I'm at a loss of where to go next

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Nick Myers, modified 9 Years ago.

I'm at a loss of where to go next

Posts: 54 Join Date: 12/9/11 Recent Posts
This is my first post here, in fact pretty much anything here. I just got done listening and watching Dans Cheetah house talk.

Alittle bit of a catch up background on what has been hit on my side so far. About a year ago I had No-Self realization, that there is nothing int he center to call a you besides the rising and falling of the story. ideas, concepts, beliefs, and environment giving the sense of someone being there despite there being no evidence of there actually being a me. This was all fine and dandy, but then relationship fell apart and all kinds of uncomfortable bullshit came up in which I was plunged in to watch day to day.

After this passed, no-self insight still remained but I feel as if its stuck. I have even noticed that there is no mind either just this open space in which everything operates, and watch as sensations and thoughts come and go, with various tensions in the body (mainly at work because of the interesting personalities).

Recently, I've been popping in and out of Equanimity, as the common tensions feel lesser, (mentally) however physical tension in the lower left side of my back and there is tension in the head near the back of the skull which stretches to just where the spine begins here.

However nothing is really bothering me.

One last thing is my meditation practice, usually consists of observation of thought and a switch off between that and no-self seeing, bringing it back and going through this. Meditation is though sporadic as I don't do it daily, but sometimes I feel a strong desire to do so and other days not at all.

I'm also slightly curious about stream entry so if anyone can give me advice at why there is so much confusion going on or maybe what my next plan of action should be, would be very well appreciated.

I forgot to mention that despite my wax and wain like effort to meditation, before drifting to sleep at night, focus naturally going on there being nothing there as far as to having dream states arise where there is a feel of panic or fear along with what appears to be a dark room but no body in which I occupy. No movement can occur so I'm guessing (and perhaps wrongly) that this is just pointing towards the void).
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katy steger, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: I'm at a loss of where to go next

Posts: 1741 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
Hi Nick Myers,

Welcome to this site.

Do you want to detail what you are experiencing when you say "No-Self realization" and "no self insight"?

However nothing is really bothering me.

Something is agitating you and provoking your action to reach out here. I'm sure you know this, but I am quoting that to be clear and because I think that "nothing is really bothering me" agitation is really interesting and relates to...

Recently, I've been popping in and out of Equanimity, (...)
When out of Equanimity is there a general tone of the thinking and feeling that occurs? What are some of the thoughts and feelings that occur when out of Equanimity? You've noted physical tension and I think, for myself, noticing physical tension is useful: it can be a "real" place to start when the mental aspect of what's happening seems vague and hard to pinpoint.

I'm also slightly curious about stream entry so if anyone can give me advice at why there is so much confusion going on or maybe what my next plan of action should be, would be very well appreciated.
In my opinion derived from my own experience, what you describe is (to me) the beginning of seeing 'dukkha' in equanimity. The stress of equanimity. One has gotten out of the deep end of the knowledges of suffering (fear, misery and disgust) and finds themselves in kind of a spacey zone. At first this area can be delightful: the oppressiveness of being immersed in the knowledges of suffering lifts. However, as you noted, life is there: "This was all fine and dandy, but then relationship fell apart and all kinds of uncomfortable bullshit came up in which I was plunged in to watch day to day."


One last thing is my meditation practice, usually consists of observation of thought and a switch off between that and no-self seeing, bringing it back and going through this. Meditation is though sporadic as I don't do it daily, but sometimes I feel a strong desire to do so and other days not at all.

I'm also slightly curious about stream entry so if anyone can give me advice at why there is so much confusion going on or maybe what my next plan of action should be, would be very well appreciated.
I think when the limitations of equanimity augment through your mind's very reasonable desire to know "How? What next? This can't be everything??", the mind's very reasonable desire to seek grounding, then meditation practice will come up. During the period of equanimity, I took up six months of yoga (about 3-4 times a week with teachers): it worked out my tensions and it grounded me, and, after about three months I found myself very naturally drawn to sitting in open awareness and anapansati.

Maybe chen tai chi (see Chen Xiaowang and his student Ren Guang Yi) would work the same for someone else. I specify "chen" because it has an open groin stance as well as open arm pits and is very conducive to releasing trapped energy. I specify those teachers especially: they seem to deeply help students with pung. Maybe western students have too much trapped energy, too much constriction -- I don't know, but I know those teachers' chen style is very very toning for energy and build it very, very well. So that's a way to work in the body now, too.

