6 realms practice

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Dustin, modified 2 Months ago at 4/13/24 8:23 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/13/24 8:23 PM

6 realms practice

Posts: 115 Join Date: 12/28/17 Recent Posts
Looking for advice on 6 realms practice. Been noting and noticing for years and after reading into WUTYL by Ken Mcleod I can see there is a lot of emotional reactions/patterns that have not been touched. Most emotions go away a lot quicker and there is less shame/guilt associated to the reaction but there is still a lot of daily anger/pride etc still going on. I get the jist of the 6 realms practice but I am wondering if there are certain times to use noting and there would be certain times to practice 6 realms? Kinda like when things are solid you go back to noting and thing ar open you would just notice. I know Shargrol talks about a 4 gears practice but I did not see an explantion for when to use a which gear. Or do you just take on the practice as stated in the book?
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Jim Smith, modified 2 Months ago at 4/13/24 10:17 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/13/24 9:45 PM

RE: 6 realms practice

Posts: 1748 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Dustin
Looking for advice on 6 realms practice. Been noting and noticing for years and after reading into WUTYL by Ken Mcleod I can see there is a lot of emotional reactions/patterns that have not been touched. Most emotions go away a lot quicker and there is less shame/guilt associated to the reaction but there is still a lot of daily anger/pride etc still going on. I get the jist of the 6 realms practice but I am wondering if there are certain times to use noting and there would be certain times to practice 6 realms? Kinda like when things are solid you go back to noting and thing ar open you would just notice. I know Shargrol talks about a 4 gears practice but I did not see an explantion for when to use a which gear. Or do you just take on the practice as stated in the book?


I can't address 6 realms practice but I do have some experience with daily emotions.

When someone starts looking at their emotions, at first there might be so much that they haven't come to terms with that it is a very unpleasant experience whenever they open their emotional gates. They can't keep their emotional gates open all the time it would be too unpleasant, in some cases they might be not able to function because they are crying all the time.

But over time if they let those emotions out in controlled situations, say during a meditation session, without letting themselves get overwhelmed by stopping when it seems like too much - eventually (for at least some people I can't claim I know it would happen for everyone) they work through those emotions and they can keep their emotional gates open all the time.

At one point in my life I thought it would never happen but one day, without noticing exactly when it happened, I found I could keep my emotional gates open all the time. Then whenever an unpleasant emotion arose it would fade quickly if I allowed it to express itself unhindered. In a sense I embrace unpleasant emotions and let them trigger sukkha. I think this is what Shinzen Young means that purification can be like a spicy food that you need to develop a taste for.

So my advice is to look inside yourself for suppressed emotions and let them out in a controlled way, end a session if you begin to feel overwhelmed.
Be somewhat careful - don't create emotions or over do it to the point where you train yourself to produce unpleasant emotions.

I explain more specifically which types of emotions this works on here:  
https://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2023/07/how-i-define-dukkha-suffering.html#dukkha_def_ease_def

Some emotions of a purely biological cause will not necessarily be eased by noticing them and it might not be healthy to focus intently on them in meditation. I believe it's possible to have a "negative jhana" where meditation intensifies a negative emotion the way jhana intensifies bliss.

More details on the practice here:
https://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2019/09/aspects-of-meditation.html#asp_med_surrender

Digging through layers of emotions:
https://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2020/09/when-you-cant-find-tranquility.html

​​​​​​​Even more here
https://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/p/meditation.html
(It's not just looking at emotions, samatha practices help you to learn to be relaxed which is equivalent to letting go of emotions, and insight practices help you become disenchanted with them so you do not identify them or take them too seriously.) You have to let yourself be conscious of emotions before you can let go, but samatha and vipassana (two qualities of mind the Buddha taught should both be cultivated) help you let go.
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Pawel K, modified 2 Months ago at 4/14/24 2:25 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/14/24 2:25 AM

RE: 6 realms practice

Posts: 1172 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
Thing with emotions is that parts of your brain gets tired and emotions help shifting activity elsewhere. Because of that emotions can at times arise solely to help with this issue. You might not like negative emotions and they quickly tire your brain but for already tired brain if there is a way to shift activity to parts that are less tired will feel very attractive - maybe even so much so you won't be able to resist falling in to emotional whirlpool.

