SE/Satori? Transmission to friends and strangers.

Charlie Cushing, modified 7 Years ago.

SE/Satori? Transmission to friends and strangers.

Posts: 4 Join Date: 7/13/13 Recent Posts
Hey all, this website is a really neat idea. Crowdsourcing of this sort seems like a neat use of the internet.

Anys:

So I get the impression from reading these boards that people claiming to attainments is sort of tricky business. It's highly subjective, egos are involved, people get bound up in the prospect of being special or having some kind of calling, etc...
I can certainly attest to this from my own experiences, which I'd very much like to share here - A handful of experiences which have left me more confused and isolated but also more free and full of faith than seemingly nothing short of a planecrash or NDE should be capable of instilling in someone.
So it is with some degree of trepidation that I write this. It makes me feel special. It makes me feel like the walls of my prison are denser. That the guard has doubled and is more alert than usual. That my little secret digging spoon is softer. Escape feels more distant.

So here's another A&P/SE/Satori claim with a twist: I cause other people to have the experience with me. WOO look at that self-importance fly! me, me, me. Walls made of metal. Need a bigger spoon. (I honestly have no idea what to do with this big pink elephant that appears whenever "I" talk about "me"...it's just so paradoxical that it demands to be pointed at and joked about)

I have had a handful of experiences, ranging from what seems to be A&P up through kensho and satori/SE. The satori/SE experiences have ALL occurred only while in conversation with other people, all of whom reported profound alterations in consciousness that very precisely matched the experiences as I witnessed them subjectively. I do not meditate and I do not know much about these things from a dharma(?) perspective, but the experiences have lead me nowhere but in this direction, so here I am reading about Buddhism and samsara and jhana and satori and kensho and bheosop and fablriwn and @$%^#. The reason I'm reaching out to this community is to find a teacher and because these message boards are just an awesome concept. I feel that my experiences may find themselves well on here.

28 year old, male, depression sufferer for 20 years. I was raised under a roof where religion is basically the root of most of the problems in the civilized world and that science is the only true path to understanding. Very interested in philosophy, very uninterested in religion/spirituality, until recently. No meditating, until recently.

About 6 years ago I started really digging my feet in. Life just didn't make sense and I wanted to get to the bottom of it: I was becoming intensely aware of the absurd impossibility of the whole thing..."Big bang? whatever! how can this possibly be happening? Even if the universe IS here for perfectly good reasons: How is it that there is this self projected inside of it?!" Everyday was like this giant question mark of HOW?! What am I? What is this? It grew in me daily...genuine confusion, doubt, absolute eagerness to see how there could be this little person sitting in front of a console displaying 5+ senses...how is it that there is thing, made out of universe, that is perceiving itself?
Eventually I started having these little moments of AHA! that would last for a second or two...Eating breakfast, driving to work, at work, etc...my thoughts would zero in on the answer to my question like those moments in school when you aren't quite ready to understand how a certain mathematical principle works but suddenly get it for just a second, then it is gone. When the answer arrived at consciousness level it kind of brought the walls down around me for a second. It was passive, a lot like having something fall on your head out of nowhere...a totally unexpected Eureka from the subconscious. My experience would fundamentally shift just for a moment. It would feel like those times when you realize you left the oven on but good instead of bad. There was some electricity to it. A flash of truth and understanding for a brief moment.
Then everything would be back to normal...looking around...that was...weird? Carry on.
This has happened a little over a dozen times over the last 6 years. Last one was maybe two months ago.

These little AHA moments were taunting...they made me feel like there was something legitimate to my questioning of reality and it caused me to dig in even more. So at some point about 4 years ago I started really asking people what they thought about this situation that we find ourselves in. I don't think it was terribly humane, the way I went about it - I didn't really have any information about where THEY were philosophically.
But people would indicate that they were trying to see eye to eye with me, that they genuinely wanted to know what was going on with me...so I'd try to explain it to them. Then, one day, I REALLY DID explain it to someone and the roof blew off, for both of us. The words came out of me without any trace of resistance, as if I wasn't really the one speaking them. It was like one of those little AHA moments described above popped up right as I was explaining my view and it stayed long enough for me to point to it between the two of us. Like grabbing this persons hand and putting it on that thing and saying "SEE?! LOOK AT HOW YOU DON'T MAKE ANY SENSE! LOOK AT YOUR SITUATION! IT'S LIKE A BIG ILLUSION!". This first time was with a male, 3 years ago, lasted for about 3 hours. The second, female, 2 years ago for 1 hour. The third, female, for 15 minutes.