Maybe you will find something else, but I encourage finding a body practice now that will help you ground and which will work with your tensions. This will, I think bear useful mental fruits/hand-holds in the course of six months.

[edit: name spelling correction and strike through. I think you've already explained what you experience here in regards to your words "no self insight" and "No-Self realization"
and best wishes!emoticon]
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Nick Myers, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: I'm at a loss of where to go next

Posts: 54 Join Date: 12/9/11 Recent Posts
Hey Katy!

Thank you for the reply, much appreciated for talking with me.

Something is agitating you and provoking your action to reach out here. I'm sure you know this, but I am quoting that to be clear and because I think that "nothing is really bothering me" agitation is really interesting and relates to...


Awe yes, you're right. There are hidden agitations there which are seen. I didn't really consider the subtler feeling behind it. I think the agitation relates more toward the current realization I have the wonder behind passing through equanimity or going further.

When out of Equanimity is there a general tone of the thinking and feeling that occurs? What are some of the thoughts and feelings that occur when out of Equanimity? You've noted physical tension and I think, for myself, noticing physical tension is useful: it can be a "real" place to start when the mental aspect of what's happening seems vague and hard to pinpoint.


Yes, from what is remembered, the general feeling is more along the lines of why I keep falling back into the story and why productiveness toward a career I want to be in seems to be hindered (procrastination.)

In my opinion derived from my own experience, what you describe is (to me) the beginning of seeing 'dukkha' in equanimity.


This might be so, I had dealt with that whole clearing house for the past year or so, seeing how dishonest I was being with myself and found out which three things I seemed to be grasping to (jealousy, abandonment, control) which had to be confronted and dealt with. As I'm sure you know, it wasn't very fun to deal with but makes us stronger the next time around.

I really do enjoy sitting meditation a lot so I think I will not do some 20 minutes meditations before bed again, and do breath focus rather than no-self focus so that I can strengthen concentration (gaining access concentration?).

And finally Katy, is there any insight in which I can reach stream entry through contemplation or is it something that needs to be done through grounding the physical body first?
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katy steger, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: I'm at a loss of where to go next

Posts: 1741 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
And finally Katy, is there any insight in which I can reach stream entry through contemplation or is it something that needs to be done through grounding the physical body first?
Everyone is different and changing. Some people need sati at one moment. Some are drawn to concentration. Some arrive because they are interested in the vedic traditions' acknowledgement of siddhis.

What calls you to a buddhist practice website might be a good place to start. What calls you to join a buddhist practice forum?
Another way to ask this is, what do you think happens with "sotapanna" that you want this?

If you keep posting here - if it suits you - then others will probably relate to your experiences and there may be some exchanges that resonate with you and cause some form of practice, such as classical anapanasati or satipatthana.

I don't think I understand your "no-self focus" practice. Do you want to explain how that works (just like explaining how to make PB&J sandwich: a step-by-step)?
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Nick Myers, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: I'm at a loss of where to go next

Posts: 54 Join Date: 12/9/11 Recent Posts
Hey Katy,

Thank you for the responses. I had to wait until after work to respond to this, and wrote down some stuff that came to mind after reading your post. I'm going to do my best to answer your questions, and I will add a little back story about myself if you don't mind.

Since highschool, I was always pulled toward the Buddhas teachings, from the start of Siddhartha (my English teacher had us read it.) Then through college, I had become very interested in religious philosophy, so reading eastern religions started to be incorporated in this conditioning.

To name a few of my biggest influences.
-Maharaj
-Anthony De Mello
-Osho
-Adyashanti
-Zen Flesh, Zen Bones

For whatever reason, I was always pulled to meditate although I never took up a specific meditation practice. I've always gone with flow of where my particular "spiritual" path lead me.

More recently (within the last and a half) I awakened to no-self or that there is no doer doing anything as I've mentioned above. I fell into the trap that I was enlightened. More recently I realized this wasn't enlightenment but a crucial step in this journey. I had since been guiding some others to realizing no-self and no-mind which is probably where the holding happens. I'm not sure if that answers this:

I don't think I understand your "no-self focus" practice.


Now onto the questions you would like me to answer for you and I would be much obliged:

What calls you to a buddhist practice website might be a good place to start. What calls you to join a buddhist practice forum?


Like I said, I've been really kind of a flow type personality however I can't really give you a concrete answer on what lead me here. This just seems the best path to take toward what is trying to be seen, so here I am. I made the assertion to myself that I will do whatever it takes to see these things to reach enlightenment. That could be it (or not.)

