Finding the motivation and the right approach to complete 2nd path?

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Andy H, modified 7 Years ago.

Finding the motivation and the right approach to complete 2nd path?

Posts: 22 Join Date: 6/15/11 Recent Posts
I got stream entry august 2011 (if curious, see http://dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/2171275 and previous posts). Here, almost two years after, the changes brought on by the SE experience are still highly evident. If to describe what I find most central in these changes, I would emphasize the extreme reduction in "fear/anxiety" and "illusions", which earlier, to a great extent, influenced my life. Thus, it has implied several changes to how I live my life.

So, what I did after SE and some weeks in the review stage was to more or less to stop practicing and start to enjoy my life, more than I have ever done before. After around six months I got a non-dangerous, but extremely painful, medical condition, which lasted around eight months before surgery, finally, removed the pain. During this "pain period", I actually felt good most of the time despite of being in pain. However, I found it impossible to practice in a solid manner. After the surgery in the end of 2012, I got back to enjoying almost every moment of my life again. Thus, during the last two years I have hardly been meditating, except for calming down occasional disturbing thoughts and vibrations, as well an attempt to grab 2nd path during a 4 days home-retreat (I gave up, feeling that my concentration and motivation were too weak).

My main issue is that I struggle to find the motivation to do the work (which I assume is) required to get 2nd path. Since I really enjoy my life after SE (including helping others) I do not feel a great urge to change anything. In fact, it was unsatisfactoriness and a lack of sense of purpose in life, which drove me to do the intensive practice that got me SE. However, since these factors are no longer a significant part of my life, I find it hard to put "almost everything in my life" aside to chase 2nd path. On the other hand, I feel I owe it to myself to complete the paths, and there are still several illusions, which I clearly can see are illusions, but hold on to.

So, my questions to you, 2-4nd path yogis, are: 1) Do you think I should go for 2nd path in near future or wait until the right motivation comes by itself? 2) Do you have any ideas for how to get the "old" motivation back? 3) Do you have any suggestions for getting 2nd path, without having to sit on the cushion on a daily basis and for hundreds of hours?

I am looking forward to your answers.

Best Regards

Andy
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fivebells ., modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Finding the motivation and the right approach to complete 2nd path?

Posts: 566 Join Date: 2/25/11 Recent Posts
Turn to the dissatisfaction in your life. The motivation will come from there.

If nothing else, you are still going to wither and die. Prepare now, while it's easy to do so. You won't have the necessary stability of mind in the midst of your dissolution.
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Andy H, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Finding the motivation and the right approach to complete 2nd path?

Posts: 22 Join Date: 6/15/11 Recent Posts
Dear Fivebells,

Thanks for your reply, I appreciate it. However, I get the feeling that you are from another Buddhist tradition than the one I belong to. Herby not to say that any Buddhist approach is better than another, merely that it is subjective what works for the individual. Personally, I have been involved in various Buddhist traditions, but really only "saw the light" after reading Daniels book. Thus, this is my point of reference, since this is what worked for me.

fivebells .:
Turn to the dissatisfaction in your life. The motivation will come from there.


As I remember Daniels advice about what to do after SE, it was to go out and enjoy life, which seems to be something much different than looking for things to be dissatisfied about? Maybe I do not understand what you mean?

fivebells .:
If nothing else, you are still going to wither and die. Prepare now, while it's easy to do so. You won't have the necessary stability of mind in the midst of your dissolution.


Well since SE, I have not been afraid of dying. Obviously I would prefer to live for many more years, but if I should die now, I would go in peace and without fear. I get the feeling that you may be thinking of avoiding rebirth? However, after my work on debunking the illusion of a separate self, I kind of have lost my belief in this idea. Maybe I do not understand what you mean?

BR

Andy
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fivebells ., modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Finding the motivation and the right approach to complete 2nd path?

Posts: 566 Join Date: 2/25/11 Recent Posts
No, I don't believe in post-mortem rebirth. I mean coping with the suffering bound to arise in this life.

