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Resolutions- Adhitthana Practice

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Resolutions- Adhitthana Practice
Answer
1/27/10 3:57 AM
This is an intriguing topic for me. When I believe I got 1st path during a 10 day course on day 5, I made the resolution to attain the next path before the end of the course. It was almost made half heartedly as a passing thought when I couldn't believe I had gotten to 1st path and having 5 days left of the course I just thought, well, why not the next path. I had never thought nor read about how one could continue on to the next path so had no idea what to expect. On day 9 of the same course, something happened which I explained in my account in the Dharma Diagnosis thread that left my state of being completely different from what the mind was like between day 5 up to day 9. The perspective is completely different and seeing the "I" as empty and just a sum of sensations dancing about can be seen when the mind is inclined to see it as it is. I really don't know if I hit 2nd path on the same course. I am sure people doubt the rapidity of it but all I know is this state of being is so much nicer than from day 5 when I definitely hit 1st path.

What I am curious about is other meditators' experiences with resolutions. I have found that the will of the mind upon getting 1st path is extremely strong and when I sit to meditate the mind can be willed to expereince this and that, each nana, the 8 jhanas and other things just by resolving to. I am curious, not just about those who have attained a path, but also those who haven't yet because when I went and sat this last 10 day course, I resolved to attain 1st path and truly believe that that was one of the key things that got me across the line.

So please share your experiences of making resolutions in your meditation practice. I think they could be very helpful for me and others.

RE: Resolutions- Adhitthana Practice
Answer
1/28/10 1:32 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
If you got stream entry on day 5, chances of getting second path on day 10 are not zero, but they are pretty low.

Thus, consider this list of things that you described could have been:

1) Second path, just to humor you and admit it is possible
2) Mind and Body: people shouldn't underestimate how profound this one can be when done with strong concentration: thoughts split off, everything is observed, all sensations are just either Mind and Body, no self in them, or so it seems, and is true, but it turns out that in those moments there are sensations of observer that are not yet clearly perceived.
3) A&P: always a strong consideration in any list of things that can seem like a path
4) Equanimity: also territory in which thoughts again split off in 11.1, then there is another shift in 11.2 (using ├▒ana-subjhana notation) where things get even more like that. When this happens way up an a Review phase, as things naturally get more and more shifted to highlight Equanimity, people can describe things like what you experienced.
5) Random temporary unitive, transcendent, empty and other related experiences can sometimes just show up.

Thus, see how it holds up over time and what came before it and what comes next.

If you did get stream entry: remember, mapping in the in-between territory from first to second path, or from second to whatever path, is really, really hard even for those who are really, really good at it, which none of us start out being no matter how much theory we know.

Thus, keep an open mind, keep practicing, and let us know how it goes,

Daniel

RE: Resolutions- Adhitthana Practice
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1/28/10 3:12 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Thanks Daniel,

All I know for sure is I got 1st path. That is a no brainer. I am cycling and its obvious. I have access to things I didn't before, and the illusion of "I" has seriously been shaken. Yeh, no use jumping to conclusions. I'll just keep on going without worrying what stage I am. Meditation is automatic. I don't need to be sitting to feel cycles and when I want, the illusion of "I" can be seen for what it is. I now feel bored with fruitions, and actually they are getting less frequent. I resolved to get to the next path, whatever that may be and when I did that, the cycles slowed down considerably and stay in certain areas for long periods. I am getting so much vibrational activity in the forehad and crown area. Today it felt like it was about to pop with all the pressure athe the top of my head but it didn't. It goes back down the body again without a fruition. I think Ive been going through quite the dark night these past few days but the way the mind is of late makes me think I've hit equanimity. But it's so hard to know exactly where I am.. there seems to be cycles within cycles. I don't know. Just going with the flow now.

Daniel, what are your experiences with resolutions, as you have mentioned how powerful they can be?

RE: Resolutions- Adhitthana Practice
Answer
1/28/10 10:26 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai S Halay:
What I am curious about is other meditators' experiences with resolutions.

