Back From The Black

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Tommy M, modified 8 Years ago.

Back From The Black

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
I’m writing this post for various reasons, I’ve been away from the site for a while and have had a lot to deal with in my personal life which has taken its toll on me, physically and mentally, but has ultimately led me to where I’m at right now. That statement may seem surprising given my previous claims and talk of attainments, but the testing ground of the everyday – families, relationships, problems in work, financial difficulties and suchlike – has shown me that I’ve severely misjudged ‘my’ meditative accomplishments and so I want to lay my cards on the table:

Contrary to my previous claims, I do indeed still experience affective emotion; in the last four or five weeks, I had been lower than I can recall at any time in my life and actually ended up hospitalized with chest pains brought about by the stress of my current situation. I’ve also acted in less-than-skilful ways and hurt people, deliberately cut off communication with everyone around me and isolated myself...and I haven't even started trying to rebuild some of those bridges. I became bitter, resentful and angry with the world, saddened by the pain around me and within me, wishing I could just shut the whole thing down and start again. This was all exacerbated by an unexpected kicking from the dukkha ñanas, which confirmed for me that cycling is alive and well and that I’m certainly not an Arahat!

How all this maps up with the various models, I have no idea and couldn’t care less. I’ve gone from feeling like a fraud and considering abandoning the DhO completely - I felt like a twat and like I’d lied to people or something – to realizing that being honest about fucking up might set a good example for others who’ve maybe misjudged their own progress. I know it’s all too common for people to come to this site thinking they’ve gotten this or that Path based on their understanding of MCTB, and also how disheartening it is to be told you’re wrong. This isn’t the first time I’ve made what amounts to a public apology for potentially misleading people with inaccurate information in my posts and replies, and it doesn’t get any easier; it’s taken me a while to get my head together and write this so I hope that it demonstrates that, no matter what you think at the time, it’s not a big deal if you make mistakes. Nobody’s going to judge you for it and if they do then that’s their problem; shit happens and you deal with it.

As I’ve contemplated what’s gone on over the last four to six months of my life, it’s occurred to me that I used the whole AF/no affective emotion idea as a way to avoid facing up to the stressful and genuinely difficult situation I found myself in. Not that I didn’t pursue that outcome with complete sincerity, but my overwhelming desire to not have to feel the way I did led to me deluding myself and, through strong intent, creating a reality-tunnel for myself where I basically stopped registering emotions…temporarily. The mistake was entirely my own fault, no one else could possibly be blamed and I’ve suffered for it by my own hand, but I’ve also learned a lot and developed a new understanding of karma, compassion, and the interdependence of all things for which I will be eternally grateful.

I know this may all sound uncomfortably personal, but I figure if I’m going all out and starting the year afresh I may as well lay it on the line and say what’s actually going on in the everyday life of a suburban yogi. I have absolutely abandoned ideas of Paths as there have been too many qualitative perceptual and/or experiential shifts to align it with anything, and the emptiness of models is now so glaringly apparent that I can’t take them seriously anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I still very much enjoy studying, and recommend making use of, conceptual models to orientate your practice but, for me at least, they’ve become too cumbersome as everything gets too fractal; it’s like spiritual DMT, spirals of self-transforming information matrices, expanding into complex patterns of imputed connections when I turn the light of attention on them.

So, where does this leave me? I have no idea. All I know is that the importance of ending suffering for all sentient beings has become central to my life in a way I can’t even explain. I experienced such a hatred and disdain for the world when I felt really low, but when I looked at it directly and got to grips with it I realized I was sad and frustrated. I felt powerless to do anything to make the world a better place, and not with any sort of ulterior motive of self-glorification but with altruistic intent and a wish for an end to suffering. What I know for certain is that the Dharma is the only way for me to make it a reality.

For the record, I will no longer claim any attainments; whether I have or haven’t attained anything is no longer of any concern to me. There have been several very distinct, permanent, describable shifts in the way my perceptual experience, at all sensate levels, has ‘clarified’ over the last few years, but I feel like I’ve completely let go of the desire to call it anything.

As I read back over what I’ve written, I’m hoping it doesn’t come off as being either self-pitying or some other hyphenated combination of arsehole-ness. I’m just trying to present an honest and open description of the realities of life and practice, and show how awakening doesn’t necessarily solve the problems of the everyday. It can make it a bit easier, no doubt, but the risk of burying your head, as I did, in the sand of ‘spiritual’ or ‘actual’ conceptual models is always present. I basically did most of the things that Daniel warns against in the chapter on Dark Night in MCTB, partly because I thought I was beyond that and more advanced than I actually was. It’s been a painful and difficult time, but ultimately necessary for change to occur; like all things, impermanent flickerings in a frozen moment, but what a joy to behold with such clarity as emptiness brings.

So, there’s an update on what’s been going on with me and the reasons for my absence from the boards, and every other form of online communication lately. I know it’s just the report of one person but I’d like to think it’ll encourage people to maintain high standards in their own practice and remain ruthlessly attentive. I slipped up and so hopefully at least someone will be able to learn something from it; I owe so much to this community and I hope that seeing the lows, as well as the highs, will show that this process isn’t a cakewalk. It’s not an easy road, but it’s worthwhile for reasons words can’t describe.

Over a thousand words…one day I’ll learn to condense my writing. Ha!

Peace y’all.

T

P.S. The moral of the story: Shut y’er trap and practice.
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Florian Weps, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Welcome back, Tommy! That was a great post. Sorry to hear about your difficulties and stress symptoms. I hope you are better now, and will continue to improve.

That Bodhisattva thing about wishing to end suffering for all beings - I can relate to that. Compassion is to suffering what third jhana is to second, in a way.

Take care!

Cheers,
Florian
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Fitter Stoke, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 487 Join Date: 1/23/12 Recent Posts
Welcome back. It takes a lot of heart to write something this forthright and honest and which a lot of people will probably benefit from.

It all seems like a setback, but perhaps it's really progress of a different sort. Just like one should take a "wait and see attitude" with paths, perhaps something similar could be said for having attained an advanced degree from the School of Hard Knocks.
John Wilde, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 501 Join Date: 10/26/10 Recent Posts
Fitter Stoke:

It all seems like a setback, but perhaps it's really progress of a different sort


Absolutely. No doubt.
Jason B, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 343 Join Date: 8/9/11 Recent Posts
I'm sorry to hear of your troubles, Tommy. Your absence didn't go without notice. I'm glad you didn't abandon the forum. I've benefited from your insights in the past, and I'm sure I will in the future.