Most people assume they have to work through these emotions and if they do emotions won't have any reason to arise because they worked through them and will engage but in reality it doesn't really work that and cannot work like they imagine. You can get an improvement from working through emotions and especially when this work engages wide range of negative and positive emotions but in the long run your nervous system gets inevitably tired having worked through emotions doesn't help you. You will still need to shift activity and emotions are still an option - maybe evem more so. If you assume you worked through eg. negative emotions because you feel momentary improvements then the next time you need these emotions your mind will generate reasons to feel them anyways.

It is one of these mechanisms which can and does confuse people really good.
What can you do?

Well, any mechanisms you can employ to shift activity off from tired neurons helps. We have enough neurons to hold multiple copies of consciousnesses for each faculty and you can learn how to shift activity between them volitionally. If you do you will be much less emotional. You might feel like you might get sad or angry but the moment you shift activity off tired parts of the brain to parts which are not tired the emotions immediately feel less attractive. This is despite points raised by thoughts of justification for emotions didn't really change. Mind will always prefer stable emotionless operation and will engage emotions only when it cannot help it.

Also engaging in any activity that engages different parts of your mind that those which are tired helps. If you work at some kind of office then generally physical activity is recommended. You might find new hobbies if those you have engage similar parts of your brain as things which you do most often.

In meditation don't try to force yourself to do any methods if you feel these methods only cause you to feel more tired. Try finding different methods or even just sit and do absolutely nothing for a while.

And of course observe mind and notice as mind shifts activity between copies of faculties. It is very specific motion which once you recognize you might also realize how to do it yourself. If you put your mind into it you can learn how to trigger fruition and shift activity that way. It is incredibly useful skill which gives you an option. It is also what I meant when I wrote that emotion stops feeling relevant and needed when activity shifts from tired part elsewhere.
shargrol, modified 2 Months ago at 4/14/24 5:26 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/14/24 5:25 AM

RE: 6 realms practice

Posts: 2517 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Dustin
Looking for advice on 6 realms practice. Been noting and noticing for years and after reading into WUTYL by Ken Mcleod I can see there is a lot of emotional reactions/patterns that have not been touched. Most emotions go away a lot quicker and there is less shame/guilt associated to the reaction but there is still a lot of daily anger/pride etc still going on. I get the jist of the 6 realms practice but I am wondering if there are certain times to use noting and there would be certain times to practice 6 realms? Kinda like when things are solid you go back to noting and thing ar open you would just notice. I know Shargrol talks about a 4 gears practice but I did not see an explantion for when to use a which gear. Or do you just take on the practice as stated in the book?

Hi Dustin, could you say a bit more about your practice? There might be specific advice that might be appropriate, but it's hard to say without knowing more...

In general, your intuition is exactly right. Noting and 6 realms are both good at certain times. If someone can't really "see" how some the 6 basic survival strategies show up in their thoughts, then 6 realms will help them realize their unconscious worldviews. And then once you can "see" this stuff, then you can more easily note it -- rather than it be unconscious and you identify with it as I/me/mine -- during your noting practice.

Hell beings are emotionally angry and use a fighting strategy to deal with reality.
Hungry ghost are greedy and use an addictive strategy.
Animals have are stoic/tough and use an endurance (or habit/routine) strategy
Humans are full of desires and use a seeking/shopping/balancing strategy
Powerful gods are full of ambition and jealousy and use a competition strategy
Heavenly gods are full of pride and use a isolate/maintain strategy

Six realms is helpful in seeing how our emotions create our view of reality and then how our view of reality creates our emotions --- if you don't see this, then you're really trapped!  For example, a hell being is angry so it fights with everyone which makes everyone fight with him which makes him even more angry. emoticon Or a heavenly god feels pride and so isolates himself away from other people in his own personal heaven which makes him feel even more special and blessed which makes him even more full of pride. emoticon

Only humans can escape, because they have the option of seeking dharma/wisdom instead of sex and food and things. (!)

In general, you use the teaching of the six realms to notice patterns in your own mind. And then during sitting practice you are better able to see and note them, as they occur, rather than get trapped in them. For example, maybe you are sitting and have the desire to make more progress and go on retreat and re-read WUTYL and maybe write a post on DhO about what you have learned and maybe become a teacher and maybe have your own retreat center --- all of these thoughts can seem very much like the "I's" thoughts... but thoughts are just thoughts so this can be noted rather than turning into a big planning session in the middle of a sit. And if you know you have a tendency to be ambitious and jealous, you might also realize quickly that you have just been "reborn" in the Powerful Gods realm and are acting out that identity here.

