of well-being when "I" no longer arise. Upon remembering how much more enjoyable and satisfying it was to live that way for those five days, and how much happier the people around me were in particular, I realized what I'd been doing and changed it up.

I'm bringing HAIETMOBA back into daily life, something I'd neglected recently due to concerns about Richard, which immediately brightens things up and means that I'm back to being happier in a way I haven't been for at least a week or two. I think my complete break from actualism-inspired practices has allowed me to understand more of this on my own terms and a lot of subtle stuff seems much more clearly perceived, dropping a strictly Buddhist framework too has been useful in this regard as I'm far more confident about things like the arupa jhanas now.

I ended up having something of an epic day of meditation too, as well as being attentive to the senses constantly I ended up sitting for around three hours working on concentration. The difference in concentration since getting back into a regular routine is incredible, I've been doing my normal sits but also doing an extra hour or so before going to sleep which is what's led to more confidence in accessing the arupa jhanas solidly. There's a stronger ability to discern more subtle aspects of what prevents this from being the way it is, I'm catching these almost imperceptible tensions happening and seeing the little narratives play out, the mental images being pulled out, the whole process until that chain of objects ends. I can't quire describe it any better than this but the impersonality of it all is evident, now I'm looking at what it is that's still causing "me" to arise and how that actually happens.

Fun n' games aplenty!

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
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2/23/12 3:57 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Excellent, excellent, excellent day. Why? No particular reason! It was just a really great day spent sitting around messing about with some musical experiments and enjoying things in a really effortless way, I'm off work for a couple of days so there's plenty of time for not doing anything. I'm meeting Carolin and Stian tomorrow in Glasgow which should be good fun, it's a first for me to actually meet anyone involved in pragmatic dharma in real life so I'm looking forward to it and hopefully will be able to post a few pics.

Practice-wise, concentration is strong and feels like wielding a mental sword; I was lying in the bath (there's a mental image for you...ha! ) and had lit a candle, I noticed I could go through the jhanas open-eyed really quickly by 'pointing' the mind at the flame, and that holding the after-image was effortless when I closed my eyes. This allowed me to go up and down through soft-medium versions of each jhana and investigate how "I" would arise, catching the instant that process began after a sense-consciousness arose until I could stay with the entire thing. I'm still not quite getting something but I can't place it, I know that sort of feeling is just more of the same stuff but I'm wondering whether I'm discerning these things clearly enough for it to drop away entirely.

A few other notable differences today:

- Hearing at the ear, not anything new really but the clarity with which this was experienced today was incredible.
- Experiencing that stillness continues to become more common, there will be periods of varying length where "I" just vanish completely but somehow get caught back up in that initial ignorance.
- Sense of location more 'solid' but flickering during everyday activities.

Onwards and inwards, outwards, and around about before realizing it was all in my head in the first place...

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2/24/12 3:33 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Met up with Carolin and Stian today, we ended up spending about five solid hours talkin' dharma and laughing about being meditation geeks. They're both lovely, lovely people and it was great to talk face to face, in person about the ins and outs of practice, something I rarely get the chance to do but which has made me think about organizing a pragmatic dharma group of some sort up here. I just wanted to post a wee note about meeting them today and to thank them, hopefully I'll get the chance to get to one of the London meet ups this year and meet some more of the DhO crew!

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2/27/12 3:48 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Met with Carolin and Stian again yesterday before the flew back to London, more dharmatastic hilarity and a nice pint of Guiness to round things off. I've got a couple of pics which I'll try to upload at some point.

Practice has been sporadic, I've been practicing regularly but only sat formally a few times preferring instead to spend an hour or two late at night working on concentration. Last night was strangely scattered and unfocused, I noticed a few breaks in concentration and spinning off with thoughts but there was a sort of 'distance' to them, as if they couldn't take all of the focus away from the breath but were still seen as leading to more of "me".

I ended up having to walk through Paisley last night and getting a bus as, having gotten off the train to get my friends sorted out with a taxi to the airport, the next train wasn't due for another hour. Annoyed? Not in the slightest, there was the finest sprinkling of spring rain falling and it wasn't too cold so I turned it into an opportunity to practice by asking HAIETMOBA and tuning into the sweet spot periodically. Everything has been like a long EE for the last week or so, "I" am still appearing but being able to see it happening while walking around makes it easier to catch out as it happens, this was what I was working on most while looking for the bus stop and waiting around. Looking at how the mind moved as I read the bus timetable, how "I" reacted to the lack of information, how it felt to occupy that "I don't know" feeling when I saw that I would just need to wait till a bus showed up, everything being seen as being, at it's root, one and the same thing but that initial record skipping of ignorance preventing this from being apparent all the time.

A strong resolve to enjoy this whole process and enjoy being wrong when I mess up has appeared since Trent pointed me back towards what I was looking for, I keep remembering back to that long PCE but without a yearning or craving for it. I realized that the sense of craving it I experienced it after it came to an end was what was preventing it from being apparent, I kept that up for so long and built up so much tension around the desire to get back to something which was no longer happening.

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
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2/28/12 5:04 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Lots of practice last night and today, mainly just tuning into that pure intent, a phrase which is still a useful way to label what is basically a skilful, cognitive remembering of what a PCE is like and then finding out what is still preventing that from being the case right now. Doing this continually, asking HAIETMOBA and enjoying the simple yet complex and infinitely amazing process of the senses just doing what they do is...wonderful.

I realize that I've been veering more into terminology and using words like "jhana" again so I'm going to get back to the phenomenological, or at least describe the subtle stuff and movements of mind in a way that can be tested by anyone interested.

Tonight, I sat for an hour but had also done another 30 minute impromptu sit earlier in the day. I've been playing with candle kasinas lately and basically doing mental circuits; gaze at the candle till it distorts and shakes, close the eyes and call up the after-image then focus on that until it vanishes, I hit the formless realms "hard" or Fruition occurs then repeat.

I watched how sound was being heard at the ear and continually caught the moment that any mental sense of location arose, as soon as the mind moved towards any sensation implying distance, location, space, anything other than the purely sensate experience of "hearing" I acknowledged it and watched it drop away again. Seeing this happen repeatedly would stop it arising at all for a few minutes, the backs of my eyelids were a velvet blackness and the body sensations all felt less vibratory, more stable but still fluctuating, but I noticed how different sounds were breaking up the perception of "hearing" into other sensory sub-modalities. Shifting attention to the overall experience of "hearing" again, observing and letting go of anything feeling-based led to experiencing hearing as hearing incredibly clearly and pristinely, nothing added to this constant flow of distinctions between one sound and another, all being experienced at once.

Something I've been thinking about lately is how "reality" can only exist in the mind of the person perceiving it. After a point, we end up making maps of ourselves making maps and getting caught up in these intellectual loops, over-thinking the thing when all of that is just more of "me" coming into being; my worldview, my perspective, my perception of the thing. In the end, all of this is empty. It is as it is, there's nothing to it because it's already here and now. These words read like I'm rambling but there's something being seen clearly as I type here, it's just difficult to express in a way that doesn't sound like I'm trying to be all profound or zenny. Mysticism be damned! emoticon

Anyway, I'll sign off as I've spent about two hours trying to write this.

P.S. Something I noticed too was that metta experienced without any affective overlay is always there, loving kindness without that self-generating overlay mechanism kicking in is exquisite.

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2/28/12 5:52 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
sounds like things are going really well! keep it up!

about the inherent metta thing... this is something i have noticed too. it takes all kinds of reasons, stories, and ideas to support/fuel the disliking of someone. every time somebody bothers you in any way, there's always some reason behind it (because they did this or because they said that) and next time you're around that person the stories get recalled and perhaps something else happens that is added to that long chain of reasons why you don't like them. when none of that is in place, liking everyone is the natural state of things and it requires no maintenance to upkeep (you don't have to keep coming up with reasons to like people... kindredness just happens on its own).

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2/29/12 3:39 PM as a reply to Steph S.
@Steph: Cheers m'dear!

Since first thing this morning, there have been extended periods of full-on PCE ranging from a few minutes to about an hour earlier on. The difference brought about simply by tapping into the memory of a PCE, pure intent itself, and just paying wonderous, fascinated attention to whatever is happening is incredible. Combining this with actualizing the jhanas during sits, asking HAIETMOBA whenever I notice things are not as close to the PCE as possible, and using the sweet spot technique if "I" get unruly and start bringing up fear or uncertainty. Simple but effective. Also, the times between being in a PCE and not being in a PCE seem to have become less far apart, like there's less delay between coming out of it and then figuring out what "I" did to end it before it becomes apparent again. We shall see...

Sat for an hour tonight, strong concentration from the get go as I'd been informally working with the breath through day. Immediately tuned into the whole stream of hearing as opposed to affective "listening to" sound then extended that openness to the rest of the senses, returning to the breath periodically until that clear pleasantness started to appear around the chest and shoulder. Turned to that as the object and watched it flow through the body, increasing in intensity which made it easy to tune into to the body itself as the object and stay with it, watching for how "I" was being added to whatever arose. This continued over and over until there was no body sensations arising at all, just sensations of space perceived mentally and noted as tension which caused me to shift up into 6th and take the entire field of awareness as an object, still watching that process happening as clearly as possible. To describe exactly what was happening in terms of what was being observed, things have gotten even more subtle and hard to discern but there's still a clear dropping away when a source of tension is found; a thought arises leading to some sort of mental grasping towards it, but rather than ending up caught in the thought and affected by it there's no sense of the attention "gripping" or "clenching" after it's seen in real-time. I'll try to provide a more practical example another time as that doesn't really give a lot of information.

So, all's rather fantastic and wonderful, and I'm away to make some music.

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
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3/3/12 7:02 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
The following day after I posted my last update, things were back to "normal" with no PCE's although there were a few seconds of that incredible clarity and stillness appearing at odd points through the day. There were periods of a weird sense of fear, ñana-like but as if it were floating above the body without leading to an affective feeling, it was experienced mentally but not physically which made it quite confusing as even the mental aspect of it was seen as if through frosted glass; it was clear what it was, what had led to it's arising and how it was being experienced as it happened but it didn't 'detonate' in the same way.

