Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread

Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread Tommy M 9/27/12 5:36 PM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread Nikolai . 9/27/12 6:01 PM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread Change A. 9/27/12 10:15 PM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread John Ferguson 9/27/12 10:41 PM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread Bagpuss The Gnome 9/28/12 2:29 AM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread Tommy M 10/2/12 7:58 AM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread Bagpuss The Gnome 10/2/12 9:50 AM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread Tommy M 10/3/12 6:15 PM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread Bagpuss The Gnome 10/4/12 6:51 AM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread Tommy M 10/2/12 7:48 AM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread Tommy M 10/2/12 8:57 AM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread Shashank Dixit 10/2/12 9:54 AM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread Tommy M 10/3/12 7:12 PM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread Shashank Dixit 10/4/12 1:05 AM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread Richard Zen 10/2/12 10:16 PM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread Brian Eleven 10/2/12 8:33 PM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread John Ferguson 10/2/12 10:08 PM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread Steph . 10/3/12 9:17 PM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread Richard Zen 10/4/12 1:02 AM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread Tommy M 10/4/12 5:12 PM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread Tommy M 10/12/12 5:34 PM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread John P 10/12/12 6:37 PM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread Tommy M 10/12/12 6:49 PM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread Stian Gudmundsen Høiland 10/12/12 8:21 PM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread Tommy M 10/13/12 4:16 PM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread John Wilde 10/13/12 6:26 PM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread John Wilde 10/12/12 8:36 PM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread Change A. 10/12/12 9:42 PM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread John Wilde 10/12/12 11:21 PM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread Change A. 10/13/12 8:43 AM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread John Wilde 10/13/12 6:28 PM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread Change A. 10/13/12 6:54 PM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread John Wilde 10/13/12 7:25 PM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread Stian Gudmundsen Høiland 10/12/12 7:53 PM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread Tommy M 10/13/12 4:06 PM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread Stian Gudmundsen Høiland 10/13/12 5:34 PM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread Tommy M 10/20/12 5:43 PM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread End in Sight 10/20/12 5:55 PM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread Tommy M 10/21/12 9:30 AM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread End in Sight 10/21/12 10:19 AM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread Tommy M 10/21/12 10:51 AM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread John Ferguson 1/2/13 3:18 PM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread Svetlana Grishina 10/2/12 11:59 AM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread Tommy M 10/3/12 7:20 PM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread Jigme Sengye 10/3/12 9:20 AM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread Tommy M 10/3/12 7:22 PM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread Jigme Sengye 10/4/12 4:36 PM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread Tommy M 10/4/12 5:08 PM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread Dodge E Knees 10/5/12 10:39 AM
RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread Tommy M 10/5/12 4:15 PM
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Tommy M, modified 9 Years ago at 9/27/12 5:36 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 9/27/12 5:30 PM

Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
As usual, I refuse to just call this a practice thread and be done with it.

So, a shift in perceptual baseline last night has prompted me to start another practice thread and try to document whatever the hell seems to be going on nowadays. There was a massive shift in baseline around two months ago, roughly, which left no sense of location, affective emotions or self-referential thought in its wake. Since then however, and also in the month or so preceding that shift, there have been at least another three significant and noticeable perceptual shifts which have caused my entire experience to become more 'fused'; phenomenologically, the way the visual field was divided into a centralized area of focus and peripheral vision has dissolved and become effortlessly panoramic; sounds are just sounds, it's like they hear themselves and there's no distinction experientially between hearing what what's heard, and this is also the case for the other sense doors a'la Bahiya Sutta.

My everyday practice in recent months has moved more and more towards a Tibetan/Bön and Mahamudra-based approach, still basically freestyle non-dual concentration sort of stuff but with much more emphasis on emptiness and impermanence than before. My sits usually consist of 45 mins anapanasati but with attention to the bare sensations of the breath and seeing through the subtle fabrications still implying difference of any sort. "Subtle" seems to have become my word of the month, but it's the best way I can find to describe what's going on and to point out just how incredibly easy these little instances of clinging are to miss; accuracy in writing has also become much more important when trying to communicate now, much as I was a wordy bastard before it seems to have gotten even worse! emoticon

Anyway, to the practice...

Two sits today, both 45 mins in length but I worked with a Dzogchen technique called "Transforming the Five Skandhas Into the Five Tathagatha Buddhas", specifically the aggregate of form, in the first sit. It involves resting in the natural state (which I understand as being non-dual, non-conceptual awareness) and visualizing a white, egg-sized ball of brilliant white light, then recognizing the sphere and awareness as being inseperable, dependently arisen and luminous. After the shift last night, the ability to remain in that non-dual, non-conceptual awareness has become so natural as to be effortless, and so the only difficulty came when trying to visualize with any stability. I was able to call up a mental image but, and this is a pain in the arse to describe, it's not really an image as such, more like a stream of mental sensations that suggest something being "seen". It's weird to explain it but it seems more streamlined than just imagining something, more dynamic but functional nonetheless.

Tonight I sat open-eyed, which was a complete surprise to me 'cause it's not something I usually do and I have no idea why it happened. I just found myself sitting down, assuming an asana and then the sense of the body just vanished within a second or two of applying bare attentiveness; this is something new, I'd experienced this before but not as quickly and certainly not as thoroughly as it was tonight. It's difficult describe what practice actually consists of when doing anapanasati 'cause it's just a lot of recognition and letting go of subtle clinging to mental objects and processes. Not very exciting to read about, but I'll try to keep everything as phenomenological as possible.

I've been participating in various facebook groups connected to the direct-pointing folks from RT and LU which has been really cool, and a lot of fun. It's opened my eyes to how differently people convey their experience with this stuff and also how easy it is to muddy the water with words sometimes. I'm all about practice, techniques and available ways to 'wake up' but it's also become apparent how prevalent the whole "do nothing" approach is, particularly in those who's realizations have only occurred in the last year or so. It's not a big deal, but it reminds me of how we all must have reeked of enlightenment at one point, and how we still sometimes let one rip that tickles the nostrils of our fellow beings. emoticon

Real-life stuff continues to be testing as I go through a difficult split, sit on the verge of having my house repossessed, and have just been sacked from my job. I'm appealing that last part though so fingers remain crossed, but to anyone looking in from the outside, this current situation looks like a nightmare scenario....yet I'm quite calm and incredibly clear headed, it's not that it's not difficult sometimes, I'm not the Buddha or anything, but these practices and ongoing realizations have made everyday life more manageable in the most practical and sensible ways. I've also found someone who's presence in my life has led to all sorts of incredible things and who's involved in this adventure just as much as I am, something I never thought possible but that's led to a deeper understanding of how genuinely amazing it is to be alive right now.

I'll sign off with a thank you to the Buddha, the Dharma, and this wonderful virtual-sangha we've got here at the DhO.

Peace out.
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Nikolai , modified 9 Years ago at 9/27/12 6:01 PM
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RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread

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Tommy M:
As usual, I refuse to just call this a practice thread and be done with it.

So, a shift in perceptual baseline last night has prompted me to start another practice thread and try to document whatever the hell seems to be going on nowadays. There was a massive shift in baseline around two months ago, roughly, which left no sense of location, affective emotions or self-referential thought in its wake. Since then however, and also in the month or so preceding that shift, there have been at least another three significant and noticeable perceptual shifts which have caused my entire experience to become more 'fused'; phenomenologically, the way the visual field was divided into a centralized area of focus and peripheral vision has dissolved and become effortlessly panoramic; sounds are just sounds, it's like they hear themselves and there's no distinction experientially between hearing what what's heard, and this is also the case for the other sense doors a'la Bahiya Sutta.