Sure, take profit from your practice so far. But there are still going to be disappointments, pains, even fury maybe. Life is not always going to be as comfortable as it is for you at the moment. The motivation to further practice is in that realization.

Using Meditation to Deal with Pain, Illness & Death
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katy steger, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Finding the motivation and the right approach to complete 2nd path?

Posts: 1745 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
Hi Andy,

1) Do you think I should go for 2nd path in near future or wait until the right motivation comes by itself? 2) Do you have any ideas for how to get the "old" motivation back? 3) Do you have any suggestions for getting 2nd path, without having to sit on the cushion on a daily basis and for hundreds of hours?
I like your post, it's so clear! Would that I could...

So, I'd go with option #1: I think if you're going along and can't see the other fetters presenting your life, that's great (or you're a fabricating psychopath emailing on prison break... Kidding!)

That release called sotapanna in buddhist traditions is incredibly nice, just as you say, a good deal of lifting on the anxiety front.

Since I really enjoy my life after SE (including helping others) I do not feel a great urge to change anything.
Great. A natural hazard after that first release is to change and teach and construct some kind of "give back" and it can put in motion a lot of stuff that one doesn't really see the full picture on yet. If your practice is still adhering to basic ethical discipline I'd say let the motivation find you. In my case, my ignorance is so pervasive and persistent, I have nooooo problem finding motivation to continue.
Rod C, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Finding the motivation and the right approach to complete 2nd path?

Posts: 88 Join Date: 11/19/12 Recent Posts
HI Andy, understand your position albeit mine has been over a shorter period. I got SE May 18th and gone through review which, since it runs itself, apart from exploring the new territory, makes it really tempting to sit back and just love the world. This is great but now review has ended and the high concentration post SE is dropping off, I feel like its time to get back to it. If SE meant improving things 'this' much, imagine how much better it is further on? (realising its not all linear of course) but to me after the 'post SE party' is over, I can see plenty that is unsatisfactory and giving me suffering - this is where my motivation is coming from. So find yours and act accordingly. Katy and Dreamwalker gave me some great advice on what to do at this point to progress beyond - this maybe helpful for you too if you are wanting to go further.
Stream Entry - what to do after?
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Andy H, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Finding the motivation and the right approach to complete 2nd path?

Posts: 22 Join Date: 6/15/11 Recent Posts
Thanks for your replies - they have all been very helpful!

I think the main reason why my "SE honeymoon" has lasted so long is that the experience inspired a number of significant changes in my life, including changing my job to something that I am passionate about and feel I have the possibility to do some good in, rather than my previous carrier which was most of all about status (decreased fear of loss of social status). Furthermore, I have dropped some (unhealthy) friendships and instead use more time on the few ones that really matters (decreased fear of losing of social status), incorporated a healthier lifestyle (removal of illusions), left all my Buddhist communities (removal of illusions), gotten out of an unhealthy relationship (decreased fear of being alone) and a bunch of other stuff. On the top of this I used around 8 months on getting rid of the pains that my medical condition caused, which I should have done much earlier, before it got so bad.

fivebells .:
No, I don't believe in post-mortem rebirth. I mean coping with the suffering bound to arise in this life.

Sure, take profit from your practice so far. But there are still going to be disappointments, pains, even fury maybe. Life is not always going to be as comfortable as it is for you at the moment. The motivation to further practice is in that realization.

Using Meditation to Deal with Pain, Illness & Death


I think we are on the same page then ;-) Yes, I am aware of occasional dissatisfactions and sticky illusions, but at the moment these do not take up much room in my life, which I attribute to the many changes. However, I have a strong feeling that they eventually will, and by then, I will definitely be motivated to go for the 2nd path. Maybe I should have been clearer; my question was more about doing it right now or if it would make sense to wait a bit more; in fact, I cannot imagine waiting more than maximum two years before again being willing to invest the 2-4 hours of daily practice, as well as doing retreats.

katy steger:

So, I'd go with option #1: I think if you're going along and can't see the other fetters presenting your life, that's great


As mentioned above, I can see the feathers, and I definitely expect them to become more evident or problematic, as the many changes in my life become "everyday life".

katy steger:

A natural hazard after that first release is to change and teach and construct some kind of "give back" and it can put in motion a lot of stuff that one doesn't really see the full picture on yet. If your practice is still adhering to basic ethical discipline I'd say let the motivation find you. In my case, my ignorance is so pervasive and persistent, I have nooooo problem finding motivation to continue.