Yesterday and today have been markedly different, after speaking to Claudiu and Trent last night I ended up in a stable PCE which lasted till I was in work this morning. I had been flashing on and off of PCE through the day simply by tuning into the memory of it again and that "stream of benignity", to use AF talk, that's always there and asking HAIETMOBA when I noticed things weren't as clear as they could be. Today has been less obvious but periods where the sense of space would just open right out, like an open-eyed 5th jhana but more "boom" right there and immediate like in PCE, or I would look up at my computer in work and see it become crystal clear, hearing would open up and "I" would flickering in and out. I'm still looking at what's preventing this from being the case all of the time, clearly I'm missing something but the advice given by my friends yesterday may just be what's required as it seems to have made such a massive difference already.

I didn't sit tonight, I had been working from 6am and went for a sleep for a while when I came home so ended up having to sort out dinner and suchlike when I woke up. Speaking of sleep, I slept for two hours last night and woke up at 5am as if I'd slept for a lot longer, this is only notable because of having gone to sleep then woken up in PCE mode as I'm usually sluggish at that time and often oversleep when I need to get up this early. It makes waking up so much more enjoyable and surely that by itself is reason enough to do it. emoticon

Right now it's 1am, I spent a little longer replying to other posts than I would have liked to otherwise I would write more.

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
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3/4/12 3:34 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
I'm going to stop posting for a while and focus on practice, I realize I've been wasting a lot of time and frittering away energy on things which aren't helping in any way. Much as I like to offer advice or tips on practice, it seems I'm prone to miscommunication and a lack of clarity in the way I write so I'll back off for a while and stick to my own stuff.

Things are consistent lately and it seems that what I'm doing is working, if there are any major shifts or anything noteworthy then I'll update anyway.

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3/7/12 10:14 AM as a reply to Tommy M.
Tommy,

I have just stumbled upon the work of one Jason Siff who writes eloquently about "unlearning" instructions, maps, etc., and who advocates among other things journaling one's experience of exploring without a map -- I couldn't help thinking of you and this thread.

Here are links to his Web site, Skilful Meditation Project; his book, Unlearning Meditation: What to Do When the Instructions Get in the Way; and a pair of interviews with Vince Horn on Buddhist Geeks, Episode 185 and Episode 186.

I wouldn't be surprised if you have already heard of him, or were even deliberately practicing along the lines that he lays out. Or, if you have never heard of him, I suspect that you may find Siff engaging and validating given the tack you have taken here.

Cheers!

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4/15/12 6:24 PM as a reply to Tarver .
Hey Tarver,

I hadn't heard of this guy but I'll definitely check his stuff out, it looks quite interesting!

Thanks for the linkage, mate!

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4/16/12 1:04 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Post deleted for various reasons.

This thread will not be updated and I will not be checking it for replies.

Best of luck y'all.

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4/16/12 6:32 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Tommy M:
There was a moment of what I can only really describe as being a mirror-like experience, while very focused on the breath and just observing patterns arising and passing I flashed onto this thing about sensations reflecting themselves, their very arising is the observation of them.


That sounded like a quote from the 'formless awareness' retreat I went on. The teacher kept describing this state as having a 'mirror-like' quality, where every emotion/ sensation was reflected. I wasn't exactlyin a place where that meant so much to me, but sounds like something is clicking for you.

Nice notes. It's funny because while you've got an aversion to your job I get aversion about having too much free time/ feeling guilty about not working/ being unproductive. Actually caught myself daydreaming the other day how things would be so much better if I just had a job and less free time, and then realised that I have that same pattern of thoughts regardless of what I'm doing and where I am. Like mad libs. Just fill in "My life would be so much better if I just had/ was...." with whatever! It's a very flexible sentense.emoticon

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4/17/12 11:08 AM as a reply to carolin varley.
Hi Carolin,

I am kind of in the same boat. I do have a means of income which i have to work for. However, when and for how long i work is completely at my discretion. there are no deadlines, clients or bosses. of course, this is quite nice. two things.

in the morning, i think to myself. 'i should go to work.' two things.

1) "should" i move to strike that from the record your honor. whenever 'should' enters into my inner dialogue be it the actual word or an approximate sentiment, i immediately recognize it and either move or attempt to move depending on the quality of my current mode into stillness and the present moment. so instead i think something to this effect: "work is certainly an option, we'll see what happens next."

2) the idea of work, much to the chargrin of my bankroll, does not bring excitement. in fact, it brings a dread. i have tried to remedy this situation by making work less financially necessary and therefore less stressful and by understanding the impermanence and emptiness of my life, thereby making work less stressful. i have accomplished this by moving back in with the folks (who love having me here and with whom i experience almost no tension* - much less tension than the tension between this identity and my job), cutting down on all unnecessary expenses and gaining insight into the 3 characteristics. Yet the dread remains. It is automatic and nothing 'i' do seems to change it.


if i had a set schedule or bosses and/or clients then i think that work would be a normal issue. any tension resulting from any obligatory task or set of tasks would be dealt with in the manner that has been so succesful for me to this point. but since work is optionary, there creates this 'should' situation. and 'should' is a very interesting phenomenon especially when it is applied to a thing so ubiquitous and seemingly necessary as work and profession.


*this lack of tension between parents and myself is a concrete example of progress along the path. i started actualism in january of 2011. at that time, i subtlely and implicity blamed my parents for anything and everything that was wrong about my life (which was a lot as there was a mountain of neurosis and character disorders) Now, the old tensions come and go in less than a second: it is so quick that the tension never grows and the simple happy innocence of being with them and having an opportuntity to make them happy doesn't have time to wither or get crusty. e.g. i took dad out to a movie yesterday. And this in and of itself is an example but not the one on which i choose to focus. mom wanted to kiss us both goodbye before we left. she was closer to father about 5 feet away from him and about 15 feet away from me. We were on our way out when she said. 'wait. i want to kiss you first.' The slightest pang of irritation arose perhaps because we were late, perhaps because i never enjoyed being affectionate with my parents (after say age 12) and perhaps due to both reasons but just as instantly as it arose, it vanished as it saw itself and saw it's uselessness and poof it was gone. So instead of getting irritated and then thinking of a clear rationale for my irritation (which then of course would have led to more and more irritation) I laughed and leaned in as my mother was approaching and turned my cheek as to direct her to where i wanted to be kissed in what i thought was a formal yet mirthful gesture. Importantly, these old tensions are the same tensions that come up between me and the morning newspaper and me and some random act of malice, ignorance or incompetence: It is seeing someone and thinking 'that isn't right' or 'they shouldn't do that'. In effect, it is 'should' rearing it's head again.

i will stop here as i can go on for hours about seeing people as people and nothing more.** they aren't means to an end. they aren't soldiers in a culture war. they aren't examples of ignorance. they aren't fellow citizens. they are a phenomenon like the plant and it's photosynthesis yet more complicated. they are oxygen breathing, bi-pedal, opposable appendaged mammals who possess a conceptualized image of themselves and their place in the universe. All these traits evolved in order to thrive and prosper: the latter trait evolved to give each individual a greater opportuntity to distinguish itself from it's fellow humans to whom it lives in both a symbiotic and competitive relationship. Moreover, even the most intelligent of them is habitually unaware of these facts.


i think the original intent of this response was to offer an insight regarding work. Carolin said that whether one is working or not and whether one is well paid or not and whether one is best fit for his/her position or not, one will always find a myriad of things to rage against. i'll add that work provides a great opportunity to practice the correcting of wrong view. Remember, innocent happiness is right view.

**in every interaction whether it be communcative or just spatial look deeply into the face of the other person. see their lines and the shape of their face and its' features. see their flesh, their muslces and their bone structure.

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
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4/24/12 7:10 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Tommy M:
Post deleted for various reasons.

This thread will not be updated and I will not be checking it for replies.

Best of luck y'all.

I'm a lying bastard. emoticon

There have been a few major changes in the last week or so, I've learned my lesson about speaking too soon so this isn't any sort of claim or anything, just a practice update and a few observations from the last month. Two perceptual shifts have occurred which have almost eliminated any sense of location, I can't say it's gone 100% since I sometimes notice it starting to appear if I'm not remaining attentive to the senses but it doesn't coagulate in the same way. Regardless, practice continues.

I sat for 35 minutes tonight doing anapanasati, this has become my main formal practice when I decide to sit, noticing the various subtle movements of the breath and seeing any tension arising led to an incredible whole-body awareness, but not experienced as a solid, static form. It was clear how the body was only being experienced as the points of sense contact themselves, what was aware of those sensations occurring isn't something I can accurately convey in words but it wasn't any special sense of awareness, or anything 'beyond' this immediate experience of consciousness itself. I don't know whether this was just a jhanic state but it seemed quite different to the way I've experienced whole-body awareness in the past.

My day-to-day practice has become very simple, attentiveness and just enjoying being alive right now no matter what it is that I'm doing. A lot of work-related tensions have now stopped, or at least are noticed immediately before they can bloom into a feeling so, combined with having almost no sense of being in work or anywhere in particular for about, at a guess, 80 - 90% of the day, I've been able to enjoy doing that too which is no mean feat where I work. Constantly and simply noticing how the senses do their thing effortlessly, naturally and perfectly without any input from "me" gradually peels back the

Having re-entered the actualist paradigm for a while, I now feel far more confident in the effectiveness of the techniques and am currently trying to find a more practical way of describing stuff like "pure intent" and "naivetè" without Richard's very particular writing style. These recent realizations have made it clear how a lot of the issues between Actualism and Buddhism could be resolved if we can learn to communicate and translate terminology based on direct experience. Hopefully one day it'll all sort itself out...

If anything, my practice has become more orientated towards Dzogchen and I've found great use in the work of Thusness and AEN. It's still pretty much a freestyle, not-fixed-to-any-tradition approach and I prefer to communicate in plain language whenever possible, there's far more importance placed on clarity of communication now so please feel free to ask if anything needs clarification.

I'll sign off for the moment as I've spent about two hours longer than I intended to on here tonight. Ha!