Another way to ask this is, what do you think happens with "sotapanna" that you want this?


This is an expectations question, and like any realization, you can't really expect it to be a certain way because most likely it won't be what you're expecting. However I would like to stabilize, increase focus, better relate or feeling closer to others. Maybe even solve some fatigue problems which seem to be said to have potential of happening through SE. However I'm also aware its different for different individuals so I'm not putting all my eggs into one basket.

Do you want to explain how that works (just like explaining how to make PB&J sandwich: a step-by-step)?


It isn't really a practice besides being mindful as much as possible about all the bundles of concepts, ideas, and beliefs, and environment mingling with each other to create this personality however, seeing that the sense of self is just that, a sensation in the body. Also thoughts being just thoughts, which doesn't point to an actual you that is doing the thought.

Also seeing that the mind is not really a container, or a mind at all but and empty spaciousness in which everything flows freely , and even this is a thought, so not clinging to the fact that not even this points towards whats actually going on.


I hope this helps you get a little more background on me and where I've come from, where I am right now at this moment, and the intent in which SE wants to be gained.

I'm much more engaged to a more zen like approach or so the character has agreed to.
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katy steger, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: I'm at a loss of where to go next

Posts: 1741 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
Ok, thanks for describing for me some of your "no-self realization" and prior teachers. I also found and read Siddhartha in high school (it was one of the English-language books the school library had amid a slough of existential works.)

In zen teachings maybe your no-self realization might be labeled a kensho experience - sort of a fast, jarring insight moment that does change the mind of the practitioner. One starts to experience less contrivance of daily life because some contrivances of personality evaporate/reduce.

So, if your no-self realization is such a kensho moment, then afterwards the practitioner may naturally feel a growing urge to attend closely to the practice. It is as if mind is ready for --- or nearly ready for ---- focus.

"Nearly" because, there's usually a shit-hits-the-fan moment preceding attraction to concentration and natural willingness to focus attention and to watch one's mind calmly. For example, a no-self realization can naturally feel very gratifying: its spacey equanimity, its freeing detachment. The space and detachment and wonder naturally feel like a relief when one thinks about how rocky things were as a self-dominating persona. So, that space and detachment are gratifying until some natural curiosity starts to come through, "Is this all there is?" That's a subtle tension/dissatisfaction that grows, until it becomes a bona fide stress. The shit usually hits the fan because the mind demands that that tension not be ignored, the mind really wants to know, "Is this it? and if so why do I not feel enlightened?" So, one goes from spacey, detached, wonder-drifting to some big "dammitall!" moment (maybe an eruption with a person or a banging the thumb in the car door kind-of thing).

That "dammital" (or eruption/stress/frustration) is also a kensho experience. It's an jarring insight into the incompletion of the non-self realization, for example. After this, the mind turns itself towards patient zazen.

That willing patience to just sit is the very beginning of concentration.


So, back to this:
is there any insight in which I can reach stream entry through contemplation or is it something that needs to be done through grounding the physical body first?


If a person has a rope in a bad knot, they will usually apply a few approaches to getting it undone. Maybe there's first closely looking and trying to push the ropes ends back through certain loops, then maybe there's just rubbing the knot between the fingers to loosen everything at once, then maybe there's plucking the knot with fingernail tips, and so forth. So, that's my long way of saying: both.

You note you are "much more engaged by a zen like approach". So, koan can be used with zazen. This would give you both a mental object (e.g., "Who am I?") and a physical practice (zazen).

For example, if you put yourself in a seven-day sesshin, you could repeat "Who am I?" When the knees ache, "Who am I?" When the rhombus muscles are sore, "Who am I?" When falling asleep, vigorously, "Who am I?" When stomach growls before oryoki, "Who am I?" When first food hits tongue and there is pleasure-gratification of eating, "Who am I?" When there is the urge to eat faster, "Who am I?" When there is the chore to do, "Who am I?" When there is the urge to determine a part of the chore is done adequately, "Who am I?" When there is irritation towards the body-actions of another practitioner, then "Who am I?" When the mind and body begin to settle, "Who am I?" When there is excitement over a mental object/state,"Who am I?"