It seems like there's a need for more discussion of how practice comes into play in daily life, and the role of sila. Perhaps that would help put the maps - which can be so helpful - in perspective.
John Wilde, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 501 Join Date: 10/26/10 Recent Posts
Tommy M:

As I read back over what I’ve written, I’m hoping it doesn’t come off as being either self-pitying or some other hyphenated combination of arsehole-ness.


Far from it, Tommy. Actually, couldn't be further from that.

I don't know what to say, other than thanks for being so genuine. It's palpable from half-way across the world.

Tommy M:

(...) but the risk of burying your head, as I did, in the sand of ‘spiritual’ or ‘actual’ conceptual models is always present.



Yeah. Who hasn't been there, one way or another?

The thing we all really desire -- what is it? recollection or intuition of a state of deep, effortless, thorough-going, benign innocence and joy, while still being a capable, responsible, caring human being --- has a lot of near enemies. And lots of practices can lead to straight into those near enemies. Doesn't mean the real thing isn't available.

Thanks for writing this, Tommy, and all the best to you.

Regards,
Jack
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Jane Laurel Carrington, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 196 Join Date: 12/29/10 Recent Posts
I'm so glad to hear from you. You're one of my favorite people around here! I've missed you. Thanks for your honesty. We all need reminding that this practice does not protect us from Life.
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Eric Bause, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 187 Join Date: 8/24/09 Recent Posts
Tommy, sorry to hear about your trevails. It's great to have you back here again.
Justin Chapweske, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 14 Join Date: 12/16/12 Recent Posts
Tommy M:
and the emptiness of models is now so glaringly apparent that I can’t take them seriously anymore.


Great stuff Tommy, thanks for the sincerity.

I am beginning to believe that this sort of stuff is unavoidable unless you live a totally detached life. By embracing life, to some extent we embrace the whole spectrum of life, which will include thought and conceptual models.

We should probably not get too embarrassed about paths and attainments, because we know that they are just empty models. If they had true full predictive capability then we would be accepting that reality is just conceptual. Let me repeat that, if the models were right, the dharma would be wrong.

As it is, be enlightened or not, the depth of your nervous system already knows that there is Only This and the only adequate view is 'Don't Know'. Going beyond "Just This" and "Don't Know" is a true act of bravery and vulnerability.

Peace,

-Justin
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 1633 Join Date: 5/18/10 Recent Posts
Just pick yourself up and never lose that honesty you have. Keep practicing! I'm sure you learned a lot from AF and Dzogchen, because I learned a lot from your threads. emoticon

It may be controversial but I agree with Justin that living in a worldly scenario will mean being tested in nasty ways and until those marionette strings are pulled by life we my not notice the attachments that were always there. Also under cognitive therapy it's okay to see the emotion for what it is as long as the belief behind the emotion is reasonable. If it is reasonable then the emotion is correct. Just let go where it makes sense but also don't be a doormat.
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Brian Eleven, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 221 Join Date: 9/14/10 Recent Posts
Tommy,
Glad to see you stop back in, I'd been wondering where you had gotten to.
I'm very sorry to hear why you had been away, and certainly hope any problems will be quickly resolved for all those involved.
As far as sounding like an arse... nonsense! You sound like an honest and thoughtful guy, who, I'm sure sometimes acts like a complete arse, but so does everyone else.
I'm sure everyone here has, at one point or another, used spiritual practice as a way to dull pain, or avoid it all together. I certainly have and still do. But there are much worse ways to deal with emotional difficulties, so at least you have chosen a good one.
You made a mistake(or twelve, I don't know) and now try to move on. Get up in the morning and deal with what is in front of you. One thing at a time. Be kind to yourself, and take Care!

Metta,

Brian.
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Bagpuss The Gnome, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 704 Join Date: 11/2/11 Recent Posts
Those stress symptoms are no fun are they? A couple of years back an ambulance was called out for me with suspected heart attack. Turned out to be just really heavy physical symptoms of stress.

I hope your situation is starting to turn Tommy.
Sam S, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 24 Join Date: 7/6/12 Recent Posts
So what kind of practice are you doing now?
An Eternal Now, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 638 Join Date: 9/15/09 Recent Posts
Thanks for your honest and sincere post.
Rod C, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 88 Join Date: 11/19/12 Recent Posts
An Eternal Now:
Thanks for your honest and sincere post.


Ditto.....Respect
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Bruno Loff, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 1094 Join Date: 8/30/09 Recent Posts
Congratulations! Obviously you learned a lot.

Tommy M:
As I’ve contemplated what’s gone on over the last four to six months of my life, it’s occurred to me that I used the whole AF/no affective emotion idea as a way to avoid facing up to the stressful and genuinely difficult situation I found myself in. Not that I didn’t pursue that outcome with complete sincerity, but my overwhelming desire to not have to feel the way I did led to me deluding myself and, through strong intent, creating a reality-tunnel for myself where I basically stopped registering emotions…temporarily.


Have you noticed, perchance, if this "constructed, self-serving reality" was fabricated by the way you interpret the world and yourself? Specifically, there is something you wish for, and a shortcut to "getting it" is to simply change the way you interpret the world, the way you interpret events, I.e., how you describe the world to yourself. I've been calling that "dissociation," but maybe there is a better word.

And it's really hard to catch that happening, too. Because there is a wide range of ways of thinking that something is "true" that have nothing to do with that very something having been rigorously demonstrated with proper evidence. And the ability to describe the world in a way that defies evidence is not only extremely widespread, but it is also a learnable skill, which is possible to practice unaware of doing so.

Speaking from experience... I found this to be particularly difficult during AF practices, because one of the things that an actualist strives for is honesty, and "I'm honest" is a particularly perverse interpretation to sustain in this "constructed, self-serving reality" mode. For imagine that, besides being "free from emotions" you also had decided that you were (no matter the evidence) "completely honest"... Then perhaps we would have never seen this post of yours (an actually honest post, if I'm allowed the pun emoticon ).

Some of this stuff can be avoided by taking Daniel's perspective that all of this stuff is just skills, which you practice and get good at, and which hopefully help you enjoy life, but which have no bearing whatsoever in how much of a jerk you actually are emoticon



Anyway, I think that the DhO is enriched by someone who has, besides wide experience and technical knowledge, the ability to be honest when it is the hardest.
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Steph S, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 669 Join Date: 3/24/10 Recent Posts
I'm sure we could all cut ourselves some slack for simply being human - sometimes fragile, vulnerable, not super heros that can make anything vanish at whim... the good news is, we have started tapping into the incredible strength that keeps it going. A wise one once told me, "You're stronger and more resilient than you give yourself credit for." ;) Nothing but love for you.