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
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4/25/12 6:15 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Something interesting I considered worth mentioning was this; I realized today that I have absolutely no sense of having a body until a sensation arises in that physical area e.g. clothing making contact or a cool breeze flowing over the skin. It's so incredibly clear, and I mean that literally, that I'm surprised I hadn't mentioned it before. When I turn attention towards that area, there's just this stillness and a sense of space, but not as stable as a full-blown PCE, it's as if proprioception isn't being joined up to form a mental image of the body in the same way.

There still appears to be some affective stuff happening, nothing major and nothing which required any serious investigation to bring it to a halt but noticeable enough to mention anyway. Due to this I'm confident that this recent shift wasn't AF, to frame it in actualist terms, and it's also caused me to re-evaluate my understanding of the criteria involved in what some of the actualist 'stages', for want of a better word, entail; this has led to a raising of my personal standards for what constitutes the PCE or an EE and I now doubt that I've experienced any more than six PCE's proper since beginning actualism-inspired practice. In further investigating this it's now become much, much easier to simply recall the PCE (pure intent) and notice it's already happening; the mental phenomena which bring "me" back around are seen clearly after the sensate experience itself, this makes it just a matter of inclining back towards actuality until "I" go into abeyance again.

Speaking of standards, I think it's seriously worth questioning whether or not you've experienced a genuine, full-blown PCE because, as direct, intimate and awesome as an EE can get, the PCE is so utterly different that it's hard to see where the confusion comes in when describing the experience after the fact...but then you get down to trying to interpret the experience using affective language and it all becomes dreadfully messy. Just to be clear, this isn't a comment directed at anyone or anything like that, it's just something I've found to be very useful in my own practice and thought others may benefit from. I ain't the arbiter of your experience and have no desire to be, being honest with yourself is all that's required to differentiate between the two.

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
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4/25/12 6:43 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
the PCE is so utterly different that it's hard to see where the confusion comes in when describing the experience after the fact..


what do you mean by this exactly? do you mean that it couldn't possibly be doubted whatsoever that the experience was in fact fully pure and in fact fully free of affect?

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
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4/25/12 6:52 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Tommy M:
In further investigating this it's now become much, much easier to simply recall the PCE (pure intent) and notice it's already happening; the mental phenomena which bring "me" back around are seen clearly after the sensate experience itself, this makes it just a matter of inclining back towards actuality until "I" go into abeyance again.

I'm curious about this, care to explain further?

Tommy M:
Speaking of standards, I think it's seriously worth questioning whether or not you've experienced a genuine, full-blown PCE because, as direct, intimate and awesome as an EE can get, the PCE is so utterly different that it's hard to see where the confusion comes in when describing the experience after the fact...but then you get down to trying to interpret the experience using affective language and it all becomes dreadfully messy.

Using the written word and keeping your six experiences of PCE in mind, how would you try to meaningfully distinguish between EE and PCE?

Even trying to explain how I mentally 'remember' the distinction between the two is difficult. There's a certain... mentation... the closest word I can think of is "memory", but it's not like any other memory. Ehh, even my own remembrance of the distinction between what I believe is a EE and what I believe is a PCE is difficult to explain.

Utter and complete displacement, disjointedness, dislocation, dissociation, centerlessness, chaos. If you've had something you consider to be at least SUPER-AWESOME-HIGH EE, and for some reason those words sound really... authentic to you (and your not a closet nihilist), then I'd say that's possibly a PCE. That is the kind of criteria I judged my own experience by, and decided to call it PCE.

Please chime in on this emoticon

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
Answer
4/25/12 7:11 PM as a reply to Stian Gudmundsen Høiland.
Utter and complete displacement, disjointedness, dislocation, dissociation, centerlessness, chaos. If you've had something you consider to be at least SUPER-AWESOME-HIGH EE, and for some reason those words sound really... authentic to you (and your not a closet nihilist), then I'd say that's possibly a PCE. That is the kind of criteria I judged my own experience by, and decided to call it PCE.


i recognize these qualities, and i even recognize them in extreme mind-bending, paradigm-shifting form, but some people have said that there is some sudden drop off between almost-PCE and PCE so i infer from
. nothing is like pure consciousness.
from trent up above on this thread.

I haven't had the experience that extreme forms of most of those qualities you mentioned (dissociation and chaos both don't seem right) at some point become fundamentally different than the experience of almost-extreme forms, so for that reason i doubt i have actually had a full PCE as i totally trust tommy/trent's insight into this over my own.

the issue of motivation is interesting though, every time i have had a mind-bending experience of those qualities I have had big jumps in energy and practiced really hard for a while. maybe the perception that there was something even bigger than those experiences would be even more effective we will see because that is the perception i am taking on now. doesn't feel any different for atm =p

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
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4/25/12 7:21 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
Adam . .:
i recognize these qualities, and i even recognize them in extreme mind-bending, paradigm-shifting form

This might be nit-picking, or it might be crucial, I don't know, but:

I wouldn't use the words "extreme mind-bending, paradigm-shifting". To me, these are not qualities that are "in your face", like "BAM!". Instead, they are pervading, permeating, infusing, soaking.

Don't know if that makes a difference. (What I mean is that maybe we're talking about the same thing with different words)

Adam . .:
I haven't had the experience that extreme forms of most of those qualities you mentioned (dissociation and chaos both don't seem right) at some point become fundamentally different than the experience of almost-extreme forms, so for that reason i doubt i have actually had a full PCE as i totally trust tommy/trent's insight into this over my own.

That is very interesting. Nice formulation. Hopefully someone "in the know" will chime in.

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
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4/25/12 7:35 PM as a reply to Stian Gudmundsen Høiland.
i meant that they are mind-bending as they are remembered, from the position of those qualities not being around, remembering them changes the way you think about things

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
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4/26/12 4:06 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
what do you mean by this exactly? do you mean that it couldn't possibly be doubted whatsoever that the experience was in fact fully pure and in fact fully free of affect?

There is something so different about the experience of a full-blown PCE, I know that sort of thing is repeated quite a lot and that it's the sort of answer that so many of the anti-AF folks get annoyed by because it's so vague and non-specific. It's only now that I recognize how difficult it is to communicate the experience in an inherently affective language without causing the person reading it to, if they're still experiencing affect, "feel" certain things which are entirely absent in a PCE. When you read phrases like "beyond imagination", it's a literal description, nothing metaphorical or metaphysical about it, it's the most unquestionable clarity and directness.

What complicates things is the fact that EE's can get as close to a PCE as to be almost indistinguishable, however if you're willing to continue investigation and not simply settle for being almost "there" then you can pick up on what subtle tensions remain. Once those are seen through, "you" are gone. Also, EE's, in my experience, seem to be noticed more gradually whereas a PCE is an instantaneous recognition.

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
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4/26/12 4:49 PM as a reply to Stian Gudmundsen Høiland.
Stian Gudmundsen Høiland:
Tommy M:
In further investigating this it's now become much, much easier to simply recall the PCE (pure intent) and notice it's already happening; the mental phenomena which bring "me" back around are seen clearly after the sensate experience itself, this makes it just a matter of inclining back towards actuality until "I" go into abeyance again.

I'm curious about this, care to explain further?

Remembering the PCE is what I think of as a cognitive recognition, through recalling what it was like to experience the world in that way - for example, the way sound is heard at the ear and not as though happening "somewhere else" - you've got a point of reference in the actual world. Each PCE, for someone intent on becoming actually free, should be used as an opportunity to investigate the actual, rather than to just walk around going "whoa", so as to remember and recall as much of that way of experiencing as possible. Once you've got a "link" back to actuality, it makes it easier to identify and investigate those aspects of your current experience and discern the affective from the actual.

Stian Gudmundsen Høiland:
Tommy M:
Speaking of standards, I think it's seriously worth questioning whether or not you've experienced a genuine, full-blown PCE because, as direct, intimate and awesome as an EE can get, the PCE is so utterly different that it's hard to see where the confusion comes in when describing the experience after the fact...but then you get down to trying to interpret the experience using affective language and it all becomes dreadfully messy.

Using the written word and keeping your six experiences of PCE in mind, how would you try to meaningfully distinguish between EE and PCE?

Even in really 'high' EE's, there is still some sense of "me" appearing through still having feelings, albeit attenuated, about the experience as it happens. In a PCE, there is no feeling or emotional reaction.

Utter and complete displacement, disjointedness, dislocation, dissociation, centerlessness, chaos. If you've had something you consider to be at least SUPER-AWESOME-HIGH EE, and for some reason those words sound really... authentic to you (and your not a closet nihilist), then I'd say that's possibly a PCE. That is the kind of criteria I judged my own experience by, and decided to call it PCE.

Far be it from me to be the arbiter of your experience, it's up to each person to decide whether or not their experience was or was not a PCE. In my experience, some of the words you've used sound similar to the way in which I'd describe certain aspects of a PCE, but some of those words I would also use to describe certain aspects of other possible experiences while working through the Paths. I'm trying to choose my words carefully here so as to avoid confusion.

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
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4/27/12 3:24 AM as a reply to Tommy M.
Hi Tommy,

though I'm on the other end of the spectrum to you (pre-anything!) I can 'relate' to alot of this post in the relaxed attitude underlying it. I think it is so much just a head 'f**k' to think there is such a thing as buddhism or actualism. there is this, and that's it.

I'm glad you are a liar, I was missing your updates. haha

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
Answer
4/27/12 8:59 AM as a reply to Tommy M.
Tommy M:
Stian Gudmundsen Høiland:
Tommy M:
In further investigating this it's now become much, much easier to simply recall the PCE (pure intent) and notice it's already happening; the mental phenomena which bring "me" back around are seen clearly after the sensate experience itself, this makes it just a matter of inclining back towards actuality until "I" go into abeyance again.

I'm curious about this, care to explain further?

Remembering the PCE is what I think of as a cognitive recognition, through recalling what it was like to experience the world in that way - for example, the way sound is heard at the ear and not as though happening "somewhere else" - you've got a point of reference in the actual world. (...) Once you've got a "link" back to actuality, it makes it easier to identify and investigate those aspects of your current experience and discern the affective from the actual.