I relate.

My everyday practice in recent months has moved more and more towards a Tibetan/Bön and Mahamudra-based approach, still basically freestyle non-dual concentration sort of stuff but with much more emphasis on emptiness and impermanence than before. My sits usually consist of 45 mins anapanasati but with attention to the bare sensations of the breath and seeing through the subtle fabrications still implying difference of any sort. "Subtle" seems to have become my word of the month, but it's the best way I can find to describe what's going on and to point out just how incredibly easy these little instances of clinging are to miss; accuracy in writing has also become much more important when trying to communicate now, much as I was a wordy bastard before it seems to have gotten even worse! emoticon


'Subtle' is a concept that got even more subtler as a term to overlay experience. I had to re-adjust my previous use of the term.

Anyway, to the practice...

Two sits today, both 45 mins in length but I worked with a Dzogchen technique called "Transforming the Five Skandhas Into the Five Tathagatha Buddhas", specifically the aggregate of form, in the first sit. It involves resting in the natural state (which I understand as being non-dual, non-conceptual awareness) and visualizing a white, egg-sized ball of brilliant white light, then recognizing the sphere and awareness as being inseperable, dependently arisen and luminous. After the shift last night, the ability to remain in that non-dual, non-conceptual awareness has become so natural as to be effortless, and so the only difficulty came when trying to visualize with any stability. I was able to call up a mental image but, and this is a pain in the arse to describe, it's not really an image as such, more like a stream of mental sensations that suggest something being "seen". It's weird to explain it but it seems more streamlined than just imagining something, more dynamic but functional nonetheless.


I relate to this explanation. I find it too hard to describe accurately but you do a good job. It is sort of not right to call it a mental image, as it doesn't register as an image but sensations are arising to somehow give off that sense of something 'seen'. For example when trying to visualise the white ball, there is no 'white ball' image in the mind but some weird sense that it is understood and seen anyways. Damn hard to describe.
Change A, modified 9 Years ago at 9/27/12 10:15 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 9/27/12 10:15 PM

RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread

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Nikolai .:
For example when trying to visualise the white ball, there is no 'white ball' image in the mind but some weird sense that it is understood and seen anyways. Damn hard to describe.


Yes and the understanding and seeing happens so fast as to there being no 'white ball' image that comes up in visualization which earlier would have in a similar way as to be daydreaming and producing a 'veil' between the experience and the senses.
John Ferguson, modified 9 Years ago at 9/27/12 10:41 PM
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RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread

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Tommy M:
My sits usually consist of 45 mins anapanasati but with attention to the bare sensations of the breath and seeing through the subtle fabrications still implying difference of any sort.


Hey Tommy, about a year ago you were experimenting with a type of anapanasati as advocated by Bhante Vimalaramsi of Dhamma Sukkha. I have just started trying out this practice and am curious to know your experience and overall impression of that form of meditation. Thanks.
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Bagpuss The Gnome, modified 9 Years ago at 9/28/12 2:29 AM
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RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread

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Hey Tommy, I hope you don't mind if I bring this back a few steps and ask some very basic questions about your anapanasati practice...

* Do you use the breath to reach a certain point then drop it in favour of jhana factors / the non-dual stuff you've been talking about?
* Or are you always conscious of each breath in part or entirety at the spot while the foreground is your exploration of these subtle things you mention?

I find I can do both, but have not yet worked out which is more beneficial to progress so would really appreciate more detail on this..

Many thanks,
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Tommy M, modified 9 Years ago at 10/2/12 7:48 AM
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RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread

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Hiya John,

My practice has probably gone back to being quite similar to the anapanasati stuff that Bhante V talks about, I ended up going off on a bit of a tangent not long after starting that style of practice but I would definitely recommend it. It's been a while since I worked with it but I think my current practice is probably more in line with what he talks about now so hopefully these notes will give a bit more practical info.
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Tommy M, modified 9 Years ago at 10/2/12 7:58 AM
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RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread

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Word up, BTG. emoticon

* Do you use the breath to reach a certain point then drop it in favour of jhana factors / the non-dual stuff you've been talking about?

I was looking at this last night actually, there are still the appearance of the jhana factors but they, even the mental qualities of 2nd onwards, seem to be more embodied and physical, if that makes any sense. I tend to stabilize on the breath within a matter of seconds, but from there I still keep the breath as an anchor while basically just opening awareness more and more to take in the entire sense field at one time. It's quite subtle and hard to explain, but it's like you become 100% mindful of everything happening without there being any segregation or division of objects, e.g. the sensations of the breath and the whole body, until I hit the formless realms, are experienced as being one and the same along with sounds, subtle mental movements and anything else I notice while sitting.

* Or are you always conscious of each breath in part or entirety at the spot while the foreground is your exploration of these subtle things you mention?

There's no longer any sense of a foreground/background split, those subtle things are noticed cause they seem like little 'kinks' in the sense field. It's not like they're seperate from anything else, I tend to think of them as feeling something like a record jumping on an old turntable; they're minute glitches of tension but they're noticeable enough to make you go "Gotcha ya little fucker"! emoticon

I'd suggest just trying to experience as much of the breath as possible, but also look at what implies physical sensations of rising and falling 'cause, in my experience so far, that distinction breaks down leaving just a sense of movement rather than of breathing. Again, it's kinda hard to describe accurately but it's as if the 'edges' of the breath cycles dissolve into the whole sense field and it's like each sensation of the breath is exactly the same as any and all other sensations happening at the same time.
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Tommy M, modified 9 Years ago at 10/2/12 8:57 AM
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RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread

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Last night, I realized that I no longer experience "thinking" or any sort of narrative, even subtly, operating. This seems so natural and normal that I hadn't even noticed it happening, there's a complete mental stillness and peace but I'm still able to reflect, consider or contemplate things without any difficulty. I keep on saying how some of these changes are hard to describe, but this one is even worse 'cause it's such a complete change in experiencing and the total lack of an inside/outside in experience is beyond words. Suffice to say, it's absolutely incredible.

I've hinted before on here about having met someone and being in a relationship with them for the last few months, but we'd deliberately kept silent about it for various reasons. However, we spoke last night and both decided that, since it actually does relate to this site, practice and the fact that we met through here, it'd be fun to 'go public' on here and use this as an opportunity to thank Daniel in particular for having made this possible: Steph S and I have been together now for a few months, and it's down to this site that we found each other in the first place. I know this might seem like a strange thing to bring up in a practice thread, but we both agreed that it'd worth making it known 'cause it's also allowed us both to get really deeply into examining love, connection to another person, and all manner of emotional investigations with some surprising results. I genuinely consider our relationship to have been what pushed me over the edge two months ago into this PCE mode 24/7 due to the levels of felicity and wonder involved, which may sound a bit cheesy but, to be honest, I couldn't care less. emoticon It's been an incredibly journey so far and I can say wholeheartedly that being devoid of affective emotion does not interfere with my ability to be in a close and caring relationship with another person. If anything, it's much, much, much better as there's no trace of clinging or neediness involved on either side!
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Bagpuss The Gnome, modified 9 Years ago at 10/2/12 9:50 AM
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RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread

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Tommy:
I was looking at this last night actually, there are still the appearance of the jhana factors but they, even the mental qualities of 2nd onwards, seem to be more embodied and physical, if that makes any sense. I tend to stabilize on the breath within a matter of seconds, but from there I still keep the breath as an anchor while basically just opening awareness more and more to take in the entire sense field at one time. It's quite subtle and hard to explain, but it's like you become 100% mindful of everything happening without there being any segregation or division of objects, e.g. the sensations of the breath and the whole body, until I hit the formless realms, are experienced as being one and the same along with sounds, subtle mental movements and anything else I notice while sitting.


