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Applying insights to your life
Answer
3/12/14 12:29 PM
So I've been pondering the purpose of insight practices and I have some questions.

Maybe I'm missing it, but I can't find anything in MCTB that suggests why you would want to embark on the path of insight. Daniel mentions his life is immeasurably better in almost every way but what is the relation to insight practices? I guess what I'm asking is how does seeing rising and falling of sensations, impermanence, etc. translate to a better life? What specific knowledge have you attained through the path to insight that you can apply to your life to make it better?

I've noticed on these forums and elsewhere when someone has a seemingly big experience they are asked to sit with it and then see if it has changed their outlook. Other than seeing that the nature of the universe isn't the way you may have thought it was, how does this translate to a more fulfilling, complete life?

I put this thread in misc because I don't really see a place for it under insight and wisdom. To me it seems like this site and MCTB in general is geared towards the how and glosses over the why. The 'why' piece may be self-evident to more advanced practitioners but for someone who isn't very far on the path (like myself), this part may be a bit blurry. Thanks!

RE: Applying insights to your life
Answer
3/12/14 1:42 PM as a reply to Zendo Calrissian.
Hi!

I don't think the 'why' being clear is dependant on how far along the path one is but rather how clearly one glimpses the view, the true nature of things. glimpsing the true nature can happen anytime even without formal practice of any kind (and often does!). These glimpses provided for me an example of how it would be possible to live unencumbered by the deeply felt misunderstandings of self and world and habitual reactive emotions and behaviors which express those misunderstandings. this was the why for me before I began to practice, and I think many share this experience.

Briefly I would say: it is evident to me that I experience:

the imaginary sense of being a solid seperate self

which when I beliveive in this imaginary sense, there are repercussions in my body and emotions, positive negative and neutral repercussions of felt-sense

which themselves prompt proliferating thoughts, and verbal and physical behaviors,

all of which latter tend to reinforce the basic felt distress as well as the basic belief in the imaginary solid seperate self.

Insight sees that there is tasting, hearing, seeing, smelling, feelings in the body, and mind movements arising and passing

and that sometimes these elements combine in such a way as to give rise to 'believing in a solid seperate self' and the rest of the chain

but that actually it's just hearing, seeing, tasting, smelling, touching, mind movements which latter sometimes include imaginary versions of experience in which these elements combine into solid seperate self, but which nevertheless remains an open impermanent process

and so actually experience, life and Universe is open and interconnected and shifting and groundless and...

so yes, the more deeply this is realized, the less I naively believe in the imaginary version of experience that includes a solid seperate self in a big world of threats and promises, then the more free and loving and easy going I feel and am able to act, the less compulsive the behavior patterns of thinking speaking and acting are, the less sticky the emotional repercussions of holding that belief are, the less traction that belief has, so that even when mind movements imagine 'I am a solid seperate self' that is seen itself as an empty impermanent mind movement, 'make believe' rather than 'believing', and I get less upset and am nicer and generally things are more enjoyable and I'm easier to be around.

RE: Applying insights to your life
Answer
3/12/14 5:57 PM as a reply to Zendo Calrissian.
Apologies if this is too obvious, or you already know it, but the chapter 'What's in it for you?' in Mindfulness in Plain English is pretty good and true to my experience.

It's online here:

http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma4/mpe16.html

RE: Applying insights to your life
Answer
3/12/14 6:22 PM as a reply to Robin Woods.
Robin Woods:
Apologies if this is too obvious, or you already know it, but the chapter 'What's in it for you?' in Mindfulness in Plain English is pretty good and true to my experience.

It's online here:

http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma4/mpe16.html

Not bad. Kinda wish it was broken down in stages and mapped more...but that's just me emoticon

RE: Applying insights to your life
Answer
3/13/14 7:12 AM as a reply to Zendo Calrissian.
Zendo Calrissian:
So I've been pondering the purpose of insight practices and I have some questions.

Maybe I'm missing it, but I can't find anything in MCTB that suggests why you would want to embark on the path of insight.


For the same reason you picked up MCTB in the first place.

This may sound a bit facetious. What I mean by this is that the reason for reading books like MCTB, hanging out in places like this forum here, and so on, is in a weird, tail-chasing circular way both the reason for being fascinated with all this and the desire to get something out of it (or to get out of it, period).

Another way of framig it, which is less circular, is that you were bitten by the Spiritual Bug, contracted Insight Disease, and the known cure is, for the time being, more of it, until it heals off by itself. This is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but at least it has a discernible starting-point: the first time you crossed the A&P, and an end-point: Enlightenment.

