On 'Insight Disease'

Andrea, modified 8 Years ago at 5/17/14 8:49 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 5/17/14 8:49 AM

On 'Insight Disease'

Posts: 5 Join Date: 5/17/14 Recent Posts
I have seen Daniel mention 'insight disease' both here in the forum and in the Hurrican Ranch tapes, but I don't remember him referencing that idea in MCTB, which leads me to think it's a relatively recent development in his Dharma toolbox.

In particular I think he says that it arises "once someone passes the A&P", and that "once you get Stream Entry you're really screwed". It appears to be a 'disease' affecting all people between Paths 1 and 4 and somehow reducing whichever benefits they might have gained after finishing a Path. I am not sure however whether insight disease consists simply in the repeating of the Dark Night through insight cycles or if there is something more to it – which I suspect there is.

In my personal and tentative assessment of personal progress I think I have finished Second Path and I'm climbing slowly my way through Third Path. If I had to define 'insight disease' in terms of my own experience I would say that it consists of the cognitive dissonance that arises from keeping one foot in two shoes: inside my mind there is a "with-self" model of perception coexisting with a "no-self" model of percetion. The first one is becoming looser and looser, but both at the moment have a life of their own and fight for attention. The fact that dissonant models coexist seems to cause trouble.

What is everyone's idea on the topic? I'm especially interested in knowing what Daniel thinks about this
Derek, modified 8 Years ago at 5/17/14 9:03 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 5/17/14 9:03 AM

RE: On 'Insight Disease'

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Daniel's take on "insight disease" is in a thread from 2012, here:


So it's characterized by a basic level of insight, tainted by more subtle dukkha that is (so far) not penetrated by insight.

Question for you: In your experience, is your discomfort caused by the coexistence of self and no-self models? Or are the self models just inherently painful in themselves?
Florian, modified 8 Years ago at 5/17/14 10:08 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 5/17/14 10:08 AM

RE: On 'Insight Disease'

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Hi Andrea

It's a tongue in cheek way of expressing the "damned if I do, damned if I don't" sentiment that can arise when someone notices they are in for more than they bargained for, and can't get back to comfortable ignorance any more.

Or a tongue-in-cheek way of saying "the only way out is through".

Or of expressing that it's impossible to un-see something you've seen. If you turn on the light in the basement the day after the basement party, you'll see the awful mess that is there. That mess won't go away if you turn off the light again. The light doesn't diminish anything, least of all your capacity to see or remember. It's the mess that is the problem, not you knowing about it. An yet, it might seem as if your knowing about it was somehow a disease you caught the moment you looked into that basement.

Andrea, modified 8 Years ago at 5/17/14 9:42 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 5/17/14 9:42 PM

RE: On 'Insight Disease'

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@ Pawel: The idea of two 'models' of course is a metaphor, it's not something which I use consciously. It represents the idea that I seem to have developed a new perceptive modality but I'm still stuck largely in the former.

@ Derek: I would say that both are statements are true, the self-model is intrinsically painful, but the coexistence of both models also has its way of discombobulating daily life. Thanks also for the link.

@ Florian: Thanks, that is actually a pretty good metaphot and it seems to fit well with Daniel's own description of insight disease.
Zyndo Zyhion, modified 8 Years ago at 5/19/14 8:45 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 5/18/14 8:07 AM

RE: On 'Insight Disease'

Posts: 168 Join Date: 8/6/10 Recent Posts
Insight disease is merely almost a synonym or a synonym for the Dark Night or the Dukha Nanas (the suffering stage of insight: dissolution, fear misery, disgust, desire for deliverance and re-observation). But like Florian says, its that quality of being damed if you do and damed it you don't, the reason for which, is that we tend to centre our gravity in the dark night (Centre of gravity:the common attainment of ones practice. Peak: is the unusual or best expereinces in our practice.). After A&P we fall forward into Dukha Nanas and after reaching Equanimity we fall back.

A lot of modern teachers of insight emphasis Meta to help manage the the Dhukha Nanas. Kornfield, McDonald, Salzberg etc.
Zyndo Zyhion, modified 8 Years ago at 5/23/14 9:14 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 5/23/14 9:14 AM

RE: On 'Insight Disease'

Posts: 168 Join Date: 8/6/10 Recent Posts
Can you switch between those self and no-self perception modes in real time yet?
If yes then you might try to activate both at the same time and see what happen then.
But there is trick to this: you have to be willing to sacrifice both of those modes for what will come out of this exercise, otherwise it won't work. 
If it doesn't give any significant results at first then do not worry and just explore modes you have and try again later when you are ready.

Hey Pawel, I got what you mean, its quite trippy to look at that. Yet, its something I do all the time, but its quite trippy to look at the movement between the two and the wierd way you can't hold on to either, trippy and disorientating, I feel like I'm dissolving and reforming sometimes in the space of a few seconds sometimes a bit slower, and sometimes without any awareness of that fact.