So noting helps 6 realms and 6 realms helps noting. 

​​​​​​​Hope this helps!
shargrol, modified 2 Months ago at 4/14/24 5:39 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/14/24 5:38 AM

RE: 6 realms practice

Posts: 2517 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
And one other thing, if a realm is particularly a trap for you, then you can do the visualizations from WUTYL as a supplemental practice. For example, if someone is particularly trapped by addiction, they can act out in their mind all the ways they get trapped and practice doing what they need to do to escape. They can notice the sensations, emotions, and thoughts associated with --- playing video games for example --- and practice mentally doing what they could do as an alternative --- going for a walk or cleaning their room for example. And they can also imagine how much their body and mind feels (sensations, emotions, and thoughts) when they clean up their room instead of kill four hours accomplishing nothing in the real world.

​​​​​​​This is good preparation for dealing with their greedy/addictive stuff before it happens in real life.


But it's also important to say that no single meditation method is a "cure" for anything, so we need to be pragmatic and find the way that works best for ourself. It's really only possible to figure out what works through testing in actual practice, actually trying the techniques -- and of course, asking practical questions about the challenges you are struggling with in your actual practice.
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Dustin, modified 2 Months ago at 4/14/24 9:38 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/14/24 9:38 AM

RE: 6 realms practice

Posts: 115 Join Date: 12/28/17 Recent Posts
shargrol
And one other thing, if a realm is particularly a trap for you, then you can do the visualizations from WUTYL as a supplemental practice. For example, if someone is particularly trapped by addiction, they can act out in their mind all the ways they get trapped and practice doing what they need to do to escape. They can notice the sensations, emotions, and thoughts associated with --- playing video games for example --- and practice mentally doing what they could do as an alternative --- going for a walk or cleaning their room for example. And they can also imagine how much their body and mind feels (sensations, emotions, and thoughts) when they clean up their room instead of kill four hours accomplishing nothing in the real world.

​​​​​​​This is good preparation for dealing with their greedy/addictive stuff before it happens in real life.


But it's also important to say that no single meditation method is a "cure" for anything, so we need to be pragmatic and find the way that works best for ourself. It's really only possible to figure out what works through testing in actual practice, actually trying the techniques -- and of course, asking practical questions about the challenges you are struggling with in your actual practice.





Practice in the last few months has been concentrion/relaxation 15-20 minutes then noticing body sensations for a little while then adding in hearing and then seeing and then noticing all at the same time and opening to them. Also watching plesant, un-plesant, nuetral sensations and thoughts arise and disapear in the backgroung while noticing body, hearing, seeing. Doing this for 30 minutes after the concentraion/relaxation and then the last 5 minutes doingh nothing or inquiry questions or statemnets. The last few weeks I have been doing more noting than noticing due to everything seeming more solid.

This morning  I sat and went almost immideatley into jhana and started noting slowly. Didnt really want to sit due to tiredness but was pretty much pulled in once it started. Noting simple stuff at first and then thoughts and space etc. Then I started noting a couple of the realms when greed and anger would arise. I started thinking about a pair of shoes I bought that aren't ready for pick up and noted Hungry Ghost and then a Dining table I bought thats taking forever to get shipped and noted Hungry Ghost and could see my self and small and needy and could see how strange that is due to my life is pretty good. Also thoughts of family issues arise and I noted Cold Hells and could see how frozen I become with anger. Noting god realm a few times when I would be in a state of space/freedom and could see how I am better than others like I was standing on a pedestal. I would have noted other realms I'm sure but havent read all of them thoroughly. Also these thoughts/reactions and then noting the realm is happening very quickly. Probably less then a second it seems and then I am noting the realm. I think thats where I need it in real life. My life is real good. Not lost in thought all the time. See thing as impermanet so I am not caught in the future or past as much but I do get caught in greedy/addictive behaiors and I havent been able to see that for a while but I have known something was missing. I have practiced noting dasily since 2018 and just recently probably past 6 months been noticing more than noting but it sometimes seem somewhat bland like I am missing a lot of background stuff going on.

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