Daniel mentions his life is immeasurably better in almost every way but what is the relation to insight practices? I guess what I'm asking is how does seeing rising and falling of sensations, impermanence, etc. translate to a better life? What specific knowledge have you attained through the path to insight that you can apply to your life to make it better?


Speaking for myself: it is not intellectual in nature, in the sense that I'd say to myself, "ok, I can find suffering in any sensation I care to look at, therefore X, therefore I feel better" for some insight X. Rather, consistently powering the process of insight by keeping up and balancing the mindfulness, concentration, investigation, confidence, and effort co-incided with some profound changes in my outlook on almost all aspects of my life. Nowadays I'd say it was well worth it, and that I'm better of (and looking forward to further goodness), than before these changes took place. It is hard to say whether these changes would have occurred anyway, or unfolded in a similar fashion. But, as it is, I like it a lot.

I've noticed on these forums and elsewhere when someone has a seemingly big experience they are asked to sit with it and then see if it has changed their outlook. Other than seeing that the nature of the universe isn't the way you may have thought it was, how does this translate to a more fulfilling, complete life?


Indirectly. Simplifying it a lot, here's an example: since the pressing, fundamental need to solve a piece of the Big Spiritual Puzzle has gone away, there are now all these resources which were previously tied up trying to solve this particular bit of the Puzzle.

Cheers,
Florian

RE: Applying insights to your life
Answer
3/13/14 7:28 AM as a reply to Zendo Calrissian.
howdy,
progressing along the stages of insight and dropping some unfortunate habits of ego along the way allows one to become less entangled in the complexities and stress required to uphold this fundamental misperception.

cheers

tom

RE: Applying insights to your life
Answer
3/14/14 5:03 AM as a reply to tom moylan.
tom moylan:
howdy,
progressing along the stages of insight and dropping some unfortunate habits of ego along the way allows one to become less entangled in the complexities and stress required to uphold this fundamental misperception.

cheers

tom


Feels like the wrong way round to me? In that what is the ultimate goal? Doing your best to live a "noble" life, whatever that means, or doing your best to become enlightened (i.e. progressing through the stages of insight?) How about:

Dropping some unfortunate habits of ego to allow one to become less entangled in the complexities and stress required to uphold this perception, and progressing along the stages of insight along the way.

RE: Applying insights to your life
Answer
3/14/14 5:05 AM as a reply to tom moylan.
tom moylan:
howdy,
progressing along the stages of insight and dropping some unfortunate habits of ego along the way allows one to become less entangled in the complexities and stress required to uphold this fundamental misperception.

cheers

tom


Feels like the wrong way round to me? In that what is the ultimate goal? Doing your best to live a "noble" life, whatever that means, or doing your best to become enlightened (whatever that means, i.e. progressing through the stages of insight?) How about:

Dropping some unfortunate habits of ego to allow one to become less entangled in the complexities and stress required to uphold this perception, and progressing along the stages of insight along the way.

RE: Applying insights to your life
Answer
3/14/14 6:55 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
sawfoot _:
tom moylan:
howdy,
progressing along the stages of insight and dropping some unfortunate habits of ego along the way allows one to become less entangled in the complexities and stress required to uphold this fundamental misperception.

cheers

tom


Feels like the wrong way round to me? In that what is the ultimate goal? Doing your best to live a "noble" life, whatever that means, or doing your best to become enlightened (i.e. progressing through the stages of insight?) How about:

Dropping some unfortunate habits of ego to allow one to become less entangled in the complexities and stress required to uphold this perception, and progressing along the stages of insight along the way.


My take, not speaking for Tom, obviously:

It's not manipulation of properties of the ego which drives the progress of insight along. So I agree with Tom's ordering of these.

Also, it's not the ego (regardless of which of the many shades of meaning this carries) which gets enlightened or ennobled or anything. All in all, it's a process of shedding, not gaining, This includes shedding control. The process can't be controlled.

Cheers,
Florian

RE: Applying insights to your life
Answer
3/16/14 11:57 PM as a reply to Zendo Calrissian.
Zendo Calrissian:
To me it seems like this site and MCTB in general is geared towards the how and glosses over the why. The 'why' piece may be self-evident to more advanced practitioners but for someone who isn't very far on the path (like myself), this part may be a bit blurry. Thanks!


Being a youngster on the path myself. This is a great question.
My take would be because there is so much suffering and this is one of the few paths out there that promis a cessation of suffering.

Why did you take up this path?

With Love
Eelco