Also...

More metta, please
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katy steger, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 1741 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
Hey Tommy,
I feel like instead of "paths" there should be those little round, embroidered patches, like scouts earn for their vests. There's definitely an "Aw, sheeeeeeet" umbrella patch or whole series. Oh, yeah, I've earned a few of those. I want my darn patch! (I'll get another chance...)

That talking bit, you know "shut up and practice" --- hmmm. If you, for one, shut up, then clearly a lot of peer learning and sharing would just not happen here. Apply contingent identity/dependent origination... emoticon

And, phooey, why should words (or the DhO or anywhere) be miraculously and always free of unsatisfactoriness (dukkha)? Meh. Even fine artists even/often loath their work. meh, meh.

Frankly, I think your practice has a more intense base and when this happens it seems like more intense travel-terrain, but my steady few favorite teachers (not necessarily "teachers" and certainly not necessarily meditators) really teach well from that hard base. Hard but very helpful.

Did I manage to make sense here or too many parentheses again? Dang. There needs to be a parantheses patch, too.

And while we're dealing with the MIA, where's C C C?
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tom moylan, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 896 Join Date: 3/7/11 Recent Posts
Hey Tommy,
you have helped me more than anyone here. this post describes some of the pain and difficulty that i have experienced in the past year. i feel for you greatly and thanks again for a timely and incive lesson. be well.

tom
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Jon T, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
hey tommy,

do you still consider that 10 day or so PCE to have been valid?

emptiness of path: i don't understand how an arahart can claim to be an arahart (or any other claimaint/claim). i guess it's just semantics for a purpose. hopefully the purpose isn't self-serving.
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 3192 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Dear Tommy,

As everyone said: great to have you back, great post, and very sorry to hear that things have been going poorly. If you ever want to talk: let me know and catch me on Skype.

There is a lot of the sort of thing you are going through going around, and it is way better when people talk about it, so really glad you did. It helps everyone, hopefully including you, and helps normalize things.

Ah, the Eight Worldly Winds. Sorry they have been blowing cold on you. Hopefully Spring is coming, and regardless, we are here.

Very best wishes,

Daniel

PS A little light reading: How the Buddha Died
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Joshua zuJa, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 86 Join Date: 9/28/12 Recent Posts
Daniel M. Ingram:

PS A little light reading: How the Buddha Died


Evil reading you mean!
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Tommy M, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
Hey folks,

Thank you all so much for your support, input and advice, it's appreciated more than I can express but I just wanted to say an all 'round thanks and post a wee update on what's happening. I'm glad I posted this and am really happy that it's been beneficial to more people than just me!

Anyhow, practice-wise I've gone back to basics and have been studying the Satipatthana Sutta, as well as Ian's excellent essay and the notes he posted a while back on the practice itself. This has been my main formal practice, although I continue to practice bare awareness at all times and also incorporate various Dzogchen practices, such as the Nine Breathings of Purification and working with Dream Yoga, into sitting and informal practice. Basically, I'm back to hardcore 24/7 practice but am also working with purification of intent, dedication of merit, and regular Tonglen practice as well.

I've also developed an obsession with fractals, quantum mechanical and mathematical models, and have started trying to educate myself in the language of maths and physics as it seems to provide a much cleaner and less ambiguous framework than just using the English language does. Conversations with Omega Point, the guy who posted on "advanced mental posturing", have sent me off on tangents I never considered and brought about a deeper realization of emptiness than I had previous experienced, which itself led to another significant shift in this mode of experiencing.

This turbulent period broke down a lot of my old thinking patterns, habits and reactions, but has ultimately led to me becoming much stronger. I've learned a lot about suffering lately, as well as impermanence and emptiness, but it's only strengthened my resolve and pushed me to work harder, change those aspects of my life that were unhelpful and move on with my life.

Again, thanks so much for all your kind words and support. I'll be posting more often again, I just didn't feel like I could be of help to anyone for a while there but I'm getting things back together and feel more focused on what still needs to be done.

Much love to y'all : )
John Wilde, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 501 Join Date: 10/26/10 Recent Posts
Tommy M:
[..]
I've also developed an obsession with fractals, quantum mechanical and mathematical models, and have started trying to educate myself in the language of maths and physics as it seems to provide a much cleaner and less ambiguous framework than just using the English language does.


<aside>

I've noticed that a few high doses of LSD often inspires people to explore in that direction. In my case (early-mid '90s), it sparked a fascination for fractal geometry (and fractal nature of reality on all scales / levels of abstraction). I hadn't expected that. I'd expected a drug to make me... well... 'drugged' -- albeit in interesting ways. Instead it opened up a world of clarity, intricacy and patterned order that's manifestly present and utterly fascinating.

For me, this led to a sudden, unexpected interest in symbolic computation and computer graphics. (I'd never been much interested in tech things before; always more interested in music, literature, arts, psychology, philosophy). For a few years this became a kind of alchemy where the act of creating graphics/simulations/computations was interesting in itself (required a curious mixture of logic and creativity, invention and discovery), but the real motivation was to work on myself (in a way not well understood), and to discover and understand the deep structure of reality (including the mind that's trying to grok it).

It was fascinating stuff, for a while there, but in the end I didn't manage to bring back a Faberge Egg[1]; no final answers, nor any fundamentally better ways to frame the questions.

Still, I don't regret it; there are worse things to do than stretch the mind by learning new symbolic/quantitative languages to frame reality in new and interesting ways.

Good luck with it.
</aside>

[1] Terence McKenna: "...and then they proceed to sing objects into existence. Amazing objects. Objects that are Faberge Eggs, things made of pearl, and metal, and glass, and gel, and you, when you're shown one of these things, a single one of them, you look at it an you know, without a shadow of a doubt, in the moment of looking at this thing, that if it were right here, right now, this world would go mad. It's like something from another dimension. It's like an artifact from a flying saucer. It's like something falling out of the mind of God - such objects DO not exist in this universe, and yet, you're looking at it."
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Tommy M, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
John Wilde:
Tommy M:
[..]
I've also developed an obsession with fractals, quantum mechanical and mathematical models, and have started trying to educate myself in the language of maths and physics as it seems to provide a much cleaner and less ambiguous framework than just using the English language does.


