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Anata - Am I missing something?

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Anata - Am I missing something?
Answer
7/28/14 5:19 AM
I’ve read numerous accounts from people who claim to have attained an insight into “not self” or “anata”.  These accounts typically include a description of fear, and destabilisation which is not surprising since the long held illusion of self as the foundation upon which one builds a complex personal narrative, is stripped away.  I can easily accept that “I” is merely a convenient label.  A tool of language.  An aid to assist in survival and pro creation.  The concept of a self serves a purpose yet it is inherently empty.  This makes sense to me.  When I approach it intellectually I have no trouble in seeing through the illusion.  What troubles me though, is that it doesn’t even feel counter intuitive.  It is clear, simple and obvious.  So much so that I feel I must be missing something.  I don’t feel as though the earth has disappeared from beneath my feet.  Where is the fear, the sense of loss, the abyss? 
I’ve had some rare moments during meditation of non-dual awareness where the sense of the witness collapses and all that remains is a sense of the object with no subject.  These glimpses into the non-dual nature of phenomena, are rare and brief.   
I posit that the reason why I haven’t experienced the typically described reactions to the insight of not self is that I can only see it intellectually  Is some greater shift (higher level) required?  Any thoughts or comments would be welcomed

RE: Anata - Am I missing something?
Answer
7/28/14 7:17 AM as a reply to Darin.
Everybody past a certain age knows they will die. Almost no understands that they will actually die. Keep practicing. Has nothing to do with seeing it intellectually, and eveything to do with knowing it on a cellular level.

RE: Anata - Am I missing something?
Answer
7/28/14 8:57 AM as a reply to Darin.
Seeing no-self (simply by looking at experiences and breaking them down to smaller and smaller experiences via depending arising) allows a person to stop the negative self-judgment which reduces stress.  Everything else in life should be normal.  Feeling mentally healthy without being attached to certain mind-states is the goal.  At this point a person can decide what they want to do regarding their deepest values versus following the same past conditioning.

No-self is also a gradation from perceiving thinking as a self down to subject-object self.  

http://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/210/talk/9553/

Make sure your investigation is not just intellectual because the apparatus of thinking and how thinking triggers our dopamine/serotonin/oxytocin/endorphins/adrenaline/cortisol (basically feelings) and how feelings lead to actions is a doorway to understand our conditioning.  You can feel if you like or dislike your thoughts.  How do habitual thoughts bring the same actions again and again?

RE: Anata - Am I missing something?
Answer
7/28/14 9:06 AM as a reply to Darin.
Darin:
When I approach it intellectually I have no trouble in seeing through the illusion.  What troubles me though, is that it doesn’t even feel counter intuitive.  It is clear, simple and obvious.  So much so that I feel I must be missing something.  I don’t feel as though the earth has disappeared from beneath my feet.  Where is the fear, the sense of loss, the abyss?


The intellectual approach is a bit tricky, though interesting. You can play with it while also doing vipassana or some other meditation or contemplation practice. More drops wearing away at the stone.

Suggestion: Notice, discern, find the emptiness in the "you" that is troubled regarding the quality of "your" insight into "yourself"? You can look for this emptiness intellectually, but also in meditation.

I posit that the reason why I haven’t experienced the typically described reactions to the insight of not self is that I can only see it intellectually  Is some greater shift (higher level) required?  Any thoughts or comments would be welcomed


Hmmm. The map is not the territory. Your life is not contained in the description of another person's life, so it's no use trying to re-live those (it is useful to recognize similarities, when they arise, though) Try to get more of those glimpses, and gain familiarity with them. Then you will be able to speak more from experience and less from what you want to experience.

The shifts can be profound, but they never (in my experience) resemble expectations. So the less you are trying to experience what you expect to happen, the more you can pay attention to what is actually happening.

Helpful? If not, please ask more questions.

Cheers,
Florian

RE: Anata - Am I missing something?
Answer
7/29/14 2:43 AM as a reply to Darin.
Darin, you are having glimpses of "no mind". What is required for natural and effortless no-mind is realization of anatta.

As I wrote in http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com.au/2014/07/insight-diagnosis-simplified.html :

Inspired by Kenneth Folk's "An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis". My attempt to summarize some of the insights and experiences I've gone through. Also do note that there is no strictly fixed linear way of progression - the insights/experiences can unfold in somewhat different order for different people.

(Realization+Experience) Non-doership: No control or doership over things, everything is spontaneously happening on its own without effort. Does serious damage to notions of free will. When one sees through the notion of 'self as doer', one realizes freedom does not lie in 'free will' but lies in releasing sense of doership/control which is a subtle aversion going against the flow of happening, contraction, sense of self, holding. One finds joy, freedom and release from 'let live' and 'surrendering'.

(Experience) I AM: I have a glimpse of myself as a sense of changeless Beingness or Awareness or Witness behind everything.

(Realization) I AM: I am EXISTENCE! Doubtless certainty. Sat-chit-ananda: beingness-consciousness-bliss. I am the ground of Being out of which everything emerges. Self-Realization.

(Deconstruction+Experience) Impersonality: I am the one divine life living myself in the body, no different from the life expressing in the trees, in the other human being, or spinning the planet. Dissolving 'self' into a state clean of ego/personal self, not-mine sort of sensation. God-Realization.