Good grief! Apart from the formless stuff, that's pretty much my practice! I rarely get the ultra-extreme highs of pleasure anymore, I just seem to drop through layer afer layer of swirly-body-mind-energy, the physical body often takes work to define against the changing mass of sensations/energy ripples going on in the region of the physical body. I do not tend to include hearing much, and I have my eyes closed, but the sensations are just a big energetic soupy ephemeral manifestation of impermanence if that makes sense..

The key to this for me has been letting go. Not clinging to anything. The more I let go, the deeper I drop and the more layers are revealed.

Tommy:

I'd suggest just trying to experience as much of the breath as possible, but also look at what implies physical sensations of rising and falling becaause, in my experience so far, that distinction breaks down leaving just a sense of movement rather than of breathing. Again, it's kinda hard to describe accurately but it's as if the 'edges' of the breath cycles dissolve into the whole sense field and it's like each sensation of the breath is exactly the same as any and all other sensations happening at the same time.


I know exactly what you mean. I am not currently experiencing this but I have done when concentrating on the "whole breath" in the past. It starts with a sort of recognition of the rhythm of breath, the flow of breath then merges so fluidly it all starts blurring into one big rolling sensation. Sounds about right?
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Shashank Dixit, modified 9 Years ago at 10/2/12 9:54 AM
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RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread

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Tommy M:
If anything, it's much, much, much better as there's no trace of clinging or neediness involved on either side!


Inspiring post Tommy ! I'm wondering though how would you recommend handling neediness from the other side because I'm surely going to be subjected to that soon enough ? I know at the background I have the intent to be free of malice but sometimes one just wants to do a sensible/reasonable thing while the other may not and this creates crap especially when the
other has no interest in meditation/pce etc
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Svetlana Grishina, modified 9 Years ago at 10/2/12 11:59 AM
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Tommy M:

I've been participating in various facebook groups connected to the direct-pointing folks from RT and LU which has been really cool, and a lot of fun. It's opened my eyes to how differently people convey their experience with this stuff and also how easy it is to muddy the water with words sometimes. .


Do they meet and talk about this stuff? If so, could you give details? I think I'd find it very helpful to occasionally be surrounded by people that are immersed in buddhist discourse. Because the subject isn't quite "habitual" for me yet - and I'd very much like that to happen. =))
Jigme Sengye, modified 9 Years ago at 10/3/12 9:20 AM
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RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread

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Tommy M:

Real-life stuff continues to be testing as I go through a difficult split, sit on the verge of having my house repossessed, and have just been sacked from my job.


You're doing Tibetan practices. Have you tried doing lots and lots of mandala offerings?
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Richard Zen, modified 9 Years ago at 10/2/12 10:16 PM
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RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread

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Congrats! Much happiness to you two. emoticon

Tolle Love and Relationships
emoticon He seems to say the same thing you say about clinging in relationships.
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Brian Eleven, modified 9 Years ago at 10/2/12 8:33 PM
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Tommy,
Glad to hear that your practice and the rest of life, is going so well!!

Metta, and all the best!

Brian.
John Ferguson, modified 9 Years ago at 10/2/12 10:08 PM
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Hey, that's awesome Tommy. Congrats!
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Tommy M, modified 9 Years ago at 10/3/12 6:15 PM
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Good grief! Apart from the formless stuff, that's pretty much my practice! I rarely get the ultra-extreme highs of pleasure anymore, I just seem to drop through layer afer layer of swirly-body-mind-energy, the physical body often takes work to define against the changing mass of sensations/energy ripples going on in the region of the physical body. I do not tend to include hearing much, and I have my eyes closed, but the sensations are just a big energetic soupy ephemeral manifestation of impermanence if that makes sense..

Sounds spot on, mate. It's worth investigating how, as well as being impermanent, all of those sensations in that soup are the same as the bowl they're served in; look at what it is that leads to the mind differentiating between 'soup' and 'bowl'. I remember Nikolai talking about a practice thing he came up with based on something like this, but I don't know if he ever done anything with it; maybe he'd be able to add something if the metaphor is useful to you?

The key to this for me has been letting go. Not clinging to anything. The more I let go, the deeper I drop and the more layers are revealed.

Excellent, that's ideal. Remember that there's nothing to 'aim' for, unless of course thinking about it in that way helps your orientate your practice, so enjoy it and keep doing what you're doing. Quality work, big man!

I know exactly what you mean. I am not currently experiencing this but I have done when concentrating on the "whole breath" in the past. It starts with a sort of recognition of the rhythm of breath, the flow of breath then merges so fluidly it all starts blurring into one big rolling sensation. Sounds about right?

Again, quality stuff. Stay with that whole process of movement, see how all those smaller sensations are just chunky bits in the soup and no different from it; let the pleasant sensations appear but without clinging to them, although I don't think you're likely to do so anyway by the sounds of things, and just keep that wide mental focus, with it's inherently calm equanimity, towards whatever comes up. Have you ever had any sort of experience where you actually become the breath?
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Tommy M, modified 9 Years ago at 10/3/12 7:12 PM
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Inspiring post Tommy ! I'm wondering though how would you recommend handling neediness from the other side because I'm surely going to be subjected to that soon enough ? I know at the background I have the intent to be free of malice but sometimes one just wants to do a sensible/reasonable thing while the other may not and this creates crap especially when the
other has no interest in meditation/pce etc

Aye, it's something everyone's got to contend with at some point but it's also soaked with potential for breaking down the social identity, as well as the emotional imprints which fuel the fundamental belief supporting the arising of a "me" in any way. It's also something I've had to contend with a lot in the past so I can speak from experience here... emoticon

In my own investigations of this, neediness seems to be down to a lack of confidence, a lack of self-belief, which may seem like an odd phrase given the context of this post, and stuff related to childhood, trust and issues of abandonment; I was, and am, very much loved and cared for by my parents, they're lovely people and raised me pretty well but, through chance, fate, genetics, psychology, karmic tendencies or however you want to describe it, experiences happen which lead to the formation of certain deep-rooted emotional/psychological/neurological (I'm just throwing it out there but I can't say with any certainty what the specific physical nature of these mental formations are) imprints which then repeat themselves when similar situations arise.
I found out how "I" experienced things in that way, when "I" was needy because, at it's root, the thought of being alone scared me and made me want a female companion, basically trying to 'get back to mum' in a psychological sense; a thought which originated in some trivial moment of being lost in a supermarket as a kid or something, but which fuelled so much crap in my life that it's ridiculous!

As for dealing with it in someone else, sorting it out in yourself makes it much easier to do 'cause you become more understanding and less willing to react. However, that's an ideal scenario and I know the reality of it isn't quite as straightforward.

I'd suggest looking at how you react to their behaviour, what their actions seem to trigger in/as "you". Be attentive to whatever physical and/or mental sensations appear, it makes it easier not to just react negatively and, if you genuinely want to be with that person, perhaps even help them understand how their actions appear to you and how you're willing to be as understanding as possible. Obviously don't be a doormat or an emotional tampon, that'd be pointless and probably quite unattractive, but a relationship happens between (usually) two people and requires a mutual willingness to communicate openly; This sounds like total self-help bullshit, I know and I'm deeply disgusted with myself... emoticon But I've gone through a messy separation and all the various unpleasantness involved in that, so I speak from experience on how not to have a relationship with someone and hope that some real-life examples will be more useful than any mystical shmystical stuff.