Nice. What I'm understanding from this is what I meant when I recently wrote this:

(...) you will notice a quality, a 'taste' that is distinct, which you can use to recognize this state.



Tommy M:
Even in really 'high' EE's, there is still some sense of "me" appearing through still having feelings, albeit attenuated, about the experience as it happens. In a PCE, there is no feeling or emotional reaction.

What you had originally put in italics and that I have bolded here, points to why I chose those particular words in my description of a PCE. There is nothing there to place, join, locate, associate, connect ("the experience as it happens"). There is no reference, relevance, relationship, and therefor it is chaos. NOTE: The definition of chaos can be used to communicate 'confusion', but in this context that does not make sense; how could there be confusion if there is no order?



Stian Gudmundsen Høiland:
Utter and complete displacement, disjointedness, dislocation, dissociation, centerlessness, chaos. If you've had something you consider to be at least SUPER-AWESOME-HIGH EE, and for some reason those words sound really... authentic to you (and your not a closet nihilist), then I'd say that's possibly a PCE. That is the kind of criteria I judged my own experience by, and decided to call it PCE.

Tommy M:
Far be it from me to be the arbiter of your experience, it's up to each person to decide whether or not their experience was or was not a PCE. In my experience, some of the words you've used sound similar to the way in which I'd describe certain aspects of a PCE, but some of those words I would also use to describe certain aspects of other possible experiences while working through the Paths. I'm trying to choose my words carefully here so as to avoid confusion.

As always, I greatly appreciate your input. To me, we're comparing notes, not deciding who get's to say they've had a PCE. We're comparing notes to benefit oneself and others, in that we might learn better ways of communicating, or learn that we were wrong and grow through that and not misinform others.

It's easy to assign a person's words authority or significance when there is none. I try, within reason, to keep a flat hierarchy with the people I communicate with. It makes the whole deal more fun and wondrous emoticon

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
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4/29/12 4:00 PM as a reply to Stian Gudmundsen Høiland.
To me, we're comparing notes, not deciding who get's to say they've had a PCE. We're comparing notes to benefit oneself and others, in that we might learn better ways of communicating, or learn that we were wrong and grow through that and not misinform others.

It's easy to assign a person's words authority or significance when there is none. I try, within reason, to keep a flat hierarchy with the people I communicate with. It makes the whole deal more fun and wondrous

I agree wholeheartedly, that's why I deliberately pointed out that your descriptions (which as I also said when we spoke the other night certainly do sound as-near-as-damn-it to a PCE as words can convey) could potentially be attributed to certain other attainments or states we've encountered along the way.

Ain't no hierarchy here, well except for big Amitabha Ingram... emoticon

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
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5/6/12 7:14 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
There has been a definite change in my understanding of many, many things lately; from Buddhist to Actualism and any other model of, what I see as being essentially, the same territory: bare sensate experience as (ap)perceived by this information processing system known as the body.

We already know we can end the process of becoming, that sequence of interactions of the senses which causes "me" to come into being, whether it's via Actualist or, as some have suggested, Buddhist methodology. This also ends "belief", those pernicious yet oddly addictive constructs, fuelled by emotion, which subsequently alter perception, but it now seems to me that it does not mean an end to what I've seen described as "view"; I currently understand view as relating to deeper, possibly neurological, imprints, not simply social and instinctive conditioning which is what "AF" appears to eradicate. This, as I understand it, could be described as entirely dismantling the entire processing system i.e. seeing even the senses themselves as constructs, which is where things like "the Maha experience" described in Thusness' model seem to point. To me, this possibility of something 'beyond' "AF" seems like a perfectly natural progression, if such a word is even appropriate, and, for various reasons which I intend to go into in a future post, I no longer see any distinction between various models of the thing[1]. It allowed me to drop so much crap and to stop fabricating those constructs after seeing this clearly. It's a complicated topic which I'll go into another time, but practice-wise it's been freeing beyond compare and has led to some real changes in how enjoyable, simple and fun this life is.

I'm sure I've said that "my practice has become more of a lifestyle" in the past, but the way things seem at present causes me to question whether or not I fully understood what it referred to experientially. In recent months, phrases like "auto-pilot" and "out from control" have came to mind to describe things, but there is still some sort of effort required to keep attention focused 24/7 but the felicitous feelings and sincere naivetè, both of which are words I've come to appreciate as being accurate representations of the experiences they describe, have become the natural tone of this experience. At one point the other night, I had to question whether or not I had taken something like Ecstasy and forgotten about it; there was just this deliciously clean and pristine intimacy, which wasn't even a full-on PCE, combined with a wonderfully felicitous affective tone. Marvellous fun!

My next dharma-based project is to collate all of the posts I've made on here and on KFD, go through the 50-60 finished or part-finished pieces of writing I've done in the last year or so, sift through some video stuff and notes from my mini-retreat and see if there's enough useful material to produce a collection of practice notes, or maybe just something like "my take" on the thing with other stuff about models, neuro-linguistics, and a more freestyle approach to awakening/whatever-we're-calling-it-these-days. I also have old written notes stored in the house somewhere which I'll need to look through, I kept quite a lot of records over the 10+ years before I found MCTB and the DhO which may have some useful insights. I have no idea how much stuff is there and I suspect that there'll be a fair amount of shite I've posted/written/recorded over time that I thought was cool or profound but now just sounds like me being a bit of a dick. emoticon

We shall see.

[1] When I say "the thing" I mean it in the most vague and general way to refer to this (seemingly) ongoing process called li

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
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5/6/12 7:36 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Tommy M:
We already know we can end the process of becoming, that sequence of interactions of the senses which causes "me" to come into being, whether it's via Actualist or, as some have suggested, Buddhist methodology. This also ends "belief", those pernicious yet oddly addictive constructs, fuelled by emotion, which subsequently alter perception, but it now seems to me that it does not mean an end to what I've seen described as "view"; I currently understand view as relating to deeper, possibly neurological, imprints, not simply social and instinctive conditioning which is what "AF" appears to eradicate. This, as I understand it, could be described as entirely dismantling the entire processing system i.e. seeing even the senses themselves as constructs, which is where things like "the Maha experience" described in Thusness' model seem to point.


I have toyed with the idea of glossing "becoming" as "construing", as it isn't only a kind of identity, but a kind of mental activity that represents things as being this-way or that-way or like-this or like-that. As becoming trails off, identity trails off, and construing / representation trails off with them (as them).

Do you see construing as different from "view"? How so? (Part of my curiosity is based in the fact that I can't relate very well to Thusness' model, so maybe your take on it would help.)

How do you relate the experience of maximally-absorbed jhana to "view"? (One thing that's mindboggling to me is that jhana is a state of becoming when experienced by non-arahants, and yet there is absolutely nothing in there that I've been able to recognize as becoming...no identity or construing that I can discern.)

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
Answer
5/7/12 3:54 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
I have toyed with the idea of glossing "becoming" as "construing", as it isn't only a kind of identity, but a kind of mental activity that represents things as being this-way or that-way or like-this or like-that. As becoming trails off, identity trails off, and construing / representation trails off with them (as them).

Do you see construing as different from "view"? How so? (Part of my curiosity is based in the fact that I can't relate very well to Thusness' model, so maybe your take on it would help.)

How do you relate the experience of maximally-absorbed jhana to "view"? (One thing that's mindboggling to me is that jhana is a state of becoming when experienced by non-arahants, and yet there is absolutely nothing in there that I've been able to recognize as becoming...no identity or construing that I can discern.)

I'm inclined to agree with your description of "construing" rather than "becoming", it's more precise and communicates something a bit more tangible about the process involved, which then makes it easier to identify what the term is referring to experientially.

I don't see "view" as being different from "construing" as such, the 'mechanism' involved is, I suspect, rooted in the same ignorance that leads to dualistic perception in the first place but occurring at a much deeper level of neurological functioning[1]. I envision these, what I'll call, "fundamental beliefs" as being like logic gates which allow certain information through while blocking unnecessary/irrelevant signals from being processed; for example, the deeply rooted belief that this body has an independent existence is the result of not apperceiving the process which gives rise to that illusion i.e. not seeing clearly that what we call "body" is the result of the mind 'joining up' the senses and creating the impression of this continuous entity; there is no "I" to be found in it, nothing permanent, and still causing subtle tensions which lead to physical, but no longer mental, suffering or separation from what is. It's the elimination of belief at this level, which I don't quite know how to describe without introducing potentially ambiguous terms from other traditions, that appear to be what Thusness' model demonstrates as a possibility. He equates "AF" with, if I'm understanding this correctly, Stage 4 in his model, however I'm not 100% sure of how other stuff like "VF" or even stream entry, as it's discussed on here at least, line up so this may require clarification.

As for "maximally-absorbed jhana", to be honest I don't fully understand the term or whether or not my experiences line up with your descriptions. I understand what you're saying but I don't have sufficient experience of it to really say much of use. I do agree though that there is definitely something possible when in PCE-mode that isn't what I'd call a jhana, but which seems to point to something 'beyond' that pristine baseline of experience. Interesting stuff.

How's things with you anyhow? Long time no hear/see/arise in consciousness... emoticon

[1] This is all just speculation since I have very little knowledge of the physiological or neurological side of things and don't have any proof of this, or the ability to go about scientifically testing it to verify it as more than an (sub-)amateur theory. Just to be clear, I'm thinking out loud. emoticon

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
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5/9/12 10:04 AM as a reply to Tommy M.
Hey Tommy,

i'm going to have to insist you put all those notes into a monologue over a particularly experimental hardcore piece of electronica, if it's all the same to you that is...hahaha.

I'll be keen to read those notes all the same otherwise.

A

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
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6/8/12 5:56 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
In the two months or so since I last updated this thread, life has changed in a few interesting and unexpected ways, not all of which have been entirely pleasant...

