Trying to flip it, effort of flipping it seems counterproductive

Mind over easy, modified 7 Years ago.

Trying to flip it, effort of flipping it seems counterproductive

Posts: 216 Join Date: 4/28/12 Recent Posts
So I won't recount everything I've been doing up to this point since I've posted about it in the past, but I'll just say where I'm at, in hopes that I might get some useful responses, which almost always happens.

I've noticed that after generating enough dispassion, it seems like the highs and the lows (A&P and Dark Night, possibly) are becoming smaller and smaller, more indiscernible. It's like a pendulum that's running it's course, swinging less far to each side each time. There is definitely a sense that nanas are not real, a fabricated thing, and that a lot of the power of the nanas comes from fabrication and effort. I've been working with the "practice as though in EQ" mentality, and if I had to place myself on the map, it'd definitely be in EQ anyways. Things have little momentum or stickiness, and there is generally no trouble with watching a variety of things happen, just "in this space", without preference. It used to be almost impossible to take up the "everything is happening in this space" idea in practice, since things were so this-sided and that-sided, thoughts had so much more weight, and investigation was narrow, in the sense that it was more of just watching one sense at a time, taking one object at a time, investigating one concept (such as one of the 3 c's) at a time. Now I seem to have much less trouble just taking the whole thing in, like seeing my perceived/inferred center point as one blade of grass, and switching the focus to the whole field of grass, gently swaying in the wind, all blades of grass swaying.

The 3 characteristics discussion comes to mind. I pretty much owe my progress up to a recent point in noting with high intensity, and working hard to see the characteristic of impermanence, of which it seems the easiest to "force into view", by way of rapid noting. Note rapidly and with enough energy, and the unstable, vibratory nature of things seems clear, and this is really the thing that used to define being able to cross the hump of the A&P. Then, in 3rd vipassana jhana, unsatisfactoriness becomes increasingly apparent, and this is investigated and surrender after surrender occurs, each level of surrender putting me in EQ, then dropping out of EQ, finding another layer of surrender. Then, in EQ... well... shit. The map terminology would be "stuck in EQ". Pertaining to the 3 C's, this seems to be the point at which no-self seems to need to develop. I have no problem just noting the shit out of everything and making vibrations clear. I have little to no problem with 3rd vipassana jhana and the suffering stuff that comes up, surrendering to it and letting it be apparent. I sense that the missing leg of the tripod is insight into no-self. Vibrations are easy, I just have to put the effort and constant refreshing of attention into practice, seeing unsatisfactoriness is easy, things that suck about the annoying/painful tendencies to grasp obviously suck, and "inviting them over for tea" is all it takes to allow the things to be. Of course, I don't claim a perfect understanding of either characteristic, but what I realize I don't have any capacity to truly see is no-self. Sometimes formless aspects predominate, and sometimes things that seemed to be self disappear, but this can't be insight into self, I think. It's the difference between seeing that something doesn't seem to be me, and seeing right through the core of me, seeing that it is a fiction and truly finding that the center point does not exist.

I already brought this up in the past, but I'll put it here, for continuity. In generating dispassion and letting aspects of selfing run their course and lose fuel, it seems that practicing is exactly the wrong thing to do. Not that I think people should not be doing any kind of inquiry into reality (I haven't heard of anyone getting spontaneously enlightened without doing anything to set it up), but at this point, it seems like practice doesn't do anything, and that practicing is just another faculty of the selfing process. But, if I'm not investigating, not inquiring, I don't just get enlightened. It's a paradox. I know that it will take some effort to get enlightened, but effort seems counterproductive and a continuation of the process of which I'm trying to stop.

My current strategy is in constantly using the viewpoint of "everything is happening in this space", trying to see the whole field of awareness as evenly and indiscriminately as possible, without poking, prodding, peeling, touching, or adding any significance. It involves realizing that dispassion and impartiality aren't choices or methods, but rather the natural state of things, since even the thoughts that imply choice, inclination, and preference are still just objects without an owning object to impart partiality.

My biggest roadblock, the thing that seems like the brick wall, is that the illusion of self still seems to persist, to be perpetuated, even when it seems like there is impartiality to the whole field.

Maybe it's a lack of honesty with myself about what in the field I'm not really impartial to. Maybe it's a lack of clarity about more things in the field, things that are still left unseen. Maybe I could use some sort of adjustment in my practice, maybe there is some way to investigate something that I'm not investigating. I'm totally all ears to anyone who has any ideas, clues, pointers, or the like.