Something else to look at it is how the basis of an argument is always about some either/or thing, one person thinks one thing and the other disagrees. Anything above and beyond that basic push/pull mental process is pure belief, the very fuel that allows "you" to continue to propagate yourself via identification with those thoughts, those beliefs and mental fabrications. Check that shit out.
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Tommy M, modified 9 Years ago at 10/3/12 7:20 PM
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Do they meet and talk about this stuff? If so, could you give details? I think I'd find it very helpful to occasionally be surrounded by people that are immersed in buddhist discourse. Because the subject isn't quite "habitual" for me yet - and I'd very much like that to happen. =))

I don't know if a lot of people meet up, but if you check out: Liberation Unleashed they have a fantastic community and a very active project involving artwork, video, music and a phone app, well worth getting in touch with them. They've got a freestyle pointing sort of approach, not tradition specific but seems to be very useful and effective in helping people recognize "not-self"; they're a good bunch and very passionate about helping others so I recommend them highly.
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Tommy M, modified 9 Years ago at 10/3/12 7:22 PM
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Have you tried doing lots and lots of mandala offerings?

No, it's not something I've ever tried. Would you mind recommending any sites or offering some advice, I'd be really interested in finding out more about that. Cheers!
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Steph , modified 9 Years ago at 10/3/12 9:17 PM
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Awww xoxo
Totally agreed that it's absolutely spectacular, adventurous, and the happiness keeps opening up more and more dazzling perfection. emoticon


Thanks so much for the well wishes, friends. And that video is right on, Richard. Thanks for posting it. He makes excellent points about just being totally with a person and accepting them as they are, without wanting to change them. Also something he said about reflecting things back to eachother... we've often mentioned about acting as a mirror or prism, dancing this shimmering light back and forth (or not even back and forth, so it seems, just magnifying it or something like that).
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Richard Zen, modified 9 Years ago at 10/4/12 1:02 AM
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RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread

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Yes Tolle has a way of being brutal and a matter-of-fact with his accent that it could be comical if it wasn't so true. Too many of my friend's relationships have disintegrated over the usual manipulation and standard disappointments. It's nice to know that it doesn't have to be that way.
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Shashank Dixit, modified 9 Years ago at 10/4/12 1:05 AM
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RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread

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Thanks again for the wonderful advice Tommy ! I'm definetly gonna use these..the biggest problem that occurs is where to draw
the line between becoming an emotional tampoon(lol funny word btw) and becoming a rigid-stubborn-careless-inconsiderate fellow..the middle path seems key but sometimes its not clear what is the middle path hehe
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Bagpuss The Gnome, modified 9 Years ago at 10/4/12 6:51 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 10/4/12 6:51 AM

RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread

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Hey Tommy, YOUR practice thread has been really helpful for my practice. Thanks emoticon

It's reassuring to hear I'm not going down a dead end, seeing as I'm a way away from the official instructions of the U Ba Khin style of vipassana I allegedly practice heh!

Have you ever had any sort of experience where you actually become the breath?


Only when doing anapana strictly at "the spot" and only a couple of times on retreat. The experience is totally alien to anything I could point to in everyday life or even my current swirly practice. There is simply no "gap" between obeserver and observed, and you can feel the breath in every particle of your being. I want to describe it as orangey-yellow for some reason...
Jigme Sengye, modified 9 Years ago at 10/4/12 4:36 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 10/4/12 4:26 PM

RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread

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Tommy M:
Have you tried doing lots and lots of mandala offerings?

No, it's not something I've ever tried. Would you mind recommending any sites or offering some advice, I'd be really interested in finding out more about that. Cheers!


It's a bit tricky and detailed. It's best to have someone show you how to do it rather than learning it from a video. I learned it from a lama as part of a course on the ngondro preliminaries for a dzogchen system. All of the Tibetan traditions have their version of it.

Basically, you do some preliminary prayer chants from a text, which can be short or long, depending on the system. For example, the chanting in the Dudjom Tersar ngondro text is very short. It just takes a few minutes of chanting, besides for the accumulation parts. As part of this text there will be a mandala section. Here's an example. You first say a few long Vajrasattva mantras while symbolically cleaning your mandala plate in a certain way. You then make rice piles in specific patterns on the mandala plate, according to a certain diagram while chanting the corresponding long mandala offering (the chant is about 2 pages long) which corresponds to a visualization of a palace complete with the assembly of figures you're offering the mandala to. The rice piles are stand-ins for visualized jewels. Once you've built the palace with the sections of the mandala plate and the rice piles, you start doing short mandala offerings, which involve a simpler visualization and fewer rices piles. It's the short mandala that you actually accumulate. Once you're used to it, each short mandala offering takes about 10 seconds. Here's an example of a short mandala chant. There's also a simpler way of doing it with a mudra, but the more formalized ritual with the plates and the rice piles is considered to be better.

The short mandala offering involves symbolically offering a pure land over and over to the visualized assembly of the sangha for the benefit of sentient beings. The practice is to accumulate sufficient merit to successfully complete a dzogchen practice or some other vajrayana practice. In general, the "merit" isn't purely specific to powering your practice. You may want to ask a vajrayanist who has actually finished this practice what effect it had on their lives, rather than just their meditation. I find it hard to say "I did this practice and made more money!", since on one hand, I didn't get anywhere near finishing ngondro, but on the other hand, possibly entirely coincidentally, my life and employment situation did get significantly better around the time after I did my initial large bit of ngondro practice. People I know who completed their mandala offerings (the traditional hundred thousand) are a lot less equivocal about it.

Since there are lamas of various traditions dropping by nearly any US city on a regular basis, I'm sure there's someone in your area who can teach you this practice properly. In terms of the theory, you can read that in the chapter on mandala offering in Words of My Perfect Teacher by Patrul Rinpoche or in any other book on Tibetan preliminary practices. One reason why this practice might be more effective for you than most people is that you have emptiness already. You'd be able to offer the inner mandala, which is emptiness.

I hope that helps!
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Tommy M, modified 9 Years ago at 10/4/12 5:08 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 10/4/12 5:08 PM

RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread

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Jigme Sengye:
Tommy M:
Have you tried doing lots and lots of mandala offerings?

No, it's not something I've ever tried. Would you mind recommending any sites or offering some advice, I'd be really interested in finding out more about that. Cheers!


It's a bit tricky and detailed. It's best to have someone show you how to do it rather than learning it from a video. I learned it from a lama as part of a course on the ngondro preliminaries for a dzogchen system. All of the Tibetan traditions have their version of it.

Basically, you do some preliminary prayer chants from a text, which can be short or long, depending on the system. For example, the chanting in the Dudjom Tersar ngondro text is very short. It just takes a few minutes of chanting, besides for the accumulation parts. As part of this text there will be a mandala section. Here's an example. You first say a few long Vajrasattva mantras while symbolically cleaning your mandala plate in a certain way. You then make rice piles in specific patterns on the mandala plate, according to a certain diagram while chanting the corresponding long mandala offering (the chant is about 2 pages long) which corresponds to a visualization of a palace complete with the assembly of figures you're offering the mandala to. The rice piles are stand-ins for visualized jewels. Once you've built the palace with the sections of the mandala plate and the rice piles, you start doing short mandala offerings, which involve a simpler visualization and fewer rices piles. It's the short mandala that you actually accumulate. Once you're used to it, each short mandala offering takes about 10 seconds. Here's an example of a short mandala chant. There's also a simpler way of doing it with a mudra, but the more formalized ritual with the plates and the rice piles is considered to be better.