Practice is a seamless process which is indistinguishable from everyday life, continually recognizing the purity evident as I sit here is all that's required; noticing, just noticing how seeing and seen do not arise apart from each other, how there is no distinction between the hearer and the heard, and so on...it does itself. The process of deconstruction occurs as a result of seeing all of this more clearly, it becomes obvious that "I" and all of "my" dramas are surplus to requirements. Their appearance, when it does occur, is seen as the luminous interplay of mind and yet they do arise, so there must be more investigation required, but it's no longer a problem or something effortful; the choice to investigate was never "mine" to make anyway, if it were then this would still be the course of action "I" would decide upon! "I" can't lose since there's nothing to win!

Now, nice as this sounds there have been a few more difficult days although nowhere near as bad as they might have been otherwise. My personal situation is somewhat complicated: having seperated from my partner but still living in the same house as her and our daughter, it's been less than ideal at times, however we're now more amicable and it's better for everyone concerned. Work is as unnecessarily pressurized as ever and the threat of getting sacked/disciplined/pulled up for some arbitrary reason is still there, now though I am entirely unperturbed by the place and simply go in, sit down, do my job, and go home. There are no longer any feelings about the place, although that's not to say that I don't still disagree with their treatment of customers for purely business reasons, and although I use emotive words to describe the place, my experience of it doesn't seem to be 'interrupted' in anywhere near the same way. So, non-practice stuff is complex and unfortunate, but that's the way things are and there's no reason for them to be any other way.

It's struck me recently how similar the idiosyncratic, hybridized (if not bastardized!) practices I'd been doing before getting stream entry were to this; I went through a lot of my old notes and came across textbook descriptions of cycling before I'd ever heard of vipassana, a piece I wrote after going through what I now understand to have been equivalent to Thusness Stage 1, and descriptions of insights over the course of about four or five years. I might post something from them if I find anything of practical use. I also appear to have developed something of a fascination for fully understanding words and using them in their correct context; punctuation is something else I've become quite aware of and am gradually learning to use correctly, solely for the sake of being as clear in communication as I can possibly be...but I'm still a prolix motherfucker. emoticon

Peace out.

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
Answer
6/8/12 7:36 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Tommy M:
It's struck me recently how similar the idiosyncratic, hybridized (if not bastardized!) practices I'd been doing before getting stream entry were to this; I went through a lot of my old notes and came across textbook descriptions of cycling before I'd ever heard of vipassana, a piece I wrote after going through what I now understand to have been equivalent to Thusness Stage 1, and descriptions of insights over the course of about four or five years. I might post something from them if I find anything of practical use.


Share it! It might help me to understand Thusness' model. The only thing that I can come up with that matches his description is a momentary 6th jhana (the attention wave-free kind), but the significance he accords to the experience doesn't mesh too well with that theory.

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
Answer
6/8/12 9:33 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
Synchronously, I just finished another reading spree on Awakening to Reality (seriously, what a fakking treasure that site is) and one of the articles I read was a post from KFD by Alex Weith (wholeheartedly recommended). I've read it before, but that was 'long time ago. I think I finally got the whole luminosity thing, which relates directly to Thusness's Stage 1. Here's something I wrote a while ago:

Stian Gudmundsen Høiland:
If, when you look at a table where a glass is standing (tall), you start to think something along the lines of, "wow, someone PUT that there. It's THERE. It IS, right there.", then you're doing something right. The PRESENCE or ISNESS (or 'appearance') of objects is very prominent; things ARE.


That presence-ity, the appearing quality and isness; that's luminosity. The "in-your-face, oh-I-am-sooo-here-right-now, existing-like-crazy"-ness - an utter conviction or denyinglessness of actual, factual appearance.

It has a very distinct 'taste' which might take some acrobatic language to try to describe (as you have already seen), but you'll know it when you know it - that's kind of it's thing.

Thusness's Stage 1 is when one becomes aware of ones own 'inner' luminosity, the luminosity of mind, which according to people in the know, is nothing big in the scheme of things; merely a NDNCDIMOP (nondual, nonconceptual, direct, immediate mode of perception) or PCE (pure consciousness experience) glimpse of a (nonconceptual) thought. Yet, the recognition of luminosity as such, through Right View™℠®©℗, becomes a helpful tool for further progress.


At least, that's my take.

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
Answer
6/9/12 2:19 AM as a reply to Tommy M.
Tommy M:
He equates "AF" with, if I'm understanding this correctly, Stage 4 in his model, however I'm not 100% sure of how other stuff like "VF" or even stream entry, as it's discussed on here at least, line up so this may require clarification.
"AF" is not just Thusness Stage 4 (One Mind), it is going beyond 4 but not seeing the full aspect of 5.

That is, "AF" is able to elucidate the faults of Stage 4 and goes into certain aspect of 5:

https://www.box.com/shared/sbyi64jrms

("Actual Freedom and Buddhism" written by me)

Richard:

And the reason why I provide the full version is because Mr. Alan Watts clearly reports that it is quote ‘because’ endquote of the awareness of himself, from inside himself, that the distance or separation (between himself and his senses, on the one hand, and the external world, on the other) seemed to disappear ... as contrasted my report that it is quote ‘with’ endquote the end of both ‘I’ and ‘me’ that the distance or separation (between both ‘I’ and ‘me’ and these sense organs and thus the external world) disappears.
In other words, with no identity whatsoever there is no-one to be either in a state of separation (aka duality) or in a state of union (aka non-duality).
....
Richard: ‘To be living as the senses is to live a clear and clean awareness – apperception – a pure consciousness experience of the world as-it-is. *Because there is no ‘I’ as a thinker (a little person inside one’s head) or a ‘me’ as a feeler (a little person in one’s heart)* ...’. emphasis added.
Again the reason why I provide the full version is because to be living *as* the senses (as a flesh and blood body only) is a vast cry from a remaining, and non-detached observer, having *become* the sensations (as in having identified with and/or having arrogated them).
...

A quick search of the internet showed that the quote you provided comes from an essay, in ‘This is It and Other Essays on Zen and Spiritual Experience’, entitled ‘The New Alchemy’ and goes on to say, immediately after where you ended it, the following:
• ‘For it implies that experience is not something in which one is trapped or by which one is pushed around, or against which one must fight. The conventional duality of subject and object, knower and known, feeler and feeling, is changed into a polarity: the knower and the known become the poles, terms, or phases of a single event which happens, not to me or from me, but of itself. The experiencer and the experience become a single, ever-changing self-forming process, complete and fulfilled at every moment of its unfolding, and of infinite complexity and subtlety’.
That polarity of subject/ object, knower/ known, feeler/ feeling, experiencer/ experience is an unmistakable description of mystical experiencing wherein the polar opposites unite (aka non-duality) – known in some mystical literature as ‘complexio oppositorum’ (union of opposites) ‘or coincidentia oppositorum’ (coincidence of opposites) – and thus shows that my counselling of very careful and considered use of psychotropic substances is a well-advised monition.
Here in this actual world neither duality nor non-duality have any existence.



Contrast this with Thusness's description of his stages:

http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.sg/2007/03/thusnesss-six-stages-of-experience.html

Effectively Phase 4 is merely the experience of non-division between subject/object. The initial insight glimpsed from the anatta stanza is without self but in the later phase of my progress; it appears more like subject/object is an inseparable union, than absolutely no-subject. This is precisely the 2nd case of the Three levels of understanding Non-Dual. I was still awed by the pristineness and vividness of phenomena in phase 4.

Phase 5 is quite thorough in being no one and I would call this anatta in all 3 aspects -- no subject/object division, no doer-ship and absence of agent.


However the aspect of the 1st stanza of anatta, and experiencing in terms of a process, activity, and dependent origination is lacking. Experience is skewed towards Thusness 2nd stanza of anatta ( http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.sg/2009/03/on-anatta-emptiness-and-spontaneous.html ) but without reifying One Mind.

I do not know "VF" enough to make comments about it, and also stream entry as described in MCTB seems to be absent in Thusness's map (stage 3 nothingness does seem like a cessation kind of experience, but i doubt it is similar to fruition events, anyway its a different path so can't expect to line up everything). However I do not believe the black-out kind of fruition events are similar to Buddha's criteria for stream entry (ala fetter model): http://sgforums.com/forums/1728/topics/447451

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
Answer
6/9/12 3:19 AM as a reply to Stian Gudmundsen Høiland.
Stian Gudmundsen Høiland:
Synchronously, I just finished another reading spree on Awakening to Reality (seriously, what a fakking treasure that site is) and one of the articles I read was a post from KFD by Alex Weith (wholeheartedly recommended). I've read it before, but that was 'long time ago. I think I finally got the whole luminosity thing, which relates directly to Thusness's Stage 1. Here's something I wrote a while ago:

Stian Gudmundsen Høiland:
If, when you look at a table where a glass is standing (tall), you start to think something along the lines of, "wow, someone PUT that there. It's THERE. It IS, right there.", then you're doing something right. The PRESENCE or ISNESS (or 'appearance') of objects is very prominent; things ARE.


That presence-ity, the appearing quality and isness; that's luminosity. The "in-your-face, oh-I-am-sooo-here-right-now, existing-like-crazy"-ness - an utter conviction or denyinglessness of actual, factual appearance.

It has a very distinct 'taste' which might take some acrobatic language to try to describe (as you have already seen), but you'll know it when you know it - that's kind of it's thing.

Thusness's Stage 1 is when one becomes aware of ones own 'inner' luminosity, the luminosity of mind, which according to people in the know, is nothing big in the scheme of things; merely a NDNCDIMOP (nondual, nonconceptual, direct, immediate mode of perception) or PCE (pure consciousness experience) glimpse of a (nonconceptual) thought. Yet, the recognition of luminosity as such, through Right View™℠®©℗, becomes a helpful tool for further progress.


At least, that's my take.
Yes. What you experienced is the intensity of luminosity.

Thrangu Rinpoche said: The first of these—mind—is when one is not involved in any thoughts, neither blatant thought states nor subtle ones. Its ongoing sense of being present is not interrupted in any way. This quality is called cognizance, or salcha in Tibetan. Salcha means there is a readiness to perceive, a readiness to think, to experience, that does not simply disappear. Since we do not turn to stone or into a corpse when we are not occupied by thinking, there must be an ongoing continuity of mind, an ongoing cognizance.