<aside>

I've noticed that a few high doses of LSD often inspires people to explore in that direction. In my case (early-mid '90s), it sparked a fascination for fractal geometry (and fractal nature of reality on all scales / levels of abstraction). I hadn't expected that. I'd expected a drug to make me... well... 'drugged' -- albeit in interesting ways. Instead it opened up a world of clarity, intricacy and patterned order that's manifestly present and utterly fascinating.

For me, this led to a sudden, unexpected interest in symbolic computation and computer graphics. (I'd never been much interested in tech things before; always more interested in music, literature, arts, psychology, philosophy). For a few years this became a kind of alchemy where the act of creating graphics/simulations/computations was interesting in itself (required a curious mixture of logic and creativity, invention and discovery), but the real motivation was to work on myself (in a way not well understood), and to discover and understand the deep structure of reality (including the mind that's trying to grok it).

It was fascinating stuff, for a while there, but in the end I didn't manage to bring back a Faberge Egg[1]; no final answers, nor any fundamentally better ways to frame the questions.

Still, I don't regret it; there are worse things to do than stretch the mind by learning new symbolic/quantitative languages to frame reality in new and interesting ways.

Good luck with it.
</aside>

[1] Terence McKenna: "...and then they proceed to sing objects into existence. Amazing objects. Objects that are Faberge Eggs, things made of pearl, and metal, and glass, and gel, and you, when you're shown one of these things, a single one of them, you look at it an you know, without a shadow of a doubt, in the moment of looking at this thing, that if it were right here, right now, this world would go mad. It's like something from another dimension. It's like an artifact from a flying saucer. It's like something falling out of the mind of God - such objects DO not exist in this universe, and yet, you're looking at it."

Don't get me wrong, I don't expect to find answers or anything, it's more a matter of looking at reality through different 'lenses' and learning new ways to describe things, rather than asking questions. New ways to think, basically, so that I've got cleaner ways of processing information and can break out of older, less efficient habits.

I really like your descriptions of approaching computation and simulations alchemically, that sort of hybridization of using alchemy as a meta-model but replacing the metaphors fascinates me and I'd still like to design some sort of system using a similar approach, even just for fun.

I'd been working with DMT again recently too, which was part of what brought about a new interest in fractals and chaos mathematics, and so I laughed when I read your reference to the "Faberge Egg". Much as I like Terence, I think he may have run too far with his theory and got caught up in it rather than cutting to the root of what the whole "Timewave Zero" thing actually pointed to. Another conversation for another time though... emoticon Actually, I've been writing some stuff on DMT, non-conceptual awareness and consciousness but I'm still working on that, which is another reason for the whole math/physics thing as some of the ideas I've come up with need to be described really precisely.

Anyhow, thanks for your thoroughly interesting <aside>!
anti anti camper, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 23 Join Date: 10/15/12 Recent Posts
Tommy M:

I've also developed an obsession with fractals, quantum mechanical and mathematical models, and have started trying to educate myself in the language of maths and physics as it seems to provide a much cleaner and less ambiguous framework than just using the English language does.


Hi Tommy, good to hear from you again. If ever you want to talk about mathematics, drop me a line. It is what I do for a living and I owe you some reciprocity for your advice and insights from some months ago. I must warn you that most discussion of mathematics and physics in the context of spirituality, especially quantum mechanics, is utter nonsense. This is especially true of the material one finds on this topic on the Nexus. And yet, there are perhaps valid "applications."

aac
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Tommy M, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
I must warn you that most discussion of mathematics and physics in the context of spirituality, especially quantum mechanics, is utter nonsense. This is especially true of the material one finds on this topic on the Nexus. And yet, there are perhaps valid "applications."

I completely agree with you, I've been very wary of looking into this area for a long time 'cause the majority of what I've read in the past, even with my minimal understanding of the hard science involved, has been awful. Too many people think they can shoehorn their favourite mystical systems into the framework of quantum mechanics when they have very little understanding of either, never mind having no idea about how to even go about formulating the equations required to backup their assertions!

It was actually a yogi, who's also a theoretical physicist by trade, who turned me onto this whole area and suggested that it was worth looking at. Based on conversations with him, I'm pretty confident the guy knows both sides of the proverbial equation, having both high levels of attainment and a high degree of knowledge when it comes to maths and physics, so I reckon its worth looking into at least. Whether or not I'll get to the point where I can actually work with what I'm learning, I have no idea but I'm enjoying it and appreciate your offer of help; I may well take you up on that!
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Jon T, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
Tommy M:
Hey folks,

Thank you all so much for your support, input and advice, it's appreciated more than I can express but I just wanted to say an all 'round thanks and post a wee update on what's happening. I'm glad I posted this and am really happy that it's been beneficial to more people than just me!

Anyhow, practice-wise I've gone back to basics and have been studying the Satipatthana Sutta, as well as Ian's excellent essay and the notes he posted a while back on the practice itself. This has been my main formal practice, although I continue to practice bare awareness at all times and also incorporate various Dzogchen practices, such as the Nine Breathings of Purification and working with Dream Yoga, into sitting and informal practice. Basically, I'm back to hardcore 24/7 practice but am also working with purification of intent, dedication of merit, and regular Tonglen practice as well.

I've also developed an obsession with fractals, quantum mechanical and mathematical models, and have started trying to educate myself in the language of maths and physics as it seems to provide a much cleaner and less ambiguous framework than just using the English language does. Conversations with Omega Point, the guy who posted on "advanced mental posturing", have sent me off on tangents I never considered and brought about a deeper realization of emptiness than I had previous experienced, which itself led to another significant shift in this mode of experiencing.

This turbulent period broke down a lot of my old thinking patterns, habits and reactions, but has ultimately led to me becoming much stronger. I've learned a lot about suffering lately, as well as impermanence and emptiness, but it's only strengthened my resolve and pushed me to work harder, change those aspects of my life that were unhelpful and move on with my life.

Again, thanks so much for all your kind words and support. I'll be posting more often again, I just didn't feel like I could be of help to anyone for a while there but I'm getting things back together and feel more focused on what still needs to be done.

Much love to y'all : )



I don't get it. Am i missing something or have you over complicated life? I would understand better if I could dismiss your quest as a product of a confused mind. But you have had multiple PCE's and have "experienced" emptiness. What makes you continue to search?
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Tommy M, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
I don't get it. Am i missing something or have you over complicated life? I would understand better if I could dismiss your quest as a product of a confused mind. But you have had multiple PCE's and have "experienced" emptiness. What makes you continue to search?

What don't you get? You seem to assume that having had multiple PCE's and various realizations of emptiness would equate to complete freedom from suffering. As for the realization of emptiness, as in the two-fold emptiness of anatta and sunyata, it's nowhere near as simple or as straightforward as that but its too complicated to get into here.