Well, I cannot see myself ever becoming a spiritual teacher - I do not have this urge and there are many teachers much better than me - my talents and potential for doing something "good" are in a much different areas - so, no worries ;-)

Rod C:
If SE meant improving things 'this' much, imagine how much better it is further on? (realising its not all linear of course) but to me after the 'post SE party' is over, I can see plenty that is unsatisfactory and giving me suffering - this is where my motivation is coming from. So find yours and act accordingly. Katy and Dreamwalker gave me some great advice on what to do at this point to progress beyond - this maybe helpful for you too if you are wanting to go further.
Stream Entry - what to do after?


Thanks for the motivation speech and the link; I look forward to reading it ;-)

Best Regards

Andy
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dream walker, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Finding the motivation and the right approach to complete 2nd path?

Posts: 1312 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
Andy H:

1) Do you think I should go for 2nd path in near future or wait until the right motivation comes by itself?
2) Do you have any ideas for how to get the "old" motivation back?
3) Do you have any suggestions for getting 2nd path, without having to sit on the cushion on a daily basis and for hundreds of hours?

So you need a motivation talk....ok
So you were living a life with 20 pounds of crap on your back and with diligent work you managed to remove 5 pounds of it.....woo hoo congrats! Take a rest, enjoy!!! Ummmm, hate to point out the obvious but there is still 15 pounds of crap on your back. I'm sure it feels so much lighter with 5 pounds gone that you can't even notice the rest. Now the first 5 pounds you could notice real easy that it was there and it's removal. The second 5 pounds are harder to notice (I didn't) but when it was gone it was an OMG experience....I can't believe how much stress went away....better than the first. What if you were only a couple weeks from getting second path? What if you only needed to meditate an hour a day to get it? What if the act of meditating was good unto itself without the path focus? Mahasi says getting 2nd path is in some ways easier than the first. It really might not be that hard...we are talking months here for some.....
Get on your lazy ass and start doing nothing...lots of it ;o)

Hope that helped
Good luck
~D
Rod C, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Finding the motivation and the right approach to complete 2nd path?

Posts: 88 Join Date: 11/19/12 Recent Posts
I don't know about Andy but I am feeling pretty motivated after reading that and I am already motivated emoticon
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Andy H, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Finding the motivation and the right approach to complete 2nd path?

Posts: 22 Join Date: 6/15/11 Recent Posts
Thanks for the additional motivation speeches - it seems to have worked ;-) I have been away from the forum for almost two years, so being able to share my thoughts and reading your comments, as well as looking at other posts, seems to have triggered something in my memory. So I am back on the cushion. In fact, the last few days, I have been going through my old notes and been meditating for 5-7 six hours a day - I clearly recognize the DN stages, where I am currently at. However, I will take a patient approach, but ensure that my concentration is in place, next time I get the chance to home-retreat for a few days. If not sooner, I will have plenty of time in February and March to do weeks of retreats.

Thanks again ;-)

Best

Andy
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Dream Walker, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Finding the motivation and the right approach to complete 2nd path?

Posts: 1312 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
Remember the middle path. Don't over do it and burn out (maybe this is normal for you so I don't know)
Remember this is a long distance race with some sprints in between. If you need to sprint to get going great.
Maybe this is normal for you, I'm just saying don't go bat shit crazy then come back and blame me for over motivating you ;o)
Best of luck
~D
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Andy H, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Finding the motivation and the right approach to complete 2nd path?

Posts: 22 Join Date: 6/15/11 Recent Posts
Exactly - the middle path! ...not like the first path where it was more of a "do or die" approach.

Thanks ;-)

Best

Andy
Jeffrey Snowden, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Finding the motivation and the right approach to complete 2nd path?