Next are thoughts, or namtok. There are many different types of thoughts, some subtle, like ideas or assumptions, and others quite strong, like anger or joy. We may think that mind and thoughts are the same, but they are not.
- http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.sg/search/label/Thrangu%20Rinpoche

What he calls "mind", I call "non-conceptual thought". It is the direct experience of mind as a pure presence prior to any arising of concepts or gross forms. (however, the I AM realization is not a mere experience or glimpse, but a doubtless realization of "I" as this pure presence/existence/consciousness - still, without thoughts, no inference, entire and complete, it is quite profound and the practitioner will feel as if he realized God, that he IS God, the ultimate reality, his true self - and this is not described by Thrangu Rinpoche but you will see it in expressions by Ramana Maharshi and others) What he calls thoughts or expressions, are the grosser or conceptual forms of thoughts, which when seen correctly is not any 'less' of the one taste of empty-cognizance - equally pure. Only when we fail to see this, do we cling to a 'purest' state of presence as ultimate.

In a PCE, the pristine brilliance of all appearance stands out most clearly. However an intensity of luminosity experience (whether when walking, eating, looking at the flowers, or etc) does not need to be a PCE since it can still be tainted with a sense of self. PCE however is the peak, where luminosity is stripped of self/Self even if temporarily.

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
Answer
6/9/12 6:08 AM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
An Eternal Now:
Stian Gudmundsen Høiland:
Thusness's Stage 1 is when one becomes aware of ones own 'inner' luminosity, the luminosity of mind, which according to people in the know, is nothing big in the scheme of things; merely a NDNCDIMOP (nondual, nonconceptual, direct, immediate mode of perception) or PCE (pure consciousness experience) glimpse of a (nonconceptual) thought. Yet, the recognition of luminosity as such, through Right View™℠®©℗, becomes a helpful tool for further progress.

At least, that's my take.
Yes. What you experienced is the intensity of luminosity.

Thrangu Rinpoche said: The first of these—mind—is when one is not involved in any thoughts, neither blatant thought states nor subtle ones. Its ongoing sense of being present is not interrupted in any way. This quality is called cognizance, or salcha in Tibetan. Salcha means there is a readiness to perceive, a readiness to think, to experience, that does not simply disappear. Since we do not turn to stone or into a corpse when we are not occupied by thinking, there must be an ongoing continuity of mind, an ongoing cognizance.

Next are thoughts, or namtok. There are many different types of thoughts, some subtle, like ideas or assumptions, and others quite strong, like anger or joy. We may think that mind and thoughts are the same, but they are not.
- http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.sg/search/label/Thrangu%20Rinpoche

What he calls "mind", I call "non-conceptual thought".


All I can think of here is that what you call "non-conceptual thought", I call "formless quality of consciousness" (which can be experienced quite pristinely in 6th jhana).

Luminosity I get, but not this. For while the association between "non-conceptual thought" and 6th jhana is plausible-sounding enough to me, I don't see 6th jhana as having a thing to do with Ramana Maharshi's attainment.

So, we're depending on Tommy to make sense of this for me. emoticon

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
Answer
6/9/12 12:14 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:

All I can think of here is that what you call "non-conceptual thought", I call "formless quality of consciousness" (which can be experienced quite pristinely in 6th jhana).

Luminosity I get, but not this. For while the association between "non-conceptual thought" and 6th jhana is plausible-sounding enough to me, I don't see 6th jhana as having a thing to do with Ramana Maharshi's attainment.

So, we're depending on Tommy to make sense of this for me. emoticon
Hi, Ramana Maharshi stresses on the I AM realization. Almost all his teachings are aiming at that, and his path is the direct path towards Self-Realization which is Self-Inquiry. However, he does, in brief, at times describe beyond I AM into One Mind.

Nonetheless, this I AM realization is indeed as you said not just a formless state of consciousness.

This is where Thusness wrote to me in 2009 before I had any realization (but plenty of glimpses and experiences):

http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.sg/2009/09/realization-and-experience-and-non-dual.html

1. On Experience and Realization

One of the direct and immediate response I get after reading the articles by Rob Burbea and Rupert is that they missed one very and most important point when talking about the Eternal Witness Experience -- The Realization. They focus too much on the experience but overlook the realization. Honestly I do not like to make this distinction as I see realization also as a form of experience. However in this particular case, it seems appropriate as it could better illustrate what I am trying to convey. It also relates to the few occasions where you described to me your space-like experiences of Awareness and asked whether they correspond to the phase one insight of Eternal Witness. While your experiences are there, I told you ‘not exactly’ even though you told me you clearly experienced a pure sense of presence.

So what is lacking? You do not lack the experience, you lack the realization. You may have the blissful sensation or feeling of vast and open spaciousness; you may experience a non-conceptual and objectless state; you may experience the mirror like clarity but all these experiences are not Realization. There is no ‘eureka’, no ‘aha’, no moment of immediate and intuitive illumination that you understood something undeniable and unshakable -- a conviction so powerful that no one, not even Buddha can sway you from this realization because the practitioner so clearly sees the truth of it. It is the direct and unshakable insight of ‘You’. This is the realization that a practitioner must have in order to realize the Zen satori. You will understand clearly why it is so difficult for those practitioners to forgo this ‘I AMness’ and accept the doctrine of anatta. Actually there is no forgoing of this ‘Witness’, it is rather a deepening of insight to include the non-dual, groundlessness and interconnectedness of our luminous nature. Like what Rob said, "keep the experience but refine the views".

Lastly this realization is not an end by itself, it is the beginning. If we are truthful and not over exaggerate and get carried away by this initial glimpse, we will realize that we do not gain liberation from this realization; contrary we suffer more after this realization. However it is a powerful condition that motivates a practitioner to embark on a spiritual journey in search of true freedom. emoticon


Also in an MSN conversation, also in February 2009:

An Eternal Now says: You mentioned last time thevoice knows the luminosity aspect... but he told me something like he dont know what pure awareness means and he has never experienced that before. but enhanced or expanded awareness maybe?
Thusness says: Yeah. I said he treated it like individuality. He knows the 'I', but as individuality. Not as pure awareness. I told you “I AM” has various phases. Means he knows he is not the body, but not the Eternal Witness sort of experience.
An Eternal Now says: Different from witness?
Thusness says: Not so much of witness but that he is more than a body, like spirit, but not a direct experience of "I”.
An Eternal Now says: What do you mean?
Thusness says: It is like what that is being described in what u posted in the forum. It is not a direct experience of eternal witness. It is inferring, relating, testing. But the person knows he is not the body, knows vaguely about awareness, but have not directly touch awareness. Do u know that touching awareness directly even at the "I AM" is totally different from what that is being described. It is like what ken wilber said: beyond the shadow of doubt. It is like what Ramana Maharshi described. It is not the part where he said he is being carried as if he is dead, that is like what thevoice is experiencing, (rather,) it is the direct experience of the I AM: complete stillness, ultimate, without thoughts. Complete certainty. Ramana Maharshi at later phase is talking about that - resting completely as Self . When he visualized that he is being dead and carried to be burnt, he realises he is not the body – (that part) is not the direct experience of "I AM"
An Eternal Now says: Not?
Thusness says: Yes, not. It is just a glimpse, not that direct experience. That experience is like what a Zen master asking a koan. It is that sort of experience. Direct realisation of the 'I', found it -without thoughts, no inference, entire and complete. Just that experience rest in the I, not as everything, and the empty nature is not seen. That experience is correct
An Eternal Now says: Correct?
Thusness says: Yeah. Have you read my Stage 4?
An Eternal Now says: Yeah. What about it?
Thusness says: I said the sound is exactly like i am
An Eternal Now says: Its same as "I AM" but in sound, etc rite
Thusness says: It is not like ur experience of sound leh
An Eternal Now says: What do you mean? That it’s totally non-dual?
Thusness says: Non dual is no separation. There are differing degree. Do you feel like you are God? When one experiences "I AM", he feels like he is God. That sort of experience. Can that experience be ordinary?
An Eternal Now says: nope
Thusness says: It is transcendental, that is why one is lead to the journey into perfecting that state
An Eternal Now says: I see. Just now u said the forum theres this article that was inferring and not direct experience . Which one were you referring to?
Thusness says: Like you do this, shake a bit then you realise that. Like it is like a screen… (the realization of I AM is) nothing like that.
An Eternal Now says: Oh that one, I see
Thusness says: You cannot understand awareness that way. It is either by self enquiry you directly experience it, or koan. There is no such thing as unsure.
An Eternal Now says: oic.. Video on Ramana Maharshi: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6865032740128202927
Thusness says: If a practitioner can experience like what maharishi experience as SELF in anatta, then he is near full enlightenment. emoticon
An Eternal Now says: I see. You mean someone who experience anatta may not experience what Ramana experience? Both are required?
Thusness says: It is the thoroughness and the depth and degree of luminosity. For non-dual anatta to have that sort of presence, there must be complete effortlessness.
An Eternal Now says: I see.
Thusness says: Because unlike concentrative mode of practice, non-dual or the formless and pathless path requires one to be completely effortless and spontaneous to have total non-dual luminosity.
An Eternal Now says: I see. For Ramana its still a concentrative mode of practice right? Like abiding on self.
Thusness says: To me, yes. That video is a very good video, but don’t post it in the (Buddhist) forum.
Thusness says: If a person can have that experience then go into nondual, it is different. If anatta can be experienced, it will be better
An Eternal Now says: I see. What do you mean by 'it is different'?
Thusness says: A person can experience non-dual, there is no separation, but there is no such experience like "I AM", so he does not have that 'quality' of experience. However if that is a practitioner who experienced that "I AM", then when one experiences non-dual, he knows that there is such an experience, and all experiences are really like that.
An Eternal Now says: I see. Do you mean that the nondual experience will be more indepth?
Thusness says: No. It is all the same, but (now realized to be) found in all manifestation, not as a stage.
An Eternal Now says: I see
Thusness says: I wrote in luminousemptiness, that if luminosity and emptiness is taught but there is no realisation that it is the great bliss, then one has not realised anything. But Chodpa said, not that it is pointless but it is just a step along the path. So what is the great bliss?
An Eternal Now says: Absorption in luminosity? Clarity? I don’t know. I have experience of bliss but don’t know if that its what you meant.
Thusness says: It is actually a sort of absorption
An Eternal Now says: Yes, I notice theres bliss when theres absorption
Thusness says: Will talk about that next time. I think i will write about anatta. So that you don’t get confused with non-dual. Anatta is about no agent, clarity that there is no agent, and because there is no agent, it has to be direct, it is naturally non dual
An Eternal Now says: I see. I wrote something to you just now, but don’t know if you received it.
Thusness says: nope
An Eternal Now says:
*
(6:35 PM) An Eternal Now: http://dharmaoverground.wetpaint.com/thread/2385161/Sharing+like+back+in+the+day...
looking foward to hearing the discussion 
(6:49 PM) An Eternal Now:
When self becomes more and more transparent,

Likewise phenomena become more and more luminous.