Koan, however, can be a very frustrating practice. Koan can build mental tension while body has its own intense zazen tension: this can become a ceaseless round of frustrations and pains, with angry/sad/maddening eruptions. Indeed, part of koan is to build some tension and cause letting go. I think it takes a great teacher to work with their student closely in just koan and zazen, especially. When I consider some of the waiting periods people have weathered at the entrance ways of zen monasteries, it occurs to me that the monastery is seeing if the practitioner has already learned some calm in the face of massive frustration and tension. Heck, there's a lot of non-ideal stuff in ideal-looking zen monasteries, so the Roshi has to see how the applicant's mind is or is not already well-tempered. I also consider the marathon running of novice monks: burning off tensions, exhausting the body and mind, helping the novice get to a cleared mental base quickly (through physical exhaustion and terrain that demands mental focus).

So, since you have chosen to use the word "stream-entry", and this concept falls within Theravadan practices, you can also switch your study framework for a while. For example, anapanasati builds concentration in a very pleasant physical training ground. As the mind and body progress, the instructions become more refined; the mind learns in friendly circumstances to seclude itself into simpler conditions, weaning itself naturally off of pleasure into a concentrated equanimity. And, when frustrations grow, one still has access to lots of innocent pleasure just by breathing in (and this, in turn, contributes to naturally growing patience when off the cushion).

Also, as concentration builds in this friendly training arena of anapanasati, then you could take up zazen as you know it and you could read Venerable Analayo's book "Satipatthana: the Direct Path to Realization" (Windhorse, 2003) to provide a contemplative structure outside of your sits.

So, I raise anapansati and satipatthana because you are looking at a concept (stream entry) that is housed in the Pali canon and addressed well by Theravadan approaches.

I've thrown a lot out here. What are your thoughts?

[Edit: there are other practices (e.g., Tibet-source practices, advaita, mysticism) around here, too, however, since this is a practice forum people may need to see what practice you are doing before than can share their own experiences/questions. So, another way to flow into what you may get out of being on this site, could be your commenting in other threads. This is a way some people practice: indeed it was the way I came to see what "I" was doing here -- first, by seeing my own attraction and aversion to what was already out there and reacting to it.

By being here, it seems that your no-self realization is naturally starting to look for some anchorage, knowing that some practice/insight is needed to bridge no-self realization and your interest in these ideas "stream-entry"/"enlightenment".]

{edits for hyperlinks}
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Nick Myers, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: I'm at a loss of where to go next

Posts: 54 Join Date: 12/9/11 Recent Posts
In zen teachings maybe your no-self realization might be labeled a kensho experience - sort of a fast, jarring insight moment that does change the mind of the practitioner. One starts to experience less contrivance of daily life because some contrivances of personality evaporate/reduce.


Yes it was a very subtle shift. I could feel it occur as it clicked into place, and knew something was different but it wasn't like mind blow like some may have. It was just very slight and things started to lift. This happened in the middle of my relationship haha, so I fortunate but unfortunate at the same time as everything sort of feel apart in regards to that.

For a while there it was very spacious, but I didn't know how to relate to anyone, even questioning the people around me as to why they were believing their stories so wholeheartedly. It didn't make sense to me but humanity has slowly crept back in (not like its a bad thing)

"Is this all there is?" That's a subtle tension/dissatisfaction that grows, until it becomes a bona fide stress. The shit usually hits the fan because the mind demands that that tension not be ignored, the mind really wants to know, "Is this it? and if so why do I not feel enlightened?" So, one goes from spacey, detached, wonder-drifting to some big "dammitall!" moment (maybe an eruption with a person or a banging the thumb in the car door kind-of thing).


This pretty much sums up how I feel right now, after realizing that no-self wasn't enlightenment and then I started looking deeper into the nature of thoughts and how there is nothing controlling them. Even the thought claiming another thought cannot claim itself the doer, because no matter what the paradox of it too being a thought happens.

I've started reading Daniel Ingrams book on Enlightenment and it does talk alot about the 3 Characteristics and about how having at least two of the three direct realizations will greatly increase the potential for SE, which I guess has peaked the no-self realizations interest haha.

I know about impermanence and intellectually get it but then again there is a difference between intellectual knowledge and knowing (that was made evidently clear when I experienced that there is no one home here).


You note you are "much more engaged by a zen like approach". So, koan can be used with zazen. This would give you both a mental object (e.g., "Who am I?") and a physical practice (zazen).


It's actually interesting that you mention this because when I was reading Maharaj my approach was the who am I.... however now that makes no sense to me as to why the question would even occur, however its also seen that I tend to have been doing zazen meditation without even fully realizing what it actually was up until this point.