Post: 1 Join Date: 6/13/13 Recent Posts
Hey Andy,

I was in the same boat as you until last week. I got SE in November of 2011 on a 40 day retreat and had not progressed for a long time, I even sat another 40 day retreat and a few shorter ones but never had another path moment - that said I wasn't really attempting to progress, more just riding the wave of SE. Even when I did try to progress I didn't get anywhere, most likely because of my practice style.

Recently I've gotten my ass back in gear and started cycling through the nana's which I had not done as a practice in a long time if ever. It was pretty evident which nana I was in and quickly found I could easily get up to EQ and back down then go up though the first 4 jhanas. So I did that for about two weeks and was getting into some pretty nice EQ states and life was really good.

Last week I was sitting around and experienced a fruition that was very similar to SE (and only one I have had since the SE fruition) except a little less profound because I had done it before.

At this point I'm pretty sure it was 2ed path for a few reasons:

1) A few days later during a sit I could not get past the A&P, it felt like there was a blockage that I could not get past, then after a sit or two I could.

2) There is something different about my sensate experience, I can't quite place my finger on it but something is different, life is less sticky I guess and there is less room for suffering to arise as there is less of a me to suffer.

3) Going though the nana's in my sits has been different, its harder to get up to EQ and getting though A&P is the hardest part - or takes the most attention.

So far this shift has been fairly minor compared to SE and was a whole lot easier, it took me around two weeks from setting the intention to get 2ed where I only sat an hour a day (2x 30m sits). But it's more than worth it, I recommend you keep sitting - which it seems like you're doing a lot of.

When I did have my 2ed path moment (or what I think was the 2ed path moment) I kind of laughed at it thinking "that was it?" "that can't have been it!" - I tend to build it up in my mind expecting bells and whistles or for the world to jump into a song and dance parade ala Farris Bueller - after SE I laughed for a solid five minutes because it was so 'nothing' compared to what I had built it up to be in my mind.

Anyway look forward to hearing about your progress.
My sense of self was still pretty strong after SE. That meant there was still a virus in my system and I was still trapped in the sick netherworld that most unfortunate 'souls' spend their entire lives in. It was a pretty crap existence even when the circumstances of my life weren't terribly difficult on the outside. But then the circumstances changed and I effectively had to throw myself in the deep end and learn to swim, or drown. Fortunately, and thanks to the remarkable potential of being a human being, I was able to adapt, and through the stress involved many further cycles were precipitated. That's what I recommend: find some way to help others that's completely out of your comfort zone, dive in, and in the process of adapting, you'll likely be amazed, like I was, by your natural capacity for change, and find plenty of evidence for continuing the path. It's a great approach to life that I definitely intend to employ many times again in future.

For second path I just meditated as usual until I crossed the A&P, spent a further week anguishing in the DN, once I eventually found the time to sit again in meditation, spent an hour or two practising jhana, climbed up to EQ, adjusted my perspective to omit the areas I had found self in, then had a fruition, locking in this new perspective. Subsequent reductions in self often haven't involved the pre-A&P nanas at all, but just recognizing some new layer of duality/self, adjusting my perspective, and using fruitions to lock this in.
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Nikolai ., modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Finding the motivation and the right approach to complete 2nd path?

Posts: 1648 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
For Stream-Enterers: A Different Way of Doing 2nd Path

i'm writing this for stream-enterers, to suggest an alternate way of
doing 2nd path; alternate, that is, to what daniel ingram writes about
in 'mastering the core teachings of the buddha'. keep in mind as you
read this that the evidence behind this suggestion is mostly based on
the experiences of one person, me. i should also point out that in no
way am i knocking what worked so well for me for getting 1st path. i
would probably still be wandering around aimlessly, alternating
between getting oddly neurotic about my crap and spacing out into
equanimity and the formless strata, if it weren't for daniel, his
book, mahasi, and the maps. however, my rapid success at finishing 2nd
path makes me think this is worth putting out there because the method
i employed was so markedly different from how daniel portrays 2nd path
practice that i think other people should know about this alternative
as a possibility.