In thorough transparency all happening are pristinely and vividly clear.

Obviousness throughout, aliveness everywhere!
this became apparent to me just now
*
(6:49 PM) An Eternal Now: The more the self disappears the more everything manifest its clearness and naturalness and spaciousness... but spaciousness is not like void.. but the more spacious the more clear everything is.. Today im surprisingly awake even though i only slept 2 hours
Thusness says: Yes. I want to experience this clarity. You must sleep, later into anatta. What you experienced is non-dual. Now u must practice anatta and letting go. You will naturally experience that clarity
An Eternal Now says: I see
Thusness says: You must understand anatta and DO also implies imprints. You are always dealing with imprints. Then wait for the right conditions for ripening of ur experience
An Eternal Now says: I see



Ramana Maharshi:

'Who am I?' I am not this physical body, nor am I the five organs of sense perception; I am not the five organs of external activity, nor am I the five vital forces, nor am I even the thinking mind. Neither am I that unconscious state of nescience which retains merely the subtle vasanas (latencies of the mind), while being free from the functional activity of the sense-organs and of the mind, and being unaware of the existence of the objects of sense-perception.

Therefore, summarily rejecting all the above-mentioned physical adjuncts and their functions, saying 'I am not this; no, nor am I this, nor this' -- that which then remains separate and alone by itself, that pure Awareness is what I am. This Awareness is by its very nature Sat-Chit-Ananda (Existence-Consciousness-Bliss).

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
Answer
6/10/12 5:42 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Tommy M:
(...) life has changed in a few interesting and unexpected ways, not all of which have been entirely pleasant (...) there have been a few more difficult days (...) my personal situation is somewhat complicated (...) it's been less than ideal at times (...)

Work is as unnecessarily pressurized as ever and the threat of getting sacked/disciplined/pulled up for some arbitrary reason is still there (...)

So, non-practice stuff is complex and unfortunate (...)


How's all this coming along, Tommy? It’s good you’ve been preparing for this; life doesn’t come with a map.

Tommy M:
Peace out.

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
Answer
6/14/12 4:28 PM as a reply to Stian Gudmundsen Høiland.
EIS: I was trying to PM you but the messaging system isn't working for some reason; as for the "I Am" thing, I'll need to dig out the thing I wrote and type it up. It wasn't a big essay or anything, just a few reflections after the fact but I'll post them anyway.

AEN: Thanks for clarifying Thusness' model with regards to how he views AF, I wasn't sure about it so that's helpful to know. Also, your input in this thread has been excellent and, as usual, very useful; I appreciate your insights, time and writings immensely, so thank you again for that.

[quote=Stian "The Legend" G.H] How's all this coming along, Tommy?
I'll go into a bit more detail in my practice update, but things have gotten better after a few rather difficult days.

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
Answer
6/15/12 9:45 AM as a reply to Tommy M.
Tommy M:
I'll go into a bit more detail in my practice update, but things have gotten better after a few rather difficult days.


That's good to hear emoticon

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
Answer
6/15/12 3:51 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
This is what seems to work for me best these days as well. Seems related to "3rd gear" (just to put it on a map; heh).

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
Answer
6/24/12 5:51 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
There's been an interesting change in how I'm experiencing things over the last few days, but I've come to learn that shifts, subtle or obvious, are as unpredictable and subject to change as anything else. After a difficult couple of weeks, and three really bad days where I alternated wildly between raging anger and catatonic depression, something permanent has changed in the way emotions arise. I can't say they're completely gone, but the experience of them is missing something or it can't be processed in the way it was before; mind seems very still, but not entirely so and it's like there's still something else to be done. I just thought that this may just be the sense of seeking something trying to come up, but the last few days have made it clear that there's nothing that need to be done in the first place.

Practice-wise, all I'm doing now is watching how the mind still fabricates objects from sense data. Even something as simple as taking a drink from a glass has become this sensory symphony, taste is seen to just happen at the tongue, nowhere else; moisture is felt in the mouth and throat; coolness on the bottom lip; each experienced cleanly, no trace left behind, just a pure continuum of sensations. I mentioned in another thread about doing some practice today with taking "seeing" as an object, watching how the mind fabricated it and created a subtle tension around the eyes as "I" appeared, hiding in the "looking" and "focus" sections of the process.

This particular practice led to a "pure consciousness experience" which remained stable for about three hours or so, it happened while contemplating a bug sitting on the bonnet of the car; simple as it sounds, it's reflection was identical in experience to the seeing of the bug itself. It occurred to me that the seeing of the bug, it's reflection, the conceptualization of it as a "bug" and all the other various interdependent objects perceived just occurred right there and then; they didn't arise, they just happened and they were gone, replaced by an entirely different experience so fresh and vivid, only connected via the thoughts about it, a process which still subtly imputed a sense of a "me" who was doing this "thinking". I looked at the sky and asked myself what was different in the experience of seeing the clouds, the birds moving across the visual field and the sky itself...nothing, only seeing. No object, no subject, just the seen as seeing itself.

My personal situation is still complicated and unstable but, aside from the few off-days I mentioned, this is surprisingly free of any sort of major stress. At the very least, basic attentiveness and continually aiming towards apperception, as it's understood in the Tibetan model which may or may not be the same thing as Actualists discuss depending on who you ask, definitely keeps things in perspective and doesn't allow "you" to get caught up in emotional games as easily as you might otherwise have. All of the practices I've worked with since finding the DhO and MCTB, from Mahasi-style noting to Dzogchen, while also proving incredible experiential insight into the nature of reality, have proven to be very, very practical for living a more skilful, happier, less stressful life.

Peace out folks,
Tommy

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
Answer
6/25/12 4:08 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
I was sitting outside after coming home from work today, smoking a joint and drinking coffee while gazing into the sky. I wrote some notes while I sat there, doing nothing more than just relaxing and enjoying being alive, and came to an incredibly clear realization of something, as I quickly realized, that I've only understood intellectually. I wrote it down and wanted to post it, partly because it might be useful and partly because it's a completely ridiculous way of explaining it which might give you a laugh.

Sight is only the perception of colour and shape, yet even those distinctions are fabricated as that process is no more than the interplay of light. In smoking a 'joint', if I hold it up and view it with the eye, it is not a 'joint' until after the object strikes the eye and is (re-)cognised as 'a joint' by the mind; this happens through a seperate mental process wherein the mind links up a series of connections between each element to create a gestalt, a whole object in itself based on it's constituent parts: cigarette papers, tobacco, cannabis and a 'roach'. In actuality[1], seeing only consists of variations in colour: white, brown, green and the redness indicating the presence of heat. Only colours and shapes, nothing more than the interplay of light.

I'm considering writing a book on "Stoner Mysticism"...and I'm only half-kidding by the way emoticon

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
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6/25/12 9:04 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
i would be a nice honest book for a change, unlike all those other ones, like, let see, the bible, the suttas, the aft. they are all stoner guides with the drugs removed for credibility.

i laughed my arse off last year when I came accross a guy using mushies to achieve 'ego death' - not that he was doing that- that's his call, but the photos he had taken of books he was reading -they had every word on every page underlined. one was some kids animal book, one was some evolution book, and a few others I can't remember. every damn word in every book.

perhaps your guide to stoner -mysticism can come out pre-underlined? or with dot-to-dot guides? haha

what are you reading at the moment by the way?

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
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6/27/12 7:40 AM as a reply to Andrew ..
Aye, I know, the vast majority of drug-related mysticism is just New Age bullshit written by people trying to justify their desire to get mashed. emoticon

what are you reading at the moment by the way?

Right now I'm mainly reading "Bonpo Dzoghcen Teachings" by Lopon Tenzin Namdak, but I've usually got a few different books on the go at any given time; "Prometheus Rising" by Robert Anton Wilson is a constant, "777" by Crowley, "Naked Lunch" by William Burroughs, and I recently started reading "The Emotional Machine" by Marvin Minsky.

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
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6/27/12 7:51 AM as a reply to Tommy M.
Tommy M:
Sight is only the perception of colour and shape, yet even those distinctions are fabricated as that process is no more than the interplay of light. In smoking a 'joint', if I hold it up and view it with the eye, it is not a 'joint' until after the object strikes the eye and is (re-)cognised as 'a joint' by the mind; this happens through a seperate mental process wherein the mind links up a series of connections between each element to create a gestalt, a whole object in itself based on it's constituent parts: cigarette papers, tobacco, cannabis and a 'roach'. In actuality[1], seeing only consists of variations in colour: white, brown, green and the redness indicating the presence of heat. Only colours and shapes, nothing more than the interplay of light.


Tommy, have you ever read Alan Watts' LSD trip report, "The Joyous Cosmology"? I think you would appreciate some of his descriptions, especially when he talks about the senses:

http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/lsd/jcbody.htm

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
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6/27/12 9:07 AM as a reply to bud ..
I only recently started looking into Alan Watts' stuff after Stian mentioned him, I knew the name but wasn't familiar with his way of describing things. Thanks for the link, I'm just reading it right now so I'll get back to you.