Resolutions are fine, and yes they do work. But you should not become overly impressed by or dependent upon them as a shortcut way to make progress in the Dhamma as there are areas in one's mental cultivation where even resolutions will not work efficiently, and where you will have to do the hard work necessary in order to let go of unwholesome mental habits and to recondition the mind with more wholesome mental habits. Even Daniel has mentioned, from time to time, his own deficiency in this. We all have to wrestle with this.

Mental cultivation is about de-conditioning the negative aspects of one's mental atmosphere (weeding out ignorance and delusion) and re-conditioning the mind with the positive aspects of mind (seeing things as they are in actuality and increasing awareness and discernment). This can take some time and effort. It won't happen overnight as the result of a resolution.

RE: Resolutions- Adhitthana Practice
Answer
1/28/10 2:03 PM as a reply to Ian And.
Hi Ian


Good advice. I don't think I would have gotten anywhere if I hadn't meditated on the three characteristics. And I know one should not rely on just a resolution. But as you said, resolutions are fine, and yes they do work. It is good that people know not to rely so heavily on them of course but they can help with progress.Can you tell me about your experience with resolutions?

RE: Resolutions- Adhitthana Practice
Answer
1/29/10 12:05 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai S Halay:
Can you tell me about your experience with resolutions?

I use them all the time. Usually just before going to sleep at night. I tell myself that I will sleep restfully and awaken refreshed, alert, and focused. It has never failed yet. I don't wake up groggy or unfocused any longer. I can begin where I left off in my thinking and in the things I wanted to get accomplished from the day before much easier. I live a secluded lifestyle, so there are no distractions around to interfere with this process.

One other associated method I have used in the past and continue on occasion to use in the present is a method that doesn't so much rely upon one making a resolution or determination in meditation beforehand as it does on imbuing the mind with suggestive meditation instruction (to use one example) prior to the session so that the mind is suffused with these concepts/images before entering meditation. It helps one get into the space where these concepts are aiming much quicker once one does sit down and begin to meditate.

This can be a somewhat difficult process to impart to someone who is new to meditation as they are still getting their feet wet, trying to figure out what meditation and mental cultivation is all about and whether or not this "meditation stuff" really works. Also, the beginner is usually still working at calming the mind down from the "monkey mind" syndrome. It helps to have a quiet mind prior to meditating, and this can sometimes take some time for a beginner to finally accomplish. But for others who have more experience in meditation and in some of the possibilities of what the mind can achieve, it comes easier for them to grasp and apply this concept. I've used this concept for a long time to help me enter absorption quicker. All I had to do was to think of a time in my past when my mind became absorbed in an activity, recreate that experience in my mind as I was meditating, and the mind would go there automatically.

RE: Resolutions- Adhitthana Practice
Answer
1/29/10 1:46 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
As the man says, they can be effective, often, but not always.

They are just one of many factors contributing to any outcome.

I have used them a lot, my most common one being, "May I attain to full awakening as quickly as wisely possible for the benefit of all beings," which, while being a bit convoluted, nevertheless did help galvanize things.

I also made resolutions to attain to paths, to jhanas, to Nirodha, to powers, to many other things, and I think they help program the mind at some core level to actually accomplish what it can accomplish.

However, they can't force the process beyond what it can to, so this is an organic thing that will only go so far so fast. I have cooked myself a few times by using resolutions to push myself deep into territory I couldn't handle in my more gung-ho days, and that often caused difficulties, though I made relatively fast progress.

The most interesting thing about resolutions, aside from being powerful, is that they tell you a lot about what is going on right now, where you are at this point, what you are reacting to, what drives you, what forces are in play now, and that tells you about suffering, as that is what drives that, so look at what is driving you to resolve and see that directly at the sensate level: that's powerful practice.

Also, notice that resolving is a stage dependent process: some stages are much more likely to cause us to want to be somewhere other than we are, such as the Dark Night. Thus, balance effort and acceptance: easier said than done. See that goals occur now, effort occurs on its own now. These are key insights to see again and again. The more of the sensations that are present now that you are able to see making up your future achievement trip, the better you will do.

RE: Resolutions- Adhitthana Practice
Answer
1/31/10 8:16 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Brilliant!!!!!!! This is what I was hoping to read. Thank you Ian and Daniel. Very insightful and useful information. Thank you!!!
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