I just explain the situation to both of us, unrelentingly for about 10 minutes...The words are critical...there is something about the way the words come out, the way they're chosen and spoken and used to point at the moment in a very specific way. The Moment is just hell-bent on finding ways to trick the mind into turning away from it and the words are like this magic key that keeps the crosshairs on it until the mind can see, can attain.
So then that attainment occurs: The feeling is what I now associate with the words "bliss" and "harmony". But my real fondness for the state comes from the profound "bemusement", the slight tinge of really pure humor as if someone had left a truly funny joke for me to suddenly come across. I have a very clear memory of feeling so utterly bemused by how simple and funny and obvious the whole thing was. It was just ridiculous. But the "I" that felt it wasn't there...this is CRITICAL to the state: The conversation partner that shares the experience and I are no longer separate people...it's like the thing that's making the experience for both facets is directly in between the two of us - we are no longer concerned with ourselves in any way. In normal everyday life, it's infuriatingly impossible to speak about it with any truth...even more so when I try to feel it for real, when I try to apply it to life outside of that state. The joke is now not so funny.

The other thing about it that's really quite profound is "other" people in the environment. There is this powerful feeling of separateness from where they are in their heads. It is almost exactly what lucid dreaming is like when you meet a dream character and just observe how unreal it is...Or like when you are dealing with someone who is sleepwalking: They carry a vibe that doesn't really reflect upon the moment quite right. That always came up as a theme in these three instances...we as a single thing would look at other people, they would come up to ask for a pair of headphones, or something, and It was just so obvious that they weren't "here" in the same way. It was quite eyeopening and it has really changed the way I look at myself in normal every day to day life...I feel like I must be sleepwalking again, but lucidity doesn't come easily.
In fact, regarding lucid dreaming, I gotta say: This state is uncannily like being in a dream conversation with a dream character, starting to become lucid during that conversation, pointing the dream character to that concept of lucidity and relentlessly convincing it that it is a character in the dream, and then SNAP, the dreamer becomes lucid. Since neither of you are the solipsistic end-all be-all of the universe, you both realize that you are not real, you are both characters in the Big Dream that this bigger truth is having - and I guess that is supposed to be the Buddha or something? Big truth Buddha. All of this stuff around us and inside of us is one simple thing and this one simple thing makes everything, including what seems to be us.

Then leaving the state. Each of the three times it was the same: We stayed there for the allotted time, whatever the reason for that allotment, I hope I find out someday. Then there's this moment where "It" just knows that the time has come to go back to sleep. There is a strong sense of "duty" like it is supposed to go back to make some more theater with itself and that the self will re-materialize from that theater. It doesn't feel bad or wrong, it just feels like that's exactly the way it's happening and everything makes perfect sense. Then the world starts to feel more and more like you are in it instead of watching it. Back to normal, but, what was that all about!?

My conversation partners, the 3 separate folks who on 3 separate occasions shared this exact same experience with me, have all corroborated the details of this experience. They are profoundly affected just as I am. Upon reflection with each of them, there was a feeling of loss of self, "crumbling of reality", a sensation of awakening from a dream, "being in a hall of mirrors", being lucid in a dream of dreamers...

So, again, I'm not coming from a world that is very friendly to religion so I have these subconscious fears of it. Buddhism fell under the radar of my family and I've never had any reason to keep a distance from it aside from it's organized-religious attributes, the procedural stuff like worship and symbolic rituals and hierarchical rites of passage just make my skin crawl - it's all sleepwalking to me, spinning wheels.
These experiences have turned my world upside down, though. Some days I feel like I have been given a gift, which confuses me because it makes me feel like I'm deluding myself, strengthening my ego, and other days I feel like I'm in the most horrific prison and that I just want out...I want to go HOME, back to the truth! But that "want" makes the walls of my prison so much stronger and more impassible. It's like the parts of the Matrix that they didn't tell you about because it would just make the movie too confusing.
To explain further: I find myself trying to reproduce the process, trying to go back home to the truth, having conversations with friends in ways that approximate the conditions of before, but it never works because my intention muddies up the purity of the words and the true-true. It just doesn't work when you try. Do or do not I guess.
In any case, I'm sorta done messing around...The direct experience and the second-hand validation that has happened, 3 out of 3 times, has completely convinced me that there is something to the world that we just don't normally get to be with, and it is a better place, worth moving heaven and earth for. And it's right here between all of us and all of It, right in front of my nose, but ten million light years away. Chinese finger trap of the mind.