I just recently switched over to this type of meditation to strengthen focus on picking up bodily sensations but am sort of fuzzy on how noting is carried out efficiently. Is it that you just keep saying for instance, "in in in in in in in" as one inhales and "out out out out out" as one exhales and if tension grabs spotlight then that is noted, etc. etc.?

Also, as concentration builds in this friendly training arena of anapanasati, then you could take up zazen as you know it and you could read Venerable Analayo's book "Satipatthana: the Direct Path to Realization" (Windhorse, 2003) to provide a contemplative structure outside of your sits.


I like this idea and will look into this book however, I don't frequent any temples, churches, etc. and have never been to a master of any kind. All my guides have been through reading which might be why my practice seems so willy nilly. emoticon

[Edit: there are other practices (e.g., Tibet-source practices, advaita, mysticism) around here, too, however, since this is a practice forum people may need to see what practice you are doing before than can share their own experiences/questions. So, another way to flow into what you may get out of being on this site, could be your commenting in other threads. This is a way some people practice: indeed it was the way I came to see what "I" was doing here -- first, by seeing my own attraction and aversion to what was already out there and reacting to it.


I was into mysticism on my way out of Christianity a while ago, but exited the more mystical approach after reading quite a few of Oshos books (not that they weren't good or not useful) but because it was time to move on.

At the moment if it were to be labeled anything it would be more advaita driven or non-dual driven then anything else. I'm not really partial to sticking to any one teaching if it doesn't serve the path that feels the most right for the present moment.

This just came to mind for no reason but another influence was Lao Tzus, Tao Te Ching.

By being here, it seems that your no-self realization is naturally starting to look for some anchorage, knowing that some practice/insight is needed to bridge no-self realization and your interest in these ideas "stream-entry"/"enlightenment".]


I absolutely agree with you here, it feels there is something that needs the gap to be bridged or feels there is a gap there. Maybe there isn't a real gap sort of like realizing the Gateless Gate, that you are the obstacle or the gate and there never really was a gate to begin with.

One last comment is my blog if you want a better idea into this mind. I don't know if I can post it on here, and I will gladly take it down if its within the rules to not post personal blogs: Atomic Potential : Zen and the Art of Existence



Thanks katy for sticking around thus far and for all the help so far. It is much appreciated!
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katy steger, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: I'm at a loss of where to go next

Posts: 1741 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
Hi again, Nick,


For a while there it was very spacious, but I didn't know how to relate to anyone, even questioning the people around me as to why they were believing their stories so wholeheartedly.
What you've said here fit me to a tee, also. Sometimes people report this as a dream-like state: where what's actual is very interesting/wondrous and where a lot of conversations seem superfluous. Another person wrote on this site about a "mind silence" occurring and how consequently she wondered why people all around her had so much chattering going on, why weren't other people also aware of and relaxing in "mind silence"?



I know about impermanence and intellectually get it but then again there is a difference between intellectual knowledge and knowing (that was made evidently clear when I experienced that there is no one home here).
Yeah, the difference is huge: apples and oranges.

I tend to have been doing zazen meditation without even fully realizing what it actually was up until this point.
Yes, zen is working like this. This tradition knows that it's actually only in giving up on every expectation, anticipation and assumption and becoming suffused by whatever activity one is doing, over weeks and weeks (if one gives up on persona, too, and pride and provocation) that a lot of meditative stuff will well up naturally: jhana and heat, for example. It's kind of hard to get that rich immersion and role-modeling without being in monastery or being close to a teacher. And zen monasteries in Japan often present other issues to western students/young people today: westerners/young people notoriously perceive (rightly or wrongly) too much harsh stoicism and too many conduct breaches (like regular, sneaky night excursions for drink and women). (Or they are overly attracted to the stoic or beatneat expressions and these memes becomes crutches of conceit, not nibbana here and now.) It can be an unnatural concept for a young person today to completely give up on persona and anticipation and future-looking to commit to months and months of "wax on, wax off", being up early and sitting late into the night --- there are so many interesting things everywhere to explore. So, while I think zen's "strategy" is spot on, I am only really able to come back to it now, after some Tibetan philosophy and Theravadan structure and even a little sutta study. I am surprised by my own interest in practice.