The short mandala offering involves symbolically offering a pure land over and over to the visualized assembly of the sangha for the benefit of sentient beings. The practice is to accumulate sufficient merit to successfully complete a dzogchen practice or some other vajrayana practice. In general, the "merit" isn't purely specific to powering your practice. You may want to ask a vajrayanist who has actually finished this practice what effect it had on their lives, rather than just their meditation. I find it hard to say "I did this practice and made more money!", since on one hand, I didn't get anywhere near finishing ngondro, but on the other hand, possibly entirely coincidentally, my life and employment situation did get significantly better around the time after I did my initial large bit of ngondro practice. People I know who completed their mandala offerings (the traditional hundred thousand) are a lot less equivocal about it.

Since there are lamas of various traditions dropping by nearly any US city on a regular basis, I'm sure there's someone in your area who can teach you this practice properly. In terms of the theory, you can read that in the chapter on mandala offering in Words of My Perfect Teacher by Patrul Rinpoche or in any other book on Tibetan preliminary practices. One reason why this practice might be more effective for you than most people is that you have emptiness already. You'd be able to offer the inner mandala, which is emptiness.

I hope that helps!

Thank you! That's excellent, I'll need to take it away and study up on it some more but I really appreciate you taking the time to post it. I'm in Scotland so I'll need to look up the Tibetan sort of groups around here, but I'm sure I'd be able to find something. I'll check out that book too, I'm currently reading "Heartdrops of the Dharmakaya" and Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche's book on dream yoga but haven't come across much about mandalas or chanting so I'll go have a look into that just now.
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Tommy M, modified 9 Years ago at 10/4/12 5:12 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 10/4/12 5:12 PM

RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread

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I just want to echo Steph here and say thanks for the kind comments, it's another example of just how genuinely supportive and caring this community is.

Cheers folks!
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Dodge E Knees, modified 9 Years ago at 10/5/12 10:39 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 10/5/12 10:35 AM

RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread

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Tommy M:
[I'm in Scotland so I'll need to look up the Tibetan sort of groups around here.


Hiya Tommy, have you ever heard of this place?

http://www.samyeling.org/

Mind you, Scotland is a big country, it could be miles away from you.

All the best.
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Tommy M, modified 9 Years ago at 10/5/12 4:15 PM
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RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread

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Cheers mate, I'd heard of that a while ago but had totally forgotten about it. Thanks for the linkage!
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Tommy M, modified 9 Years ago at 10/12/12 5:34 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 10/12/12 5:34 PM

RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread

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I've been investigating perception and looking at how the process of recognition occurs, it's such a fine series of mental movements and subtle tensions which happen so quickly that it's easy to overlook. The stripping back of experience to the point of sense contact seems to be essential to emptying the aggregates, without the 'bounce' of attention it's possible to go really deep into the perceptual process and break down those fundamental assumptions about the nature of experience which remain unquestioned. Again, I'm going to use the word "subtle" a lot to describe this stuff but, as Nikolai pointed out to me, even the definition of what's subtle continues to change which itself is an interesting point; fabrications are impermanent in the same way as anything else is, but watching how your own mental models - which are built from those same fabrications and supported by them in this weird self-perpetuating loop - change, and especially the way in which your use and understanding of language changes as you progress, for me at least, revealed something incredible about the emptiness of language itself.

Tonight though, I came to some interesting 'conclusions' about the nature of perception; the dropping away of discursive thought has led to more clarity with regards to fabrication and consciousness itself. I realized how, obvious as it seems when written down, the process of recognition and the way that information is parsed is entirely mental. "Bodily sensations" are just sensations, the "bodily" part is still overlay, it's still a fabrication which implies a false dichotomy between those sensations and any other sensations. Those sensations themselves don't imply an independently existing object called "a body", and in themselves contain no information which implies either internal or external, it's pure imputation and is supported by no more than an assumption. I could say more about the details of this but I'm struggling to phrase it clearly enough to avoid any confusion, it's really easy to mix this up with less subtle aspects of experience so I'm trying to be as accurate as possible here in the hope that it'll be of use. I'll add more as I go...

A few interesting perceptual things have become clearer or changed dramatically lately, most noticeably the way I can basically see the entire visual field at one time and the way in which the sky looks permanently massive and panoramic. I don't know how else to describe it but it's like trees, building, things in, what I could call, the 'upper-part' of the visual field are seen effortlessly and look so high, vast and almost cartoon-like in their liveliness and luminosity. It's incredible, I've stopped in the middle of a busy street, totally taken aback by how amazing the world looks and standing there in total wonderment as people walk by, unaware of this mundane perfection.

I've been unable to generate any sort of affective emotion whatsoever. I tried last night when a typical trigger for, at the very least, frustration came up while talking to my ex, but all I could discern was something like a mental 'puff of smoke'. It's kinda like the mental label for what that emotion used to be begins to form but, finding no physical basis due to being clearly seeing it as just another empty sensation, it to collapse entirely. I had an appeal meeting for work today after having been sacked the other week, I got my job back, which was totally unexpected, but even after seven weeks of having next to no money I didn't experience any elation or happiness in the way you'd think given the situation. That may sound flat or dull, but the ever-present spacious, luminous amazingness of experience makes emotion seem dirty or tainted; This is well worth whatever it takes to get 'here' and any fears of how no affective overlay might be a bad thing seem utterly ridiculous.

And the practice continues...
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John P, modified 9 Years ago at 10/12/12 6:37 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 10/12/12 6:37 PM

RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread

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Tommy M:
A few interesting perceptual things have become clearer or changed dramatically lately, most noticeably the way I can basically see the entire visual field at one time and the way in which the sky looks permanently massive and panoramic. I don't know how else to describe it but it's like trees, building, things in, what I could call, the 'upper-part' of the visual field are seen effortlessly and look so high, vast and almost cartoon-like in their liveliness and luminosity. It's incredible, I've stopped in the middle of a busy street, totally taken aback by how amazing the world looks and standing there in total wonderment as people walk by, unaware of this mundane perfection.

So you have no "point of focus" whatsoever?
Personally I have a good peripheral vision, and can move my "point of focus" without moving the eye, BUT anything that's not the center of the vision isn't as clear.
Is your vision completely evenly clear?
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Tommy M, modified 9 Years ago at 10/12/12 6:49 PM
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RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread

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There's still a point of focus, it's hard to explain this without creating an inaccurate idea of what it's like...There's no experiential distinction between peripheral and central vision, I don't need to try to see what's happening in the periphery 'cause it's always visible but there's less visual detail perceived due to the attentional focus being on whatever I'm doing. Written down it just sounds like a more detailed description of normal seeing, which is what it's like experientially but it'd be inaccurate to say that vision is "completely evenly clear".
Stian Gudmundsen Høiland, modified 9 Years ago at 10/12/12 7:53 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 10/12/12 7:47 PM

RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread

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I did read this whole thread once with the intention of adding to it, but I was distracted. Now, given the bump of it, I have at least read the last post and here are some thoughts about it.

Tommy M:
The stripping back of experience to the point of sense contact seems to be essential to emptying the aggregates, without the 'bounce' of attention it's possible to go really deep into the perceptual process and break down those fundamental assumptions about the nature of experience which remain unquestioned.

Can you tell me more about this bounce and specifically how and why it is no longer present?