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
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6/28/12 12:44 AM as a reply to Tommy M.
Naked Lunch, now there is a thought. what's that book about?

edit: it has it's own wiki..

gone are the days one has to wonder.

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
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6/28/12 12:44 AM as a reply to Tommy M.
More fun with books:

"The worship of the senses has often, and with much justice, been decried, men feeling a natural instinct of terror about passions and sensations that seem stronger than themselves, and that they are conscious of sharing with the less highly organized forms of existence. But it appeared to Dorian Gray that the true nature of the senses had never been understood, and that they had remained savage and animal merely because the world had sought to starve them into submission or to kill them by pain, instead of aiming at making them elements of a new spirituality, of which a fine instinct for beauty was to be the dominant characteristic. As he looked back upon man moving through History, he was haunted by a feeling of loss. So much had been surrendered! and to such little purpose! There had been mad, wilful rejections, monstrous forms of self-torture and self-denial, whose origin was fear, and whose result was a degradation infinitely more terrible than that fancied degradation from which, in their ignorance, they had sought to escape, Nature, in her wonderful irony driving out the anchorite to feed the wild animals of the desert and giving to the hermit the beasts of the field as his companions.

Yes, there was to be, as Lord Henry had prophesied, a new Hedonism that was to recreate life, and to save it from that harsh, uncomely Puritanism that is having, in our own day, its curious revival. It was to have its service of the intellect, certainly; yet it was never to accept any theory or system that would involve the sacrifice of any mode of passionate experience, sweet or bitter as they might be. Of the asceticism that deadens the senses, as of the vulgar profligacy that dulls them, it was to know nothing. But it was to teach man to concentrate himself upon the moments of a life that is itself but a moment."

-from Chapter XI of The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
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6/28/12 12:48 AM as a reply to Steph S.
wow...

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
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6/28/12 2:35 AM as a reply to Tommy M.
Hi Tommy,

Tommy M:
After a difficult couple of weeks, and three really bad days where I alternated wildly between raging anger and catatonic depression, something permanent has changed in the way emotions arise.


Tommy M:
All of the practices I've worked with since finding the DhO and MCTB, from Mahasi-style noting to Dzogchen, while also proving incredible experiential insight into the nature of reality, have proven to be very, very practical for living a more skilful, happier, less stressful life.


I couldn't help but to react when reading the above two quotes together.

Do you mean that your life before finding the DhO worse than described above (ie. you had *more/longer/worse* of the 'unstable' moods), or do you find that what you've gained in your practice makes the "raging anger and catatonic depression" 'worth it'?

I hope the question doesn't come of as rude as I mean no harm with it, but without knowing your starting point the two quotes above really seem at odds with each other.

Thanks,
Simon

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
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6/28/12 4:06 PM as a reply to Simon Ekstrand.
I couldn't help but to react when reading the above two quotes together.

In what way did you notice yourself reacting? How was that reaction noticed? What sort of thoughts arose at that moment?

Do you mean that your life before finding the DhO worse than described above (ie. you had *more/longer/worse* of the 'unstable' moods), or do you find that what you've gained in your practice makes the "raging anger and catatonic depression" 'worth it'?

That instance of "raging anger and catatonic depression" was the first time anything of that intensity had happened since before I got stream entry. I've got a rather complicated and potentially difficult situation in my life right now anyway which certainly contributed, or at least provided the trigger for that chain of feelings to occur; I'm in the process of a seperation after a 13 year relationship, it's not an easy situation regardless of how 'awakened' you are but I suspect that, had I not done the work involved in changing my brain via meditation and various other practices, I and those around me would be in far, far worse position. I know the way I was before and I was a very different person, far more violent and volatile, as well as being incredibly manipulative and selfish, so I can say with certainty that I am more contented, happier and more harmless than I have ever been at any point in my life due to the practices I've worked with.

Oddly enough, a few days after that burst of instability, I experienced an interesting change in experience which has remained the same ever since; emotions are still experienced, but they're transparent and don't seem to do anything other than occur and vanish. This could obviously change and so I'm not saying anything final, but I can state with absolutely sincerity that this right here has been worth everything that's ever happened along the way.

I hope the question doesn't come of as rude as I mean no harm with it, but without knowing your starting point the two quotes above really seem at odds with each other.

It's cool, don't worry about it. I tend to be quite open and honest about my life and experience, I don't have anything to hide and see no reason to bullshit people I don't even know other than via a computer screen; I can see how those lines seem at odds with each other, but there's a lot going on in my life and practice which I haven't posted about, and this thread only covers a few months of an idiosyncratic approach to practice. My starting point is way back in the past now, I'd come a rather complex road before finding this site and this may sometimes make my writing seem inconsistent or contradictory. I'd much rather you asked me about it than just went off with the wrong idea about the practical benefits possible through these practices.

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
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7/9/12 6:23 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Everything is good, way beyond anything I could ever have expected or even imagined; even with a less-than-satisfying job, a less-than-adequate/breadline and below financial situation and the complications inherent in the ending of a long-term relationship, there is a constant, undeniable sense of purity and sweetness to life that is simply perfect. "I" still appear on the scene occasionally, there's still emotion but without the 'charge' to it, like the mental and physical sensation no longer 'join up' in the same way, so there's still work to be done. Yet the work required isn't work at all, and this has been the biggest change of all in my practice since the shift I mentioned in the last post; the effortlessness of this is something I can't describe, it sounds too paradoxical because I don't do anything to make this happen yet it still involves a sort of casual recognition when a feeling comes up.

What became really clear today, amongst other things which I'll mention as I go, is why it is that "I", as a "feeling being", can and will never experience the world as it is: The feeling of being only exists as an afterthought, it's a superfluous by-product of the perceptual process which stupid-ass humanity mistook for experience itself; maybe it happened too quickly for the early human brain to 'catch' that instant of purity, and so that habit of "ignorance", of mistaking the map (the mental representation which we could conceptualize and communicate) with the territory (the bare sensate experience itself) became a genetic 'glitch'? Who knows! Either way, this sense of "I", the imagined feeling of being itself, is never happening right here and now. It can't because it can only exist as a feeling about something which has, in bare sensate terms, already passed and no longer exists; right here and now, there is only seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, smelling and, when required, thought.

Something else which smashed me in the face was the complete signlessness of actuality, seeing experientially how meaning only exists in words and words themselves are only symbolic representations of sensate experience. Any and all symbols are inherently empty, they are useful tools to communicate abstract concepts between human beings, but are only ever representations of something beyond (sensible) description.

I've noticed a peculiar sense of movement within the brain, almost like being able to feel chemicals shift around when I focus on, for example, the Bahiya Sutta instructions. It's pleasant, very subtle but very pleasant and absolutely immediate; it's almost like the brain is now orientating itself automatically towards bare sensate experience as the default mode.

All in all, life is a wonderful thing.

: )

RE: Freestyle Practice: Exploring Without A Map
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8/3/12 2:08 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Tommy M:
I'm done with trying to understand what's what in whichever sutta, which state in this tradition is which in another, or with whether or not AF and Buddhism can be reconciled, or which jhana is which depending on...seriously, I'm just done with entire thing. The reasons are overly complicated to go into here, basically I'm stripping away everything from my practice and adopting more of a freestyle approach. I don't know enough about any one specific map of the territory to be able to confidently talk in those terms, much as I thought I did at one time, and my understanding of what constitutes this state or that state isn't sufficient for me to be able to use terms like "jhana" or even "EE" and know that I'm definitely talking about the same thing.

When I say "freestyle", what I mean is using the techniques which work for me and describing them in my own terms, not on the terms used by the tradition from which they originate unless absolutely necessary. You could describe my current practice as a combination of attentiveness to sensuousness, anapanasati sutta-based meditation, and unfabricated paying attention but I won't be describing the results of my practice in these terms. I'm sticking to basic phenomenological detail, no terminology unless required, and as simple, down-to-earth, and practical as possible so as to avoid any confusion. Obviously I'm not doing anything new here, it's not that I'm trying to create my own map of the thing, but I've learned that trying to frame this stuff in specific terms just isn't helpful for me anymore and leads to me getting confused.

I've been practicing in this way for the last few weeks with a marked increase in the sense of wellbeing, happiness and contentment I experience so I know that I'm still doing things correctly, but being able to drop all the categorization and mapping of the thing has been more freeing than I could have imagined. I'll update the thread whenever 'cause I'm not letting it become a task in itself, but hopefully something useful will come of it.

T


Completely agreed! I've taken a similar approach; I know next to nothing about the subjects, except what others have taught me, but I think I know what is making life fuller and what is not, and so I've redefined my goal to progress to complete happiness in the full situation. Like you, I have been trying this approach on my own, without placing it into the terms of a forum, and it is such a relief of personal expectation! It is great to hear that it is working for you as well, and I look forward to reading your post, through your own words, without trying to decipher the meanings behind them. I hope that we can teach each other through our own experiences. :-)

Love and Happiness,
Jazzi

Thread Split
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8/6/12 3:43 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Hey folks,

I've split this thread off purely because it's a topic worth discussing in it's own right. I have no problem with such discussions happening in my practice threads, but this could be something useful for some and it might not be develop further if it stays solely within this thread.

RE: Thread Split
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8/6/12 4:07 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Hey Tommy,

Could you link to the split-off thread here, or make a post in the newly split thread to bump it? I can't currently find it by looking at 'Recent Posts'.

Thanks,
- Claudiu

RE: Thread Split
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8/6/12 4:14 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
Hey Tommy,

Could you link to the split-off thread here, or make a post in the newly split thread to bump it? I can't currently find it by looking at 'Recent Posts'.

Thanks,
- Claudiu


http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/3354074

RE: Thread Split
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8/6/12 4:55 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
Adam . .:
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
Hey Tommy,

Could you link to the split-off thread here, or make a post in the newly split thread to bump it? I can't currently find it by looking at 'Recent Posts'.

Thanks,
- Claudiu


http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/3354074

Claudiu, I only just looked back and realized that it hadn't automatically put the split post on the "Recent Posts" page! Doh!

Adam, thanks for doing the honours, you're a gentleman. : )