I like this idea and will look into this book however, I don't frequent any temples, churches, etc. and have never been to a master of any kind. All my guides have been through reading which might be why my practice seems so willy nilly. emoticon
Analayo's book is outstanding. I haven't yet had the feeling I am reading a religious document. In fact, as a researcher and adjunct professor in Germany, and as a monk, he's mentioned that people assume he cannot be objective, that he would be perhaps evangelically biased. Yet, in my opinion, he comes across as quite a thorough researcher and living up to Gotama's exhortation to see for oneself, not to take anyone's word for it. The book can be started from any point (including starting with the last chapters) or from the middle or beginning. The footnotes are amazing. (Hey, I sound evangelical now, at least about his book!) Anyway, this book sat on my shelf for awhile at first. I bought it towards what would be the end of my own big "spacey" period and I am starting to read parts of it for a third time now.


At the moment if it were to be labeled anything it would be more advaita driven or non-dual driven then anything else. I'm not really partial to sticking to any one teaching if it doesn't serve the path that feels the most right for the present moment.
Well, there are advantages and disadvantages to this openness. But in general, while my own practice is honing in more and more on satipatthana and with an eye for "zen" again, if you will, I respect the other traditions. People from other traditions have shared with me amazing insights that unlocked problems in them.

This just came to mind for no reason but another influence was Lao Tzus, Tao Te Ching.
Yeah, definitely.

So, all these sources are sort of feeding the mind that is hungry to know "why am I here? What is life? What's this? What's going on exactly? How am I happiest? Do I know how to live before I get infirm/old/die?"

What has tends to then happen is taking up a practice. And that is why the tension of the spacey period (equanimity in the Progress of Insight) is useful: the stress of equanimity naturally provokes one to start practicing and to shelter the practice in a framework for a while.

It is like staking down a hot air ballon in a particular field; it won't stay there forever, but by being in one place for a while, the (personified) ballon can make sense of what is air, what is earth, what is weather, what is terrain, what is balloon-causal, what is environment causal, what are people passengers, what are birds flying by, etc. This is how the person is training: what is the mind doing, what is the body doing, what is the environment doing, what is doing if I don't know what is doing the doing? Does it matter? Is there/where is dukkha?

you are the obstacle or the gate and there never really was a gate to begin with.
Somewhere in Analayo's book, in a footnote, he cites the Pali word for one who realizes that one is the obstacle to progress, which told me this "issue" that many of us report along our paths is a 2,500-year old issue! Maybe you or I will find that word again. When I find it I think I'll open a thread on it, just so we're all clear that the issue has been around since the start of this tradition. Likely it was also an issue in the parent, vedic tradition: small self impedes arrival of big self, Atman.

Thanks katy for sticking around thus far and for all the help so far. It is much appreciated!
Thank you for arriving and jumping in. For all of its individual practice, this is still often a team sport. I intend to look at your blog over the weekend; lots of people refer to their blogs here. There's a guy Nikolai who has a blog called the Hamiliton project and I think Tommy M has his own blog. And Tarver just set up his own blog as he cracks open his teacher's teachings (Leslie Dewart) so anyone may get a bit of that, too.

Bye for now.emoticon

[edit: format, spelling]
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Nick Myers, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: I'm at a loss of where to go next

Posts: 54 Join Date: 12/9/11 Recent Posts
Another person wrote on this site about a "mind silence" occurring and how consequently she wondered why people all around her had so much chattering going on, why weren't other people also aware of and relaxing in "mind silence"?


Agreed! And I don't actually think the mind wants to be so active, it just hasn't had the chance or given the opportunity to slow down and rest (except through deep sleep). I feel that even in waking states, that people around tend to try and pull each other into the chatter, and if it doesn't happen tend to react in a way that is more like a, "why are you in a bad mood, or why aren't you talking."

For me there is this "well this sucks" kind of feeling because i deal with people all day so I don't really have the option of not responding although sometimes I do haha.

westerners/young people notoriously perceive (rightly or wrongly) too much harsh stoicism and too many conduct breaches (like regular, sneaky night excursions for drink and women). (Or they are overly attracted to the stoic or beatneat expressions and these memes becomes crutches of conceit, not nibbana here and now.) It can be an unnatural concept for a young person today to completely give up on persona and anticipation and future-looking to commit to months and months of "wax on, wax off", being up early and sitting late into the night --- there are so many interesting things everywhere to explore. So, while I think zen's "strategy" is spot on, I am only really able to come back to it now, after some Tibetan philosophy and Theravadan structure and even a little sutta study. I am surprised by my own interest in practice.


It is funny you mention stoic philosophy because I've read quite a few stoic philosophers in my time and actually found some of them to be perfect for what I was dealing with at the time. Some of the techniques that they used such as negative visualization to prepare for the occurrence of a bad outcome to happen, do help. Seneca comes to mind as the big stoic I followed for a short while.