To put it simply, I'm no longer interested in personal liberation.
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Jon T, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
Tommy M:
[What don't you get?


I don't get why you are searching?

You seem to assume that having had multiple PCE's and various realizations of emptiness would equate to complete freedom from suffering.


not "complete freedom of suffering"; more like freedom from manufacturing effort or freedom from psychological effort.

To put it simply, I'm no longer interested in personal liberation.



Cool. Why not?
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Tommy M, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
I don't get why you are searching?

One of the reasons why I haven't been posting as much is that I'm finding it more and more difficult to describe what's going on, both in practice and real-life, without having to explain the way I'm using certain words and phrases. It takes longer and longer to write something simple 'cause I know it'll be misinterpreted if I don't clarify my use of certain terms, so I've tended to just stay quiet rather than confuse matters any further. Language is time-binding and turns dynamic experiencing into static objects which, in actuality, aren't static; to say that I'm searching implies that I'm aiming towards some fixed goal, but it's not the case, which I know sounds contradictory if I'm talking about stuff like "the end of suffering" or whatever you want to call it.

not "complete freedom of suffering"; more like freedom from manufacturing effort or freedom from psychological effort

Part of this is down to me having misjudged where I was at, but after a point it gets incredibly subtle and difficult to describe what's dropped away from experience and what's changed in the way things occur. I'd be lying if I said I had completely lost all sense of effort but the experiencing of "effort" isn't something "I" need to work on or actively participate in, if that makes sense. Bearing in mind also that I was dealing with a complex set of circumstances that built up over a period of months and, through my own fault, that I hadn't dealt with very skilfully; I got kicked in the ass by my own ignorance so the suggestion that I had complete freedom from manufacturing effort comes from my error and shouldn't be taken as an indication of any sort of attainments. That's why I've stated explicitly that I no longer claim anything, I can describe the details of what goes on in my life and practice but I'm done with goals, attainments, and all that.

Cool. Why not?

Bodhicitta makes a whole lot of actual, experiential sense in a way it didn't before.

Sorry about the delay in replying, had more hoodoo to contend with after my employer stole my wages from me...emoticon
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Jon T, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
I heard an old adage today: you can lead a horse to the water but you can't make him drink.

The only way people ever see the light is if if it illuminates something they want. And even then most people will just focus on the desired thing rather than the light that got them to it. Reasoning, imploring, intentional demonstrations and conjecture only raises our defenses.

I don't agree with the Bodhisattva's. To delay enlightenment for the good of the world is to not understand enlightenment or to not understand people.

What do you think?

jon
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Tommy M, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
Bodhicitta isn't something "I" had any choice in, in fact I would have said exactly the same thing as you about Bodhisattva's at one point but sometimes things happen that obliterate those old misunderstandings. It's difficult to write about as it's something that's just 'there' in experience and doesn't occur apart from it, but once it's evident there's no questions involved anymore.

To delay enlightenment for the good of the world is to not understand enlightenment or to not understand people.

I'd say neither statement is correct, a Bodhisattva doesn't "delay enlightenment" per se but it's no longer a concern. I should quickly add here that I make no claim to be a Bodhisattva for various reasons that I won't go into here.

To realize emptiness is to realize the dependent co-arising of all things, something changes when that happens at this sort of level and it no longer makes any sense to distinguish between "my" enlightenment and "your" enlightenment. I know that writing it out in these terms potentially confuses matters, but that's just the way it is and I don't know how else to say it. The whole area is incredibly complex, especially since lots of traditions have differing views on what's involved, and I don't have the knowledge to go into the details although you might find "Awakening to Reality" useful as a source on further information.
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katy steger, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 1741 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
To realize emptiness is to realize the dependent co-arising of all things, something changes when that happens at this sort of level and it no longer makes any sense to distinguish between "my" enlightenment and "your" enlightenment. I know that writing it out in these terms potentially confuses matters, but that's just the way it is and I don't know how else to say it.


If I'm not mistaken, Thupten Jinpa refers to this as "contingent identity" in his PhD work "Self, Reality and Reason in Tibetan Philosophy: Tsongkhapa's Quest for the Middle Way" (Routledge Critical Studies in Buddhism, 2002). This was a very useful way for me to think of interactions. It seems very funny to have to work so hard at seeing/doing something so simple and useful!

Mr. M, good to have you around againemoticon
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Jon T, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
Bodhicitta isn't something "I" had any choice in, in fact I would have said exactly the same thing as you about Bodhisattva's at one point but sometimes things happen that obliterate those old misunderstandings. It's difficult to write about as it's something that's just 'there' in experience and doesn't occur apart from it, but once it's evident there's no questions involved anymore.


Lame. I'm not buying it.


The only way people ever see the light is if if it illuminates something they want. And even then most people will just focus on the desired thing rather than the light that got them to it. Reasoning, imploring, intentional demonstrations and conjecture only raises our defenses.


What do you make of this point?
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Tommy M, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
do you still consider that 10 day or so PCE to have been valid?

Yeah, I have no reason to think otherwise and have had several full-blown PCE's, of varying duration, since then too[1]. It's weird, there's still this enhanced clarity and complete absence of subect/object but, as I've said, I've definitely experienced emotion in the last few months and so it left me a bit confused.

[1] One of which, that lasted about four or five hours, came about through doing vipassana after smoking DMT. It's more complicated than that, actually, 'cause I did several experiments with this and found its possible to go 'beyond' a PCE into even more refined modes of experiencing; For the sake of convenience, I'd maybe call it a "PAE", pure awareness experience, but I need to describe it in more detail and with more background 'cause that label is potentially confusing. As it stands, and putting it in dharmic terms, I suspect that I experienced "the Clear Light" and also the "ground rigpa" described in Tibetan systems, although I could be wrong. It's complex and difficult to talk about as I simply don't have the vocabulary to describe it sufficiently at present, although I'm working on that.
Change A., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 793 Join Date: 5/24/10 Recent Posts
Tommy M:
One of which, that lasted about four or five hours, came about through doing vipassana after smoking DMT. It's more complicated than that, actually, 'cause I did several experiments with this and found its possible to go 'beyond' a PCE into even more refined modes of experiencing; For the sake of convenience, I'd maybe call it a "PAE", pure awareness experience, but I need to describe it in more detail and with more background 'cause that label is potentially confusing. As it stands, and putting it in dharmic terms, I suspect that I experienced "the Clear Light" and also the "ground rigpa" described in Tibetan systems, although I could be wrong. It's complex and difficult to talk about as I simply don't have the vocabulary to describe it sufficiently at present, although I'm working on that.