Another thought... I wonder if noting should come back into play. I haven't really been using noting much lately, since noting seems like a very surface level way of seeing reality. Noting makes sense for impermanence, by the fact that if you note fast enough, you start to see the oscillation of the sensations because you're looking at the oscillations rather than the smooth wave seen from a lower resolution. Noting also makes partial sense for unsatisfactoriness, since if you know the practice is surrender to whatever experience comes up, noting puts the sensations that make up unsatisfactoriness on the (dis)assembly line, so you know to drop them, but unlike just seeing vibrations, you have to make a choice to accept the unsatisfactoriness as reality to move on. Noting makes less sense for no-self to me, since it is grabbing at sensations and seeing that they are not the sensations that are doing the process. But in grabbing what seems like to be infinitely many sensations and seeing them as no-self, it still seems like the sensations of self cannot be found, yet the glue of self, delusion, stays intact. Thus, I find that somehow, noting as I am practicing it does not break the delusion of self itself.

Here's the paradox: if there is no self to realize no-self, how can there be any chance of ever flipping the thing for good? If there is nothing to change, if no-self is really the truth, what is there even to flip? If it is all fluctuating, how could anything be solid and enduring enough to actually impart this sense of self? It seems like no-self can't be found even in looking at the sensations that make up self, since even in looking at those, the sense (but for some reason, not necessarily visible sensations) of self still seems to be on the side that is looking at the sensations. It's like trying to point a finger at self. Self seems so tangible, but every time I try, I see the the extended arm that the finger is connected to, extending from seemingly nowhere, and it feels like I'm actually on the side doing the pointing. And if I try to then point at that, the same problem/practice-paradox occurs. I resonate with what Daniel writes about equanimity, in particular:

"Equanimity is much more about something in the relationship to phenomena than anything specific about the phenomena themselves."

Edit: also:
"tactlessly and tirelessly
I swoop and soar
in mangled arcs
on dancing sparks
at once a saint and whore
finding merely bliss beyond compare
I despair...

blessed weariness
blessed, blessed forgetting
a puppy chases its vanishing tail
three times
and is gone!"
That's exactly what this feels like, chasing my tail.

"As formations become predominant, we are faced first with the question of what is watching what earlier appeared to be both sides."

The last quote hits home with me. Mind and body really don't seem to be a problem at this point. There isn't anything in the field that I can discern that I'm being partial to, or that I can discern as self, but it seems like all of that is on the side that this side is looking at. But the duality excludes this side from being part of that side, and looking at this side really just turns out to be looking at that side. I feel the sense that self is on this side, in the field of impartial awareness, but when I look at that sense, it really turned out to be that side, but then I'm at the same point, looking at that side, and feeling on this side. I really do get the sense that I'm starting to get to the very root of it, but I'm very unclear on how to get past the brick wall that seems to be between this side and the other side, as investigation/sense of self are all clearly on that side when I look, but anywhere I look, there is an implied side that I'm looking from. You can't stand across from yourself and look at your face, since by the time you're looking you're now on that side and not the side you were intending to look. It's a blind spot, a blind spot that I'm basically 99% confident doesn't contain anything, (gateless gate) but a blind spot that I can't seem to check regardless. 99% of the field is integrated, but there is this 1% that is assuming the overseer, and I'm not sure what control I have to integrate that, because wherever I look for the thing that is left unseen, the thing that is unseen seems to be behind the brick wall.

So how do I see the whole field of experience at once, without having the blind spot that is the side that sees the whole field?
katy steger, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Trying to flip it, effort of flipping it seems counterproductive

Posts: 1745 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
Hi M.O.E.
Of course, I don't claim a perfect understanding of either characteristic, but what I realize I don't have any capacity to truly see is no-self.

Good. This is not something you should see. It's an investigation*. So in that investigation, an honest investigation, you explore "What makes I?" "Am I continuous and of some substrate base? If so, what? If not, how?"

So there's malleability of mind in investigating, not applying some determined view (no-self) and you have that malleability of mind. You have that in music, also, I think. I assume (uh oh...) that when you learn someone else's music, you don't start out saying, "It should sound like this." Perhaps you do. But I'm thinking with your own music or other's music you're investigating, "What can this music say? How can this series of notes be expressed?" "Why these notes?" "What is this for the composer? What is this to me? What is this on another instrument? What is this without every fourth note or in a new timing?"

So one is looking at oneself not actually forcing some "no-self" conclusion. One is looking truly, in a lab, what am I? What am I doing? What does "I" avoid? What does "I" like? Is this "I" on the road to reliable happiness, if not why? If so, why/how? What am I? When I take an ice cold shower what am I? When I jog when I don't want to what am I? When I have an exercise-induced euphoria what am I? When I have a music composing-block depression what am I? When wanting sensual, what am I? When not wanting sensual things, what am I? What is coming and going here, what am I? Etc emoticon

Your thoughts?

(I enjoyed your thread)

*Edit: then maybe you see something for yourself, ehi-passiko.
Pablo . P, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Trying to flip it, effort of flipping it seems counterproductive

Posts: 379 Join Date: 3/21/12 Recent Posts
D_Z gave sometime ago a very clear and short explanation of how no-self is spotted. Unfortunately I couldn't find it in his recent posts, so you may have to ask him. It was something like that in EQ you start to see some errors in the noting itself and so leading to: who is noting? So there's awareness and the awareness of a self that is noting, or something along these lines.