I agree with you though about young and impression (me being pretty young still I can relate to this) although not so much the womens as I have a tad more patients then serial monogomous people (a person who goes from relationship to relationship to fill the void). However the going out and having a drink and good time is nice for the humanity aspect, but hinders meditative states (from what I've heard.)

The book can be started from any point (including starting with the last chapters) or from the middle or beginning. The footnotes are amazing. (Hey, I sound evangelical now, at least about his book!) Anyway, this book sat on my shelf for awhile at first. I bought it towards what would be the end of my own big "spacey" period and I am starting to read parts of it for a third time now.


Quite the salesperson you are, I will end up getting it, but I just saw that they only have it in book format. I buy most of my books for my kindle so I don't have to hide them at work when I sneak a little reading time in. emoticon You've definitely got me sold on the book after I finish Daniel Ingrams book because I feel his book has a lot of good insight to be gone through more than once.

I'm really intrigued by the 3 Characteristics at this point that I want to fully understand them past the intellectual point. I'm wondering if you've ever heard of Greg Goodes book on The Direct Path which takes you through experiments I believe in these characteristics however it doesn't really click with me as much as just nice ol meditation and noting.

BTW, Noting kicked my ass yesterday but I realized how irritation is actually in my life a lot haha. It must of really wanted me to notice it!

It is like staking down a hot air ballon in a particular field; it won't stay there forever, but by being in one place for a while, the (personified) ballon can make sense of what is air, what is earth, what is weather, what is terrain, what is balloon-causal, what is environment causal, what are people passengers, what are birds flying by, etc. This is how the person is training: what is the mind doing, what is the body doing, what is the environment doing, what is doing if I don't know what is doing the doing? Does it matter? Is there/where is dukkha?


I really like this metaphor, because that's kind of what this is all about, seeing how things work. Some choose to find out and some just go about there day without even really seeing how much potential is out there just like the balloon which is stationed in a place for a small amount of time, knows that one day its potential to sore in the air is inevitable, for its the whole reason why it was created!

Somewhere in Analayo's book, in a footnote, he cites the Pali word for one who realizes that one is the obstacle to progress, which told me this "issue" that many of us report along our paths is a 2,500-year old issue! Maybe you or I will find that word again. When I find it I think I'll open a thread on it, just so we're all clear that the issue has been around since the start of this tradition. Likely it was also an issue in the parent, vedic tradition: small self impedes arrival of big self, Atman.


I would much like to have another chat with you when you reach it, hell who knows whether this conversation has happened in times before this (and it probably has). I will be sure to come back to open a thread if the word is found on this side as well, no one will be forgotten.

Thank you for arriving and jumping in. For all of its individual practice, this is still often a team sport. I intend to look at your blog over the weekend; lots of people refer to their blogs here. There's a guy Nikolai who has a blog called the Hamiliton project and I think Tommy M has his own blog. And Tarver just set up his own blog as he cracks open his teacher's teachings (Leslie Dewart) so anyone may get a bit of that, too.


It is my pleasure and it is a team sport, and thanks for sharing your experiences. Feel free to drop me your blog if you have one. If not that is fine too and I think I actually have the hamilton project in my saved blogs somewhere. He has a lot of AP stuff and yogic practices that seem that they could be useful.

Til next time miss!

[Edit: Also when I'm doing my meditations sometimes, last night it reminded me as I entered some state. That while noting, it drops away and then the next thing I realize is that my watch goes off. Almost like I had fallen asleep while trying to do the noting. Is this sleep state and is there not enough focus there or is there any signifance to this?]
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katy steger, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: I'm at a loss of where to go next

Posts: 1741 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
Hi there, Nick,

[Edit: Also when I'm doing my meditations sometimes, last night it reminded me as I entered some state. That while noting, it drops away and then the next thing I realize is that my watch goes off. Almost like I had fallen asleep while trying to do the noting. Is this sleep state and is there not enough focus there or is there any signifance to this?]
It's hard to say, but if it seems like a sleep state, then, okay: it probably was a sleep state or near to. That is totally ok, if one sees it for what it is.

There are two things you could be doing right now to perhaps take advantage of your equanimous, adrift mind loosened from the tethers of strong emotion: gentle, short zazen with the breath (just to keep up a little sitting training) and sati at the sense-doors.