Looking forward to it.
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Change A.:
Tommy M:
One of which, that lasted about four or five hours, came about through doing vipassana after smoking DMT. It's more complicated than that, actually, 'cause I did several experiments with this and found its possible to go 'beyond' a PCE into even more refined modes of experiencing; For the sake of convenience, I'd maybe call it a "PAE", pure awareness experience, but I need to describe it in more detail and with more background 'cause that label is potentially confusing. As it stands, and putting it in dharmic terms, I suspect that I experienced "the Clear Light" and also the "ground rigpa" described in Tibetan systems, although I could be wrong. It's complex and difficult to talk about as I simply don't have the vocabulary to describe it sufficiently at present, although I'm working on that.


Looking forward to it.

I'd be curious to hear you describing this more, too. These are the questions I'd like to ask, perhaps your eventual write-up can be informed by it:
  • What was the experience of the PCE like? That is, when you use the term PCE what do you mean by it? Particularly: What is Pure about it? What is Consciousness like during it? What is the Eexperience like?
  • What was the experience of the PAE like? That is, when you use the term PAE, what do you mean by it? Particularly: What is Pure about it? What is Awareness like during it? What is the Experience like?
  • I ask the above with a particular interest in the contrasts between the two. Particularly: What is pure about the PAE and how is that the same or different from what is pure about the PCE? What is the awareness in the PAE and how is that different from the consciousness in the PCE? And how do the experiences differ?
  • And also, what was it like going from the PCE to the PAE/vice versa if that ended up happening?
Sorry to hear you've been under so much stress lately. I'm glad that you've gotten out of that alexithymic reality-tunnel, now just don't go about ending up in another one!

- Claudiu
C C C, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 946 Join Date: 3/9/10 Recent Posts
Tommy, thanks for the honesty, but I never believed you were anything but a normal human ego like everyone else in here (including Daniel). The tone of your post suggests that you felt like you had to let the dharma worls know why you'd been quiet for a few months.... as if the world was waiting desperately to know of your whereabouts!! Heck!

In the world, those who talk non-stop about money are the poor. Those who talk most about women and sex are virgins. Those who talk most about enlightenment are ego-maniacs. It's very obvious after reading through the Dho pages for a while. If you're thirsty, water is all you talk about. Some of the most 'decorated' members speak as if they are very caught up in their self-image....and I mean much more so than ordinary non-spiritual dudes. The thread on Daniel being recognized by the New York Times is an absolute shocker. The idea of attaining something special like enlightenment, and adding it to one's collection of ego badges is very seductive.

At one point in my life, most of my bookshelf was packed with spirituality-related material. Bad sign. If you ever walk into someone's house and see that, get the hell out ...fast. Self-absorbed, self-centered ego-maniacs are really offensive, ugly people to be around. I'm part-way reformed. That's all I can boast. The stink of self-absorption is starting to fade and I'm smelling more like a normal person at last.

Free yourself from spiritual addiction and step into life.
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 1633 Join Date: 5/18/10 Recent Posts
C C C:
Free yourself from spiritual addiction and step into life.


Or take what you learn from spirituality and apply it to life. There's plenty of narcissists who aren't spiritual also.
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Tommy M, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
Tommy, thanks for the honesty, but I never believed you were anything but a normal human ego like everyone else in here (including Daniel).

I don't recall thinking or suggesting otherwise, but I question your use of the word "ego" since it tends to mean different things to different people depending on the context its used in. If by "normal human ego", you mean a normal, functioning human being then I agree; if you intended it in the sense of referring to an identification with a self, or a self-concept then I disagree.

The tone of your post suggests that you felt like you had to let the dharma worls know why you'd been quiet for a few months.... as if the world was waiting desperately to know of your whereabouts!! Heck!

That's your impression; it certainly wasn't my intent. I posted this to demonstrate that, regardless of how well practiced you are or how much work you've done on yourself - by which I mean both 'spiritual' and non-spiritual practices - the everyday problems encountered by most of us still arise and need to be dealt with, and that, in my case anyway, they can still take their toll.

In the world, those who talk non-stop about money are the poor. Those who talk most about women and sex are virgins. Those who talk most about enlightenment are ego-maniacs. It's very obvious after reading through the Dho pages for a while. If you're thirsty, water is all you talk about.

Opinion, not fact. I agree with you to an extent, it's not uncommon for people to get (usually temporarily) caught up in their own ideas and self-image at certain stages, but you're generalizing here and it says more about you than the people you criticize.

Free yourself from spiritual addiction and step into life.

There's no "spiritual addiction" happening here, I dropped any and all ideas of 'spirituality' long ago and only ever use the word as a convenient label, and always in scare quotes to indicate my unconventional use of it. As for stepping into life, I did that long before I came across the DhO and have been living it fully ever since. emoticon I do a lot more than just post on here and meditate.

If you ever walk into someone's house and see that, get the hell out ...fast. Self-absorbed, self-centered ego-maniacs are really offensive, ugly people to be around.

Again, you're totally generalizing with your comment here but I do agree to an extent; I'd say that your criticism is more fairly leveled again the "New Age" crowd rather than genuine, dedicated and sincere practitioners. For me, 99% of the books out there on "spirituality" are complete fucking garbage and I tend to avoid self-professed "spiritual"-types in real-life due to the prevalence of egoism and outright delusion.
C C C, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 946 Join Date: 3/9/10 Recent Posts
I take your point Simon, it can go both ways.

Tommy, you suffered a lot - to the degree of ending up in hospital. Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't a person who has only a mild identification with self be able to shrug off the stresses of every day life? With little self-referencing, I'd imagine even stronger stressors involving finances and relationships are like water off a duck's back. (btw, I'm not saying I would have reacted any differently to you).

Here in Australia we're going through what's becoming quite a commonplace bushfire+flooding season, where half the country gets eaten up, with people losing their houses all around. When interviewed, some of the affected people are beside themselves, others are like "what a mess, oh well". Sometimes one has to watch closely to see who's putting on a brave face, but there's quite a big variation in response as you'd expect. Do people who cope well have a mild identification with self? Or does their positive self-talk protect them? Would be an interesting study I think. Maybe all we need in order to cope well is to let go of negativity and try to see things in a neutral or positive light?