Tommy M:
(…) fabrications are impermanent in the same way as anything else is, but watching how your own mental models - which are built from those same fabrications and supported by them in this weird self-perpetuating loop - change, and (…)

I know you're interested in communication and learning to present your thoughts as best as possible so I thought to chime in and say that this particular passage "smells of Tommy's mind" to me, if you know what I mean. I hope you get that the right way, I don't intend any harm in saying that, in fact, this is how I talk about my own communication with others. I admit that it could be a lack of clear understanding (as opposed to lack of clear expression).

Tommy M:
(…) especially the way in which your use and understanding of language changes as you progress, for me at least, revealed something incredible about the emptiness of language itself.

Dude, tell me 'bout it. It's freakin' amazing. Language is transparent, fractal and kaleidoscopic. It makes me wonder if there are other, more 'natural' ways of communicating that we as a race might not have discovered yet.


Given that I consider your progress more advanced and because you wrote...
Tommy M:
I could say more about the details of this but I'm struggling to phrase it clearly enough to avoid any confusion, it's really easy to mix this up with less subtle aspects of experience

… but I recognize what you're writing about here…
Tommy M:
(…) the process of recognition and the way that information is parsed is entirely mental. "Bodily sensations" are just sensations, the "bodily" part is still overlay, it's still a fabrication which implies a false dichotomy between those sensations and any other sensations. Those sensations themselves don't imply an independently existing object called "a body", and in themselves contain no information which implies either internal or external, it's pure imputation and is supported by no more than an assumption.

… then I'd like to ask about this emoticon

Is what you're describing here the same as this:

Stian Gudmundsen Høiland:
I became aware of some sensations of progressively relaxing muscles in my arms. Suddenly I realize that those sensations (in a lack of better words) 'taste' or 'looks' or 'smells' or 'feels' exactly like vision when I'm in a PCE. There's a quality, a quality of selflessness, that was suddenly realized. The sensations of the muscles in my arms 'feels' the same way the sight of a spotted banana peel feels - not mine.

The point being that an overlay or addition to the sensations of the muscles fell away and the sensations became 'one with the soup'. The sensations which I would normally call "my arm" were suddenly floating in characterless space - not beholden to anyone or belonging to anything (like, say, an arm or a body).

Another thought strikes me: I remember we were dabbling in something like this before, on Skype: I was questioning what was being called the smallest modalities of experience, like heat and pressure, and suggesting that even these modalities can be broken up into parts. This was considered not possible and the likes of hardness and volume were stated to be the atomic (indivisible) units of 'all this', and I wonder if you're still of the same conviction.

Tommy M:
(...) the 'upper-part' of the visual field are seen effortlessly and look so high, vast and almost cartoon-like in their liveliness and luminosity.

Care to elaborate on what upper-part means?

Tommy M:
It's incredible, I've stopped in the middle of a busy street, totally taken aback by how amazing the world looks and standing there in total wonderment as people walk by, unaware of this mundane perfection.

This is something that I experience, too. I find myself being completely fulfilled by the most normal of perceptions, like blue, distance, reflections on cars, even the sensations suggesting closed/narrow spaces! In an attempt to understand this, can you tell me more about your experience of this? How it comes about, how it stays and how it fades?

Contrary to you, I'm quite sure I'm experiencing affection. It's mixed in there. I'm usually well aware of it, but it's nice and seems almost taint-free, even though it's not.

Which bring me to the part of your post that actually prompted me to reply:

Tommy M:
(…) the ever-present spacious, luminous amazingness of experience makes emotion seem dirty or tainted; This is well worth whatever it takes to get 'here' and any fears of how no affective overlay might be a bad thing seem utterly ridiculous.

Right now, this is so spot on for me. Screw noble truths, marks of existence and instinctual passions - this get's right to the heart of it for me.

(No, really, those are all nice ideals/concepts/scaffolding/Truths.)

(Hoho.)

EDIT:

To elaborate on that last reply-to-quote: the juxtaposition of clear, pure, clean "amazingness" with dirty and tainted "emotion"; that just says it all for me.
Stian Gudmundsen Høiland, modified 9 Years ago at 10/12/12 8:21 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 10/12/12 8:15 PM

RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread

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Maybe I have something which might help understanding on this vision-focus-thing:

In several descriptions of clear, open sensory experiences, such as PCE's, the sense of "360 vision" is often mentioned.

Because of a conditioned/fabricated 'weight' given to central vision (thumbnail-sized, center-positioned portion of our vision) it actually feels like we're looking through an empty toilet paper roll or standing at the entrance of a tunnel looking ahead. There's a sense that there is something 'outside of vision', but we're so used to it that we don't notice it. If you close one eye, roll your fist into a hollow cylinder and place it over the open eye, you'll get what I mean - there's a palpable sense that there's something on-the-other-side-of-the-hand.

When this conditioned/fabricated 'weight' given to central vision goes away, it's like vision "folds out" and the field of vision feels complete - there's nothing 'outside of it'. You could of course turn your neck and you'll see see something else, but vision is still 'fully extended' with no suggestion whatsoever that one could somehow see any more at one time.


Tommy M:
There's no experiential distinction between peripheral and central vision

[Peripheral vision has] less visual detail perceived (...)

Clearly there's an experiential distinction between peripheral and central vision: visual acuity/resolution/detail.
John Wilde, modified 9 Years ago at 10/12/12 8:36 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 10/12/12 8:31 PM

RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread

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Tommy M:
There's still a point of focus, it's hard to explain this without creating an inaccurate idea of what it's like...There's no experiential distinction between peripheral and central vision, I don't need to try to see what's happening in the periphery 'cause it's always visible but there's less visual detail perceived due to the attentional focus being on whatever I'm doing. Written down it just sounds like a more detailed description of normal seeing, which is what it's like experientially but it'd be inaccurate to say that vision is "completely evenly clear".


I'm pretty sure I recognise this. The evenness and clarity isn't purely visual, it's something else... but it affects the experience of vision.

I think vision seems "completely evenly clear" when it's no longer being filtered and funneled to someone located 'behind' the eyeball (or anywhere else for that matter). It's remarkable how clear, open, pure, interesting, present and still everything is when there's no agitation resulting from seeming to be an experiencer inside (or having any other relation to) the body.

Every way of describing it is fraught with philosophical problems, but trying to avoid them makes the whole thing incommunicable. To put it very naïvely: it's amazing how clear and still everything is when there's nothing and no-one obscuring it.
Change A, modified 9 Years ago at 10/12/12 9:42 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 10/12/12 9:42 PM

RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread

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John Wilde:
To put it very naïvely: it's amazing how clear and still everything is when there's nothing and no-one obscuring it.


I would say that it is amazing how clear and still everything is when there is no grasping.
John Wilde, modified 9 Years ago at 10/12/12 11:21 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 10/12/12 11:11 PM

RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread

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Change A.:
John Wilde:
To put it very naïvely: it's amazing how clear and still everything is when there's nothing and no-one obscuring it.


I would say that it is amazing how clear and still everything is when there is no grasping.


Yeah, if we conceive of what's absent in terms of actions rather than entities, then 'grasping/aversion' or 'lunging' or 'bouncing' works. Thinking of it that way is more specific, but also more limited, than 'being'....
Change A, modified 9 Years ago at 10/13/12 8:43 AM
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RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread

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Can you expand on that? Did you mean the difference when there is a 'being' and when there is 'no being'?
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Tommy M, modified 9 Years ago at 10/13/12 4:06 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 10/13/12 4:06 PM

RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread

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Stian:
Can you tell me more about this bounce and specifically how and why it is no longer present?