(Experience) Intensity of luminosity: Wow, amazing, the textures of touch, the taste of food, the colours and shapes so wonderfully alive and intense!

(Realization/Experience) One Mind: I am this boundless space of awareness, and all forms/thoughts/perceptions are indistinguishable from that field, no inside/outside. Subject-Object inseparability. All is Mind/Self/Awareness/etc.

(Experience) No Mind: Only sound. Only sight. Vividly manifest without background or any sense of self/Self. (Not even a greater 'awareness' being inseparable from forms) This state has the same effect as 'intensity of luminosity' except that all sense of a perceiver is obliterated, i.e. no 'you' looking out from your body at the 'scenery' but only brilliant scenery.

(Deconstruction+Realization+Experience) Anatta: There never is/was a Source/Awareness/Self/Agent/Perceiver/Controller apart from manifestation! In seeing just the seen, no seer. Not only no self but no Self (caps) exists behind phenomena. No Subject. After *realization* of Anatta as the Nature of experience (empty of background subject), the experience of No-Mind becomes an effortless natural state rather than peak experience. Then one sees that no-mind is both wonderful and yet nothing special, as it simply is the natural state of phenomena when released from the extra imputation of Self/observer behind it, it is experienced as the ordinary state of phenomena rather than the 'Wow' factor accompanied by peak No Mind experiences prior to Anatta.

(Deconstruction+Realization+Experience) Mind-body drop: No shapes/boundaries of body, just centerless boundless vibrating energies! Body/self/things as an imputation dissolves through deconstructive insight.

(Deconstruction+Realization+Experience) Groundlessness: No persisting ground, no Here/Now, no coordinating agent, disjoint bubble-like self-releasing thought!

(Deconstruction+Realization+Experience) Maha +A: Totality (dependencies) walking, breathing, seamless process. Mind-body drop transforms into Dharma Body. Six senses reconstruct into one suchness, whole universe in an atom, all nodes in one indra's node.

(Deconstruction+Realization+Experience) Karmic Propensities: Karmic propensities are never hidden, totally exerted! Feel the realness of the amazing creation of the Subject/Object fiction manifesting as one's given experiential reality. Realize the 12 afflictive links of dependent origination where ignorance manifests the whole mass of grasping and suffering.

(Realization+Experience) Emptiness -A: Directly tasting thought/perceptions as clarity without background as basis, further penetrate its nature, that very appearance which dependently originates has never arisen, like a dream or reflection, like a burning flame.

RE: Anata - Am I missing something?
Answer
7/29/14 8:12 AM as a reply to Darin.
Understanding no-self intellectually can not be compared to the insight which arise from the practice. "Deeper shifts" can not be understood by those who have only "lower shifts". No chance to put in words you have to get the experience from the practice. You know it for yourself but hard to share with others.

But I agree that „playing around’ the topic intellectually can help. Like the question from Kennet Folk. First you note the sensation then you ask the question „To whom is it to happen?...

The Buddha told us the secret that all phenomena arise and vanish without a self. So sometimes is good to start to investigate the sensations from this point of view. Like: „So if there is no self then who feels the pain? Who is suffering at moment? Who is hearing the sound? etc…”

It can help the realizing process that there is only mind&body or just consciousness arise based on the contact between the senses and the object. If conditions are there consciousness aries. Without understanding the true nature of the phenomena desire will arise. Where is desire there is suffering. Nobody behind the process. 

RE: Anata - Am I missing something?
Answer
7/29/14 4:33 PM as a reply to Darin.
My personal take on the matter is that there are several separate sub/pre-conscious selfing process that make up different aspects of the implied experience of self. These processes can be rewired/shut down so that the corresponding experience of self related to that process is no longer experienced. These seem to be permanent shifts for most people.
The book The Ego Tunnel explains the illusion of self from a neuro-cognitive viewpoint I find fascinating and talks about these different selfing processes.
Of course this is not a traditional Buddhist explanation as the sub/pre-conscious is not a Buddhist concept.
~D

Edit : An Eternal Now.....awesome stuff. I love your lists

RE: Anata - Am I missing something?
Answer
7/29/14 4:45 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.

RE: Anata - Am I missing something?
Answer
8/2/14 4:58 AM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Thanks for the link to Rob Burbeas dharma talk.  I've listened too a few of his talks in recent weeks.  My present focus is on dependant co arising which Rob explains in an clear and understandable way.  Complex but jaw dropping.  I like how he weaves in notions of time being empty.
 

RE: Anata - Am I missing something?
Answer
8/2/14 5:08 AM as a reply to Florian.
Thanks Florian.  Greater effort is required to discern what actually is and to de emphasise the maps and expectations.  The map is not the territory.

RE: Anata - Am I missing something?
Answer
8/2/14 4:21 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Thanks Dream Walker.  There is so much to engage with on the path.  Right now though, my interest is with anata, the nature of consciousness, and the workings of dependant origination.  It might be a good time to take a detour to the "Ego Tunnel" as a non buddhist alternative exploration into the nature of consciousness.   Thanks for the suggestion.