I was watching Derren Brown last night - part 2 of the fear and faith episode. Watch here if interested:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Skfa_wbfZ84

Skip forward to the 15 minute segment where Brown takes a skeptic/atheist and gives her a very genuine and very powerful experience of the 'divine'. There's no way she is faking this. 15 minutes was all it took. Granted, Derren has extraordinary skill, but if one was to spend 15 minutes*15 days reading about A&P, that could just as easily trigger A&P. There's no doubt in my mind we create A&P out of nothing. I think the term should be abolished. We also create (as a collective) all the stages of spiritual development to go along with it. It creates comfort and security to have a map, and to have others alongside who are trekking with us.
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Tommy M, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't a person who has only a mild identification with self be able to shrug off the stresses of every day life? With little self-referencing, I'd imagine even stronger stressors involving finances and relationships are like water off a duck's back.

Not necessarily, this was cumulative over a period of months and involved far more than the two or three examples I've spoken about on here. Identification with a self is only part of the cause of suffering, eradicating that identification is far more complex than you seem to assume.

Skip forward to the 15 minute segment where Brown takes a skeptic/atheist and gives her a very genuine and very powerful experience of the 'divine'. There's no way she is faking this. 15 minutes was all it took. Granted, Derren has extraordinary skill, but if one was to spend 15 minutes*15 days reading about A&P, that could just as easily trigger A&P. There's no doubt in my mind we create A&P out of nothing. I think the term should be abolished. We also create (as a collective) all the stages of spiritual development to go along with it. It creates comfort and security to have a map, and to have others alongside who are trekking with us.

Derren Brown has been massively influential on me since I first came across him about ten years ago, but I can now do the majority of the things he does and have a thorough knowledge of his methods as a whole. He's done several other things in the same vein, inducing 'spiritual' experiences through a combination of patterned language, suggestion, emotional elicitation and anchoring amongst other techniques.

I get what you're saying about the A&P and it's not entirely incorrect, but you're simplifying something incredibly complex that actually points to the nature of how we create reality as a whole. People don't "create A&P out of nothing" per se, there's no such "thing" as the A&P to be created; it's a label, a concept that was developed through consensus due to similarities in the phenomenological experience of many, many yogis over an extended period of time who practiced this specific meditative technique. As for abolishing it, I don't see how its existence effects you since you don't actually practice insight meditation, or any sort of meditation for that matter.

If you think we're all creating all the stages of spiritual development, then you should know that the same applies for every other word, phrase or concept you encounter on a daily basis; reality is built from language but the map is not the territory it describes. I can't be arsed getting any more deeply into it right now, but continuing to think along those lines might be more revealing than you realize.
C C C, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 946 Join Date: 3/9/10 Recent Posts
Tommy M:


I get what you're saying about the A&P and it's not entirely incorrect, but you're simplifying something incredibly complex that actually points to the nature of how we create reality as a whole. People don't "create A&P out of nothing" per se, there's no such "thing" as the A&P to be created; it's a label, a concept that was developed through consensus due to similarities in the phenomenological experience of many, many yogis over an extended period of time who practiced this specific meditative technique. As for abolishing it, I don't see how its existence effects you since you don't actually practice insight meditation, or any sort of meditation for that matter.


What Derren's Fear and Faith episodes have shown is that if just one influential person has an unusual (and real) experience and decides to label the experience a "911X", all his followers will soon be having their own 911X experiences. For this reason, the word "consensus" bothers me. The word spreads, the expectation builds... add some preaching and an impressive leather-bound book called "Life Explained" which describes the 911X in wonderful detail and it's 'game over'. It becomes truth. Regarding the A&P, I don't see much in the way of similarities between yogis. The A&P can include anything from "a strange dream that you don't even remember" to "bliss and ecstasy". That's not good enough. The whole thing could be just as real as as L. Ron Hubbard's elaborate explanations of reality.

I believe that one-pointed concentration can trip the mind into some very unusual states. I believe this because the process has been corroborated by a whole bunch of non-religious people from a huge variety of different backgrounds. Some had altered states emerge through sport, running, trauma, fever, child birth and so on. I have no problem with people doing jhana to feel good and improve health. But if we were to look at the question: "what is a good, reliable and quick way to enter jhana?", then the answer would not be to turn yourself inside out concentrating on the breath for a few years. The answer would be to go to a good hypnotist and get him to spend 15 minutes with you. Just let go and follow along. Once you've got the swing of it, then do it yourself. Psychology. No need for confusing ancient religious texts. No need for prolonged retreats. No need for strict behaviours. No need for any of that Buddhist stuff.

I tend to believe the stages of insight have inherent problems. Lots of very good teachers say that the setting up of stages to complete is the ego's way of avoiding the Abyss. The Abyss is something that few ever contemplate entering. It's not wanted. Ego uses its most subtle trickery to give you the impression you are progressing towards the end goal. Got to stage 3? Ok let's set up a stage 3a and a 3b, then some cycling through 1a to 3b for a few decades so that you never end up getting to your destination. Cycling is the ego's last refuge. "I haven't progressed because I'm cycling".

I tend to think enlightenment is possible, but so what? I frequently get asked what I'm doing here on this forum, so there's my answer. It's of interest to me.
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Tommy M, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
Regarding the A&P, I don't see much in the way of similarities between yogis. The A&P can include anything from "a strange dream that you don't even remember" to "bliss and ecstasy". That's not good enough.

Having had no experience of the A&P or with vipassana, you're hardly in a position to comment are you?

You'll only ever find the A&P discussed, and labelled as such, within the Mahasi Sayadaw "Progress of Insight" model, the majority of other mystical or magickal models, while perhaps containing phenomenologically similar phases such as the attainment of Tiphareth within the Kabbalistic models, don't tend to talk about it in the same terms you'll find used on here due to social, cultural and various other levels of conditioning. How different people describe their experience is a big part of the seeming variation in how phenomena present during this phase of practice, every single person has their own linguistic and semantic maps and, due to various factors too complicated to get into here, will describe their experience in different ways.

Whether or not that's "good enough" for you is only of concern to you, not to anyone else who's found using a conceptual map to be beneficial to their practice.

I believe that one-pointed concentration can trip the mind into some very unusual states. I believe this because the process has been corroborated by a whole bunch of non-religious people from a huge variety of different backgrounds. Some had altered states emerge through sport, running, trauma, fever, child birth and so on. I have no problem with people doing jhana to feel good and improve health. But if we were to look at the question: "what is a good, reliable and quick way to enter jhana?", then the answer would not be to turn yourself inside out concentrating on the breath for a few years. The answer would be to go to a good hypnotist and get him to spend 15 minutes with you. Just let go and follow along. Once you've got the swing of it, then do it yourself. Psychology. No need for confusing ancient religious texts. No need for prolonged retreats. No need for strict behaviours. No need for any of that Buddhist stuff.