I feel utterly compelled to take this in a more tried and true direction.

I live in New Hampshire. Are there teachers for this sort of thing? Do I need to have a lot of money? Buying the truth just seems preposterous and a sham.

Is this even Buddhism?
What IS that state called? Do you recognize it? What about the little AHA moments? Any information on transmitting these states to other people through conversation?

-CC

-Edit-
A clarification I missed:
-2 of these were sober experiences, one was slightly h*gh.
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. Jake ., modified 7 Years ago.

RE: SE/Satori? Transmission to friends and strangers.

Posts: 698 Join Date: 5/22/10 Recent Posts
hi Charlie emoticon
Welcome!

So, there are some things in your post, such as the pattern of >inspiration or breakthrough cycling with trying unsuccessfully to regain that state by arranging the circumstances like last time it occurred< which remind me a lot of the A&P and surrounding territory (falling back to earlier stage, or falling forward into dark night, could both be accompanied by a sense of having 'lost' something).

Have you studied up on the terminology used here by reading some of MCTB? That could help facilitate conversation.

People experience SE differently on a case by case basis, but one pretty significant difference that tends to be noticed in comparison to A&P is that the latter is a lot more impressive in the moment, yet fades leaving little changed (besides memory, and things like aspiration which are based on memory). Whereas, SE is often less impressive in the moment yet leaves lasting changes which can become quite evident and even striking and profoundly transformative over time.

These are big generalizations of course.

Another way of putting the difference: A&P is a big awakening experience that you take something away from: an idea, a feeling, a worldview. SE (or Path in general) is an awakening experience that you lose something in (a way of being, or, a way of experiencing oneself and life...).
Charlie C, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: SE/Satori? Transmission to friends and strangers.

Posts: 4 Join Date: 7/13/13 Recent Posts
Hi Jake,
Thanks for your welcoming words!

MCTB is not an abbreviation I was familiar with, but I see that it is pointing to "mastering core teachings of the buddha". I'll have to look into it! Judging the book by it's literary cover, it sounds like something I could get into. Thanks!

To answer your question: The thing I found to be consistent among the three major experiences was that nothing was really/actually different. Everything was just the way it is on any other day, but it made sense all of a sudden, in the simplest way. Bemused to the core in a very simple way. No changes to the actual perception aside from being much more in the moment so as to fuel more appreciation of it. No more me or my conversation partner, just all of this thing happening right here right now.
BUT:
Everything, the whole thing, all of vision, smell, time(!?), names, self-identity, people, places, home, etc are all completely not at all...there? substantive? They're just not really there. They're all projected "nothings" of this one stupidly simple thing that's all by itself, it's the only thing.
And that's the thing that I take away from the experience each time. It's profound, humbling, really fun to show other people when I'm lucky enough to get the chance.
So it's kinda both: It's an idea/worldview, for sure, albeit a totally inexpressible one. But it's just as equally a way of being, a way of understanding and projecting the self...

It has definitely changed the way I look at myself and other people. I still get very much caught up in day to day life, crises, passion, etc. But now, in the back of my mind, I have a deep understanding that it's sort of like a big illusion that is happening to itself. So every once in a while I'll pull back and just put things into perspective, but that can be very difficult, depending on what's at stake emotionally. letting go.
The feeling of having "lost" something comes from that. Each time I have this experience and it is such a good teacher but it's so difficult to let go of all of "my stuff". Each experience is like a little death where I just let it all go all at once and that's very nice, it seems right.
It's hard not to objectify that, but each time you do, it becomes just another thing of which you must let go.

Many Thanks!
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. Jake ., modified 7 Years ago.

RE: SE/Satori? Transmission to friends and strangers.

Posts: 698 Join Date: 5/22/10 Recent Posts
I can certainly relate to that experience of complete letting go, both before and since awakening-- it is nice! It's amazing how simple 'it' is, reality-as-it-is. (Although, as it sounds like you are aware, it can be very easy to reify or over-concretize a memory of these experiences, to objectify them, such as by framing the meaning of the insight as 'everything is just a projection of this one simple thing' or any other characterization). It sounds like a period of pretty intensive inquiry preceded these flashes. Meditation practice can be a great way to deepen inquiry into a totally non-verbal direction. This can make the flashes of insight strike your bodymind in a deeper way and affect deeper shifts in how you relate to life and experience yourself.