That 'bounce' is no longer present, I suspect, due to there being no internal/external split in experience any more. I don't quite know how to say any more about it or it's actual function, but it was partly responsible for the experiencing of vibrations due to the way attention would ricochet between physical sensation and mental representation or conceptualization.

I know you're interested in communication and learning to present your thoughts as best as possible so I thought to chime in and say that this particular passage "smells of Tommy's mind" to me, if you know what I mean. I hope you get that the right way, I don't intend any harm in saying that, in fact, this is how I talk about my own communication with others. I admit that it could be a lack of clear understanding (as opposed to lack of clear expression).

I get where you're coming from, I was keeping things in my own terms 'cause it's a practice thread but I could have been clearer in my use of words like "models" and "fabrications". If it'd be of any use, I can try to rephrase that section?

Is what you're describing here the same as this:

Stian Gudmundsen Høiland:

I became aware of some sensations of progressively relaxing muscles in my arms. Suddenly I realize that those sensations (in a lack of better words) 'taste' or 'looks' or 'smells' or 'feels' exactly like vision when I'm in a PCE. There's a quality, a quality of selflessness, that was suddenly realized. The sensations of the muscles in my arms 'feels' the same way the sight of a spotted banana peel feels - not mine.


The point being that an overlay or addition to the sensations of the muscles fell away and the sensations became 'one with the soup'. The sensations which I would normally call "my arm" were suddenly floating in characterless space - not beholden to anyone or belonging to anything (like, say, an arm or a body).

Another thought strikes me: I remember we were dabbling in something like this before, on Skype: I was questioning what was being called the smallest modalities of experience, like heat and pressure, and suggesting that even these modalities can be broken up into parts. This was considered not possible and the likes of hardness and volume were stated to be the atomic (indivisible) units of 'all this', and I wonder if you're still of the same conviction.

Aye, that sounds similar but with more emphasis on the not-self aspect of the experience.

The way I'd describe it is that the sense of touch is just touch, regardless of what's being touched the basic, fundamental sensation of touch is the same. This ties in with the submodality thing, I can't quite recall what I said at that point but the way I think about it now is that each sensory submodality, for example "hardness", is exclusive to it's associated sense door. I've been looking more closely at that and how those submodalities can't be found outside of the main sensate experience, e.g. hardness and touch, since hardness can't be experienced by any other the other five sense doors.

I've got some stuff to do tonight but I'll try to add some more later.
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Tommy M, modified 9 Years ago at 10/13/12 4:16 PM
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RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread

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Clearly there's an experiential distinction between peripheral and central vision: visual acuity/resolution/detail.

This is a good example of how it's difficult to describe this accurately simply due to the nature of language. When I say there's no experiential distinction between peripheral and central vision, it's more to do with the way seeing is experienced as a whole. You're correct in saying that things like resolution and detail could be considered distinctions, but, and this is where it gets tough, they're not experienced as being separate from the process of seeing and aren't objectified in the same way anymore. It's hard to explain it and I can see what you're saying, which is correct from a certain perspective, but experientially it's more 'fused'. Goddamned words... emoticon
Stian Gudmundsen Høiland, modified 9 Years ago at 10/13/12 5:34 PM
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RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread

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Tommy M:
That 'bounce' is no longer present, I suspect, due to there being no internal/external split in experience any more.

Sweet, that helps.

Tommy M:
I get where you're coming from, I was keeping things in my own terms 'cause it's a practice thread but I could have been clearer in my use of words like "models" and "fabrications".

(emphasis added) Ah, yes, that makes sense to me.
John Wilde, modified 9 Years ago at 10/13/12 6:28 PM
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RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread

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Change A.:
Can you expand on that? Did you mean the difference when there is a 'being' and when there is 'no being'?


We could speak in terms of entities ('me', 'self', 'Self', 'being') or in terms of actions (grasping, clinging, craving, aversion, bouncing, lunging, etc).

Each way has its pros and cons... eg. entities have more scope, but actions have less baggage.....
John Wilde, modified 9 Years ago at 10/13/12 6:26 PM
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RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread

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Tommy M:
Clearly there's an experiential distinction between peripheral and central vision: visual acuity/resolution/detail.

This is a good example of how it's difficult to describe this accurately simply due to the nature of language. When I say there's no experiential distinction between peripheral and central vision, it's more to do with the way seeing is experienced as a whole. You're correct in saying that things like resolution and detail could be considered distinctions, but, and this is where it gets tough, they're not experienced as being separate from the process of seeing and aren't objectified in the same way anymore. It's hard to explain it and I can see what you're saying, which is correct from a certain perspective, but experientially it's more 'fused'. Goddamned words... emoticon


Everything is just seamlessly, stably, present/perceptible in an interlocked way. 'Periphery' doesn't seem to apply because there's no edge to what's visible. In a curious sense there's no "looking at" or "looking away from".. which sounds absurd because you can obviously still move your head around, change your focus, blink, do anything you normally do.... seeing is just seamlessly being interlocked with whatever's visibly present, so it comes prior to "looking" (and somehow it makes "looking" seem clumsy, clunky, redundant).

When you say "fused", it makes perfect sense to me. But trying to write about it makes it sound more complicated than it is.
Change A, modified 9 Years ago at 10/13/12 6:54 PM
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RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread

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John Wilde:
Each way has its pros and cons... eg. entities have more scope, but actions have less baggage.....


Can you write about the pros and cons of both?
John Wilde, modified 9 Years ago at 10/13/12 7:25 PM
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RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread

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Change A.:
John Wilde:
Each way has its pros and cons... eg. entities have more scope, but actions have less baggage.....


Can you write about the pros and cons of both?


Sure, bearing in mind that I'm only talking about pros and cons of different ways of speaking, rather than pros and cons of different practices....

ACTIONS:
========
Pros: Actions / processes (like craving, grasping, etc), are aspects of experience that everyone can relate to in phenomenal terms. They don't make any obvious metaphysical / ontological assumptions. They're not tightly bound to any particular tradition, culture or set of practices.

Cons: Actions / processes are not as general and all-encompassing as 'being'; they can be regarded as symptoms or manifestations or functions of a deeper and more pervasive root cause; in that case, speaking in terms of actions alone doesn't get to that root cause.

ENTITIES:
========
Pros: Opposite of cons above... posits a single root cause for all aspects / symptoms / manifestations of the human condition that can be addressed in its entirety, all at once. No shades of grey. Binary choice: to 'be' or not to 'be'.

Cons: Heaps of philosophical baggage. Heaps of cultural baggage. Product of a practice / philosophy that doesn't mix well with others. Not specific enough for many people to relate to in phenomenal terms. ('Being' can only be known in contrast to its absence, and many people can't remember any experience sans psychic / psychological / affective 'being').

(I figure that's enough to explain where I'm coming from. Please PM if not. Don't want to side-track Tommy's practice thread...)
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Tommy M, modified 9 Years ago at 10/20/12 5:43 PM
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RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread

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Inspired by Omega Point's recent post, I've decided to begin practicing the preliminary techniques involved in learning tummo. It's been something I've been interested in for a long time, and the dissection of the practices done by y'er man O.P., as well as information gleaned from a post on Kenneth's site, provided enough information to begin to approach this safely. I understand that these sorts of practices should really be done with a teacher, but I'm willing to take a risk if it contributes to the ending of suffering for all sentient beings in any way. Some of the techniques O.P. recommended on that thread are things I've either worked with previously or have continued to work with for several years now, e.g. breath-control and retention, "kundalini fire-breathing", as well as strengthening of the PC muscles and experience of generating heat through visualization and directed-attention. However, I am literally taking this a tiny step at a time, coming at it as an absolute beginner in the same way I came to vipassana and taking my time to get to grips with the basics.