Again, you've never actually practiced jhana and so your opinion is just an opinion. As far as using hypnosis to enter jhana, I disagree for several reasons: One of which is that I'm actually a trained hypnotist and had been experimenting with this exact approach years before ever knowing what jhana actually was; using hypnosis you can get as far as the early stages of 1st jhana but then there's a very specific method of going further which requires, not exactly "one-pointed concentration", but a far more dynamic and paradoxically 'fixed' focusing of attention.

You could feasibly teach someone the techniques involved using hypnosis, or biofeedback, or any other of the various 'brain training' methods available, both meditative and technological, but using hypnosis to access jhana does not work. You're correct in saying that "one-pointed concentration can trip the mind into some very unusual states", hence the caveat that concentration practice does not lead to insight by itself, but again you're generalizing and making assumptions based on flawed data. You don't have the experience to comment on this beyond speculation.

Also, your suggested timescale of 15 minutes to induce a person and implant the required suggestions demonstrates a lack of knowledge when it comes to the basics of hypnosis. It would take at least double that for the initial session, and, depending of the person involved, would take multiple session of reinforcement to actually bring them to a point where they can implement the techniques by themselves without the help of the hypnotist.

As for the "no need for any of that Buddhist stuff" comment, you're basically rubbishing 2,500 years of empirical testing and accumulated data which demonstrates that "that Buddhist stuff" involves a highly developed and reliable system of mental training that can be applied by anyone with the ability to do so. Just because you don't understand it doesn't mean nobody else does. That said, on the flipside I do think that it's possible to develop a system of 'spiritual' development divorced from traditional frameworks, but that's another story altogether.

I tend to believe the stages of insight have inherent problems. Lots of very good teachers say that the setting up of stages to complete is the ego's way of avoiding the Abyss. The Abyss is something that few ever contemplate entering. It's not wanted. Ego uses its most subtle trickery to give you the impression you are progressing towards the end goal. Got to stage 3? Ok let's set up a stage 3a and a 3b, then some cycling through 1a to 3b for a few decades so that you never end up getting to your destination. Cycling is the ego's last refuge. "I haven't progressed because I'm cycling".

For a start, you clearly have no idea what "The Abyss" or the experiencing of it actually involves so, yet again, you're bumping your gums and stating opinion as fact. The line I've emboldened is interesting and I'd like to know which sources you base your comment on? It's not entirely inaccurate and I'm pretty sure there will be people who use a linear system of development, attainments, goals and so forth, as a source of clinging; at the same time, there will be just as many who utilize conceptual models as means to an end, as a tool to orientate their practice but ultimately discarding them when no longer required.

Let's talk about "The Abyss" for a second 'cause you clearly don't know what you're talking about...the entire concept of "The Abyss" and the way in which its approached depends upon the model you're working with at that moment. If you're a magician, then "Crossing the Abyss" involves a literal battle with a 'demon' called Choronzon who, unless you've abandoned all traces of individuality and have sufficiently penetrated the subject/object dichotomy, will tear your entire psychological structure to bits and destroy you; If you're a Hindu, you don't encounter "The Abyss" as their model doesn't contain that. If you're a Christian Scientist, the experience is called "Chemicalization"; if you're an alchemist, it's known as "Nigredo", or the "Solve" stage of the "Solve et Coagula" formula.

So, when you talk about "The Abyss" you're only describing your own flawed understanding of it and, yet again, you don't have any experience of it to be able to speak about it beyond speculation. What "The Abyss" 'is' is the annihilation of subjectivity, beyond the Abyss there is no duality and no words can be spoken of 'it' because they are inherently false, which is a theme you'll find is universal in any traditions that include "The Abyss" or some similar stage.

You're sitting there criticizing stages and stages, but at the same time you're talking about "The Abyss"; this is just another stage or phase, just like the A&P, just like every other arbitrarily designated existing within every other 'spiritual' model from Buddhism to the Temple of Set. It's a convenient label, nothing more and nothing less; the sensate experiences those labels refer to are an entirely different matter.

I tend to think enlightenment is possible, but so what? I frequently get asked what I'm doing here on this forum, so there's my answer. It's of interest to me.

If it's of interest to you, why not actually do the practices described? You've already said before that you can't meditate, so go work with one specific model for at least a year, record your results in the same you would when doing a scientific experiment and then come back with the data and this might start to make sense to you. Enlightenment, or whatever you want to call it, is entirely possible, but it's not what you think it 'is' and you'll never know until it actually happens 'to' you.

I highly recommend checking out the work of Robert Anton Wilson, particularly "Prometheus Rising", he may offer a more useful, non-mystical way of looking at this that'll actually benefit you rather than leading you into constant conflict with people on here. I can see where you're complaints and objections are coming from, there's nothing new in what you're saying and the same criticisms have been leveled before, but without having the experience to back up your assertions, you're only giving an opinion, not stating facts.
C C C, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 946 Join Date: 3/9/10 Recent Posts
I know it's important for you to win tommy, so I'm stepping down....you win. You're the boss. I don't know what I'm talking about. I only had one word for the Abyss and you had about five. I'm no competition for a guy who's read so many books.

By the way I have done both absorption and insight practices. Insight practices I gave up on because they made me feel horrible. Absorption I still have a go at most days. I usually fall asleep so I'm not too good at it. Certainly not as good as you.
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Tommy M, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
I know it's important for you to win tommy

I literally have no idea what you're talking about.

I'm no competition for a guy who's read so many books.

You're the only one who sees this as a competition; I speak from experience, not from books.
Change A., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 793 Join Date: 5/24/10 Recent Posts
C C C:
We also create (as a collective) all the stages of spiritual development to go along with it. It creates comfort and security to have a map, and to have others alongside who are trekking with us.


Somehow sounds true to me.
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Simon E, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Back From The Black

Posts: 248 Join Date: 9/23/11 Recent Posts
C C C:
In the world, those who talk non-stop about money are the poor. Those who talk most about women and sex are virgins. Those who talk most about enlightenment are ego-maniacs. It's very obvious after reading through the Dho pages for a while. If you're thirsty, water is all you talk about.


While that may be true, it's also true that carpenters talk about wood working, programmers talker about programming and meditators talk about meditation. Having an interest in a subject and participating in communities related to those interests isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Metta,
Simon

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