daniel recommends doing 2nd path like he recommends doing 1st path:
note note note, rise through the cycles, let it sync up, pop a
fruition. i did not do this. in fact, although i'd already dropped
into the next mind-and-body, i thought it might be better to not start
another path so soon and made no effort to cross the a&p. i went about
my daily life, making little or no time for formal practice, and
electing instead to, purely out of curiosity and fascination, watch
inclusively and in particular to see through the sensations that make
up the notions of 'inclusive', 'watching', and 'centre' whenever it
occurred to me to do so, or whenever it just happened on its own
(which, upon reflection, happened pretty often). the times i noticed
the cycles at all, i noticed them in a very basic and uninterested
way, made no effort to investigate them or the sensations that make
them up, and only recognised when i'd broken into a new stage after a
day or two had already passed. in retrospect, the a&p was inspiring
and energised, the dark night sucked, and equanimity was equanimity..
but i wouldn't have been able to tell you that while it was going on
(except by two days into the dark night, i knew it sucked).

here is the suggestion:
if, in working on 2nd path, you find yourself scrambling up the
insight ladder just because you think you're supposed to, but are not
sure why you're doing this, it might work for you to focus on seeing
the quality of the sensations here and now in an open and inclusive
way, keeping a clear eye on the so-called background to see if
anything's moving around back here. ignore everything that is not
obviously the clear and direct answer of paying attention here and
now.

it didn't occur to me, for the most part, to try to move from one
stage to another, but while i was in the dark night, i got concerned
about making progress for a day or two. but when it occurred to me
that i was only doing that because of pain and worry, i resolved to
stop running away and promptly did. if you tune your eye in to the
here and now, all that stuff will just rush by like water going down
the drain. just keep re-tuning your eye to this, knowing that none of
it is the solution. scary, mildly yet deeply painful, but try to run
this process in the back of your mind again and again while you're
going about your day. that's all i did, and less than a week after
crossing the new a&p, i got a fruition that left the background
shattered thoroughly and in an entirely new way. i had no idea i was
that close. it took a few hours to be sure i'd really finished the
path (but that still beat the few days it took to be sure about the
first one), and when i'd answered that question to my own
satisfaction, the certainty did not come from having had another
fruition, but from the clear difference in my baseline (read: right
now) perception and the diminished level of solidity in it.

so, once again:

see the sensations here and now in an open and inclusive way, paying
careful attention to the totality of experience as well as what seems
to be 'outside' that totality. don't get caught up about what things
mean and if you do, don't give a shit that you're caught up cos you're
not really, you just think you are. just keep paying attention in such
a way that nothing will take it away. the cycles may, and probably
will, happen, but ignore them and basically just practise as if you're
already in equanimity regardless of what shows up.

you don't have to wait until going for 3rd path to do this if it makes
sense to you to do this here and now.

tarin greco (theprisonergreco)
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Andy H, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Finding the motivation and the right approach to complete 2nd path?

Posts: 22 Join Date: 6/15/11 Recent Posts
Jeffrey S:

So far this shift has been fairly minor compared to SE and was a whole lot easier, it took me around two weeks from setting the intention to get 2ed where I only sat an hour a day (2x 30m sits). But it's more than worth it, I recommend you keep sitting - which it seems like you're doing a lot of.


Jeffrey, thanks for the post. Yes, most often I find it rather pleasant to sit -- so when the motivation is there, I have no problems getting the work done. In this context, I may mention that I primarily do my meditation in a 45 degree chair in order to avoid any discomfort while sitting. And yes, my motivation is back! In fact, I must admit that there is much more dissatisfaction than I claimed (and believed) a few weeks ago ;-)

Nikolai .:

For Stream-Enterers: A Different Way of Doing 2nd Path



Nikolai, thanks for the post -- I will definitely give this approach a shot, although the concept of "background" is a bit unclear to me. When try this focus, what I currently get is some sort of flickering, but in a manner somewhat hard to keep my focus on. I guess that I need to work more on it ;-)

Best

Andy

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