The last few days have been spent on improving breath-retention, visualization/'feeling out' of the three channels and basic concentration with an emphasis on fixing attention on specific bodily points. I've also been doing breath stuff through the day, as well as regular concentration practice and continuing to observe subtle mental movements and tensions; some of these, as I've gotten more familiar with them, do seem to have a physical aspect, e.g. there's a very slight tension which happens around the eye itself, followed by a tiny contraction or mental movement towards recognizing the perception of a visual object. As usual, hard to describe but I'm still working with it and will find clearer ways to get this across eventually.

Anyhow, I've started learning Tsa Lung using the instructions given by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche but haven't put it into practice yet. I have, however, started practicing the Nine Breathings of Purification as a preliminary to Tsa Lung proper and had an interesting experience today while on the bus...emoticon Glamorous, eh?

It was during the journey home that, while simply following the breath as bare sensation, no mental overlay occurring, I experienced the clear and definite arising of heat at the spot where the initial visualizations involved in tummo begin. Recognizing this as being related to being much more attentive to the energetic system, I went with it and placed the attention on the chakra point below the navel before guiding the heat upwards through the navel chakra, resting there for a minute or so with the breath held, and then on like so up to the crown and out. Stopping at the chest, I expanded the sense of heat and felt what I can only describe as this pure compassion emanate from my heart, but not in a way that was visual or even really tactile in the way you might think of it.

A burst of incredible, cool bliss occurred as the heat rose up through the crown chakra; the only way I can describe the sensate experience when this happened is like the Bahiya Sutta, this clear as day, super high-resolution subjectless immediacy. This remained for around 20 minutes or so, but the perceptual baseline was left clearer than before and with a better 'feel' of the energetic system. I don't attribute anything spectacular to it or hold it as any evidence of attainment, it was an interesting and informative experience which I wanted to mention on this thread as it's relevant to my current practice.

I recognized this heat from previous experiences of kundalini, as well as yoga practices I did prior to getting into Buddhism so I feel comfortable with the basics although, as stated already, I'm taking this veeeryyy slowly.

Interesting stuff...


P.S. If Omega Point reads this thread at any time: I'd appreciate it if you could say a bit more about the heat and emptiness cycles as I want to make sure I'm understanding it correctly. If you, or anyone else familiar with these techniques, sees any errors in what I'm doing then please correct me as I'd like to learn the basics of this, but don't have access to a teacher where I live.`
End in Sight, modified 9 Years ago at 10/20/12 5:55 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 10/20/12 5:53 PM

RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread

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Tommy M:
I've also been doing breath stuff through the day, as well as regular concentration practice and continuing to observe subtle mental movements and tensions; some of these, as I've gotten more familiar with them, do seem to have a physical aspect, e.g. there's a very slight tension which happens around the eye itself, followed by a tiny contraction or mental movement towards recognizing the perception of a visual object.


Check out the other sensory organs too.

I found that it's good to stay with the tension in all the organs, because it forces the corresponding sensory field not to be tuned out. I also found that trying to notice the sensory fields without noticing the tension, very easily causes some kind of "embeddedness" in the tension (tuning it out, bad).

About the breath stuff, I know LocoAustriaco also has a thread about that on KFD, which looks informative (though I personally don't know about any of it).

A burst of incredible, cool bliss occurred as the heat rose up through the crown chakra; the only way I can describe the sensate experience when this happened is like the Bahiya Sutta, this clear as day, super high-resolution subjectless immediacy.


If you got exactly what the Bahiya sutta was talking about, wouldn't you be an arahant?
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Tommy M, modified 9 Years ago at 10/21/12 9:30 AM
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RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread

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Check out the other sensory organs too.

I found that it's good to stay with the tension in all the organs, because it forces the corresponding sensory field not to be tuned out. I also found that trying to notice the sensory fields without noticing the tension, very easily causes some kind of "embeddedness" in the tension (tuning it out, bad).

Aye, I just mentioned the eye as an example but I've been working with any and all subtle tensions for the same reasons you've mentioned. Remaining attentive/mindful of those tensions makes it much easier to keep on bringing attention back to the point of sense contact 'cause tuning it out just leads to that proliferating tendency kicking in.

If you got exactly what the Bahiya sutta was talking about, wouldn't you be an arahant?

Hahaha, unfortunately not. I only used the Bahiya Sutta image as an example of "in the seeing, just the seen", not that this is what become the perceptual baseline. I do still consider the Bahiya Sutta to be the high-standard I aim towards in assessing how thoroughly any perceptual shifts change experience, there's still mental tensions and fabrications but, as you know, it's difficult to explain it clearly without making it sound like something else.
End in Sight, modified 9 Years ago at 10/21/12 10:19 AM
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RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread

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Tommy M:
If you got exactly what the Bahiya sutta was talking about, wouldn't you be an arahant?

Hahaha, unfortunately not. I only used the Bahiya Sutta image as an example of "in the seeing, just the seen", not that this is what become the perceptual baseline.


Don't you think that if you ever got what the Bahiya sutta was talking about, you'd become an arahant and that would become the perceptual baseline?

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.1.10.than.html:
When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bāhiya, there is no you in connection with that. When there is no you in connection with that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress.


Not "...the end of stress, for the meanwhile."

Is there some stress in the state you're talking about that you're not seeing, or that you think isn't stress?

I'm not saying you should change your practice and start looking for it, but I do think that if you change your view from "no stress here" to "maybe hidden stress here", you're more likely to see it spontaneously.

I'll respond to your other post in a few days, gotta run!
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Tommy M, modified 9 Years ago at 10/21/12 10:51 AM
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RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread

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Don't you think that if you ever got what the Bahiya sutta was talking about, you'd become an arahant and that would become the perceptual baseline?

Aye, probably. I should be more clear in using this as an example, I have no idea what being a full-on Arahat would be like so my use of the Bahiya Sutta is based on my current understanding of what that points to. That understanding is based on previous experiences which seemed to line up with that description but did not become the perceptual baseline, although have served to demonstrate that, no matter how 'final' things may seem there is always more to be done.

Is there some stress in the state you're talking about that you're not seeing, or that you think isn't stress?

I'm not saying you should change your practice and start looking for it, but I do think that if you change your view from "no stress here" to "maybe hidden stress here", you're more likely to see it spontaneously.

I know what you mean, again I think it's down to the way I'm describing things and how I'm using those words. I certainly don't think I'm an Arahat and do still experience stress, albeit in different and more subtle ways than before but I know there's still more to be done.
John Ferguson, modified 9 Years ago at 1/2/13 3:18 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 1/2/13 3:18 PM

RE: Adventures in Deconstruction: A Practice Thread

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Hey Tommy,
It's been really cool to see all the progress you've made and the deep insight you've realized. Definitely very inspiring.

I know you've kept several practice journals scattered across some different dharma sites. I think it'd be really helpful to get an overview of your progress in some sort of litte overarching chronology, sort of like a cliff's note for all the significant stuff of your path. I think it could be useful to see your retelling of how you progressed through different attainments, what practices led to them, places you got stuck, dead ends, etc. I think various yogis might find it useful. And then if you have any general practice advice or certain techniques that you advocate, that'd be really great to hear too.

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