In focusing on the breath at a smallish point above the upper lip and between the nostril, over time, I found the body actually started to generate whole-body pleasure with the breath. This helped me understand first jhana. But I had to go into the sitting with no expectation. I'd love to say that was my great skill - "oh, there's Ol' No Expectations Katy" - but I went to the breath more in defeat and resignation as the stage of equanimity (that kind of hot air balloon-like phase where initially there's lots of delight in becoming free from strong feelings) showed the characteristic dukkha: it was getting tiring and useless to be adrift in the openness, not knowing what next. So, in frustration I committed to sitting happily with the breath.


Further you can direct the open mind loosened of strong emotional fetters to attend in friendliness every sense object, backing away from owning or knowing the sight-object, the sound-object, the taste object, the feel-object and just really going to the sensations themselves. So, when one is listening to another person speak***, one is watching and listening in receptivity and alertness; every time the mind tries to own the experience by labeling the speaker, or categorizing the speaker, a person just resets their attention to the actual senses. Clearly, this is better to practice in simple situations at first...and while I loved practicing this while driving, I'd be cautious about doing that. It's really important that the mind not let go of knowing the label "break lights ahead" and acting on breaking, for example.

So, if you can, for example, really commit to using that new non-hostility and non-anxiety and open spaciness of mind that you seem to be experiencing to really attend to what you are hearing and what you are seeing and feeling and tasting and conduct that attention in friendly, attentive curiosity --- without expectations --- I think that will be fruitful. This is a satipatthana practice.

If this is done very closely, for weeks, immersively, it a) crowds out the discursiveness that usually invades and controls meditation in redundant ways (labeling, narrating, "wow"ing, dulling), and b) it relaxes the mind into fully being where it is now. Just the way anxiety and anger are transformed naturally into concentration and compassion and open awareness, if you really place your mind closely at the sense-doors and their objects, with friendliness (metta) and sense-based attention (aka: hearing at the ears, seeing at the eyes, tasting at the tongue), this expectation-less practice will show you what this phase equanimity has to offer.

[***Edit: do keep personal safety in mind]
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Nick Myers, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: I'm at a loss of where to go next

Posts: 54 Join Date: 12/9/11 Recent Posts
In focusing on the breath at a smallish point above the upper lip and between the nostril, over time, I found the body actually started to generate whole-body pleasure with the breath. This helped me understand first jhana. But I had to go into the sitting with no expectation. I'd love to say that was my great skill - "oh, there's Ol' No Expectations Katy" - but I went to the breath more in defeat and resignation as the stage of equanimity (that kind of hot air balloon-like phase where initially there's lots of delight in becoming free from strong feelings) showed the characteristic dukkha: it was getting tiring and useless to be adrift in the openness, not knowing what next. So, in frustration I committed to sitting happily with the breath.


In retrospect, I've broughten about some of the jhana states in the past however, I didn't know what they were or how to handle them. (light flickering, white blissful experiencing of light, etc.) However it often took me quite a while to reach them. In Jhana mastery can these jhanas be mastered to where the experience and sensations come in a relatively short amount of time. It often took me hours to get there.... but I never was really focusing on any one things besides mental mantras at the time, (ex. Who Am I?)

Now I'm trying the breathing meditation approach because Daniel says its a good idea to at least get a good handle on first jhana to move onto the noting or sensation meditation practice (which is where I think you were gently leading me to anyway. emoticon)

Further you can direct the open mind loosened of strong emotional fetters to attend in friendliness every sense object, backing away from owning or knowing the sight-object, the sound-object, the taste object, the feel-object and just really going to the sensations themselves. So, when one is listening to another person speak***, one is watching and listening in receptivity and alertness; every time the mind tries to own the experience by labeling the speaker, or categorizing the speaker, a person just resets their attention to the actual senses. Clearly, this is better to practice in simple situations at first...and while I loved practicing this while driving, I'd be cautious about doing that. It's really important that the mind not let go of knowing the label "break lights ahead" and acting on breaking, for example.


Greg goods book actually helped out with this, showing that the experiment of the singing bowl is not a singing bowl at all but just experience of sound not happening anywhere but directly in the present. There is no bowl in the ringing happening, etc. There is no physical object inside of the sound object. Then thought sensation kicks in and explains its a bowl because that's how it rationalizes things so it makes sense although the sound sensation gives no proof of an actual bowl especially when its seen that sound is happening just directly without there being anything to cause it other than the sound itself (weird to describe..)


Anyway I promise not to do this too heavily while driving although it seems to happen anyway almost on autopilot with breathing. It also helps with road anxiety haha. emoticon