Also, here there's Ron Crouch long description on what happens in EQ, and how deepening in Impermanence leads to Cessation. His description is at some point very similar to Shinzen Young's, which says that close to Cessation, fully immersed in vibrations, "What is happening is that the mind naturally begins to focus on the moments in the vibration when there is nothing rather than something" (RC). SY says that (only) at this point a figure-ground reversal occurs and what actually happens is that the self sees itself coming into and out of existence, that the self is just like any other phenomena that arises and passes.

I'm sure that advanced yogis will correct my un-mature understanding of the subject, but nevertheless it may fuel the discussion of this key topic.
katy steger, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Trying to flip it, effort of flipping it seems counterproductive

Posts: 1745 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
I really liked those, too, Pablo, (and had forgotten about that article), including the one that follows it on cessation, particularly where Ron Crouch writes, "Now in these final moments of High Equanimity you are ready to have the culminating insight, the experience of Nirvana itself: Cessation." It points to how nibbana itself is nothing special, but that effect of watching the mind to the point of it stopping and then re-igniting is very energizing, very uplifting, life-changing. That effect is counter-intuitive to say the least. Another description I like in regards to Nibbana is one Bhikkhu Bodhi gave during a talk last weekend that notes the stream-enterer-understanding perceives nibbana like the light of a quarter moon, the sakadagami-understanding like the light of a half moon, the anagami-understanding like the light of a 3/4 and the arahant, like the light of the full moon. I would't know about all of those but it gives me curiosity and shores up interest in more practice.
Rist Ei, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Trying to flip it, effort of flipping it seems counterproductive

Posts: 500 Join Date: 7/14/13 Recent Posts
sense of self. No-self is its one characteristic.

the three 3C also are three doors through you get the realization, attainment, fruition.
You need to know only one C.
When i try to "make myself clear foorcing method" i go through impermanece door (simplest to me)
When i do the opposite trying to "surrender by going deeper and deeper" then i realize through noself door. (one time for sure)

i don't know yet about suffering but i think it will be intenser than the other doors, becasue all i have read is that people are suffering alot then there is an event and then after some time we will see a book given out about the moment of now.

its not an intellectual act, it just happens. Later even it can be seen coming. Every time it happens sense of self is more naked, everything is simple like in a cartoon for a while but then it gets nasty and confusing again till next realization but every time sense of self is more naked. Happyiness grows by itself.

also imho the moment of now is the fruition, enjoying the fruit of current level of realization. Since its realization then there is no going back after realization of something, you will get used to this level and yearn new one..

Dream Walker, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Trying to flip it, effort of flipping it seems counterproductive

Posts: 1312 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
Mind the gap...

Pick the thing that presents itself most strongly and repeats...look into the gap between notes...the void is in there if you can see it clearly...
The thing you see can be anything but there is always a gap between each moment of awareness...see this clearly...try noting gone like Shinzen Young's exercise if you can't seem to grasp the gap itself.
For me it was the sensation of heat in the was constant heat but I would be aware of it's rising and passing then a gap where everything would fade and then it would repeat.

Daniel M. Ingram:
Actually, the trick in Equanimity staying into the thing just doing its thing, and that thing could be ANYTHING!

Now, that thing could be the breath, could just be whatever happens, could be thoughts, could just be being really honest about what is actually going on regardless of it is, could just be being yourself in some really ordinary and non-idealized way, could be really letting the mind just do what it wants to do, all while really being naturally present to that just as it occurs.

It could be wanting to control things. It could be watching that struggle itself. It could be wishing thoughts would do whatever or not do whatever. It could be just letting your stuff happen. It could be fluxing formless realms. It could be ultra-powerful concentration. It could be noticing the motion of attention as it creates space just by being itself and moving around making space. It could be that space and attention are the same thing. It could just be following the textures of form and mind as they synchronize. It could be being really annoyed that the mind isn't "behaving", whatever that is. It could be noting forms moving and changing. It could be some other formal practice just formally practicing or trying to practice. It could be any conflict, any harmony, any success, any failure, any neutrality, anything: but that thing, whatever it is, as it is, is the key, right then and really following it, really merging into that impermanence, really giving into not being able to hold off as an observer, really not being able to find any place in space that anything can stand on and hold out from, as the whole thing is allowed to show just how utterly unstable the whole thing really is with no reference points or practitioner or anything remaining uninformed and unviolated by that direct and totally absorbed, naturally fascinated following of all of that.

Staying on any of that: letting it take you out. Letting it vanish and take you with it. Letting it stutter. Letting it shift and squirm. Letting space flow towards disappearing totally with all that is in it.

Any of that make any sense?


Keep concentration high but don't force it or the noting in high EQ....
best of luck