I hope you enjoy MCTB! It's a pretty good book which a lot of people have had great benefit from emoticon
Charlie C, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: SE/Satori? Transmission to friends and strangers.

Posts: 4 Join Date: 7/13/13 Recent Posts
haha, yeah very interesting stuff.

I've started MCTB and it is definitely my kind of book. No embellishments, no flourishes, just a person explaining stuff.

Heh, Over-concretization is definitely a good way of putting it. I could tell as soon as I started really getting back into this, that I was just making it harder by thinking about it.

So let's assume for a second that we have a mutual understanding of the simple truth experienced through a similar "awakening".
Where are YOU at this point? I'd imagine you're in exactly the same place, no?

It strikes me that there is this spiritual path that goes something like:

-Great doubt and close inspection of reality leads to insight experience.
-Insight experience leads to faith in the concept of this simple-truth.
-Experience leaves the moment. The moment goes around and stuff happens.
-"You" have struggles and successes. Suffering and stuff.
-"You" keep faith in that simple-truth and practice what you find along your path to be simple-truth-instigating.
-Insight experiences begin happening with greater saturation and faith is further compounded.
-Rinse, repeat, ad nauseum.
-Eventually the cycle becomes so fast as to become a continuous experience of simple-truth. Like a cascading to singularity.
-Enlightenment.
-Experience STAYS in the moment. The moment goes around and stuff happens.
-More stuff happens. It watches itself go.
-The never-End.

(That right there ^ is where you hit me 30 times)

;)
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. Jake ., modified 7 Years ago.

RE: SE/Satori? Transmission to friends and strangers.

Posts: 698 Join Date: 5/22/10 Recent Posts
Hmm, yeah, your take on the basic cycle sounds OK. I don't know how different it is for different folks with different temperaments and employing different methods, though...

And if you take your write-up, to the point of 'enlightenment', and regard that as a sort of fractal spiral then you may get the gist of what many practitioners go through, yeah... no end! At least not yet.

I think you will like MCTB. I look forward to hearing about your experiences if you decide to experiment with a formal practice! It can be very rewarding emoticon Take care!
Charlie C, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: SE/Satori? Transmission to friends and strangers.

Posts: 4 Join Date: 7/13/13 Recent Posts
From MTCB:

"There also seems to be something that is frequently called “the watcher,” that which seems to be observing all this, and perhaps this is really the “I” in question. Strangely, the watcher cannot be found, can it? It seems to sometimes be our eyes, but sometimes not, sometimes it seems to be images in our head and sometimes something that is separate from them and yet watching the images in our head. Sometimes it seems to be our body, but sometimes it seems to be watching our body. Isn’t it strange how we are so used to this constant redefinition of ourselves that we never stop to question it? Question it! This odd sense of an unfindable watcher to which all of this is happening yet which is seemingly separate from all that is happening, which sometimes seems in control of “us” and yet which sometimes seems at the mercy of reality: what is it really? What is going on here?
One of my teachers once wisely said, “If you are observing it, then it isn't you by definition!” Notice that the whole of reality seems to be observed. The hints don't get any better than this. Here are three more points of theory that are very useful for insight practices and one’s attempts to understand what is meant by no-self:

1. There are absolutely no sensations that can observe other sensations! (Notice that reality is made entirely of sensations.)
2. There are no special sensations that are uniquely in control of other sensations.
3. There are no sensations that are fundamentally split off from other sensations occurring at that moment.

To begin to unravel this mystery is to begin to awaken. Simply put, reality with a sense of a separate watcher is delusion, and unconditioned reality, reality just as it is, is awakening.
...
So who is it that awakens? It is all of this transience which awakens... "
-MTCB.


So when you actually have the moment of understanding, when the self drops away leaving just the transience, that is Stream Entry? Or is that still A&P?
I guess another way of putting it: Is A&P a little awakening in and of itself or does it simply lead to the insight required to actually open the eye?

Many thanks and best wishes.
-CC
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Simon T., modified 7 Years ago.

RE: SE/Satori? Transmission to friends and strangers.

Posts: 381 Join Date: 9/13/11 Recent Posts
Welcome to the board. Great post by the way. I find those kind of social experiment of unraveling reality are underestimated. There is a lot to be gained by this, simply by having this conversation, like you describe it. I think it's a great complement to the more technical and direct approach as in provide more relaxation and bring a social dimension. Humans are social animals after all we often have a tendency of seeing the path as a lonely quest by its nature.

Here is my skype: simontanguay

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